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MMO with Discovery as Prime Content Advancement

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Discover a world, not just explore it.

As an alternative to traditional MMORPG design and development I propose that a world should be unknown to the player before playing it. For example, the people's of the world have been massacred and pushed out of their once thriving cities. What remains of known society has taken refuge on an island off the southern coast where they have been gathering strength in an effort to reclaim their lands. The first influx of players are responsible for being the initial settlers of the world. They must establish themselves to the point where they can construct boats to sail to the mainlands. From there players are able to establish player structures and revive civilization to further their efforts towards retaking old cities.

The world would be similar in design theory to that of Ultima Online in that it would be a seamless world with no artificial barriers, just natural terrain, with no pre-existing map to go off of. If you sail too far north, you eventually come up from the southern portion of the world, no end of the world. There would be a fixed third person camera angle as well, giving the viewpoint similar to that of UO as well, updated for modern resolutions/technology of course.There is no free for all PvP. Through capturing past portions of society you are able to unlock various factions/skills/item recipes/abilities. Players that discover these recipes, some more rare than others, would be able to teach them to other players. If things aren't passed down they will eventually fall into disuse and potentially may no longer exist within the game world.

Through discovery and social interaction the players are able to advance their character as they see fit in a non-class based system. Player owned/rented structures are going to be key towards providing an enjoyable experience to the players. Being able to display your item collections/decorate your buildings is a must have.


I wish I could have been more thorough, but my co-worker insists that I actually do my job, so I must be off. Thoughts/comments on this form of game would be appreciated. I understand that testing is very much required and people are terrible at keeping secrets. This isn't a AAA idea, this is a game idea. I will be open to elaborate on any concerns later, but for now I must be off.

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Words "MMO" and "unknown" are mutually exclusive. Other players will simply tell all the secrets immediately to all who want to listen. In singleplayer games they at least have to google it, in MMO they are basicly told by others regardless if they want to know or not :D

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Words "MMO" and "unknown" are mutually exclusive. Other players will simply tell all the secrets immediately to all who want to listen. In singleplayer games they at least have to google it, in MMO they are basicly told by others regardless if they want to know or not :D


Don't go in with the mindset that the content that is unlocked would be typical MMORPG stuff. You aren't after sweet gear drops and doing expert instance runs. While yes, sadly, some content will only be able to be enjoyed by the very first few in a discovery based experience, should it take away from the story that is actually for once playable and experienced by individuals? I don't think it has to. It is about providing the ability to discover things for the very first time that can continuously keep players playing. As you add content to the game through patches/expansions it wouldn't be the same old same old because endless linear progression isn't the goal.

It would be a non-linear game experience with gear decay/destruction through use.

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It is about providing the ability to discover things for the very first time that can continuously keep players playing. As you add content to the game through patches/expansions it wouldn't be the same old same old because endless linear progression isn't the goal.

What mechanisms are you including to prevent the first few players from just mapping out the entire world, and then publishing it? Even a world on the scale of Skyrim's could be fully mapped out in a couple of weeks - less if a group of players cooperate.

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You can make it harder, but you can't stop players from mapping out the world. The only way to accomplish that goal is to procedurally generate the entire level - thus rendering any form of sensible mapping implausible.

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The only way to accomplish that goal is to procedurally generate the entire level - thus rendering any form of sensible mapping implausible.

That's fairly common in single-player games, but a side-effect of making an MMO is that the players need to interact - and to sensibly interact with each other, they all need to see the same world.

You could make instanced Dungeons work this way (i.e. generate a unique dungeon for each party), but I don't see a way to accomplish it for the world map.

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Consider a reward system that decreases as more players discover an area. This would encourage exploration and discourage sharing information. The question then would be balance and enjoyment for casual/late-joining players.

