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Being Relevant in a MMO


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#21 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 933

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:27 PM

Ugh, not this thread again.  Why do people keep thinking the "solution" to MMOs is different content for different players?  It's not. T_T  What players are really satisfied by is feeling that the game is telling them a story focused on them, but that isn't actually related to whether the player is given different random stimulus than another player, and is absolutely not helped by limiting later players' opportunities because earlier players have already used them up.  If anything it should be the other way around, players need protection against other players screwing up the story the game is telling them about their character's adventures.

The solution to MMOs is to separate boring themepark WOW clones from actual MMOs. If you have to call MMOs VOWs or something w/e. The label is not important except in conveying the idea, which is the main thing.

 

If you want a game to tell you a story you shouldn't be playing something prefixed with massively multiplayer. That's just the stupidest thing ever.

 

Whether or not there are a large amount of people who want to play a REAL MMO is a whole other question from the idealized concept of the games. EVE Online and ATITD both work well are are incredibly social compared to themeparks.

 

I get that you love JRPGs and what not but not everyone does and jrpgs have very specific rules that are anathema to massively multiplayer game play.



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#22 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4822

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 08:11 PM

 

Ugh, not this thread again.  Why do people keep thinking the "solution" to MMOs is different content for different players?  It's not. T_T  What players are really satisfied by is feeling that the game is telling them a story focused on them, but that isn't actually related to whether the player is given different random stimulus than another player, and is absolutely not helped by limiting later players' opportunities because earlier players have already used them up.  If anything it should be the other way around, players need protection against other players screwing up the story the game is telling them about their character's adventures.

The solution to MMOs is to separate boring themepark WOW clones from actual MMOs. If you have to call MMOs VOWs or something w/e. The label is not important except in conveying the idea, which is the main thing.

 

If you want a game to tell you a story you shouldn't be playing something prefixed with massively multiplayer. That's just the stupidest thing ever.

 

Whether or not there are a large amount of people who want to play a REAL MMO is a whole other question from the idealized concept of the games. EVE Online and ATITD both work well are are incredibly social compared to themeparks.

 

I get that you love JRPGs and what not but not everyone does and jrpgs have very specific rules that are anathema to massively multiplayer game play.

 

Wow that's prejudiced.  I get that you have an ideal MMO in mind, but that does not make it a "REAL MMO". dry.png  There are a lot of people who like low-socialization MMOs better than either high-socialization MMOs or single-player games.  The fact that you don't understand why people who are different from you like that kind of MMO best does not meant that they aren't MMOs or that they are "the stupidest thing ever".


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#23 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 753

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 01:10 AM

An Idea I have been investigating (for a long time) is the use of 'bubble' scenarios, where the quest/missions lead the player(s) to their own section of the map (server bubble) which has other (non-party) players blocked from entering (and interfering).   Virtual on-the-fly built terrain (world map huge so the not-seen-by-anyone-else locations can be justified and whatever-is-needed-in-the-bubble can be accommodated).   Small enough so 'baking' a custom level isnt overly taxing...

 

   Note - NOT random but some random variations to make elements in the various 'quest' scenarios different much of the time  (10 factors each with 4 substitutions  = million plus variations...).   Auto-generation used with and templated scenario elements (and sets of prop object/opponets viable for the basic quests plot).      Solo games could even use this to increase replay particularly with the falling play-thru-hours.    Fitting rules logic to place elements properly and nix conflicting details.

Hierarchical templates with parameterized elements to increase variations (but also to inherit and apply 'themes' to make the scenes somewhat cohesive).

 

For the World Map a kind of influence control map with NPC 'faction' entities which define areas of control (and spawns and local variations of theme flavoring and events).   Player's actions kill off spawns (a resource token of the faction entity) which effects that area which a particular faction controls (or multiple factions contend for), thus adjusting the spawns and making them push back or move their influence elsewhere - thus shifting the behaviors and reactions and motives of various NPCs on the map (and what they use their spawned minions for).  When a vacuum forms the factions pour in to take that area, potentially conflicting with each other. They attempt to rebuild their token resources, but with different strategies (risky vs conservative, warfare vs economics, power centering vs diffused, etc..)

 

Thus players can  have a visible impact (modifying local influence of the entities), but when they move-on, the factions reassert themselves and 'heal' (adjust) for later players to encounter - the currect placements somewhat differnt than earlier.

 

MMO with an overall plot and player development pushes them to new areas as they 'progress' ???  Just implement the above stepwise in the  progressive zones the players work themselves thru.  Each progressive are can have overall themed flavoring (and different factions) following the main plot   (ie- the closer you get to The Lonely Mountain the more and more wastelandish the areas get....)

