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Skill Based RPG

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I don''t post here that much, so I have no idea if this is just simply an idea already posted. Anyway. While playing Dark Age of Camelot, I realize that it become increadibly unfun the more you play it. Because it''s the same thing over and over. Find monster, press a couple buttons, wait for monster to die, sit down, stand up, repeat. You do this until you get higher in lvl, then once you start getting up there you can try some PvP, but there isn''t any real reward there either. There''s no sense of skill that I''m used to in games involving more than just yourself. I don''t generally mind this type of gameply when playing say Final Fantasy games. This is because there is an actual story going on to keep me interested in the game. In multiplayer games though... players want to feel skillful among their peers. Or at least I do. If I see a player whose better than me, I try to become better. Competition drives people. In MMORPGs (in general) it''s not how skillful you are, it''s how long you''ve invested in the game. So if I''m playing, and I stop for a week, then everyone I play with is going to be "mightier" than me. The point to me rambling on is this. A game that instead of increasing in stats and hit points when you lvl. Make a game where there is no real Levels. A game where there aren''t any hit points either. In this game, you can be damaged in different locations on three levels. Wounded, severely wounded, and mangled. Take enough damage and you''ll bleed. Bleed long enoug, you''ll die, take too much damage to vital areas, you''ll die. Fighting would be more reliant on the players skills, and on some degree... the equipment being used. And while better armor could possibly be more effective to some types of defense, it''ll never be impenetrable. Think of armor being effective against certain types of attacks, and "weak" against others. Like chain mail armor. A stabbing weapon would be far easier to penetrate chain mail than a slashing weapon. I''m not exactly concrete on anything except that all players will be on generally equal terms over a variety of "stats". So if I just created a character, I''d have a fighting chance against players who have played longer than me, or creatures that are concidered "high level". Albeit it''d be harder due to my lack of equipment, or even perhaps skills (i.e. earned skills in the game), but not impossible. What hero became so because he fought longer than any other soldier out there. If they did fight longer it''s because they were skilled, and not because they had more free time. Hmmm, reading back on this post, I find I''m rambling on... This is only a solidly formed ideal with only half thought out implimentations and even less thought out presentation. I''ll leave it up to you folks to help flesh this out, and I''ll put my two cents in as I collect my thoughts on this.

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I think the key to making an MMORPG skill based is to force people to react to their opponents actions. A MUD I currently play called Achaea is the best example I have ever seen of this. Basically, it has a system of afflictions and cures.. Afflictions can be cured by eating specific herbs, applying certain vials, etc, and a fighter will always be equipped with a set of all of these (Or they die very very quickly). The thing is that a good majority of what your opponents do will afflict, a Knight''s ''basic'' attack is called Doubleslash, where they hit you with two edged weapons, both envenomed. You very seldom dodge this, so its assumed that every two to three seconds you will be hit with two more afflictions from them that you need to cure. Add in that you can only eat herbs/apply vials every so often, and it gets tricky. This only scratches the surface of Achaea''s combat system, but even from that you can see that it takes a great deal of personal skill to be able to keep up. Levels in it are seldom considered to be much of a factor at all, once you have reached a decent one.

Another key is to give a good variety of attacks, and to make it so in order to survive your opponents offense you have to be able to force them to back off with yours. Fighting defensively should, as a rule, not work.

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Hmm. Some good ideas, some not-so-good.

You said you want people to compete and measure themselves against each other. All very true and fair enough. But then you advocate taking away levels. Levels are much maligned, and not always fairly. It''s true that they are often used as a ''lazy'' design, but one thing they do achieve very well is to rank players and give them targets.

As for the duration of play dictating ability in MMORPGs, this is commonly viewed as a necessary problem. Most games involve a trade of time for skill. In RPG-type games, the ''skill'' is character skill rather than playing skill. You''ll find the opposite in shooter games, if that''s what you''re into.

