Sign in to follow this  
Coz

about MMORPGs multiple characters per account..

Recommended Posts

Okay, I know that a reason to include the posibity of having 2-4 characters per account are to let the player test other classes and/or to prevent that to test other classes the player makes another account. And I'm pretty sure there gotta be other issues. However I don't like it. I feel most players won't get as attached to it's main character as much as I would like. I know that also most players spend more time with just one character but it doesn't makes it feel any better. So I mainly want 2 kinds of feedback. First, I want to know about other problems that multiple characters per account are supposed to solve, and second a discussion about what kind of alternatives we have to that. Oh also, you can bash my theory that says that players won't get enough attachment to their main characters but please say why. I have tought that having an in game place where you can dream(a dream in the real current game world that is) being someone else, so the player can see what other classes have to offer, paying some gold for a small amount of time. And maybe it could let you change classes(make the dream a reality) permanently, of course with a moderate level fee... like the game takes away 10% of your levels, so if you are a level 100 thief you could become a level 90 fighter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Problem it can solve.

Imagine you have many different class, like In ultima, and there's roleplay on the server. You can play one day a fierce warrior seeking duel, and the next day you might play a Wizard in need of love.

The other idea is : People who didnt play your game might want to try different class until they are bound to something that fit there gameplay.

For your idea about dream with a loss of ~10 lvl.

If your class are not well balanced, and A class can level up more faster than other class, you can see the exploit coming.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your comment about new people wanting to try different classes seems so obvious yet it pointed a flaw in my dream suggestion. If you want to try diferent characters, liked one but wanted to try more, and then want to go back to the first, you can't because the data on that character is lost and you have to redo everything. Maybe having dreams could be stored in some sort of special recipient(for a fee, yes I want almost everything to cost money :p ) allows you to have unlimited dreams, so you can go back to a dream you had. However due to the volatile nature of dreams, they will only are able to be kept for a certain amount of time, that depends on the streght of the dream(how much experience you got for character in the dream, which is not added to the experience of the real character). That way you could go back to your dream and make it a reality. The more effort you put into it, the more time you have to make that dream real.

About class balancing, well I guess I will just have be careful to make each class to get their levels up at the same speed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One argument is that multiple characters allows wives and brothers to try the game without buying 2 accounts. They then become addicted and buy another account rather than splitting computer time.

Personally, if you want me to get super attached to my main character, I'm not going to do anything that would drop levels.

Also personally, I feel that a great amount of attachment leads to arguments and anger when people get robbed, or feel they've been slighted. Angry players are not happy paying players. I think current games provide plenty of attachment, even with multiple characters available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sorry for not replying quickly.. anyways..
You can asssume PvP conflict is something that takes part of the game. Actually I think most MMORPGs should implement them, since I find they add so much to the game.

You can asume that the game is 2D action in realtime.

About letting friends and family try the game without buying an account, I think that just to give the first month for free for new accounts is good enough to solve this issue.

About over attachment, I think that you are right, no one should be too attached to the game or a character. I'm saying that players might not feel too attached to their main player because that is what I feel. Whenever I have tried an MMORPG, I always make 1 character unless a friend of mine wants to try the game to avoid the hassle of making a new account. So far I have tried but MMORPGs that are still in beta or give you sometime for free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You may want to put in level restrictions for PvP activity if you haven't considered it already. Otherwise you may end up with users who 'bait' others with low level characters, and then logon to another high level character on their account to pound them.

Certain conflicts of interest may arise as well. The players may use multiple accounts to utilize more skills, one character a Mage who can teleport people, and another a Healer who can ressurect people. This way he won't have any penalties for having both abilities, he simply has to switch characters. (Planetside incorporated a Timer into their Character selection menu, so that once you activate a character, you have to wait 12hrs until you can play as a different one).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
Depends heavily on the game design. WoW - certainly allow multiple characters. My (conceptual) MMO would not.

Generally, if there are using skills/classes you would be cheating your players for their money if you didn't allow multiple characters - IMO.

If you have a *truely* classless system where an account represents a character, and that character is allowed to train and RETRAIN to do whatever he or she desires. Then you have something (second life)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by zarthrag
Generally, if there are using skills/classes you would be cheating your players for their money if you didn't allow multiple characters - IMO.

