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What should make the player?

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I've been playing a lot of EverQuest lately so this thread is gonna be yet another RPG related thread. Something majorly bugs me when people say that it is not the players gear that makes them a good player in EQ, it is the players skill. To be perfectly honest I think EQ is so weighted in that Loot > All, that saying skill makes the better player over equipment is absolute tripe. In some extreme circumstances skill can make for the better player, but in the vast majority of cases if two players of the same class duelled, I'm pretty sure the one with better gear would come out on top 90% of the time. Now I don't want EQ to become the focus of this thread, but it raises an interesting thought. What areas of character advancement should define the power of the player the most? I like to think that skill would play a large part in the power of a player, but then other things to consider are time invested in the character (therefore stats and skills advancement), money earned by the player, equipment looted by the player and so on. What impact do you think these areas would have if they were the main focus in a game? Again looking at Everquest the game is built around a lot of timesinks and is heavily focused on loot... how would this differ if it chose to focus much more heavily on experience? What if player skill owned all else? Would the game lack reward if an extremely skilled player could kill almost anyone regardless of what items of power they possessed? How do you achieve an ideal balance? ... discuss .... Steve AKA Mephs [edited by - mephs on December 7, 2002 4:20:57 AM]

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One of the clinches I''ve come up against within this problem is that we desire players to be somehow skilled in controlling their characters to be effective, but often times play-skill ends up being dependent on timing and button combos, which do not translate well over a network. Plus, nowadays, there are all sorts of peripherals which will do it for you. Removing skill from the equation altogether. Thus, RPGs of this day shift the focus to ''Growth Strategy'' where your skill is not in the way you play, but your decisions on how your character will grow (including where to be to get the best loot).

If you can reliably hope to have a fast network, or it''s just a single player game, then you might pull things down to the controller level, and then demand that people have good skill on the level of input. Then how can you argue that this is fair in the face of a clumsy, but more intelligent player? Perhaps they should be the ones playing EverQuest, where that sort of thing doesn''t matter.

An interesting problem


struct {person "George D. Filiotis";} Symphonic;
Are you in support of the ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide? You should be!

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Note that pressing buttons in combinations and clicking the mouse is pretty much the only skill it is possible to have when playing an RPG. How do you swing an ax or cast a spell through just a keyboard and a mouse? However, if you are talking skill like a "sixth-sense" type thing; meaning the player knows the strategy in fighting different monsters, how to avoid huge gangs of monsters, etc. that can be done.

Also, it doesn''t make much sense that a character''s skill in an RPG is dependent on the players skill, because what would happen if the player created a new character, etc.

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It is true that network lag is a hindrance in making RPGs where fast reflexes and input skill are a major factor in gameplay success. Then again, I don''t really think that the player''s fast reflexes should be a factor, as it is the character''s abilities which should determine success or failure and not the player''s. An RPG ought to let you play the role of someone stronger, quicker, or more clever than you, and that usually means automating the moment-to-moment decision making.

But that doesn''t mean that RPGs should be deterministic, with the computer deciding wholly mathematically how things work out. The skill of the RPG player is in applying his character''s various abilities to the problem at hand; to solve the problem as his character would solve it. I very much like RPGs which present multiple solutions to a challenge, including some non-obvious ones, and leave it to the player to determine what they are and which one is most suitable to his character. In a good game of this type, the relative strengths of equipment are far less important than their inherent properties as devices, and getting "better" equipment is secondary to getting equipment appropriate to the character and the problems he faces.

For example, a length of chain would be very useful to a back-alley brawler, who can use it to hit people. The same length of chain would be avoided by a burglar - fighting is not high on his list of priorities, and the chain is far too noisy to carry around. And of course a businessman would have little use for a chain, unless he could find someone else who was willing to pay for it.

So equipment need not be the be-all end-all; in fact in many games I find its importance to be rather inflated. How much better can one sword really be than another? As long as they are both durable, well-balanced, and properly shaped, differences in quality don''t result in such disparity in results. Instead of making a linear chain of swords, starting with OK Sword and progressing through various Better Swords until one reaches the Best Sword, why not make a wide variety of swords, which differ enough in inherent properties that each is a good choice to a different sort of person? Sure, a zweihander is a fine sword if you''re strong as an ox and want to bash in people''s heads right through their helmets. It''s not a great choice for the average fellow, who would be perfectly happy with a shortsword and a big shield to hide behind. Sadly, in many RPGs these sort of things aren''t a factor.