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Doesn't Wurm Online have an explorer aspect? At least I have heard a few stories about people exploring the world. There's also another one that uses Bartle's player types (Wildstar I think) where one of the roles a player can take on is that of an explorer. Come to think of it Mortal Online "rewards" exploration with rare boss mobs that never respawn and if killed provide the player with a certain level of prestige (maybe other in-game things as well, never looked into it that deeply to be honest). There is certainly a player base for an exploration based MMO or one that features it heavily.

I think there's a certain amount of underestimating being done towards the player base though. I'm not sure players will share information if it is against their interests (see vanilla WoWs boss strategies) or indeed look up said information if it removes the "fun" from the game. Sure the first few areas will eventually be mapped out and well known but that could take a relatively long periods of time depending on how challenging exploring is. The player base of such a game will also be relatively small which will certainly slow the whole process down and eliminate the worry of larger news sites providing map information to the majority of the players.

If you plan out the majority of the world beforehand and have a solid process by which to add those missing areas to the game then I see no reason why you couldn't stay ahead of the majority of the player base in terms of land to explore.




Although something like Skyrim can be in a few weeks it is still rather a small game world (by sandbox MMO standards anyway). Scale it up to even the size of a small country and it would take a long time for people to fully explore it. Considering you wouldn't be making a world that detailed or graphically challenging I think it probably is doable as well.

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SKyrim is not big in mmo standards. What kind of discovery are you talking about?
I wouldn't feel like I'm "discovering" if I'm going through an instanced randomly generated dungeon, which swiftcoder mentioned.
If we neglect technical issues, you could make a terahuge game world. It should be possible if you break it down into smaller connected zones.
Not sure how exciting it would be though, it would probably just feel very empty and generated.

Consider a very huge game world. Most activity is in some key areas, while specific places in a large part of the game world is rarely visited. It can go days (maybe weeks) before it's likely that someone revisits a place, so the game world can be potentially mapped in a very brief time. However, what do they map? If you have a complete static world then everything is known. By making a very dynamic game world, the same place still have the same core look, but the really important stuff, like resources types of npc's/monsters and some buildings can be completely different at a later stage.
Stone forts and base of the landscape stays the same, but the stone fort may be inhabited by different npc factions, or maybe other player guilds, it might also have modules that can be built and destroyed. Landscape stays roughly the same, but waters may freeze, tree's can be cut down, while others may grow, and the landscape could be covered with snow. Extreme weather could occur (tornado) changing the landscape. Camps can be built, simple villages/farms, wooden palisades and similar.
Make the game world up of soft modules.
Minecraft takes this to the extrem, where every cubic meter can be seen as a "build spot" where you can put any type of material you'd like.
You don't need to be able to make buildings everywhere. Just have a large number of build slots, so most won't be used giving you a sense of choice (easier to make more robust).

Resources could also spawn in fixed locations. Making it more numerous will reduce potential benefit of mapping where these are. In Rift you have specific resources you can gather. Problem is that the same type always spawn in the same location. In one region there's only a few places they can spawn, so it's easy to set up a farm route. If these switched between the sites, the farm route would be significantly longer. If you tripled potential spawn sites, but only 1 of 3 would have something at a time, then you would get a very complex farm route compared to payoff. It would be better to just use your senses (eyes) to spot the resources while exploring. You may also make some resources rare, but give the player some skill to be able to track them down (scent or similar). Some NPC groups could move camp to where key resource sites are (a guild would be very interested in this), and they would leave trails behind them, enabling you to track them down.
Getting resources should have complex mechanics. Run scanning the map should be very inefficient, while a group of players succesfully cooperating in tracking down valuable resource should be the most efficient. Transporting resources back to base /civilization should be an important aspect. Unfriendly npc's or players could rob your hard earned resources. Tracking down certain groups of humanoids, or trophy hunting might also be a way to gain money/resources.

Players can post on the net when they find places of value, but why should they? They want to extract it, without competing with other players, and what's discovered will be completely different a week later.

There should also be the big cities where resources/money are exchanged, and where there's a political system or other powerful positions that player guilds can be a part of, which is largely influenced by how much resources you want to spend on it.

