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Nytehauq

Purpose in MMORPG's

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Nytehauq    328
This starts off with a tangent about combat - but it gets where it's going :) A thought has just occured to me. In the PS2 game Devil May Cry 3, you level up different fighting styles by acquiring style points. You get style points for defeating enemies. The more complex and daring the moves you perform, the more style points you gain. The more mundane and repetetive your moves are, the less you gain overall. Duh! Why not make the experience gains in RPG's (Online and/or otherwise) tied to the player's performance? Not neccesarily in a 'style' based way, but in some way or form? That would greately add to the satisfaction factor. If you were rewarded for performing better in fights, this would create a motive to suffer through hours of repetetive grinding. But wait...why even suffer through hours of grinding? How many MMORPG's force you to grind to level? When you enter the game world, what is your purpose? Why are you just killing things for days? Why are you even going on quests? (This ties together, bear with me) If a person were to play a game like World of Warcraft alone, the experience would excruciatingly boring. The world is dependent on the players that inhabit it, and has little to no personality otherwise. You may be thinking, "Well duh. It's a MMORPG." But this is no excuse. The game world gives the player no meaning, purpose, or reason. The players populate the world - but they do nothing to advance the cohesiveness of the plot or gameplay. They just alleiviate social boredom. The games, at their core, are rather aimless. If you look at Diablo II, designed as both a single and multiplayer experience, you realize that the game has appeal because of the fact that it was designed to support solo play as well. The multiplayer aspect has that much more depth because it doesn't rely on the fact that you have others around you to build the cohesiveness of the world. Now, when you have games with no clear purpose (In Diablo II, you knew from the beginning that you had to kill Diablo and his brothers. Simple.), you run into problems. It's absurd to spend hours just killing things. What decent single player game requires you to grind before you can get to the next stage? Can you imagine having to kill things for a few days before you could beat Tony Hawk's Pro Skater? Or if you had to kill 1000 elites to advance past the Silent Cartographer in Halo? I know that those games are not RPG's, but why should that matter? Why should RPG's be entitled to wasting profuse amounts of the player's time? It's shameful. This now leads back into combat. Enemies in games are traditionally placed as obstacles between you and your goal. You kill them because you have to - and if you so choose, you kill them for fun. In many MMORPG's, they are both the means and the end. It's illogical. MMORPG's should be roleplaying games played online with lots of players. Role Playing games should be games where you play a role and develop your character. That should not involve participating in boring combat situations and leveling ad infinitum. Therein, when you travel the line all the way up to MMORPG, all these things should still hold true. Ironically enough, grinding would be less of a hassle if the combat was fun. I wouldn't mind grinding as much if it was as fast paced and fun as combat in an FPS or in a game such as Devil May Cry. In fact, I often play Devil May Cry and kill enemies repeatedly in order to improve my skills and obtain items. Why is this more tolerable than it is in an MMORPG? I have a purpose, and it's damn fun. In contrast, when you're thrown into a world with no particular purpose, one that doesn't react to your achievements (You kill a boss and they respawn later. Big whoop.), one where the NPC's are lame and the world doesn't pull you in, and one where the interactions, leveling (Even leveling is up for debate - But that's for another post), and fighting are weak and boring when compared to other games - it is boring as all hell. So, in conclusion, what MMORPG's tend to lack is true immersion (E.g. not half assed "You are in a huge world! FEEL IMMERSED!") and purpose - in interactions, in the combat, in NPC and locations, and even in player interaction. It just isn't very detailed. Methinks developers would benefit if they developed MMO's more like deathmatch shooters with interconnected maps. The gameplay should be about combat, the world should only enhance that. Wow...I went off on alot of tangents here. My two hundred cents :)

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Wavinator    2017
Though I'm not much of an MMO fan, I find it interesting that both MMOs and open-ended games (like Elite) have a problem which strategy and story-based games solve: Closure. It is a good point that you make that we often feel the need that things are heading in a certain direction, and this entails some sort of end or resolution.

As far as economics of MMOs, though, I'll have to use my dogfood principle: "Why make fille minion, when your customers will eat dogfood?"