-STC

---------------------------------------------------
-SpittingTrashcan

You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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I just wish to point out one thing, skill != reaction speed. Well it shouldn''t anyways. To a degree I think it should come into the equation, but I''m also referring to wise tactical decisions, problem solving, adaptive use of resources etc etc. Agreed, in too many games nowadays reaction speed and connection speed owns all, but I think there is a vast amount of room to allow other types of skill to become a games'' focus.

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If you''re going to be fighting against characters that are as complex as yours is (multiplayer, specifically), then you''re either going to have to outgun them or outclass them. I think that a sissy with a fancy sword would get beaten down on a regular basis by a master swordman with a broom handle. In fact, that''s one of the things I hate about most RPGs. Why is it that a level 47 knight is so incredibly badass that he can take an arrow in the face and suffer only a very little bit? The dude just got shot in the eye, and he lost 43 HP. That''s it. Nonsense. I don''t care who you are, getting stomped on by a 50-ton giant is going to screw you up big time. When two high-level swordsmen fight, they basically exchange blows back and forth until one of them drops and the other has a tiny little bit of health left, whereupon he can be killed by an aardvark. It''s silly. If two guys with sword fight, odds are one will be killed and the other will be in fairly good shape at the end. I''m thinking of duels, of course, without a lot of fatigue or minor injury working into it.

I think that a character''s toughness should depend not on his ability to take a lot of damage, but on his ability not to. One of my favorite things to see in a game in watching my little guys in Ogre Battle 64 parry attacks. When I first got a sword master, nobody could touch him. He''d just block, and dodge, and then land huge, crippling blows. His armor wasn''t great, and his HP wasn''t great, so when he got hit, he bled, but he didn''t get hit all that often. That was neat.

I''d like to see a character''s performance depend largely on agility and dexterity, as well as proficiency with the equipment he''s using. You may have a guy who bench-presses three times his own body weight, but if he''s got no clue how to hold a sword and faces a 150-pound expert blademaster, he''s gonna lose something terrible. I don''t care how tough you are, a sharp blade cuts through muscle almost as well as through fat. If an axe comes at you, your best bet is not to let it touch you.

Also, I''d like to see more injury-related status ailments. A guy with a sucking chest wound isn''t going to be much good to anyone.

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In my opinion? Where an online RPG is concerned, time played, equipment gathered, and player skill, in an approximately 3:2:1 ratio.

But wait, isn''t that close to the status quo, and widely conceived as being bad by many people on here?

Sure.

If you take ''time played'' out of the equation, then you lose the incentives for people to stay a while. There is less perceived investment in the game, so people come and go more often. This means less community, and probably less money for you. If someone who''s played 10 minutes is not much worse than someone who''s played 10 months, then what''s to stop troublesome newbies causing havoc? What''s to stop an unlucky player who''s been there for 10 months leaving in disgust cos some 12-year old got better than him in his first hour of play? I like to build in some degree of loyalty from the players, and rewarding them for effort (which usually translates as time) rather than skill is a good way of doing so.

If you make ''player skill'' a big factor, then you eliminate several large groups: the traditional RPG players who expect the game to be determined by character skill rather than player skill, the socialisers who just want to hang out with people rather than level up all the time, those who are too old/clumsy/unused to computer games to be able to develop the skill quickly, and so on. Online RPGs are blessed with a variety of different people from different walks of life and levels of ability, and although I applaud the general thinking behind making player ''skill'' more prominent in games, it narrows your audience. You need to be sure that this is what you want.

Finally, leaving ''equipment gathered'' in there helps to level the playing field for the groups I mentioned above. If you''re one of the less ''achievement-based'' player types, play nicely and befriend the ''gamers'' and they will donate equipment, letting you play along with them on occasion. It is prone to abuse, but I think there are ways to limit it (such as making a certain amount of play time necessary to use equipment). It''s a social mechanism, allowing people some degree of power in rewarding pro-social behaviour.

