This is my first time attending LOGIN. I liked it a lot! Many of the great minds of online game design were there, and the talks are small and intimate. It was not uncommon for audience members to speak up during talks, making each talk more of a discussion than just a lecture.
Many talks gave me pause -- the highlights for me:
Economies of Fun: Kevin Maginn, Flying Lab Software. The title vastly understates the topic. Kevin blew my mind talking about the fact that the MMO market has fundamentally changed, and to use his term, we are now living in a "post-scarcity" MMO economy. That is, we can no longer create artificial scarcity in games, and give it out bit by bit, because our competitor will just give it out faster! Instead, we must embrace what is naturally scarce in MMOs (skilled guildleaders, etc.) and reward that. Horrifying, but probably true! Get ready for the great MMO crash of 2010!
Designing for a New Audience, A Case Study: Sam Lewis, Zenimax Online. This was an excellent description of the creative process that went into the design of Cartoon Network's Fusion Fall. It made me realize some holes in my MMO design process!
The Real Value of Violence: Scott Rigby, Immersyve. Gah! Another mind blowing talk! Scott presents real data showing that violence in games does little to aid enjoyment -- instead, enjoyment is derived mainly from the PENS model, which violence just happens to line up with. It was wonderful to see a talk involving real data for a topic like this! Valid studies in game development are as rare as hen's teeth.
I wish I could have seen more talks than I did, but I was busy preparing my own talk, which went pretty well, I think. LOGIN definitely exceeded my expectations -- I hope I can go again next year!