The Purge

PvP for People Who Aren't Asshats
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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:06 am 
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Maybe someone with some knowledge about City of Heroes can back this up.

I remember City of Heroes having no gear at all. If all you want is a non-gear based pvp game (non FPS), where your actions are input via the 1-0 action bar method, doesnt this sort of fit the bill?

And, if it doesnt fit the team-player, non-gear based pvp, what are the reasons that people DON'T like it or, more importantly, don't PAY for it?


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:16 pm 
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Slamz wrote:
But if, culturally, it was all about individual achievement, then few would be playing football or soccer and everyone would be doing track or gymnastics. And really, I think the fact that team sports games remain popular as spectator sports suggests that millions of people understand and can enjoy the concept of team play. Maybe if there was a game that let them experience that sort of thing first hand, without a ton of PvE bullshit in the way, they would play it.


The majority of people who play sports do it for individual achievement. When you are young your parents or peer pressure put you into it, when you are old you do it as something to dick around with. Very few people actually play team sports and put tons of time and energy into it because it is not a mass market thing (except to sell watching it). I don't put tons of effort into my softball team because its a personal diversion. Sure, its a team sport - but so is Arathi Basin.

MMOs have to compel subscribers, people who will come out month after month. Precious few "team based" games without any sort of personal carrot manage to do that, because human nature is fairly selfish and they realize for most people the personal carrot is far more appealing than a "team" most casual players dont give a flying rats ass about.

I know your view of MMOs is that if the dirty masses just tried your idea for a game they would never touch anything else, but I am of the mindset that appealing to the lowest common denominator is done for a reason.

Hell, we're talking about a society where The Wire almost got cancelled every season but American Idol is going strong for a decade


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 4:47 pm 
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Jakensama wrote:
The majority of people who play sports do it for individual achievement. When you are young your parents or peer pressure put you into it, when you are old you do it as something to dick around with. Very few people actually play team sports and put tons of time and energy into it because it is not a mass market thing (except to sell watching it). I don't put tons of effort into my softball team because its a personal diversion. Sure, its a team sport - but so is Arathi Basin.


Well, the sports analogy breaks down somewhat in that people don't quit it so much because they stop liking it but because you're generally one good twisted knee away from a forced break anyway. (And rain. And snow. And bitter cold. And heat waves.)

But anyway, even the 2nd linebacker on the left understands that he has both individual achievement and a place in the team even if he doesn't sack the quarterback and get a new Jersey of +3 Rushing out of it. In Planetside your individual achievement may just another sweet kill streak, or surviving that Reaver attack. Knowing that you are helping the team surely helps too, for both the linebacker and the Planetside player.

Basically you can't avoid "individual achievement" for broad enough definitions of "achievement". The root question is whether achievement has to come in the form of advanced powers and gear, to which I say "no", despite the fact that every AAA MMORPG implements it.

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I am of the mindset that appealing to the lowest common denominator is done for a reason.

I think there's a reason too, I just think that the reason is guys in business suits who know exactly nothing about gaming are in control of game design these days.

I mean is there any question that PC gaming is dying? Why is that? It was booming 10 years ago with shittier graphics and weak online options.

I think it's because between 10-20 years ago, PC games were developed by small shops and innovation was key. Now it's developed by business suits who simply think they can copy what's already out there. You say it's working but I say a casual perusal of store shelves suggests it's not.

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^ the death of innovation, in my opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:03 pm 
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I dunno that you cant cite declining RETAIl sales when over half of the sales now are digital download

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:54 pm 
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Im assuming digital download are included in retail sales.

Irregardless, we should work backwards from what we didnt like about non-gear based pvp games and work on that model instead of saying what we dont like about gear based pvp games.

What is it about the last non-gear pvp game that you played that didnt keep you as a subscriber?


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:14 am 
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WW2O: Too slow paced -- too much time spent not fighting vs fighting. Insta-death has its good points but 15 minutes driving and then exploding instantly from an enemy you never saw does tend to make people ragequit. And while manually adjusting my iron sights is an interesting novelty and has its moments, it's not really conducive to action.

Planetside: Mediocre FPS mechanics (no body-part hit boxes, poor weapon selection), base and tower layouts all too similar resulting in a lack of variety in tactics.