Your combat system ideas didn''t really offer anything I''ve not seen before. But I ask you this - if a new player has a good chance of beating an experienced player, where is the motivation for the experienced player? One reason why some people play RPGs rather than Quake-style games is because they like to know a character''s skills will make up for their lack of reflexes or whatever. If you take that away, you ruin the game for those players.

Your ideas are not bad as such, but I think you are not so much thinking of a new approach to MMORPGs, but of a different style of game altogether that perhaps just shares the setting of MMORPGs.

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No ones created a combat system that I know of that relies not on reflex or character attributes but strategy. As an example, I'll use a magic-based combat system. No spell is really more powerful than any other. They are all balanced. Fighting head-to-head, you have to out-think your opponent rather than shoot 'em or be higher in "experience". Magic: The Gathering is a great system IMO. How come no MMORPG's use systems this advanced?

I don't see the difference between having hit points and using levels of damage. In actuality, they're both levels of damage, only one has a higher resolution. You could have hit points in the background but only tell the user that he is wounded, severely wounded or mangled. Ultimately, it would be better to have hit points at different parts of the body. Where you are hit effects your performance.

- Jay

"Strictly speaking, there is no need to teach the student, because the student himself is Buddha, even though he may not be aware of it." - Shunryu Suzuki

Get Tranced!


[edited by - coderx75 on June 5, 2002 8:36:02 PM]

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The boundary between winning by stats and winning by reflexes intersects with the boundary between "game as language" and "game as test", on precisely that point where the process of acquiring stats and the process of assessing a reflex''s success are reversed. Ie. If you produced stats in the game to be acquired by other people and assessed your reflexes in response to the stats produced by others in the game, you would be talking about the difference between using the game to communicate and using the game to evaluate - producing stats would be a communication and personally implementing those stats would be an evaluation.

What is interesting is to think about this situation at the nexus between designer-to-player and player-to-player.
FPS suggests a designer-to-player test, MMOFPS suggests a player-to-player; by playful interpretation, RPGs suggest a designer-to-player language (ie this is how to interpret the world), MMORPGs suggest a player-to-player language (ie. this is how to interpret the world now that I am in it).

However, the representation (not interpretation) of the game in all these genres is designer-to-player, naturally. A game (test) in which this is reversed is, for example, the Turing challenge where the goal is to mimic a human player (of the language game). A game (language) in which this is reversed might be, for example, dream interpretation where the goal is to mimic (in language) the dream player (of the reality game?).

The question begged is this, can a game allow players to occupy both evaluating AND communicating roles in a fashion that might resemble the combination of the Turing Test with dream interpretation (the ELIZA program, developed for the Turing Test was close to this)? Further, can such a game be made massively multiplayer (MMOELIZA?)?

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Thanks for the input everyone, I''m glad to see it''s more than just "That''s Stupid"

I''m afraid when I stated this game would use a system based on damage severity rather than hit points that was misunderstood.

No hitpoints at all. No damage "values" as such. Think of all damage consisting of five values ranging from 0-4. And also, armor having values ranging from 1-2. (just examples).

So if I had armor 1 on my head, and I got struck with a damage 2 blow to my head, then I''d have 1 damage level on my head. There are three damage levels per body part. So if I was "green" in my head, then I''d now be "yellow".

The reason for this, is to stop people from becoming obsessed with the numbers. It also get''s people into the habit of thinking pretty much everything as potentially harmful. Even if I''ve played the game for umpteen hours, then a troll swinging a club at me is something I''m still going to have to be mindful of.
Yet, if my armor was sufficient, I wouldn''t have to worry about the rodents gnawing at my ankles.

No hit points, no damage points. Everything consists of very basic values ranging from 0-5 tops, with different things having different ranges for balance. (like armor value 0 wouldn''t make much sense, but a damage 0 attack could possibly make sense if 0 was determined through basic modifiers (like strenght, or possibly magical debuffs).

As far as the rest of combat. I''m not clear on this myself. I''m trying to concieve of a possibility of a system like this working without being an FPS, since you guys are right, the fps gamers are different then the RPG gamers and they expect different things in their experiences. I''m the same. I don''t play Day of Defeat or Quake III expecting to explore or whatever.