 

 

Problem - its alot more complicated than the static stuff MMOs are currently.  The logic of the high level influence entities might not be complex, but tuning them so they dont unbalance the whole world suddenly is hard.  (GM override needs to be provided for (meaning proper tools to tweak factions) for the inevitable manual adjustments when things do go out of whack).

 

Programming locations and NPCs be able to operate under the different theme/situational modes  (ie- town is in Peace Mode or Warzone Mode or Border Chaos Mode or Depopulated Wasteland Mode and flavors of Faction A B C controlling differently in that local area  -- props and NPC demeanor/mix/behavior adjusted appropriately)  --- so thats a hell of alot more scripting to make things fit local factors/situations.   Alot of the logic can be shared and somewhat generalized, but the endcases explode -- all that having to be developed/tested/fixed/tuned (and largely work in production)

 

SO what game company wants that expense and risk  when they have trained customers to expect nothing better than they already get (or actually degraded from MMOs of 10+ years ago) ??


Edited by wodinoneeye, 31 December 2013 - 01:26 AM.

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#24 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 668

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 08:19 AM


It's just that playing with complete strangers all the time sucks.

 

 

I made a lot of online friends while playing WoW. The thing is, they all started as strangers. It takes time to get to know someone online and you miss a lot of the type of people that you actually want to get to know. Eventually this wears you out and you just start loving solo more. I don't think anyone can argue that accomplishing things with "friends" is more exciting than doing it solo in an MMO. I think MMO's should start focusing MORE on the social side. How do you do this? Well it might sound funny but they need to take a page from the online dating pages. They need to be smarter at teaming you up with people that you'd actually want to team with. Leaving it up to chance just doesn't work all that well and I think that's why we see the trend of soloing in MMO's. 

 

So I think the future of MMO's need to give you a starting area that basically is filling out an online "friend" profile based on the decisions you make. Take the online dating profile questions (a subset anyway smile.png ), and hide them in the choices you make at the start of the game. Then based on how you played the starting area (filled out your questionnaire), the game will find the best matches for you when you want to group up.

 

Honestly, this seems so obvious to me now, but back when I played WoW I never thought of this before. I mean why wouldn't you do this? This gives players the best chance to have fun with "friends" in an MMO. Yes, there are technical issues with this, but they can (and I'd almost say NEED) to be resolved in order to make the best group experience for the players in a genre that is supposed to be built around group experiences.

 

I just gave someone a billion dollar idea. I'll take 5% :)


Edited by rpiller, 31 December 2013 - 08:20 AM.


#25 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 933

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:15 AM

 

 

Ugh, not this thread again.  Why do people keep thinking the "solution" to MMOs is different content for different players?  It's not. T_T  What players are really satisfied by is feeling that the game is telling them a story focused on them, but that isn't actually related to whether the player is given different random stimulus than another player, and is absolutely not helped by limiting later players' opportunities because earlier players have already used them up.  If anything it should be the other way around, players need protection against other players screwing up the story the game is telling them about their character's adventures.

The solution to MMOs is to separate boring themepark WOW clones from actual MMOs. If you have to call MMOs VOWs or something w/e. The label is not important except in conveying the idea, which is the main thing.

 

If you want a game to tell you a story you shouldn't be playing something prefixed with massively multiplayer. That's just the stupidest thing ever.

 

Whether or not there are a large amount of people who want to play a REAL MMO is a whole other question from the idealized concept of the games. EVE Online and ATITD both work well are are incredibly social compared to themeparks.

 

I get that you love JRPGs and what not but not everyone does and jrpgs have very specific rules that are anathema to massively multiplayer game play.

 

Wow that's prejudiced.  I get that you have an ideal MMO in mind, but that does not make it a "REAL MMO". dry.png  There are a lot of people who like low-socialization MMOs better than either high-socialization MMOs or single-player games.  The fact that you don't understand why people who are different from you like that kind of MMO best does not meant that they aren't MMOs or that they are "the stupidest thing ever".

 

This is the traditional bullshit defense of people who like to play certain kinds of games. I understand perfectly why people like those games. I just also understand that massively multiplayer is an adverb and that older MMOs and MMOs not optimized for massive games publishers profits actually attempt to do justice to said adverb.

 

I even said you could call real MMOs something else since MMO has been coopted for a different purpose than it was originally intended.

 

You were the one who brought this bullshit up and you didn't expect anyone to respond to you? Its clear what the OP is asking for but you just had to drag this same bullshit argument that pops up in all MMO threads here about how your kind of MMO is the one true MMO. As if the massive cultural and economic support for that idea can't buoy your fragile gaming ego enough.

 

The god damn topic is "Being Relevant In An MMO" and its clear what relevant means in this context. In no way whatsoever does a single player story focused MMO fit that description. Aside from taking the Online out I can't see how people in most MMOs could be LESS relevant to either the game itself or other players.



