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jcpr

MMORPG Log-out Terror

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Hi all: My question is very simple... What to do with the character, when the user logs out. Taking by example something like a Star Wars Galaxies character... What should happen to the character when you log out... Should it disappear immediately from the world? Should it be kept in the world, at the mercy of other players, in some kind of automatic mode? Should it become a somekind of a ghost? Should it only be allowed to log out when you''re on a safe place? What should happen? I''m hoping to get some interesting ideas, from all you out there. Cheers

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I guess this topic belongs to the game design forum but anyway
I''ve personally choosen to make them disappear from the world immeditaly after they log off. But I might change it in the future if players are going to abuse this during PvP fights. But from my experience from some mmorpgs, disappearing immediately is not really an issue (well most of the time).

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In Ultima Online you can log out right away if your in a safe place. Anywhere else, or if you have been fighting in the last few min, you say active for 2 min after you log out.

I think that system works cause if your fighting someone you don''t want them to be about to just log out to save them selves. Or if you have stealing someone could steal something and then logout untill its safe..

Please visit Turt99 Productions

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In most games there is a 30-second period after you initiate the logout. You''re still in the game but any significant action (moving, combat) will abort the logout. If you go the full 30 seconds then you''re out of the world immediately.

If you go link dead then you stay in the world for some short time before you disappear. During this time you''re vulnerable to all the standard hazards in the game.

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About this message being here and not on the Game design Thread, I really hesitated between these two, but end up thinking this was the right one... Sorry...

Well... I see there''s agreement over the lot of you...

However, lets say you''re in a PvP battle, and you lose link... What should your character do??

Just stay there and be beaten?

Or someform of automatic battle should become active?

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Any form of forcing a player to stay in game after they log out is evil. When I tell a game to quit, I expect it to quit right now, not in 30 seconds. And I don''t want to have to travel to some "safe place" to end the game, either. When I turn a game off, I want it to go off right now, no matter where I am

Now, that''s not to say the in-game character shouldn''t stick around for a little bit, if necessary. If in the midst of combat (especially PvP), the toon shouldn''t be allowed to just leave to save his or her skin. A delay in the toon leaving the world is perfectly acceptable in some instances, but the player should not be forced to sit and wait for this to happen.

As for what the toon does when the player is gone, it should just sit there for a bit, unless it is engaged in combat, in which case it ought to defend itself with rudimentary attacks. I believe this is what most MMOGs do now. SWG and AC/AC2 do, anyway

Ron

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quote:
Original post by Cahaan
Most of the players won''t log off during a PvP fight. If they do, they will get shame, and shame is usually avoided in MMO games

Perhaps most won''t, but many will do whatever gives them an advantage, including logging out if they are losing a battle in order to avoid the loss (whatver penalty you implement for death). I wouldn''t count on players playing fair for upholding the rules of your game, you will be very dissapointed (and then have to go back in and start implementing programmatic rules to eliminate unfair behavior, heh). Many won''t play fair, shame or not, they''ll use whatever means they can to take the advantage. I''ve seen this happen first hand in many instances.

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>>they will get shame, and shame is usually avoided in MMO games

I agree with Ron. I''m not sure what games you''ve been playing, but in the MMORPGs I''ve played (AC1&2,DAOC,EQ), shame is NOT a motivator. People will lie, steal, backstab, spam, cheat, whatever, and if their reputation ever begins to precede them (ie, they can no longer get away with it), they will just create a new character and start their grief-play with a new persona. These malicious players are definitely in the minority, but it only takes a few to ruin the game for everyone else. As the designer/developer, you must do whatever is in your power to limit their power.

bpopp (bpopp.net)

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quote:
Why not just make it impossible to log out during a fight?


You can stop people from logging out from the client but not from pulling thier network plug so they go link dead and get logged out by the server.

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quote:
Original post by Anon Mike
You can stop people from logging out from the client but not from pulling thier network plug so they go link dead and get logged out by the server.

Well, if they do that give them a 10 minute idol period, so their enemy can beat them to death while they''re gone.