I''m trying to find a way to keep certain RPG elements without punishing players for not being logged in as much as others. I''m trying the think of a game design that puts everyone on a more level playing field with subtle differences rather than broad gaps in fields of numbers that do nothing but increase as you play the game. Anyone heard of progress quest? That''s exactly how RPGs feel to me these days.

I guess the biggest problem is that I''m trying to change one of the core defining characteristics of RPGs. Stats building and level gaining. But are those really core attributes? Rifts is an excellent role playing game, and you do gain some hit points and such, but for the most part the only gain are skills. Their balance of SD and MD (Standard Damage and Mega Damage) is along the lines I''m talking about.

But instead of lumping these two properties of damage in combat, I''d like to spread everything out on a delicately balanced line of small numbers. Where the difference between armor 1 and armor 2 is great, and is readily felt as soon as the upgrade is made. Also, where damages are thought of as light, medium, heavy and "immense" where "immense" would be comparative to a tank against a person.

Well, I''m rambling again, and I''m thinking I didn''t clear up any of my thoughts at all to anyone. If it''s clearer to you what I''m trying to say, thanks. I know that you have helped me as well begin to re-evaluate and try to bring the whole package into a neat one.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by coderx75
I don''t see the difference between having hit points and using levels of damage. In actuality, they''re both levels of damage, only one has a higher resolution. You could have hit points in the background but only tell the user that he is wounded, severely wounded or mangled. Ultimately, it would be better to have hit points at different parts of the body. Where you are hit effects your performance.



That''s exactly what I want to avoid though. I want to "lower the resolution" of the hit points system. Of course there needs to be more than just, dead/alive in the wound system, so a scale of some sort is needed.

Yet, I don''t wans somone running around with 500 hit points because he played three hours longer than someone with 100 hit points.

So instead, I''d like the playing field leveled to some extent. So like, you and me. Think of the two of us. I don''t know how old you are, but I''m 21. Does that mean that you would have more or less capacity to take damage than me because of our differences in age?

Also, just because someone has fought a lot, does that mean they should suddenly be able to take damage that no other human can? Why does becoming higher in level in an RPG have to suddenly make you superhuman? Why can''t it be that you''re capacity for damage never goes up (from the naked state). After all, if I were join the military, I''d possibly get stronger, and I''d possibly be able to take more damage... but gunshot damage? Axe to the head damage? Dragon claw to my midsection damage? Probably not and never.

What I''m trying to do is reward players for playing, but in in ways that make them far superior to others around them. Everyone is human, or at least they''ll still be so when you go on vacation and come back. Sure the equipment will change, that''s to be expected even in a real life situation, but they won''t suddenly be able to survive being hit by a bus.

Reward through skills, reward through items and equipment, but don''t increase the physical stature of the character.

I think that''s basically is the core of what I''m trying to change.

I''m not trying to single you out coderx75, so please don''t take offense.

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Argh, I lost my login info when I tried posting that last one.

Anyway, that was me.

Also, I meant to say in one paragraph was
"What I''m trying to do is reward players for playing, but in in ways that DON''T make them far superior to others around them. Everyone is human, or at least they''ll still be so when you go on vacation and come back. Sure the equipment will change, that''s to be expected even in a real life situation, but they won''t suddenly be able to survive being hit by a bus."

heh, I''ll stop posting now :D

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Bandeco,

I think you have very good ideas on this.

The ideal virtual world in such a setting would be that the outcome for instance of your sword fight with someone else depends simply on how good you are in swordfighting, just like in Counterstrike where the outcome depends on your ability to shoot.

There is no need for skills or stats. The skills that are important in that virtual world should be real skills. If it''s a business game, your skill of handling all the information and seeing in what to invest. Your succes will be measured by the amount of money you''ve got. In a political simulation your success will be measured by the postion you are able to take in the political structure. And in a sword fight game, your reward for being a good swordfighter is that you stay alife and your opponent don''t (unless you are greatfull

You make clear sence!