#26 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8353

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:23 AM

Chill out just a little bit, AltarOfScience. It's not necessary to take that tone here.



#27 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4822

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 11:54 AM

 

 

 

Ugh, not this thread again.  Why do people keep thinking the "solution" to MMOs is different content for different players?  It's not. T_T  What players are really satisfied by is feeling that the game is telling them a story focused on them, but that isn't actually related to whether the player is given different random stimulus than another player, and is absolutely not helped by limiting later players' opportunities because earlier players have already used them up.  If anything it should be the other way around, players need protection against other players screwing up the story the game is telling them about their character's adventures.

The solution to MMOs is to separate boring themepark WOW clones from actual MMOs. If you have to call MMOs VOWs or something w/e. The label is not important except in conveying the idea, which is the main thing.

 

If you want a game to tell you a story you shouldn't be playing something prefixed with massively multiplayer. That's just the stupidest thing ever.

 

Whether or not there are a large amount of people who want to play a REAL MMO is a whole other question from the idealized concept of the games. EVE Online and ATITD both work well are are incredibly social compared to themeparks.

 

I get that you love JRPGs and what not but not everyone does and jrpgs have very specific rules that are anathema to massively multiplayer game play.

 

Wow that's prejudiced.  I get that you have an ideal MMO in mind, but that does not make it a "REAL MMO". dry.png  There are a lot of people who like low-socialization MMOs better than either high-socialization MMOs or single-player games.  The fact that you don't understand why people who are different from you like that kind of MMO best does not meant that they aren't MMOs or that they are "the stupidest thing ever".

 

This is the traditional bullshit defense of people who like to play certain kinds of games. I understand perfectly why people like those games. I just also understand that massively multiplayer is an adverb and that older MMOs and MMOs not optimized for massive games publishers profits actually attempt to do justice to said adverb.

 

I even said you could call real MMOs something else since MMO has been coopted for a different purpose than it was originally intended.

 

You were the one who brought this bullshit up and you didn't expect anyone to respond to you? Its clear what the OP is asking for but you just had to drag this same bullshit argument that pops up in all MMO threads here about how your kind of MMO is the one true MMO. As if the massive cultural and economic support for that idea can't buoy your fragile gaming ego enough.

 

The god damn topic is "Being Relevant In An MMO" and its clear what relevant means in this context. In no way whatsoever does a single player story focused MMO fit that description. Aside from taking the Online out I can't see how people in most MMOs could be LESS relevant to either the game itself or other players.

 

Feeling irrelevant in a game is the other side of the same coin of feeling that one's actions in a game are meaningless, and I run into that feeling all the time.  Having the same root complaint as the OP, of course it is on-topic to the thread to share my thoughts about what causes this problem.  Feeling relevant in any game is strongly impacted by story.  Even in wordless games the world and the player's role within it are story.  The actions the player can take within that world and the way the world reacts to those actions are the core of what gameplay is.  Massively Multiplayer means nothing more than that lots of people play it at the same time, in such a way that they can interact easily.  That doesn't AT ALL mean "the game" is only or primarily what happens between players.  "The game" is the virtual world and its rules.  The opposing category to MMO would be massively parallel singleplayer, which some browser and facebook games are.

 

I don't think my personal ideal kind of MMO is a "one true MMO".  I think both mine and yours are subgenres under the MMO umbrella, along with other types of MMO. (And BTW my ideal MMO isn't a themepark WoW-like game.  It's a hybrid sandpark game with a much more interactive story.)  I don't actually care if you want to rename your or my ideal type of multiplayer online game, what I think is the real bullshit here is the idea of "one true game" of any kind.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#28 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 933

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:16 PM

Chill out just a little bit, AltarOfScience. It's not necessary to take that tone here.

I have a better idea. Specifically, putting the first name ever on my ignore list.


Edited by AltarofScience, 31 December 2013 - 12:17 PM.


#29 Meatsack   Members   -  Reputation: 1013

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:28 PM

 


It's just that playing with complete strangers all the time sucks.

 

 

I made a lot of online friends while playing WoW. The thing is, they all started as strangers. It takes time to get to know someone online and you miss a lot of the type of people that you actually want to get to know. Eventually this wears you out and you just start loving solo more. I don't think anyone can argue that accomplishing things with "friends" is more exciting than doing it solo in an MMO. I think MMO's should start focusing MORE on the social side. How do you do this? Well it might sound funny but they need to take a page from the online dating pages. They need to be smarter at teaming you up with people that you'd actually want to team with. Leaving it up to chance just doesn't work all that well and I think that's why we see the trend of soloing in MMO's. 

