Jump to content
  • Advertisement

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

ahw

[MORPG] you get what you pay for... and some more

This topic is 6183 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Just an idea that I have been thinking about for a while. Actually, I was first thinking of making rather a chat room that would simply be based around a world. That is, you''d be roaming around in some environment just like in a MMORPG, but the only activity would be chatting... ...then I thought some more, and I came to this : Consider the current games around, you have to pay to play, right? What if you would offer to players an alternative : you play for cheap (or something really cheap compared to the "normal" price), but your character is only an NPC. It doesn''t evolve, doesn''t get to play an adventurer type character (in my conception, this could be done because the characters activity would be determined by their skills. Restrict the skills you can choose and you restrict the jobs that can be done), but it can chat, and that my friends is where the idea (IMHO) kicks ass. Because as long as people can chat, you can have a community growing. You can have a *player base*. Quid of the player killers ? Who cares, it can''t be as bad as all the stuff that can happen when you''re on IRC ! If one of those NPC players dies, it can simply create another character in a few clicks (or why not the same ...) The PK wouldnt get any experience from that, and it would get a really bad reputation. Additionally, those NPC characters can convey your plot. Most plots only need NPC that talk... you could reward your best "plot drivers" NPC players by offering them more skills that they could use in a more "PC" way... for instance they could become doctor, or merchant, or bartender, innkeeper, farmer, townguard, all those boring jobs that no self respecting hero would ever want, but that our chatty people would be more than happy to fulfill... after all, it''s better to have a NPC bartender not serve his clients ''cause he is busy chatting away with his barmaid, than having a boring AI driven bartender... mmmh ? Now. I jsut hope that no one read that thread so that I''ll be the first to officially implement such a cool idea ACtually, I am pretty sure that no one will use it... because it involve something that no self respecting multi billion dollar corporation can ever imagine : letting *some* people play for free ... muhahahahahaha (evil laughter), they''ll never thin of it !
Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Good to see you posting again, man!

The idea could potentially add a lot of atmosphere if folks get on just to chat. There''s definitely an audience out there that could go for a graphical IRC.

The only problem I think the idea might have is the static nature of the game world. If players are NPCs and seemingly disconnected from making a "physical" impact on the game world, do they have an incentive to keep playing. I know that for some of the IRC RPGs I''ve seen stats and records are kept so that people will know the changes in the universe. Those that have referee systems seem to me to be the closest to what you''d need for a completely automated system. Otherwise I''d think the user experience would be very emphemeral, wouldn''t it?

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Furcadia is basically a graphical chat room. I logged on for all of one hour before logging off and deleting it, because it bored me to death. But for socializers who get off on endless rambling, this kind of thing sells (especially when it's free).

Still, there are a lot of pretty immature socializers out there starving for attention, and they will be easily as annoying as PKers. You need some discretion in choosing your NPC staff, or nobody will ever talk to them, and they'll quit, leaving only PC's (which is what you'd have anyway). And people who do an extremely good job playing the NPC will want to be paid for it.

I'm not sure this idea has any practical application.

Edited by - Tom on August 7, 2001 8:36:15 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like the idea.

Some random brainstroming, you''ve been warned:

Perhaps another way to look at it would be that the "payers" would be a hero caste, the mighty barbarians, noble paladins, powerful sorcerors, etc. They would be the ones off slaying dragons etc.

[bold]But[/bold] you could let the more ambitious talkers have their own schemes. Let them grow wealthy if they wish, or be content with baking bread and talking to their customers if that is their wish. They could be travelling merchants, shopkeepers, petty thieves, or accompany a group of "payers" (minstrels, inescapable pests, etc). Wouldn''t be able to hold their own in a fight, but anyone who has enough money could always hire a sword or two. When one of these characters dies, make them start over as a new character - which would hopefully provide some balance for the payers vs. talkers setup - ambitious talkers would have a more difficult time rebuilding, while a payer could just pick up a sword and begin adventuring again.

It might be enough that they could generate their own stories, with merchants hiring mercenaries for protection, perhaps a rival merchant hiring his/her own set of mercenaries to ambush the caravan...

