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 Post subject: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:19 am 
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Something else that bothers me with MMORPGs is the frequency of death. Not that I'm suggesting we make a world without death but just that it's silly how everything other than players will fight to the death -- players generally try to get away if the going gets rough.

I think some interesting stuff could be done by trying this:

Make death into serious business. Similar to EVE, you would not want to die in World of Slamzcraft. I'm not sure what the death penalty would be but I would aim to make it at least as serious as EVE.

However, to make it more interested, you actually get "kill credit" for making an enemy flee from key areas. You go attack an orc village and start fighting the orc NPCs and they're no dummies -- when they see it's going badly, they'll try to make a run for it. If they exit the village, you get credit similar to having actually killed them.

If you additionally manage to actually kill them you'll get an even bigger reward, but the game is not going to make this easy. It wouldn't be hard to make the NPCs smart enough that 2 orcs stay behind to hold you off while the rest of the orcs run for it and get enough of a lead that you simply won't be able to catch them (at least not without a more complicated strategy).


The thing I like about this idea is we could actually have NPCs that "level up" for as long as they live. Taking the idea from the other thread, the orc NPC that fights your dwarf and escapes has become better at fighting dwarves. The more times he does this, the better he gets. Actually killing him is going to be a big deal, but a fairly rare event. Most of the time you'll simply be driving them out of some resource.

PvP would work the same way, at least around resources.

Let's say resources have a 50m control radius. If you get within that radius you are either a defender or a contender for that resource. If you take damage and get outside of a 100m contention zone, you have "fled" and whoever did damage to you gets some credit and you lose reputation with whatever force you were there in the name of (assuming faction based warfare).

PvP outside of resource areas wouldn't have this mechanic -- you'd only get credit for an actual kill -- but PvP in the middle of nowhere wouldn't really be the aim of the game anyway ("resources" for purposes of this mechanic could include anything worth fighting over, including structures, convoys, raiding parties, etc. Maybe the local NPC chief sends out a raiding party and you're welcome to join in, and the "resource" in this case is the raiding party leader. If you take damage and then run more than 100m away from him, you have "fled" and the mechanics are applied.)



The purpose of this mechanic is to make the game world feel more "alive" as well as to create some "life" within individual NPCs. Here's an orc baker who, incidentally, has survived 15 wars with the dwarves, having either defeated his enemy or escaped each time, and now he's really good at fighting dwarves.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:58 am 
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This idea has merit for sure. The idea of mobs leveling up overtime I've encountered on many a beta forums over the years but I don't recall ever seeing it implemented. The idea of receiving benefits along the lines of xp/loot/faction for controlling an area without having to kill is interesting. The flee mechanic reminds me of loot n scoot but with a much greater degree of incorporation into the game itself. I always really liked Loot n Scoot and item loot. Corpse looting meant you invested something of worth to be fighting in the geographical area that you were inhabiting. You risked not getting stuff back. You didn't want to die.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:05 pm 
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I like this idea. The worst part of any game is kiting. I don't think there is anything wrong with limited battle field sizes. Guys running off and hiding under rocks to achieve victories ala POBS or Shattered Galaxy is irratating.

Since our optimal game has NPC's fighting NPC's, NPC's should be able to gain exp and level off of not just PC's but enemy NPC's as well.

That way that random Orc who has been sitting out in the desert killing random Skellies could be a rude surprise to some random soloer looking to farm some orcs.


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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:20 pm 
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I like kiting personally. Kiting is synonymous with hit and run tactics and is a valid means of warfare, necessary against more powerful opponents, and down right enjoyable as long as it is balanced and not cheesy. I don't think you like kiting Vllad because it's the most effective counter tactic to every warrior class in the MMO genre so it pisses you off.

I see Slamz's reward system for forced fleeing as a way to balance kiting, not necessarily to eliminate it. It forces the kiting player/class into a smaller available area if they want to gain something vs having an unlimited range.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:06 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:

I don't think you like kiting Vllad because it's the most effective counter tactic to every warrior class in the MMO genre so it pisses you off.


