Sign in to follow this  
Griffin_Kemp

Generation: Character (The Next Generation of MMORPG's)

Recommended Posts

This is my first post here. The following is an article that I wrote up on the future of MMORPG's. I plan on writing a few of these over time and finally getting some of these concepts out in the world since I'm not actively engaged in the industry anymore at this time. ---so it starts--- INTRODUCTION In the next three to five years, a new generation of MMORPG's will begin to emerge. This new generation will accomplish an age old problem that still exists in online role playing games today. This is the problem of how to immerse a player into a role of a character while still allowing the control of what that character is defined as mostly, or completely, up to the player. MMORPG'S TODAY Modern MMORPG's are designed with amazing accuracy in the science of the Pavlovian experience, and the common player is capable of feeling great moments of satisfaction with the achievement of the goals that have been laid out in front them. A player can select a type of character format and pursue it with a passion only stopped by reaching the fullest level of advancement that character type is capable of attaining. In systems that are more open, the player is able to construct a character from building blocks to their hearts content until they run out of some form of currency (often skill points) to buy more building blocks with (often skills). The dynamic variety is achieved by placing systematic obstacles that act as character leveling virtual walls, pits, and swinging vines for the players to hurdle their character through in the pitfall chase to their ultimate aim; their completed and ultimate character...at least, mechanically. MMORPG'S MECHANICS STALEMATE The pursuit of the best mechanical character, in whatever Ken Doll variant a game has presented to a player, can only go so far until a plateau has been reached. At this point, that plateau has been reached. From the onset, MMORPG's had far more trialling issues to face down before they could begin working on any problem of role playing character immersion. Now, however, it is obvious that the developing industry has all but mastered the engineering feats to accomplish nearly any form of mechanics imaginable. The only challenge that exists in the realm of mechanics is in striving to achieve a newer and more dynamically alterable interpretation of the same mechanics while pushing the boundaries of efficiency in streamlined usability; allowing a player to express their desires easily and intuitively with such mechanics without compromising the game's integrity. It is obvious, and painful, to any frequenter of the MMORPG fare, that the cry from players for newer developments in mechanics isn't really about a newer method of the same mechanics existing, but really about a new approach to the game entirely; literally, new mechanics. As to what those new mechanics are, however, has continued to elude the industry and players. THE PROBLEM OF PLAYERS These "new mechanics" are actually the very thing that gets regularly ignored by developers when sounded against the other, more pressing, issues that arise on the table of the usual complaints and praises found surrounding the typical MMORPG. Of course we are referring to that of role playing. There are plenty of arguments between "carebears" and "player-killers" on precisely the issue of the developmentally unmarked territory of role playing. Of which are regularly dismissed since there is not a control function within the game's constructs for such a feature. Because of this we have pro-role-playing and anti-role-playing players who's arguments for and against role playing are as follows: Most pro-role-playing players are wanting more character role play to exist in the game because they want a game about character; some to the point of purism. Anti-role-playing players are generally content with the current construct of the games focus; that of the Pavlovian-mechanics-driven structure. Since role playing is something that the developers have not presented into the game for the players, it becomes a highly volatile passion of playing style (rather than format) and gets lost into the mix of debates on game playing ethics and etiquette. THE DEBATE THAT DOESN'T EXIST The developing industry is right to ignore this conversation, though, as there is nothing that they have been able to do about this issue. As such, it is not an issue that a developer can solve for the debating fan fare, as developers can only offer mechanics. Regardless of what everyone thinks, however, this debate regarding how or if to role play does not matter. It does not matter because it will occur naturally as an extension of the mechanics. It will not be separately inserted as a rule-binding code of honor, conduct, ethic, or etiquette as some suggest. Nor will it be sloppily inserted like a bastardized adoption of ye old D&D alignment system. No, it will be a natural extension of the mechanics that will progressively become more intuitive and nearly invisible as time goes on. THE SHIFT OF FOCUS Presently, the gaming world at large is still working off of the same principles founded at the end of the 19th century when pinball machines began to emerge. This principle is that the player bounces off of the world. Players will bounce off of players, but as far as this is concerned this doesn't much change the way the player bounces against the world. Consider basic systems like Mario: a simple two dimensional world that does not change; it is the same level each time it is played. Changing Mario's superpowers seems like the world changes how it interacts with the player, but it really just changes how Mario bounces off of the world. This concept exists in MMORPG worlds via mobs, quests, missions, computer characters, the character look and feel staying the same unless external objects or services are applied, to name a few. What will happen, as the new generation of MMORPG's emerge, is that the world will instead begin to bounce off of the player. This will mean that Mario will make a choice of where to go on the level and find that his superpowers shift accordingly to that choice, on a basic level. More appropriately, the world, character, avatar, and other players will react to a players choices accordingly. This is by no means, a small shift of focus. This is a shift that changes everything about how a game is played. For the player, this will mean that choices of statistical gain and general ethical conduct will be one in the same set of choices, or at least incredibly linked together. The concept of a chivalrous knight stepping up to any possible chance for combat will not be an option for long for that player, as doing so will result in an eventual shift from being a chivalrous knight into a more brute warrior standard character with less chivalry. This, of course, will result in a change of options statistically and mechanically as well as socially. THE MECHANICS OF ROLE PLAYING Usually when people think of role playing and mechanics they cringe at the idea of being forced to speak in bastardized Elizabethan English and being confined to behaving certain ways according to their character archetype. However, games such as Fable and Spore have shown that such a concept is not only not necessarily true, but flat out wrong. The ability of a game to allow a character to evolve continually and dynamically in every respect of the character will simply be done by anchoring actions, activities, speech (to computer players at least) selection into a continually tracking system that constantly tabulates the points that each of these choices are worth in the evolutionary direction the player is taking the character. As this is done, the world and players will react differently to the player and the player will react differently to the world. Even the physical appearances will be evolving based on these choices. A character will grow more muscular as they increase their hard labor, or battle involvement choices. Counter to this, the character will lose muscle mass as they increase choices that are not involved in hard labor or battle involvement. In some games, the look of regrown broken bones and scar marks may emerge on characters, and contain memorable information about a point in time that such things were gained (creating a time-line connection between the player and the character, similar to the concept explored in Spore). Different material to wear, use, and own will cease and become available accordingly to these choices as well. A player may find certain groups of players, missions, or computer players attracted to them for one reason or another involving their continual choices (similarly seen in some respects in Star Wars Galaxies). On a smaller scale, even with in the example of a warrior form of character, the evolution of the character's choices in combat may push more options in training skills and weapon/armor choices that lead from a short sword over to a halberd. Again, completely based on choices that the character is making inside of the combat arena and mixed with all of the other choices as well. The character will literally form around the player's choice of playing style and evolve with any changes in the player's playing style over time. The world will dynamically interact with the player, and the player will look less like a player and more like a character. GAME (never) OVER The advent of highly efficient and well oiled MMORPG systems like World of Warcraft have succeeded in pushing the classical Netonian mechanics of MMORPG's to their fullest potentials. It is because of this and the demand by players for a more full exposure to a truly immersive environment that a pioneering in Metaphysical mechanics in MMORPG's will be the next explosion in the revolution of the genre. The day of this new intelligent and rapidly evolutionary reactional game is inevitably close. Look to the offline games and see for yourself tomorrows MMORPG's. And then step back and smile at the potential. The future, is wild.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In terms of role playing I think that City of Heroes demonstrated that if you want to encourage role playing let the player dress up the way they want. The only problem is that people also like the status symbol that certain items come with, plus offering rewards is a major part of MMORPG design.

So I think that eventually games will have a COH type system in terms of control over the player’s look but the player will have to unlock new costume choices over time.

A designer can only do so much to create an environment for RPing because one of the most important parts of RPing is that the player is being creative themselves. So IMO RPing should be thought of as opportunities for the player to express their creativity.

Another way to bring in RPing is to offer the players more freedom like they do in EVE. A game like WOW is so different from EVE that they are almost in a different genre IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree that player variety choice is definitely important; as they are consumers and just look at the variety of options with something as simple as an ipod or cellphone skin.

