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Stormynature

Outside the box - different professions that would work within an MMO

60 posts in this topic

Okay I have been wrestling with an idea in recent days. At the heart of it is the idea of a breeding game/creation game. The general gist of the idea is that you are able to either:[list=1]
[*]Breed existing pairs of same creatures to continue the same breed.
[*]Create new breeds through magic and pieces of other animals eg: the creation of a hypogriff requires pieces of an eagle and a horse.
[/list]
Whilst I can see this to a degree being done as a social game I must admit this falls more into the vein of my thinking about different crafting ideas that could be implemented into MMO’s (Holy Crap I said the MMO word!). The breeding profession being used as a source for mount and pet creation in-game, as well acting in its own way as a mini-game within a larger game.

Using the above example as a guide I would be interested in other “crafting” professions can people think of that could work in a similar vein. Something out of the ordinary or perhaps even so ordinary that people haven’t thought of it. Also am open to suggestions on how you would think the above example might work in practical terms i.e. timewise limitations etc. but truthfully am more interested in the idea of unique professions, and please expand on your ideas. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

Edit: I forgot to mention -- I am interested in the idea of how these professions suggested would be utilisable as effective and ongoing timesinks (without the drudgery that seems prevalent in a lot of the existing MMO's) i.e. a mini-game within a game but as a profession.

Edit: An earlier thread on breeding game within an MMO [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/570463-combining-pet-capturingbreeding-and-mmo-marketplace/"]http://www.gamedev.n...mo-marketplace/[/url]


[b]An overview of discussion so far:[/b]

Jbadams
A defining of points relating to professions within the context of a game world

Stormynature:
A breeder profession involving the breeding and creation of new/old species developing ingame mounts and companion pets.

Jeffereytitan
A spell system combining a unique affinity for each spellcaster in combination with environmental factors and spell components in which to cast.

Kyan
A robotics/mechanoid engineer that creates multi-functional mechanoids that can be broken down and rebuilt to service multiple different functions dependant on design used.

Zethariel
A teaching profession which could be used to impart skills from other professions over to other players. Contributions: AltarofScience
Locksmith/puzzle masters that solve puzzles in-game to unlock lockboxes/doors etc as well as a design aspect to create locking systems
Piloting/taxi profession in an environment of inherent risk associated.

Altarofscience
A number of different suggestions not truly explored but included:
Alchemy
Operating a sailing/trade ship (or similar type vehicle)

ImmoralAtheist and Hughinn
A crafting system for weaponry and armour utilising a “rather unique” perspective adapted from the "World of Goo".

Mratthew
A bard profession that is probably truer to the principle of a bard than any implementation I have seen in a game.
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How about a spellcrafter or magical artefact maker? You could have a spell system which essentially has a technical spell language with it's own grammar. Brave but foolish individuals could just try out new spells and see what happens. Or more serious casters could figure out the rules for themselves and make new spells on demand. Based on knowledge of the properties of spells, they could find materials for and craft artefacts that can hold an instance of a spell well, e.g. a protective amulet against fire spells.
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[quote name='jefferytitan' timestamp='1334015981' post='4929704']
You could have a spell system which essentially has a technical spell language with it's own grammar. Brave but foolish individuals could just try out new spells and see what happens. Or more serious casters could figure out the rules for themselves and make new spells on demand.
[/quote]

I like this idea but how would you combat such a system being put on the web once solved and thus reducing the timesink/mini-game aspect? Not so much about the stopping of webposts but rather varying in-game mechanics that make such actions negligible. Off the top of my head I see something along the lines of each person's affinity with magic being a unique relationship and thus applying a different subset of rules for learning magic. For example a strong fire affinity might mean adding more water elements in a water-based spell to offset the players extra fire affinity (dumbed down version). Do you have an alternative?
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Offtopic:
Reading your other topics I would say making breeding minigame within MMO won't make sense in your case. You obviously like breeding pets a lot, why not making a full blown game about breeding pets only then? You don't need this whole RPG thing added to your beloved breeding :) It's not like you can't do it or that it would be unpopular, the pet games genre is relatively well known and you will surely find players for it.
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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1334020268' post='4929714']
Offtopic:
Reading your other topics I would say making breeding minigame within MMO won't make sense in your case. You obviously like breeding pets a lot, why not making a full blown game about breeding pets only then? You don't need this whole RPG thing added to your beloved breeding [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] It's not like you can't do it or that it would be unpopular, the pet games genre is relatively well known and you will surely find players for it.
[/quote]