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"If it''s a business game, your skill of handling all the information and seeing in what to invest."

Some would apparently rather have a "business judgement" stat that they can build up, then press the "conduct business transaction" button, which, based on how high their stat is, will make decisions of varying degrees of soundness.

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So, you agree that a ''business capability stat'' makes no sence?

Just like a ''intelligence'' stat, in a multiplayer environment, makes no sence.

Altough stats can make sence, will wright succeeded in it. But those stats where needs, you could read what your sim needed, and than you had to try to forfill that need.

But having stats in an upward sence, gaining points, becoming better makes no sence.

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Heh. Lets just say that my feelings toward stat building gameplay are less than favorable. Especially that its become smiled upon to use it in action games in the misguided attempt to add (faux)depth.

[edited by - Misogynator on June 7, 2002 5:32:59 PM]

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Misogynator:

Though I agree with your idea that adding stats doesn''t add depth to a game, adding role-playing elements (stats -- increasing character abilities) to an action game could make it more in-depth if AND ONLY IF the game is deep to begin with. The skills in Deus Ex increase over time, and there are multiple real ways to complete nearly every level based on the skills you choose in work on. The game was deep to begin with, so adding the statistics only added to the depth. Of course, having a "strength" stat that means you can kill creature X with 2 shots instead of 3 wouldn''t add anything to a game like Quake, which is what I assume you''re talking about.

-Chris

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quote:
Original post by Marc De Mesel
The ideal virtual world in such a setting would be that the outcome for instance of your sword fight with someone else depends simply on how good you are in swordfighting, just like in Counterstrike where the outcome depends on your ability to shoot.

There is no need for skills or stats. The skills that are important in that virtual world should be real skills.

You know, I can''t actually think of a worse game model. Even when I try. Except possibly a totally random one... and even that would appeal to the young as it gives evenly distributed positive feedback.

Many people find games interesting because they can be someone else, or do something uncommon. I can fly fighter planes, hunt dragons, drive race cars, shoot aliens, and more. The games give me the freedom to enjoy new experiences. If you link the ability to enjoy those experiences to real-life skill, then you cut out that opportunity. Where''s the point in playing? If I spend all day being an investment banker, why would I want to come and play as a banker on a game? What could possibly be more boring for most people? And what about that sad person who actually wants to play an investment banker on your game... they can''t, cos in real life they''re a mechanic and know nothing about banking. Or children who aren''t old enough to know enough about any of the interesting skills to be able to play them. What about disabled players who aren''t physically able to enjoy games like Counterstrike but enjoy the freedom of an MMORPG? Or girls who weren''t brought up on twitch gaming and can''t compete in FPS games, but love to explore virtual worlds and be just as good as the boys?

The sad thing is, I might actually prosper on such a game, cos I have done a hell of a lot of things in my time, sword-fighting and archery among them. But it would alienate most people. What you are talking about is nothing like the ideal virtual world. It would just be an accurate replica world - far less interesting from a gaming perspective.

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quote:
Original post by Kylotan

Many people find games interesting because they can be someone else, or do something uncommon. I can fly fighter planes, hunt dragons, drive race cars, shoot aliens, and more. The games give me the freedom to enjoy new experiences. If you link the ability to enjoy those experiences to real-life skill, then you cut out that opportunity.


I don''t think that''s what the person was getting at. What they mean is, in Tekken how well you do is based on how well you "fight." (In the game, not in real life) In CounterStrike how well you do is based on how well you aim, how well you dodge, etc. (Once again IN the game - you don''t have to be an expert marksman in real life)

Basically what they are saying is that player skill would be the determining factor rather than stats. Most competitive games are based on this theory.

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But the fact is, stats like "Inteligence" and "Charisma" in D&D .. do exist and ARE real ....

Look at D&D ... and map it to REAL life ... by the time people reach adulthood, most of their friends could say how: strong, healthy, agile, smart, experienced, and outgoing they are ... hence the stats ... and they do map appropriately in many cases ... it''s really the Hit Points, Armor Classes, and Thac0 that make no sense ...

because a person with a brain suited to languages CAN learn more than one who isn''t ... and a strong person DOES break down a door more easly ... etc etc ...