So personally, I actually like the current state of affairs when it comes to online RPGs. I am more in favour of fixing the problems with the systems rather than throwing them out and finding new ones.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
When two high-level swordsmen fight, they basically exchange blows back and forth until one of them drops and the other has a tiny little bit of health left, whereupon he can be killed by an aardvark. It''s silly. If two guys with sword fight, odds are one will be killed and the other will be in fairly good shape at the end. I''m thinking of duels, of course, without a lot of fatigue or minor injury working into it.



If you have a system where people aren''t getting killed with a single hit, then a high-level duel is going to take quite a while because both participants are very good at avoiding injury. If you do anything requiring concentration and physical effort for a while, it''s going to tire you out. A master swordsman tired to the point he''s ready to drop is going to be a lot easier to kill than when he''s at his peak.

As to what should determine the outcome of such things, it depends on the game. If the player gets to make meaningful choices elswhere in the game, leading to acquiring loot/experience that improves his chances, then I have no real problem with the outcome of those choices determining the outcome of fights. If it''s very easy to get good equipment, then other choices should dominate - like player skill in combat.

I think this deserves its own thread...

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If someone who''s played 10 minutes is not much worse than someone who''s played 10 months, then what''s to stop troublesome newbies causing havoc?

Why should there be anything to stop troublesome newbies causing havoc? If player skill is a part of the game, then survival of the fittest becomes a strong theme, right?
quote:
What''s to stop an unlucky player who''s been there for 10 months leaving in disgust cos some 12-year old got better than him in his first hour of play?

Let me ask you this: if someone who''s played 10 months and who is a far more skilled player than another player who has played 10 months, shouldn''t the better player see at least some signs of that? Wouldn''t he leave in disgust once he notices that no matter how skilled he becomes, the game simply doesn''t reward individual skill?

Are we playing online games to be just another sheep in the herd, or do we want to at least stand out a little bit?

If someone is better in 10 minutes than I am in 10 months, should my poor performance keep the designers from creating a challenging game? Should they hold back some (the players who catch up quick and become skilled in no time) in order to make me into an average player?

This thread reminds me of when I was young and still played tennis. I was pretty good at a very young age, picking the skills up quickly. Beat a lot of other guys, even won some local championships. But as I got older, my skills simply didn''t improve anymore. My younger brother kept on developing his skills. Then came the time when he started to consistently beat me: he was better than me at playing tennis.

Should I at that point have tried to somehow put a stop to his game? Should I have just quit in disgust?

What I ended up doing was going to see my younger brother play and win against other people. I still played myself (although only for a few more years as I did start to lose interest in sports and shifted my attention towards the nightlife) and still practiced with my brother.

Look, the game is what it is. You can make a game to please all, making sure that player skill is not a requirement. That''s fine. Make another Everquest. Or, you can make a game that makes use of human competition, that involves player skill at least to some degree. Make it almost like a sport, but keep a strong cooperation theme. Ensure that players that want to show of their skills can do so, but at the same time allow players that know they are not very good at the game enjoy the game in a different aspect, by allowing them to form groups and follow the ''safety in numbers'' rule. They might not know exactly what sword to wield, or how to perform that special maneuver, but they will still be able to defend themselves and to develop a sense of pride at their skill at creating a functioning group.

Gladiators and mediators. Two very different styles of players. Let both find their own and your game will flourish.

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Let's not forget the lousy 11-year-olds who play six to twelve hours a day and have invincible characters, then hide in towns whacking honest, hardworking people and taking their loot. That's crappy, and there should be some way to prevent it. I don't like the idea of time and loot converting directly to invincibility.

Rmsgrey, that's a good point. I should have pointed out that I DO like the idea of people being killed with a single hit. I think that protection from damage should come primarily from armor or magical defenses, but when a character gets hit in the neck with a sword, their head should fall off. If something gets between that neck and that sword, i.e. another sword, a piece of armor, an enchantment, or three inches of space, then they won't lose their noggin. Nobody should be able to kill so many goblins that their skin becomes impenetrable.

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on December 8, 2002 3:16:35 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Let''s not forget the lousy 11-year-olds who play six to twelve hours a day and have invincible characters, then hide in towns whacking honest, hardworking people and taking their loot. That''s crappy, and there should be some way to prevent it. I don''t like the idea of time and loot converting directly to invincibility.



