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MorganE

Balancing MMOG for Hardcore and Normal Players

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I''m just a design newbie so forgive me if someone has posted this before. Question: How can we create a massively multiplayer game in which you can capture both the hardcore players who want to play 40 hours a week and still keep it interesting for players who only want to play 5 hours a week? Example: In Star Wars Galaxies it will be possible to become a Jedi but it will be really difficult. So most casual gamers will probably never obtain this rank. How would you still keep these casual gamers playing? Comments: Please try to keep your post focused on the topic and not why other people’s ideas are wrong. Try not to focus on the Star War Galaxies example too much.

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as a casual gamer, I would love to have my own house or store. and with a store even when your not online, your NPC merchants can do the work for you, which is great, like in Shadowbane.

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If they are self-proclaimed casual gamers, then they should have no problems in realising that it takes more effort to achieve more, just as with anything else..however, you could tailor the game so it adjusts its difficulty or hardcore-ness to the players, for example something as simple as a player level (or rank) could work -

* The good (hardcore) players wouldnt want to play the lower level players because they gain only a small amount of rank, and would lose a lot if they lost to someone with lower rank.

* The weak (casual) players wouldnt want to play the players with higher rank because they know they will probably lose.

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The answer is simple: Lower the bar of effectiveness. Set up the difficulty and the ascension curve so that twice the hours into the game isn''t twice the effectiveness.

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You can create two paths to development, one for each type of gamer. Give the hardcore gamers a chance to obtain a long-term goal, with lots of character development and various tasks to achieve it. The casual gamer should be able to find a quick and simple ( well not necessarily simple, but nothing too time-consuming ) task to complete and be able to finish it in a few hours or so.

Another thought, similar to this, is to have hardcore players recruit casual gamers as they join, and bring them along on whatever mini-quest they are doing at the moment. The casual gamer can finish the quest in a short amount of time and then move on, while the hardcore gamer continues on with another segment of his quest. This gives the casual gamer a chance to find something to do quickly when signing on, and it also allows both of the groups to work together and socialize, without isolating one or the other. An example of this would be some kind of hero going into a local tavern and recruiting some men to help him kill a monster. The hero would be given the quest by a king or a lord of some sort, which would lead into a more involved quest, while the local warriors can just join for a quick dungeon raid.

Adam Sheehan

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The answer may be in what Cokeman said. One of the dominant themes in single player RPG''s is that the player is the center of the universe. They start small and grow in stature until they are champion of the town/nation/world. By the end of the game they are shaping the destiny of an entire group of people and are known throughout the land as mighty heroes or evil villains depending on how open-ended the game is.

Deep down when people play MMORPGs I believe they have the same desire, to carve out a name for themselves in the online world. Have people know and recognize them (whether in fear or high regard). The casual gamer realizes he will never be the greatest warrior in the land because he would have to compete with the 40+ hr a week power gamers. But he would like to be able to set a modest goal of becoming the best loved shop keeper/blacksmith in the town where he makes his home.

You see this in other games, where users go out of their way to build trade bots, or portal bots to service their local communities. These are the folks who don''t have time to play hours and hours but still want to be able to make a name for them selves in the game.

My suggestion would be to provide means for both styles of gameplay. Naturally the power gamers are going to want to be the "Strongest" in the land. Allow them to do so and make it a fair contest so that the best man wins. But for those who are less interested in that type of competition provide a lot of other roles like shop keeping and trade skills so that they can make their name in other ways. Like the only tailor to be able to make black cloaks or other things that will set them apart.

It''s a lot more effort, and it would take a lot of time to balance the economy, but in the long run I believe you could generate good mass market appeal by satisfying both types of gamers.

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quote:
How can we create a massively multiplayer game in which you can capture both the hardcore players who want to play 40 hours a week and still keep it interesting for players who only want to play 5 hours a week?

Or the reverse question:
How can we create a massively multiplayer game in which you can capture both the casual gamers who only want to play 5 hours a week and still keep it interesting for hardcore players who want to play 40 hours a week?

(in the difference between the two questions my answer can be found )

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Simple solutions are often the best.

What ThoughtBubble said.

This will keep both the casual and hardcore gamer happy. If someone has a problem with this(if it''s done right), that person is just being too self centered.



If you love your job, you''''ll never work a day in your life.

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quote:
Original post by ThoughtBubble
The answer is simple: Lower the bar of effectiveness. Set up the difficulty and the ascension curve so that twice the hours into the game isn't twice the effectiveness.


Would you care to elaborate on this, i'm not sure what you mean.


[edited by - Ironside on September 2, 2002 7:42:25 PM]

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