These are the main points I see against the proposal:
People don''t play games with PVP/permadeath
Pvp/permdeath is only for hardcore players
Too hard to implement
Need a game before you can worry about the design
Wont make the kind of money that would be required
People wont play:
Thare are games with PvP that have a lot of players. Runescape has a lot of players because of it''s cheap price. Project entropia has a lot of players because of it''s money making opportunity (well, it''s not as good as its supposed to be, but whatever). Helbreath has a lot of players because its free. And in beta, Shadowbane is popular due to it''s strong player versus player; Dragon empires has a popular following due to its innovative pvp system utilizing player flags; and there are quite a few other pvp games in development. Of those pvp games, I don''t think many of them have permadeath as it is a hot topic, and few developers/publishers who are out to make money want to take the risk. While not massively multiplayer, the majority of online games that people play ARE player versus player, such as counterstrike. So it''s safe to say that people ARE interested in player versus player, both in persistent and non persistent worlds.
As far as permanent death goes, it''s a little harder to judge the market because there are very few options that offer permanent death. Players do want to feel attached to their characters, but the fact that players tend to play more than one character when the games allow it shows that players dont always want to stick with the same character all the time. So dying and having to begin a new character would not be as bad a blow as is thought. A game with permanent death would no doubt have an edge in the media department, as it is rare to see a news item on a game with permanent death. So media coverage would definately let players KNOW about the game. And if the implementation were good (it wouldn''t have to be perfect, no game is) and the game were fun, I think that players would stay. It would most likely be a smaller amount of players than the bigger players, but it would also be a different set of the market. I don''t want to repeat myself, but I will say that games such as rogue, diablo iron mode, old bbs games, and quite a few muds, show that permanent death CAN be done, and there ARE people who enjoy the thrill in this kind of game.
As far as games having to cater to both hardcore and casual players, that is completely wrong. The majority of the thousands of people who play everquest are NOT casual players, I''m sorry. Casual players DO NOT PLAY mmorpgs. The reasons for this, are: they take too much time; all the other people in the game are rediculously powerful and a casual player can''t even think of catching up to those players; and the main thing to do in the game is to make your character better: if everyone is always ahead of you why even bother. So to say that a pvp/permdeath system will alienate the largest part of the market, is not true because the main market for these games is hardcore players. Hardcore players are the ones who will PAY a monthly fee for a computer game. With this said, I think the system proposed actually allows casual players to have more of a chance, without alienating hardcore players. The hardcore players will be the ones to explore the most dangerous areas and they will be under the most risk to lose their lives permanently. And a casual gamer who only plays 5 hours a week or less, if THEY lose their character it''s no big deal because they didn''t spend a lot of time getting him to higher levels. And there will be points where a new player could be at "level 5" while a "level 30" character dies and is only at "level 0". I use levels loosely as I don''t know how advancement works in this game, be it levels, skills, or something else. There are many games that are successful while focusing on harcore players, such as flight sims (Il 2 stormovik), war sims (operation flashpoint), turn based strategy games, and most mmorpgs. There are also many games that cater to casual players only and are successful, such as the deer hunter games, the sims, and many console games. Now, a game aimed at casual gamers that can snag them successfully will most likely make more money than even the best hardcore games. But, thats not to say that a hardcore only game can''t be successful. I can''t really think of many games that are loved by both casual and hardcore players, so trying to get both of them to play is a little on the silly side, but I don''t think it''s impossible.
