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Mythics

MMORPG Quests

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John, the baker, is a NPC. He sells breads, cakes, donuts, and many other things a baker might sell. Bread requires Butter, Flour, Salt, Shortening, Sugar, Water, Yeast, etc. The other things he sells also require these things and more, depending on the specific item. Players that play the MMORPG purchase these baked items from John. John purchases his ingredients from a couple different traveling merchants. As John bakes these goods, he uses up his supplies. He then purchases more of them, using money he has gained from selling the end products. Players can purchase ingredients as well, and potentially bake their own goods. Quests that might arise: 1. John is out of flour and needs more asap, find out what happened to the merchant. The merchant was attacked, and slowed. He'll be in soon. Player gets rewarded for passing the news. Player potentially gets request to stop attackers from re-attacking the merchant (kill attackers, bribe attackers). Player potentially joins in with the attackers, robbing merchant to sell overpriced flour to John. etc 2. John is out of flour and needs more asap, find out what happened to the merchant. The merchant was killed, bring the flour to John for a reward. A new merchant will be made out of one of the many peasants. 3. John is out of flour and needs more asap, sell John some flour at an increased profit to the player. 4. Merchant is having difficulties providing John with enough flour, speak with Mr. Farmer about his wheat production to ensure he increases his plot sizes. Gain reward from farmer for news, as well as reward from Merchant for passing on the news. Gain rewards from John for supplying him with extra flour in the mean time. Potentially offer wheat to farmer for processing to make flour. etc etc etc Not that I'm making a MMORPG or anything, but just how 'too far' would a setup like this really be? Real-ish economics, simulated procreation, shops open/close depending on the market, etc. I'm sure there would be hundreds if not thousands of flaws to dig through, but in the end.. there would be legit quests regularly that truly impact the world AS you play. Professions that actually mean something to the player and those around him, including NPCs. Quests could still be given just like MMORPGs do now, but a system as I'm trying to describe could make the world more.. well, more. Would I be out of my mind hoping for something like this [edit]that didn't suck really really bad[/edit] from any MMORPG in the next 5-10 years? [Edited by - Mythics on October 13, 2009 10:24:20 AM]

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I don't think there's anything stopping a game from including those kinds of things right now.

However, I'd be extremely wary of trying to implement them. If I go to the baker on Monday and he charges me 3 silver for a loaf of bread, but on Wednesday he charges me 10 silver due to his costs going up, I'm going to be miffed.

Besides, if the baker gets his money by selling goods, but players are killing his suppliers and selling him the ingredients for a mark up, no one will buy the goods as they're too expensive, so the baker will have no money to buy the ingredients. The baker goes bust and the players have to bake their own bread.

The flour merchants would be relatively poor so wouldn't be able to afford to hire guards for protection. This gives players pretty much a free reign at killing the merchants, stealing the flour and selling it for a markup to the baker. It's free money. When the baker goes bust, players can either keep the flour they steal and bake their own bread or sell it to another player character who becomes a master baker.

There are some serious downsides to this kind of simulation in games, and IMO, it would suck large amounts of fun out of playing the game.

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Not trying to be picky here, but I didn't exactly mean for every aspect of what I described to be 100% functional.

Quote:
Original post by Bursar
Besides, if the baker gets his money by selling goods, but players are killing his suppliers and selling him the ingredients for a mark up, no one will buy the goods as they're too expensive, so the baker will have no money to buy the ingredients. The baker goes bust and the players have to bake their own bread.

Without a baker to sell to, the desire to kill merchants doesn't exist, therefore a baker pops back up eventually. While of course some players would just kill them to be mean, the benefit/penalty comparison of killing a merchant to gain a profit from the baker could easily persuade players to not take that path.


Quote:
Original post by Bursaror sell it to another player character who becomes a master baker.

Saying no to the master baker charging 5k gold per loaf IS a possibility.

Quote:
Original post by BursarThere are some serious downsides to this kind of simulation in games, and IMO, it would suck large amounts of fun out of playing the game.