When there is a critical mass of players demanding something different, the games will change. Right now the market is so glutted with me-toos that the grind and alleviation from social boredom make sense as a low-risk way of getting a continuous revenue stream. (Who cares about making a game, we're talking money! [rolleyes])

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dbzprogrammer    100
You're hitting a main point and key here. It's called be animated. Making things more life-like and real. The point is, if this is real, I could face the boss and get my ass whopped or get lucky and find a BFG and blast the shit out of him. Your level shouldn't determine what you can and can't do, it's how good you can do it...

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Though I'm not much of an MMO fan, I find it interesting that both MMOs and open-ended games (like Elite) have a problem which strategy and story-based games solve: Closure. It is a good point that you make that we often feel the need that things are heading in a certain direction, and this entails some sort of end or resolution.

As far as economics of MMOs, though, I'll have to use my dogfood principle: "Why make fille minion, when your customers will eat dogfood?"

When there is a critical mass of players demanding something different, the games will change. Right now the market is so glutted with me-toos that the grind and alleviation from social boredom make sense as a low-risk way of getting a continuous revenue stream. (Who cares about making a game, we're talking money! [rolleyes])


While the regulars that frequent your "Kibbles" restaurant may be enough for you in this scenario, you would be making the mistake that countless MMO developers do all the time -- failing to see the bigger potential. All MMO's are plagued by the "money for nothing" syndrome. Their main focus is to keep finding ways to squeeze more money out of those willing to stick it out without giving them anything in return but empty promises of fixed bugs & added content. They fail to see that while they tighten the grip on those willing to stay, the others are oozing out like wet mud in a clenching fist. They are losing millions in these efforts to make a few extra bucks. I call this tripping over dollars to pick up pennies.

MMO's as they are currently designed only have long-term appeal to a very small minority of the entire gaming community. If they were smart they would apply the massively multiplayer part to the more popular gameplay styles. Any MMO developer would sell his mom for the online populations that have thrived from games such as CS etc... well, here's a clue -- provide the gameplay styles they do.

There IS a critical mass of players demanding what you say they're not. Almost every big MMO has suffered from massive subscription loss -- And the top reasons are exactly what the original poster described. The problem is that developers are to shortsighted to see it. As long as we're talking principles, I'll use one of my favorites..."If you build it, they will come."

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Wavinator    2017
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
While the regulars that frequent your "Kibbles" restaurant may be enough for you in this scenario, you would be making the mistake that countless MMO developers do all the time -- failing to see the bigger potential. All MMO's are plagued by the "money for nothing" syndrome. Their main focus is to keep finding ways to squeeze more money out of those willing to stick it out without giving them anything in return but empty promises of fixed bugs & added content. They fail to see that while they tighten the grip on those willing to stay, the others are oozing out like wet mud in a clenching fist. They are losing millions in these efforts to make a few extra bucks. I call this tripping over dollars to pick up pennies.


Please don't think that I'm advocating that philosophy, I was just describing the process. If a project is to be professionally funded, over and over again, it will be compared to what's already out there. If publishers see that a model is raking in tons of money, they'll demand a product that is like it.

Now customers may be doing my favorite thing, "voting with their dollar." But it seems so far that they're outvoted.

Quote:

If they were smart they would apply the massively multiplayer part to the more popular gameplay styles. Any MMO developer would sell his mom for the online populations that have thrived from games such as CS etc... well, here's a clue -- provide the gameplay styles they do.


Haven't they done this already? (Haven't played it, but I thought that Planetside, minus the head shots, was an example)


Quote:

There IS a critical mass of players demanding what you say they're not.


Where are they? Where are they making themselves heard? (Again, I'm not an MMO fan, so there may be some huge outcry that I haven't heard of, but when I see the success of Star Wars Galaxies, warts and all, I've got to wonder)

Quote:

"If you build it, they will come."


I wish I could believe this, but the expression "best game nobody played" withers my faith a bit. I'd rather change this to "damn the torpedoes, build it anyway!" [smile]

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The Regent    122
I think the overall goal in an MMO is to be noticed, to be the best. People grind all day and all night so they can eventually kill the biggest monster, craft the best weapons, or cast the best spells. Once they can do these things they say, "Look at me, I'm so l33t!" Attention is the name of the game. Others play so they can do something with their friends or make new friends. And other people play just because they like the gameplay or graphics.

