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Member Since 15 Feb 2011
Offline Last Active Jan 17 2013 04:56 PM

#5013627 [MMORPG] A new method of presenting the player a new kind of quest.

Posted by on 23 December 2012 - 04:12 AM

I was recently inspired by Guild Wars 2 to rethink how to implement common ideas of the mmo genre in new ways.  So what I started was to analyze the genre, strip it down to the basics and then design based of taking the basics to a more polished and eventual game level.


So to begin, I'll lay down the framework with what I have decided to be the two driving actions a player can do in an mmo.


Category one is combat. An mmorpg's core gameplay could arguably be about putting yourself in a situation where you (and possibly others) need to attack other things (monsters, or people) in various categories and settings. This is the typical grind, and this is also the "end-game" raiding. Also, this includes player vs player content. Needless to say, most players will spend a good portion of their time doing something about combat.


The other category of actions a player can do is simply non-combat. The reason why I grouped everything else in here is because in practical applications, every goal of a non-combat driven action is to feed the combat experience. Trading, crafting, selling, buying all provide extra levels, skills, or items for players to bash other things. Also questing and traveling are used to find new areas and new things to fight.  There are very few opportunities in the mmo-genre, in my experience, that offers non-combat actions that are entirely peaceful (ideas like gambling, mini-games and that sort of thing).


Now the game has to be able to guide the player to combat and non-combat opportunities, otherwise the game becomes a very expensive chat room. This has historically been done with quests. You talk to a person, most of the time its the one with a " ! " above their head, or a similar kind of marking, He then lays out a simple mix of combat and non-combat goals and tells you where to do them. Afterward you get a reward and you're off on your merry way. 


Now, with the advent of Guild Wars 2, there is a gradual curiosity building where people are starting to disregard the historical way of questing and try something new. In Guild Wars 2's case, the NPC is eliminated, and you just show up to an area and when you do, a brick comes hurling at your face with a list of objectives that can be done in that area. You do the objectives, fill the bar, grab your reward and leave.


From what I can tell, both of these presents the same core problems I feel are the cause for a lot of the complaints about the mmo-genre.

Problem 1. It's too transparent. You know what you have to do, how to do it, and where to do it at. This kills all kind of creative thinking, quest text reading, socializing and exploration. All of these are arguably what makes the genre so immersive and social.


Problem 2. It's predictable. After your first hub of WoW, you already know the pace of the rest of the leveling experience. Talk to everyone with an " ! ", leave the immediate area to the surrounding map, kill things and collect things until the bar is filled and return for rewards. In Guild Wars 2, it's also pretty predictable, even more so. What I do like though, is that it offers more incentive for exploration, since you have to find your hearts and events instead of being guided to them.


So now lets talk about my opinion on some solutions.


First off, remove all signs of an NPC wanting to give you a quest. No NPC should have a " ! ", because the ones that don't are generally ignored and then the town starts to feel like a ghosttown after all the quests are done.  In order to figure out if an NPC wants help with something, it should be obvious (or not so much) by reading his actual Dialog. For example, talking to a farmer could say "Boy, I wish I had a better tool to do this job with." Should be inclination enough that if you give him a tool, he could reward you. I also want to note here, that a quest journal should NOT be updated after talking to him. If a quest journal were to exist, it would be filled out by the player. For example, if the player finishes talking to a merchant and she heralds about a shiny gem she heard about near the west coast of New Terra, the player may choose to manually input in a journal (Kind of like a sticky note) "Merchant wants a gem, west coast New Terra" or something, so s/he can remember the details without having to talk to the NPC again.  Also since the NPC is generally not an omniscient, omnipresent being, their descriptions can be a little more vague than actually needed. So you may find a few gems, and trading them to the merchant she could say "oh it wasn't like this, it was more xxx" That way a player has to make the decision "well you think it could be like this? Do you think 15 would be enough?" 


Secondly, make the distances to complete a quest varied. This would encourage exploration. You don't know whether or not a quest would take you near or far, or if you should keep talking to more townsfolk to find more things to do. This would also encourage socialization. "Hey, I came this far to try and find X for so and so, or to kill Y for Z. I figured out he's too hard solo, can anyone help out?" Or by asking players "Hey is there anything I can do around here?"


Then when you're out exploring or killing things, anywhere can have something of value and any drop *could* be a quest item to someone, so in my mind, that encourages players to try looking for new things, go off the roads between cities, talk to NPCs and other players.


It would facilitate adding in Story lines, arcs and more "epic" feeling quests, where the player ends up traveling more, looking for more rare and harder to find things, forging alliances with players and reading NPC text which would promote an overall bond towards certain NPCs (which is dependent on how well the writers are and story depth is, but it facilitates it nonetheless).


I believe it would make a more "livable" world, where the NPCs are more colorful and humorous, the players are more engaging, and the story and lore are more built-in and the quests actually feel like quests and not intermittent rewards.


