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Fun/Challenging/Interactive Medic gameplay for an MMO?

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Id like to get some feedback on making the medical skills really fun and fit into our MMO. Here's how health and healing is going to work: When you take damage, your health bar goes down - of course. At certain levels of health the maximum amount of health you can regen will be lowered. Also the rate at which you regen will lower as well. Critical hits will be rare wounds that cause lasting (but not permanent) disfunction in a character. Leg = runspeed + lasting % down in health max (possibly walk shaky) Arm = - STR, - accuracy Chest = - CON, - END Groin = - CHA, -LUCK (possibly walk shaky) Head = - CHA, - INT (camera shakes or flashes for blindness) (Im tempted to put in an EXTRA critical type that permanently makes you walk with a limp or lose an arm for roleplaying) WOUND TYPES: normal, critical, bleeding: Normal - just a loss of hp plain and simple. Critical take a skilled surgeon or hospital to heal. Has effects described above. Bleeding = normal damage + DoT damage until healed or dead. MEDICAL SKILLS: first aid + surgery first aid = stop bleeding + regain some hp. Can be performed on yourself. Level of first aid skill = increased amt of restore and faster time Surgery = treat critical wounds or restore to 100% of hp max. RACIAL Differences: Mutants are much quicker to stop bleeding, higher hp, slow to regen BioBorgs have faster regen rate, lower hp, fast bleed Humans have best mix of hp, regen and bleeding MEDICINE: Much like UO/WoW's alchemy system, there will be mutated plants all over the wasteland and in chemical shops in cities that can be combined to make healing pharms. The rarer, the more it can heal. HOSPITALS: NPC Outposts and Player-towns will have med units: The higher rank these are, the faster the heal rate. The more time you spend in these, the more your max hp level gets restored. Logging out inside one of these will bring you back to 100%. CONTROLS: One of things I havent decided is how to make the actual process of using your medic skill interesting. Im not sure if the skills should be accquired through use, by paying a trainer, through quests, or a combination of these. HELP?! Im also trying to come up with some semi-realistic, but yet still fun gameplay for medics. There's a game called "Combat Medic Special Ops" here that I havent played. There's also Theme Hospital I dont want this to get into feature creep, but as we create a world where we want to make real professions mean something, I can see quests that involve much more than hitting a button. Creating an interactive interface for medics is just one of the opportunities we have. If anyone has played a game with interesting controls for a medic...let me know. [Edited by - Vanquish on August 1, 2005 1:38:39 PM]

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Attempting to make healing in MMOs more appealing is a worthy venture and I'll offer some input to your ideas. First, I have to say that some of your ideas sound fun for a healer type to remedy but not so fun for another non-healer to play.

Reduced regen at lower life: An interesting idea, however it also punishes a player for taking risks (beyond the risk of death) because a player who fights a hard battle now has to wait much longer to fight again then if they had fought two smaller battles. This is more realistic, but not necessarily more fun. In general adding more downtime is usually a good way to frustrate a player. An interesting regen idea was used in Guild Wars (using the reverse logic) which was that if a player was out of combat for a short duration that they would then start to regenerate. The longer they regenerated the faster they would regenerate (at an exponential rate), such that the time it took to regen from half life to full was almost the same as regenerating from a quarter life to full.

Damaged limbs: Some of the effects you mention are interesting, but a few would be game breaking. Personally if I'm out in the middle of a wasteland and I get bit in the leg by some mutant creature the last thing I want to have to do is hobble back to town and try and track down a player surgeon to fix it (This also relies on the fact that there is currently a player on who is a surgeon and in my area). Slowing player movement for an extended period of time is just frustrating for a player in most cases (This does not mean slowing a player for a short duration is also detrimental as many games use short duration slow effects to great effect). Having the camera shake is also a proven game element that many players find annoying. Star Wars Galaxies had the camera shake when a large creature fell over. This actual frustrated many players and also made some motion sick (This was fixed by allowing it to be an effect that could be toggled on and off, however). As for having the screen flash for blindness this just ups your epilepsy occurrence unnecessarily =). Everquest did actually have the screen go entirely blank when blinded, but this was for short periods of time and not permanent until healed.