I'd call what was once Wish a great MMO full of potential. The frequent events allowed anybody to have fun and join in on the story. Spawned enemies were scaled to the event group's overall strength. Even the quests that spawned from the events and led to new events didn't require any particular level or skill. Participants were recognized in the game's newspaper and received special loot during the events. It was easy to make some new friends and the roleplaying was some of the best I've ever experienced.

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pink_daisy    200
Quote:
Original post by The Regent
I think the overall goal in an MMO is to be noticed, to be the best. People grind all day and all night so they can eventually kill the biggest monster, craft the best weapons, or cast the best spells. Once they can do these things they say, "Look at me, I'm so l33t!" Attention is the name of the game. Others play so they can do something with their friends or make new friends. And other people play just because they like the gameplay or graphics.


Not everyone. Dr Richard Bartle, the co-creator of the first MUD wrote a paper back in the 90s that puts MUD and MMO players in 4 broad catagories: Achiever, Explorer, Socializer, or Killer. You are referring to the achiever types, but Bartle makes a strong case for other player types in these games. I'm inclined to think that there are more than 4 basic player types and/or those 4 groups aren't granular enough. Nevertheless, he does make some great points about player types. His book, Designing Virtual Worlds is a great read for anyone interested in an indepth analysis of MMOs.

Quote:

I'd call what was once Wish a great MMO full of potential. The frequent events allowed anybody to have fun and join in on the story. Spawned enemies were scaled to the event group's overall strength. Even the quests that spawned from the events and led to new events didn't require any particular level or skill. Participants were recognized in the game's newspaper and received special loot during the events. It was easy to make some new friends and the roleplaying was some of the best I've ever experienced.


/agreed

I'm not ready to call Wish the best thing since sliced bread, but it is unfortunate that the project was cancelled. If nothing else it could have moved the genre forward.

PD

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The Regent    122
Quote:
Original post by pink_daisy
Not everyone. Dr Richard Bartle, the co-creator of the first MUD wrote a paper back in the 90s that puts MUD and MMO players in 4 broad catagories: Achiever, Explorer, Socializer, or Killer. You are referring to the achiever types, but Bartle makes a strong case for other player types in these games. I'm inclined to think that there are more than 4 basic player types and/or those 4 groups aren't granular enough. Nevertheless, he does make some great points about player types. His book, Designing Virtual Worlds is a great read for anyone interested in an indepth analysis of MMOs.
I did mention Socializer and sort of mentioned Explorer, but it was only a couple of sentences. Anyway, you're absolutely right. MMOs could be a great source of info on psychology. I may have heard of this Dr. Bartle, but I did read some presentation on MMOs by Raph Koster and Rich Vogel. It was about manipulating players into loving your game and getting their help in silencing nay-sayers...of course it was explained in a much more neutral way than I've just stated. ;)

I've found that presentation: Here

[Edited by - The Regent on June 4, 2005 2:12:28 AM]

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Nytehauq    328
Hmmm...hmmm...

I didn't know that so many people noticed that MMO's are largely (if not solely) engineered to make money. I theorize that developers would benefit in the long run if they created a more symbiotic relationship between player and developer. As the system runs now, most things that make developers more money in MMORPG's consequently make the game less fun for the player. If the developer designed a game in which profit was made porportionally to the experience that the player was having (Well, the basic idea - It would be kind of impossible to create a system that gives you money based on the 'happiness' of your players :)), games would both be better and make more money - in the long run. You can only saturate the market with inferior crap for so long. Eventually, someone will beat you or people will get tired, and find something more fun to do. While it might not be as cost effective in the short term to produce FUN games (I know...what a concept...FUN games...) that don't act solely as timesinks, it would be beneficial in the long run.

Alas, it is true. The lack of direction in MMORPG's is either a symptom or propigator of time wasting. I suppose if people were compelled to play a game because of the enjoyment factor and not just because they're trying to make their character stronger so that the game will be less boring, they would probably get alot more done more quickly. The more aimless wandering you do, the more time you spend, the more money they make. Yech. This gives me the urge to throw a gigantic monkey-wrench into the entire contraption.

P.S. - Check out Gamasutra's 'It's all relative' article. It offers a very good definition of what kinds of people like to play what games. Too lazy to get the link :)

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Kylotan    10009
Quote:
Original post by Nytehauq
How many MMORPG's force you to grind to level? When you enter the game world, what is your purpose? Why are you just killing things for days? Why are you even going on quests? (This ties together, bear with me)


Because they charge by the month.