Actually I don't really have any strong opinions one way or the other with regard breeding games. If my other posts gave that impression I apologise. I tend to ask questions of other posters at times to smooth out or enlighten me as to logical inconsistencies or story/game flows. The context of this post was not so much about the breeding game idea though I welcome feedback - It was more about defining professions within an MMO environment that had the capacity to act as long-term time sinks with a slant towards mini-games being the theme rather than for example: the classical armour crafter who grinds his/her skill up but then might spend half an MMO expansion never truly utilising it and thus not a very effective long-term time sink.


edits: grammatical
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Ah, I wrote that before the "ongoing timesinks" edit. Hmm, not sure. Well, you could turn it into a combo crafting/exploration thing, e.g. you can hunt for ancient spells that use new words/grammar that you haven't encountered before, then use them in your own spells. Find new materials for crafting artefacts out of. Maybe even be somewhat of an architect, e.g. create a one-off spell to protect a castle which is powered by nearby magma. I think it would be good to have affinities for spells, e.g. either affected by the environment or by the caster.
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[quote name='jefferytitan' timestamp='1334022077' post='4929722']
I think it would be good to have affinities for spells, e.g. either affected by the environment or by the caster.
[/quote]

Actually a combination of environmental factors as well a unique spell caster affinity with the aforementioned language and spell components would probably serve to create a deep enough set of variables that would work well as an ongoing time-sink. Thank you
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Lol I had already created a thread for Lasting PvE features.
It had lots of replies too and still not old.
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[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1334024671' post='4929736']
Lol I had already created a thread for Lasting PvE features.
It had lots of replies too and still not old.
[/quote]
For anyone interested, I believe he means the topic "[url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/622249-meaningful-fun-and-lasting-pve-systems/"][MMO] Meaningful, fun and lasting PvE system(s)?[/url]", in which there does indeed appear to be some relevant discussion.


One idea mentioned in the other topic is the idea of including some player created content; if you can come up with a sensible way of allowing players to create additional content for the game, then you might be able to keep things interesting and stay a step ahead of online guides by making use of a steady flow of new content. If we consider the spell-casting idea above, players could be given a way of creating new components, so that there are constantly new combinations becoming possible.

Changing environmental influences could also be an excellent way of keeping such as system fresh and interesting, as could limiting and then replenishing the availability of certain components over time.
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[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1334022525' post='4929725']
Interesting question...

It might help to look at things in a more general way rather than trying to pull specific examples out of nowhere -- formulate a set of "guidelines" if you will, for what would constitute an interesting and playable profession. Off the top of my head, a couple of initial guidelines might be:[list]
[*]A profession must be [b]useful[/b]. It needs to produce something, whether that product be a tangible in-game item (swords, armour, creatures) or the addition of new abilities (like the spell-crafting example above). If the profession doesn't produce something that players consider to be valuable then the overwhelming majority will have no interest in trying it out, and if they [i]do[/i] decide to give it a go will unlikely be motivated to continue for very long.
[*]A profession should present players with some sort of [b]meaningful choice[/b]. That is to say, it needs to be interesting. In the spell-crafting example above which elements to use and how you combine them would be your meaningful choices, or in your breeding example it would be which creatures to try to combine. Even a simple mining profession features the choice of where to dig. Preferably there should be more than one desirable outcome, to encourage experimentation with different choices and combinations.
[*]An interesting profession should ideally offer [b]different gameplay[/b]. If different professions just involve doing the same actions with different graphics, then we won't engage different skills in the players, and being good at one profession will make the player good with others. We want to provide a different experience, not just the same experience in a different skin.
[/list]
What do you think? Are those good guidelines for an interesting profession? What [i]else[/i] makes for a good profession?
[/quote]

I must admit when writing the post this morning I had considered placing down some general guidelines inline with what you placed down and then ran out of time micromanaging real life. Thank you for that. One other aspect I had also considered within these generalities was the idea that a player could if he/she wanted utilise the mini-game profession in such a way as that was what they played the MMO for primarily - Something akin to the way some players might simply play the Auction House all day in WoW. So rather than necessarily getting to deep into the theory of the model was looking to see if people had had similar thoughts or were able to bring new perspectives of what occupations/professions might be workable.