-pwd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why dont you give the NPC players a reward for being a good NPC. If they get enough points by doing "good", un-annoying things give them a big discount on the pay-to-play portion of the game. This will give the player an incentive to be good NPC players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wow, a lot of misinterpretation here, it seems. Wouldn''t surprise me, though; it seems my english is never as good as I would believe, when I need it... anyway

Wavinator ( and all, actually ) :
Yes, I have been looking at your good ideas, as usual, but I''ve haven''t had a lot of motivation recently :/
My idea is not to add graphics and whatnot to IRC... I was just taking IRC as an example of environment where people are ready to spend days and nights, invest effort, and most of the time for nothing. You get channels for people that share common interests, channels for horny geeks, or worse, horny newbies, you get lots of condescending lUnIx users, etc
Now imagine that you take all those people that have some sort of interest towards fantasy, roleplaying, storytelling, etc. And you offer them to come and play your MMORPG.

Now... that''s where the trick is :
Those who want to play as a hero (slaying dragons, rescuing damzels, retrieving whatever artifact ... you get the idea) would pay the full price.
They could create any type of character, including those accesible to non-paying players; They could get XP (some system to increase their skills, reputation, and general status as a hero); they basically would have access to the full product.

Now you would have another population of people who wanna know what the heck all this is about. Let''s call them Observers.
They would be your chatroom guys.
Now you have to consider the fact that in a chatroom, you are a name in a list, and you can teleport anywhere you want, talk to anyone whenever you like, be in a private conversation, etc... compared to all this, a MMORPG is NOT the best environment to chat.

That''s perfect, because this would quickly deter those who think it''s "jsut a graphical chatroom" to come in. They would come in, visit, realise they have to *walk* to talk to anyone... and they''d quit. Or they would like the idea, and think maybe they can play some role.
They *could* play some role. In fact, they would have access to a restricted set of the game. They could create as I said before, all those not really interesting characters no one really want to play (as a hero), but that are necessary to create a good atmosphere.

The way I see it, some people will emerge from the lot. Some people who are really good actors, and love to create some sort of plot. Some who are natural leaders and will want to create some sort of guild or whatever.
Imagine a Player who decide to rent the services of Observers to know what''s going on in town... the Player could be a master Thief and the Observers would be beggars, or other low life.

If some Observer is really deserving, I don''t se why they would be paid, since they are having a blast and paying naught...



I am still unsure if there should be some sort of gradient between Observer status and Hero status... I guess it would really depend on the way your game is structured.
If your game was based on level, maybe the maximum level you could advance to would depend on the price you pay ? (I don''t like the idea of levels, I am just using it so you get the idea)
But there still should be this non-paying class.

Did I mention Observers could be animals as well as monsters ?
(though as for NPC, the level of powe they could access would have to be monitored... you wouldn''t start as a Big Bad Dragon, hey! )

Now... is it a bit clearer ?



Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay, ahw, now you''ve got me thinking!

So it''s not graphical IRC. Instead, people actually act as background in the world.

This actually sounds like a powerful way to meld the hack & slashers with the roleplayers, if you think about it. If you could create safe zones for player NPC, then they''d be free to do a great many things that aren''t combat related.

Here''s the major question, though: Is the purpose of this role to entice people into becoming paying customers, or is it a game unto itself? If it''s the former, I think you run into significant problems. I''d think you''d inevitably end up needing to cripple or lessen the player NPC gameplay in order to encourage them to sign up. Otherwise, where''s the encouragement?

But if that''s the case, what''s the draw for playing a barkeep or wolf in the forest anyway? I''m not opposed to the idea of making the paying game more interesting than the non-paying, btw. I''m just looking at this like a demo: Normally, you have to give the player almost all the functionality of the full game but make it a smaller / shorter experience. With the idea that you have, it sounds like the player NPC experience would be entirely different.

There seems to be another problem, though, if you say that the player NPC experience is a game unto itself. It seems to me that you ''d have to build gameplay to be as rich for player NPCs as it is for paying PCs. What I mean is this: You''d need to give them conversation ability, ways to make an impression on the game world via actions and objects, possibly inventory, stats, etc., etc. At this point then they''re really PCs, playing for free, and you''ve spent just as much effort developing for them as you have paying PCs. If you only have limited time/funds to develop, I''d think this would end up hurting the paying experience, because it''d be taking away from the time you have to enhance it.