Quote:
Now, when you have games with no clear purpose (In Diablo II, you knew from the beginning that you had to kill Diablo and his brothers. Simple.), you run into problems. It's absurd to spend hours just killing things. What decent single player game requires you to grind before you can get to the next stage?


You can get away with it when the world isn't persistent. In a persistent world you can't give the players goals that, when completed, are going to remove goals for other people.

Quote:
MMORPG's should be roleplaying games played online with lots of players. Role Playing games should be games where you play a role and develop your character.


You're arguing the point from the wrong angle. The label describes the games, it doesn't dictate them. I don't think anyone has a right to say that games should be a certain way or that players should play them a certain way.

I'm a bit concerned that you're complaining about things that you don't like, but which many many other people are fine with.

Quote:
Methinks developers would benefit if they developed MMO's more like deathmatch shooters with interconnected maps.


Dark Ages of Camelot? Shadowbane? Guild Wars? Those games have many deathmatch qualities. I'm not really sure how this suggestion ties in to your other gripes, either.

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Nytehauq    328
This is all, of course, in the context of my opinions. I don't like the system. I think that the way that MMORPG's are designed today isn't very good. That doesn't mean that they aren't very good in reality - it just means that I don't like them as they are.

I'm well aware of the economic drive in MMORPG's. It's a great way to make money - and a bad way to make good games. I'm not saying that MMORPG's are horrible because of this, I'm saying that they sacrifice gameplay for profit. They do. This is a travesty from a creative standpoint. But, in the business world, that really doesn't matter. I see your point, but I'm arguing from a creative perspective. Creatively speaking and from the perspective of the gameplayer/consumer, there are flaws. This is because of the fact that MMORPG's aren't geared towards providing a play experience that is fun (and therein motivating you to keep playing and buying the plethora of sequels that will be released for any given title) as much as they are geared towards providing an addictive and time consuming one. It's business.

And, it's creative treason.

I'm not doubting their business model - that's solid. I'm just saying that, in my opinion, many MMORPG's suck in many ways as far as gameplay is concerned.

If you look at the argument from the perspective of a person intending to create a fun game experience without any hope of getting paid for it, it would probably make alot of sense - even into the parts where I define what an RPG should be, in a seemingly opinionated manner. It would surely turn out to be the best game nobody played, and the best company ever to go bankrupt.

But this thread isn't about the business. It's about what could theorhetically be done to make the 'best' MMORPG.

With all due respect,
Nytehauq.

Oh, and you can give the player goals that interfere with other players. It's just harder to do, and not very cost effective.

And the deathmatch shooter analogy was meant to tie into gameplay gripes. The ideal game - from a consumer standpoint - would have a gigantic world that would be as detailed as a smaller set of levels in a single player game. It's just about the ideal of having lots of content while still preserving detail in design and combat. Alot of RPG's have lots of space - and nothing to do in it. Naturally, quality and quantity don't go hand in hand - but it would be nice if they did.

[Edited by - Nytehauq on June 4, 2005 5:36:39 PM]

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WeirdoFu    205
Reverting back to the topic of "Purpose in MMORPG's", I personally feel that MMORPG's like MUDs really originate from the dreams of players of RPGs to be able to share their experience with other players/friends.

Originally, most games were single player and people could only talk about what they did in the game. There was almost no way to "do something together" with a friend who is also playing the game. So, personally, I feel MMORPGs and MUDs were born out of the dream of being able to share a common space with friends and do things together and have fun.

So, the pen-ultimate purpose, I guess, is to have fun with friends in a shared environment. Doesn't really have to be beautiful or anything, which is why MUDs are still around.

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Kylotan    10009
Quote:
Original post by Nytehauq
Creatively speaking and from the perspective of the gameplayer/consumer, there are flaws. This is because of the fact that MMORPG's aren't geared towards providing a play experience that is fun (and therein motivating you to keep playing and buying the plethora of sequels that will be released for any given title) as much as they are geared towards providing an addictive and time consuming one.


Still, millions of people play them. By choice. So they must be fun. Sure, they're not perfect, but few games are.