[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1334024671' post='4929736']
Lol I had already created a thread for Lasting PvE features.
It had lots of replies too and still not old.
[/quote]
[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1334031749' post='4929759']
For anyone interested, I believe he means the topic "[MMO] Meaningful, fun and lasting PvE system(s)?", in which there does indeed appear to be some relevant discussion.
[/quote]

I had read your thread glhf and had indeed taken a couple of things from it into my thinking. I would have liked your post a lot more if you had managed to actually post something more helpful along the lines of what jbadams then subsequently did with your post, by providing a link and relating information from it into a form relevant to the discussion. However despite there being some similarities your thread is a broad canvassing panorama whereas in this thread I am attempting to focus on specific area of interest i.e.
: [quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1334021089' post='4929717']
about defining professions within an MMO environment that had the capacity to act as long-term time sinks with a slant towards mini-games being the theme
[/quote]

------------------------------------------------------

[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1334031749' post='4929759']
One idea mentioned in the other topic is the idea of including some player created content; if you can come up with a sensible way of allowing players to create additional content for the game, then you might be able to keep things interesting and stay a step ahead of online guides by making use of a steady flow of new content. If we consider the spell-casting idea above, players could be given a way of creating new components, so that there are constantly new combinations becoming possible.

Changing environmental influences could also be an excellent way of keeping such as system fresh and interesting, as could limiting and then replenishing the availability of certain components over time.
[/quote]

I must admit I had actually gone a different way in my thinking from you here and had externalised this into more of an idea of utilising cash shops maintained by game owners but revenue streaming into the indie's hands. But as am still messing with some ideas around transactions etc hadn't yet reached a point of wanting to post. I do like the ebb and flow of components, I think seasonal aspects as well if factoring weather into a game you could create limited availbility of supplies as well using "dried" versions possessing different potencies compared to "fresher" supplies.


Keeping in mind the general guidelines as posted by JBadams I am still very much interested in other profession possibilites or even working "classic/traditional" professions in such a way as to bring them inline with the theme of this thread.
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[quote name='Kyan' timestamp='1334053849' post='4929853']
Secondly, I suppose (because I'm not certain if the idea is any good) I'll share my "pet" profession for a project I'm working on. It's a space-based RPG so I apologize if you wanted medieval only ideas.
[/quote]

Ah should have mentioned -- was not restricted to genre type other than being an MMO - Magic as used in my earlier breeding example is just as replaceable by genetic engineering for example.

[quote name='Kyan' timestamp='1334053849' post='4929853']
For an MMO, introducing limits per-person (to prevent turtling and/or abuse and reinforce expendability) and increasing variation (e.g. dividing generalized functions into specifics, such as "radar" into "track hostiles" or something) would work fine. Expanding the command system to include "meta" commands (e.g. certain combinations open up additional command options) for player's to find would introduce further activities for robots to execute. I suppose that takes things a little too far, as it essentially turns it into a mechanical variation of "monster breeding", but it's still a thought.

The ability to "decompose" robots can make for some interesting trading scenarios.

Furthermore, adding controllability to certain robots would probably be fun. I'm reminded of the aerial battles I had in WoW courtesy of Christmas presents and the races using the-racer-control-thing-whose-name-currently-escapes-me. Anyway, the point is that controlling robots can add a lot of fun, albeit generally not a lot of pure gameplay.
[/quote]