 

So I think the future of MMO's need to give you a starting area that basically is filling out an online "friend" profile based on the decisions you make. Take the online dating profile questions (a subset anyway smile.png ), and hide them in the choices you make at the start of the game. Then based on how you played the starting area (filled out your questionnaire), the game will find the best matches for you when you want to group up.

 

Honestly, this seems so obvious to me now, but back when I played WoW I never thought of this before. I mean why wouldn't you do this? This gives players the best chance to have fun with "friends" in an MMO. Yes, there are technical issues with this, but they can (and I'd almost say NEED) to be resolved in order to make the best group experience for the players in a genre that is supposed to be built around group experiences.

 

I just gave someone a billion dollar idea. I'll take 5% smile.png

 

 

I like this idea.  I promise that if I make a $Billion, I'll gladly hand you 5%.  Unfortunately, odds I'll make this is low.  It's still a fun topic.

 

Take WoW (most popular example).  When I played, I got tired of soloing after a long while.  So I got in line for some dungeons.  Every time a dungeon started, everyone took off running and steamrolled the place.  I had a hard time keeping up because I didn't know the dungeon like the back of my hand.  I enjoy a good story and I didn't even get to stop and smell the roses as it were.  Whenever I tried to get my bearings and read some quest dialogue, I was quickly ostracized.  (Who cares about story?  Go read it on the Wiki if that's what you like!  We're here trying to get drops!  Dammit!  It didn't drop!  Do over!)  If I could find and run with a "slow and careful" group, that would match my preferred playstyle.  Suffice to say, I don't play WoW anymore.

 

If I could play with maybe up to 25 friends on a server, I'd be OK with someone else getting the Armor of Awesomeness from a BadAssBoss knowing I won't be able to get that piece now.  Maybe I can score the Sword of I-Win from someplace else.  That adds value to everyone's efforts and the loot earned.  (And there's a rant for another day about unrealistic random loot drops!  Full Loot please!)  Unique genuinely means unique!  If that someone else scores some better armor later, he can then give his old armor to someone else as  a hand-me-down without cheapening the uniqueness of that piece or robbing someone of an experience that is no longer available to them.  If there's a jerk problem, the server could hold a vote-ban on that individual.  Just don't invite jerks in the first place, right?  It wouldn't be open-enrollment like MMO's have today.  Not just anyone could join.  Keeping the population small makes players rely on each other more since there is a massive reduction in the number of productive work-hours in gathering and crafting materials.  Sure, someone could still barter off another player for quest materials, but those materials could very well be more expensive or the seller may want you to help them move into their new real-world apartment in exchange.  It's more personal now.  You are more relevant in that world as a player.  Your actions might very well matter to the other players and affect them.  Your actions might very well irreversibly change the dynamics of the entire game world. (Don't just rub any dirty oil-lamp you come across now, hear?)

 

I guess the big issue is griefing.  (Both intentional and accidental.)

Playing with friends and minimizing bots minimizes griefing and increases teamwork.

And screw auction houses.  Those just enable the lazy and/or frustrated.  Boring!  

Team up with someone you know to solve issues and have fun doing it.


Writer, Game Maker, Day-Dreamer...  Check out all the wonderful things I've thought up at Meatsack's Workshop!

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#30 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 668

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:40 PM

It would be kind of nice to be able to mark players in your group as "I would like to play with them again". So when a group is trying to be formed it can use this as weighing who matches up with who. It wouldn't directly show anyone else who you marked as wanting to play with more, but over time it'll really start narrowing down the people you enjoy playing with and the people you get in your group each time you queue if both decide they would like to play with the other. Combine this with personality traits you enjoy and I think MMO's will become a much better social experience than it is today. These match up players better than pure luck of the draw. It might even make some players act better/nicer. 



#31 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 18530

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:42 PM

An Idea I have been investigating (for a long time) is the use of 'bubble' scenarios, where the quest/missions lead the player(s) to their own section of the map (server bubble) which has other (non-party) players blocked from entering (and interfering).

 
In what ways does this idea differ from regular "instancing" (having dungeons/areas that only you and your party are in)?
 

So I think the future of MMO's need to give you a starting area that basically is filling out an online "friend" profile based on the decisions you make. Take the online dating profile questions (a subset anyway smile.png ), and hide them in the choices you make at the start of the game. Then based on how you played the starting area (filled out your questionnaire), the game will find the best matches for you when you want to group up.

 

You'll have to be careful not to just surround people with a bunch of people who think identically to them. I wouldn't want to be surrounded by a bunch of 'yes men', and if I was surrounded by alot of people like myself, I'd stop playing. I'd annoy myself way too much.