Quote:
Oh, and you can give the player goals that interfere with other players. It's just harder to do, and not very cost effective.


Care to give some examples? I don't doubt this is true, but if you're ignoring cost effectiveness you're doomed to go down this route. I don't really see you proposing much that could give online games the sense of purpose that you lack, without it being entirely impractical in terms of the amount of content you'd need to generate.

Purpose implies progress towards something. Progress implies irrevocable change. Irrevocable change implies 'completed' or 'destroyed' content. Destroyed content implies an eventual lack of enough things for players to do.

Quote:
And the deathmatch shooter analogy was meant to tie into gameplay gripes. The ideal game - from a consumer standpoint - would have a gigantic world that would be as detailed as a smaller set of levels in a single player game. It's just about the ideal of having lots of content while still preserving detail in design and combat. Alot of RPG's have lots of space - and nothing to do in it.


Which deathmatch shooters are you talking about? I don't play many but in UT levels the scenery is reasonably detailed but there's nothing to do. I don't see an improvement over persistent RPGs there.

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Riviera Kid    142
Quote:
Original post by Kylotan

You can get away with it when the world isn't persistent. In a persistent world you can't give the players goals that, when completed, are going to remove goals for other people.


you make a persistent mmorpg where quests are created dynamically.
For example:
1) (pvp world)
give people the tools to hunt down outlaws. This would be a very dynamic quest and very challenging.

2) if your quest is "retreive the ring of doom", it would have an origin. Somone would take it, use it, sell it. The next guy who wants it would need to use some sort of locator spell. Quest items could exist anywhere in the world (not individual storage).

Dynamically quests in a pvp world are the way forward.

It would be very satisfying to do something which has a global effect.

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Kylotan    10009
'Dynamically' is a very vague term. What do you mean by it?

Your examples:
Quote:
1) (pvp world) give people the tools to hunt down outlaws.


This already exists in various forms in existing games. You've changed monster-killing grind into player-killing grind. No qualitative improvement.

Quote:
2) if your quest is "retreive the ring of doom", it would have an origin. Somone would take it, use it, sell it. The next guy who wants it would need to use some sort of locator spell. Quest items could exist anywhere in the world


How many objects are you going to have in the world that are worthy of being in a quest? Enough for every player to be on 2 or 3 quests at once? If so, aren't these items going to necessarily be somewhat mundane? And numerically speaking, if there are fewer such objects than players, that means some players don't have quests. What do you do to complete the quest - return the object to an NPC who happens to lose it again so that the next guy can do the quest? Or hold onto it yourself, at which point does someone else get a similar quest meaning that you're now hunted down for that item? Not good if you're not playing PvP. What if the person with the item goes offline? Or stays offline for months? How can each player have a global effect - if every item is so important as to affect everybody, then won't such effects be so common as to be insignificant anyway? Or at the other end of the scale, won't the vast majority of people be excluded since they are unable to complete the really important quests? If some players can have global effects on the world, doesn't that have implications for the other players... probably negative, in terms of fairness and fun?

There needs to be more thought put in before writing off the existing model. It's prevalent because so far, it's the only one we know how to make work.

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Vanquish    216
Ive long felt the same way as the OP. The solution is interaction and immersion.
Ok - two worthless buzzwords, right? Not really.

I've long thought that the interaction with the gameworld that single player games like Myst, Nancy Drew, and others have. Flipping on and off lights when you're hiding from a mob, a radio dial with switches...etc. These things would make interaction in a game more meaningful. They have to be tied to gameplay, but they would make the experience so much better!

Immersion for me in MMOs means having a working simulated environment behind the scenes. Yes there are AI and draw loads to think about that cause lag, but creating such worlds means its not all about kill and be killed. You have NPCs with goals that carry out lives which affect the gameworld almost as much as players do.

That's an abbreviated version of my "I have an MMO dream" speech. We're working to make it happen.


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Hawkins8    100
Quote:
How many MMORPG's force you to grind to level? When you enter the game world, what is your purpose? Why are you just killing things for days? Why are you even going on quests? (This ties together, bear with me)


A level-based mmorpg is just an improved diablo where thousands of people can play together. There is not a virtual world in such a game. You keep going from one area to another designed for your level. Hmmm..all are just like what's in Diablo.

