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Zouflain

How can player options be expanded in online games?

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Zouflain    548
This question sounds rather broad, but let me clarify. Most online RPG games boast a wide range of features and options for players, but ultimately these options very quickly break down into very simple categories. There's combat (fight mobs, fight players, and fight players when trying to fight mobs), crafting (make this, make that, ect), a smattering of politics (guild-guild interaction, player-controlled cities) and a very small amount of art/entertainment generation. Arguably you could put economics in there, but that's really just crafting with a bit of politics. To be fair, I might be missing a category or two (and if anyone can mention more, I would be much obliged), but ultimately there isn't a lot of choice for players in the supposedly "open ended" games that make sweeping claims about player freedom. So I'm asking, what could a new game feasibly bring to this table? I don't mean a game designed around a "brand new" field of player activity, but one that merely includes it (like how LOTOR includes art via it's music system, or SWG and it's entertainers) in a meaningful fashion. Most online RPGs are focused on a "race to the top" in one of these categories, but because of this, player choice gets drastically reduced. There's no support for nor point in pursuing other interests. What other interests can games allow players to pursue?

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Cpt Mothballs    100
You have to draw experience from life.
You can't always look to other games for comparisons, because when you do that, you're left asking a question that's self explanatory.

People complain about how stale games are but they only look for inspiration from other games when it comes down to designing gameplay elements.
So naturally, things are going to be similar and stale.

If you want to add more interactivity or depth, offer more intuitive controls and add rich lore for players to immerse themselves with.

The only real way to add realistic and engaging player choices is to make them interesting and easy to switch.
A politician with combat skills could easily become an ambassador to unknown worlds.

It's that level of thinking that can make a player break the standard mould of RPG gameplay to experience new content.
Offering dynamic scoring for each part of the game could influence what you have access to and breaking clear-cut conventions to make the choices less transparent could send people down paths they wouldn't normally be interested in.

It's just as viable of a hook as 100 classes with 1,500 crafting skills, real-time in-game stock markets and politics.

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Zouflain    548
Quote:
Original post by Cpt Mothballs
You have to draw experience from life.
You can't always look to other games for comparisons, because when you do that, you're left asking a question that's self explanatory.
Though I use other games as examples, and certainly other games that have already done what one is curious about are great sources to examine, I was not specifically asking for examples from other games, and I would actually prefer examples that aren't already well explored.

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If you want to add more interactivity or depth, offer more intuitive controls and add rich lore for players to immerse themselves with.
I would contend that unnecessarily complicated controls don't actually offer anything but a steeper learning curve. Streamlined controls are quite rightly a part of the mainstream, but again don't offer more choices and really just make a game easier to play. It's a valid consideration for a designer - and certainly a critical one - but it's unrelated to the topic.

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The only real way to add realistic and engaging player choices is to make them interesting and easy to switch.
Yes, I would agree, but I'm asking what those choices could feasibly be.

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A politician with combat skills could easily become an ambassador to unknown worlds.
But again that's only offering the player the option of politics. It sounds like something that's new and exciting, but it really isn't anything but putting a name on something that's already done. I was asking about basic categories of options players can pursue - surely there are more fields to advance in than those of the political, combative, artistic and economic, aren't there?
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It's that level of thinking that can make a player break the standard mould of RPG gameplay to experience new content.
I've done the politics all to often. A game boasting a robust politics engine isn't really boasting anything new in terms of categories, merely implementation. I can't say I've ever been an ambassador, but I've certainly functioned as a member of an organization and influenced (however minutely) its relation with other organizations. Politics is a well explored avenue of game play. My question is what hasn't been explored?

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Offering dynamic scoring for each part of the game could influence what you have access to and breaking clear-cut conventions to make the choices less transparent could send people down paths they wouldn't normally be interested in.
But again I'm left asking - what would those paths be?

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It's just as viable of a hook as 100 classes with 1,500 crafting skills, real-time in-game stock markets and politics.
Again, that is economic and combative. These same categories get recycled constantly, and are simply implemented differently (sometimes). Again, I ask is this all there is for players to do? Can a game offer nothing other than politics, crafting, fighting, and art making?

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Cpt Mothballs    100
And once again, someone is quick to get defensive and ignores the points I'm making in attempt to discredit me.