But like the orignal poster said (paraphrased) .. no human can take an axe chest ... no matter what they do (non-magical).

So my thing (for my game world) ... is to have HIDDEN / RANDOM character attributes which affect things like their natural tendency toward strength, learning, divinity, magic ... and these things affect how easily they learn certain skills, and how powerfull the reaction when they use certain skills ... but nothing fundamentally changes the character ... besides magic

the HIDDEN attributes can also be "roughly" known ... by self-analysis ... or in the case of magic ... by being evaluated by a mage or priest ... so this way .. you don''t know if you can become a mage, until you try (unless they find you first). So you have a character whom you can play HOWEVER YOU WANT ... and learn any skill you want ... but a character who devlops along one of many paths they are well suited for, will go farther / faster, than someone going against their nature.

And I also allow for the strength of "will" / "desire" to affect the game ... so in my FANTASY world ... a long term desire, combined with dedication, to become something ... will have an effect on the inate nature of the person ... so if you WANT to fly hard enough ... and LIVE long enough ... someday you will (now WANTING to be a GOD or something, requires more time and determination than most mortals can ever achive) ...

so what do you think?

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Well, I can see where people are getting the notion of a virtual world where you are hindered by your real life persona in the game.

That's absolutely not what I'm shooting for. What I'm saying is to have a game where you can fight dragons, you can do whatever you want, and whatever is possible in the game.

However, just like a flight sim, you'll be restricted by a set of rules that are global.

So while I may be slaying dragons, I'll have to work at it and learn the ins and outs... not just build up my stats to the point where I can stand in front of it and beat it silly.

A game where the player learns to play it, just like they learn to play ANY other game. A platform game for instance... I may not be able to jump from one rising platform to another, but I'll be damned if I couldn't do it with gusto in Mario.

So why do we insult someone by creating a system and a game where all they have to do is mindlessly whack monsters to become all powerful? Why can't there be a certain level of skill involved?

I'm not suggesting a reality simulator where I can't be a swordsman if I aren't one in real life, and yes this game WOULD have a stats system...

However, (like I said before) just because I do something for a long time, doesn't mean I get "mightier". My intelligence doesn't increase, only my KNOWLEDGE does. (big difference between intel and knowledge). My strength may increase, but for the most part I'm going to remain a certain strength. My reflexes may become somewhat quicker, but for the most part I'm as quick as I'll ever be (until I get old).

So why can't there be a system where you can fight dragons, where you can do all the things you want to do, but the requirements aren't necessarily "time invested" to do these things?

I have a lvl 26 character in Dark Age of Camelot... at my current pace, I'll never be able to fight the dragon. Why? Because I don't play as much. As a reference from the real world though, just because I'm a newly trained soldier doesn't necessarily mean I can't get in the thick of things with the veterans. Yes the veterans will have more knowledge, more skills, but they won't be able to take a bullet in their teeth because they've been a soldier longer and thus have more hit points.

So let's say a newly made character COULD stand a chance against a dragon. All of his penalties for doing something, and his likelyhood of survival would be 1 part skills in game, 1 part stats, and 1 part natural play ability.

In DAoC it's 1 part stats... and that's it. That's the only part.

And that's what this is all about, taking REFERENCES from real life, making games that are believable, but still fantastic, still impossible to some degree.

So I COULD fight the dragon with my newly made character... it wouldn't be wise because the odds are stacked against me... but if I joined a raiding party, then nobody would call me a worthless fool. Suddenly every man counts regardless of how long they've "invested" in the game.

This is one of the biggest things that hamper new players. They want the power, they want to see the things that make the game WORTH playing. They don't want to be forced to spend hours on end killing the same damned moldy skeletons until they magically get stronger and smarter and faster in game.

So your stats stay the same. They'll differ from other players stats, but "leveling" will never increase them. Of course there could still be magical items that do this, etc etc.

