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Perma-Death and Continuity


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#21 CGameProgrammer   Members   -  Reputation: 640

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Posted 01 September 2002 - 01:52 PM

I didn''t mean I am against PKing; I meant I''m against rampant PKing. Like, I played the Lineage trial, and the instant I left the town gates, I was PKed. So I never played that game again.

In a permadeath MMORPG, ideally I would like PKing to basically be impossible against people who are unwilling targets, since they''d be able to escape too easily to die. But duels would be possible, in fact ideally when someone gets very low on health, they''d be able to usually escape the duel without dying, thereby allowing friendly duels where you''re not actually trying to kill the guy, you''re just trying to "win".

But this isn''t a great solution, I admit.

~CGameProgrammer( );



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#22 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 01 September 2002 - 03:02 PM

MORGANE wrote:
quote:
Just as an example to support my 10% figure. Asheron’s call has 6-7 servers. One, only one, of the servers is for PK''s and if you log on it has considerably less players then any of the other servers.

But you really can''t compare apples and oranges. Asheron''s Call was NOT designed for PvP, it was designed for PvE (PlayerVsEnvironment). Since PvP probably (I haven''t played it) has many loopholes to make it un-fun for victims, players avoid it.
The only comparison we should look for is the playerbase of a game that is not PvP based and one that is, but those games would need to have pretty identical gameplay for any comparison to matter. I don''t think there is a real MMORPG out there yet (come on Shadowbane) that focuses on PvP enough in order to be able to make a fair comparison.
quote:
The one thing that MMO games do well is let players customize their characters.

This is where I disagree completely. The only thing they let you do is let you customize it visually. As far as gameplay is concerned, all characters start to look alike. I played Everquest, and I was always bothered by the fact that all characters of class [insert] played the same way: they used the same spells and same equipment. Sure, it''s nice to be able to give each avatar a slightly different look, but I think it''s more important to create a unique gameplay experience for each and every avatar.
quote:
I like brown hair and brown eyes and like to use magic so I make a brown haired, brown eyed guy with lots of intelligence. Now when I get killed I''m playing my off spring who is blonde haired, blue eyed and really strong?

No, the DNA carries over, so chances are that the following applies:
quote:
Now if you don’t change anything on him and you still have a brown haired smart guy who is a little lower in the level scale then all you did was take a level away.

Yup. Pretty much. Although the offspring will look slightly different and have slightly different powers. The feel will be the same, but the details will be different.
quote:
While I''m on my rant about character changes, players would expect their names to remain the same. It would be a pain in the butt to try and find your friends every time you logged on if their names kept changing.

This is where family names come into play. If your first avatar is Joe Brown, the son will be called Jim Brown. Players would simply look for the name Brown if they want to find their friend Joe Brown. If Joe died, they will find Jim. Just like first names are usually protected on current MMORPGs (you can only pick names that have not yet been used in the game or on a particular server), you could protect last names to ensure that players can find relatives of dead avatars.
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Let’s look at the two extremes of what you could do when a player dies.

I find that extremes don''t make good examples. The fact that one extreme is a better choice than the other doesn''t mean that the best solution lies closer to the preferred extreme.
quote:
How is an average player who plays say 5 hours a week supposed to compete with some 13 year old kid who is level 50 two weeks after the game comes out?

You''ve just given the absolute best motive for permanent death to exist. How would a casual gamer compete with a hardcore gamer? In non-permanent death settings, the only thing that limits how powerful an avatar becomes is time. If I play 5 hours, I reach level 5. If I play 50 hours, I reach level 50. The gap between casual gamer and hardcore gamer grows bigger and bigger with every hour. Now, if you put permanent death into the picture, that hardcore gamer might have just put in 50 hours and reached level 50... but died and has to start all over again with his offspring. The casual gamer has played 5 hours and reached level 5... but stays alive and can continue playing with his primary avatar. Permanent death is the only way for a casual gamer to develop characters that can reach equal powers as the characters of hardcore gamers.
Of course, the more time you invest, the less chances you have to take, so the safer you can make your journey: if you play your cards smart, you can keep your avatar alive and reach a level of power unheard of.
quote:
Most people want to hope on for a short time and get together with a few friends and kill a few monsters.

On which permanent death has no influence. All you have to do is hunt weaker monsters to ensure less risk.
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The only way this type of plan can work is if all players are always equal.

How so?
quote:
What if every time you killed someone your gun became more powerful or your units became stronger?

Simple solution (which is already used in PvE combat): characters don''t gain much power from killing weaker characters. Add permanent death to the mix and there would be little reason for a level 50 character to attack a level 5 character. He wouldn''t gain (much) power but he might have a 0.01% chance of dying himself.
quote:
So you create a situation where you lose your top players when failing to recruit new players.

Not with permanent death. With permanent death in effect, top players will eventually see their avatar fall to another top player''s avatar.