I like it -- I think in the context of the thread it has possibilities to play around with - For example: Profession: Robotics engineer (steampunk thoughts run through my head here)- A class that tinkers with all form of mechanicals designing new possibilities ranging from miniature keypicking robots to unmanned drones providing aerial views to war machines to house cleaners etc etc. In similar fashion to the previous idea jeffereytitan proposed of an arcane language you could implement a very basic programming like structure that the player unravels to make full use of the robotic possibilities. I must admit my mind is a bit aghast at thinking about the technical aspects in terms of design but I am probably overthinking it without study. In some ways it seems to mesh in well with both my breeding idea as well the idea proposed by jeffereytitan. Nicely done.
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[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1334139909' post='4930192']
Crafting is a tricky beast to handle -- on one hand, people want minigames, when the whole idea is new and fresh to them (new player). On the other hand, one has to grind it to gain skill points to get to new heights, to get new meaningfull content (veteran players). The latter appreciates lack of minigames due to the absurd amount of time and dedication that one would have to give in order to become profiecient. Guess this is easilly countered by some kind of quality system, in which a minigame would allow a minor boost in a created resource (better armor, better weapon), while crafting an item w/o the minigame would churn out an average quality item...
[/quote]

Definitely a tricky beast indeed. One system might be to throw out skill points alltogether and simply make success within the mini-game be the reward i.e. a new type of mount, a cloak of fire resistance, a stealth capable robot spy etc dependant on how you played the mini-game the different results you would obtain. It is not inconceivable that one crafter might breed a unique mount and then literally has cornered an economic market or alternatively an alchemist concocts a potion which can instantly sober you etc I think that there should be in some respects the capacity to create ordinary items fairly easily but I want the more exotic, rare, epic items to be earnt and more so offer a value in some respects to a crafter. In some respects the use of the word mini-game is somewhat of a misnomer but it does in essence cover what I am trying to reach for.

[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1334139909' post='4930192']
a trainer profession would be something fresher. A player would be capable of teaching other players his/her skills, such as combat, magic, stealth. It could be a rhytmic game, where both players have to press the right buttons. Or a quest-like distraction, such as the master and the student going on a journey like in the Disney films, where the student learns harmony, ballance and the master helps them along the way. It would be a nice and climatic version of power-leveling -- a high-level character would feel important, could probably house a school in his posession, gaining the Teacher skill and giving new players a good kick-start.
[/quote]

I actually hadn't considered this particular thought - I like it - There are a number of different social elements that could be bought into play here affecting the server community persay. Nicely done.

[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1334139909' post='4930192']
Exorcist could be a fun variation on the lockpicking skill. The player would be given cursed/possessed items/chests that could be unlocked via a puzzle/logics minigame, or a connect the dots fashion distraction. A good exorcist could then maybe bless items, working as a part-time enchanter. In such a gameworld, there would be foul creatures that would drop sealed loot, and exorcists would be the go-to people to get that fixed.
[/quote]

Exorcists/Puzzle masters - specialists in locks etc. this one could be interesting as it would lend itself more to a person who actually enjoys puzzle solving as opposed to say a "typical" player. One way in which to make something like this work I could see is all puzzled(locked) items get handed into one location and a set bounty placed against each puzzle being solved. The player who handed the puzzle in gets their opened prize back minus their bounty deposit. The puzzle master earns the bounty. Not too mention travel to distant and exotic locales in order to solve the riddle of the 4 Seals and a Turkey Giblet (highly secret puzzle developed by ancient monkish order of monkish monkies). This would also enable player developed content to be filtered into the game in an unusually simple way. Of course the other part of the profession being the design of locks hmm have to think about that one.

[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1334139909' post='4930192']
A profession that could be amusing, at least for a while, could be *instert flying transportation vehicle/animal* Pilot. Players would charge for taking a few players from place to place -- those that love to travel would have a great part-time job in the game that would take some time to accomplish. As a bonus, if the player did well (some aerial tricks, extra fast shortcuts), he could set an additional tip to his fee, rewarding those that are really into it. I know I'd love to take people around the game world, maybe establish a reliable communication network, cut some deals for fuel/animal food with some local player traders.
[/quote]

Not so sold on this one - It definitely provides a service persay but I think as even as you observe ([i]A profession that could be amusing, at least for a while,[/i]) it doesn't hold enough long-term value (unless [[[b]IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE INGAME RACISM> IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED OR A GNOME THEN TOUGH![/b]]] of course you are an out-of-town gnome living in the land of elves holding several doctorates in wizardology all of which mean nothing as you can't obtain appropriate recognition) - If anyone can think of an angle that could make it a long-term time sink I would love to hear it.