In a nutshell.

Reference from life.
Keep GAME intact.
Play quality not hampered by lenght of time invested.
Stats stay the same for the most part
"mightyness" is dependant on skills, equipment, and player ability to play the game.

The whole counterstrike thing is a moot point. Since a kid playing CS could probably outshoot someone who REALLY IS a counter terrorist in the game. Yet the CT could put a nice little bullet outline around the same kid's head.

It's manipulation of keyboard and mouse to play a game. That's all it is. If the combat system is real time, it could still probably be based on a initiative/turn based system. Just like Dark Age of Camelot. It's not exactly turn based, but there is a length of pause between attacks and your next attack can differ with a lot of factors.

Now, take that system, and take out a lot of the pauses... create other types of things like maybe a dodge key that must be pressed at the right time to avoid being hit, make the player able to move around more when they fight without preventing attacks due to movement.

I don't know, I havn't layed it all out, but there is so many things that could be done to ensure a fast paced combat system that'll allow for low level fighters fighting "high level" monsters.

[edited by - Bandecko on June 8, 2002 2:53:08 AM]

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Kylotan, AnonPoster said it right."Basically what they are saying is that player skill would be the determining factor rather than stats. Most competitive games are based on this theory. "

You should read the ideas on ''Play'' from Chris Crawford.

Also, I would make my world user-friendly in that I would make a simplified simulation. The simulation doesn''t have to as deep and accurate as in real life to be enjoyable but it should somehow feel as real as possible and at the same time comprehensable/masterable.

But there should also be the possibility to become good in it by mastering the simulation. Therefore it has to be deep, not flat. That''s the power of counterstrike. You can be good by skill.

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You guys have to realize, Kylotan believes that a game calling for any sort of skill or reflexes is made for little autistic children.

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No you fool, what I believe is that different people play different games to suit different needs. The people who want to play games that reward player skills rather than character skills are the people who are off playing Counterstrike and Unreal Tournament already, not stat-raising MMORPGs. What I object to is someone saying something like "this is ideal" when it clearly is not. It is a different type of playing style which is already well catered for by other genres. Saying that somehow you''re going to make Dark Age of Camelot into a more ''ideal'' game by changing it into Counterstrike with swords is making a judgement about what is ''good'' and what is ''bad'' gameplay that holds absolutely zero weight.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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quote:
Original post by Bandecko
So while I may be slaying dragons, I''ll have to work at it and learn the ins and outs... not just build up my stats to the point where I can stand in front of it and beat it silly.

...

So why do we insult someone by creating a system and a game where all they have to do is mindlessly whack monsters to become all powerful? Why can''t there be a certain level of skill involved?

When it comes down to it, there are only 2 types of skill. Character skill and player skill. Personally I like one extreme or the other. This is because you know precisely the degree of control that you have. It would be unsatisfying to land your fighter plane perfectly only to have it crash because the pilot''s flying skill was too low. On the other hand, if I crashed it due to my own failing, I could accept that and continue practising. And if it crashed because the system was 100% stat-based, again it''s ok as I can just work on the stats. Combining the two gives an added sense of helplessness which translates into less enjoyment for most people who seek positive feedback from a game.

quote:
So why can''t there be a system where you can fight dragons, where you can do all the things you want to do, but the requirements aren''t necessarily "time invested" to do these things?

Two reasons:

1) playing time is money for the developers. If a really skilled player could come in and do it all from the start, they''d earn less money.

2) it''s an RPG norm to work on character skill rather than player skill. People who play RPGs expect this and feel cheated if it works the other way around. The reverse is true on many FPS games. And RTS games often have a bit of both. People who play RPG games are generally those who like to see reward for steady effort. To provide alternative routes to that same reward is going to make those players feel that the game is unfair.

quote:
So I COULD fight the dragon with my newly made character... it wouldn''t be wise because the odds are stacked against me... but if I joined a raiding party, then nobody would call me a worthless fool. Suddenly every man counts regardless of how long they''ve "invested" in the game.