This said, however, variety alone won't pull out character role play from all players; just players that wish to role play and enjoy the variety.

The difference of the newer generation of games, described above, is that the desire of the player will mold and shape the external surface of the character, in part, as well as change the manner in which the world reacts to the player.

Simply put...if you really like just killing everyone, then some computer intelligences may very well run away from your character because well...you "look" scary as hell.
(on the back end, the system contains a database history that "remembers" that your character has many, many continuous unprovoked killings)

Or you would see that you have spent considerable amounts of efforts helping people stay alive, perhaps in a spiritual character architype of sorts, and begin to see another dimension over time that others simply do not see, as well, your body would slowly take on affects consistent with that type of character pursuit.

It means that your character is always adjusting...you are not in a fixed form and that's it.

Your character changes based on what you do, and not what you select from a list.

If you want a mean looking killer character, then take the actions of one and your character will develop more in that concept.

Equally, the statistical concepts follow suit, such as abilities, grouping options, clothing, armor, weapons, skills, attributes, etc...

These all fluctuate over time as a result of your choices of interaction, as well as your spending of points selectively.

This doesn't mean that you won't have the usual control systems you are used to (character appearance, character archetype, character race, etc... at character creation).
It simply means that if you pick...let's say... a race reputed for being violent and big and you end up deciding you really like helping people out and being a softy, that the character will shift appearance, skill options, attribute options, clothing/armor/item options, according to your actions and progressively make the character into a more "nice" and passive version of that race...sometimes...even the most "nice" version will still intimidate some others...let's face it, not all races look kind no matter how hard some may try.

The opposite is also possible, and all areas in between.

It's somewhat inevitable considering how game database intelligence is moving in the offline arena, that similar functions will start to occur in the online arena.

Many may not even think of it as role playing since it's just choosing to do the things you like to do with that character.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This actually isn't how to make MMORPG's better; let me be clear on that right now.
This is a forecast of what will happen in MMORPG's.

MMORPG's will still have all of the faults and successes as they always have.
This is just the next avenue that will be approached.

This is determined by examining what players are demanding (immersion), and by what offline games are doing (examples: Fable, Spore, the latest installment of Civilization).

Character growth in an evolutionary environment is quite naturally the next step, just as three dimensions was naturally the next step after two dimensions.

Offline games are essentially a controlled petri dish from which you can imagine that once the success rate of that testing environment reaches a respectable threshold that one can expect to see the application surface in the "real" world (online).

Evolutionary systems are in their last stages of testing, thanks to pioneering by folks such as Peter Molyneux, William Wright, and Sid Meier (to name the three biggest names). At this point, the concept is showing evidence of marketability with reasonable production cost.
As such, a little more time and refinement and it will catch the production eye of the MMORPG's highly volatile development that has largely adopted reliability as a standard of determining developmental direction and risk.


(btw...that link didn't load up any posting; just the site with an unfilled content body)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You can't make everyone RP. It just isn't what they want.

Plus forcing anything like you are suggesting is not what the actual RPers want.

You are basically trying to make a story for these people when RPing is actually about the players choosing to make stories themselves.

Freedom is the key to RPing and your method is far to contrived and forced.

I have actually considered similar ideas myself but after actually talking to players and seeing where RPing tends to happen I have come to the conclusions I have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First, I want reclarify that I'm not suggesting this as something that should or should not be done, but instead suggesting that this will be the next development direction in MMORPG's.

Second, I have to disagree on the premise that the above described does not actually force a player into anything.
Instead, the player forces the game into what they want.

Meaning, if you want to do something then go ahead and do it.
The more of that you do, the more the game will tailor around your actions.

It's not exactly or strictly role playing, but instead character driven.
By that I mean the character of your playing style, not necessarily character in the sense of a role.

For those players that enjoy role playing, doing so will be enjoyed through this medium more robustly than previously.
For those players that do not enjoy role playing, then they will simply see the system reacting to their actions statistically as it does now, only in a more advanced format that conforms to their playing style.

I'm sure some of the games will take the concepts of evolutionary environment in the wrong direction and practically force players into positions that they do not enjoy, but I see that today as well, so I don't see this error margin impacting the progression of this advent much more than it already does today.

Again, as outlined above, these evolutionary environment MMORPG's won't set out to force players into a given play style, but instead will force the system to adapt dynamically to the players playing style.

As stated above; shifting the focus from bouncing the player off of the world, and instead bouncing the world off of the player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Re: Griffin_Kemp

Hi, when I read your first post, I couldn't understand your point. So I cannot only comment on the part that I understand, although I understand that your might originally want to talk about somethine slightly different.

I think you could describe that as "Forced correlation between player's play style and the appearance of the character."

When you say it like this, it becomes obvious why there are people who will oppose it: "Do you mean that I can't be a healer and choose to be ugly at the same time? Why doesn't the game let me role-play a high level healer that is kind but with an ugly and scary face?"

And your standard answer could be, "I am just presenting a trend. It doesn't represent what all player would what. But it follows the observation that features first started in single player RPG continues to exist in MMORPG. And this is one of those trends."


The role of games in providing experience leverage

Imagine the set of experience that a player could get from a game. The set of experience comes from a few sources:

o intellectual/cognitive (where the player need to pay attention and shoot stuff or to solve problems)
o thematic/visual (where the player gets to dress like a zombie)
o physiological (where the player gets to get scared)
o social (where the player gets to win and earn badges to impress or to get a reputation)
o perspective (where the player gets to do something correct)
o progressive (where the player gets to do something that has a use to the world)

When you provide a role for the player, the player plays it because the player wants an experience from one of the sources. These sources are the attraction forces of the roles, and a player chooses to play the game because the game provides a better leverage in reaching the experience than the alternative activities that the player could do (in real life or through another game).

When you design a game, you make a decision to separate the sources that the player could readily draw, and those that require effort to reach. This depends on the player group, and also the presentation of the game.

The trend that you described would fit under the force of perspective. In terms of perspective, you observed a growth in an expectation that "one's appearance should reflect what one does." Since this expectation is not always met in real life, there exists players that play this kind of game because the game satisfies this expectation.

[Edited by - Wai on May 30, 2009 9:19:57 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
This is a forecast of what will happen in MMORPG's.

I didn't know you could predict the future.

Quote:
MMORPG's will still have all of the faults and successes as they always have.
This is just the next avenue that will be approached.

This is determined by examining what players are demanding (immersion), and by what offline games are doing (examples: Fable, Spore, the latest installment of Civilization).

Character growth in an evolutionary environment is quite naturally the next step, just as three dimensions was naturally the next step after two dimensions.

That is only just your opinion.

What I exposed is much more needed and actually useful than character growth and customization, which is mostly Spore-like eye-candy, in my opinion.

Also, people often do not realize what it is they want, and companies don't necessarily implement what people want or don't feel they want.

Quote:
You can't make everyone RP. It just isn't what they want.

That's because they think, and rightly so, that roleplaying in MMORPGs is simply ridiculous crap, that it's people trying to speak lyrically between themselves and make fake duels.
But in an actual single-player RPG, you really roleplay. You have a role in the world, a position, which you can change, you have a goal, you can interact meaningfully with people etc.
It's *that* kind of replaying MMORPGs need. And I can assure you even people that hate and despise roleplay as it is now want it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow, that's a long post.. Since I bothered to read it and lost what felt like a day of my life I might as well comment on it.

The post felt a bit abstract at some points.. but if I understand you correctly, you're preaching that MMOs of the future will be getting more real-life-like, where you at any given time has a WIDE range of choices (many more than in todays MMOs) that will affect your characters social and professional properties? That can probably be done, but here's the real question: Is it going to be fun to play?

If someone wants to create a huge world where the players can interact with eachother, the environment, and do just about anything, then by all means go ahead and give it a shot. Second Life and Project Entropia did, and I don't see anything wrong about that. However, I wouldn't be calling that a game. I would call it "yet another attempt at simulating reality".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had a nice, witty response which was promptly eaten.