The key aspect is to adapt to a changing game world. Find resource before other does, and protect the extraction of these, gain power, and make important decisions in parts of the game world, that can influence other player organizations both for good and bad, and especially help yourself.

This is quite ambitious, but definitely something I'd like to see done succesfully.

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In my mind the content would be world based, rather than individual based, for the more important parts of the discovery process.

For example: Reclaiming the Dwarven City of Draught could unlock the Dwarf race to be playable for that particular server. It could also unlock some sweet brewing recipes lost when the city was overrun. Some special dwarf smith recipes. Stuff like that. It could be during initial exploration, during the final stages of retaking the city, or at some point afterward. Potentially it could be designed that there are multiple ways, but only one per server, to accomplish the same thing. Perhaps on a different server you need to secure the freedom of enslaved Dwarfs from a mine to unlock them as being playable. The options are near endless so why are we so restrictive with our designs?

Each individual would not be able to collect each item via the discovery process as there would be a limited amount made available per run of the server. First come, or those fortunate enough, first serve. Other players will have to rely on the explorers, the discoverers, to share/sell their findings, or the individuals could horde them and corner the market/potentially have a unique item. The hope would be to provide a system where just by crafting you can make discoveries. You have a recipe to make an item, but the end result isn't what you expected. You, or someone capable, look more closely at the item and study it to discover a new use for said item, thus discovering a new recipe.

There could be a process of determining/reintroducing certain things over time if they have become obsolete through neglect. I believe by limiting the amount of items it can be strategically used to assist in economy structure and behavior along with player experiences with the game. If everyone has something, it isn't special, but if you make a discovery, it means something.


As to avoid being over ambitious with the concept I wouldn't aim to provide much more from an item/resource standpoint than that of older UO. The very basics of the game would be the important features, like how the world advances as players interact with it. After the essentials are established the remaining content would be filled as available. I have no qualms with leaving portions of a world "incomplete" at the initial opening of a game server. This isn't a AAA aspiration, but a game that can be established and continually added to. Subsequent server openings would be more diverse and deep than the previous making each server opening different than the last.

Just from viewing the supposed capabilities of the Hero Engine, for example, I don't see any problem with starting small and expanding as able.

I would certainly like to have Faction PvP added in the future, minimum of three factions, but it would be something that players choose to join, not forced on them.


In the end I believe that the game can actually be more than just a "niche", but due to it's independent nature it would certainly have to start as one. As a reward to players that participated in previous versions of the game prior to the more complete, releasable build, they would be given the choice of selecting a rare commodity to signify their previous efforts.

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It would be a great game except for the "first influx of players" part and the "Players that discover these recipes, some more rare than others, would be able to teach them to other players. If things aren't passed down they will eventually fall into disuse and potentially may no longer exist within the game world." part. I love being a survivalist and explorer, but I hate if other players can use up/monopolize content before I get there.

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i actually had an idea like this, where everyone owned territory, could shape it as they wished and hide secrets throughout. players got rewarded with more land, customisation objects and bigger rewards as they explored other lands :D

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@Caldenfor
I believe it would most likely end up in a few players discovering everything that is to discover very fast. Pherhaps there would be a few things undiscovered, but the chances for a casual player discovering one of these would be like winning the lottery. Same goes for crafting.

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Let's say you have 1000 players a day and you want to let everyone find out 1 thing each day (so very low exploration rate). A year has 365 days, which means you need 365000 unique things to discover, per year (yep, you have to recreate it each year, so in 5 years you will need 1825000 unique discoveries).

How are you gonna create that content?
How are you gonna assure that this content is unique enough (not like a Goblin boss that has +0.01 to fire resistance than the next one)?
Even if you manage to solve all above, how players are supposed to remember/connect/share/talk about hundreds of thousands discoveries? Human's brain is not capable of this.

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I'm working on something similar, but instead of just having a world that is unknown and ready to explore it will also change. If you discover a town of NPCs one day you could come back a week later and find that it's been destroyed by goblins. I think this helps circumvent the problem of only the first players getting to really explore by ensuring that there is always new things to find in an already explored area.