 

Alot of enjoyability in real-world relationships come from each others' differences, not just their similarities. Differences that compliment each others' strengths or weaknesses (not talking RPG strengths/weaknesses, but real-life human ones). A great deal of enjoyability in relationships is our conflicting ideas and what mindsets and experiences and the lens we look through that we can share with each other.

 

Yes, this forces people to not be shallow jerks and to actual put real effort into their relationships, but the alternative is blanket conformance and just following the pack leader who is the loudest or most-popular.


It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
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#32 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 668

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 08:41 PM


Yes, this forces people to not be shallow jerks 

 

Have you played a recent MMO lately? What I speak of would more be about play style. People of all personalities can still enjoy the same play style. Are you a run and gun sort of guy or do you enjoy solving a puzzle? Hell, the quests could also be taylored to your groups play style preference. Quests can generally be defined different ways.

 

Alot of enjoyability in real-world relationships come from each others' differences, not just their similarities.

 

There is almost always something similar that brought 2 people together. I'd venture to say often times in MMO's you are playing with many people where possibly nothing could bring you together.

 

Are you against online dating then because it's pretty popular and proven to be useful.



#33 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 18530

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:25 PM

Have you played a recent MMO lately? What I speak of would more be about play style. People of all personalities can still enjoy the same play style. Are you a run and gun sort of guy or do you enjoy solving a puzzle? Hell, the quests could also be taylored to your groups play style preference. Quests can generally be defined different ways.

 

Ah, I thought you were talking about personality types. smile.png I haven't gone to any online dating websites lately, or ever, so I assumed they matched by personalities.

 

If you're talking about the Bartle's Test, or something similar, then that makes much more sense.

[Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit Muds]

 

e8f7.jpg

(This is Bartle's revised 8-playtype test that adds an additional axis)

 

The accuracy or relevance of Bartle's archetypes are debatable, but it provides a nice starting point for discussion on the subject of gamer playstyles.

Others have ran with the idea, and have taken it further. [Personality And Play Styles: A Unified Model]

 

There is also a definite overlap between personalities and play styles, though, and you also run into some of the same problems I mentioned before. Having three players who are all "explorer"-type players is fun some of the time, but the different gamer-types can be used to reinforce and compliment each other's gaming experience. To give a class-based analogy: Miners mine ore, blacksmiths make the armor, enchanters enchant it, and the warrior wears it. If the Miners only hang out with miners, they can't give ore to the smiths. If the smiths and enchanters don't hang out, how will the armor get enchanted?

 

Bartle* theorizes that the different player types increase or decrease the enjoyability of other player-types, and that the increase of one player type can increase or decrease the community size by attracting or driving away the players of other types.

0d12.jpg

 

*For the record, I don't agree with everything Bartle says about MMOs; I feel I have to clarify that, because I point to his test alot in these type of discussions.

 

Grouping people by type is a great idea, but I feel like there'd need to be tools to keep people from being silo'd into a single camp, and that the game should also actively work to cross-pollinate a player with players from other types. People don't fit fully into a box - at least not in my family - so there would need to be precautions to keep an automated system from "boxing" players without them realizing it, into playing with people of a certain type and giving them a wrong impression of the type of MMO.

Definitely a great idea to explore further.


Edited by Servant of the Lord, 31 December 2013 - 10:08 PM.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.
Of Stranger Flames - [indie turn-based rpg set in a para-historical French colony] | Indie RPG development journal

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#34 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4822

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 01:32 AM

Administering a personality assessment within gameplay is an idea I've liked for years. :)

 

If you're talking about the Bartle's Test, or something similar, then that makes much more sense.

[Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit Muds]

 

e8f7.jpg

(This is Bartle's revised 8-playtype test that adds an additional axis)

 

I like this graph.  If I'm interpreting it correctly I guess I'd be halfway between planner and scientist.  I'm not 100% sure I agree with the Keirsey type correspondence in the linked article, though I fit ok as a conqueror in this other graph.  Conqueror is a strange term choice since it's not about conquest, but about completism and mastery of skills; 'conquering' the game's mechanics and content, not territory or opponents.

06-UM-DGD1.png


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#35 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 668

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 07:19 AM


Grouping people by type is a great idea, but I feel like there'd need to be tools to keep people from being silo'd into a single camp, and that the game should also actively work to cross-pollinate a player with players from other types. People don't fit fully into a box - at least not in my family - so there would need to be precautions to keep an automated system from "boxing" players without them realizing it, into playing with people of a certain type and giving them a wrong impression of the type of MMO.

Definitely a great idea to explore further.

 

Would it really matter if players are getting boxed as long as the data supports that the majority of players like playing with the type they like playing with and not at all a certain other type? I mean they wouldn't really know anyway. Right now when you get auto grouped we never know what kind of experience we'll have and it's a lot more hit and miss, which over time kills our experience and makes us frustrated. Often to the point of quitting the game.