Umm, first things first. People want a Pavlovian experience. 50 years of television has pretty much proven this. If anything, people want the most Pavlovian experience that they can get...

Second, your assumptions that players want a more immersive environment and new mechanics is anecdotal at best.

Third, this sort of mechanic has been done. Gaining skill/attributes/alignment by action is not uncommon, and has not a few added hazards while not really doing what you want. Adding a decrease due to use/choice is only going to hinder things. The hazards surrounding these mechanics include:

- Grinding. In Dungeon Master for example, the party often spent most of their time swinging swords or shooting fireballs at a door to increase skill sufficiently. Certain changes can make this lessened, but the intrinsic problem remains. To get better (or worse, to get the character you want), you need to do the same damned thing over and over.

- Mechanical whimsy. It is very hard to codify what gives skill and what doesn't. What is a courageous knight coming to the rescue and what is an evil knight coming to slay everyone. Sure it can be done. But it adds a lot of complexity, allows for a lot of exploitation, and even then it can never (rather, it has never and I believe it technologically impossible to) be done meaningfully as a substitute for 'role-playing'. At the very best, a player will be annoyed by trying to maintain some whimsical system of honor so not to pollute their character.

- MinMaxing. Even if you create a fantastic system where players can end up as a near infinite possibilities, there's only going to be a few that are 'best'. Then you get to spend the game trying to make all the right choices in a row so that you're not just destroyed by those who do.


And while you can point at single player games' advancements, they are in the end different beasts. There's a whole lot more technical requirements in a MMO that limits the possibilities of what you can do. And the competition with other players (and the possibilities of rampant asshattery) is also a bit limiting.

To sum up, I think you're wrong. I think that these ideas were tested in a single player environment, and weren't even fun there. I think that people are fine with MMOs as is, and that while some novel variant in the MMO world will probably come in about 5 years, it won't eliminate peoples' enjoyment of what is there now. I also think that no practical roleplaying can ever exist in a computer MMO without heavy human/GM involvement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Griffin_Kemp

As stated above; shifting the focus from bouncing the player off of the world, and instead bouncing the world off of the player.



But you specifically mentioned characters running away from someone who killed a lot. This doesn't make much sense in an MMO where most characters have killed a lot and want to kill again. Having their enemy run away doesn't make sense nor does it make sense to have their allies run away.

All of this is forced upon the player.

This is opposed to my point that you want the player to receive feedback from the game BUT something like visual appearance should be as flexible as possible. In a game like KOTOR your appearance changes when you do dark side stuff and for a Single player game that is fine, but in an MMORPG the player should be given options because when everyone is either a jedi or a sith there is not much ownership to your decisions.

I would also point out COH again and how RPing just happened because of the flexibility in the costume creator.

As for changing the world itself there is no doubt that newer MMORPGs have to find ways to allow players to do that but I don't really see how anything you said has much impact on that major issue.

In the end MMORPGs are about that Pavlovian response as you called it before they are about immersion. You first have to develop a game for the players to take part in IMO. Then you can try and make it more immersive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Wai
I think you could describe that as "Forced correlation between player's play style and the appearance of the character."

When you say it like this, it becomes obvious why there are people who will oppose it: "Do you mean that I can't be a healer and choose to be ugly at the same time? Why doesn't the game let me role-play a high level healer that is kind but with an ugly and scary face?"

I believe this would exist much like it does today.
In some titles, yes, you would be restricted from doing such a thing because it is against the vision of the world that the developers and writers wish to project.
However, in other titles, you would be freely able to start with a large mean build that the developers expect to typically be used for warrior play styles and move it more towards healing play style by your action choices.

This is somewhat like Star Wars Galaxies use of Wookies, which end up being used for any number of skill styles (including healing) even though by default expectation one would see them as a brute force perfect for killing.

So an evolutionary system would just move slowly over to more healing type options for you the more you play with a bend on healing and not on combat.

This already happens in some games that rely on skill trees.
You place your points in skills that are part of a set of trees and as such you end up with more options available from those and related trees.
The opposing trees tend to not have shared components (healer vs warrior most often).

The primary difference is that the system in an evolutionary system would not wait for you to place skill points into skills to produce options, it would tally all factors of your playing along with your point spending/skill selection/or other method of customized advancement.
So it would occur before you choose to select an advancement direction, as well as because of your choices in an advancement direction.

Quote:
Original post by loufoque
I didn't know you could predict the future.

Anyone can, just as any meteorologist can do so with the weather.

I don't intend to stand and say this is the only option that will be produced, as such a statement is just silly.

But I am certain that this avenue will be produced and played.
It is not the only next step, but it does appear to be the next logical step for an industry pulling it's hair out trying to figure out what the heck it's players want when everything any developer tries receives good reviews and then suddenly finds themselves scrambling for some mythical addition of "immersive" content or play style.

We did this before in offline first person shooter games and it worked well.
The developing industry continued to wrestle with the problem of how difficult is too difficult and how easy is too easy for such a wide range of players and skill levels.
Eventually their answer was to put it in the hands of the players to determine by creating an adaptable AI that tailored the difficulty level to the player depending on how well the player was doing on the fly.
The more trouble you seemed to have, the easier setting the AI would tone towards, while the less trouble you seemed to have the more difficult setting the AI would tone towards.

Likewise, it seems logical because of this history and the offline advancements of evolutionary systems previously mentioned that MMORPG's will turn to the idea of putting the immersion into the players hands by providing an adaptable backend.

Quote:
Original post by loufoque
That's because they think, and rightly so, that roleplaying in MMORPGs is simply ridiculous crap, that it's people trying to speak lyrically between themselves and make fake duels.
But in an actual single-player RPG, you really roleplay. You have a role in the world, a position, which you can change, you have a goal, you can interact meaningfully with people etc.
It's *that* kind of replaying MMORPGs need. And I can assure you even people that hate and despise roleplay as it is now want it.

Correct, and if you think about those single player role playing systems you can see that the truly successful models have always had an adaptable structure from very early on.

The concept of a story tree is an old structure from even the days of the 486's.
Even then, we were looking at an answer to player choices as close to on-the-fly as possible.

With an online system like an MMORPG, there is a lack of a singular story-line whereby your character is the main point of the story since there are so many players all lumped together at the same time, so such story tree focuses that herald one player as key to legendary tales becomes increasingly difficult.
As such, the idea of pulling someone into the realm of becoming invested into their character's story is a nightmarish task simply because there is no structure to create a character's story.

Since this is void, the industry has intelligently turned to other methods of creating player to character investment that are tangible and possible.
These have come about as the now typical item, stage, and statistical gains.
These weren't always a part of computer role playing games, as you aptly point out, but rather more a part of video game side scrollers such as Contra.
It is a borrowed idea because of an inability to produce what occurs in computer role playing games with story archs.

It has worked very well, and added a dimension into the role playing game manual that was greatly missing previously; a player attachment to the materialist Pavlovian ego.
Previously, in structures like D&D table-top RPG, the attainment of such material was closely linked to a character's story; items of great worth were gained through great trials and did not often come about.

Today, this still occurs as quest items, however, the MMORPG player is often more fond of their purchased or crafted items that are not gained from quests much more than any D&D table-top player would normally be.

So what does this all have to do with anything I've written about?
Well, the evolutionary system allows the developer the ability to introduce a world that pays attention to the player uniquely, much like computer role playing games do with story trees and archs.

This means that the immersion into the character as a character, and not just as an avatar, is attainable a little bit more than previously possible.
There may not be a specific story for each character to be the shining character of, but the world will at least seem to react to them as if it notices their actions and choices so dynamically that they can easily feel that their character has a personality that is recognized by the system.

And that is one step closer to the immersion that many audiences are pleading for, even (as you so note) if they do not understand that this is what they are actually after.

Quote:
Original post by trasseltass
If someone wants to create a huge world where the players can interact with eachother, the environment, and do just about anything, then by all means go ahead and give it a shot. Second Life and Project Entropia did, and I don't see anything wrong about that. However, I wouldn't be calling that a game. I would call it "yet another attempt at simulating reality".

