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Member Since 01 Jan 2013
Offline Last Active Sep 30 2013 09:40 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Removing NPC economy.

09 January 2013 - 04:33 PM

Removing the NPC economy has several (possibly undesirable) effects:


1) You lose control of the economy. It is now subject to chaos and market forces.


As others have pointed out, it can be hard to balance such an economy or fix issues. Also, there are much research on the unpredictability of the economy, even by PhD economists. E.g. www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/magazine/15wwlnidealab.t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

You don't lose control. You need to use different control mechanisms. You get all the tools of real governments, which in some cases are great at controlling markets. But you also get complete control over the world. Iron is too expensive? You can arbitrarily make more mines.


Solely operating on bartering is messy. There's a reason why the world doesn't work this way. Depending on the game, you could have lots of people who just aren't online at any given time. Some sort of 'NPC-run' shop which just services player transactions, while providing no materials would be extremely useful, I'd think, in keeping a large market going when you don't have tons of people online at any given moment.

In Topic: Removing NPC economy.

08 January 2013 - 05:29 PM

*cough cough* Has anyone mentioned EVE? They're as close as I know to something like this. NPC merchants are usually unrealistically expensive. While most purchasing is on it's surface, like an NPC transaction. Players decide what stuff they want to sell and set a price and quantity. Others can then buy this. There's a trade skill, I forget what it's called, that changes how far away you can market your buy/sell orders, only inside the system, or within the region or everywhere. This also introduces logistical concerns. When you buy things, they don't show up in your inventory, they're just earmarked for you in whatever station the seller left it in. Then you have to go pick it up. There's a whole slough of players who do little more than act as interstellar UPS drivers, hauling people's goods across the universe.


You would control prices of things the same way the real world controls them, however you get to pick how easy it is to make things and how easy the materials are to come by. Starter gear needs to be produced by a large number of people with cheap materials. These expiration date mechanics are not implemented in EVE and their economy functions just fine. There is attrition of components because ships can be destroyed, and ammunition is used, but this isn't an essential mechanic. Just as in the real world, some things are durable and others are not. You shouldn't arbitrarily have durable goods become perishable just because you want a fluid economy. It sort of ruins the sense of achievement that comes from finally acquiring x thing, when that thing will just fall apart in a few weeks. Without an object of desire, economies will stagnate eventually as well.


The key to 'fixing' relative prices, I would guess is complexity. That's why mundane things are expensive. Your television commands a high price compared to bread not because plastic and silicon are rarer than wheat, but because it's much harder to make a television. With a properly implemented system of crafting, the balance should come from that, things you want to be rare, make them hard to make. Raw materials should be relatively universal, so limiting them in that regard is troublesome. People don't want to mine magnetite vs. hematite, they want iron. Don't make resource gathering too tedious and annoying. There's little entertainment value in mining or farming, that should be relatively easy. The transformation of those materials is where people invest their attentions and energies, they should get a reward for that.


Also, I would recommend against implementing strict castes. Maybe make crafting classes, so certain players can only make certain kinds of items, but don't restrict their ability to do other things in the game. Combat shouldn't be exclusively classed apart from crafting, it gets boring that way.

In Topic: PvP discussion, how is it different from being killed by monsters?

04 January 2013 - 09:38 PM

Like I said, I consider things like bladewitches out of Call of Duty to be abuse of bugs. Especially in the case where a lot of them were using an actual bug when the care package thing let you run much faster. Or the fairly common FPS oversight to make shotguns perform like overpowered rifles. I'm using bug in a more generalized sense though of 'unexpected gameplay' rather than just the narrow game-breaking interpretation. I'm just personally strongly opposed to gimicky games where the experience feels, well, stupid. It's much more fun, in my opinion, when things happen differently every time rather than spamming the same trick over and over. Many RTS's are also guilty of these sorts of design oversights, where one or two factions have a vastly superior rush strategy that turns every game into the exact same rush, over and over. Such things make PVP into a boring experience, with all the same problems as AI enemies doing repetitive things.

In Topic: PvP discussion, how is it different from being killed by monsters?

04 January 2013 - 05:26 PM

Seems to me that there's an awful lot of gear-bashing going on here. These complaints about how fights ought to have pre-set gear to 'level the playing field' is a bit like taking away any classes special powers, or only lettings fights occur on flat terrain with no obstacles. Gearless combat isn't 'pure skill' because choosing and acquiring gear is its own skill. It should go without saying that special gear that is purchased or something like that isn't quite the same, but if everyone has the same capacity to acquire the gear, there's no reason to bash gear in terms of skill level. If you want to run naked into battle, that's your own choice. It doesn't mean the other person isn't fighting fair for having better armor. Appropriate balancing of gear is essential, but balanced does not mean having no advantages.


However, back to the topic, PVP is only marginally more satisfying to me merely from a challenge standpoint. Against other people, you're roughly on the same level, combat becomes a challenge. Usually, PVE is designed so that the player can win. Maybe not easily, but losing isn't often what games are designed to make us do. This is why PVP tends to be more thrilling, there's a challenge, a risk of losing and more often than not, you lose because you get beat, not just because you did something stupid.


PVP needs to be carefully designed though. I absolutely hate games with unexpected gameplay in that regard. Call of Duty is notorious for this. I expect some sort of military simulator and I get people sprinting around with overpowered shotguns and bladewitches. Win or lose, CoD never feels very satisfying because it's too jarring, I have to spend my time playing an entirely different game countering what I consider to be abuses of bugs. The combat experience of a game ought to feel like it fits with the rest of the experience. Halo is a little better at this. Still some weird, obnoxious tactics, but they fit more into the tone of the game. You're a super soldier, of course you could just jump onto the jet and hijack it. However, none of this is exclusive to PVP, a carefully balanced PVE experience, where enemies pose a real challenge can be equally satisfying, even if you can't abuse psychology to do so.


Personally, I prefer immersive environments. PVE is almost always immersive because the game gets total control over everything and I'm in the mindset of being there. PVP is almost never immersive because people care less about playing a game and more about flat out winning. This is where abuse of bugs and so forth comes in because they don't care if they're being a dumbass, they won. PVP is only preferable to me when it's light-hearted, pointless competition. If players don't care about the outcome, then it becomes more enjoyable because there's less... manhandling the engine to do odd, unexpected things, which I personally find to be the biggest killer among PVP experiences. However, a robust engine might be able to prevent that.

In Topic: Non-Command Role in Squad

02 January 2013 - 11:21 PM

It would be at least as entertaining as any other FPS. Killing people seems to go over well. I'm not proposing redefining the genre, just adding a new mechanic.