The point I''m trying to make is that I want each and every gamer to feel like the avatar he or she controls is truly unique in every way. Not just another Elven Enchanter wearing the same old outfit, using the same old spells, battling the same old monsters, using the same old tactics. I also want new players to feel like they are able to play with the hardcore gamers. The only way to do that is to find a way to keep hardcore gamers from easily reaching high levels of power. The one and only solution to that is permanent death.

I think the problem is that too many people see only the bad sides that permanent death would bring to the games they currently play. But you have to look at it in a different way. You have to start with nothing, insert permanent death and then start adding all other elements and making it work.

#23 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 01 September 2002 - 05:54 PM

Well these reply to reply may get confusing I'll do my best to keep it readable.

Asheron's Call v. your game:

The point I was trying to make here is there is not really a large enough player base for PvP games. I had a roommate who played on the PvP server of AC and he just loved the thrill of chasing people and getting chased. However as stated earlier its a small part of the population who enjoys this type of play. With huge titles like Star Wars Galaxies, Asheron's Call 2, and The Sims Online coming out your going to be hard pressed to find enough players who want to play your game. Should everybody be trying to make the next deer hunter? Heck no, but you have to look at what people are playing right now and see what they like about it and what they do not like about it. If 90% (still just a wild guess) of the people are playing on the non PvP server I think they are there because they don’t like the PvP aspect not because its implemented poorly.

Customizing Characters:

The point here was not so much in that players were mass customizable but that players would begin to associate with their character. When you watch a movie and the hero and the villain are fighting and your yelling kick his butt hero! There is a connection there between you and hero. You need this type of element in any game be it a MMOG or not. Some people will spend tremendous amounts of time creating and customizing their characters. If you take that character they spent so much time on and throw it out and give them a new arbitrary character you have just created a huge discontinuity between the player and the character. People have gotten married in MMOG and spent days writing about every little adventure they have in a game. You want the player and their character to have a bond. You can not get that by forcing the player to start over with a new character every time they die. The same thing goes along with the name. When I play a game I'm naming my character Morgan and it better be Morgan when I quite playing as well.

On average v. hardcore player:

You originally said players will keep the majority of the experiences of the previous avatar so your really not starting the level 50 player back at 0. The other problem here is that players will always kill lower level players them themselves. If a level 50 character needs a million exp till their next level and there is nothing around except some level 25 who they are going to get 1 point of exp off of that level 25 player better start running. When there is nothing good to kill players will hunt weak things until something good comes along.

Players being equal:

In quake and war craft players are equal. Now there’s no way in heck I can beat the top ranked battle net player but he doesn't have an advantage within the game that I don’t have. This is not the case MMO games. Players are rewarded with more health points or better weapons and armor so higher level players are at an advantage there.

Your final point:

You say you want the players to feel their characters are unique but I really didn't catch how the PvP, Egg aspect accomplishes this goal. You should not prevent people who want to spend 80 hours a week playing a game from becoming powerful. You want these people playing your game but you don’t want it at the expense of the other 90% who are playing it 5 hours a week.

The bad side of death in any game is that your taking away time that players have invested in the game. What is 40 hours worth of play to someone who plays 80 a week versus 5 hours of play to someone who plays 5 hours a week? There is a huge difference there. You need to cater to both audiences but the larger audience is the more important one.


[edited by - MorganE on September 1, 2002 12:55:59 AM]

#24 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 03:39 AM

MORGANE

1) PvP servers in PvE games are no reflection of the desire of players to play PvP. For one, the choice of playing on either a PvE-only or a PvP server is too drastic: I would like to integrate both into one server. Using EQ as an example, certain zones would be PvE only (cities), other zones would be PvP (dungeons). If players want more PvE areas, convert some of the PvP zones into PvE zones.
This way, players wouldn't have to make a yes/no choice at the creation of the character, but can do so each and every playing session.
(EQ does have something like this, in that even on a PvE server, players can choose to play PvP by giving a special item to a special NPC character. But this is where the EQ example stops working, simply because it wasn't made for PvP)
quote:
Some people will spend tremendous amounts of time creating and customizing their characters.

I realize that, but the more time players invest in their character, the safer they should play the game. Basically, there will be two very different types of players:
1) Spend little time customizing character and just enjoy gameplay, playing another, similar avatar when the primary avatar dies.
2) Spend much time customizing character and enjoy gameplay but play in a very, very safe manner by teaming up with others, always being on the lookout for enemies, ready to run, traveling only to relatively safe areas, donning self with protective spells/gear: basically, this type of player sacrifices offensive power for defensive power. He will not be able to kill as much, so won't gain experience as fast, but he will be relatively safe from harm.
quote:
If a level 50 character needs a million exp till their next level and there is nothing around except some level 25 who they are going to get 1 point of exp off of that level 25 player better start running.

I really wish Shadowbane will release soon. As far as I know, they tend to agree with my standpoint that if you just give high-level players little too gain from killing lower level characters, but a lot to lose, they will not attack. This of course implies that that level 25 player has SOME chance of defeating the level 50 player (perhaps with the help of some other level 25 friends nearby?).
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Players are rewarded with more health points or better weapons and armor so higher level players are at an advantage there.