I believe the primary misunderstanding here is that I am spending a primary concentration on the evolutionary side of the system because that is the focus of the discussion, but it should not be overlooked that the overall system will remain the same, unlike simulated realities.

The primary difference here is that a game has rules and goals that create obstacles coherent with the development teams ambition of game play, while a simulated reality simply attempts to provide all of the structures and facilities to allow free choice with in consequential boundaries for vicarious experimentation and socialization.

So while I am talking about evolutionary systems in MMORPG's, it should not be overlooked that I am talking about evolutionary systems in MMORPG's.


Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
first things first. People want a Pavlovian experience. 50 years of television has pretty much proven this. If anything, people want the most Pavlovian experience that they can get...

I don't intend to suggest that the Pavlovian experience will be washed away.
It will simply be accompanied.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Second, your assumptions that players want a more immersive environment and new mechanics is anecdotal at best.

Perhaps, but it does seem to be pretty prevalent in most developer's discussions, articles, conventions, etc...
Which means they are thinking about this issue.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Third, this sort of mechanic has been done. Gaining skill/attributes/alignment by action is not uncommon, and has not a few added hazards while not really doing what you want. Adding a decrease due to use/choice is only going to hinder things.

Those are small scratches on the surface based on some rather crude structures more akin to formats seen in Knights of the Old Republic (to name an easy pick) rather than dynamic systems such as seen in systems like Fable or Civilization IV.

Also...

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
The hazards surrounding these mechanics include:

- Grinding. In Dungeon Master for example, the party often spent most of their time swinging swords or shooting fireballs at a door to increase skill sufficiently. Certain changes can make this lessened, but the intrinsic problem remains. To get better (or worse, to get the character you want), you need to do the same damned thing over and over.

I agree, this has been an easily understood and learned lesson.
This form was not accepted at all, and really shouldn't be...it's just not fun.

However, I didn't suggest this was the function.
I am certain that the mechanics around today will continue to be around since placing points and gaining skills, or leveling up and gaining skills is something that is very convenient for the the gaming model and works very well for the players.

Instead, the choices we are talking about are the choices one makes on just a regular bases such as simply choosing to help someone or not; taking one kind of quest/mission over the other, using certain weapons over others, etc...

These can be ground just as anything can be ground, but honestly, if someone wants to grind a character in any system, then they will have to suffer through the grinding of whatever that system holds.

Grinding has never had much leverage over developers since it is an extreme mode of play that does not account for the mass majority of players that the developers will see; just some of the most passionate.

If you want to make a game that is grinder friendly, then you simply make a game that is purely skill based and starts the player off 80% completed and a bell curve on the remaining 20% of the character's advancement to slow it down somewhat.
The lack of any system out there doing this somewhat suggests that grinding isn't something that is tailored to as a rule of thumb.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
- Mechanical whimsy. It is very hard to codify what gives skill and what doesn't. What is a courageous knight coming to the rescue and what is an evil knight coming to slay everyone. Sure it can be done. But it adds a lot of complexity, allows for a lot of exploitation, and even then it can never (rather, it has never and I believe it technologically impossible to) be done meaningfully as a substitute for 'role-playing'. At the very best, a player will be annoyed by trying to maintain some whimsical system of honor so not to pollute their character.

I suppose if one looks at it as a forced action, then yes, it would come out this way, just as I have addressed above previously.
However, there is no forcing.

Simply do as you wish and the system will catch what you are doing and offer options that are within the scope of what you are showing the system that you enjoy.

This is similar to Amazon's book guessing suggestions.
It's shaky in the beginning due to the lack of data, but as time moves on, the suggestions become much better as more data is acquired.

This doesn't mean that you are forced into buying these books from Amazon; that's silly.
However, the options are suggested and offered, where otherwise, they wouldn't be.

That's the idea behind an evolutionary system.

Now, obviously after some decisions are made, there's a pretty good chance it will have near indefinite changes on the character and by extension the player's play options.
This is no different than how confining choosing a class is today, however, and for the the most part players are not screaming about this system; it is just simply accepted that when you choose a class, that is the class that you will be, and not become another.

In the evolutionary system, while not isolated to only this possibility, but it is possible for a system to exist where one class is chosen and later because of the player's actions with the character other class options begin to arise as the system identifies that the player is playing more akin to that which is closer fitting to another class than what they are; meaning, they will be able to find their play-options available to them with the same character rather than having to start over with another character re-choosing another class.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
- MinMaxing. Even if you create a fantastic system where players can end up as a near infinite possibilities, there's only going to be a few that are 'best'. Then you get to spend the game trying to make all the right choices in a row so that you're not just destroyed by those who do.

I don't believe this is an exclusive problem to an evolutionary system, nor do I see it made worse specifically.

Adaptability is but one tool in the development toolbox; it's not a fix all ticket.
It would be like suggesting that because instancing advents that all of the min/max issues are gone due to the instancing displacement of unique area play.

Obviously instancing has not done this, and obviously instancing was not intended to be the fix all of MMORPG issues such as min/maxing.
Equally, the same is true for evolutionary system structures; or adaptability.


Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
And while you can point at single player games' advancements, they are in the end different beasts. There's a whole lot more technical requirements in a MMO that limits the possibilities of what you can do. And the competition with other players (and the possibilities of rampant asshattery) is also a bit limiting.

Absolutely correct, and I was careful to address this specifically; that they are different, and that MMORPG's have a very volatile risk acceptance threshold because of this very technically difficult attribute that is part of the MMORPG infrastructure.
But do not cut the engineering capacity short.

Already, some adaptable systems are investigated, such as the migratory simulators by independent computer program researchers that show the ability of a set of algorithms and rules to cause a computer intelligence to migrate according to need of survival, of which is based on a function that is anchored to the world or environment.
For instance, animal-like creatures, that may also be mobs, migrating with food resources and seasonal weather patterns.

These have not largely been successfully applied in an MMORPG as of yet, but the interest is high as it adds a dimension to mob hunting that developers have been wanting access to for a number of years.

Darkfall dabbled with this idea of migratory mob's, and Star Wars Galaxies mocked this with it's resource "popping" system.

Furthermore, Darkfall already heralds an evolutionary storyline that players can become part of, indeed, legends of.

So the computation capacity is already surfacing in portion.
It is a matter of time before further components are adjusted into the adaptable and evolutionary systems that are catching the interest of the developers.

From a developing standpoint, adaptable and evolving infrastructures, while difficult to set up, are attractive because they remove a considerable amount of hand-on work that comes after launch to keep things new and fresh.

It allows the world to react to the players based on the algorithms that are in place in the servers and leaves the developers' patches and expansions to be more superfluous and creative, rather than having to be focused on adding more core infrastructure to keep the mechanics of the game new and interesting.

Why would you want to manually move the world around, when you can install a system that moves the world around for you?

MMORPG's already want to bounce the world off of the players and not bounce the players off of the world.
Unfortunately for now, they are largely stuck doing this manually, so the changes are typically sudden and not frequent by comparison.

In the years to come, however, more adaptable components will be taken advantage of and the world will be able to move around the players on it's own in a much more versatile manner than currently possible.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
To sum up, I think you're wrong.

I think you have mistaken the concept at play, and assumed it to be a forced system with a very narrow use, and if such were the case, I would agree with you completely. However, this is not the structure that seems to be emerging in the gaming industry at all.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
I think that these ideas were tested in a single player environment, and weren't even fun there.

I believe the structures you are talking about, forced literal time of use for trade-in of earning, was tried and was rightfully dismissed largely.
I do not think, however, that the adaptable and evolutionary system structure that has been placed in the single player environment has failed at all.
Once again, the three heralds currently are Fable, Civilization IV, and Spore.

These games are not failing to catch the eye of the gaming industry, nor are they failing to catch the attention of the playing community.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
I think that people are fine with MMOs as is

This, I contest.
People are willing to accept what is there, as long as it just runs and does not break.
We have only barely crossed the threshold where it is no longer accepted for a game to have difficulties running online with it's rules and servers.
Even WoW, which can be considered to have succeeded so well just on it's technical structural efficiency for so long, has not always enjoyed such a status, nor does it keep that status at all times.