I agree with the principle of reducing power differentials in character skills. I think it would be good if 5 newbies would be equal to 1 mid-level character. But the differential still has to exist, in order to encourage people to keep playing, and the differential can''t be so small that player skill is made important enough to alienate those players mentioned above.

quote:
This is one of the biggest things that hamper new players. They want the power, they want to see the things that make the game WORTH playing. They don''t want to be forced to spend hours on end killing the same damned moldy skeletons until they magically get stronger and smarter and faster in game.

I don''t agree with the above. But on the flipside, one of the things that keeps people coming back is the prospect of more stats and an improvement, leading to new opportunities. You can''t have one without the other.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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[qoute](big difference between intel and knowledge)
Haha, you have to give it up to Bandecko for that. I totally agree: There is a BIG difference between Intel and knowledge.

Well, anyways, I'm not a big MMORPG player, but I was thinking. Wouldn't it be fun to be in a LOTR enviroment (generic, but that seems to be the best example) where you could be either a human, an elf, a dwarf, etc.

If you chose a certain race, you would get bonuses (I will mention what kind). So, for example, if you chose human, you would be a good swordfighter, elf archer, and dwarf axeman.

I think it would be good if there was a little bit of that building up your strengths, but you would do combat by: sword - holding a mouse button down and swinging a sword; bow - holding a mouse button down to pull back the arrow and manually aim it; axe - holding a mouse button down and swinging (maybe some combo for throwing it like a boomerang, since axes are the shortest range weapon).

Then, it would be a little bit of a FPS (without the 'S'). You would gain a tiny bit of points or something towards your character, and a little bit of money to buy other stuff. You would know how good someone would be by their character points (experience or charisma or HP or whatever), but that wouldn't totally dominate the fight. Sure, they may have a more expensive sword and a little bit more character points, but it would ultimately come down to skill. But I'm sure you could vary the character/skill balance.

It would also be a bit more tactical, because you could ambush someone or travel in groups, but you could vary the tactics/strategy balance too.

Also, maybe it would be cool if there was a MMORPG that would promote making friends, because you could exchange information, make alliances, trade, etc.

And if you say that all the potential skill based RPG players are playing Counter-Strike, you might be wrong. I'm sure that most people would enjoy a bit of a hybrid. Just because it hasn't been done yet don't say that there's no market for it, because there isn't... yet.

edit: Fixed the quote.

[edited by - tuxx on June 8, 2002 7:20:19 PM]

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Ok, some of you are suffering from a complete inabiltity to see anything in context of either CounterStrike or Dungeons and Dragons.

I''m not even talking a hybrid.

The game wouldn''t play like a First Person shooter, but the "player skill" involved would be in where they positon themselves, what attacks they use, what skills they perform.

This coupled with a delicately balanced system of humanizing EVERYONE, is what I''m talking about.

Try dropping all preconceptions you hold about what games are and how they should be played.

Take all of the standard conventions of any other MMORPG out there. The character walks up, and enters "combat mode". It doesn''t HAVE to be attack, wait, recieve damage, attack, press button, wait, attack again.

Why can''t the character start swinging, and you give him input as to what kinds of attacks you wish to give him. Such as a combat command pad that can be customized.

I''m not talking about a quickbar, I''m talking about a pad that''s laid out like the keys on the numpad (only you click on them.)

So you enter combat. And you press overhand, and the character will start swinging overhand MORE often than any attacks. The enemy will parry and block a good portion of the attacks... but you can switch up your attacks mid combat, or perhaps even initiate special attacks or combos that you can customize and put in the combat pad.

Now let''s say through the hail of attacks and block and parries, you actually land a blow. Let''s say you strike them in the arm (side attack), then your sword damage (let''s say it''s 2) is compared to the armor. Let''s say it''s not a person, but an animal with no armor value. So your damage 2 is applied in full to the arm of the animal. Now, all of a sudden, the monster''s arm is really unfunctional. Remember 4 damage levels. Non wounded, wounded, severely wounded, and destroyed, so now the monsters are is wounded severely, (or red).

