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Dreddnafious Maelstrom

MMO's and the disillusioned gamer

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Original post by DigitalChaos
wow, that did nail every problem with current mmo's. but here's the thing, you go and fix all those problems and now what? you may just find yourself with a list of other problems to fix.


That's how you can tell between the determined and the defeatist. There are always problems to fix, but I'd much rather we continue to try and fix them as opposed to giving up now since it'll never stop. If we push on, games will just keep getting better.

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I'd like to add my congratulations, very well written and thought out post. This would be a valuable addition to the 'article' section, i'm sure a member of staff will be very happy to put it there.

You mention UO a few times, comparing much of the gameplay to the ideal design in 'Players who suit muds'. Firstly, i've played UO and i've gotta agree that current mmo's do not come close to its level of interaction - but that doesn't feel like the right word to use... I have vivid, VIVID memories of things that happened to me in UO, and as many people will testify the most vivid memories are generated from surprising, frightening, extraordinary experiences. Thats something that sets UO apart. It was actually rare for a trip to a dungeon, or journey between cities to go as planned in UO. When I (rarely) play a modern mmo for any length of time, I know exactly what I will do that session and bugger all happens to change that.

Here's a quick point too, even modern mmogs believe in the fun of exploration but when was the last time you were more than 30 seconds from a path? ...A path which inevitably leads to a hugely popular dungeon full of "adventure!" nonsense. By these standards about 80% of UO's famous world map is entirely pointless. But it's not, I genuinely felt like an explorer in the southern swamps.

Anyway, I'd like to expand on those a little more (and write them better) but I've got to sleep! Great post dude.

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Original post by bmanruler
Definatly agree that this is how almost all MMO's currently are today. But the question we should ask ourselves is how can we make it better?


Actually the big question is: Will it be better? Yes, I do think that a number of players want more to their playing experience, but just look at World of Warcraft. It's almost disgustingly successful and has probably the least content, the most repetition and the lowest level of attention span of it's players (nothing personal, but it's true). It does almost everything wrong in some fashion, but somehow ends up winning in every way that's really important.... 300-500 Million in revenue over the course of a year. No other game in history can probably touch that, period.

Quote:
I personally despise level based combat/grinding. For this reason I fell in love with the insane open ended player skills in EVE Online. I was devoloping something similar to this in concept for my game.


All old-school gamers tend to dislike the level 'treadmill'. For some odd reason it still ends up being the most successful system in the gaming industry, pen and paper, computer, console or otherwise.

Quote:
I do not think we can ever truly be rid of the treadmill leveling as long as the overhead and investment of creating and running and MMO remain at there current levels.


Very, VERY true. I don't care who they are, players want to see some form of recognizable symbol of their investment in time. You can give them skills, you can give them all kinds of abilities, but they want to be able to say "Level 40 Warrior LFG" or something like that. They don't want to spend 5 minutes describing their 'build', they want to have a simple, 3-5 word description of their character that will allow anyone to know what they are and what their basic abilities are.

Quote:
The let magic be magical topic caught my interest because I hadn't thought about it before, but know that I have it is so obvious.


I'd love to implement this idea... tell players "You suck too much to do magic". Yeah, that game would go over well. We saw how well that worked with Star Wars: Galaxies. It didn't. It has to be the perfect example of why everyone must be 'special'. The non-special people are given a few different labels: NPC, Non-represented populace, the invisibles. Most commonly you don't see them in the game. A world with no babies, no general laborers, an almost non-viable population (genetically)... all the 'normal' people are not visible and not truly represented in the game. You can put them in there, if you really want to overload your servers and make your clients run really powerful boxes for little reason.

Quote:
I wish I could add more, but you covered pretty much everything.


There probably is a lot you can add. Get out of the "Old-school RPG gamer" mold and start thinking about the non-D&D geeks (note: I am a hard-core D&D geek, but I know that people don't want to actually game in that style most of the time, just look at some of the amazing games that have failed horribly compared to the pitiful examples that succeeded), because they're the ones that you're going to get paid by. If you want to lose lots of money and time, target the players like you, but just to be honest, I know that poeple like us aren't a big enough market.

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After quiting EQ2 and WoW, I found an MMO with alot (if not most) of the listed problem resolved. It's a Japanese game called nobol online. It's not so popular, but the design is brandnew with all the issues bothered me resolved. It's my game after UO.