That said, due to how many games have had difficulty just surviving it's own infrastructure technically, many players are very happy when a game just runs smooth, efficient, and clean.

This doesn't mean that the mechanics are agreed with, however.
It means that they are bearable.

The fact that the industry is constantly still trying to add more adaptability into their various systems and constantly trying to create a more intuitive and adaptable set of mechanics and user interface systems with those mechanics shows that the industry does not consider that players are perfectly contented with how MMORPG's are at this point.

Like all game formats, I seriously doubt that such a thing actually exists in the first place, as your market audience is constantly changing; no more so rapidly than in MMORPG's.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
, and that while some novel variant in the MMO world will probably come in about 5 years, it won't eliminate peoples' enjoyment of what is there now.

Hopefully not, nor do I propose that adaptable and evolutionary systems will be used to wipe out enjoyable functions of the systems today.

The development industry has a long memory, and they are market sensative. In short, they are not idiots.
They full well understand that if something works, you leave that something well enough alone and work on enhancing that aspect to even higher degrees while working on the parts of the system that haven't been as enjoyed as those that are.

As such, I don't see evolutionary systems replacing the combat or statistical systems that are used today, but instead complimenting them by allowing the player more choices that are more appropriate for the system to offer that player based on how they are playing.

It's a simple question: "How do I bring the game that the player wants to play to each and every player?"

The answer is, "You don't...it's impossible to do that for every player, but you can allow the system to identify with the player's actions and find relative content for that playing style thereby bringing those content components to the forefront for that player."

Why would you want to bring death-carnage into the playing realm of a player that has shown continual passive playing style as a regular instance for that player?
It might seem like the player is at fault; that they are simply playing the wrong game and need to go play something else.
However, to the industry, saying that means that they are losing money and that is not an attractive consideration.

It is best to find a way to bend a bit to the player demands as quickly and as often as possible as the system can accomplish to keep the game continually attractive and new.

Basic business models of marketing grant us this general law of economics, and in the MMORPG's world, it is the leading rule that fuels the ingenuity of it's producers.

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
I also think that no practical roleplaying can ever exist in a computer MMO without heavy human/GM involvement.

I agree that this advent of evolving systems won't be capable of equaling the unique experience of human interaction in role playing systems where such is possible.
However, I do not believe that the MMORPG industry is any longer attempting to equal such a system, but instead trying to re-identify exactly what an MMORPG really is since it has been clearly identified as not being kin to the infrastructure and experience of a table top role playing game.

One of the benefits of this realization has been the advent of embracing technological advancements in computing science that allows MMORPG's to push their dynamic and large foot-spread farther than thought possible in the experiment that is the massive computer intelligence interaction with a massively dynamic population of humans.

As such, any computation that further allows the various computer intelligences to react more dynamically than previously capable will be considered and implemented where possible in the attempt to try to further close the gap that seems chasmal; that of the separation between the vast array of different interactions humans are capable of accomplishing, and the array of interactions a computer is able of accomplishing.

As such, the comparison between a table top role playing game and any role playing that exists in an MMORPG should not be truly considered comparable, as they are absolutely cardinally different.

When I speak of role playing, or character driven, I am speaking of a concept where the character (being that of the combination of qualities and features that distinguishes one avatar virtual person from another) of a character (the pronoun that is the object known as "your" avatar; "your character") will become more identifiable as the world will react much more readily to that virtual person's character than simply reacting to what you, as a player, directly make that character do on each moment.

Previously, I had mentioned the idea of computer player running from infamous player character's, and such an idea seems bothersome if one thinks of it as an absolute structure, but the intent of the example was to show just this, the above paragraph.
That such a system is capable of drastic reactions; I would not consider it normal among the designers and developers to cause grief amongst players by implementing mechanics by which the player literally finds themselves not capable of interacting with the world because of them.
Instead, it shows (in a crude and simple form) the concepts ability for the world to react to a player.

However, I doubt it will largely be quite this dramatic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Re: Gradual changes of appearance and gameplay options based on play style

Originally, I thought that you were talking about evolution in terms of the appearance of the character. In your example of StarWarsGalaxy, the player chooses the appearance and the role independent, that is why the player can be a Wookies healer. Everything is fine.

In the way I interpreted your earlier response, I thought that you meant that when a player choose to play as a healer, the player character will change in appearance. So a Wookie healer will automatically evolve into a "Handsome Wookie" while a Wookie fighter will evolve to have a "mean-Wookie" face.

In your latest description it is more like usage-based advancement, or simply 'no hard class' system. The player is free to use any skill and the skills that are used will be improved.

Quote:
The concept of a chivalrous knight stepping up to any possible chance for combat will not be an option for long for that player, as doing so will result in an eventual shift from being a chivalrous knight into a more brute warrior standard character with less chivalry.


Quote:
Simply put...if you really like just killing everyone, then some computer intelligences may very well run away from your character because well...you "look" scary as hell. (on the back end, the system contains a database history that "remembers" that your character has many, many continuous unprovoked killings) Or you would see that you have spent considerable amounts of efforts helping people stay alive, perhaps in a spiritual character architype of sorts, and begin to see another dimension over time that others simply do not see, as well, your body would slowly take on affects consistent with that type of character pursuit. It means that your character is always adjusting...you are not in a fixed form and that's it. Your character changes based on what you do, and not what you select from a list. If you want a mean looking killer character, then take the actions of one and your character will develop more in that concept. Equally, the statistical concepts follow suit, such as abilities, grouping options, clothing, armor, weapons, skills, attributes, etc...


Although from what you posted, 'mean-looking' could just be a bit in the character's profile memory rather than an appearance that the players would see, I am not against a system where the only way to look pretty is to do good things. In fact, I had a design that was like this. I mean exactly that that the game doesn't allow a player to be good and look evil at the same time.

( Although my notion of good appearance has nothing to do with eugenics. It is based on an aura and the clothing and accessories that the character has. It doesn't matter whether the character is an amputee, have a large scar on the the face, have eyes of difference sizes, etc. It is the aura that makes the character 'good looking'. It has more to do with body language than visual appearance. )

I am also not contesting your observation that that could be the trend because frankly I have no data about what people want. I am not in the loop so I don't need to care about what they want or what they expect untill I choose them as my audience.

I am also not against have no hard classes in an MMO. To talk about this in the right context, I need to state that I am talking about an MMORPG in which players are expected to form ad hoc hunting parties and earn XP just like the current grind-type MMORPG. I am stating this not to support this form of gameplay but to form the basis of a comparison. For example:


Game: Fantasy Tank Brigade

This is an MMORPG where the fundamental combat unit is a tank, controlled by a small group (1-6 players) of tank crew. Technically, the tank could be controlled by one player, but the player will be overwhelmed during a fight because the same character cannot drive the tank, look for an enemy, load the gun and rotate the turret all at once. So in normal play, each tank will have multiple crew members. Each crew member, independently, could have any number of these skills:

o Driving Skill - High skill makes the tank stable and use less fuel
o Aimming Skill - High skill level means accurate shots
o Loading Skill - Loads the gun fast means more shots in less time
o Radio Skill - Can detect enemies without visual, can jam enemy radio
o Medical Skill - Can heal wounded crew member
o Machine Gun Skill - Can man the machine gun turret
o Command Skill - Can mark on the map during an allianced battle
o Tactical Skill - Allows the tank to use special weapons
o Engineer Skill - Can fix the tank
o Meteological Skill - Can predict the weather
o Shield operating skill - Can use the force shield
o ...

All of these are graduated skill that the player could advance by repeated use. When a player character reaches a certain level at a skill, and the character returns to base alive, the character gets a badge that other players can see.

Now, you are a player. You start the game and you need to crew to level up. You either join a group that is looking for a member, or you start a group and let people LFG to join. This is all normal. The slight difference is that once you get your group, you see that most of your members have overlapping skills. For example, perhaps all of them know how to do first aid, all knows how to man the machine gun and so on. Meanwhile, perhaps only one of them could drive the tank. If that is the case, the only driver is stuck to be the driver.