Those people sound like real life equivalents to evil coworkers who take advantage of the fact that they are single and have no children to take care of so they always seem to be working harder than you and get those promotions.
Sorry, I was watching "Baby Blues" the other day.

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That''s actually a fairly good point, GBGames, but it annoys me to no end that snot-nosed little punks can beat me at a game just because they have nothing better to do than build up their levels. Nothing''s more aggravating than getting steamrolled in an RPG.

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*** OT WARNING! ***
quote:
Original post by GBGames
Those people sound like real life equivalents to evil coworkers who take advantage of the fact that they are single and have no children to take care of so they always seem to be working harder than you and get those promotions.

evil coworkers? they didn''t make you have children (which directly affected your ability to work as hard, as you point out)... and remember, they pay property taxes that pay for schools even though they have no children, whereas you get a tax write-off and pay less, even though you use more resources because of your children. and don''t get me started on how much work parents miss compared to people who don''t have kids...
who''s evil now?

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who's evil now?

Amen to that.

Personal responsibility is being obliterated at the workplace.

**
'I don't want to be beat by an 11-year old punk'

Wouldn't that very attitude put the entire design in danger? I mean, it puts (yet) another restriction on a game design. If you go by ideas specifically implemented to not have certain groups of people have some advantage over others, you might cause a lot less people to interact with your product. You'll end up designing what has already been designed, with a minor face-lift to make it appear more attractive.

I'm not saying that a game built to remove that '11-year old punk' from their potential playerbase will fail, or that I even disagree with the logic, but that these kind of decisions should only be made when absolutely possible. Why not try to open the game up to an enormous target audience, not restricted by age, gender, race, religion or political boundaries?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that instead of fighting the problem of those 11-year old punks being in an otherwise perfect game, you instead accept it and make use of it. If you can predict what a certain group of people are going to do in a game, why not design with that knowledge specifically in mind? Give other players opportunities to find entertaining activities in your game and/or tools to protect themselves from the potential harassment from 11 year old punks, instead of barring all those punks from a satisfying experience.

I believe that each game requires its own personal solutions for the problems that might occur in their game world. How would I fulfill the 'I don't want people to powerlevel their characters for more than 6 hours per day' design requirement? How about make those characters age faster, and I mean with real age consequences (older = slower, weaker, less agile, etc)? Imagine characters living in the virtual world only for about 100 actual gaming hours (100 virtual days/months/years?). Imagine powerlevelers (leveling faster than average or whatever powerleveling is all about) being able to do exactly that which they are already doing, but with the consequence that their characters can exist for only 25 actual gaming hours. Would you, knowing you'll far outlive this puny pretender character by your superior lifestyle of taking it easy (like Tai Chi for example ) care as much about their existence as you do now? Or would it be a little less? Would the consequence of the action, be it a positive or a negative action in your opinion, affect your opinion about the action itself?



[edited by - Silvermyst on December 8, 2002 7:27:25 PM]

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More OT (Off-Topic):

One thing I can''t stand is people who don''t have kids complaining about having to pay taxes that support schools.

[falsetto]
"Oh, I don''t benefit from schools, so why should my hard-earned money go to educating some other person''s children?"
[/falsetto]

Because you benefit from having an educated society, in the form of lower crime rates, higher standard of living, and cashiers who know how to make change, even if you dig out that 37¢ after they rung up your purchase. Stop whining.

Another thing that I can''t stand is people who put other priorities before their career complaining that the antisocial bachelor gets more hours and climbs the ladder faster, so I agree with you there.

So, to finally conclude this off-topic segment and get us back on track, GBGamer''s analogy was valid in that my gripe about little kids playing all the time and beating me was just as childish as family men complaining about bachelors outmatching them in the work place. Point taken. Let''s all drop it.

Back OT (On-Topic? Wait a second...):

Perhaps the only real way to ensure that people with varying levels of dedication can enjoy a game is to offer a system in which nobody can be unstoppably tough. A sort of a paper/rock/scissors system, in which even the most hardcore guys will have weaknesses that can be exploited. Even typing it, it doesn''t look like a very good system, but maybe there''s a way to refine it into a viable game model.

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Because you benefit from having an educated society, in the form of lower crime rates, higher standard of living, and cashiers who know how to make change

Can you prove that any of my hard-earned money, that I am forced to pay in the form of state and federal taxes, is achieving any of that?