If you have a *truely* classless system where an account represents a character, and that character is allowed to train and RETRAIN to do whatever he or she desires. Then you have something (second life)


Two things.. first I don't think that it is cheating players, not if they are satisfied and had fun. My objective is not to show the players everything in the game, but to make them have fun. However some players might want to have their fun by trying everything that is in the game and they don't want to lost what they have done already, so probably I will have to think for some way of doing this without allowing multiple characters.

Second, I am trying to push for a classless system but I am not the main designer so meh :p

[Edited by - Coz on November 15, 2004 8:17:17 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Everyone seems to be forgetting the most obvious reason to allow more than one character slot. People like variety. People don't only want to "test" different types of characters til they "find one they like". Sometimes people want to have more than one character and switch between them depending on their mood. One day you might want to play your hardcore adventurer, another day you may want to play your socialising craftsman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd just like to say that I _REALLY_ don't think account=character would make anybody become attached to their character any more than they are now. What it WOULD do is drive people away from your game.
In every MMORPG I've played, I've always had two active characters that I actually played, and usually 1+ test characters to try out new things with.

If you want people to play more in character, you have to create more imersion. A very simple example is making severe penalties for death. Most people don't care if their character dies because it just means 5 mnis playing to make up lost XP, or paying 50 in-game gold to repair items, etc. If you lost a random equipped item from death (and couldn't easily change items right before you die), people would actually be careful because they don't want to lose the items they slaved over. Really though, I'm not sure that would work either since it would also drive people away (especially if they died due to lag/disconnect or a bug in the game or something else that wasn't directly their fault).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
The reason to include it is simple. It's because that's what the majority of players want. If your game & someone elses game are very similar in every respect other than the other guys game offers five chars per account compared to your one char per account... who's game do you think they are going to buy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Most of the points above are both legitimate and valid. There are more discussions than one can count that deal with Casual (Mass-Market) and Harcore (10% of your subsciption) players, and what each "thinks" they want from a game. The One character per server tends to lend itself to a small "roleplay" community, and the 10% "Hardcore" community. In essence, this would be designing a game to fit the minority.

To your point specifically, multiple characters per (game/server) is necessary. Players want resources to draw upon depending on the situation at hand. CoH is a game that lends itself most to the casual mindset as well as those that become very attached to their characters (heroes), and still the players want something different to do now and then. I know many players that have sets of characters that vary in skills and levels, and why, so they can play with different friends, or re-experience the game they have to "pay" for from a different point of view/aspect.

MMO's lend themselves extensively to the ability for the user base to be social and interact with each other. This interaction is what drives these games, and keeps players interested, and paying. If I have more time to put into a game, and I outlevel (level based), or even advance skills too far (skill based i.e. SWG), I leave other friends behind. Having another character to draw upon allows me to have one character that I level up, and play however I wish, as much as I wish, and a second character that I play only with a certain set of friends, when they also have time to play.

In closing, you have two choices. You design the game for the smaller market (harcore players, and casual roleplayers) who could truly appreciate the experience you are attempting to design, or you give the larger audience what they feel they need, which is variety, and options, to experience the game how they choose to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm probably a bit late on this one, but heres my take.

It gets boring only playing one character, and when you drop the account and switch to another character, you have to go through the whole level up progression again, which probably won't be that much different then the last time. Having multiple characters per account does not fix this fact.

However, there are a buttload of final fantasy games that demonstrate the ability to change class back and forth. 3j, 5j, Tactics. You could take advantage of that concept of on-the-fly class changing to mold the design of the MMORPG. Or, you could try a class changing system that locks out what classes are availiable. For example, the Squire class is open, but the Knight class won't be open until the player levels his Squire class up to X. The Wizard class is accessable through an Apprentice class. Then, the Templar Knight class is accessable when the Knight and Wizard classes are sufficiently leveled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I got a much simpler reason why multiple characters are important to me: I got brothers. We like to play games together, but in our own style. We need our own characters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:

I got a much simpler reason why multiple characters are important to me: I got brothers. We like to play games together, but in our own style. We need our own characters.


I don't understand. You probably want to play together. Thus, you should have separate account.

Also, as a game publisher, I'm probably much more interested in you guys each buying a separate account, even if you don't want to play together.

Last, most games' terms of service actually do not allow you to share your account with your brothers. If one of your brothers does something stupid, all three of you will get banned.

