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Three "tiers" of roleplaying

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I am designing MMORPG with elements of RTS and here are few of my thoughts on allowing players to play on three different "levels" of gameplay.

1. "Grinder" (dunno how to name this :)) - player, whose character cannot become ruler of any faction/country/organization, who wants to fight, fight, fight and... oh, forgot about fighting. No death penalty.
2. Roleplayer - player that want's to play not only with, but AS his character. Death penalty applies, in form of loosing some money/skills. Also, player's character can be "retired" (described in topic about aging few days ago, I can search for that post) and ages until retires automatically (in ratio, I think 20 years in 1 RL year).
3. Hardcore roleplayer - someone who wants highest possible in game level of reality. Death penalty: permament loosing character. Character ages at rate say 10 years in 1 RL year, but does not stop aging at retirement age.

Also, skills performed by "grinder" are weaker and have higher chance of failure than skills used by roleplayer - and same with roleplayer and hardcore roleplayer.

I also thought about becoming roleplayer and hardcore roleplayer. First, every character would start as roleplayer. To become "grinder", player should make only few mouse clicks. But to regain roleplayer status, he would need to be accepted by roleplayers community. Also, if community (or GM) notices that someone does violate roleplaying rules and spoils game lore, he could be kicked off RP community and become "grinder". And when someone is RP, he could change to hardcore RP at any time, but never back - he could be only kicked off the community by community itself.

So:
RP -> grinder - few clicks or violating RP rules
RP -> hardcore RP - easy
grinder -> RP - getting accepted by community
grinder -> hardcore RP - not possible
hardcore RP -> RP - not possible
hardcore RP -> grinder - only when kicked off community


Could it make roleplayers and grinders both play same game and enjoy it?

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"Could it make roleplayers and grinders both play same game and enjoy it?"

>> Evaluation Mode:

I think one thing you should address is the in-game relation among players of different tiers. For example, how would the decisions of a Hardcore RPer affect the gameplay of the Grinders? Would the Hardcore RPer need the help of Grinders to get something done (e.g. conquest)? Could Grinders mess up the plans of a Hardcore RPer?

What attracts the players to play in a combined game world? Why wouldn't a Grinder play in a game that only has Grinder, RPer in a game with only RPer, and Hardcore RPer in a game with other Hardcore RPers? Why would they prefer to play in a mixed environment?

I think your concept would need to answer these.

>> Construction Mode:

An Interpretation fo the three tiers:

Adventuer
The Adventuer is the default tier of a player. Regardless whether the player roleplays, the Adventuer has access to skills suitable for adventuring, including combat, resource gathering, crafting, and various emotes, gestures and cosmetic skills/options. Some of the skills and options are only available when the character was created long enough.

Settler
A Settler is an Adventurer who has in-game land (or %share of a land) to build structures. Land is granted by the local committee consisting of Settlers. In addition to skills available to an Adventurer, a Settler can get skills and job roles related to settlement building and civic functions. Settlers also has the right to vote regarding issues that affect the local area and grants roleplay titles to characters.

EpicHero
An EpicHero is a an Adventurer who is endowed with epic skills to protect the land in times of needs. In addition to the skills of an Adventurer, an EpicHero has additional combat, summoning, and special skills that allows him to pacify wild land or reclaim a lost land for settlement. If the EpicHero does not succeed before the endowment expires, the character dies; when that happens, only another EpicHero with the endowed skill to resurrect could perform the resurrection. Otherwise, the endowed powers would remain until it expires (An effective team of EpicHero could receive another assignment from the council). The power and number of EpicHeros that a community can endow at any given moment is restricted by the age and health of the community. For every day that the community is "healthy" (e.g. not under attack), the community gets 1 endowment point. A community could donate an endowment point to another community when its settler council votes to do so.

Recap on implementation of death:

Normally, when a character dies, he can be resurrected (by a spell) by another character, or respawn at a pre-set spawn point. The exception is the death of an EpicHero, who can only be resurrected by another EpicHero with EpicResurrect. The concept is that when the EpicTeam is commissined, the council of settlers appoint which EpicHero(es) (if any) would have EpicResurrect.

Situations that need an EpicHero:

o When the resource of a land is drained (e.g. Plants stop growing, monsters don't respawn)
o When a town is conquered
o When a town wants to conquer another town
o When a town wants to develop a wild land
o When a land is infected
o When a land has an extraordinary monster
o When a trade route is infested by bandits
o When the town wants to resurrect an EpicHero
o When the town wants to gather an extraordinary material
o When the town wants to retrieve an extraordinary artifact
o When the town wants to invite a protective spirit
o When the town wants to invite a skill spirit who can teach special skills to characters
o When the town wants to transport endowment points to another town
o When a town wants to steal endowment point in transit
o ...