That's what competition is all about. And yes, I do think that competition is a big part of MMO games. People want to show off what they have achieved. And of course higher level players are at an advantage. What other option is there in a continuity system? But permanent death is the ultimate equalizer, creating some balance in the chaos. It actually puts high level players at a disadvantage, because they have more to lose.
quote:
You should not prevent people who want to spend 80 hours a week playing a game from becoming powerful. You want these people playing your game but you don’t want it at the expense of the other 90% who are playing it 5 hours a week.

Permanent death doesn't prevent that at all (preventing 80-hour players from becoming powerful). All it does is suggest to the player to take it easy and play it safe. Permanent death, in my opinion, is more catered towards the casual 5-hour a week gamer than any other system.
quote:
The bad side of death in any game is that your taking away time that players have invested in the game.

See, the way I see it, each and every moment that a player plays a game should be enjoyable. The fact that the character grows in power should not be the number one design element. It can be number 2, but not number 1. If you make it number 1, then your critique is true: death would destroy invested time. But if you can make the game so that even without character advancement the game can be enjoyed, then a character dying would not affect the player as much. Death would only destroy the character. It wouldn't even really destroy character growth completely, as you can continue with the offspring. And it certainly wouldn't destroy the fun you had while playing.

I understand your concern about player bonding with their character, but in our game players will learn to not bond with individual characters but with the entire family instead. The most important thing for a player to do is preserve the family name.

Imagine playing your favorite arcade fighting game, say Tekken. Imagine playing it against other players online in a competition. You win, you advance to the next round. You lose, you have to start all over again.

Now add to that some character growth. Depending on how badly you beat your opponent, you gain money. This money can be used to purchase items. If you die, but have money left, part of that money (say 10%) is transfered to your new character.

The goal is to get as far as possible. If you die in the 5th round, do you consider the time invested wasted? Or did you have fun playing rounds 1-5? Does losing and dying make you stop playing, or is it simply a logical result of the laws of the game?

The one thing that could be added is the opportunity to concede a match. Conceding would automatically put the character back to round 1, but the character would keep all his money.
This way, the player can preserve character growth, but just take more time to accomplish his goals.

This is how I see permanent death functioning in an MMO game where the actual gameplay itself comes first.

[edited by - Silvermyst on September 2, 2002 10:50:15 AM]

#25 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 06:50 AM

Well this conversation could go around in circles forever so let me just make a couple of points for you to consider when your thinking about your design and leave it at that.

Its all about the numbers:

In the increasingly competitive field of MMOG the winner(s) will be the game that attracts the most players. The big companies know this and that is why Star Wars Galaxies is not being created for Star Wars junkies and Worlds of Warcraft is not being created for Hardcore Warcraft players. You need to get the masses to play your game and right now the masses are not playing PvP even though they have a choice to. The reason people are not playing PvP is not because it’s not implemented correctly. People are not playing PvP because they have no desire to.

Player Physciologiy:

You MUST have the player associate with their character. You are not going to get this by randomly changing the player’s character around every time they die. If you take a player who has been playing for 5 hours a week for a month and has a level 5 character and he makes one, just one mistake and you’re going to undo what he has been working on for the last month. You can disregard this point if you want and say that players have no connection with their characters but you’re wrong. Players are individuals they associate with individuals not with groups.

Stop hitting yourself:

People that are only playing 5 hours a week are doing so because they enjoy the game a lot but they have other things in life to do as well. Your punishing these people by saying "Play Safer if you don’t want to lose your weeks worth of work" Why would a player keep playing this game or even start playing this game if there is other options out there.

What is fun:

You game resolves around one major point. An increased penalty for dying coupled with PvP which is a system designed to teach people to kill other players. You want your game to be enjoyable all the time but for the majority of the players you’re saying "You better just play it safe." Safe does not equal enjoyable. People want to log on and have an adventure. An adventure is not. "I made level 5 and decided to go out of town then I saw another player and ran back to town as fast as I could so I wouldn''t get killed." An adventure is "We got down to the bottom of the dungeon and there was this huge frigging dragon down there. Half of us got killed but we got him in the end"


#26 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 08:57 AM

quote:
You need to get the masses to play your game and right now the masses are not playing PvP even though they have a choice to.

Name me one PvP oriented MMORPG.
quote:
You MUST have the player associate with their character. You are not going to get this by randomly changing the player’s character around every time they die.

There's no random changing. Players can have multiple live offspring at any time. A father can have 10 sons. When the father dies, the player can pick any of the 10 sons to continue play. Nothing random about that. Besides, even in non-permanent death settings, players constantly create new characters (also called CNCS, I think, Create New Character Syndrome).
Also, in our pre-design (I am NOT completely set on permanent death yet, because it will only be used if it can be perfected) death doesn't happen nearly as much as it happens in current MMORPGs. In Everquest I could die up to 10 times a day in early levels, and 1-3 times an hour at higher levels. Death should be avoidable. That does NOT mean that you have to play it safe 24/7, it just means that if you get into a situation where you think you might die, you have the ability to escape and avoid dying.
If players spend 2-3 hours a day playing, they should only get really close to death once a week if they play the game in a normal fashion (in other words, once every 20 hours or so). The more risks they take, the more times a week they'll risk death.