Personally, I think one character per paid account is perfectly fine. Add perma-death, for that extra flavor ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
I like the idea of each account having a set limit of characters, lots, items, & skill points that the player can choose to divide up any way he wishes. He could have a single player with multiple skills & maxed items & lots, or he could divide up those lots & items among five chars that he can RP in different skills etc. The main thing would be that the total item, lot, & skill point totals would be the same for every account regardless of how the players choose to play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What about a skill system in game which let you buy, trade or what ever way to get your class. So say we can only use one character on a server.. or say 1 character on all the servers in total. We join the game with no class. Upon arrival we'll have to choose what class we want to be, I choose Archer. After a while playing with the archer I would like to try out something else. So I go back to the "arrival place" and talk to the NPC which 'teach' you the basics of the new class you want to learn. Our archer class was 11 and will stay 11 until we switch back to archer. The new class will be a subclass whether you like it or not. The subclass will level slower then our main class but it gives of course some advantages. For example if we were an archer (lvl 11) and barb (lvl 1) we're superior at Arching of course AND we have some singing talent. You could also choose if you want to drop the secondary class (this will then erease your level you accomplished with your barb), and choose for a different secondary class.

To improve the 'attachment' with the player should get improved with a similar system as I described above (I'm sure others will think different about this).

However having more characters available on one server DOES solve one thing. From my own experience; sometimes I would like to play my "alt" character because I simply get bored with my main because 1) I have no one to team with (if it's a team MMO or the like) 2) Have to wait for my armor that's being created
And so I can go on with a few more.
There's one more thing to mention, it solves (or can solve) your "Money issues" ;) How? Simple, you create a alt character and walk around town till you see some high level strong dude (or girl ;)) and say "Hey dude", (in l33t if you want to sound cooler :P j/k) "can I get some money, I'm broke and need to get some armor for my missions and bla bla" ;)

Anywho, I hope that's what you wanted to know, if not too bad :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Theres also Tyranny of the Majority to worry about. In that the harder quests which require a party in order to play (which lets face it, its an MMORPG, the game was desired with parties in mind), you'll have groups that refuse to admit certain classes into their party because it doesn't serve the completion of the quest. The ability to change class and then change back means that every player will be able to play all of the quests in a game, which means you don't need to generate as much content. In a game with 4 classes, you get an at best 25% play rate for every player (assuming you make equal number of quests requiring a specific class to be in party). Maybe today I'll want to play that quest as a Mage, maybe tomorrow I'll want to play as the Theif.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Inmate2993
Theres also Tyranny of the Majority to worry about. In that the harder quests which require a party in order to play (which lets face it, its an MMORPG, the game was desired with parties in mind), you'll have groups that refuse to admit certain classes into their party because it doesn't serve the completion of the quest. The ability to change class and then change back means that every player will be able to play all of the quests in a game, which means you don't need to generate as much content. In a game with 4 classes, you get an at best 25% play rate for every player (assuming you make equal number of quests requiring a specific class to be in party). Maybe today I'll want to play that quest as a Mage, maybe tomorrow I'll want to play as the Theif.


Of course there should be some sort of delay that should increase each time you change class. And btw, didn't I mention you start back at level one? It's no fun to start at level one each day. Leveling (reward, yes this is concidered a reward) is what we all do it for after all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Of course there should be some sort of delay that should increase each time you change class. And btw, didn't I mention you start back at level one? It's no fun to start at level one each day. Leveling (reward, yes this is concidered a reward) is what we all do it for after all.

Well, this is what I'm getting at. Its unlikely that the players would sign up for one account towards each class they want. Maybe two accounts at most. Giving then a fixed number of characters for each account meets the problem halfway, however you get the circumstances that a player might Twink his lesser characters, an thats Sequence-Breaking (a new term I just learned). The solution I'm suggesting is that you the designer can overcome this by designing the game to handle it. Record the player's experience in each class, while keeping just one master inventory and his on-hand inventory which will probably change capacity with each class. His progression in each class would do whatever it should do for that class alone, and the other classes remain unphased.

Its probably a bit like letting the player having as many characters per account as there are classes, however you'd be designing for that. Tell me which player would waste an account on the "Alcoholic Fatman" class in a game that didn't allow class changing. You open up a lot of design possibilities this way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just to be completely honest, I can never come up with a good reason to limit the number of characters per account other than naming availability. Database size? Characters take up relatively little database space... maybe 50k overall, mattering on your skill system.