Having a company come out with a not-sucky version of this kind of simulation is what I was really trying to ask, please forgive me for not conveying this better.

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I was working on a game with this kind of simulation, I didn't really get to the point where that part could be implemented though. I had ideas for mobs which would become too populated in some areas and need to be cleared, but you also could make a mob type go extinct if you weren't too careful. And the shopkeepers were going to carry mostly player acquired goods as well, offset by an invisible npc economy which made sure required goods are available, if players were not covering all of the bases.

I agree that I'd be miffed if the only price to buy bread at was 5k a loaf. But I'd also be interested in why that was the case. A magical virus causing yeast to fail to rise? It turns out bread is the best healing item and everyone is buying up the stock too fast? Carrying out quests which reduce the price of bread back to affordable levels would be much more interesting to me as a player than just killing another 10x for the next set of experience points. And I would know that other players may be working toward the same goal, rather than having every man/group/guild basically out for himself and himself alone.

Maybe the bread in another city is much cheaper: trade runs
Maybe the crop at the main wheat farm is infected, lets start a "raid" to eliminate the source of the corruption.

I would probably want to eliminate "true" simulation as much as possible. For instance, I wouldn't have the baker actually have a limited amount of money, he would just be modeled to behave as if he was generally poor. Maybe a daily spending limit of some kind, and periods of enhanced or decreased finances based on events that he can pick up on. In gothic, you could ruin the economy by owning every piece of ore that ever belonged to any npc, making them all broke, but it didn't matter, because other than giving it to you, their finances served no purpose. In a game with a more realistic economy npc simulation, I think a system of "levers" might be the best way to handle it. Each piece of the puzzle can apply a lever on other pieces, but none of them actually have the power to break the chain or tip the balance too far.

It could even be simpler than that - to transition from static worlds to more dynamic ones, get out of the mindset of writing large numbers of static quests, and just develop a smaller number which have small effects on the world. The "expensive bread" chain could easily be hardcoded and use the same quest system already available without much extra effort.

I think a full on simulation would be fraught with issues, but even in that case, there can be limits to prevent it from completely dying. If there is some wiggle room in the simulation to alloow for a hand of god, then the gm's can ensure that things are kept in check.

In a game like this, the focus would be more on the general "health" of the world, than on character advancement. It might be annoying to be rushing to the max level and be delayed because your trainer was killed, or you are on a quest to deliver an item that no one is selling, or other such showstoppers. But if you care more about what is going on worldwise than what level you are, you are going to be thrilled that there is another problem to fix. Getting people to care about the world in this way might be a challenge.

One of these days I'm going to get back to that game I was designing :)

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I believe this can work in a MORPG, but not in a MMORPG. You've got 50 players roaming the town to find quest giving NPCs. They all converge on John and go off to get him some flour. First one comes back with the flour and gets a reward. The 49 others come back a bit later with flour, but John has all the flour he needs. Does he give them a reward and go broke or ignore them?

If you want to avoid this situation, you can limit the number of times the NPC will give the quest. This causes another problem where you need a huge amount of NPCs to generate a huge amount of quests for a huge amount of players. That creates a huge world where players are unlikely to interact with each other

With a smaller number of players (50 or so), you can get a smaller but workable world for this kind of simulation detail.

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Personally, I think it would be boring. I mean, John's out of flour so I have to go an get some for him or figure out what happened the merchant, or whatever.... it's not exactly "world shattering" stuff. But then that's probably why I don't play MMORPGs - I prefer regular RPGs where my choices are things like "do I disarm the Megaton bomb and save the town, or do I detonate the bomb and blow the town up?" Try doing that in an MMO!

Sorry, I'm not really helping, just venting :p~

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Quote:
Original post by Codeka
Personally, I think it would be boring. I mean, John's out of flour so I have to go an get some for him or figure out what happened the merchant, or whatever.... it's not exactly "world shattering" stuff. But then that's probably why I don't play MMORPGs - I prefer regular RPGs where my choices are things like "do I disarm the Megaton bomb and save the town, or do I detonate the bomb and blow the town up?" Try doing that in an MMO!