You'll see that when your char is placed to a level map (which is not a virtual world), what do you expect it to do? Naturally, it's all about killing things and grinding up.

What stuns me is that even some skill-based games are designed in a similar way as those level-based games. They (the devs) dont pay efforts in crafting the virtual world which is what the level-based games lack, rather they simply take everything from the level-based games, even Wish and afew other skill-based games made such a mistake. That's how they failed.

It's actually not that difficult to design a virtual world, by using UO as a blue print. Yet noone does that, it's sad. Thou a level-based game is much easier to design and to make money and it's much less error-prone to make, there is still a market for a *good* skill-based game. The cant make the design right, that's the problem, maybe the devs are influenced too much by level-based games that they cant make a good skill-based game out.

In a word, designing a 'virtual world' for a skill-based game is very different from that for a level-based game. If the design is wrong, the whole game will be ruined.

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Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
'Dynamically' is a very vague term. What do you mean by it?


Quote:
2) if your quest is "retreive the ring of doom", it would have an origin. Somone would take it, use it, sell it. The next guy who wants it would need to use some sort of locator spell. Quest items could exist anywhere in the world


How many objects are you going to have in the world that are worthy of being in a quest? Enough for every player to be on 2 or 3 quests at once? If so, aren't these items going to necessarily be somewhat mundane? And numerically speaking, if there are fewer such objects than players, that means some players don't have quests. What do you do to complete the quest - return the object to an NPC who happens to lose it again so that the next guy can do the quest? Or hold onto it yourself, at which point does someone else get a similar quest meaning that you're now hunted down for that item? Not good if you're not playing PvP. What if the person with the item goes offline? Or stays offline for months? How can each player have a global effect - if every item is so important as to affect everybody, then won't such effects be so common as to be insignificant anyway? Or at the other end of the scale, won't the vast majority of people be excluded since they are unable to complete the really important quests? If some players can have global effects on the world, doesn't that have implications for the other players... probably negative, in terms of fairness and fun?

There needs to be more thought put in before writing off the existing model. It's prevalent because so far, it's the only one we know how to make work.





You need a sophisticated world system that allows modifying the terrain (terrain which is also big enough so that there are areas which players wont
witness changes as they automagically are made) and placement of 'props' on the fly (all procedurally generated with control parameters). You need a large enough script base (scripts that allow alot of random flavors and variants and 'cosmetic differences) so they dont look repetative or generic. Multi-stage 'quests' with variants at each stage to scramble them even more. It would also help to have a small team continually adding addition quest scenarios and variants. Hierarchies of quest results lead to opening additional quests.

Note - these scripts would be shared across ALL servers, so the manpower and $$$ put into producing them would have a multiplied effect (cost efficiency).

These quests should move some game macro plot forward (via player competition and cooperation) doing the many small quests lead to some perceived change in world state. There should be coordination of a small (again) team of game masters to use activations and placement of subsets of quest genres (building blocks) to stage larger game plot events (and supply imaginative and coherant plot descriptions). SOme kind of world cycling scheme might be nice to allow reapplying the same plot devices after a year (but allow for that world macro plot to be taken down different paths because of different player involvement results.


Good tools to allow the GMs to facilitate/oversee plot (and manipulate the available quest scripts)would be needed.


I remember playing UO for 5 years and seeing the near static state of the game map and the sheer boredome of players -- then even their lame macro-plot events would cause half the players to show up looking for something new to see.
They would change some chunk of the world to have some 'invasion' (or such) happen for several weeks or a month and it would be a new conmbination of game play (as if they added a new 'dungeon' for everyone to learn the ways of). Unfortunately their server system code was so fossilized that any macro events like that took too much work to produce. It would have been a significantly better game (and made millions more $$$ for the) if they could have staged daily (different) events of that magnitude.

From what I could tell, the management didnt want to pay for anything that innovative, and was happy to milk the game doing the least possible work (putting millions of dollars towards 2 replacements that were both abandoned).
They lost 30 million dollars (50k players * 5yr * $10/month) income simply because they were slow fixing problems (newbie-killers ran rampant for years),
let alone how many more customeres they could have had if they had a much more
flexible quest/macro event mechanism.





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Hawkins8    100
Quote:
Original post by Vanquish
Im not getting how the two types of game need different worlds. And what are the differences? Educate me.