 

Would knowing that this algo is happening be the thing that ruins it for someone? If so, then I think it's fine to not leak what's happening. As far the player is concerned they are having more pleasant experiences, which in the end is all that matters. After all this is just a game, not a government takeover smile.png

 

I think this added with a "I'd like to group with this person again" button that remembers people who want to group with each other to increase the odds that you group with each other more often if you both agree. Yes, there is a Add Friend in almost every MMO, but people are complex and just because I enjoyed one run with a person doesn't mean I want to be friends with them. I don't even really know them yet. Like real world relationships, friendships take time to progress and that progression in games generally means seeing the player a bunch of times and having light conversations while clearing dungeons. People are lazy and trying to change people isn't going to work. Instead the system needs to nudge them along and make making friends easier. Systems in games can do this if they are smart. 

 

I look at it this way. If the numbers show that play style A enjoys play style B 75% of the time and play style C 25% of the time, then match up A with B. Yeah, there could be some possible friendships to be had in C, but the numbers are too low that it doesn't make sense in a game to match them up just for such a small possibility. That option should be a last resort. It's all about the odds. Using analytic's to better the odds of grouping people successfully. It's not perfect, but then again it's a video game smile.png

 

Honestly, a game might even give the players the option to use this smart system or to just be random. Let the players decide which they enjoy more. Who am I to tell someone they should look for in-game friends that are different from them? If that's what they want, then so be it. We are making video games here, not trying to teach life lessons.


Edited by rpiller, 01 January 2014 - 07:28 AM.


#36 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 18530

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 02:06 PM

Would it really matter if players are getting boxed as long as the data supports that the majority of players like playing with the type they like playing with and not at all a certain other type? I mean they wouldn't really know anyway.

Good point. I just feel intuitively that with a large group of players, they won't fit as perfectly into pigeonholes as we might hope and I'd worry about putting a large percentage of players into the wrong group. Take, for example, the United States armed forces - a huge dictatorship (what they say is law for people within it) of an organization (and they have to be very organized, and classify everyone into some fixed category or another). A friend joined a branch of the military early this year, and finished boot camp, and while the armed forces were doing background checks on him, they were really confused, because he didn't fit their pre-planned pigeonholes. He mentioned later, "That's no big deal, nobody fits their templates perfectly."

There's a famous thought-experiment showing that you can't categorize everything, there are always things that don't fit perfectly into your categories no matter how hard you try (even when your categories are as simple as "A" and "!A").
 

Right now when you get auto grouped we never know what kind of experience we'll have and it's a lot more hit and miss, which over time kills our experience and makes us frustrated. Often to the point of quitting the game.

I didn't realize it was that big of a deal - I haven't played an MMO in quite a long time. But that makes sense - a similar thing occurs on a smaller scale in online FPSs (where my experience is also limited, but at least more recent): You join a server, if it's full of idiots (griefers, or cheaters, or people not coordinating well, or whatever) then you leave and join a different server. If that's full of idiots, then you continue repeating until you find a good server. The more 'repeats' you have to do, the poorer opinion you form of the community, and the more likely you'll quit the game permanently.

What's nice is when you find a server that you know is a great server, and you frequent it. Just like MMOs have guilds, you kinda "join" that server, either by unofficially frequenting it, or by joining the clan that runs it.

A game, especially an MMO, being able to "autodetect" what type of "server" (group of people) I'd enjoy, and invisibly steer me to it, is a fantastic idea. Just so long as if it turns out to actually not be a good match, the game doesn't lock me out of still trying to find a group on my own.
 

Would knowing that this algo is happening be the thing that ruins it for someone? If so, then I think it's fine to not leak what's happening. As far the player is concerned they are having more pleasant experiences, which in the end is all that matters. After all this is just a game, not a government takeover smile.png

I fully support MMOs being run as stasi dictatorships. tongue.png 
My problem is that algorithms or templates operating on real people rarely ever fit me or my family or my friends perfectly. They almost never do.

Algorithms occasionally make good suggestions but rarely give good directions, when operating on and trying to analyze humans.

 

Even their suggestions get easily confused:

iw0o.png

My current Netflix suggestions. I'm not interested in any of those... but boy is that an eclectic set. Random suggestions could've had better results.

 

You like My Little Pony? Maybe you'd like Peep! -> Nope.

You like Lost? Maybe you'd like 'Once Upon a Time'! -> Uh, no.

You like Lady Killers? Maybe you'd like 'Bernie'! -> *sigh*, no.

You like Mission Impossible? Maybe you'd like 'Skyfall'! -> No...

You like Aristocats? Maybe you'd like 'House of Mouse'! -> Noperz. But if you'd instant-stream the Aladdin TV series, I'd be all over it.