While you are right, I can not deny my bias however this is not the biggest reason I don't like kiting.

Kiting represents speed imbalances which is what I really hate about all MMO's. If-fact it is number two on my list of things to hate behind fears and stuns.

Speed imbalances are just a notch below fears and stuns in the fact that I don't get to play my character to decide the outcome of a fight. If the outcome is decided with me making no decisions then it is a bad game. Kiting prevents people from actually getting to play the game the way it is implimented today.

In EQ, SOW was a total game killer. Either everyone gets it or no one should have it. Snares, either everyone gets it or no one should have it. You can have kiting as long as there are no speed enhancements or speeds changes in the game.

Everyone runs the same speed and there are no snares or roots.

If there are zero speed imbalances then kiting wouldn't bother me at all.

With Slamz idea just like AB you limit the area where the fight has to occur settling the issue about kiting in combat.


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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:18 pm 
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Mobility is a key to warfare in real life as well as gaming. To eliminate it as a factor is to remove a variable that adds to the complexity of combat. If you remove variation in speed kiting becomes even more powerful because the kited will never catch up to the kiter. The jist of your point though is not that kiting is bad in and of itself but that when combined or stacked with other factors often turns out poorly in its implementation. Fair enough. I think this could be handled with sufficient testing and trials.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:44 pm 
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What if instead of people with snares/roots. Make it the terrain. There are no issues on Grass, But on sand it is a bit slower. You can find a special boot that makes your sand running a bit faster. The knee high puddles slow a dwarf or a goblin more than a Barbarian or Ogre. Depending if you jump over them or not. Have it possible to trip over a rock, or get tangled up in some branches of a bush.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:06 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
Mobility is a key to warfare in real life as well as gaming. To eliminate it as a factor is to remove a variable that adds to the complexity of combat. If you remove variation in speed kiting becomes even more powerful because the kited will never catch up to the kiter. The jist of your point though is not that kiting is bad in and of itself but that when combined or stacked with other factors often turns out poorly in its implementation. Fair enough. I think this could be handled with sufficient testing and trials.


theres usually no downside to kiting other players. At least in FPS you have to nerves that can affect your aim, just like real life. aion at least has the backing up -dmg feature, but of course players find an easy way around that, and thus its now fairly useless.

exposing your back to someone should endanger your life

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:08 pm 
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If we kept everyone on foot we could eliminate kiting by just making it hard to do ranged damage while running. If you want to shoot your bow with any accuracy or use a spell, you have to stop. If someone starts chasing you, you can run in a straight line and he won't be able to catch you but if you stop and shoot, he'll gain ground. If your running takes you out of the range of the resource you were fighting over then you have "fled" and you take some penalty while the enemy takes some reward (so it would be costly to play the attack-flee-attack-flee game beyond a certain range).

Ideally, the game would have "cover" that impacts accuracy (similar to Warhammer 40k) where other players could count as cover. If there's a dude running around shooting arrows at us, Vllad keeps facing him with his shield up, providing him with a huge degree of cover and Diggles stands behind Vllad, shooting at the target, gaining cover from being near Vllad while the target has no cover.

It would mean that 1v1 you could still ultimately get screwed but ideally you shouldn't be having a lot of 1v1 action. Even if Vllad is there with no other players, in our "Living World" game there should be NPCs there supporting him (or vice versa -- e.g., if he sees an NPC orc in a shooting match with a player, Vllad can run to the orc, position himself between the orc and the player and provide the NPC with a defensive cover bonus. Ideally, he'd actually be joining some other NPC orc shield bearers who are already trying to do this).



Mounted combat could throw a bit of a wrench into the works, since "kiting" seems to be the point of things like mounted archers.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:23 pm 
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Slamz wrote:
If we kept everyone on foot we could eliminate kiting by just making it hard to do ranged damage while running. If you want to shoot your bow with any accuracy or use a spell, you have to stop. If someone starts chasing you, you can run in a straight line and he won't be able to catch you but if you stop and shoot, he'll gain ground. If your running takes you out of the range of the resource you were fighting over then you have "fled" and you take some penalty while the enemy takes some reward (so it would be costly to play the attack-flee-attack-flee game beyond a certain range).