[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1334139909' post='4930192']
Huntsman -- a profession that takes care of the local monster population. Huntsmen would be given quests at their lounge to introduce new species, perhaps control the current population of the monsters and so on. In that scenario, creeps would migrate and in order to find the quest monster you are looking for, one would have to seek out a huntsman who is on top of things. Such players would be able to eventually rank up and get to decide (in a reasonable degree) where monsters should be relocated and control their populations.
[/quote]

This reads to me as more of a class rather than as a profession. but then again have to think about this one.


Thank you some good ideas. I offer you a virtual cookie which does not crumble, or taste or even exist sadly :(.
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[quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1334149448' post='4930224']
Exorcists/Puzzle masters - specialists in locks etc. this one could be interesting as it would lend itself more to a person who actually enjoys puzzle solving as opposed to say a "typical" player. One way in which to make something like this work I could see is all puzzled(locked) items get handed into one location and a set bounty placed against each puzzle being solved. The player who handed the puzzle in gets their opened prize back minus their bounty deposit. The puzzle master earns the bounty. Not too mention travel to distant and exotic locales in order to solve the riddle of the 4 Seals and a Turkey Giblet (highly secret puzzle developed by ancient monkish order of monkish monkies). This would also enable player developed content to be filtered into the game in an unusually simple way. Of course the other part of the profession being the design of locks hmm have to think about that one.
[/quote]

Yeah, I generally love the ideas of advancing more story wise than skill wise in a profession. Like, you start out as a blacksmith, then you visit some old masters, gets your hands on some relics from the past, live through a spiritual journey or two, then finally use the legendary smithy located in the middle of Mount Awesoem, and using all the ingredients you collected from legendary dead creatures, you craft something so magnificent you'll never want to sell it. Something along the lines of guilds in the Elder Scrolls series.

[quote]
Not so sold on this one - It definitely provides a service persay but I think as even as you observe ([i]A profession that could be amusing, at least for a while,[/i]) it doesn't hold enough long-term value (unless [[[b]IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE INGAME RACISM> IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED OR A GNOME THEN TOUGH![/b]]] of course you are an out-of-town gnome living in the land of elves holding several doctorates in wizardology all of which mean nothing as you can't obtain appropriate recognition) - If anyone can think of an angle that could make it a long-term time sink I would love to hear it.
[/quote]

I admit I'm a sucker for flying at high speeds using a gryphon, or any other contraption that shouldn't fly according to real-life aerodynamics and is probably too unsecure to mount whatsoever. The profession would make sense in a setting where NPC travelling would be either too costy or inconvinient -- like in WoW, you sometimes have to take such lenghty routes and dump some gold and time to actually get somewhere. There pilots could just pick you up where you are and deliver you to town, with some currency gained in the process. Think GTA Taxi mini-game -- then again, every player would just become a pilot. Making it difficult to gain a mount and maintain it? Something like in the Avatar movie -- a quest before you actaully get your own vehicle, you get attached to it, perform some feats, maybe chuck in a mechanic that such pilots could chart some unknown lands, bring parties to randomized dungeons. There are as many pros as cons on this -- meh, I ust like flying :)

[quote]
Thank you some good ideas. I offer you a virtual cookie which does not crumble, or taste or even exist sadly [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/sad.png[/img].
[/quote]

*Calculates paradox -- receives cookie that does not exist, but receives a cookie, but it does not exist, but receives a cookie....* X___X
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[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1334150651' post='4930230']
[quote]
Not so sold on this one - It definitely provides a service persay but I think as even as you observe ([i]A profession that could be amusing, at least for a while,[/i]) it doesn't hold enough long-term value (unless [[[b]IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE INGAME RACISM> IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED OR A GNOME THEN TOUGH![/b]]] of course you are an out-of-town gnome living in the land of elves holding several doctorates in wizardology all of which mean nothing as you can't obtain appropriate recognition) - If anyone can think of an angle that could make it a long-term time sink I would love to hear it.
[/quote]