While each character can have any combination of skill, the task at hand requires multiple physical bodies, thus requires a team. This design philosophy is different from hard class-based systems that forces players to choose a style and stick with it. In this game you can know how to drive and how to shoot. Your crew can switch roles and rotate freely inside the tank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Griffin_Kemp


You make quite a number of comments which are quite agreeable, and do so very evenly. Anything I don't quote in response to me, I essentially agree with and omit such positive replies due to brevity.

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Second, your assumptions that players want a more immersive environment and new mechanics is anecdotal at best.

Perhaps, but it does seem to be pretty prevalent in most developer's discussions, articles, conventions, etc...
Which means they are thinking about this issue.


Sure. It's a little silly to sit around and say 'man, isn't WoW awesome? How can we clone that?'...

I've said it many times here, immersion is wildly overrated. The rules of the game are what matter. I am not certain that new mechanics are really what is desired as much as boatloads of quality content. Alas, quality content is kind of... un-sexy (and unprofitable) to developers.

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Third, this sort of mechanic has been done. Gaining skill/attributes/alignment by action is not uncommon, and has not a few added hazards while not really doing what you want. Adding a decrease due to use/choice is only going to hinder things.

Those are small scratches on the surface based on some rather crude structures more akin to formats seen in Knights of the Old Republic (to name an easy pick) rather than dynamic systems such as seen in systems like Fable or Civilization IV.


You'll forgive me for saying so, but I didn't find Fable to be much different from Kotor at all. And Civ4 didn't really have any sort of dynamic system that I remember, unless you're talking about the diplomacy/empire state interaction (whimsical, and ultimately fruitless) or the unit upgrades (interesting, but not exactly novel or game-changing).

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
The hazards surrounding these mechanics include:

- Grinding. In Dungeon Master for example, the party often spent most of their time swinging swords or shooting fireballs at a door to increase skill sufficiently. Certain changes can make this lessened, but the intrinsic problem remains. To get better (or worse, to get the character you want), you need to do the same damned thing over and over.

I agree, this has been an easily understood and learned lesson.
This form was not accepted at all, and really shouldn't be...it's just not fun.

Instead, the choices we are talking about are the choices one makes on just a regular bases such as simply choosing to help someone or not; taking one kind of quest/mission over the other, using certain weapons over others, etc...

These can be ground just as anything can be ground, but honestly, if someone wants to grind a character in any system, then they will have to suffer through the grinding of whatever that system holds.


Enh, to me there's a fair difference between just placing the point in sword and swinging your sword at a tree for 7 days. Or wandering around to find these choices you allude to.

Quote:

Grinding has never had much leverage over developers since it is an extreme mode of play that does not account for the mass majority of players that the developers will see; just some of the most passionate.


As long as there's any sort of competition between players, every player will be forced to keep up with the most passionate or lose (or forgo that part of the game).

Quote:

If you want to make a game that is grinder friendly, then you simply make a game that is purely skill based and starts the player off 80% completed and a bell curve on the remaining 20% of the character's advancement to slow it down somewhat.


Or make a game like Puzzle Pirates, where the game itself is actually fun (and entirely skill based).

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
- Mechanical whimsy. It is very hard to codify what gives skill and what doesn't. What is a courageous knight coming to the rescue and what is an evil knight coming to slay everyone. Sure it can be done. But it adds a lot of complexity, allows for a lot of exploitation, and even then it can never (rather, it has never and I believe it technologically impossible to) be done meaningfully as a substitute for 'role-playing'. At the very best, a player will be annoyed by trying to maintain some whimsical system of honor so not to pollute their character.

I suppose if one looks at it as a forced action, then yes, it would come out this way, just as I have addressed above previously.
However, there is no forcing.

Simply do as you wish and the system will catch what you are doing and offer options that are within the scope of what you are showing the system that you enjoy.


And end up with a shitty character, or one that wasn't quite what you were looking to tailor, because you didn't quite know what the result of that decisions was going to be.

Quote:

This is similar to Amazon's book guessing suggestions.
It's shaky in the beginning due to the lack of data, but as time moves on, the suggestions become much better as more data is acquired.

This doesn't mean that you are forced into buying these books from Amazon; that's silly.
However, the options are suggested and offered, where otherwise, they wouldn't be.

That's the idea behind an evolutionary system.


Which is all well and good for Amazon with a few hundred thousand+ books/cds/dvds. If I like slaying monsters, getting the suggestion to slay more monsters isn't exactly something I need the game to tell me. Worse yet, having some dynamic quest system generate me yet another 'slay 20 orcs' quest is shallow and stupid. There's only so much that players can do, so many meaningful choices you can offer them.

And I don't have really any idea how that'd work well in a MMO setting. If you're going to customize the content per player, why have the other players? How are you going to tailor the experience when at least half of a good MMO is that player interaction?


Quote:

Now, obviously after some decisions are made, there's a pretty good chance it will have near indefinite changes on the character and by extension the player's play options.


Consider me skeptical that practically indefinite meaningful changes (read: content) can be made, let alone balanced.

Quote:

This is no different than how confining choosing a class is today, however, and for the the most part players are not screaming about this system; it is just simply accepted that when you choose a class, that is the class that you will be, and not become another.


Again, I don't see a problem there. I see potential problems when players get the concept of a character in their head, and then need to fight/grind some decision matrix to create that character effectively.

Quote:

In the evolutionary system, while not isolated to only this possibility, but it is possible for a system to exist where one class is chosen and later because of the player's actions with the character other class options begin to arise as the system identifies that the player is playing more akin to that which is closer fitting to another class than what they are; meaning, they will be able to find their play-options available to them with the same character rather than having to start over with another character re-choosing another class.


That seems silly at face value. Will the character keep the old skills? Why won't everyone just be omnipotent-dude then?

If the character doesn't keep the old skills, does that mean my Warrior should never use potions or wands for fear of losing Axe skill? That seems annoying.

If I get pissed off one day and Wrath of God that annoying newb who's spamming my chat box, will my Paladin be messed up for weeks? That seems annoying.

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
- MinMaxing. Even if you create a fantastic system where players can end up as a near infinite possibilities, there's only going to be a few that are 'best'. Then you get to spend the game trying to make all the right choices in a row so that you're not just destroyed by those who do.

I don't believe this is an exclusive problem to an evolutionary system, nor do I see it made worse specifically.


If you've got 8 options, and only half of them are viable that's a lot less wasted time and effort (not to mention upset players who picked the 'bad' classes ignorant of the power difference) than if you had 200 options and only 10 were really powerful. Further, it's exponentially more difficult to balance things (and thus avoid some of the minmax problems) with more options.

Quote:

It would be like suggesting that because instancing advents that all of the min/max issues are gone due to the instancing displacement of unique area play.


Certainly not, but the impact of the problems are drastically reduced.

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
And while you can point at single player games' advancements, they are in the end different beasts. There's a whole lot more technical requirements in a MMO that limits the possibilities of what you can do. And the competition with other players (and the possibilities of rampant asshattery) is also a bit limiting.


For instance, animal-like creatures, that may also be mobs, migrating with food resources and seasonal weather patterns.

These have not largely been successfully applied in an MMORPG as of yet, but the interest is high as it adds a dimension to mob hunting that developers have been wanting access to for a number of years.


I don't know why, it doesn't really add anything to the game.

Quote:

From a developing standpoint, adaptable and evolving infrastructures, while difficult to set up, are attractive because they remove a considerable amount of hand-on work that comes after launch to keep things new and fresh.


As I noted earlier, generated content that follows a pattern without meaningful differences (a fetch quest is a fetch quest) doesn't help new and fresh. You'll still need people to create content, which is ultimately the hard/time-consuming/costly part.

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
To sum up, I think you're wrong.

I think you have mistaken the concept at play, and assumed it to be a forced system with a very narrow use, and if such were the case, I would agree with you completely. However, this is not the structure that seems to be emerging in the gaming industry at all.


*shrug* I don't see it. And I don't see how this sort of system can be done effectively in a broad scope. It seems to me to be too annoying, too burdensome on the player compared to its alternatives.