As for it being too hard to implement; permanent death and pvp are a little more difficult to implement than non pvp, non permadeath, but not very much more when you look at the big picture. When you look at the big picture, implementing a mmorpg with a traditional ruleset is about as crazy an undertaking as implementing an mmorpg with an innovative ruleset. Implementing a ruleset is always difficult, but there isn''t that much of a difference to implement an innovative ruleset versus a copycat one. So yes, for two guys to try to create a mmorpg, they must be crazy idiotic fools. But I think, Mortal, that you have stressed this point enough. If they want to be insane, I don''t think you can convince them otherwise
They may surprise us, and if that happens, then so be it. But there isn''t much reason to continue beating the fact that it''s either impossible or near impossible to do into their heads, when all they want is advice on the system, not the project. So I agree with you for the most part, but I don''t think you need to keep repeating yourself when they obviously are crazy enough that they aren''t going to give up anytime soon. Why not humor them and tell them what a pvp/pd game would be like to YOU. What potential problems do you see with the system, how would you handle it if you were on the team, would you put up with dying if it only happnes once every two weeks and you get to keep most of your skills? WHich do you have more of a problem with: the pvp part, or the permanent death part? Or would you happily play a game with one of those features as long as they weren''t combined. You are spending too much time in my opinion trying to persuade a few lunatics into stopping what they have already started instead of humoring them and having a discussion about their design. Implementation is difficult for ANY game, but their design doesn''t sound like it''s any more pie in the sky than any of the mmorpgs that are already out.
I could be understanding you wrong IronSide, but it seems to me that you believe that you shouldn''t design a game until you have it made already. Developing games IS freaking hard, and it takes a long time, but what''s wrong with designing things while you are not busy with the other things. At least it gives you something to think about. Maybe you are more of a programmer than a designer, but for me, working on the design GIVES me motivation. When I''m pooped after a difficult 3 hours on the engine, I like to sit back and work on the design, or draw some art, or do some of the other fun things that go into the game. Otherwise my nose gets too into the code to see where it''s going. It can be easy to get so frustrated by the code to want to quit altogether, but if you at least have something your aiming for, it can help to keep you going. Most of the things that I read say it''s better to design before you implement, of course they are aiming toward the professional world, where changing the implementation due to bad design costs money and possibly jobs.
Now as for the last one, it''s the most difficult point to combat, but it goes along with the players. If the game were to get enough players, then it would make enough money. Getting enough players would take a good system, good marketing, and no doubt a lot of money. Whether the people stay playing or not has everything to do with content, and only a little to do with the system. If there is a lot for people to do in the game, they will keep playing. If there are a lot of players, people will make friends and not want to leave because their friends are on. This has a lot to do with the implementation; if the system is "good enough", then it wont be a detractor. The KEY question here is, is this system "good enough" to not be a detractor. I don''t really think it is , and it doesn''t seem to have really been thought over very much at the moment, but that''s obviously why the developers brought it here. They had thought through it many times, but can see that the system really isn''t good enough yet. So they wanted to give it to us for us to throw out ideas and see if it can be hammered about until it is. I''m not sure if that will happen, I have spent a lot of time on the issue and haven''t come up with very much myself, there always seems to be one issue that comes up that kills it.
Without player versus player, permanent death is fairly easy to deal with. As long as you make fights that are satisfying without being too dangerous, and make it easy to run away from monsters, you don''t have to worry too much. The risk level needs to be that when you are about to go somewhere where your life is at a very high risk of dying forever, that you KNOW what you are doing. Keeping this risk level at the right point in a player versus player game seems to me to be a very difficult if not impossible feat. It''s very hard to keep the high level players from attacking weak players, even if they don''t earn anything from that encounter. In dragon empires, certain missions flag the player allowing them to be attacked. This may be an option. And safe zones has been done to death in pvp games, I don''t like this much because then if your worried about staying alive, it means you can''t go anywhere interesting
How about guild pvp? If you are not in a guild, no one can attack you. If you ARE in a guild, you can attack anyone from a guild that is not one of your allies. This could provide interesting terrirtorial warfare, while also giving fighting some comraderie. Guilds would be under the family name, so that when you come back as the child you are still in the same guild, and might eventually be able to avenge yourself - not by trying to run down the exact player who killed you, but by taking out someone from that guild.
I''m not sure if your name HAS to change when you take over your offspring. People name their kids after family members all the time, and sometimes even after one of the parents. For me, I could start out as Saluk, then my first child could be "Saluk the 2nd" and so on. This also gives you an idea of how many times a player has died
One more thing: If you can take over your child at any time, what happens to the adult? Does it go into ai mode? What kind of ai are you expecting for this game?
I think that''s all for now. No hard feelings to anyone, not trying to offend anyone. Everyone here is very intellegent, making this a very interesting discussion!