This seems to play heavily in favor of melee unless you make it that they have to stop in order to swing with any accuracy.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:57 pm 
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I would just implement better melee vs melee systems. How "archer vs melee" works out doesn't interest me as much as how group combat works out. Archer vs melee? Meh. 1 melee and 2 archers vs 3 melee? Now it's interesting.

I would like to see melee vs melee to be a tighter engagement, basically. Like...


You're approaching Diggles, who is shooting at you while hiding behind Vllad.

You get in front of Vllad and it's normal melee combat (Diggles can't really shoot you now either because Vllad is actually providing cover between both of you now -- Diggles will have to move, switch to melee or start shooting someone else further away).

You want to get at Diggles so you try to go around Vllad. This could be handed in a few ways...

1) You find that when an enemy melee is facing you, you are basically blocked from moving in any direction except to the side or backwards -- Vllad basically has a collision model that's as wide as his armspan would be, representing his ability to impede your progress.

2) Take EVE's "transversal velocity" idea and use it sort of like a football game model. If you have a high transversal velocity relative to a stationary melee (e.g., you are trying to run around him), he gains a massive bonus to knockdown/knockback on you. Trying to run around a melee would be bad.

3) You find that if you move around Vllad and are no longer facing him, he gains big bonuses to damage and special attacks, so even if you can get around the melee, you probably will wish you hadn't.


So ranged will have its uses but it's going to rely on position or teammates rather than being a type of combat that just kites people to death -- some force is going to have to stop the charging enemy melee from reaching you, or you'd better be able to switch to your own melee skills as backup.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:12 pm 
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Slamz wrote:
I would just implement better melee vs melee systems. How "archer vs melee" works out doesn't interest me as much as how group combat works out. Archer vs melee? Meh. 1 melee and 2 archers vs 3 melee? Now it's interesting.

I would like to see melee vs melee to be a tighter engagement, basically. Like...


You're approaching Diggles, who is shooting at you while hiding behind Vllad.

You get in front of Vllad and it's normal melee combat (Diggles can't really shoot you now either because Vllad is actually providing cover between both of you now -- Diggles will have to move, switch to melee or start shooting someone else further away).

You want to get at Diggles so you try to go around Vllad. This could be handed in a few ways...

1) You find that when an enemy melee is facing you, you are basically blocked from moving in any direction except to the side or backwards -- Vllad basically has a collision model that's as wide as his armspan would be, representing his ability to impede your progress.

2) Take EVE's "transversal velocity" idea and use it sort of like a football game model. If you have a high transversal velocity relative to a stationary melee (e.g., you are trying to run around him), he gains a massive bonus to knockdown/knockback on you. Trying to run around a melee would be bad.

3) You find that if you move around Vllad and are no longer facing him, he gains big bonuses to damage and special attacks, so even if you can get around the melee, you probably will wish you hadn't.


So ranged will have its uses but it's going to rely on position or teammates rather than being a type of combat that just kites people to death -- some force is going to have to stop the charging enemy melee from reaching you, or you'd better be able to switch to your own melee skills as backup.


you since you are wearing leather armor and only have 50 arrows, bow and dagger, you can easily outrun and exhaust someone wearing chain mail, sword and shield.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:30 pm 
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Diggles wrote:
you since you are wearing leather armor and only have 50 arrows, bow and dagger, you can easily outrun and exhaust someone wearing chain mail, sword and shield.

But in doing so you have "left the area" of the battle by running too far away. You might finally kill the chainmail guy who was chasing you but you might have given up control of the area in order to do so.


Basically I'm not that concerned about one archer kiting one melee to death. What I'm interested in is making sure that the archer has to choose between "kite this melee to death across 2 miles of tundra" or "stay here and actually defend this camp". He kites the melee but loses the camp or he stands his ground to defend the camp and hopes he can hold off the melee.