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quote:
Original post by Cahaan
Most of the players won''t log off during a PvP fight. If they do, they will get shame, and shame is usually avoided in MMO games


i''d take shame over lost items/experience anyday

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Do not limit the places you can log out! If I need to quit the program I will just hit alt+f4 or use ctrl+alt+del or even reboot the entire system if I have to spend 10 minutes getting to a "safe" place. I would have so that if the user has been in a fight within x seconds and they log out their character remains active for y more seconds, but otherwise just disappears.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Runescape handles this pretty well, you automatically disappear whenever you log off. The only catch is that you have to wait 10 seconds after a fight to log off and you cannot log off while fighting.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Actually, on Runescape you can log off during a battle but it keeps going. One of my friends did this and he lost all his stuff:D. I think the auto battle deal or disappearing sounds good.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Question is: what happens if you go LD?

My suggestion: stay logged in for LONGER than a regular sit-and-camp time. Maybe 7 minutes. That''d give the player time to reboot, re-dial, whatever, and re-connect to the character.

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Ideally you want the player to be in control of his character at all times. It would totally suck to quit out and have the character linger around in the world for any amount of time after the player has ended his session. There's no telling what can happen to a player during this time.

In the case of a PvP game, another player could come along and attack the player and he wouldnt even be able to do anything about it, nor know anything about it until he logged into the game the next time. Likewise in the case of a PvE game, the player could get attacked by a monster and end up in a similar situation.

When the game tells you that you have logged out of the game, then thats what is expected.

Yes some games have a countdown that goes on after the user tells the game that he wishes to leave. This count down is to prevent the player from suddenly getting in over his head, either in PvP or PvE and trying to exit the game in an attempt to get out of trouble. In the case of Everquest the countdown is 30 seconds, and since this is a game that usually requires a good chuck of time to get anything accomplished, 30 seconds is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the 5 hours the user might have just spent playing it.

You dont want the countdown to be too short causing it to be ineffective nor do you want it too long in that it is quite an annoyance to the player. 30 seconds is pretty bearable.

Obviously in the case of getting disconnected abnormally, the player will have no choice but to be left in the world with no way to control his character. Usually in cases like this as soon as the server detects the player as disconnected (this can take some time if the server uses UDP as a means of communication with the client) the server will treat the player as an NPC and start making decisions for him such as fighting an NPC if attacked. Don't expect too much though if the games AI really sucks. Even after the server has detected the player has been disconnected the character may remain in the game for a short period to ensure that the player just didnt yank the network cable in an effort to avoid PvP/PvE combat.

The runescape solution seems to be a good one as well, though I feel 10 seconds after combat might be a bit too short. Seems like it could still leave some room for abuse in there. I dunno though, never played the game so I can't really give a fair opinion. Depends on how combat in the game is structured. In some RPG games, the monsters have whats known as aggro, basically the monster(s) are just annoyed at you and are agressively trying to end your life. Preventing exiting of the game while any monster(s) have aggro on you is one option, but this doesnt really extend well into PvP, so perhaps thats where the 10 seconds of no combat could come into play.

Some interesting ideas for sure.


-=[ Megahertz ]=-



[edited by - Megahertz on September 5, 2003 2:41:14 AM]

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I have to reinforce what has already been said: Whatever you do, don''t annoy the player.

In this particular situation, it boils down to this: You can''t remove the character from the world immediately, because that will be abused. However, you should give players the ability to watch what happens to their character during the logout timespan (i.e. the countdown).

But _don''t_ even think of preventing a player who wants to quit _right_ _now_ from doing just that. It would be a pointless exercise since people can just kill a process anyway, and it would be _extremely_ annoying. So if somebody is quite sure that they _don''t_ want to watch the entire logout countdown, give them an option for quitting immediately.
Of course, this shouldn''t affect the length of the logout countdown.

Oh, and you should probably put a marker on the player''s character during the logout countdown, so that other players know what''s going on.

cu,
Prefect

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There's no easy answer when you have a game filled with players (and not just monsters). Anything can be, and usually is, abused . That's just human nature. You just have to find a method that can be abused the least. One of the few good things about Everquest was the logout procedure. It wasn't too long or too short, and you could log out anywhere so was up to you to determine if was safe or not. It was abusable, but there wasn't all that much benefit from abusing it so it wasn't much of an issue.

The main thing is that you have to be accomodating to real-life issues that come up when people are playing your game. If someone has to go ASAP, even when deep in a dungeon, there has to be a valid way for them to leave without getting screwed over by the game mechanics (logout procedure).

[edited by - foofightr on September 5, 2003 8:29:12 PM]

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understanding that different types of MMOG's require different logout methods simply due to their gameplay setup and world mechanics...