I don't think it's impossible to shift player focus from individual to family. I don't think it's bad to have players change characters once every 20 hours.
quote:
Players are individuals they associate with individuals not with groups.

Where did guilds come from then? Do they exist merely because the might of the many makes the individual a little stronger? Or do players like to feel part of something larger? I think players can associate with groups just as much as with their one individual character. Especially if they control the entire group.
quote:
Why would a player keep playing this game or even start playing this game if there is other options out there.

Really, the number one motivation to play this game would NOT be character growth.
quote:
You game resolves around one major point. An increased penalty for dying coupled with PvP which is a system designed to teach people to kill other players.

Not quite. The game focuses on giving the player complete freedom in what they want to do. Just like in Daggerfall you didn't have to do anything you didn't want to do. PvP, death, character growth... those are all just extras. Players will be able to play the game without necessarily having to focus on character growth. Imagine playing a game where you don't have to invest any time in order to enjoy it: you can get into it right from the get-go. For example, if you don't want to spend hours making your character grow, just pick a fully grown avatar. It will not be quite as powerful as an avatar that has been created from the ground up, but you'll be ready to see some action in an instant.

I personally hate having to invest time in order to increase my enjoyment of the game. I like having the OPTION of investing time in order to further increase my enjoyment of the game.
quote:
An adventure is not. "I made level 5 and decided to go out of town then I saw another player and ran back to town as fast as I could so I wouldn't get killed."

Why not? I've had just as much fun, if not more, in Everquest running from powerful enemies that would surely kill me as I've had from killing enemies that didn't stand a chance. I still vividly remember naked corpse runs where I had to avoid just about every creature in sight, especially that nasty high-level dark elf NPC that had just killed me minutes earlier.
If that scenario happens every now and then, it is part of the great adventure. It might be different from the accepted 'I want to hack monsters', but variety is good.
EDIT: Of course, you shouldn't have to run back to town EVERY time you see another player or monster. That would indeed NOT be an adventure.
quote:
An adventure is "We got down to the bottom of the dungeon and there was this huge frigging dragon down there. Half of us got killed but we got him in the end"

Depends on what the penalty of death is. If the only penalty is a little bit of ep loss, which can be made up by simply killing that same dragon 3 or 4 times, then is it really an adventure?
I used to feel good about sacrificing my character in Everquest because there WAS a penalty for dying (although not a severe one). Without a penalty upon death, there would have been no sense of glory in my sacrifice. With it, groupmates thanked me for my bravery. The ultimate sacrifice would be one where you sacrifice yourself knowing that it will mean the end of your character: permanent death.

I am a big fan of the belief that without evil there can be no good. Without risk there can be no sense of achievement. Permanent death is the ultimate risk. I'm trying to figure out if it indeed does lead to the ultimate feeling of achievement. I know that if I were to find myself at the top of the power pyramid one day, the biggest of all the snakes in the vicinity, I would certainly feel like I've achieved something. That feeling should be available to all players, hardcore gamers and casual gamers. The way they reach that achievement, the road they take, the tactics they use... it's all up to the player.

NOTE: I'm sure a lot of players have already noticed that to feel like the items they own are an achievement, it works better if those items are rare. Due to the fact that MMORPGs are created for thousands of users and because of the fact that character growth is the main motivator, these games usually end up giving each player an opportunity to gain just about any item they want. Some items are rare, but how rare is an item when you see all your classmates wearing it?
There needs to be some sort of method for making sure that the items that are intended to be rare remain rare. Item deterioration seems like the obvious choice. That way, you can still give every player the chance to obtain every item, but you will not find a large number of players wearing the same rare item. They find it, use it, then have it fall apart.

I think permanent death can do for characters what item deterioration can do for items. I have to admit that I have no clue about how to correctly implement it, because there are simply no good examples out there yet for the MMO genre (if you think there are, let me know!).



[edited by - Silvermyst on September 2, 2002 4:48:43 PM]

#27 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 09:08 AM

Trying to summarize my own thoughts (I''m sure it''ll be a poor attempt):

Current MMORPGS:
Main motivation -> character growth
Method of character growth -> kill monsters
Risk -> death means loss of some experience
Death occurance -> several times a day
Outcome -> playerbase eventually is mainly high-level
Casual gamers -> will not reach high-level
Hardcore gamers -> will all reach high-level

Our MMO:
Main motivation -> gameplay
Secondary motivation -> character growth
Method of character growth -> kill PCs and/or kill monsters + other
Risk -> death means loss of character
Death occurance -> once or twice a week*
Outcome -> playerbase will remain average-level
Casual gamers -> can reach high-level
Hardcore gamers -> can reach high-level quicker

* Death occurance is higher if player takes more chances and sees more combat. Death occurance is even lower if player takes less chances and sees little to no combat.