I admit I'm a sucker for flying at high speeds using a gryphon, or any other contraption that shouldn't fly according to real-life aerodynamics and is probably too unsecure to mount whatsoever. The profession would make sense in a setting where NPC travelling would be either too costy or inconvinient -- like in WoW, you sometimes have to take such lenghty routes and dump some gold and time to actually get somewhere. There pilots could just pick you up where you are and deliver you to town, with some currency gained in the process. Think GTA Taxi mini-game -- then again, every player would just become a pilot. Making it difficult to gain a mount and maintain it? Something like in the Avatar movie -- a quest before you actaully get your own vehicle, you get attached to it, perform some feats, maybe chuck in a mechanic that such pilots could chart some unknown lands, bring parties to randomized dungeons. There are as many pros as cons on this -- meh, I ust like flying [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

[/quote]

Inline with some of thoughts you suggest here I was also thinking about the ideas of actually making flying dangerous which may lend itself to piloting. Using WoW as an analogy and some of the flight paths taken by the griffons or the many scattered zeppelin wrecks you could build in risk factors such as weather or if flying between the trees a spider leaping out at you etc. Making a risk / reward scenario might give this feasibility. However portals do make MMO's kill this idea to a degree. A secondary aspect was the idea of the "teacher" as one of the learning processes shepherding a group of unruly teenaged NPC's on an oversized flying "bus-type" creature for a field trip with appropriate hazards, "incidents" etc.
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[quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1334151403' post='4930235']
Inline with some of thoughts you suggest here I was also thinking about the ideas of actually making flying dangerous which may lend itself to piloting. Using WoW as an analogy and some of the flight paths taken by the griffons or the many scattered zeppelin wrecks you could build in risk factors such as weather or if flying between the trees a spider leaping out at you etc. Making a risk / reward scenario might give this feasibility. However portals do make MMO's kill this idea to a degree. A secondary aspect was the idea of the "teacher" as one of the learning processes shepherding a group of unruly teenaged NPC's on an oversized flying "bus-type" creature for a field trip with appropriate hazards, "incidents" etc.
[/quote]

Yeah, that sounds awesome :) In an ideal world, each profession would be a game in itself, wrapped up in a bigger than life story/main quest. Unfortunatelly, real-life budget strangles such attempts, and so do critics that claim that game designers dwell on details too much -- it is easy to miss just how much work is put into a game when you only experience parts of it you desire. Like, as a warrior, I would never see the mage story line, unless I rerolled a character, in which case I'd complain that the features are limited, and that the warrior story could use more X, less Y and why is it so short.

Professions are kept simple because they are not the focus of most games, at least multiplayer ones. The single-players have a much larger breathing space, as there is no rush, no others snickering, no friends to catch up to, and only you and your leisure. The multiplayer community lives too fast, IMO, and games aim too much to stretch time spent on grinding (the, de facto, content of the game). Strange thing though, when you finish that last level, there is nothing left but those professions. Maybe it is something that people didn't think of -- why reroll a character, if you can retain your killer face-eating orc and make him pursue a degree in artistic smithing. There would be a lot of new content, and his (the player's) level would only help to ward off the monsters -- he would finally have time to entangle himself in a proper story-line. No rush or competition, just a journey of discovery.
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[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1334152103' post='4930239']
Strange thing though, when you finish that last level, there is nothing left but those professions. Maybe it is something that people didn't think of -- why reroll a character, if you can retain your killer face-eating orc and make him pursue a degree in artistic smithing. There would be a lot of new content, and his (the player's) level would only help to ward off the monsters -- he would finally have time to entangle himself in a proper story-line. No rush or competition, just a journey of discovery.
[/quote]

And thus you unravel the purpose of this entire thread -- creating meaningful time-sinks outside the straightforward "level up and then do end-game at which point sit around bored or leave until new content"

Your virtual cookie now contains a fortune :)
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Well I haven't posted here about my game much but in this case I have some on topic stuff to discuss.

I am a big fan of VOWs which are a subset of mmorpgs. Virtual Online Worlds. You could stick MM on the front and/or RPG on the back but its a lot of letters so assume its implied.

In any case I have been working on a purely PvE game where ideally players would spend 40% or less of their game time in combat. Ie 60% on organizing, crafting, building and so forth.