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
I think that these ideas were tested in a single player environment, and weren't even fun there.

I believe the structures you are talking about, forced literal time of use for trade-in of earning, was tried and was rightfully dismissed largely.
I do not think, however, that the adaptable and evolutionary system structure that has been placed in the single player environment has failed at all.
Once again, the three heralds currently are Fable, Civilization IV, and Spore.


Fable and Spore were terrible terrible games. Add massive human interaction to them and their problems only grow worse.
Quote:

This doesn't mean that the mechanics are agreed with, however.
It means that they are bearable.


Again, I see that assertion as anecdotal. I've seen people ask for more immersive, adaptable systems; and they get Moo3 [:sick:]. I've seen people complain on end about grinding and level caps and any number of things in WoW, but things like WoW do great and things unlike WoW kinda suck.

Quote:

The fact that the industry is constantly still trying to add more adaptability into their various systems and constantly trying to create a more intuitive and adaptable set of mechanics and user interface systems with those mechanics shows that the industry does not consider that players are perfectly contented with how MMORPG's are at this point.


Or have conceded that they cannot simply clone WoW as well as it has been done, so go for other routes. Or developers, by their nature, don't want to reproduce work already done...


Quote:

It's a simple question: "How do I bring the game that the player wants to play to each and every player?"

The answer is, "You don't...it's impossible to do that for every player, but you can allow the system to identify with the player's actions and find relative content for that playing style thereby bringing those content components to the forefront for that player."


Again, I question the utility of that option to game designers when a good portion of a player experience is governed by other players. Again, I point to Puzzle Pirates as an option here. Players are presented with options for things they can do in the world which are largely distinct from other gameplay styles. There's no need for adaptive systems to create that. Just intelligent design and a well managed userbase.


In the end, I still cannot really get a good grasp on what you propose. A bit of the ideas seem to cross, or be related at one point and later not. I can't tell really what's hand-waving magic and what is simply ignoring the downsides if the design is done what way. Perhaps a practical example of a single user experience that could be improved with what you're proposing? Something cut to bare-bones, ignoring other gameplay aspects?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
In the end, I still cannot really get a good grasp on what you propose. A bit of the ideas seem to cross, or be related at one point and later not. I can't tell really what's hand-waving magic and what is simply ignoring the downsides if the design is done what way. Perhaps a practical example of a single user experience that could be improved with what you're proposing? Something cut to bare-bones, ignoring other gameplay aspects?

That's probably because I cannot really get a good grasp on exactly how this will look.

I only know that adaptable system structures will be used, but it's not as though I can really explain how they will be used in great detail since I am not privy to the rest of the mechanics that an unknown game with unknown settings, unknown physics, and unknown economic infrastructures will co-emerge with the said adaptable systems.

If I take a game that exists today and just slap adaptable concepts into it, it would fall apart as it wasn't designed that way.

It would be as to suggest that hypersonic engines could be slapped onto an extrapolated SR-71 Blackbird variant to imagine how a hypersonic jet would fly.
The only thing I would arrive at is how the jet would explode since my basis chassis is from a supersonic jet and not a hypersonic jet.


So this is why I'm only vague and broad sweeping.
I am merely suggesting options that could be seen, just like one does with any technological advancement; one supposes the applications granting the axiom of the technology itself.

Considering the advent of highly adaptable and evolutionary systems in consumer technology, such as I've stated similarly in Amazon, TiVo, Pandora.com's adaptable radio database, OCAP (or True2Way) Cable development allowing area specific feedback and interaction between consumer's of cable television and providers of television, and (in the video game realm) Spore (as the forerunner above all) it is only a matter of time before this technology becomes part of the MMORPG infrastructure.

I plastered it upon the section that I see the industry most pondering over; character investment.
Exactly how to create the connection between the character and player that is relatable on a level beyond statistics, and how to get the world to seem to recognize the character/player as an individual, or closer to one.


I will not stand here, as I have said, and say that it will fix everything.
I am absolutely certain that there will be games that will be absolutely horrible when they attempt to implement this piece of technology.
And I only hope that the industry has learned from the industry wide failure of the ambitioned (for really no reason) "one-gigantic-world-server" concept that they will not attempt to see this new technology as the new "trick" at the amusement park that will bring the crowds back in.
As doing so will just plague the industry once again with failures and misuse of the technology.


So, I can't really give an exactness of how it will be used.
It would be like sitting back in the days of Diablo 1, and saying that this randomly generated dungeon system will be called, "instancing" and be used in MMORPG's in x, y, and z fashions 4 to 5 years later (depending if you want to clain PSO or AO as the first implementation of instancing at launch) for completely different reasons (explained by Richard Garriott a number of years earlier while on UO) than the reasons first developed when in use by Diablo.

However, one thing that was certain back when we were all marveling at Diablo was that this computer engine completely changed the rules of what was going to happen in games in the future in ways we could not yet imagine, but new would exist.

Now we have instancing everywhere, employing the basic structure of randomization that Diablo began 13 years ago.


So I wish I could tell you an example that will be there, but I can't as I will be drastically wrong...I can't imagine the MMORPG that will be designed with such a technology in mind or the freedoms and limitations that arise out of using such a technology.


With all of that said, let me state that I am not exactly a fan of highly evolutionary systems.
I think the technology is simply amazing, but in gaming, specifically RPG fashions, I am a statistics fan.
I am a fan of the 80/20 system, much like what you can find in the older Shadowrun table-top RPG systems where you had massive amounts of points (230) at character creation and only gained a tiny fraction each time you played (4).

I personally like my character's all but completed after creation, and have never been a fan of the "build-as-you-go" character creation that is in every MMORPG found today (or said, 10/90 and 20/80 systems).

I am not a fan of the concept's impact on character development, but I can see it inevitably hitting the industry and I can see how it can be used to great success and satisfaction for the player-base at large.

Perhaps not for players like me (although I think that's unfair, as I'm a snob when it comes to RPG's specifically), but definitely for many players out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would agree that the direction of the genre is to have more dynamic worlds. Right now the most dynamic worlds are games like EVE that give a lot of control over to the players who are themselves dynamic.

As for PVE content that is dynamic it really starts with the ability to create an economic game for the players to play. Or in other words, the foundation is that pavlovian response but they will have more options in terms of what they can gain and how they can gain it. There are a lot of issues with this kind of thing but it is also something that is talked about a lot on boards like this.

Skill based systems are probably not coming back IMO unless they act a lot like a class system. IMO the future of character creation is like that found in the WOW Paladin. The WOW Paladin can be a tank, a healer, or DPS. I think in the future classes will be designed with the assumption that they will need to fill multiple roles in the end game. There will also be an assumption that players will want to switch roles a lot.

The move towards dynamic content is a good assumption but your actual ideas about how that will happen seem way off IMO. I think you should start with WOW and really try and understand what people like it so much. This may be difficult if you don't like WOW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Griffin_Kemp
Now we have instancing everywhere, employing the basic structure of randomization that Diablo began 13 years ago.


Umm, Diablo is really nothing more than a graphical version of Rogue, made some ~27 years ago. I wouldn't be too surprised if a mud hadn't implemented instancing before Diablo ever came out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Quote:
Original post by Griffin_Kemp
Now we have instancing everywhere, employing the basic structure of randomization that Diablo began 13 years ago.


Umm, Diablo is really nothing more than a graphical version of Rogue, made some ~27 years ago. I wouldn't be too surprised if a mud hadn't implemented instancing before Diablo ever came out.

Generally not, because back in the old days, online RPGs were games you played with all the other players, not glorified lobby systems letting you go into a dungeon exclusively made for your small band of RL friends. ;) Finding some other adventurers already underground picking the loot off the corpse of the dead red dragon was part of the fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Quote:
Original post by Griffin_Kemp
Now we have instancing everywhere, employing the basic structure of randomization that Diablo began 13 years ago.


Umm, Diablo is really nothing more than a graphical version of Rogue, made some ~27 years ago. I wouldn't be too surprised if a mud hadn't implemented instancing before Diablo ever came out.