Players don't need more branches of choice, that just expands the issue of racing to the top, I was offering a solution in the way that more than one branch of choice is explored.
But hey, avoid the issue.
That's not my decision, that's yours.

If you want to find more things for a player to do, draw experience from real life and not from other games like your previous comparisons.

I'm not going to spoonfeed you things when I don't even know what they're going to be for.

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Zouflain    548
Quote:
Original post by Cpt Mothballs
And once again, someone is quick to get defensive and ignores the points I'm making in attempt to discredit me.
You feel as though I'm trying to discredit you? I assure you that's not my intention. In just about every response, I merely restated the question in a manner that related to what you'd said because it did not seem as though you were being responsive. "Examine real life" does not produce feasible player options and isn't conducive to a meaningful conversation. If you brought something from real life in a feasible way, that would be something else entirely. That would be something worth discussing.

Stating the obvious, however, is not useful.
Quote:
Players don't need more branches of choice, that just expands the issue of racing to the top, I was offering a solution in the way that more than one branch of choice is explored.
The necessity of choice isn't what I was asking. I was fairly explicit in what I was asking - if it wasn't (or isn't clear) I will gladly elaborate.
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But hey, avoid the issue.
That's not my decision, that's yours.
Are you trying to pick a fight? What is the purpose behind your aggressive behavior? I haven't said a word against you, and yet you are taking a stance that is hardly conducive to meaningful conversation. To be honest, I would expect this sort of thing from a troll. If this topic doesn't interest you, or you feel attacked, please don't trouble yourself with posting.

If, however, you are interested in having a discussion, then please understand that I'm not trying to "solve" an "issue" and can therefore hardly "avoid" such a discussion. Certainly I would see it as beneficial to expand player choices, but I was asking specifically in what way it could be done that is not a change in implementation, rather, an expansion of the fundamental categories of options players have. I was not asking how to "fix" online games, but rather if it would be possible to add to them in a new manner.
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If you want to find more things for a player to do, draw experience from real life and not from other games like your previous comparisons.
My previous comparisons were used to demonstrate how these things aren't new. It would be very difficult to provide examples of old things without referencing anything that has them.
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I'm not going to spoonfeed you things when I don't even know what they're going to be for.
Listen, I don't know what your angle is, but whatever it is, it's hardly worth the time figuring out. If you're offended, that's unfortunate, but really isn't my problem. Go elsewhere if you're frustrated. Based on your behavior, I'm seriously thinking you're a troll. If you don't want to be perceived that way, then change your attitude.

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Cpt Mothballs    100
You said you want to offer player freedom without constraining them to one particular thing.

But adding another thing doesn't fix that problem, it just adds to it.

Offering people incentives to choose other things is what you should be exploring as opposed to adding extra things if you want to give players freedom.
But keep being defensive and ignoring what I say.
It isn't my problem.

Nobody knows what your game is meant to be about so how can they suggest things for players to do in the game?

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sunandshadow    7426
There are more currently existing options in MMOs:
- Puzzle solving (possibly in the context of a speedpuzzle minigame)
- Other minigames such as fishing or card games
- Sim content (such as farming, breeding animals, some types of gathering of crafting resources)
- Collecting and set completion
- Chatting and non-combat roleplay (yes cybering too)
- Interactive fiction and relationship building (aka dating sim content)
- Matchmaking between players
- And art/content authoring has a larger role than you would think in games like Second Life and Gaia Online; a more traditional type of MMO could easily add similar content.

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jeffrobot    100
Exploration. Facing the unknown. Discovering new places and slaying the monsters there. This is what leveling a character is like in any MMO, but after you've reached endgame it stops.

If it was a space-based MMO, you could have randomly generated planets that could be found, explored, conquered/whatever for money and renown. Then they could either disappear, or you could find a creative way for the galaxy not filling up with randomly generated planets. Maybe have sections of the galaxy set off as instances, like a "beyond the red line" zone, and players could embark in raid groups unsure of what they would find.

It'd be different from Raids in that it wouldn't be based on monumental combat, but rather that feeling you get when you're exploring a new area in a really immersive open-world game. I would imagine small party-sizes, maybe some puzzle-solving... but it'd be about throwing a small group of people together to face unknown dangers. And if you had randomly-generated instances, it would always be a new place to explore.

I always liked the feeling of discovery and exploration and I'm sure you could make some endgame content around it.

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