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Norman Barrows

rpg: what's left once you're high level?

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what do you do in an rpg once you've done the quests and cleared the dungeons? go buy the next version?

 

in Oblivion for example, the quests are all canned, hard coded - same every time you play them. 

 

besides that, you can sack dungeons for treasure (money and magic).

 

but you can also make your own magic items. do the 5 quests to get into the arcane university. goto bravil and buy chameleon spell. make chameleon gear. game over, you're invisible and can still attack!

 

and gold? use it to recharge magic items, when you don't have soul gems to do so. buy horses to replace the ones constantly getting killed out from under you. thats about it for uses. you can blow it on a house, but there are free beds and free containers that don't respawn everywhere.

 

in classic D&D, once you got to high level, you could build a castle (requiring about 10 dungeon adventures worth of gold minimum), hired troops (one dungeon adventure's worth of treasure every couple game months), equiped them (this could get really expensive, almost as much as a castle for the best gear), and then could proceed to conquer the world (if you chose to do so).

 

i'm working on an rpg title now, and i've come to the point of what happens when the player gets to "high level".

 

 

 

 

 

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Become a politician running a clan more serious than reality itself and brag with your magical sword of doom of which only one exists in the whole server, i guess.

People like trying to break limits. Split the world into few big factions/clans. Let the high level players run those and fight each other, while the lower level players are still learning to grind more efficiently.

Let factions customize the world. Their flags, building styles. Let them repair burned down areas to gain advantage and loyalty. (and of course all the work is done by the pros, you cant build without immense amounts of magical potions...)

Implement all sorts of fancy metagames accessible at higher levels...

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In an ideal world, single-player RPGs would have a distinct ending, and the player who got there would feel satisfied to have completed that game, and yes they'd have a new version ready for them to move onto, though they might take a week off in between.  Economic forces seem opposed to this, though.  Games with a new game plus feature can be appealing but only if it's actually possible to change how the plot goes to experience a different version of the story, with a better ending.  And if the difficulty isn't way too easy.

 

Multiplayer games, eh, there is currently no way for content development to keep up with demand,  If you have a big enough game you can devote a portion of the content to sim and minigame play, which have innately more replayability than an RPG.  Or you can cultivate user-made content, so there's always a trickle of new stuff appearing.  I don't personally like either raiding or pvp, so I can't really comment on their replay value.

Edited by sunandshadow

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I think the lack of decay might have something to do with it. Let's say your skills wear off or an enemy retakes positions if you are no longer there to support the friendlies. This would give the players more to do since he/she would have to keep skills fresh and enemies at bay. Putting an epic storyline into such an environment can be tricky though. What would be the point of going to Mordor when Sauron pops up again after a week?

Edited by mipmap

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I am of the opinion, ESPECIALLY IN RPG's, that if the player has exhausted what the game has to offer, then it is time for user-generated content to become relevant and for players to exhaust other player's content, which is pretty much infinite if the game is as big as the Elder Scrolls series or the Half-Life series, among others. Another of my opinions is that if the story is constructed as non-linear fragments, the possibilities become endless for expansions, even micro-expansions, and are not limited by a linear continuous story.

 

EDIT: Another exciting opportunity made possible only recently with newer processors is real-time procedural generation of quality content. I have seen procedurally generated graphics that are stunning. There is a blog by programmer Miguel Cepero called Procedural World that involves his server farm generating amazing structures and terrains on-the-fly. There is already a game called Anteworld made with a custom engine called Outerra that simulates the entire Earth using procedural fractal algorithms that are based on Earth's continents.

Edited by MrJoshL

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lots of good responses here. as expected.

 

allow me to tie this in with a few related threads to provide some context.

 

the game is a caveman simulator rpg.

 

single player only.

 

procedurally generated world, 2500 x 2500 miles in size.

 

it was originally a D&D type RPG translated to a caveman setting. you had the wilderness for wilderness adventure, caverns were dungeons, and settlements provided city adventure. no classes, levels, or overall exp, just exp levels in various skills. interface was a god game, like the sims, with first person shooter combat, cavern, and settlement adventure. 

 

it has now evolved into a VR paleoworld simulator. with an emphasis on realism. About 50 representative extinct megafauna species modeled so far (Mammoth hunt anyone?). 

 

as for procedurally generated gameplay content, it has a quest generator which will provide most/almost all of the types of quests that make sense for the setting.

this thread was the discussion of how to design it:

 

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/638940-types-of-quests/

 

BTW, sunandshadow: i think we never did get flow control nailed down. if you check the thread, you'll see what i mean.

 

 

 

this thread asks the same basic question from the point of view of the game itself, as opposed to RPGs in general:

 

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/641212-raiding-and-inter-band-rivalry-in-caveman-simulator/

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Become a politician running a clan more serious than reality itself and brag with your magical sword of doom of which only one exists in the whole server, i guess.

 

yeah, this is the direction i'm going at the moment, raiding and inter-band rivalry. see the thread link above.

 

People like trying to break limits. Split the world into few big factions/clans. Let the high level players run those and fight each other, while the lower level players are still learning to grind more efficiently.

 

yes, alliances, tribes, nation states, and inter-tribal warfare seem to be the logical progression.

 

but it doesn't just have to be conquer the world by sword, one should also be able to conquer with culture and other non-violent means.

 

Implement all sorts of fancy metagames accessible at higher levels...

 

any examples?

 

perhaps arena combat for famous warriors?

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In any game, RPG or otherwise, the player is going to run out of stuff to do.

 

i suppose you're right, although some games have so much content the average user never sees it all (how many levels are there in Galaga?).

 

maybe i'm spoiled, having been raised on paper and pencil rgs before the PC was invented. there you had a DM to provide never ending non-repeating content.

 

Additionally, you could provide the ability for players to mod the game to some extent.

 

i'm thinking that i'll provide all the game building tools with the game for free, or as a free separate download for interested players.

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the game is a caveman simulator rpg.
 
single player only.
 
procedurally generated world, 2500 x 2500 miles in size.

What is the "depth" of the game and gameplay?

Will the world be pre-baked or generated on-the-fly from "seed" values?

Depending on the depth of the game I would recommend different options.

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