So the fight continues, but it''s a little easier because the monster can''t use the one arm to block or attack with as easily. So now the monster strikes you in the chest with it''s claw. Let''s say that you''re wearing class 1 armor (leather). The monster''s claws have a damage value of 1 (like your sword). So your armor is no match for the dainty little claws of the monster and you take no wound.

Now let''s say that everything has a range of strength from 1-10. When you are in melee damage, str 5 would get no chance for bonus, since you''re average strength. Str 6 would get you a 20% chance for a +1 to your ending damage value when you strike, 7 is 30%, 8 is 40% 9 50% and 10 would be a 60%. So then now let''s say the monster has a strength of 6 and actually makes the 20% check for a +1. So now you get a wound in your chest, nothing to worry about, it''s only a gash. But you''ll have to avoid another wound or you''ll be unable to breathe as well, and thus have your attacks slowed, or movement slowed or whatever.

So, having taken damage, you choose to move, except in your combat pad, you have a skill that allows you to leep back instead of just simply walk. So you jump backwards and the monster has to close in again, but you choose another command that allows you to lunge forward with a thrusting attack. So you hit the creature in the chest. The lunge attack gives a natural plus 1 to damage (but perhaps a lower percentage to hit, although in this example its'' a hit, and since the monster was moving forward, has a lowered ability to block). The weapon, which is a damage 2 weapon, is now a damage 3, and let''s say (just to wrap up the example) your strength is 7 and you get the +1 bonus. So the creature takes 4 damage to it''s chest. It''s "destroyed" which means it''s dead.

Combat lasts maybe 1-2 minutes and is still based on a broad range of "equality with slight variations".

This same system can be applied to a pvp situation, and while the more experienced player will have more options in his combat pad than a lower level player, there will still be a chance depending on how skillfully the new player chooses his attacks, or where he chooses to place his character in relation to the other.

No twitch or FPS skills are needed, and the combat still follows an rpg flow. It may seem like an action game, but beneath the surface there is a complex structure of "hit/miss" being played with constantly shifting to-hit percentages.

But in this game, there will be a great deal of "misses" which will be a mix of wiffs and blocks. But when you DO hit, it counts, and it matters.

So you see, everyone is equal, with difference, combat requires skill, but decision making skill instead of twitch skill.

I hope that really clears it up now, as I''ve added that little chunk into my overal design (again I''m not really making this game) and I''m pretty happy with how it fits.

Another example would be a pvp situation. You are a small group of three "low level" players who are ambushed by one extremely skilled fighter (or "high level").

Now all four begin to fight. Since the higher level fighter is fighting three other people he isn''t simply annihlating any of you because a lot of his attacks are being divided up and his percentages are bein adjusted for blocking and defence rather than simply attacking. Now let''s say the situation is getting worse as the high level player is using his attacks and skills wisely and rolling/tumbling, swiping, etc to the point where it looks like you may start to have the tide turn on you. Which happens. The high level player lands a blow on one of your friends. Now your armor isn''t nearly as high as his, so your friend''s leg is destroyed by the superior quality sword the enemy is using against the low quality armor your friend is wearing. You break combat, but your other friends manages to continue the fight. You rush behind the other character and perform your same lunge attack. Now let''s say this severely wounds one of the high level players arms. The high level player is not at a slight disadvantage.

The fight continues, and manages to actually kill one of your friends, severely wound another, but you continue to skillfully use your positioning and attacks to finally slay the high level player.

This means that everyone can suffer only the same amount of wounds, and nobody is impervious to attacks. Fighting someone who has played longer than you will be HARDER than someone who has played less, but not IMPOSSIBLE. I could fight a dragon, but It''d probably take a really long time as I jab, then run, then dodge, and then jab again.

Now of course like any other rpg, there will be methods of healing yourself so you''ll never "lose a limb" if a limb is "destroyed".

I think I''ve explained this enough for right now, I''ll give you all some time to chew on it while I think about ranged combat and magic combat.

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