Treadmill:
Yep, it's a level-based treadmill but noone actually cares about levels, except that you need to make sure you wont be too far behind (it's still a problem thou). Actually, you need to suppress your leveling speed often in the different point of the treadmill.

Char uniqueness:
Everyone feels unique. It's a forced grouping game thou. And about uber leet, you dont need to be uber to be good, while you need to have as much money as possible. Anyway, you cant buy everything even when you are rich. Very well balanced.

Zone:
More like UO, you can go anywhere you like, hehe...

Enforced fairness:
Since it's turn-based design. Every battle is exciting and fair enough sudden attacks occur very often. You can pick your target, while you may be picked by the mobs if you are not skillful enough. Very good design.

PAPER, ROCK, SCISSORS:
Classes are very well designed, very well balanced. No dummy classes. The class design is terrific.

KILL, GAIN EXPERIENCE, LEVEL, REPEAT
Time spent in game is very well designed. No rinse and repeat procedure.

Death:
Yep, death is inconvenient. But death is a kind of fun to experience. Good death design.


PvP:
Carebear design. But you can be a true PvPer...hehe..really funny design on this. No ranpent Pking after all.

Siege:
Yep, good part.

Player conflicts
No real player conflicts. I siege my friend's city and and fight and kill each other bravely to serve our own different Kings. But I group with him to hunt right after the siege. This is usually the case. Very good design too.

Crafting and Economy
Yep. Good, terrific.

Quests:
Yep, there are some boring npc quests like in other games. But the most important part is that you have to design your own quests and missions. Everyone will have to, naturally.

EQ2 and WoW are trash games to me, after playing this game nobol online.

Well, if you are curious about the design details, I can go deeper to the area which interests you.

Cheers and apologise for my English

[Edited by - Hawkins8 on December 1, 2005 10:43:03 PM]

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For example, here's my own quest list;

Personal:
1) I'll raise my level to lvl40 to become a specialized tank smith, currently I am lvl39.

2) In order to be a tank smith, I need a skill book which can only be obtained at level 40 or up. Moreover, in order to get the skill book, i need to gather 5 groups of special items (dropped by mobs) in specific dungeons. Each dungeon gives only one kind of these special items. Every player starts to collect these items from level 30 up.

3) The war with my neighbor kingdom will break out next week, in order to stay longer in the battlefield, I need to raise my official ranking abit. I need to work out a plan to contribute to my kingdom to gain 500 contribution points. There are different ways to do so, my choice is to produce some quality swords and submit them to my kingdom. This serves multiple purposes, to raise my ranking, to train up my crafting skills, to gain ability points (used to gain char attributes) and to make money......alot to plan ahead. I need also to gather raw materials and to buy some from other players in order to produce those swords...buy coal, charcoal from players, buy gold plates and silver plates from npc, and to mine copper and iron myself.

...

Team:
1) I need to help my team-mate, who is a bard, to get her skill book. Either to fight a specific and dangerous lvl45 mobs and hope for the drop (need to work out a detailed team tactics or die), or pool up 3000 gold to buy from players. Both ways are difficult, as the skill book itself is a rare item.

As a sidenote, our tactics mentioned above will be like this,
Our team of 7 will gather at the ruin house gate, a Ninja is sent to stealth inside the house to locate the target mobs and plot a course with safe spots to reach the target. The bard will play a song to group stealth into the house to the first safe spot, where the group stealth will wear off, at that moment any slide movement of any team mate may draw the attention of a nearby mob and be attacked. Play another song to go to the next safe spot.....till we reach the target.....Sometimes we need to clear an area of mobs as there is not always a safe spot.

2) The same bard requires a value 8 flute in order to cast bardic skills more efficiently, another rare item dropped from specific mobs, which spawn at around every 7 hours. The problem is, there are usually more than 2 groups camping these mobs. We calculate the time precisely and make sure we are the first to arrive at site at the moment the mobs spawn.

War:
1) All the players in our kingdom who participating the up coming siege will get help from our player built war council. Everyday, the council will set up quests, form groups to help players to solve their problems in order to join the war. To get skill books, equipment necessary for the war, to help the lowbies to level up, to pool money and raw materials, to produce armors/weapons for other players, to help to vote for issues which will affect the diplomatic status with allies and other enemies...........there are alot you can involve.