As part of this I created some complex travel, building and crafting systems, with minigames, although for a cut in effect you can skip them. This applies to climbing, sailing, flying ships, directing vehicles, land air or sea mounts, special travel systems and magic as well as crafting.

Basically players can learn any skills they want but skills can be trained infinitely, although with diminishing returns.
Professions don't really exist, you can effectively play out your own profession with any goal by picking skills that are good for it.

For instance an airship player could learn the airship minigame, learn windreading, weather predicting, maybe some mechanics for repairs, although you could have another player on your crew be a pure mechanic? You could be a player who is a crafter but only crafts specialized airships parts.

You could be a pioneer. Maybe you have high climbing skills, good rope and wood crafting, so you could climb canyons and make bridges, and the game pretty much allows you to pursue just that career. You will probably want to do other things too though.

Basically if you allow the player freedom to do as they please it makes it more interesting. Infinite skill systems might seem overpower but consider that if you were a top tier warrior an half decent player could buy an airship and kill you and you couldn't hit them. Similarly you could craft the best airships in the world but a half decent air ship player could also have combat skills and all you could do was run.

I noticed you talked about teaching. The system I have has some sorts of teaching although its not explicit. For instance if you are climbing a mountain you pick your best climber to be the lead climber and that gives you a temporary boost to climbing skills, a % of the difference between his skill and yours, allowing you to tackle more difficult slopes. Further your climbing skills gets a bonus to its growth in this circumstance. Similarly if you craft in an area with lots of other crafters and/or crafters who are better than you you get boosts to skill gain and maybe to project results.

I was thinking about having some sort of teaching system that is more explicit though. Maybe just an addon to the social bonuses. Like if you simply watch a master craft, or he crafts an example and you craft your own attempt at the same design, you get an increase to skill growth compared to if you had crafted alone. Similarly he gets a small boost because he has to think and focus and explain what he is doing and how. Obviously you don't literally explain it because games can't process that, but you could roleplay that if you wanted. So each of you is being benefited by this as opposed to both crafting alone. You could also be paying for him to teach or be an apprentice and handle prep and gathering and then observe him working on a commission from another player.

As I said most of the actual effects of this would be an area scan for other crafters and for people building the same items and then a % bonus to experience. But you could roleplay it as more realistic.
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[quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1334152430' post='4930243']
[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1334152103' post='4930239']
Strange thing though, when you finish that last level, there is nothing left but those professions. Maybe it is something that people didn't think of -- why reroll a character, if you can retain your killer face-eating orc and make him pursue a degree in artistic smithing. There would be a lot of new content, and his (the player's) level would only help to ward off the monsters -- he would finally have time to entangle himself in a proper story-line. No rush or competition, just a journey of discovery.
[/quote]

And thus you unravel the purpose of this entire thread -- creating meaningful time-sinks outside the straightforward "level up and then do end-game at which point sit around bored or leave until new content"

Your virtual cookie now contains a fortune [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
[/quote]

The issue with being stuck doing nothing is that in themeparks you are limited by how fast the dev team can make a new expansion and then raise the level cap and add new items to craft. In a sandbox with no level cap, item decay and so forth its much easier. If there is no dev defined story you don't have to wait for new chapters. Imagine a George RR Martin style 6 year wait for the next installment of story. Blargh!
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[quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1334152474' post='4930244']
I was thinking about having some sort of teaching system that is more explicit though. Maybe just an addon to the social bonuses. Like if you simply watch a master craft, or he crafts an example and you craft your own attempt at the same design, you get an increase to skill growth compared to if you had crafted alone. Similarly he gets a small boost because he has to think and focus and explain what he is doing and how. Obviously you don't literally explain it because games can't process that, but you could roleplay that if you wanted. So each of you is being benefited by this as opposed to both crafting alone. You could also be paying for him to teach or be an apprentice and handle prep and gathering and then observe him working on a commission from another player.