Of course the major downside is that my solution is heavily AI based and will require much more from a hardware standpoint than a traditional MMO.

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If I were to make a discovery MMO, I would probably do it this way:
* The game last for a month or two, then everyting is reset and start fresh (I feel that without this restricution it is pointless to even discuss such game).
* There are 5 factions (groups), players belong to one. Discoveries are made in behalf of a whole group not an individual.

There are total 7 main storylines ("The dragon", "Tomb of the fallen paladin", "Missing princess", "Insane wizard", "Moonshine prophecy", "Goblins invasion", "Fountain of youth"), 3 are used during a round (choosen randomly). Also 2 are used as "fake rumours" (you can follow that storyline for a while but it is a dead end). Each storyline has 3 variants (small things like "you need a magic sword to kill the dragon" or next time the the same storyline will have "you need a fire protection armour to kill the dragon"). All these are hand made (nothing generated).

There are 5 predefined bosses for each storyline (3 will be used). I guess these could be partially shared among some storylines (as long as these are uniquely distributed during a round), this should reduce a bit of content.

There are 12 cities and 25 secret locations. Each city will have 1 secret location (so 12 used). Each city has a different probability of a secret location based on theme (like: Ancient dvarven city will have a high chance for underground golem factory).

Plus a bunch of boring traditionally generated sidequests/sidelocations.


When players explore they generate clues/exploration points for their faction. When a certain thereshold is reached a faction discovers the secret.
A faction that first discover a secret gets a bonus (like if they discovered the underground golem factory they can build golems there at 20% discount). When 3 factions discover a secret that secret become public and available to all factions. Optionally, top 100 players with highest exploration score in that secret get a bonus after the secret has been discovered (regardless of faction).

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It would be a great game except for the "first influx of players" part and the "Players that discover these recipes, some more rare than others, would be able to teach them to other players. If things aren't passed down they will eventually fall into disuse and potentially may no longer exist within the game world." part. I love being a survivalist and explorer, but I hate if other players can use up/monopolize content before I get there.


Content can be recycled over time, not all, but most. Big events that affect the entire server will be more limited, I.E. race unlocks, but there can be content that is able to be "rediscovered". The aim is to provide enjoyable content over a long period of time rather than instant gratification and mass discoveries. The content just won't be sitting there waiting for EVERYONE to be able to do as they see fit. If it is available, anyone can do it, but the availability will be the limiting factor.


i actually had an idea like this, where everyone owned territory, could shape it as they wished and hide secrets throughout. players got rewarded with more land, customisation objects and bigger rewards as they explored other lands :D


When Faction play is opened up the hope would be to provide PvP with incentives. The three factions could control territory via villages/cities they build, defend, and maintain. It would be similar to what non-faction players can do, but as you take on the risk of joining a faction, you have a chance at different rewards.


@Caldenfor
I believe it would most likely end up in a few players discovering everything that is to discover very fast. Pherhaps there would be a few things undiscovered, but the chances for a casual player discovering one of these would be like winning the lottery. Same goes for crafting.


As I hinted above, things wouldn't have to be stagnantly sitting there waiting to be discovered. It wouldn't always be first come first serve and some things could be harder to discover than others. I feel this is a type of game where puzzles could be used well.


Let's say you have 1000 players a day and you want to let everyone find out 1 thing each day (so very low exploration rate). A year has 365 days, which means you need 365000 unique things to discover, per year (yep, you have to recreate it each year, so in 5 years you will need 1825000 unique discoveries).

How are you gonna create that content?
How are you gonna assure that this content is unique enough (not like a Goblin boss that has +0.01 to fire resistance than the next one)?
Even if you manage to solve all above, how players are supposed to remember/connect/share/talk about hundreds of thousands discoveries? Human's brain is not capable of this.