Spirits

A Spirit is an unique self-resurrecting entity that has a set of powerful, unique skills. When a spirit is invited to a town, the town is bressed by the protection of the spirit, and the characters can learn special learnable skills offered by the spirit. The council of settlers could offer endowment points to its spirit(s) to upgrade its power. A Spirit would stay with a town unless it is offended or defeated. When a Spirit leaves, it becomes hidden at a random wilderness location that could be discovered by adventurers. The most powerful skills of a Spirit cannot be learned by ordinary characters, they can only be borrowed by EpicHeros through endowment. To commission a powerful EpicTeam, the team members may need to travel to and be endowed at different towns.

[Edited by - Wai on December 10, 2010 2:48:13 PM]

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I don't wanna "EPIC" players. Only ones that can do things somehow easier, but in much less safe way.


"I think one thing you should address is the in-game relation among players of different tiers. For example, how would the decisions of a Hardcore RPer affect the gameplay of the Grinders? Would the Hardcore RPer need the help of Grinders to get something done (e.g. conquest)? Could Grinders mess up the plans of a Hardcore RPer?"

Think of HCRPs as top world leaders, RPs as lower level leaders and grinders as their army. Top level leader should not respawn, so permadeath. Lower level leader is not as important as top level one, so he could be ressurected by game mechanics. And soldier... soldier is soldier, most of armies will still be made of NPCs ("with elements of RTS"), so few low ranked field officers could be revived just after battle without any penalty.

Here's some world detail about ressurecting - there are only to ways of bringing someone back to life (in lore, not talking about mechanics at now):
1. Prey to gods of underworld to return soul to dead body - will only be answered when praying priest is one of highest in church's ranks.
2. Find some "spirit walker" (sorry Blizzard, no other name yet :P) - a person, who uses his mental power to "steal" souls from underworld (some kind of underworld rouge).

And, in addition, there is not so much priests of underworld's gods in this particular world. And very few "spirit walkers". Ressurections happens very, very, very rarely. So, HCRP of course could not loose his character when he died, but only when ressurected by one of the top players (or some top NPC, although it would be almost impossible to happen) or is able to "steal" his own soul from underworld and become free spirit.

And yes, for RPs, and especially HCRPs, I want to be as close to lore as possible. World was designed long time before and I don't wanna to change main concepts of it ;)

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Re:

Is it necessary that an HCRPer wants to be a world leader? Are RPers necessarily lower level leaders? When you say roleplay, do you specifically mean roleplaying as a strategic role (as opposed to roleplaying as other civic roles)? Is the game only for players who wants to play strategically?

Could you clarify more the relation between a Grinder and an Roleplayer? Is a Grinder necessarily a subordinate of an Roleplayer? Is there a command chain that a Grinder must follow to progress? Is your main goal letting players chill-out or to separate commanders from the crowd?

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Would all three tiers of play use the same client, the same interface?

The way I have been trying to approach potentially similar tiers of play is by assuming different tiers of play might well find entirely different interfaces more applicable.

To decrease the amount of from scratch work required, I have been assuming the use of GNU-licensed clients, and thus far have been thinking mostly of Freeciv for people running entire civilisations or worlds, Battle for Wesnoth for small scale commanders, and Crossfire for the hack and slash / grind / dungeoncrawling scale.

Of course at least one immersive virtual reality type client would also be nice, but as far as I have been able to determine the current crop of free open souce systems for that still seem to lack the kind of common typical stock monsters and races and such one typically expects in generic fantasy, science fiction and modern milieus so I figured that mode can wait for now. Although maybe for the heard core roleplay types the technology already available might suffice if they are the literary storytelling type of roleplayers who are not so much concerned with whether some particular artist has drawn pictures matching the details of their story and dialogue as with simply having the freedom to weave the story and decorate their dialogue with rich descriptions that well might be prohibitively expensive to even atempt to draw matching pictures for...


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Quote:
Original post by Wai
Is it necessary that an HCRPer wants to be a world leader? Are RPers necessarily lower level leaders? When you say roleplay, do you specifically mean roleplaying as a strategic role (as opposed to roleplaying as other civic roles)? Is the game only for players who wants to play strategically?
I did not say "HCRPer MUST be a world leader", but "world leader must be a HCRPer". So being HCRPer gives you opportunity to lead your faction, but you can do whatever you want. Same with RPers. And no, this game is not only for players who wants to play strategically. I hope to make some "dungeons", which would be available until being completed by someone and some random events, such as some ogre chieftain attacking village and so on.