If you have not ever played Star Wars Galaxies I recommend that you check it out as it has a healing system similar to what I think your looking to create (or at least it did, last I heard there had been a huge update that changed the way healing and combat worked). The idea for that MMO was that when a person took damage they would also incur a small amount of wounds and some attacks would create more wounds (i.e. criticals). Wounds were represented by lowering max health by an amount equal to the current wounds (i.e. a player with 100hp normal, would only have 90hp available to him if he had 10 wounds). A medic could heal a player out in the field, however only a doctor could heal wounds back in town. It was an interesting system that wasn't too invasive to normal game play. A player simply had to go get wounds healed every so often. It is worth mentioning that even this system upset quite a few players who didn't want to have in game mechanic that forced them to return to town if they didn't want to. In the end the idea of wounds, in this game, really only played up to one type of player and that was the ultra passive and non-combative healer type, a person who didn't want to be near a battle healing but still wanted to play a support role.

It comes down to a balancing act. As you increase the realism of wounds, fatigue, and injuries you make a healing profession much more rich and compelling, but at the same time you also hinder the non-healer player who has to bear the burden of those effects until they can find a healer type to assist them. One clear thing to ask yourself about anything that you would want to add for a healer to fix/heal is how will it burden the player who is out alone with no healer.

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how about making the medics follow a sort of different gameplay than the other classes?

Other classes can buy a phone or paging device that they can use in emergencies. They can use it to dial a 911-like number to request healing. All medics have a radio which alerts them to a person in need nearest to them. Medics will rush to the scene and heal the players or even take them out of the battle grounds to a hospital (perhaps medics have a vehicle to help them get to a place quickly). Medics gain experience by saving more and more people. This way, most medics will hang out near the dangerous areas to wait for emergency calls. If there are no medics in an area, the system can spawn NPC medics to heal persons in need. Other classes need to buy heal credits to get healed.

In cases where there are too many medics in 1 place, the system could generate random battles where a medic is requested.

edit: medics can choose not to answer the call but when they accept the call, they have to heal the caller requesting aid or suffer penalties. They may also gain more experience the faster they arrive and help the caller. This gives the medics a reason to get to the caller as fast as possible.

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Thats not really realistic for our game. We are in a post-apocalyptic pvp atmosphere.

There simply has to be some sort of semi-realistic, yet fun way of playing a modern medic.

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I think it would discourage solo adventuring. That might be a good thing.

For one thing, medics would be largely unable to venture forth on their own, for want of battle skills. They would need people around to help, and that means a party. By the way, can a medic heal himself? It would suck to have a gimpy medic along, slowing everyone else down.

Second, other classes would pretty much need a medic with them at all times, to treat their serious injuries. This would encourage party play, which makes more sense than some dude just getting out his rifle and heading into the wastes.

I like the idea of it being genuinely stupid to go too far out by yourself. You might patrol around a town, grinding on radscorpions and raiders, but always within limping range of a doctor. If you're going to make an honest push toward a seriously dangerous area, you'll want eight or nine guys, including two medics and a scout and maybe a mule for ammo.

I like it. I think it would contribute meaningfully to the sense of community.

However, it might be more marketable to just make "medic" a secondary skill, so the loners can learn enough to keep them mobile, and medic characters won't be totally useless on their own.

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This is quite the good train of thought. Though it can be tricky as deadpenguin said, if medics are the only ones who can fully heal to any amount than they will become overly powerful (see Acolytes in Ragnarok Online, the only ones who can warp long distances resurrect and generally heal, and so charge a bundle for their services, or just ignore you for those who do have money).

It would be a good idea to allow players to learn at least some basic First Aid skills, so that they can use a Splint or medkit to slow the bleeding long enough to be able to jaunt from the wilderness back to town. In alot of ways this would probably be an interesting form of gameplay, since prevention is the best medicine scouts may have an easier time in getting around and leading the rest of the party away from danger.

As for injuries and fatal injuries, i often think of Resident Evil 2 when it comes to this. The more injured the player is, the more you can see it. Yellow he holds his ribs (unless shooting), orange he holds his ribs and his left arm is limp, and red he drags his food when walking, and holds his arm, etc.

For making the use of the Skill interesting, well i'm all for a more intensive Player-Skill oriented use of it. I see drugs being a Very important part of being a medic. First there's the mixing of drugs, so you have to mix the proper ingredients in the correct order, even waiting a few minutes for certain combinations before continuing, adding in a bunsen burner for some, etc. If its generally complex than more knowledgable players would get paid more for making more complex and effective medicine.