One last thing to mention:
players can achieve character growth without ever seeing combat


#28 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 09:46 AM

Ok trying to close this long drawn battle out here I'll try to keep this short and avoid referencing other posts. I'd really like to and I got a whole bag of rebuttals to your points here but it doesn't seem to really be getting us anywhere.

Who knows I could be way off base here too. You could make this game and have it sell a million copies and you could have a good laugh at that guy on the message board who didn't know what he was talking about when he said you couldn't create a game like this. After all it’s not like I have not been wrong before.

That said I think you guys should do a little bit of research into three key areas. First off check out the psychology of game play. This will give you a good idea of why people play games. Secondly check out motivational factor. This should help you understand why people do certain things in games. And finally check out how individuals analyze risks and make decisions based on those risks.

If you look at those areas with an open mind the points I was trying to make should be much clearer. If you read it all and think you still got a winner on your hands then I say go for it.

PS. If you want to continue the discussion we can continue it via email as I think this thread has become more of a personal discussion then anything else.


[edited by - MorganE on September 2, 2002 5:00:35 PM]

#29 Tazok van Dyk   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 11:08 AM

Why do people want permadeath cause they want dying to be more of a penalty then it is now however there are numerous middle roads that can be taken without the frustration of permanelty having lost a char.

It is annoying for casual gamers when hardcore players have much faster development and thus gain a advantage. However hardcore games deserve a reward for their time. When you just let the power curve of time be regressive the problem is solved. casual games have quite gast a powerfull char and hardcore gamers have more powerfull chars but can be beaten bij casual players.

Hardcore gamers won''t mind it cause they are really into the game and still strife for more minor achievements as they like to look more and more in the details when the game progresses to create their ultimate char.





Economics is a subject that does not greatly respect one''s wishes.
-Nikita S. Khrushchev

#30 Oluseyi   Staff Emeritus   -  Reputation: 1670

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 06:22 PM

All this talk about "PvP", "PvE" and "PKing" flat out bores me. I don''t play RPGs because I feel like I have little actual influence on my characters growth and development, generally only on his appearance and "level" (now there''s an abstract concept for you!)

There is only one thing that I find myself qualified to respond to:
quote:
Original post by MorganE
In the increasingly competitive field of MMOG the winner(s) will be the game that attracts the most players.

You''re thinking in a box. You''re allowing the "big players" to define the field for you, so you fail to see alternative potential.

For one thing, it is possible that companies publish non-subscription MMO titles, at which point all the assumptions about numbers and restrictions are voided because it costs the gamer nothing beyond the initial outlay for purchase to enjoy the game long-term. For another, reasonably small companies might only be interested in small numbers of participants. Overcongestion in this particular game would be terribly detrimental to the overall experience, because the sensation of vast vistas and broad expanses is integral to its entertainment value.

And finally, some compnay might find alternative fiscal structures that license out ability to host "official" servers at a nominal "registration fee", or some other such scheme. The domain of subscription software - both for entertainment and productivity - is one that is only just being charted.

#31 Saluk   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 07:52 AM

About the asheron''s call example, the PVP servers are so empty not because it''s not implemented well, not because all players hate pvp, but because it''s not a selling point to the game. The game box doesn''t say, "Amzingly well thought out, balanced, pvp system that provides fun and excitement for players who enjoy permanent death!"

I don''t play mmorpgs, because in my opinion, they are all the same, and aren''t fun to me. But I would seriously consider a strong pvp oriented game, for one thing because its new, and for another; because it could be more challenging and exciting. No, I''m not going to buy Asheron''s call, just so I can play on the one pvp server they have out of 8, I can see where they put their focus.

No, I''m not going to buy everquest, to play on their permanent death server, because that''s not what the game was intended for. If anything, the fact that there are pvp servers at all show that there are people who want those kinds of games. If NO ONE played on those servers, then the developers wouldn''t pay to keep the servers running.


The thing is, what is being proposed is a mmorpg that isn''t entirely aimed at the current market. It is aimed at a new market. You don''t think a game that''s different will get players from star wars, sims online, or AC2 to switch over? You''re probably right. But is there a possibility that it will create a NEW market? Very likely.

See, I know a lot of people who don''t play mmorpgs. Maybe this proposition isn''t what all those people who dont play them will want to play, but if we keep doing things the same way, then we will keep getting the exact same market. We will be fighting for players from other bigger companies from other much bigger games. By doing things differently, you have a chance of not getting anybody, but you also have a chance to get people who didn''t have a desire to play these games before.

One last thing: Deus Ex had a very interesting multiplayer mode, where you had skills that you could raise each time you got a kill. But when you die, you start from the begining again. It worked amazingly well, and isn''t all that different from a VERY short pvp permanent death online rpg.

#32 Warsong02   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 08:28 AM

Permadeath in a MMOG with PvP is the very issue that I have been trying to balance conceptually for several months. It has been a long line of delemas, but I have come up with some good ideas, some of which have been hit upon in this thread.