BTW, if we lose this war, our kingdom will be eradicated (that's why players in our kingdom are quite willing to help each other). Yet something even more funny may happen even when we lose, which requires a plan-ahead with my team-mates...hehe..

Anyway, leveling in this game seems to be a side product. To an certain extend, it serves player's various goals along the char development path. Skills and tactics are always crucial instead of levels, noone looks down to lowbie, quite contrary, there are some called high level newbies due to the lack of combat and adventuring skills. A team of 7 with one of these newbies is doomed.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Hawkins8




Quests:
Yep, there are some boring npc quests like in other games. But the most important part is that you have to design your own quests and missions. Everyone will have to, naturally.




??? How do people "design your own quests" ????

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Hawkins8




Quests:
Yep, there are some boring npc quests like in other games. But the most important part is that you have to design your own quests and missions. Everyone will have to, naturally.




??? How do people "design your own quests" ????


Like I said, a quest is just to set a goal to achieve. It's very beneficial to our team if such a goal is achieved. The next step is to evaluate the class combination required to kill the type of mobs. The team core is composed of a tank smith, a healer (more than just a healer), and a bard (more than just bard). The other 4 slots will depend on the type/level of mobs to fight and what friends do you have and what classes/levels they are. Then you form a team of 7 with different classes.

Then you need to work out a tactics depending on the class combination of your team. Say, if you dont have a bard, you cant stealth to your target mobs, then you need to plot another course to avoid as many battles as possible to reach the target mobs.

Once you have a plan, gather human resources, work out the corresponding tactics, achieve the goal. Isn't it a player designed quest?

As a sidenote, in this game,
healer = healer + the best class to reduce the mobs attacking power.
bard = restore mana + setting up protections + reducing casting waiting time + reducing mobs hitting rate.

Actually every class has multiple roles like this, especially the monks and knights, they switch to different roles in accordance to various situations. In the lack of a smith tank, a knight can be a tank but with a completely different skill set and tactics from that of a smith. In the lack of a bard, a knight can restore mana, set up protections....., at other times, a knight can be a damage dealer.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Hawkins8
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Hawkins8




Quests:
Yep, there are some boring npc quests like in other games. But the most important part is that you have to design your own quests and missions. Everyone will have to, naturally.




??? How do people "design your own quests" ????


Like I said, a quest is just to set a goal to achieve. It's very beneficial to our team if such a goal is achieved. The next step is to evaluate the class combination required to kill the type of mobs. The team core is composed of a tank smith, a healer (more than just a healer), and a bard (more than just bard). The other 4 slots will depend on the type/level of mobs to fight and what friends do you have and what classes/levels they are. Then you form a team of 7 with different classes.

Then you need to work out a tactics depending on the class combination of your team. Say, if you dont have a bard, you cant stealth to your target mobs, then you need to plot another course to avoid as many battles as possible to reach the target mobs.

Once you have a plan, gather human resources, work out the corresponding tactics, achieve the goal. Isn't it a player designed quest?

As a sidenote, in this game,
healer = healer + the best class to reduce the mobs attacking power.
bard = restore mana + setting up protections + reducing casting waiting time + reducing mobs hitting rate.

Actually every class has multiple roles like this, especially the monks and knights, they switch to different roles in accordance to various situations. In the lack of a smith tank, a knight can be a tank but with a completely different skill set and tactics from that of a smith. In the lack of a bard, a knight can restore mana, set up protections....., at other times, a knight can be a damage dealer.



OK, you meant 'solve the quests'. I though it might be some kind of system where the players decided from a set of objectives -- possibly even for other players to 'define' a quest (like a guild might, as tests for their membership ranks.....)

Solving the quest like what you describe is no different than every other game that allows player cooperation.

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I think one of the big problems also has to do with the fact that WoW and EQ2 are easier to make, relatively, than the 'perfect' MMO. Theres a lot of design, programming, and ease of use issues that they can avoid by making level treadmills.

There was a game that had been developed up to beta called 'Wish'. It promised live 'questing' by the use of hired helpers, so that all quests would be different based on players actions in the world. Non spawning monsters, town sieges, everything that makes an MMO really a work of art. Soon after the beta started however, the game just disappeared. No one knows why, but my guess is that the amount of work it would take to make this game completely unique, including all of its content being updated live, was just too much for the team and it had to be scrapped.

My guess is that until a group of developers make this game for themselves and the community and not for the money or deadlines involved, we dont have a chance at seeing the 'perfect' MMO.

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