I wouldn't want everyone on the server to find something every day. While discoveries are an important part of the game, it won't be the only part of the game to participate in. The eventual goal is to have many activities to participate in that aren't driven by any one goal. Animal tamers can return. Treasure hunters. Thieves. Collectors.

Content design will be a monumental task, no doubt, but I hope you aren't expecting each and every player to be given their own personal content. That isn't the goal. There will be encounters that are very similar, and to an extent repetitive if you so choose, much like other MMORPGs.

Truly special things discovered by players will be able to be displayed in their home/shop. Some can be worn, but the majority of collectibles will be in display form. I wouldn't expect everyone to remember everything. Do you remember everything that has happened in your world with the people around you? Unique experiences while playing a game =/= unique content for every player.


I'm working on something similar, but instead of just having a world that is unknown and ready to explore it will also change. If you discover a town of NPCs one day you could come back a week later and find that it's been destroyed by goblins. I think this helps circumvent the problem of only the first players getting to really explore by ensuring that there is always new things to find in an already explored area.

Of course the major downside is that my solution is heavily AI based and will require much more from a hardware standpoint than a traditional MMO.


I would hope to have a continued struggle of those that become pushed out by players. They will still have the goal of eradicating the existence that players have tried to reestablish so raiding parties/armies would form at strongholds and march out to strike specified targets. Cities can fall into ruin if players are incapable, with NPC guard assistance, to defend them from invasion. Providing incentive to prevent this rather than letting them fall to be recaptured later is going to take some work.

My basic thought would be to have the entire force behave as one object. If you attack it and pull some off, they don't all chase, those that survive return and the object moves on. I look at it as a larger form of the typical escort quest in WoW/Rift, except the main target is an evil army not just one NPC.

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If I were to make a discovery MMO, I would probably do it this way:
* The game last for a month or two, then everyting is reset and start fresh (I feel that without this restricution it is pointless to even discuss such game).
* There are 5 factions (groups), players belong to one. Discoveries are made in behalf of a whole group not an individual.

There are total 7 main storylines ("The dragon", "Tomb of the fallen paladin", "Missing princess", "Insane wizard", "Moonshine prophecy", "Goblins invasion", "Fountain of youth"), 3 are used during a round (choosen randomly). Also 2 are used as "fake rumours" (you can follow that storyline for a while but it is a dead end). Each storyline has 3 variants (small things like "you need a magic sword to kill the dragon" or next time the the same storyline will have "you need a fire protection armour to kill the dragon"). All these are hand made (nothing generated).

There are 5 predefined bosses for each storyline (3 will be used). I guess these could be partially shared among some storylines (as long as these are uniquely distributed during a round), this should reduce a bit of content.

There are 12 cities and 25 secret locations. Each city will have 1 secret location (so 12 used). Each city has a different probability of a secret location based on theme (like: Ancient dvarven city will have a high chance for underground golem factory).

Plus a bunch of boring traditionally generated sidequests/sidelocations.


When players explore they generate clues/exploration points for their faction. When a certain thereshold is reached a faction discovers the secret.
A faction that first discover a secret gets a bonus (like if they discovered the underground golem factory they can build golems there at 20% discount). When 3 factions discover a secret that secret become public and available to all factions. Optionally, top 100 players with highest exploration score in that secret get a bonus after the secret has been discovered (regardless of faction).


An MMO lasting only two months a go would not work. Casual players would be irate and for good reason.

Faction based play, just three factions though, would have it's own form of discoveries that would be used to benefit the faction.

The intention for the game wouldn't be to provide mass amounts of quests that have come forth in recent MMORPGs. There will still be some, but they will be more meaningful to undertake and not available to every player.

There is room for a cumulative aspect to discoveries, but I don't want to provide too many incentives to an aspect I don't want people to grind. Discovery is great, but if you make it too important players will go out of their way, even more so, to try and find them. Probably something that should be avoided to a degree.

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Maybe post an example of a discovery, I don't get what you mean by it...

Like: You encountered a black knight in a forest, duelled and won, then you got an armour of the black knight and put it on display so you can brag about it, no one ever again will encounter the black knight.