Just to name afew,

A) Level design:
1) In level-based game, you are not supposed to go a high level area designed for high level chars, you'll be one-hit killed by the mobs wandering there if you char is not at that level.

2) In a skill-based game, you have more freedom and can go *deeper* into the *dangerous* areas without being insta-killed.

So in a skill-based game, mobs should be carefully spawned such they'll give the required challenge to the highend chars while they wont totally block your access to a large landmass of the *virtual world* (of course, there are always certain areas a noob cant go into, just a matter of percentage). In a level-based game, it's rather simple, just focus on the *level-design* and forget about the low lever explorers.

B) World to new players:
1) In a level-based game, you may abandon a newly created char to any place and give them some wolves to kill (such as in WOW, EQ2, Lineage2 etc., that's good enough to start the grinding. You'll never come back after level 10 anyway.

2) In a skill-based game however, you need to bear in mind that you need to give the new players a warm welcome with a message/perception that "Hello, this is a virtual world you are living in, do you feel the warmth and how real the virtual world is".

It's exactly what's UO, new chars are always welcome by a city with shops and NPC walking around to give you the virtual world feeling. And soon you'll see rats, cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, boar, deers, horses, goats plus the lightly spawned lizardmen, ogres, trolls, harpies and like. The effect is very different. You perceive that you must do something on those small animals with your sword, yet not that obvious as the given wolves in a level-based game. It's conveying the message that it's an option to kill them or not, you may skip the lovely animals and pick on the ogres if you choose to protect the poor animals, lol, role-playing. Anyway, it's about virtual world realism which has no value at all in a level-based game.

So in a skill-based game it's a very lame design to abandon the new chars in the wildness and give them some wolves to kill, but several skill-based games start new chars this way, it's lame.

C) NPCs
1) It's ok in a level-based game to see all the NPCs just stationed there like a log, anyway, you dont want to see the NPCs who's giving out quests moving around that you may lose sight on them. Time is crucial for grinding, you dont want to spend time in locating the NPC who's giving out your class-change quest.

2) In a skill-based game, however, you'll prefer to see the random and it's lame to see the same NPC standing in the same spot 24/7.

As a result, in a skill-based game it's better to see NPCs walking around, they may go to the tavern during lunch and their own houses during the night and so on. It's however totally not necessary in a level-based game, as you need to locate a certain char quick plus that you may never return to low level areas when you are at high level, who cares about the NPCs, just grind and go go that's all.

D) Goes back to the maps
1) In a level-based game, most maps are used only for once, as you level up, low level areas become meaningless to you. Again it's all about level-design.

2) In a skill-based game, you are expected to return to alot (if not most) of the cities/dungeons/mines etc repeatedly. So there must be some hot spots where players will feel the fun to come and again.

There are more, I just dont have the time to dig them all up.

[Edited by - Hawkins8 on June 6, 2005 5:25:44 AM]

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Riviera Kid    142
Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
'Dynamically' is a very vague term. What do you mean by it?

Your examples:
Quote:
1) (pvp world) give people the tools to hunt down outlaws.


This already exists in various forms in existing games. You've changed monster-killing grind into player-killing grind. No qualitative improvement.



i would say fighting human players is more entertaining than fighting the same npc monsters over and over and over again. Also, it is more satisfying to defeat the outlaw as you are being noble and serving the players.

Quote:
Original post by Kylotan

Quote:
2) if your quest is "retreive the ring of doom", it would have an origin. Somone would take it, use it, sell it. The next guy who wants it would need to use some sort of locator spell. Quest items could exist anywhere in the world


How many objects are you going to have in the world that are worthy of being in a quest? Enough for every player to be on 2 or 3 quests at once? If so, aren't these items going to necessarily be somewhat mundane? And numerically speaking, if there are fewer such objects than players, that means some players don't have quests. What do you do to complete the quest - return the object to an NPC who happens to lose it again so that the next guy can do the quest? Or hold onto it yourself, at which point does someone else get a similar quest meaning that you're now hunted down for that item? Not good if you're not playing PvP. What if the person with the item goes offline? Or stays offline for months? How can each player have a global effect - if every item is so important as to affect everybody, then won't such effects be so common as to be insignificant anyway? Or at the other end of the scale, won't the vast majority of people be excluded since they are unable to complete the really important quests? If some players can have global effects on the world, doesn't that have implications for the other players... probably negative, in terms of fairness and fun?


you wont be told to go get item x by anyone. You would explore, interact with other players, read stuff then you would say "i want that item", then you pursue that item.