How about this variation on your theme:

Since the major draw for most MMO cRPGs is level building, I think you''d be right in limiting an observer''s advancement. But if the goal is to add ambience to your setting, how about a more radical approach?

Cast the observers as "spirits" that can move in and out of NPC bodies. To observers, the game is re-entrant, and they can get in and out as easily as in Quake (wait!!! hear me out!!!!! )

Like CoolTomK said, you reward the players who do well. The better they do, the more they get to stay in a given NPC body. They can''t improve it, they can only improve their "spirit''s" gameworld reputation. The more dangerous the class of NPC body they inhabit, the more difficult it is to stay. Playing a shopkeeper is easy, but playing an Orc king is hard (since combat is normally the most developed portion, this is meant to add challenge).

Body control is tiered, so that there''s still some level building to draw in the cRPG fans. The stronger the spirit, the higher the level character they can control.

Multiple Bodies
Here''s another major twist: A spirit (observer) can spread itself across several bodies at once, just as a player can control a party of six PCs in some single player cRPGs. Though the NPC characters are still bound by game world rules, this enables one enterprising player to enact a plot involving several NPCs vs. the PCs (lots of room for plans within plans here!!!!!!). They can also control multiple monsters, giving you a potentially favorable AI boost vs. PCs (esp. when tied with the tiered spirit advancement idea).

Jump in, Jump out
For observers, the game is re-entrant and when they die, they just switch to another creature / monster / NPC elsewhere in the gameworld (random and far from their last position to prevent PC / observer collaboration).
Observers at this point then become a little like admins, though with vastly reduced capabilities. They get to sample a significant slice of the gameworld, and grow and make game world changes, but you potentially leave them wanting more (which they pay for).

You possibly also end up attracting multiple audiences: Your PKer/hack & slashers and more action-oriented RPers jump in to play individual monsters / creatures, with their spirit getting fame and recognition that lets them advance to controlling monster hordes. You reduce somewhat your admin burden, because players are spawning content. Escapist can be safe in town baking bread and changing town laws and getting married (or whatever). And your PCs get a rich world with lots of stuff constantly happening.



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To be honest, I don''t think this would work. 1) The numbers of the additional people that would pay for the chat are way over rated. Think about it, the amount of audience can be reached with the additional chat is restricted to the content inside the game, not the general audience that enjoys the overall chats. A person who likes to chat about futuristic related rpg would still have zero interest in your game. 2) The chat would draw away the primary "pay" customers. If say the reason for A to play mmorpg is because of the interactions and the chats, then why would he pay a full price for the game instead of a small fee for just the chats and npc control? 3) By making npcs controlable to the players, you would then have to take additional time and resource to balance/regulate to what degree these npc will affect the game. Yea, the player controled npc could add some interesting plot to the mix, but what if some brat control a npc shopkeeper and refuse to sell items to the real characters ? And what if two player controled npc gives out a similar quest but with a tiny difference in detail which could create a paradox in the game and rip up the whole background story ?

The idea have some merits but I see a lot of loop holes before it could work.

Peace out,
Mooglez

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it is an interesting idea. It may not work, but I think it might be worth a try...

I dont think that you have to create much of an infrastructure for the PNPCs (Player NPC? isnt that an oxymoron?) they dont have to be shopkeepers or whatever (in fact I dont think they should be) and they could be restricted to a certain area (doesnt have to be a wall - like restriction, just make it so that unaccompanied PNPC''s are so wussy even the lamest lonely goblin can and will take them on and win) Adventurers can then come back to the town and boast about their exploits, and by doing so, encourage the freeloading PNPCs to fork out for the full price package. It could be a very effective way to hook people into the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Euh do u really think people are going to enter a game where the can only chat ???
I mean if the others where not playing maybe but with all those players having fun around.
And who will talk to a "PNPC" untill he gives u quest ?
hmmm the idea seems good when u write it because of the background it can add but I dont think it has any practical issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!