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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:53 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
Mobility is a key to warfare in real life as well as gaming. To eliminate it as a factor is to remove a variable that adds to the complexity of combat. If you remove variation in speed kiting becomes even more powerful because the kited will never catch up to the kiter. The jist of your point though is not that kiting is bad in and of itself but that when combined or stacked with other factors often turns out poorly in its implementation. Fair enough. I think this could be handled with sufficient testing and trials.


Kiting can be a function of the game if all speeds variables are equal. You are right that if all people run at the same speed the kited would never catch the kiter. However that is easily fixed by making LOS rules. If you have to face your target or stop then you are no longer running (as long as you can't run backwards at the same speed as facing forward).

You can give cloth wearers and range fighters advantages at range with out taking away the ability of players to play the game.

Essentially what this means is if you (a mage) want to kite me (a Warrior) it cost me half of my health to reach you however eventually I will or can reach you. It is what happens when I reach you that is the key to a successful balance. In current games at melee range is a half dead Warrior character equal to a full life mage? In most games that answer to that question is no. The Warrior reaches the Mage and he will die anyway because being in melee range has no negative effect to the mage while it is mandatory to the Warrior.

If all speed imbalances, stuns and fears are eliminated this is still an easy fix. You can adjust DPS based upon range.

I agree mobility is important and a key component but that has nothing to do with Kiting. Kiting today is all about preventing melee classes from playing the game. You can put kiting in and still allow people to play.

With Slamz idea it puts even more importance to mobility even if the goals are static.


Vllad


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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:56 am 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
This idea has merit for sure. The idea of mobs leveling up overtime I've encountered on many a beta forums over the years but I don't recall ever seeing it implemented.

Asheron's Call did this. mobs could (and did) level up from killing you, and increase their skills. sometimes a particular mob would become so hard to kill that it would take a large group to kill it and "reset" it back to its regular spawn level.

time for a story...

Asheron's Call has multiple servers, and it is the developer's policy to not have server divergence -- all the servers are the same (except for the pvp server, whose only difference is that you are always flagged for pvp). the developer also patches the game approximately monthly, and with each monthly update the 'epic' storyline is updated, with new quests and items added related to the current storyline.

years ago, the storyline involved the return of a great evil to the world. the mechanism by which the evil would be returned would be the destruction of certain 'warding' stones that kept it at bay. the destruction of these stones would be performed by the players, who would be rewarded for doing so with phat loots (because at that time the developers understood that the players would kill anything placed in front of them, for any reason, as long as there was loot involved). the storyline wasn't entirely clear that destroying the stones would be A Bad Thing, but on one server a group of players caught on and decided that instead of destroying the final stone, they would defend it. not only did they successfully defend the stone from other players, they also sacrificed themselves to it, letting the stone kill them and thereby level up.

the developers were then in a quandary. they did not have the technical ability to support server divergence, but the storyline (and the next month's patch) could not proceed until the last stone was destroyed on all the servers. to finally resolve the problem, the developers had to go in as 'admin-controlled monsters' and clear out the defenders, so that a group of attacking players could get a clear shot at destroying the final stone. but even with the defenders gone, the attackers couldn't manage it, because the stone had levelled up so high that it would regenerate its health as fast as it took damage.

the developers then had to give one of the attackers special gear (to be used for that fight only, and to be returned immediately afterwards, because it was truly game-breaking gear) to use to destroy the stone.

and a few days later, the next patch rolled out on schedule, and the storyline advanced as planned. there's a monument on that server now that lists the names of many of the defenders. actually the monument exists on all the servers (no divergence) but through a coding trick it's only *visible* on that one server.

-ken

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:14 pm 
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That's hilarious. "I give my life to you, oh stone!"

Also a good example of why "quest driven gameplay" is a really silly endeavor to continue supporting, IMO. In the end, it's just a linear storyline which means there isn't much real "roleplay" involved -- you don't really have a choice. That's traditional in single player or small group games but I don't think it's suitable for MMOGs. For massively multiplayer, we need a lot more freedom to manipulate the game world and make choices without necessarily having a plan for where it's going.

And that's going to require a truly dynamic world.


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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:19 pm 
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Quest driven gameplay got me to play a game 3-4 years. The next up was Ultima Online for about a year, and after that EQ and Aion for about a month.

