Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Ravy

Ideas about re-designing a game

This topic is 1270 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hi guys,

 

I'm co-designer of an online RPG game that in which character progression takes very long time and character looses a lot of xp via dying.

 

Due to the nature of the game (it's core lays in paper-RPG focus - impersonating an character), this system was working ok for very long time, forcing players to respect death and since character development is not limited - allowing them do develop freely. It has however some cons:

- players fear death, this is good as long as it's not extreme. We had some event long long time ago, in which some of the players stopped playing, because of fear of dying.

- death has tremendous impact on a player (it means loosing months of grind fe) and can be so hard to deal with, that there are cases of players stopping playing because of this

- since players are overly cautious, they do not die and become stronger and stronger - it's a balance issue

 

However, changing this approach can lead to players loosing a feel of progression in the game. I'm wondering about your ideas how to properly solve this problem.

 

Cheers

Edited by Ravy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement


- players fear death, this is good as long as it's not extreme. We had some event long long time ago, in which some of the players stopped playing, because of fear of dying.

- death has tremendous impact on a player (it means loosing months of grind fe) and can be so hard to deal with, that there are cases of players stopping playing because of this

 

This isn't bad. These players may not be your target audience. As I understand it, your game is designed for very hardcore gamers. If you change things to cater to more casual gamers, you might break the very core of your design.

 

If you want a better understanding of why people stopped playing, I recommend this article on loss aversion.

 


- since players are overly cautious, they do not die and become stronger and stronger - it's a balance issue

 

You can solve this by applying natural level and skill caps.

 

For example, a Warrior's natural Strength cap might be 400. Once the cap is reached, any further increments can only come from gear. This encourages doing content to get better gear to do harder content, or beat content more easily.

 

The best designs do not have purely vertical progression (e.g., wooden sword -> iron sword -> dragon sword -------> infinity +1 sword) that increases stats, but horizontal progression that allows for different playstyles.

 

For example, in Ninja Gaiden for Xbox and Ninja Gaiden II for Xbox 360, the various weapons one acquires throughout the game open up very different fighting styles (strong but slow, fast but weak, short reach but fast and strong, long reach and strong but slow, etc.).

 

If your game offers content that demands high defense from a Warrior, then that gear that drops from a boss that boosts their defense becomes pretty attractive. If it also offers content that demands high attack strength, then that new shiny sword that drops from another boss becomes pretty attractive as well. Then, for that one boss I want to use a shield and sword, but for that other boss a two-handed sword would be pretty awesome, and so on...

 

 

And at the end, I want to pass on this very important principle to you that is very often forgotten:

 

YOUR FANS ARE THE PLAYERS WHO LOVE YOUR GAME!!!

 

 

The players who hate your game and leave are not your fans. Make your game for your fans!! Don't make your game for your haters!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


- players fear death, this is good as long as it's not extreme. We had some event long long time ago, in which some of the players stopped playing, because of fear of dying.

- death has tremendous impact on a player (it means loosing months of grind fe) and can be so hard to deal with, that there are cases of players stopping playing because of this

They didn't fear the death of the character, but loosing the investment they made. This is a problem you can't solve, because the thrill about the risk loosing your investment is really individually. If you remove the risk, some player will leave, if you increase the risk, some player will leave.

 

In your game the thrill of loosing the investment will increase over time, because the investment increases, therefor players who can't bear the risk any longer will quit. It was funny at first (nothing too loose), but got to risky to continue (one mistake and you loose hours of investment).

 

If you want to take away the fear, you should introduce a larger return of investment. You could introduce some kind of inssurance. Eg. at a certain level you could introduce a relative (a young nephew or a daughter), which you can invest some time and xp to train him and give him some money and equipment. Once your character die, the nephew or daughter inherit all your stuff and starts as a more skilled/trained character. This way the player has the option to put some of his rewards into investing into the future and against his fear of loosing too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


If you want to take away the fear, you should introduce a larger return of investment. You could introduce some kind of inssurance. Eg. at a certain level you could introduce a relative (a young nephew or a daughter), which you can invest some time and xp to train him and give him some money and equipment. Once your character die, the nephew or daughter inherit all your stuff and starts as a more skilled/trained character. This way the player has the option to put some of his rewards into investing into the future and against his fear of loosing too much.

 

As I read this, I realized that gear can actually be a form of insurance policy. Death is a hard hit on your experience points, but you do not lose your gear.

 

The more a character's stats depend on his level, the higher the cost of death. The more a character's stats depend on gear, the lower the cost of death.

 

 

Final Fantasy XI adds other elements to increase the cost of death.

 

(1) Equipment requires a minimum level to wear it. If you are Lv.75, die, and drop to Lv.74; you will no longer be able to wear any of your Lv.75 gear until you regain a level.

(2) The level difference between attacker and defender is a factor in damage equations. If you die and lose a level, you not only become weaker and take more damage because your stats are lower, but by that Lv.75 becoming Lv.74 alone.