The next is actually applying the medicine. Now the player may have to pick a wound close, or far enough from the injury for it to be effective. He also has to keep track of the drugs he's used so far, this is because if the medic gives him one drug that supposed to stop bleeding, and another drug to wake him up and the two mix together in his body they could create a fatal neuro toxin. If the player uses drugs (like in Fallout) this could complicate matters for the medic alot, especially if the player doesn't tell him, since he may use a standard medicine that would react with the drugs in his body and again, kill him (or cause greater injury). He'd also have to watch out for the players condition, if he's lost to much blood than giving him a blood-thinner (perhalps for types of poison) would end up killing him even faster.

All of these things would require the player to know his combinations, his patient and situations. Certainly makes clicking one button require more thinking. ;D

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Our gameplay system is a classless system where skill per use allows you to change your character. Of course we are going to have to hard-code some limits like Ultima Online did (only 700% of skills at any time in UO).

Basically you'd have a bar of buttons all greyed out...and as you use the lower skills the higher skills would open up. At 20%, 35%..of your medical skill, certain feats would open up.

This way people could learn a few medical skills if they wanted to.

So I began thinking of a breakdown like this:



Decyphering the chart above you'll notice a few things:

a) each hit must be checked for 3 types of damage - normal, bleeding, and critical

b) each category will have different levels (bleeding 1,2,3...n) which denote different damage ranges. For example, Bleeding 2 might cause 2d6 points of damage per tick, where at Bleeding 3 might cause 3d6.


Im was tempted to separate First Aid and Surgery but realized that this was merely making things too complicated. Yes the healing of critical wounds would be surgery, but is there really a reason to separate the two skills? Merely make the Medical Skill on a percentage% and only allow the "surgical" type skills at higher %s.

One thing that I havent integrated yet is the ability to repair someone's max hitpoints level. Not sure where that should fit in. Perhaps as part of the same system but I havent come up with a name for it.

Keep the ideas rolling guys. I appreciate the brain jog.

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How about if max hitpoints recover based on time spent at 100% health? Like rehabilitation, if you "go easy on it" for a few days, you should be okay.

Since you're going for skill use as levelling, it will probably cut down on mindless grinding, which would make it possible to play and enjoy the game without having five "HP race" battles per minute. That'll make it more feasible to convalesce.

With an open-ended class system, I imagine inventory will have a lot to do with class designation. Could you have first aid kits and surgical kits and bandage rolls and tourniquets as inventory items that take up space? A "Medical Bag" instead of an "Ammo Bag" or "Engineering Bag" could carry more medical supplies more efficiently, so you could commit your character to medical service by customizing his skills and loadout.

Sure, your scout has rudimentary healing abilities, but he has to travel light, so all he has is some morphine, a few bandages, a tourniquet, some clotting agent and a stimpack in a little belt pouch. If he gets hurt, he can field-dress the wound and keep himself awake long enough to get back to the unit, where the medic will roll out the doctor gear, extract the bullet, sterilize the wound, and put a long-term dressing on it to bring the scout back to 97% combat effective status. If he can stay out of trouble for a certain amount of gameplay time, he's "recovered" to 100% and can take off the bandage.

In case you haven't played Metal Gear Solid 3, being able to find a bandage is the difference between kicking butt and bleeding out. Availability of medical supplies could be an important tactical consideration.

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How do you perform surgery if the person your trying to heal is in combat?

Hear are some ideas to expand on your medicine theme.

Medics can increase party members stats/attack speed/damage/resistances by issuing different types of stimulants?

Medics can decrease enemy stats or sleep enemies using hypo-spray devices or dart guns?

Medics can create poisons which can be applied to weapons.

In general a medic when joined to a party can increase regen.

Battlefield 2 medics are fun, they have shock padels for returning players to life and can also use them to kill enemies.

Malal

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Buffs are definitely an interesting way to go, but Im wary of them for two reasons:

a) why use a debuff on someone when you can simply attack them?

b) does it truly fit a post-apocalyptic environment

Its a subject that Ive been wrestling with since the beginning of the design.

Drugs and viruses have been in...the question is are they merely self-buffs or buffs and debuffs?

I suppose my question would be under what circumstances would you want to debuff but not kill someone? In a wizards & magic game I can see a priest debuffing because your damage may not be as good as a mage, but in a post-apocalyptic Fallout/Unreal FPS with melee would it be worth it?

Again...I havent decided and would love to hear opinions.

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