You like Ghost in the Darkness? Maybe you'd like 'A Haunted House'! -> What? That's not even remotely related! Now you're just reaching...

 

I think this added with a "I'd like to group with this person again" button that remembers people who want to group with each other to increase the odds that you group with each other more often if you both agree. Yes, there is a Add Friend in almost every MMO, but people are complex and just because I enjoyed one run with a person doesn't mean I want to be friends with them. I don't even really know them yet. Like real world relationships, friendships take time to progress and that progression in games generally means seeing the player a bunch of times and having light conversations while clearing dungeons. People are lazy and trying to change people isn't going to work. Instead the system needs to nudge them along and make making friends easier. Systems in games can do this if they are smart.

Yes, that makes alot more sense than what I initially thought you were saying. smile.png
Giving players more tools, and making the game more intelligent to make recommendations, would be good.
 

I look at it this way. If the numbers show that play style A enjoys play style B 75% of the time and play style C 25% of the time, then match up A with B. Yeah, there could be some possible friendships to be had in C, but the numbers are too low that it doesn't make sense in a game to match them up just for such a small possibility.

Yes, that makes sense, as long as you are matching up cross-playstyles, and not just matching playstyle A with A, B with B, and C with C.

Take Team Fortress 2 or League of Legends, for example. People's different play styles compliment each other's. Not just by what class they pick (because people can pick a medic and then run straight into the enemy lines using the 'wrong' playstyle for that class), but because certain playstyles reinforce each other. Supporter-type playstyles (regardless of what class they are playing), more run-in-gunning playstyles, cautious tanked/armored damage-absorbing playstyles, and etc...

By matching players together by personalities or by playstyles, don't you run the risk of accidentally matching too many similar playstyles together rather than the diversity that is necessary for overcoming difficult dungeons?
And if you automatically steer them towards a specific pre-set template of diversity (one tank, one healer, one dps, one ranged, or whatever), that might reduce the likelihood of players coming up with their own class roles and playstyle combinations better suited to certain challenges or overall better suited to your specific game?

Developers can't accurately predict what the players will enjoy or dislike, and what the players will or won't do, or how the players will or won't play. All they can do is adjust their thinking after the game goes live, and continue tweaking the game as it continues to run.
If, even a few years into the game being live, you apply algorithms to steer players to certain other players or to certain playstyles, it might reduce or eliminate future change in playstyles that are better fits for your game.
 

Honestly, a game might even give the players the option to use this smart system or to just be random. Let the players decide which they enjoy more. Who am I to tell someone they should look for in-game friends that are different from them? If that's what they want, then so be it. We are making video games here, not trying to teach life lessons.

My point wasn't that we should force players to join up with people different from them because "it's good for them", but because I think that being surrounded by people that are too similar ends up being less enjoyable in the long-term.

Match me up with friendly people, match me up with people who might share similar interests, match me up with people in the same guild as me or people who I already know when possible...

 

I would much rather effort be put into cultivating a friendly community, matching jerks with jerks and friendlies with friendlies, instead of matching players by playstyle, level, class, gender, community reputation, or personality.

 

I don't like the divide between old players and new players - why can't a level 5 player run a dungeon with a level 92 and both be challenged and have a good time? Power (level or equipment) divides are artificial divides created and enforced by the game mechanics. By removing that divide and getting experienced players to play with inexperienced players, it might make the inexperienced players stay around longer and become long-term members. This is a divide that already exists in most MMOs that I'd like to see removed.

 

I don't like the idea of adding additional divides (invisible to players or not, enforced or just nudged/suggested/steered-towards). Community is strongest when there is diversity, in my opinion. Diversity in community will hopefully lead to longevity in how long your MMO stays profitable and enjoyable to a wider range or deeper niche of people.

 

But I do like the idea of adding a divide between those who contribute a net positive playing experience for others and those who contribute a net negative playing experience to others.


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#37 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 18530

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 02:44 PM

I like this graph.  If I'm interpreting it correctly I guess I'd be halfway between planner and scientist.  I'm not 100% sure I agree with the Keirsey type correspondence in the linked article, though I fit ok as a conqueror in this other graph.  Conqueror is a strange term choice since it's not about conquest, but about completism and mastery of skills; 'conquering' the game's mechanics and content, not territory or opponents.


I'm partial to Bartle's cube-graph as well. I fall somewhere in the Scientist/Hacker areas, since I'm all about the game world and exploring the environments and the "natural laws" of the world.


It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.
Of Stranger Flames - [indie turn-based rpg set in a para-historical French colony] | Indie RPG development journal

[Fly with me on Twitter] [Google+] [My broken website]

[Need web hosting? I personally like A Small Orange]


#38 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 668

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 02:45 PM


I don't like the idea of adding additional divides (invisible to players or not, enforced or just nudged/suggested/steered-towards). Community is strongest when there is diversity, in my opinion. 