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Maybe post an example of a discovery, I don't get what you mean by it...

Like: You encountered a black knight in a forest, duelled and won, then you got an armour of the black knight and put it on display so you can brag about it, no one ever again will encounter the black knight.


Like:
Ability Example: You delve deep into the enemy stronghold. The stronghold was once a great city where scholars would pilgrimage to study in the great library. Over the years the city has been corrupted by the taint and documents had been pillaged and since disappeared from the known world. Due to it's nature there would be a very limited supply of these scrolls. You discover one of these documents, a scroll perhaps, where if you have the proper understanding(skill requirement) you can learn the knowledge of the scroll and gain access to a new ability. The ability would then need to be refined(skilled up) to make it more effective/useful. In essence some abilities do not exist until they are found and they won't be commonly found. You could also have it that if you have the required knowledge to study it, abilities cast against you can be learned through experiencing them. It wouldn't be instantaneous, but after several run-ins with the spell you could learn a very basic version of it and practice it to improve it.

Crafting Example: You are working diligently on making a weapon. You start to make a dirk and your crafting skills are sufficient enough where you, unintended by the player, create a very very basic curved dagger, which is unusable in combat. You can then study the curved dagger to unlock it as a future craft recipe. Once you unlock/discover it, you can craft curved daggers, low quality to begin, but better the more times you make the item.

There could also be non-skill/item related discoveries, such as securing a city and by doing so discover the dwarfs that once lived there, thus unlocking them as a playable race. It is pretty much a world where players are uneducated and through study, discovery, and practice, they can relearn the world of which they exist. Potentially even creating things that never existed before in the world, inventors.

The options are limitless, but I am trying not to get too "out there" to make it too difficult to actually make. A more basic discovery is being the first to attain any specific type of raw resource. You won't get a badge of honor, but you will have something more important, a very rare raw resource.

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I am actually doing something like this in my game. One aspect where discovery is important is the magic system. Players who want to be mages must explore the world and locate dungeons/ancient cities/temples/wizards towers and find books/scrolls/parchments which contain words of power used to craft spells. Players then remove the items from the location and thus no one else can learn those words of power. Further some areas contain more words of power than a player can carry away at once, and some areas contain rooms that can't be easily accessed without preparation. Players would be well advised to avoid revealing these locations if at all possible to preserve their control over said words of power.
Players may also discover hidden mountain passes, hidden passages, secret doors and other such things that would provide them various advantages in travel or attack and so forth. In some cases these locations are hidden and you need various skills to discover them, but in other cases its simply a matter of every player or even guild not being able to explore every single area of the map, so any player could use these locations, if they had happened to go to that particular place. However in all of these cases not revealing these geographical secrets can give players or groups of players an advantage.
The location discovery also applies to various resource spawns in the game as well.

I suppose a group of players could try to map the world anyways, even if it cost them such a large advantage to give away all these secrets, but it would be pretty dumb if they wanted to do well in the game.

And there are ways to implement exploring in a lot of other cases, too across many genres.

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An MMO lasting only two months a go would not work. Casual players would be irate and for good reason.[/quote]All my MMOs so far have up to 3 month rounds, so the hatred by casuals is exagerrated (I have not noticed any exodus of players upon round end, the number of players always go back in first 3 days of a round, don't ask why, I have no clue). Althrough, I have no means of comparing it, so maybe it could be that my games are niche and have only hardcore players (still, so many of my players are half literate that I can't really call them hardcore :D)...


Ability Example: You delve deep into the enemy stronghold. The stronghold was once a great city where scholars would pilgrimage to study in the great library. Over the years the city has been corrupted by the taint and documents had been pillaged and since disappeared from the known world. Due to it's nature there would be a very limited supply of these scrolls. You discover one of these documents, a scroll perhaps, where if you have the proper understanding(skill requirement) you can learn the knowledge of the scroll and gain access to a new ability. The ability would then need to be refined(skilled up) to make it more effective/useful. In essence some abilities do not exist until they are found and they won't be commonly found. You could also have it that if you have the required knowledge to study it, abilities cast against you can be learned through experiencing them. It wouldn't be instantaneous, but after several run-ins with the spell you could learn a very basic version of it and practice it to improve it.
Can other players explore the same stroghold too? I don't understand what is the defference of this "discovered scroll" from a rare standard loot? It seems to me that it works identical?