[edited by - Silvermyst on December 8, 2002 8:13:39 PM]

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Hey, Silvermyst, I just scrolled up a little bit, and it''s no fair editting a post I already replied to, even if it was only 49 seconds later...

In response to your new, modified post, I don''t mind 11 year olds. I don''t even mind them playing video games all the time. It probably isn''t good for them, but I''m not going to get in their little faces about it. God knows I spent a good week of my life tracking down the damn heart pieces in A Link to the Past. What I object to is the fact that somebody can attain absolute mastery of a multiplayer game by employing the same techniques that they use to master a single-player game.

I''m all for raising levels and raising levels and raising levels until the troll king is mud on your big hob-nailed boot, but that sort of tactic shouldn''t be as effective in a multiplayer game. Since a multiplayer game or even a massively multiplayer game will by its very nature target a diverse audience with various lifestyles and time constraints, it shouldn''t be structured such that the guy who is always online beating up on goblins has a clear, unassailable advantage over the guy who comes home from the office and logs on. Nothing like flopping down in your chair after eleven hours of constant frustration and loading up Diablo II only to be immediately annihilated and robbed posthumously by "InGeMaR TeH 1337 D-zTrOyEr!!!11". That sucks.

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Rmsgrey, that''s a good point. I should have pointed out that I DO like the idea of people being killed with a single hit. I think that protection from damage should come primarily from armor or magical defenses, but when a character gets hit in the neck with a sword, their head should fall off. If something gets between that neck and that sword, i.e. another sword, a piece of armor, an enchantment, or three inches of space, then they won''t lose their noggin. Nobody should be able to kill so many goblins that their skin becomes impenetrable.



Actually, I think I''ve been playing too many p/p RPGs - when I said "single hit" I was thinking of the rationalisation whereby a "hit" actually represents a (very) near miss, or slight nick rather than always being a solid contact. In this model, hit points mostly represent the character''s ability to "just" dodge, or minimise the effects of actual contact (eg by letting the enemy sword glance off your armour rather than bite through it). Hit point loss then represents accumulated fatigue and minor damage that reduces combat effectiveness. To use your example, a character about to be hit in the neck might jerk backwards, getting nicked by the sword, or shrug their shoulders, taking the blow on their armour, or something similar. So while the character is eventually killed by a single hit, they can resist a number of attacks that would manage that single hit on a less experienced character.

In fact, a friend and I started work on a p/p RPG where characters had both hit points and wound levels. If the character is in a position to resist getting damaged, then attacks go to hit point loss. If the character is unable to resist damage (eg lack of hit points, immobilised) then attacks go directly to wounds, which are generally crippling, and not infrequently lethal.

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
What I object to is the fact that somebody can attain absolute mastery of a multiplayer game by employing the same techniques that they use to master a single-player game.
(cut)
Nothing like flopping down in your chair after eleven hours of constant frustration and loading up Diablo II only to be immediately annihilated and robbed posthumously by "InGeMaR TeH 1337 D-zTrOyEr!!!11". That sucks.


*DING!* You get a prize, sir! You have stated clearly and concisely exactly the point I''ve been meaning to get across for literally a year.

Are developers really so set in their ways that they just can''t see that the leveling model for single player "RPGs" (aka Goblin Slaughter Simulators) does not work for a massively multiplayer social game?

First, allowing such a gross disparity of power level between PCs means that any social structure which presupposes some degree of equality in its citizens collapses in the face of the unassailable might of high-level characters and the pathetic weakness of new players.

Second, the strict correspondence between monster slaughter, experience level, and in-game ability creates such a limited game for new players, especially ones who don''t have a lot of time to dedicate to gaming, that I imagine most quit in frustration well before they even see nine tenths of the game. Since so much of the world has to be dedicated to challenging the relative minority of high-level powergamers, newbies and casual players are left crouching around a rat hole with knives.

Third, because all challenges are based on combat, and all characters eventually become arbitrarily good at combat at high enough level, there''s absolutely no incentive to work with others. You might as well be playing a single-player game, except with other people in the way.