POTBS: Basically all PvP was a 6v6 deathmatch. No goals, no objectives, no sneaky things to try, no strategic maneuvers to make, just 6v6 in a flat ocean (there were rare maps with islands in them but they often played no role...kinda like fighting in a flat plain with 1 tree in it). Also, the 6v6 nature grates on you because what if you have 4 people? What if you have 8 people? And 6v6 is hardly an MMOG.


I could, in a way, even list Rift here because for the most part I was not looking forward to my next bit of gear. It wasn't that advancement that kept me playing, it was the PvP action. Unfortunately they lacked variety and it just got old. There's only so many times you can play a simple, flat "hold the ball" game before you're sick of it and dangling a slightly better hat in front of me if I play the tiny map another 85 times does not make me keep playing.


Really Planetside came the closest to demonstrating that non-gear based PvP can be awesome and worth playing for months on end. The biggest problem with Planetside was simply that it wasn't a very good FPS.


I think what it boils down to is "content", though.

PvP games need content just as much as PvE games, and this is frequently neglected. A PvE game can't just have a big world full of monsters with no objectives, expecting us to run around killing them for no reason. Why anyone thinks a PvP game can work that way, I don't know. PvP games need content too.

Warhammer was a great example of this. Every zone was PvP + PvE. The PvE area was full of quests and content and action and felt alive. The PvP area was literally just a building. In terms of landmass, PvP may have been 30% of the game but in terms of developed content it couldn't have been more than 1%.

How many developer hours goes into the PvE development of a game like Rift or WOW?

What type of PvP content could you develop if you had 80,000 man-hours to spend on it?

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:19 am 
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Maybe a better question is, "What made you play your last PvE/advancement game for so long?"

I would bet it had more to do with "advancement" in the sense that you were able to progress through new areas of content and less to do with "advancement" in the sense of getting a new purple sword. How long would you have kept playing if defeating Boss Zone 1 lead you to a completely identical but slightly harder Boss Zone 2? I mean you got your advancement. You got your new gear. That's what's important right? So what if you're fighting the exact same boss in the exact same dungeon but all the numbers are 20% bigger? It's advancement! Wheee!


I think it's variety of content that keeps us going, and the Poor Man's PvP-Game lacks variety of content.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:47 am 
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Yea, I think you're on to something there.... Has to be plenty of content.

Ill use WoW as an example of people playing a PvE game for so long.

When you hit the cap, your item level might be 300. You can queue for random dungeons (3), and pick up item level 320 gear. As you're getting your gear from drops or spending your Justice points at the vendor for gear upgrades, your personal item level (sort of an average of the item level of all your gear) starts to go up. When your personal item level hits 340, you can now queue for Heroic dungeons. Might be another 3 or 4 different ones. Some are the same as the non-heroics just stronger mobs. Same thing, you start to loot item level 340 gear and spending your points on new gear and eventually you can queue for the troll dungeons when your personal item level hits 350. You then repeat the process..... All the while you're advancing. Whether you're getting drops or spending your "points" at the vendor, you're constantly upgrading gear until you can finally queue for the newer content. This is the path that you go til you're eventually caught up with the newest content and you're at the highest item level.

At this point, I seem to see a lot of "alt runs". The major PvE guys cap out their loot at the highest level and start to run alts through the earlier content trying to cap them out. Eventually, new content comes out and they repeat the process. All the while jamming their 15 bucks a month into the game.


Hard to say what it is that actually makes people go through the cycles. Perhaps new content, perhaps the loot advancement. Whatever it is, there is a key there to keeping people subscribed.



As I can see from the games you listed, it wasnt so much that you quit these games because you didnt get the sense of advancement, you quit because the gameplay itself wasn't up to par.


Going back to that WoW method, maybe its the plateaus and goals that are set for people which make them keep pushing onward. When you hit the level 85 goal, we set the new item level 340 goal. When you hit the item level 340 goal, we have another bar set for you.

Is it perhaps something of that nature.... reintroducing a goal.... that keeps people interested and paying?


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:31 am 
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Alio wrote:
Im assuming digital download are included in retail sales.


I know one AAA publisher for sure that collects data, tracks sales, and reports on Retail and Digital as separate segments. One of their major desires is to start looking at them together. There is no one that is pulling the data together for them (no 3rd party syndicated company as you would have in the Consumer Goods space) and they don't have the internal capability to do it easily.