One is having a house for your character''s family. If a character dies, an heir can be created. The new character gets the house, all the goods and money that were stored in it, and some perks that take the edge of starting a character fresh. A variation that I am looking into is that if the new character is the same class as the dead one, he may start at a slightly higher level. Any serious accomplishments that the dead character may have completed can be related to the heir. (If the former had earned membership to a society, the latter could retain these freedoms by association.) Basically, the goal here is to allow players to maintain certain permanant achievements beyond the death of the character.

The other HUGE issue is making permanent death fair. This one is very tricky. It typically involves throwing in some unrealistic rules that restrict PvP interactions. EQ uses level caps to restrict uneven combat. This could be done through "zoning" of PvP combat areas. The system that I have adopted is (I hope) more even-handed than these rules. It is basically a safety mechanism that allows permanant death when the combat is fair, but when it is unfair, the loser goes into shock and loses consciousness instead. The means by which I set this up is under experimentation to find out where possible exploits lie, as there are ALWAYS exploits in these types of games.

For this safety mechanism to work, unconscious players cannot be attacked. This in itself may seem urealistic, however, it is fair in that it does take the player out of combat, and the player could be looted. Death or unconsciousness both have consequences. This is also team-based PvP to allow players to have safe areas, and improve trust among players.

CDV

#33 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 05:38 PM

And here I thought this conversation was dead.

As the conversation has shifted away from whether players are looking for a MMOG with permanent death to whether PvP is any good I''ll try to focus on the PvP aspect to keep things simple.

The main theme I seem to be seeing is that people don’t play in the PvP areas because it is just implemented so poorly and if someone could come up with the perfect PvP system then there would just be droves of people clamoring to sign up and get into this brave new world.

Feel free to correct me if I''m wrong on this point because the whole rest of this post is going to be about it.

Lets look at everybody’s miracle of a game that shouldn''t have been successful but it was, Deer Hunter. It could be argued that the same type of audience may be out there waiting for a game which is based around PvP.

Now let’s think about a few things in terms of MMOG. The first of these being that they are expensive. I have DSL connection that I can''t play MMOG on if my roommate is downloading a file off the web. So if you want to host something that hundreds or thousands of people are going to connect to at the same time your not going to be doing this on your home cable/DSL connection. The last time I check leasing a T1/T3 line wasn''t too cheap and it will probably take a few of these to support the vast number of people signing on. But let’s not worry about that quite yet as you still need the Hardware to run the software on, customer support people and a hosting location.

Of course this really isn''t a problem as these people are coming out of the woodwork by the thousands to play this game. Or are they? If you create a game based on PvP combat they you are then creating a position where the more powerful your character is the better. In a dog eat dog world you don’t get big by thinking small. So you need players who are going to spend a fair amount of time in the game. Now let’s add to that the fact that your going to be charging people to play this game. Last time I check there were not too many casual gamers looking for a game where they had to invest large quantities of time and money to play. (Keep in mind that the deer hunter games retail for between 10-20 bucks where a regular PC game goes for anywhere between 40-60) So what you need is hardcore players to play this game not people who have never picked up a PC game before.

And then as a final point to consider let look at what the other non PvP options which are going to be coming up in the near future. Lets see, Star War Galaxies, Worlds of WarCraft, Sims Online, Asheron''s Call 2 just to name the biggest players.

So in closing. What you are suggesting is to make a type of game which requires large amounts of capital (a MMOG), which therefore requires a large player base. This player base needs to come from players who will to devote a lot of time to the game and shell out money for the game every month (these are what we refer to as hardcore players). And you want to compete with powerhouse companies which don’t have the perfect PvP system but will have hundreds of thousands of players. Can the perfect PvP game be made? Sure it can. Can you put it into a MMOG? Sure you can. Can this game be successful? No.

Now I''m sure your just itching to get your response up but try to put some though into what you are basing your assumptions off of. People didn''t just get the idea that people might play MMOG. The initial games were based of successful MUD''s and the desire to bring the collective adventure from D&D online. So go ahead and say that if you make the perfect PvP system then people will come but back it up with some real life examples where real people have done this before.


#34 Saluk   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 09:05 PM

You hit it MorganE with your last statement: "So go ahead and say that if you make the perfect PvP system then people will come but back it up with some real life examples where real people have done this before."

As far as I know of, nobody really HAS done this before. Good pvp systems have been tried in muds, but they don''t have the kind of market saturation we''re talking about. We DONT know that a pvp game will sell a ton, but what the thread was originally trying to do was hack up an in-the-works design which has PVP and permanent death in it. The plan may be to eventually sell it, I don''t know, but Oluseyi didn''t mention anything about the marketing of it, merely the design. This IS the design forum, not the marketing forum.

You seem to be absolutely sure beyond any persuasion that a pvp permanent death game, no matter how good the game or how well thought out the system, will utterly fail. This assumption may or may not be true, but since none of us have seen a succesful OR unsuccsesful game of this nature, it''s hard to tell. You did point out the rather empty asheron''s call pvp server, but this doesn''t prove very much as the game is not MARKETED to pvp players. Many games, movies, books, music, whatever have not done well due to bad marketing, while good marketing can make shit sell. Such as very good tv shows that get cancelled by being shoved around, not marketed well, and not given much of a chance. (Now and again, once and again, dark angel are a recent few)

I have seen this discussion before many many times. Somebody has a design that includes permanent death, they broadcast their ideas on a forum somewhere, and everyone says its a horrible idea. But these ideas continue to pop up over and over again. I think it''s worth a try, ANYTHING to make MMO''s less boring. I like the idea of the mmorpg, but none of the games I''ve played are really any good. At least these ideas, while not COMPLETELY original, are different from what is currently offered.