(3) When you die, a timer runs. You have 60 minutes to be resurrected by a fellow player (or your own Reraise spell if you have used one before). At the end of the 60 minutes, or at any time during the 60 minutes when you select Return to Home Point, you will be teleported back to your home point location.

(4) During the 60 minutes the timer is running, chat is restricted to /tell (whisper), /party (team chat), and /linkshell (clan/guild chat).

 

Also in Final Fantasy XI, when a player returns to his/her home point after death, s/he will take the full hit of EXP loss. When a player is resurrected by Raise or Reraise, however, a smill bit of EXP is restored. The higher the level of the Re-/Raise spell, the more EXP is restored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For some background - a player that had most xp ingame died recently. He lost approximatly about 1000h of gameplay grinding.

 

If we scale down the death penalty as some of you suggested, in 2-3 years it'll be the same - he'll have just more xp and loose sick amount on death again. If we cap the death penalty, the characters will just progress limitelessly, which is a balance issue. If we also cap the level, there will be a 'sense of progression issue' after reaching cap limit. Whatever you do ingame, it'll take you much less time than your character progession took you thus far (we have characters that were created 15 years ago).

 

Sure, it's worked so far - but a devote player that just lost 1000h of gameplay WILL probably leave the game, at least for some time. Why would I want that.

 

So the only way I can see about that is introducing an alternative progression system along with capping xp / death penalty. The problem is, how to make that system meaningfull and so that players will still fear death but won't be risking loosing massive amout of investment.

 

Also, the game is builded that the to get the best equipment will take you few hours of coordinated gameplay between players at most, so there is not much progression there (although this equipment detoriates, so you have to repetively get it, if you want your character strong). I don't feel we could modify the game in that way, so the gear progession would be meaningful enough to replace current xp system. The maxed out character will struggle with what to do in the game (the game is about interactions, but there has to be something to interact about).

Edited by Ravy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


If we cap the death penalty, the characters will just progress limitelessly, which is a balance issue.

Characters progress infinitely because they can. The death penalty is completely irrelevant to this.

 


If we also cap the level, there will be a 'sense of progression issue' after reaching cap limit. Whatever you do ingame, it'll take you much less time than your character progession took you thus far (we have characters that were created 15 years ago).

Content that is designed for players at level cap is called End Game. MMORPG's thrive on End Game content. How much content there is at End Game, and how much time investment it requires depends entirely on your designs. It will only “take you much less time” if you design it to take much less time.

 

As I see it, leveling infinitely is a core feature of your game, not a bug. If you take that feature away, you just might be hitting the self-destruct button. If you fight this feature, you fight your game; so rather than fighting it, find means to fully embrace it. If you look at Final Fantasy X International, rather than putting stops on the player's ability to exploit the leveling system, the developers added optional bosses that required fully exploiting the system.

 


So the only way I can see about that is introducing an alternative progression system along with capping xp / death penalty. The problem is, how to make that system meaningfull and so that players will still fear death but won't be risking loosing massive amout of investment.

If the EXP penalty upon death is a serious issue, lower the EXP penalty. By adding other death penalties (I gave a few examples), you can keep the initially perceived cost high while players don't lose 1,000 hours of progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps some mechanism that 'cripples' the player for some duration before being restored to where they were (char level)?

 

Say a week (you judge how long to match your game mechanics/playing patterns) - the player  cant return to doing that super quest for that long a time, but it is short enough that their 'return'  will have them wait it out and not quit.

 

They can still do other game content  -- say cripple them to half their level  in the interim, and possible make them 'walk off' their injuries/death  (have to do X game playing and not just stop playing while the timer runs).

 

That could have them revisiting older previously played through content and maybe still have fun there while their interim 'criplled'  period  runs through.

 

-

 

Separate Issue might be  --  if 'gear' is a major part of level ability enablement, and their whole outfit/equipment is ALOT (item count) of stuff , then if they get a major level loss (and none of their high powered gear is useable), then where will they get the equivalent for their 'half' level usage?     Bank storage of lots of old stuff may not be good (if you game has the typical 'stuffed to the rafters' accumulations many MMORPGs have) as it means yet more has to be held onto.

Edited by wodinoneeye

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would it be possible to turn a player's death into some kind of game content? Something such that after having lost a character, the player could come back with a new character and sees the impact of his own death. It could be something minor like a grave marker to a large statue placed in tribute. Maybe whatever area the player might've been protecting is now up for grabs and PCs, NPCs, or critters of some kind are attempting to move in. Or maybe it could be that the dead character rises up from the dead and is now a force to be feared. The higher the level of the character upon death, the greater the threat to the rest of the world he could now be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious, is data on dead characters still available, or is it gone? Any sort of content referencing those dead characters would be a great way to re-engage lost players. Create some event, email/whatever them to draw them back in. Bonus points if you could include the in-game picture of their dead character in the email.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!