Since its 2013 release, the playerbase for Grinding Gear Games' free-to-play action RPG Path of Exile has grown from hundreds of thousands to millions of active players by having a plan for sustainable long-term development.
In this GDC 2019 talk, Grinding Gears' Chris Wilson explains how Path of Exile is designed to retain and grow its community for the very long term.
He revealed a slew of different ways the team designs the game for sustainable growth, including how to structure releases into seasons with predictable release dates and scope, how to re-use content for rapid development, how to use procedural generation to keep content from feeling stale, how to design deep gameplay systems that keep players engaged, and (most importantly) how to grow a community over a long period of time.
It was a practical, engaging talk with tons of useful takeaways for anyone working on a live game, and now you can watch it (completely free!) over on the official GDC YouTube channel.
In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.
Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC or VRDC already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.