The only major problem I'd have with this system, I think, is that it is hard to implement with character levels, and the like. However, if I look for alternative ways of character advancement and derail myself from a level system, I could see this being a method of story telling and quest giving in a sandbox styled game where skills and alliances matter more than equipment and levels.


Thoughts? Agree/Disagree with any of my processes? Questions? Suggestions? Anything in *your* mind on how you would design a system?

#4887930 A different perspective on the racing genre.

Posted by on 26 November 2011 - 12:50 PM

I'm a big fan of racing in general. I like the thrill of beating the clock, watching my back from someone trying to pass, the anxiety of pushing myself to the limits of trying to pass someone and all of that.
It's a really fun experience. However, there aren't many racing games and not very many non-traditional racing games for that matter. I have been thinking of a concept, and I'd just like to jot down a few of my ideas here, and gather some opinions and thoughts about racing games from you all as well. Feel free to contribute any kind of information or opinion as long as it regards the racing genre!

No cars.

While it is still racing, there are plenty of other ways to race. By foot, board, bike, etc. There are already plenty of car racing games anyway. This also helps reinforce my next two points quite well.

No track.
How about a designated start point and a common location for an end point that is located on the other side of a map? This develops a hint of strategy because you have to find a good route from point A to point B. With a clever enough map design, there could be several routes, each with pro's and con's. For example, in an urban area, streets could have traffic that you have to race around. You could also jump building to building, but you'd have to spend a little extra time climbing or descending stairs/fire escapes/etc. But at least you don't have to worry about traffic.

Combat. Oh glorious combat.
Now this is where it gets even more tricky. Not only do you have to be aware of where other people are, you have to be aware of what they can do to hurt you and set you back. Couple this with a destructible environment and you can close off routes, knock people off of narrow passages, shift time, hamstring someone, etc. This could also be a nice test of reflex if there are such things as reflects and speed boosts.

Instead of customizable cars and car models, have unique player progression and spell choice.
This would introduce a concept of a metagame. You can only have a fixed number of slots to bring abilities that alter the map and players. It's up to you to pick between and mix and match to find something that suits your playstyle and strategy, as well as counter what your opponents bring. This would make sure that the same maps can be played multiple ways and keep the small rotation of available races to be unique most every time.

So what does this all give you?
Quite simply, a fast paced, off-the-rails racer with many intense moments and tons of depth for strategy, player development, teamplay, customizability, and fun.
This would develop into a game where you have to think about what you need to do while you're racing, before you're racing, while you're racing, and even afterward as well.

What I would like to hear from YOU!

What do you think about what I said? Should I elaborate on something in specific? Would you like to hear more? What are your thoughts on the genre currently, and what ideas do you have for the genre. I'd love to hear from everyone, so post a reply!

#4844257 Action Controls for PC

Posted by on 03 August 2011 - 05:31 PM

My friends absolutely hate me for this, but I actually rebind my WSAD to EDSF allowing me access to ZAQWRTGBVCX for hotkeys. Not to mention that I can bind Shift, Ctrl, and Alt ZAQWRTGBVCX to whatever I need. I generally almost never use 1-5. That and it keeps me from accidentally hitting Tab and Caps Lock.

Then again, that's just how I play.

#4836690 Micro Transactions

Posted by on 18 July 2011 - 01:43 AM

My thoughts are:
1. Anything sold by microtransactions should never make your character more powerful than another. That is a start of your game becoming Pay-to-Win. That's not good.
2. Anything bought from the store should be obtained without going to the store as well. Of course, it'll take a little more time and effort, but then players make a distinction between time and money.
3. Everyone buying from the store should not be alienated from the people that do not buy from the store. AKA, subscriber-only areas. Have your free-to-plays in with your pay-to-plays.
4. Microtransactions should be there for convenience and aesthetics, only.

So far I haven't seen a very good microtransaction store implemented yet. However, a lot have been getting really good though. League of Legend's store is pretty reasonable, although it goes against my rule #2.

#4823816 Classic platforming missing in modern MMOs?

Posted by on 15 June 2011 - 03:49 PM

Normally I would consider platforming to be the jumping part of a game.

Well, yeah. On what planet does "platforming" mean "puzzles," Zummy?

Earth, but not your Earth, my Earth. I reject your Earth and substitute my own. I had a slight suspicion that I was using the wrong term, but either way, puzzles and platforming are also missing.

@sunandshadow- You always reply to my threads and you always reply pretty well, I just realized that. Pretty awesome. I can understand that Maplestory and Dofus puzzles are terrible, and your opinion on that matter. Never heard of Uru Online, but I'll look into it later. However, I'd like to ask you another question: Do you think that it's a bad idea to include these types of mechanics in this specific genre? I'm specifically trying to figure out if "Maplestory and Dofus' puzzles are horrible" stems from either "The genre doesn't support platforming/puzzle mechanics well" or "The companies just didn't execute it as smoothly as most singleplayer console companies do".

@Tim Sloper- Yeah, I think I need to get a firmer grasp on terms from here on out. There have been a few times I've done this before and caused a bit of confusion. I'll pay more attention to this in the future and actually research terms I'm unfamiliar with.