My solution is to allow first name AND last name. Then if you go to send someone a tell (whisper/private message/whatever you want to call it) it defaults to first people on your friends list, then people in your local (computer-based) cache of tells with that first name. Or you can "/tell (fname lname)" to send a tell to the person that isn't on your list. If you just type "/tell Tiana Hey there, you wanna group?" and someone with that name isn't on your friends list, then it will pop up a list of people with the name Tiana that are online at that moment.

Now that may end up with some small issues, but as long as you limit the name availability within a family, then you're fine in the long run.

I also plan on letting people know that the character first name that they are choosing is not unique. That way, if people want to keep their first name relatively unique (usually with weird spellings, like "Shreque" instead of "Shrek"), then they can keep trying and make it easier on their friends.

Quote:
Personally, I think one character per paid account is perfectly fine. Add perma-death, for that extra flavor


I'd call this the 'added flavor' of having almost nobody in your game.

Quote:
And maybe it could let you change classes(make the dream a reality) permanently, of course with a moderate level fee... like the game takes away 10% of your levels, so if you are a level 100 thief you could become a level 90 fighter.


Yeah... another "lose your players" idea. If I want to try another class I don't want to lose the ability to play my 'main' character with my friends or guild. MMOGs are about socialization, not the game so much. Though the game is VERY important, the ability to group is much more important. If I decide I don't like the play style of a fighter, then I'm a level 81 thief... I've lost 19% of my levels and probably 60% of my effectiveness against creatures that my friends would be fighting. I'd be worthless.

Quote:
I like the idea of each account having a set limit of characters, lots, items, & skill points that the player can choose to divide up any way he wishes.


Another for the "I don't want people playing my game" list of ideas.

What did you do, go buy a 10GB HDD for your character database? Why in the world would you PENALIZE people for wanting to try out different play styles in your game? Power gamers want to not only get 1 character, but 3-5 characters to the highest end of the game and for all practical purposes, they can do it. They have the time, they have the desire, they have the skill.

Quote:
One argument is that multiple characters allows wives and brothers to try the game without buying 2 accounts. They then become addicted and buy another account rather than splitting computer time.


Heck, I'd go one step further. I'd let them choose to split any character off to a new account. This is what the games are all about, people playing together. If my wife decides she wants to play a little bit when I'm not around, then after playing for a while says "I'd love to be able to play with your character", I think it would be great to be able to pay $29.95 (or whatever your game cost is) and immediately split that character off to a new account. It's not hard to do in the database and it's not like it would hurt your subscription base of accounts. Sure, they don't have the bullsh*t time of getting power leveled up to whatever level they were at.... but I'd rather have them take the 'easy' option. If you could split any of your characters off for your wife, would you really hesitate if she wanted to and you no longer played the character?

Again, I think that some people are so busy going "How can I make them have more accounts" or "If I limit them to just one character, they will take it more seriously"... it's a GAME for heaven's sake!! Not only that, but it's an MMOG. These games are about socialization first and gaming second. You fail to fuly support either well and you will have a game that fails, period. The bar is lifting for MMOGs.

You can't just put it out there and figure that there are 100k+ people who will like your game just because you do. There aren't that many hard core role-players that you could hope to suck in 200k people just based upon your game quality. Think about it. I am a hard core role-player and I can tell you that when I was playing D&D it was never about the character (though I definitely wanted them to succeed and busted my hump to make sure they did), it was about sitting around a big dining room table and hanging out with friends, doing something you liked. Well, this is the same thing, only on a much bigger (and smaller) scale. You have to do the socialization that much better, you just lost the intimacy of the table and looking face to face with your co-gamers.

[Edited by - solinear on November 20, 2004 11:19:55 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
An interesting solution for the problem with naming people would be to not have the account name and the character names be the same. For example, I may start an account under 'williamcbubel', however name my character Valeford J. Beowulf. As a matter of fact, if I'm changing classes and changing races all over the place, it would probably be beneficial to change my character name as I so desire. Since the account names are still unique, you won't have a problem say with being attacked by a Grief player, since you can just log the account name and send it directly to the management staff along with a complaint. And the added benefit of being able to role-play under just about any role you could think of (not just changing class, but changing characters completely) leaves the player with a lot of things to do.

Again, imagine an MMORPG where you'd have players willingly playing the weaker or joke classes. Of course, you'd need a way to divy out the experience correctly, but thats just a matter of context. Every bottle of beer the "Alcoholic Fatman" drinks nets him 10 points of experience for his class, vadka worth 15.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this