Now to the design:

The lizards sound like a cool idea, almost similar to a game I was working on about a year ago with dinosaurs, but Im not sure what should change between the parent and its offspring. It obviously needs to be at a slightly lower level, low enough that it should take at least a few hours to get back to your previous level. One thing you have to remember about pvp permadeath is that the higher death penalties WILL lessen the amount of playerkillers. Especially if you can''t TELL how much stronger your opponent is than you. Obviously you need to know the dangers of attacking monsters in the world so as not to take necesary risks, but between players? The weakest player should look strong enough to scare off most potential attackers. And with a good evade function you dont have to worry too much about being attacked.

If you have an energy bar for how fast you move, but you only make it go down when you attack someone, then the attacker will always be slower than the victim. Maybe the energy can go down at a slower rate when your running away than when your attacking. If there are a lot of foreground obstacles to hide behind, you should be able to lose them. So fights should only last to the point where the loser runs away. Those who fight and run away will live to fight another day! This can ring true in the pvp environment.

Unconsiousness is another thing to think about. If you go unconcious before death, and they get to steal your eq, then why would they keep attacking you until you die? It''s to no benefit to them, except a black mark on their consious. Sure it might happen, but with unconsiousness at least there is a chance there. And if there is no difference graphically between a dead character and an unconcious character, then they may think you''re dead anyway.

One more thing: if there are enough roaming mobs that attack in most places in the world, then not only is the pker trying to fight you, but they have to watch out for the monsters as well. Once they have your stuff off of your unconcious body, they want to get out of there to a safe spot as fast as they can, not wait around for a lengthy finishing move to be completed. And bad mobs shouldn''t attack an unconcious body either, cause they think your dead


In conclusion: there are a lot of ways to make this work, and there are enough proposals for this that it must be worth trying to work out. Dismissing it as something that will never sell is, well, I don''t want to call it silly, but it''s somewhat baseless as this is something that''s never been done before. Trying to cater for both the hardcore players and the casual players is difficult, and most games nowadays tend to just ignore the casual players. I think, even though you may think it''s weird, this system would benefit the casual players as it keeps everyone more or less on the same level. You die, you start over again. The further you get, and the more risks you take, the closer you are to dying. Casual players don''t venture off into the dark unknowns of the world or take big risks, and they run when they see someone trying to kill them for their newbie dagger, so they will last longer than hardcore players, although still won''t get as powerful. And finally you provide a world where feats can actually be admired, and being someone at a really high level will demonstrate the players skill a lot more than the levels of today''s games. You can really respect that level 50 warrior, because you know he didn''t just sit at his computer for 14 hours a day for a few weeks to get there, but actually EARNED those 50 levels.

Wow, long conclusion

Sorry I rambled so much everyone!

#35 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 02:59 AM

quote:
Last time I check there were not too many casual gamers looking for a game where they had to invest large quantities of time and money to play.

The whole idea behind the game is that it does NOT require the investment of large quantities of time. That is merely an option. As gameplay comes before character growth, you can always choose to play just a 15 minute session. You just have the option of spending more time and developing your character if you so desire.
quote:
And then as a final point to consider let look at what the other non PvP options which are going to be coming up in the near future.

Exactly: non PvP. Each and every current MMORPG, each and every future MMORPG, they all do pretty much the same thing. THEY suffer from the problem of sharing the same playerbase, but a different genre MMO would not really be affected by that quite as much.

Sure, when creating a game you need to think about things like playerbase etc, but at this point I think it's better just to create the game as the game should be created and think about such things later on. If you let yourself be influenced too much by 'customer satisfaction' (other than that playing the game should be fun) you're just going to get a game that is less than it could have been.
quote:
Can this game be successful? No.

Personally, I think that's a little too narrow-minded. (but then again, I might be a little too open-minded) Plus, succesful is not one of the things I'm concerned about. I just want to create the product that I think it could be. I'm almost at the point now where I'm about to change 'think' to 'know' because the more time and effort we put into this project, the more I realize that it in fact is feasible.

SALUK

I think you pretty much said it all.


[edited by - Silvermyst on September 4, 2002 10:25:10 AM]

#36 Fidelio_   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 05:27 AM

quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Okay, seriously. A colleague and I are working on a design for an MMO game in which the player controls non-human avatars (I''m intentionally obfuscating the details because they''re irrelevant). Our creatures age, deteriorate in health (from injury/disease as well as age) and eventually die, but we''re exploring options for continuity that would be acceptable and interesting/challenging to players. Our current model is to have the creatures progignere either via direct birth or laying eggs, which encodes the creatures "DNA" with suitable mutation/adaptation/evolution such that the offspring is not identical to the parent.

