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Anton Vatchenko

Progress in massive multiplayer online shooter game

8 posts in this topic

I do make a game - it's a tactical shooter with only online mode, no single player. So I always ask myself: what can keep players in game? I don't mean "spend a life there", but not like "played one fight and go". What do players want? Some progress, I think.

First of all I analyzed other shooters - you usually earn money for a battle and spend them to guns, weapons. But then we get well-equipped guy fight with a newbie. Who will win? 90% - advanced well-equipped guy. Maybe he's a bad player, so maybe... but quite impossible that newbie will win.

Yes, I know about player levels, play only with your level players or near. But we always get more equipped and less equipped. Maybe there must be Quake-style shooter to be interesting for everyone, where you get weapons on the battle area. But what is the progress here? Just play one arena, then another and forget about game.

Maybe if you win, you will open new arenas? What do you think of all this?
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You could make higher levels allow you to do special stuff like call in artillery strikes and such, or drive cooler vehicles. They would then compete against other vehicles and players who walk towards them with a knife, instead of killing all the newbies with miniguns.

Its a lot more fun to gain levels to get to do something fun, instead of just getting more powerful weapons that wont even help you to kill the people with even better guns.
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Create a persistent campaign for players to become involved in. Not like MAG or a single player campaign.

Create factions/teams and create a competition. Give everyone a gola ot be working toward and reward the winner. Create a fiction for the campaign and factions and base the rewards on the fiction. Create more interesting roles for players to play, non-combat support roles, strategy/command roles. User generated content roles using a predefined set of tools to design and create new content.

You have to give people a goal that is not based on self but on a team. Something new to see that isn't dictated primarily by skill with a gun.
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Is your game gonna be realistic?

If not, you could do a class system.
The player would start with a basic class and can unlock other classes.
The classes are balanced but different to play(example: tf2)

Otherwise you could add a monthly ranking which gives the "best" players some cool clothes, or whatever.
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I think the airstrikes etc just makes it worse. Newbie vs airstrike = dead.

How about skill challenges, e.g. to get to sergeant level you must kill 50 people using only a knife. Maybe a newbie player has simpler goals (e.g. kill 5 enemies) while an advanced player has to infiltrate the enemy base without raising any alarms, steal the data, find the target then call down an airstrike on it. Instead of simple fragfests, every player has a mission to complete, and some of them conflict with each other. Make advanced players have to work harder to advance. Handicapping to emphasize skill.
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Check out this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgFcEW5nyGI

Their ideas are looking really awesome and innovative. They are not necessarily specific to FPS games, but really great mo ideas none the less
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The best and most engaging progression a game can have is a progression of player's own skill that allows them to execute new kinds of maneuvers and see another level of strategy. So make a good game where new opportunities constantly open up when you get better at the game, instead of giving players trinkets or unbalancing the game with stuff one player may have and another may not have.

Another choice I think is interesting for a team-based game is giving some players in the team special roles/powers, like making one a team leader. These roles could be assigned randomly at the start of every round, but players could over time indicate increasingly strong preferences towards and against certain powers, and thus modify their likelihood of being assigned into them.
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just a rough idea how to deal with newbies in the same game with the experienced players etc....

My approach would be through the nanosuites- the basic features/variables of it would be:

-energy source- 1.amount of energy 2. quickness of replenishing energy (allows the different play styles -large amount E with low replenishing will players make to play like I 15s beast and then stay off for while)

-quickness- the more speed the gear allows to move the more*more it drains the energy

-plating- player can set armory by parts of body - the heavier the more energy drain

-invisibility- few seconds invisibility based on E aviable, when moving than the drain even faster

-guns - yes, its weight and heavier guns needs to be also E supplied, among the guns there would be also hacking computer allowing to open the gates.

-players can share the energy withing some range like 4 meters


Now login would look like to DOTA game but lets say 7 vs 7 players, joining the team and than you can see your team mates nanosuites selection (within a team its main powers should be recognized by colours). One by one players selects the nanosuites from those they are building up for their character, the better the more expensive. Players based on their rank have a budget to an arena. What is not spent on the gear goes to the team's pool. Based on the first 6 players choices and the money in the team pool there is one nanosuite generated (example>slow suite selected-increase the change for high speed gear generated).

This generated suite can be picked up by the 7th selecting player. Or the money from the team pool will be used for their fortress improvement (locks takes more time to pick etc.). This way even a newbie can got heroic gear while the others feel good for sacrificing part of their potential for team's succsess.
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I feel like rewarding players with more power is a bad idea in an MMO. It's better to create a competitive environment: (clans/rankings/leaderboards/events)

If anything, reward players with bragging rights... via high ranks, special outfits/weapon skins, etc. The items players win do not have to affect combat in any way. It could merely be "that guy is a badass because he has some badass tactical gear that we can't get because we aren't badass enough". The tactical gear would do nothing aside from look good.

The only unlock system that I think works well is to allow players to distribute their characters skills/attributes when they get to higher 'levels'. So for example, a player can choose whether to sacrifice movement speed for more power, or more movement speed for less health, etc. Just opening up options for players to specialize in a certain style of play... Not necessarily giving them bonus stats or increasing their power in any way. This, combined with a good ranking system (that can't be easily abused by exploiters/cheaters) and a nice reward system of cosmetic items, would definitely draw people to your game... in my opinion.
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