Crafting Example: You are working diligently on making a weapon. You start to make a dirk and your crafting skills are sufficient enough where you, unintended by the player, create a very very basic curved dagger, which is unusable in combat. You can then study the curved dagger to unlock it as a future craft recipe. Once you unlock/discover it, you can craft curved daggers, low quality to begin, but better the more times you make the item.[/quote]I can tell you right away, they will measure the chance of "unlocking curved dagger" and will post it on fan websites. Yes, they will manually produce dirks and manually add the numbers and will come up with the chance. It happens all the time in my games, they are crazy, at least some of them :D
I'm not sure if this is what you want or not, but well, that's what will happen. It will be seen as an undocumented feature, not a discovery.

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An MMO lasting only two months a go would not work. Casual players would be irate and for good reason.
All my MMOs so far have up to 3 month rounds, so the hatred by casuals is exagerrated (I have not noticed any exodus of players upon round end, the number of players always go back in first 3 days of a round, don't ask why, I have no clue). Althrough, I have no means of comparing it, so maybe it could be that my games are niche and have only hardcore players (still, so many of my players are half literate that I can't really call them hardcore :D)...


Ability Example: You delve deep into the enemy stronghold. The stronghold was once a great city where scholars would pilgrimage to study in the great library. Over the years the city has been corrupted by the taint and documents had been pillaged and since disappeared from the known world. Due to it's nature there would be a very limited supply of these scrolls. You discover one of these documents, a scroll perhaps, where if you have the proper understanding(skill requirement) you can learn the knowledge of the scroll and gain access to a new ability. The ability would then need to be refined(skilled up) to make it more effective/useful. In essence some abilities do not exist until they are found and they won't be commonly found. You could also have it that if you have the required knowledge to study it, abilities cast against you can be learned through experiencing them. It wouldn't be instantaneous, but after several run-ins with the spell you could learn a very basic version of it and practice it to improve it.
Can other players explore the same stroghold too? I don't understand what is the defference of this "discovered scroll" from a rare standard loot? It seems to me that it works identical?

Crafting Example: You are working diligently on making a weapon. You start to make a dirk and your crafting skills are sufficient enough where you, unintended by the player, create a very very basic curved dagger, which is unusable in combat. You can then study the curved dagger to unlock it as a future craft recipe. Once you unlock/discover it, you can craft curved daggers, low quality to begin, but better the more times you make the item.[/quote]I can tell you right away, they will measure the chance of "unlocking curved dagger" and will post it on fan websites. Yes, they will manually produce dirks and manually add the numbers and will come up with the chance. It happens all the time in my games, they are crazy, at least some of them :D
I'm not sure if this is what you want or not, but well, that's what will happen. It will be seen as an undocumented feature, not a discovery.
[/quote]

Because standard rare loot has an established percentage chance of dropping. This discovered loot would be able to be discovered in a variety of ways, be it from a mob, a chest, or some other acquisition method. It wouldn't be as simple as X monster drops Y loot Z percent of the time. Perhaps you will find a traveler that provides it as a reward for completing a quest. This traveler would not be available to all players and wouldn't be something that can be camped every few hours/days.

The goal is to provide a variety of ways for players to experience the same gameplay across different servers. Sometimes the experiences will be the same, it is still a program after all, but if it can help make things a bit more random and unknown it should be able to work. One must remember that being able to compete in this game would be less gear dependent than most games. Gear still possesses inherent benefits(in action and aesthetics) and some is better than others, but not to the extent that it over powers a player.