Comments, please.


How about a game where your character has sex with as many female NPC''s as possible, and when he dies he can continue playing with one of his children ? I would be interested in an RPG that would include that ...



#37 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 06:06 AM

quote:
How about a game where your character has sex with as many female NPC''s as possible, and when he dies he can continue playing with one of his children ? I would be interested in an RPG that would include that ...

Fat chance We''re keeping this tasteful. Personally, I couldn''t care less about all the sexual elements I''ve seen in games. I''m not a prude, but I don''t think a good game needs sex to sell.

#38 coderx75   Members   -  Reputation: 406

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 06:20 AM

quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Is this a reasonable model? Would it be interesting and fascinating or frustrating to you?

------------

All this talk about "PvP", "PvE" and "PKing" flat out bores me. I don''t play RPGs because I feel like I have little actual influence on my characters growth and development, generally only on his appearance and "level" (now there''s an abstract concept for you!)

Any concept, if designed well could be fun. Your idea has more than enough potential but I don''t think most people would accept it... initially! I haven''t played an RPG in about 10 years and I don''t take part in MMO games cause of all those stink-people-things ya gotta deal with. So, I really don''t consider you or I good judges of what RPG or MMO should be. Then again, how many people like us are actually out there that want a change. From what I''ve seen what people say in these forums, there is probably a huge vein that hasn''t been tapped yet.

Your concept can make for a good "save game" feature. When you create off-spring, you are in a sense, saving your game. This makes the save more objective and realistic rather than an abstract punch of the F2 key. The DNA concept is a nice twist. What is more important is how the rest of the game design fits around this whole concept.

One thing to keep in mind: add lots and lots of record charts! =) I used to play a lot of BBS door games. In all of those games, death was death. You restarted at 0. You''d fight your way to the top only to get demolished by another players quick strategy. You''d be frustrated but then you had the enjoyment of rebuilding your character for revenge. Even though you may have been killed, your name was on one or two top ten records for all to see. So, you may have died, but you were immortalized. Just a thought.

- Jay

"I have head-explody!!!" - NNY

Get Tranced!


#39 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3324

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 08:39 AM

quote:
Original post by MorganE
Now I''m sure your just itching to get your response up but try to put some though into what you are basing your assumptions off of. People didn''t just get the idea that people might play MMOG. The initial games were based of successful MUDs and the desire to bring the collective adventure from D&D online.

But the first MUD ever was essentially a PvP and permadeath game. So without PvP and permadeath, there might not be any MMORPGs as we know them. And most D&D games are permadeath. The paradigm is not without merit, it just needs a careful implementation.

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#40 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 08:41 AM

I think there is a couple of things people are failing to consider but I'll make another attempt here.

"Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it."

Everybody is saying , oh you can't look at those games from the past they weren't done right thats why no body played them. Everything, and I do mean everything has some basis for thinking the outcome will be successful. I've presented several resons why it wont be successful. Yet the only reason I not seen a single reason on which people are basing their assumptions for the success of such a design. Christoper Columbus sailed across the ocean because he could see the horizon was curved when looking across the ocean.
Everquest has 400,000 players but it is by no means a perfect system. Why did they invest so much into creating that game? Ultima Online had 200,000 players, that why. Why did Origin think people would play UO? Because millions of people already played D&D and computer roleplaying games and UO was a merger of the two.
So I ask you. What are you basing your assumptions off of?

For the next point I'm going to use a particurally long quote of which the full text can be found here:

A lot of people don't understand the fundamentals of the games development business. They don't understand technology limitations, development times, financial concerns or any of the other headaches of developing a new product. Their idea proposals say things like, "You would recreate New York City to scale and have 4 million unique looking and sounding individuals that you can interact with and you can have 500,000 of them on the screen at the same time when you join them in Times Square for the New Year's Eve ball drop. That's when the aliens attack and severely damage the city, so all of the buildings have to be half-destroyed as the city is plunged into chaos and eternal night. Then you and your band of 10,000 resistance fighters lead the charge with 50 different weapons and squad based tactics and the game would toggle between first person, third person, top down and map views" and on and on and on and on and on... You see what I mean? A vast majority of game idea submissions suffer from this problem. I call it "Newbie Ambition." Game Development is mostly about figuring out "what cool stuff you can do in a limited time period with limited cash."

And now I'm going to translate this into what I am seeing here.

We want to know if we can create a game where we want thousands of people to play. We will have the perfect PvP system where when people die they lose the investment they have put into their character this is ok however because people will have no association with their character. Were going to make a system based on a competitive PvP system and enourage people to fight each other which will therefore encourages people to play long hours to have powerful characters but people are not going to have to play long hours to enjoy the game. The people that cant play long hours can just stay in town and play safe in our game based around a PVP/premantent death system. And were going to make this a MMOG which costs tremendious amounts of money to create and run but we dont care if only a few people come and play it.



[edited by - MorganE on September 4, 2002 3:54:06 PM]




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