Sorry, I'm not really helping, just venting :p~


Sorry to be a little off-topic, but WoW's new "phasing" system will allow future designs to do things just like that. Of course it is never going to feel as all-inclusive as Fallout 3, since other people have to make the same decision in the same world, but it is getting much closer to having large, world-impacting decisions fall on the player by using seamless, invisible personal-instancing.

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Quote:
Original post by jackolantern1
Sorry to be a little off-topic, but WoW's new "phasing" system will allow future designs to do things just like that. Of course it is never going to feel as all-inclusive as Fallout 3, since other people have to make the same decision in the same world, but it is getting much closer to having large, world-impacting decisions fall on the player by using seamless, invisible personal-instancing.
Hey, I just read up on that, and it seems pretty neat!

Of course, it's yet one more thing that makes an MMO orders of magnitude more complex to design than single-player (or even non-"M"MOs) but from a player's point of view, it's a really clever idea.

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Adding reality and depth to a game, especially an RPG or MMORPG, is a timeless venture and I must admit I'm quite fond of it. Sure, there are people who would prefer to just play a game for the "business" aspect of it - i.e. people who rush to the max level just so they have another money making character in their account - but i think that if a game were carefully designed to FOCUS on smaller aspects within the game's community, then it would provide a very unique and entertaining experience.

What I mean is that for an idea like a dynamic economic simulation within the game, incorporating both players and NPCs, then the primary focus of the game cant be a mad rush or an action-oriented/competitive level grind. A system like the one being proposed will require a significant shift in the game's central focus of game play. Albeit, the design must be damn near perfect to keep the game entertaining and to stay as far as possible from the mundane.

As for the exact focus of the game away from general MMORPG, it would have to be a world that focuses on realism. The reality of an economy or troubled community should never hinder a player's experience in an action game, but if the intrigue of the game where shifted to the building of one's fame, fortune, and wealth through community affairs and interactions then it would work splendidly. A truly dynamic world, where one server can be completely different from the next. Not just economically, but perhaps politically as well. Major cities occupied by different factions, led by the efforts of players themselves. And have THAT as the entertaining aspect, more so then just a robust content-filled combat system or series of dungeons and bosses.

I've had my own share of dynamic RPG realism, but perhaps my favorite idea is to gradually pass the responsibility to the players. For example, near the opening of the game there would be a basic setup of factions and races and cities. Players will spawn in their home city, or a place of their own choosing. The cities will be run by NPCs as they traditionally are, but as the player increases their skill and wealth - through various adventures either provided by NPCs, randomly generated, or even self-motivated - then players can be given more opportunities. From the start, players should be able to contribute to the market and trade by selling loot or crafted goods. Players can even go as far as build buildings for NPCs looking for a construction project or even other players. Players can eventually open shops, or own enough real estate to form a significant part of the ruling class (i.e. make decisions concerning their property, such as providing guards or public facilities so more people would immigrate to their area). As players take more control, less and less NPCs can be introduced into the game. They would still be there, and be introduced by birth or immigration, but players will begin to take over more and more of the percentage of shops and the such. Cities will grow and factions can wage war or form alliances. Before you know it, player-run kingdoms will exist, and one server would be nothing like the other. A totally different game. And players, instead of just leveling, would be contributing to that because it's the focus of the game. To literally make a mark, politically, economically, or just by being a hero like the RPG tradition.

Of course, this is conceptual and actually making a working detailed framework for such a project would be of colossal difficulty. Various fail-safes and GM moderation has to be put into account to ensure that the game is fair and entertaining, and that's not easy. But the point is, it has to entertain and be unique and never be mundane. It should never be "go to this vender, buy this seed, plant this seed, pick this crop, sell this, repeat." Players should have the opportunity to disrupt the norm and make even the most humble farmer take part in his/her changing world.

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