As I said most of the actual effects of this would be an area scan for other crafters and for people building the same items and then a % bonus to experience. But you could roleplay it as more realistic.
[/quote]

hmm you could almost relegate a teacher profession to the level of a standard secondary profession shared by all toons doing it this way. I like that esp. as the systems of going off to buy training or alternatively leaving your self on auto-research mode leaves you less involved in the process. This could also develop into another form of economic trading as high teaching ability combined with a master craftsman levelled ability might teach more than say one with less skill...almost a pay by the skills learnt method. Implementing it though without seeming to be overburdensome might be tricky though.


Offtopic: And had been meaning to mention it before but AltarofScience's post gave me a mental reminder.

@Kyan
@AltarofScience

I wish you both well in your game/project - they both sound fun :)
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Best way to prolong a game's life is roleplay, where players themselves play a game within a game. RP servers were fun back in the day, all those serious guild meetings, worshipping chaos gods and passing judgement on missbehaving acolytes or initiating new people...

Grinding can be diminshed to some degree.

[i]Typical scenario:[/i]
You are a smithy. You gain levels of smithing and are able to build better stuff. You grind, you're bored, you hit the top, and then the fun stops, you go to the Auction House and sell copypasta epic goods

[i]Upgraded scenario:[/i]
You can build anything, given you find the right blueprints and pass the right mini-games, which would be difficult for a newbie, but not impossible (less incentive to grind). This way, you can (somewhat forcefully) engross the player in story, make him run around a bit, have a target at getting better and better without repeating the same task over and over. And, in this scenario, people's goods would vary, so it would be a thriving market instead of copypasta swords and shields.


The above can be done with combat as well -- all the Devil May Cry mechanics single-player games use are being used more often in today's games. Skill replaces grind, and games gain a longer life-span as a result.

Although not a perfect example, but LoL is a game that manages to conceal grind with fun. You esentially grind yourself to whatever objective you want -- a new level, a new hero, joining a ranked team. You engage in unique encounters most of the time, so there is very little repetition, if any.

Story based games may have a problem with that, unless a game would be based around a horde of hired Game Masters crafting the game as they go -- while not a massive multiplayer game, it could support a 1 GM per 2-3 people scenario. Which brings me to pen and paper RPGs -- which sooner or later will be translated into computers and games. The moment someone creates an AI capable of creative thought, that is the moment the best game ever will be created, with all the art assets, stories and immersion.

Whoops, got caught in the moment. Excuse the rambling *blush*
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[quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1334152895' post='4930249']
[quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1334152474' post='4930244']
I was thinking about having some sort of teaching system that is more explicit though. Maybe just an addon to the social bonuses. Like if you simply watch a master craft, or he crafts an example and you craft your own attempt at the same design, you get an increase to skill growth compared to if you had crafted alone. Similarly he gets a small boost because he has to think and focus and explain what he is doing and how. Obviously you don't literally explain it because games can't process that, but you could roleplay that if you wanted. So each of you is being benefited by this as opposed to both crafting alone. You could also be paying for him to teach or be an apprentice and handle prep and gathering and then observe him working on a commission from another player.

As I said most of the actual effects of this would be an area scan for other crafters and for people building the same items and then a % bonus to experience. But you could roleplay it as more realistic.
[/quote]

hmm you could almost relegate a teacher profession to the level of a standard secondary profession shared by all toons doing it this way. I like that esp. as the systems of going off to buy training or alternatively leaving your self on auto-research mode leaves you less involved in the process. This could also develop into another form of economic trading as high teaching ability combined with a master craftsman levelled ability might teach more than say one with less skill...almost a pay by the skills learnt method. Implementing it though without seeming to be overburdensome might be tricky though.


Offtopic: And had been meaning to mention it before but AltarofScience's post gave me a mental reminder.

@Kyan
@AltarofScience

I wish you both well in your game/project - they both sound fun [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
[/quote]

I don't think coding it would actually be that tricky.

set(student-teacher bond)
if (both crafting)
teacher exp multiplier=1.1x
student exp multiplier=1.4x
student project result=1.2x
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[quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1334153654' post='4930254']
I don't think coding it would actually be that tricky.

set(student-teacher bond)
if (both crafting)
teacher exp multiplier=1.1x
student exp multiplier=1.4x
student project result=1.2x
[/quote]

Sadly my coding skills died when they upgraded the abacus and Augusta abandoned me for Charles :(.



I wants more professions :)
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