Here''s what I''d like to see.
1. NO stat improvement.
2. NO HP increase.
3. NO XP bar.
4. Skills improve logarithmically based on training.
5. Skills can be trained while offline.
6. Multiple challenge types:
- Some problems cannot be solved by combat.
- Some problems require a combination of skills which can be acquired much more easily through assembling a team of specialists than by learning all the skills yourself.
- Some problems require a stat level you don''t have and can never get, so you must ask for aid from others.
7. NO power equipment. A sword is a sword: expensive, requiring skill and time to make, and an effective weapon in the right hands. Full plate is full plate: very expensive, very difficult to make, and very good protection at the expense of any hope of speed, stealth, or subtlety.

What makes a player in this sort of game? Not his stats: they can be duplicated by any newbie. Not his equipment: depending on who he is and what he''s doing, that expensive greatsword may be a great asset or a massive hindrance. Partially, his skills: as long as his character''s been around for a while, he''s got one or two good ones which may or may not apply to the task at hand. But mainly, it''s the people he knows and his ability to form a team to tackle a task. At some times he will be the go-to guy; at other times he''ll have to ask favors. That''s a social game. That''s what MMORPG should be. Or so I think.

-STC

---------------------------------------------------
-SpittingTrashcan

You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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I just happened across a couple of sites related to Warhammer online, below is the link the the developer Q&A's about the game..... they kinda suggest some answers that they are implementing in their games to solve exactly THIS and many other concerns I have about existing games such as EverQuest.... if it's not canned like so many other Games Workshop computer games have been in the past... this sounds like it'll be one damn good game! 'tis almost as if they read my mind on some of the issues.

Warhammer Online

Steve AKA Mephs



[edited by - mephs on December 9, 2002 9:37:44 AM]

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quote:
Are developers really so set in their ways that they just can''t see that the leveling model for single player "RPGs" (aka Goblin Slaughter Simulators) does not work for a massively multiplayer social game?

Well, it''s working for the current group of MMORPGs, but it won''t work for the next generation. People bought the concept because there simply was no decent alternative, but I bet they''re gonna want to see something different in the future.
quote:
First, allowing such a gross disparity of power level between PCs means that any social structure which presupposes some degree of equality in its citizens collapses in the face of the unassailable might of high-level characters and the pathetic weakness of new players.

I agree. It''s all about time invested. Play longer = gain higher power level. Eventually, a system like this is just going to die out as there will be little to no motivation for new players to start. We need to do 2 things at the same time:
a) somewhat regulate the might of the high-level characters
b) upgrade the might of the new characters
I wonder how Shadowbane''s system will work out. From what I''ve read, characters in this world will not be able to simply manhandle groups of lower level characters. You might be able to take out 2 level 10 characters as a level 20 character, but a group of 5 or 6 level 10 characters might get you in trouble.
quote:
Second, the strict correspondence between monster slaughter, experience level, and in-game ability creates such a limited game for new players, especially ones who don''t have a lot of time to dedicate to gaming, that I imagine most quit in frustration well before they even see nine tenths of the game.

Combat is all there is to do in current MMORPGs. And it''s not even well designed, if you ask me. What I mean is that combat isn''t really all that entertaining, even though it''s pretty much the only viable choice of action.
quote:
Third, because all challenges are based on combat, and all characters eventually become arbitrarily good at combat at high enough level, there''s absolutely no incentive to work with others. You might as well be playing a single-player game, except with other people in the way.

I don''t think there''s anything wrong with offering players the option to play a single-player game in a multi-player world, but there certainly have to be more than enough incentives to participate in the multi-player aspect of it. Otherwise, why are we creating online games to begin with?

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quote:
Since a multiplayer game or even a massively multiplayer game will by its very nature target a diverse audience with various lifestyles and time constraints, it shouldn''t be structured such that the guy who is always online beating up on goblins has a clear, unassailable advantage over the guy who comes home from the office and logs on.

I think the problem is not so much that the guy who''s always online beating up goblins has a clear advantage, but it''s that the guy who comes home from the office has no advantage whatsoever in any part of the game.
Different groups of people should have different advantages in the game. That guy who plays 24/7 will have an advantage in a part of the game that benefits from time invested. That guy who comes home from the office should be given an advantage of his own. Perhaps characters that are only played 1 hour a day develop in a different way, granting some additional powers perhaps.