I think that in the case of PvP, a working reputation system would help more than any solution I have seen so far for the actual logout process. Back when UO was fresh and new, even before it was released it became clear that abuse was going to be a big issue if left unchecked. Attempts at a reputation system were at first based solely on a scale from direct action. Many here are most likely aware of the abuse of this and subsequent changes that resulted in little more than characters who were known to be player killers, gankers, griefers, etc but yet appeared as "blue" and were angelic as far as reputation went. Having not played that game in ages (haha, pun not really intended) I can't say what it is like now.

However, it is fair to say that abuses with the general reputation system (or worded another way, the lack of real accountability for actions) simply resulted in a flawed system that included log out issues. The negative logout issues covered both the snotty punk logging out to avoid problems (like after attacking someone or stealing something) to many snotty punks attacking a character that went link dead.

So, my opinion is that you fix that reputation system first and the rest will be much easier to manage. That is of course assuming you do have a reputation system in place. (this gets a bit more hairy due to "unrealistic" problems like "how can a dead person ever report their murderer?" but that is another topic)

Too bad the programmers and designers themselves can't cast some mystical spell of alignment check on the PLAYERS, thus filtering out the cheats and losers and allowing those who really want to play an evil character to remain

[edited by - Stalcair on September 6, 2003 12:53:59 AM]

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Well this is a very subjective topi cobviously but to those saying logout timers are a bad thing I would suggest they try and be a little more objective in their line of thought. Logging is not just something that affects PvP. It has been the bane of the MMOLG since their inception.

Example 1:
Player wants to get past horde of raging monsters that he knows he could never defeat. Runs through as fast as he can gets out of trigger range and logs. When he logs back in in 15 minutes he is past the baddies and can freely walk down to the next area.

Example 2:
This player is a powergamer. He fights the creatures that maximize his XP per minute but that usually comes with grave risk in battle. As he gets into a fight an dnotices he is losing he logs with 20% health and the creature is still at 75% health. No risk and he simple rinses and repeats until he kills the uber XP creature.

Example 3:
PvP. Anyone here who says shame is worse than logging has never PvP'd in any kind fo serious fashion. Nothing matters in PvP except winning. At the end of the day all that the player cares about is his kill count, realm points, death items whathave you.

The simplist solution to handle all of these problems is to put an "I've been hit" timer on the player. With a minimum 30 second up to about 60 seconds wait from the time you have been last hit before you can logout. If you have not just been in combat you logout immeadiately when requested. Other than that you see a countdown message which you must wait for in order to logout. If you are hit while waiting to log the counter resets. There is absolutely zero reason that a player would absolutely "need" to log within 60 seconds of combat other than for cheating purposes. That said, games like Everquest and Starwars taht force you to wait 30-60 seconds regardless of your last combat are extremely agravating for me.

One other thing needs to be concidered here. Thats Linkdeaths. People are going to legitimately be disconnected from the server for various reasons. They are also going to Alt-F4, unplug their Internet etc trying to cheat death if they can. This is the more serious issue in my mind as you must very carefully balance between guarding against cheats and protecting legitimate disconnections.

The solution I've come up with for losing connection to the serverisn't perfect but it's as balanced as I care to get =). Upon discon from the server (IE the client datastream is interupted.) the server halts the char at their last known location. At this point the linkdeath AI kicks in. If the player is taking damage the server targets the first source of damage and attacks with standard attack with the currently equiped weapon. The LD message is displayed in the surrounding area so people know the player has lost con. A timer counts down for a minimum of 60 seconds up to 120 seconds before actually logging the player out of the world and saving the character. What this accomplishes is several things. A) The player does not continue running mindlessly, agroing a huge train of creatures and potentially dying to them 400 yards from where the disconned making it terrible to try to find or recovery the body. B) a legitimate disconnection that has not agro'd anything stops dead and will correctly linkdeath and logout after the LD timer has expired. C) People trying to escape combat will generally be killed in the 60 seconds it takes the LD timer to count down although if it's a legitiamte disconnection and the palyer is fighting somethign they can normally defaeat, the LD AI gives them an excellent chance of survival by continue to finish the combat.

Just my 2 bits.

Mark


Aakrana: The Forgotten Lands
Currently seeking help from:
C++ coder
ZeroC / ICE Programmer

[edited by - Slyxsith on September 7, 2003 1:49:10 PM]

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