 

We almost never see the person behind the keyboard and even someone who is like me or is a person that met my "likes" as a gamer, will have drastically different life experiences and seem very different than me. Of course race, gender, etc wouldn't be a consideration in any of this though.

 

I think it's a fallacy to think that just because someone meets certain high level traits that you wouldn't still have diversity and they would all be just like you. Nobody is even remotely close to anybody else, unless they are siblings perhaps. I have friends who are just like me in these high level traits but man are they still very different people with very different backgrounds and experiences. 

 

I would love to trash levels and break down those divides in MMO's. That's the single biggest divide that exists and makes the pool of players to choose from so small. However, it's the cash cow for MMO's. It's how they make you play longer. We'd have to find another way that helps make the same amount of money by keeping players playing longer to get to that next level but doesn't severely reduce matching people up.



#39 Meatsack   Members   -  Reputation: 1013

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 09:27 AM


Grouping people by type is a great idea, but I feel like there'd need to be tools to keep people from being silo'd into a single camp, and that the game should also actively work to cross-pollinate a player with players from other types. People don't fit fully into a box - at least not in my family - so there would need to be precautions to keep an automated system from "boxing" players without them realizing it, into playing with people of a certain type and giving them a wrong impression of the type of MMO.

 

I think that Wizard101 has effectively implemented this concept.  (Yes, I played it with my sons for a while there.  It's not shabby.)  The whole game is optional in parts.  Excepting the early levels where the game mechanics are taught and practiced, the entire story can almost be ignored in favor of pet training, PvP arenas, crafting, farming, and house decorating.  It's a "do what you feel like" kind of world.  Then the birds-of-a-feather axiom happens naturally.

 

The idea to take from that game in regards to this discussion is that the better design for an MMO is to have the boxed playstyles in their own boxes while allowing the players to pick which box in which they wish to participate.  It'll self-regulate that way and not seemed forced.  I feel that it's the right way to go for a high-population environment.


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#40 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 668

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:39 AM

I think there are a few different things we are talking about. Meatsack seems to be talking about playstyles like PvP, Crafting, Farming, etc. Servant seems to be talking about styles like griefers, planners, etc. I'm talking about personality traits like, realist, social, introvert, etc.

 

See I think you can have the same personality traits that can be across all of those other styles. An introvert can be a griefer or a planner. They can like PvP or crafting. But I'm not saying group all introverts together, I'm more saying find out what other types each player likes to play with and try to match them up with players of that type that like the other style too. So if person A is an introvert but likes to play with optimistic people, then try and group them with optimistic players who like playing with introverts. Now I use one trait as an example but the reality, I think, is that most people have a few traits that they enjoy in people more than other traits. Some people hate blindly optimistic people and it irritates then to no end to play a game with someone like that. So if they specify that in some game mechanic way (if possible) then the system needs to do it's best to avoid matching those players up. However, this doesn't limit diversity because people with the same traits all still have very different backgrounds and experiences. It will still be very enjoyable I think.

 

 


I didn't realize it was that big of a deal

 

I think it's a silent game killer. The thing is that MMO's are addictive in their own right that people put up with it longer than they would normally. I still say this is about trying to help make the best possible experience in the game, and the truth is grouping with a personality that you just hate can kill this experience for you. MMO's are all about the community. If your experience with the "community" (which is really just the players you run into in game, by pure luck a this point in time) ends up being bad, then you most likely won't keep playing the game, or you'll have bad things to say about the community, which give the game a bad rap, and over time can kill it. So how do you solve that problem? You present each player with the "community" (again in an mmo the community is really a small pool of players you happen to run into) that they will enjoy the most to give a higher chance (again it's all about odds) that they will have an enjoyable time.

 

If you ask each MMO how the community is for that MMO, you generally get bad feedback first all the time. Then they'll say, well not all people are like that, some are good. The good they speak of are the ones that they found that matched their preferred traits in a person. They lead off with the bad feedback first because luck/chance delivered them traits they don't enjoy grouping with more often than not most likely (again, odds. some people will have been lucky and have had more better traits or are more tolerable with others).

 

Again, this comes down to the whole online dating thing. It works because it increases your odds of finding someone that has the traits you enjoy. That doesn't mean they are just like you, it just means the traits you like and the traits you have matched with these other people giving you both a better chance to enjoy each others company. Doesn't that seem like a better way than to just go down to your local bar?

 

The cool part about a system like this is that you could allow players to change their preferences at any time. I think this could surprise some people in them finding out that they like certain traits that they didn't think they liked in people.






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