Generally not, because back in the old days, online RPGs were games you played with all the other players, not glorified lobby systems letting you go into a dungeon exclusively made for your small band of RL friends. ;) Finding some other adventurers already underground picking the loot off the corpse of the dead red dragon was part of the fun.


Yeah, it's unlikely, but I could imagine some sort of instanced arena to control PvP or some instanced planar sanctuary or instances to do some Wizard testing. Not the same game impact, but similar technological requirements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Out on the road today, I saw a DEADHEAD sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice Inside my head said, "Don't look back. You can never look back."

Smaller instanced dungeons are here to stay.

Large raids are impersonal and no longer what a large portion of the playerbase wants. A game will likely still have them but their days as the focus are over IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Stangler
The move towards dynamic content is a good assumption but your actual ideas about how that will happen seem way off IMO.

The specific examples as suggestions may be off, as I have said openly since I cannot know the rest of the game that a system such as this will exist in.
However, I am certain that the adaptable system will be in place for an attempt at immersion and to lessen the load of manual mechanics alterations by the developing staff.
Meaning, the mechanics will adjust their options to you dependent on your game-play, and then you will make your choices from those options.

Quote:
Original post by Stangler
I think you should start with WOW and really try and understand what people like it so much. This may be difficult if you don't like WOW.

I have since the game came out.
I don't have to like games to understand what occurs.
I literally have studied toys and games since I was five years old and my grandfather began teaching me the introduction to making toys and games that he did by hand.

I've never stopped since then.
The point of saying that was to explain that my personal taste does not come into my examination of what I see in a given game or industry of gaming.

In the case of WoW, it is largely successful because it accomplishes 6 basic things:
1) Efficiency
2) Reliability
3) Ease of use
4) Simple and Clean
5) Constant disturbance
6) Higher than average developer interaction

Those are the reasons WoW is successful.

These are also the basic functions of success for a grocery store:
1) Efficient
2) Reliably stocked
3) Easy to locate items
4) Simple to get around and Clean
5) Constant change-over of new product or promotions
6) Higher than average employee to customer interaction

In fact, these are the basic concepts to success in pretty much any consumer market business.
So this is why WoW succeeds.
Everything else falls into one of these categories.


Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Quote:
Original post by Griffin_Kemp
Now we have instancing everywhere, employing the basic structure of randomization that Diablo began 13 years ago.


Umm, Diablo is really nothing more than a graphical version of Rogue, made some ~27 years ago. I wouldn't be too surprised if a mud hadn't implemented instancing before Diablo ever came out.

Generally not, because back in the old days, online RPGs were games you played with all the other players, not glorified lobby systems letting you go into a dungeon exclusively made for your small band of RL friends. ;) Finding some other adventurers already underground picking the loot off the corpse of the dead red dragon was part of the fun.


Yeah, it's unlikely, but I could imagine some sort of instanced arena to control PvP or some instanced planar sanctuary or instances to do some Wizard testing. Not the same game impact, but similar technological requirements.

The point, I think you catch, is that Diablo really took that concept and brought it to a realization of actual use beyond just the simple, "Yes, the numerical algorithm can be ran on a computer."
And threw it into a wide range of interactive three dimensional space, with a town to shop in, and a dungeon to walk to, and went online to play with multiple members who could go with you to these randomly generated dungeons that only your party would see.

That's pretty much the genesis of what we understand as instancing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Re: The elements of success of WoW

According to your post, would the fact that World of Warcraft is introduced after the Warcraft series play no basic role in the success of WoW? What about the fact that WoW is well-known and there are a lot of players? Where do these factors go?

Quote:
1) Efficiency
2) Reliability
3) Ease of use
4) Simple and Clean
5) Constant disturbance
6) Higher than average developer interaction

Everything else falls into one of these categories.


Where would price go? System requirement? The general Accessibility catagory? What about user expectations?

Which of your six catagories will be affected if:

1) WoW is rated for Everyone
2) WoW is rated for Mature Audience Only
3) WoW has no female characters
4) The monsters in WoW don't die.
5) The database is periodically reset so that every player gets to start with a clean character.
6) PvP is always on.
7) There is only one class, and only one weapon.
8) User picks the desired race by selecting it at the beginning of the game.
9) User picks the desired race by clicking a randomly appearing icon in the game 50 times. The player character will slowly evolve into that race. If the player clicked the icon of another race, the player will get negative progress toward the desired race.

Which catagory these decisions affect? How would you classify them?

[Edited by - Wai on June 2, 2009 7:05:00 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Wai
What about the fact that WoW is well-known and there are a lot of players?

That's namebrand recognition, which won't in itself make anything succeed.
If the game sucked, it would suck.
Just like Pepsi Blue didn't win because it wasn't market successful regardless of the fact that it carried the Pepsi brand.

Quote:
Where would price go?

Ease of use.

Quote:
System requirement?

Efficiency, Simple and Clean, Ease of use.

Quote:
The general Accessibility catagory?

Efficiency, Simple and Clean, Ease of use.

Quote:
What about user expectations?

That's actually target marketing, but in this list it directly ties into developer to consumer interaction; keeping in touch with your clientele so to constantly be aware of what the demands are, and how to shift supply.

Quote:
1) WoW is rated for Everyone
2) WoW is rated for Mature Audience Only

Primary is Ease of use; this is the same as asking about a chainsaw versus a hammer. A much younger age may use a hammer, but an older and more knowledgeable age is generally required for something as dangerous as a chainsaw. Likewise, mature content is not easy for children to use when you look at this from a market standpoint because parents will not allow them to use the game as easily. It also risks offensive material, which may cause the game to be more difficult for some player to continue playing. Again, ease of use.

Quote:
3) WoW has no female characters

Ease of use, but this is silly in our generally politically correct society of business; the lack of gender options would be suicide in business models.

Quote:
4) The monsters in WoW don't die.

Ease of use, Simple and Clean, Higher than average developer interaction: lacking these things would produce concepts that are impossible or too difficult for players to consider continuing.

Quote:
5) The database is periodically reset so that every player gets to start with a clean character.

Reliability, Efficiency, Ease of Use, Simple and Clean: it would fail at all of these.

Quote:
6) PvP is always on.

That depends on your market once again; in some games this is the case because of their target; however in WoW, this would seem inappropriate considering it's market. Therefore, this would be Ease of use, and Developer interaction: lacking these two things would result in the idea of PvP shifting to always on...not to mention losing Reliability since it's a pretty core standard of WoW.

Quote:
7) There is only one class, and only one weapon.

Constant disturbance, Efficiency: you do not have enough variables to cause enough variation (constant disturbance) to keep things interesting, nor is this an efficient design for keeping players interested.

Quote:
8) User picks the desired race by selecting it at the beginning of the game.

primarily a consideration for Ease of use, but also affects Simple and Clean, and Efficiency.

Quote:
9) User picks the desired race by clicking a randomly appearing icon in the game 50 times. The player character will slowly evolve into that race. If the player clicked the icon of another race, the player will get negative progress toward the desired race.

This is part of Ease of use, Efficiency, Simple and Clean, and Reliability; since this is not how things work in WoW, switching to such a system without compensation in the rest of the system for such a dramatic change would crush the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder if there ever will be a "future" or "next generation" for MMORPGs.

10 years ago, during the MUD (multi user dungeon) era, we had huge 40 man raids on high level dungeon for epic loot, clans, pvp ladders, trading, crafting, fishing, harvesting, lots of quests, different classes that specializes in something, "hero" classes when u hit level max and instances etc. Also, the horrible horrible grind. (even if exp grind isn't bad, u end up pvp grinding)

A few years later, graphical MUDs like Everquest came out with more or less the same features but with graphics.

Now, 10 years later, the most popular MMORPG is WoW, which is basically the same thing as Everquest and MUDs.


- Where is the innovation? lol.


I have a theory : As each generation of gamers get older and has to spend all their time working and thus quits gaming, the next generation of youths take over them in gaming. To the new comers, the "same old thing" IS new. Because they have never played MUDs or Everquest before, WoW IS innovative.

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