As for crafting, or any other game mechanic for the matter, with enough study and theory I don't see how anything can be kept a secret. Frankly, that is how some people actually play games. They decode them, that is where they find their fun. It may not be as simple as having a recipe and crafting. Perhaps you need to know how to create two or more different recipes before even having a chance of getting another. Where the combination of recipes known accounts for what you can potentially unlock for future recipes. Again, people will break it down, but if it can be a bit more elaborate than go to NPC trainer and pay cash for recipes, why not try it?

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I spend a lot of my time decoding and analyzing games to find optimal progression paths. Sometimes I post them and sometimes I don't.
Its called math/listing. You work out equations, for instance the gold or time value for every resource and then you create a list of tasks to be completed and suggested order.
I did something like this for www.war-facts.com where I postulated that given 1 main account + 1 multi for every 5 players in an enemy faction I would be able to compete with any number of players in an opposing faction all by myself. However I could only face off against 100 enemy players before being outmatched because certain specific game features like exploring required constant attention. However given a person of equal drive i could scale all the way to 200 v 1000 before sheer numbers defeated me. I never did convince the devs to let me try it out, but one day when I amass a group of 10 friends willing to run an account each we shall use the math/list to play 10v100 in a 1v1 faction deathmatch and make even the hardcore vets cry, because without the checklist you cannot keep track of all the things to do and do them in the right order.
In theory I could break any limitation on power players vs casual with effective math/listing whereby a power player with a math/list would be effective against 5 or more casuals given the time for the superior gameplay to over power numbers. Obviously if the game allowed a zerg rush a group of casuals may win, but thats provided they can organize. A group of casuals trying to organize is often entertaining in and of itself.

If you want something to be a secret you have to incentivize players to keep it a secret with game mechanics.

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I spend a lot of my time decoding and analyzing games to find optimal progression paths. Sometimes I post them and sometimes I don't.
Its called math/listing. You work out equations, for instance the gold or time value for every resource and then you create a list of tasks to be completed and suggested order.
I did something like this for www.war-facts.com where I postulated that given 1 main account + 1 multi for every 5 players in an enemy faction I would be able to compete with any number of players in an opposing faction all by myself. However I could only face off against 100 enemy players before being outmatched because certain specific game features like exploring required constant attention. However given a person of equal drive i could scale all the way to 200 v 1000 before sheer numbers defeated me. I never did convince the devs to let me try it out, but one day when I amass a group of 10 friends willing to run an account each we shall use the math/list to play 10v100 in a 1v1 faction deathmatch and make even the hardcore vets cry, because without the checklist you cannot keep track of all the things to do and do them in the right order.
In theory I could break any limitation on power players vs casual with effective math/listing whereby a power player with a math/list would be effective against 5 or more casuals given the time for the superior gameplay to over power numbers. Obviously if the game allowed a zerg rush a group of casuals may win, but thats provided they can organize. A group of casuals trying to organize is often entertaining in and of itself.

If you want something to be a secret you have to incentivize players to keep it a secret with game mechanics.


Yes, it also adds to the social dynamic if people are able to maintain secrets. Rather than running right out to go to your secret place you may feel the need to make sure you aren't being trailed or spied on by other players. A world where more than character death is at stake.


To clarify a bit more about this "discovery" based game I should also use the word Progressive. I was thinking back on to what games may have done something similar in the past and Everquest came to mind. They opened progression based servers that through play the players were able to start with the basic world and unlock the already existing expansions giving a very remote feeling of reliving the original lifespan of Everquest. This also gave birth to those hardcore EQ players that just wanted to burn through the content to be the first to get it done which advanced the servers faster than casual players could ever hope to keep up with. The main difference I see is that EQ was a game where levels and progression in character development were all that there was. There was no housing. There were no secrets. It had all been done before. As I recall the progression servers actually had quite the influx of players from it's normal amount so I do believe that the concept does have promise. As dynamic content may be too difficult a task to work with currently for independent teams I see no issues with working from inception on a concept that has the game world progress through play.

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