Or you pay some guy to go and get it for you.

If the player goes offline, the item then exists in his house and you must break in and take it. Then you have some sort of bounty. Then you are hunted as an outlaw by the other player(s).

Many an interesting story can come from combining dynamic/player driven quests.

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Kylotan    10009
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Multi-stage 'quests' with variants at each stage to scramble them even more. It would also help to have a small team continually adding addition quest scenarios and variants. Hierarchies of quest results lead to opening additional quests.

Note - these scripts would be shared across ALL servers, so the manpower and $$$ put into producing them would have a multiplied effect (cost efficiency).


I don't see anything incredibly new there... and the last point is moot because it already applies to pretty much every game on the market.

Quote:
These quests should move some game macro plot forward (via player competition and cooperation) doing the many small quests lead to some perceived change in world state.


This is still pretty vague and ignores what I was getting at - what are you going to allow to change in the world, that is both important enough to be worthwhile, yet not so significant that it will negatively impact on many players? I don't think it can be easily summed up as 'moving the plot forward' because the whole definition of plot is a poor match for persistent online games anyway. In narrative terms it suggests a common start, middle, and end, and follows the events relating to several key characters. This doesn't work well with games where players start at different times, where all players want to be a hero (yet no story can have thousands of heroes by definition), and where players want to be treated fairly and not denied content available to others.

Quote:
I remember playing UO for 5 years and seeing the near static state of the game map and the sheer boredome of players -- then even their lame macro-plot events would cause half the players to show up looking for something new to see.


Let's be fair here: not only is Ultima Online is 8 year old technology, but it was the first game of its kind and did not have the benefit of hindsight when it was developed. We wouldn't debate the quality of current first person shooters with reference to Quake 1 or discuss RPGs by highlighting problems with Ultima 8.

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Radiostorm    127
Quote:
I'm not ready to call Wish the best thing since sliced bread, but it is unfortunate that the project was cancelled. If nothing else it could have moved the genre forward.

I agree. I was totally bummed out when the project got cancelled (especially since I was lined up to participate in the next stage of beta testing). The game was a little lackluster on the graphical side, but it had some great ideas.

Quote:
what MMORPG's tend to lack is true immersion (E.g. not half assed "You are in a huge world! FEEL IMMERSED!")

I think that huge worlds are neccesary to progress the genre. Admittedly, the way large worlds are being implemented now is pretty pointless. I liken it to being dropped off in a playground where the swings are 3 miles away from the slide; the extra space is just getting in the way of me having fun. But there is potential.

For example, what I'd like to see is a completely permeable MMO world to put that space to use. One where you can build cities, excavate or raise ground, plat gardens or clear cut forests; anything you'd be able to do in real life. The inability to interact with the environment on that level is the real hurdle preventing me from being immersed in an MMORPG.

Until I can cut down a tree and use it to build a house then I just see it as a bark texture on a pile of polygons.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Multi-stage 'quests' with variants at each stage to scramble them even more. It would also help to have a small team continually adding addition quest scenarios and variants. Hierarchies of quest results lead to opening additional quests.

Note - these scripts would be shared across ALL servers, so the manpower and $$$ put into producing them would have a multiplied effect (cost efficiency).


I don't see anything incredibly new there... and the last point is moot because it already applies to pretty much every game on the market.




Maybe nothing new, except how many games actually use a sophisticated system as I described ??? How many have customizd quest 'dungeons' temporarily appear somewhere on the map (spawned for the mini-quest') and then when its over disappear?? How many have NPCs that are placed just for a specific quest and then walk into the sunset afterward??

Most MMORG are quite static and facilitate 'harvestingf' of monsters and camping. Nearly uniques quests would eliminate such stupid game play.


The part abou script reuse also would be much different because instead of the mostly static worlds using the scripts once (and fossilizing them into their 'world') those scripts could be used differently by the GM team and customized on each server -- they are REAL building blocks that could be easily used to
make each game world significantly different and challenging (and interesting to the players).






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