It might be silly but its certainly adept at drawing lots of customers.

At that point you have to ask yourself, is some level of linerism desirable to players? Because a successfull game designer doesnt think "what do me and my friends want" they think "what does the audience want".


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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:36 pm 
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Did you really read all the quests in WOW? If so, then yes, WOW was quest driven for you.

If you did what I did and clicked through them to get to the point then WOW wasn't really quest driven -- we didn't even read the quests. It would be better to say it was "goal driven", where your goal was another level or another item of loot and clicking through this page of text is just part of reaching that goal.


I do believe that games must present goals. You can't simply have a giant sandbox and say "ok go play in the sandbox". The game has to have some driving force in it. In EQ it was levels and loot. In WOW it was levels and loot sometimes disguised as "quests". In Planetside and WW2O it's the defense and capture of objects on the map.

Of these three, quest driven gameplay is the most restrictive and, in my opinion, the worst choice. Quest driven gameplay is what makes it hard for us to play games together.

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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:45 pm 
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Yeah I did read the quests, but I admit I'm odd there. Also, because I played at funky times I soloed alot. When I didnt solo I could do non quest shit with friends. When soloing, wow beat these games hands down. Hell, the most MMO fun I ever had was levelling some of my alts in wow and the real world pvp around the way. Aion was fun but sitting in a small area grinding the same mobs all day killed it for me. Questing might be a mask for that and essentially be the same, but for some reason it kept me engaged where aion just got old and ended up on the pile with the rest of the couple weeks of interst and out club.

The average player of these games does not have a gaming community they want to play with, they logon solo and want to get shit done in a world with lots of other people and hopefully pick someone to play with them along the way.

If we are making the theoretical game for the purge and people who have guilds, then fine, but you have to consider what mr. joe average gamer wants if you were actually tyring to design a commercially viable game.

Most people i've met outside of wow that play wow as well don't know their guilds or really care about anyone in there, its just a group of people who are a means to an end.

But theres room for all types, you obviously thought EQ and Planetside were good games, I didn't. I thought WOW was a fantastic game that has just run its course. Obviously room in the market for all kinds of shit, you just have to identify the market.


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 Post subject: Re: Death
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:39 pm 
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Part of what I have in mind is a game that ends up bringing people together. The people who love to solo in WOW will also surely love Dragon Age or other Bioware games and if those are the people we want to entertain then we don't even need to do an MMO. We could just make another Bioware game or maybe the next Guild Wars. That would surely be a lot cheaper to develop and deploy.

I'd rather look at ways to utilize the MMO connection to get people playing together. Regular WOW style quests won't do that (and in fact can tend to drive people apart).

To bring people together you need goals that allow people to work together without being restrictive on how they do it.

e.g.
Dungeons with keys and timers = bad. This can create cliques and drive people apart.
Dungeons without keys or timers = good. This encourages ad-hoc grouping that can bring people together.

"Questing for loot" = bad, since it's only going to appeal to the people who happen to be on that quest.
"Farming for loot" = good, in the sense that anyone can join up at any time and help farm for loot.

"World objectives" = good (WAR, PS, WW2O, Aion) since people can always come together to work on those.


I also think WOW style gameplay is part of why we pick up fewer "puggies" these days. We say "I hate grouping with puggies, they usually suck" and I think we're hurt by instanced, quest driven gameplay because we don't really get to see other people in action.

In EQ, if someone's group was breaking up and one of them asked to join you, you could risk it -- after all, you just saw them hold part of the dungeon for 2 hours so you know they can't suck too bad. In Aion and WOW we're more encouraged to solo or do instances so when someone asks to join, we have absolutely no idea who they are or any indication about whether they suck or not. Did their last group do awesome and break up for dinner or did they wipe 5 times and give up? We have no idea.


So, IMO, if we're developing an MMO, we need to focus on things that bring people together. Like Planetside, I think the ideal solution is to have activities which are technically soloable (you can capture a PS base with 1 person, technically) but which will tend to involve a lot more -- the more the merrier.

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