I've been playing a lot of World of Warcraft with my son the last few months. He's getting really into it—so into it that it's beginning to frustrate him. See, he's my son, and therefore he's got some natural inclination, it seems, to be a game designer. He's always designing new classes, talking about new races, and lately getting frustrated that he can't build the exact character he wants to play. He wanted his rogue to be able to dual-wield engineering wrenches, and gave up playing the character when that turned out to be impractical. Then he decided that what he really wanted to play was a combination of rogue and paladin. "We should play D&D," became my refrain.
Finally he took me up on that, and we sat down on Thursday night to make characters and play some encounters. He had moved on past the rogue-paladin idea and wanted to play something like a shaman in WoW—a totemic, he said. So we designed the class from the ground up, as sort of a cleric-wizard hybrid. I think he might be a bit broken-good, but not too much. Over and over as we played—that night, Friday night, and much of the day today—he kept saying, "I love this game! It's so much better than WoW!" With the key selling point, of course, being the flexibility.
Did I mention the fire archon character I made for him, just by re-flavoring rogue powers into fiery things?
Speaking of selling points, I went to San Francisco last week to talk to some press, including cnet and Maximum PC. Tomorrow, I fly to Chicago to do more of the same. Do I know anyone in Chicago?