I guess I''m trying to get across that to create a better balance it might be better to add to the mix than to subtract from it. By that, I don''t mean to add to the current mix, but to start over from scratch and give players a chance to create their own personal advantages by giving them enough choices to make. They should be in complete control over how they want to experience the game. It will make it harder to create the design, because you will need to provide more varied content, but I think the time you''ll save yourself by not having to worry quite as much about game balance and creative restriction methods will more than make up for it.

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If companies are making money from the game based on length of time spent playing, most will press for features that reward time spent playing.

quote:
Original post by SpittingTrashcan
Here''s what I''d like to see.
1. NO stat improvement.
2. NO HP increase.
3. NO XP bar.
4. Skills improve logarithmically based on training.
5. Skills can be trained while offline.
6. Multiple challenge types:
- Some problems cannot be solved by combat.
- Some problems require a combination of skills which can be acquired much more easily through assembling a team of specialists than by learning all the skills yourself.
- Some problems require a stat level you don''t have and can never get, so you must ask for aid from others.
7. NO power equipment. A sword is a sword: expensive, requiring skill and time to make, and an effective weapon in the right hands. Full plate is full plate: very expensive, very difficult to make, and very good protection at the expense of any hope of speed, stealth, or subtlety.



Personally, I''d be quite happy to see HP increases - but not just for combat. I think you should do something to make it harder for grief players to log in, create their character and, with maybe half-an-hour invested, go on a killing spree that wipes out thousands of player-hours worth of characters (100 hours is only just over 3 months of one hour per day...)

And I''m not sure how many companies would go for a system that rewards players by improving characters'' skills for not playing the game...

One way of getting the economics right in terms of weaponry/armour could be to make simple improvised weapons (quarterstaff, club, sling) and agricultural implements easily obtainable, but restrict other weaponry/armour to what players with the appropriate skills and supplies manufacture. Making a longsword should require reasonably high skill levels - otherwise the weapon has penalties to use and maybe breaks easily. Enchanted weaponry would require both a high quality weapon and someone capable of casting (and renewing?) the necessary magics. Of course, removing PUSDs (Platinum Uber-Sword of Doom) from the treasure rooms of dungeons would mean that some other incentive for dungeon quests would have to be offered - like, maybe, and this may be a little radical here, plot based motivations? Or, of course, a situation where an in-game community manufactures a PUSD (or equivalent) and offers it as a reward for dungeon crawler types to deal with a community problem - whether bounty for PKing a griefer, or for culling the local goblin swarm...

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rmsgrey,

quote:

Personally, I''d be quite happy to see HP increases - but not just for combat. I think you should do something to make it harder for grief players to log in, create their character and, with maybe half-an-hour invested, go on a killing spree that wipes out thousands of player-hours worth of characters (100 hours is only just over 3 months of one hour per day...)



Which is why controlling griefers is the most critical problem facing MMORPG developers. As you well know. Perhaps it''s a bit unreasonable, but I hope to keep that thread alive until everyone who might gain from seeing it sees it, because I hate griefers.

quote:

And I''m not sure how many companies would go for a system that rewards players by improving characters'' skills for not playing the game...



Most MMORPGs that I''m aware of charge a flat per-month access fee. You pay your $15 whether you played for 1 hour or 100 hours. The cost per month is to have an account and a character, and the company actually has to do less if you never log on (less load on the servers etc). Under these ideas, the only incentive to play is because playing is fun. If that isn''t enough incentive to play the game, then it''s a pretty pathetic excuse for a game.

And on the subject of economics: I think the benefit of being rich in game should not be greater physical prowess due to better equipment. The benefit of being rich is the ability to throw money at a problem by hiring people who can solve it for you.

I mean, consider the options. I am a wealthy man. A troll threatens my holdings. I
A) buy the best sword, shield, and armor money can buy and go fight the troll myself, despite being a sedentary octogenarian.
B) hire a large number of beefy men with pointy things to deal with the troll.

The answer really ought to be B).

While we''re on the subject, I agree that community rewards for clearing monsters make a lot more sense than the rewards being carried by the monsters themselves. "Oh look, these goblins were guarding a treasure chest, and inside is the PUSD." "Well, why in God''s name weren''t any of them using it?"

-STC

---------------------------------------------------
-SpittingTrashcan

You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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