Quote:
Could you clarify more the relation between a Grinder and an Roleplayer? Is a Grinder necessarily a subordinate of an Roleplayer? Is there a command chain that a Grinder must follow to progress? Is your main goal letting players chill-out or to separate commanders from the crowd?
Of course, it is not necessary for grinder to subordinate, but if he does, he will probably be rewarded - in money or promotion. No, he can progress lonely, but fighting for his faction is one of making most sense, since FvF (faction vs faction) will be main part of gameplay. And... I didn't mean to separate them, but to let RPers play their characters and grinders fight with their chars ;)

Quote:
Would all three tiers of play use the same client, the same interface?
Until now I was sure that all tiers should use same client, but this is not a bad idea to make something different for different players (maybe just in form of something like WoW's addons).

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Re:

>> Synchronize mode:

Is this description correct?

Grinders are characters with no interest or fail to play within the Roleplay Rules, but even if they have no interest in Roleplay, they could still be motivated to do quests created by Roleplay to get the rewards.

RPers are characters that do not violate Roleplay Rules. As part of accepting the Roleplay Rules, the characters will age until the RetirementAge.

HCRPers are RPers who voluntarily subject themselves to permanent death and continual age until death to gain additional in-game powers.

Faction Membership Rules
o Any character may join a faction
o Only RPers can have leadership ranking inside a Faction
o Only HCRPers can be the highest leader of a Faction.

Quote:
Could it make roleplayers and grinders both play same game and enjoy it?
Which of the questions are you asking?

1) Given PlayerA who identifies himself as a player of MMORPG or Roleplay, would PlayerA choose this game over other MMORPG or Roleplay games? (i.e. Will this game have a competitive edge against other games of the same genre?)

2) Given PlayerA is playing the game, will PlayerA complain about the said rules?

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Yeah, it's good summary, including parts not mentioned by me ;)

I am asking if it is going to work, but also first of Wai's question.

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Quote:
I am asking if it is going to work
Since we never defined what it means for a game to "work", I guess it is equivalent to estimate other metrics, such as the number of players and factions that your game would have. Assume that somehow I am omnipresence. Is this the type of answer you want to get:

o Your game will have 3500 players at steady state
o Of which, 1300 are Grinders, 2000 are RPers and 200 are HCRPers
o There are total of 5 Factions with more than 100 members
o .. and 160 Factions with less than 100 members
o On the suggestion board of your forum, the most frequent complains are:

> "Characters that are labeled RPers aren't really Roleplaying. The Roleplay Rules are too loose."
> "The Roleplay committee kicks whoever they don't like."
> "FactionX is controlling the Roleplay committee, it is unfair."
> "I don't like this game because it is too much hassle to form a Faction with my friends."


>> Constructive suggestion:

Perhaps you could specifically declare that there different kinds of Factions. A Faction led by a Grinder has the lowest influence on the world (it might be no more having in-game chat among friends), the next level would be a Faction led by an RPer, and the most influencial level would be one led by an HCRPer. Only Factions led by HCRPers can conquer land and collect tax (automatically from commerse between a player character and an NPC) in the territory. Each land segment can only be ruled by one HCRPer-led Faction at a time.



For the question about competitive edge, I guess you could imagine that your game is one of the existing games, and somehow it has your rules. Then you estimate whether the player base for that game would increase or decrease. I don't know what you would consider a fair comparison, so you should choose the comparison.

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Number of factions is going to be (almost) fixed; it would be possible to create more factions, but 1) that would be very, very expensive and 2) would require GMs approval.

Quote:
> "Characters that are labeled RPers aren't really Roleplaying. The Roleplay Rules are too loose."
Kick 'em off ;) (RPers, not rules :P)

Quote:
> "The Roleplay committee kicks whoever they don't like."
> "FactionX is controlling the Roleplay committee, it is unfair."
Kicking is performed by community, not by some commettee. I think about making voting, in which you have to get say 66% of voters to kick someone. And reward a bit for voting (only a bit :P) to increase turnout.

Quote:
> "I don't like this game because it is too much hassle to form a Faction with my friends."
As stated at begining, I do not want "faction" be like WoW's guild, but I want them to be like WoW's Alliance/Horde.

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