They have completely different feeds and systems to get data from Steam vs. Walmart, GameStop, etc. Not to mention issues with US vs Europe, etc.

I wouldn't assume that "retail" includes digital.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:18 am 
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I agree that PvP focused games need goals just as much as PvE focused games. I like pitting myself against people but just endless meaningless fights gets repetitive. That is what I liked about DAoC and Warhammer - there was an objective to the PvP. In DAoC I liked the way that holding towers, keeps, and relics had an impact on your team as a whole. There was an incentive to get out there and take enemy territory. Warhammer had a really good idea with the moving front line of the war between the two sides, pushing toward the enemy capital. Of course, their PvP all fell apart once you got to the capital which was sad.

You need to give your players a reason to fight. This is the big place where Rift falls down in PvP. There are very few reasons to get out there and mix it up with the enemy. Part of the reason for this is that they have made travel too easy, especially getting into dungeons. In EQ if you wanted to raid the Temple of Veeshan then your whole raid force had to cross multiple zones on foot to get to the objective. This gave all kinds of opportunities to run into an enemy and get in a fight for the right to raid that content. Getting there was part of the fun. Rift has completely missed the buss here with letting everyone just teleport in.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:29 pm 
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All of the idea's in the entire section of this board has enough meat to make a good MMO. One that can make money and have a large audience (what ever that means).

In the end no one will make it because it cost to much money. No one is ever going to invest 20 million in an unproven product. I have seen this happen before not only in regular business but in gaming. That is why Doph and I are no longer in the business.


Board Games:

In the 70's printing cost allowed almost anyone that can design a good game print it and sell it. That is the hey day of board games. In the 80's paper/printing cost started to weed out the smaller companies. Companies like Avalon Hill survived because the company was owned by a printing company. By the 90's their was only 5 companies that had more then 4 titles out. TimJim being one of them. However even by the mid 90's even ourselves had to start making sacrifices in game quality to meet printing cost issues. The best game we ever made we never produced because it just cost to much money.

This in turn meant that the retail cost of games had gone beyond the point that gamers would pay. What would have retailed in 1980 at $30 would now cost the customer $100. Sales plummets at those cost and you can no longer make your money back. For a decade board gaming died because no one would put out anything new. You just couldn't afford to.

Recently some euro companies have been able to make some quality products. Their designs are crap but the quality of the products are much better. Now that games are being created in places that cost are in control board gaming has made a come back. Also salaries and what a consumer is willing to pay has gone up as well. You still can't put out a $100 game but you can put out a $50 game and have it sell.


Eventually the same thing will happen to PC games. I already see it. Paragon for example. Eventually the cost to create MMO's will come down and some new idea's will come into the market. In the mean time we just have to wait.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:55 pm 
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If you had an AI that could do most of the monkey code work then a game could probably be made for a tenth of what it costs now. Or you could make the game in Turkey or another country. More than likely your low cost indie MMOGs will come from a combination of AI coding and a freeware gaming engine to base everything off of. That is if you don't want it to look like complete shit. But, then again I'm not a code monkey, so I'm just guessing.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:39 pm 
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I was thinking... dangerous.

What if a game like WW2O had a scoring/playing system that awarded points for doing things (ex capping buildings/towns, FB defense/destruction, and maybe even time played and kills) and a series of rewards was a monthly discounts each month. So, by playing the game you can reduce the cost of the game by 1% to max 25% per month. The idea here is that players would be motivated by saving money to play.

I'm not sure that would solve problems that games have long term but if the game design was fun, it may maintain server pops. WW2O was best during major fights with lots of people involved. They were talking about taking out the spawn delay and adjusting the AI to underpop sides. Then they were changing the equipment lists to allow for more equipment to be placed in the field and lengthing the time it takes to replace it. So, instead of 2 tigers being available now there are 10 but they don't respawn for an hour. I think with a game like this you have to create your own action... much like PotBS.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:13 pm 
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I've heard that GW2 is going to have a gearless bracket of team pvp matches with the possible outcome of making it an Esport. There is a whole new set of motivations involved when you can become a sports "star". Who needs gear when you've got Egroupies?


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