Trending Games | Elder Scrolls Online | WildStar | ArcheAge | Star Wars: The Old Republic

  Network:  FPSguru RTSguru
Login:  Password:   Remember?  
Show Quick Gamelist Jump to Random Game
Members:2,642,977 Users Online:0
Games:681  Posts:6,076,719

Show Blog

Link to this blogs RSS feed

BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

Do you feel like the Hero you should be?

Posted by BadSpock Wednesday October 31 2007 at 12:04PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

The one big thing I'd really like to see change in MMOs is pulling strategy.

Be it in the open world or in an instance, it's all about the pull.

We try to clear out a room with as few mobs/NPCs per pull as possible. It's like the other enemies in the room or area simply doesn't realize that we're picking them off one by one.

In the open world, many players will run "out of aggro range" if they pull too many mobs/NPCs.

In level / class based games, it feels to me that the "balance" is made for one on one encounters will enemies. You're a level 50, so you should try and pull a single level 50 mob/NPC to fight.

Even in a group, we rely on mezzes and roots etc. too limit the number of creatures that we are fighting at once. Of course, this all goes back to the Holy Trinity of Tank/Damage/Heal. You incapacitate as many enemies as possible per pull so the Tank has less to manage and the Damage has more focus. The Damage keeps the enemies dead, the Tank keeps the hurt'n on him/herself, and the Healer keeps the Tank alive.

But how Heroic does that feel?

For one, it is totally unrealistic.

Mob A - "Hey look, Bill and Frank are fighting on the other side of the room! Should we help?"

Mob B - "No no no. We'll wait till they get closer and attack us first, or we just so happen to walk close enough to them before we attack."

But what do we see in movies? The Hero charges in and battles against dozens, if not hundreds of foes at once. Only when facing truly dangerous and powerful foes are the fights one on one in some grand, epic battle.

This should be the way MMORPGs are too. Make aggro based off of line of sight and audio detection, not some physical distance or range between the enemies and us.

Balance it so that characters can and should be taking on swarms of enemies at once, being truly heroic as they stand against an onslaught of foes.

And have Boss battles be the epic encounters that are the exception to this rule, where the Hero(s) face off against a powerful foe in Epic combat.

We've all had (I imagine) encounters in our favorite MMO dungeons where we have pulled way, way, way too many enemies towards us and barely come out alive. How exciting was that? To battle against a seemingly impossible number of foes and come out victorious?

Throw in realistic combat systems like terrain modifiers, collision detection, and more advance line of sight and you've got yourself the potential for truly epic combat.

Right now, in level based games, it's pretty much the exact same thing every time, just different levels. You pull and kill a single level 10 mob when you are level 10, and you pull and kill a single level 50 mob when you level 50. Why not make the number of enemies we can handle at once go up with our rising levels, rather then ONLY the level of the enemies we face?

I'd like to see MMORPGs that are built around that principle of design, rather then built around the "slow and safe" / "Holy trinity" approach.

What about you?

Has MMO development gone backwards?

Posted by BadSpock Saturday October 27 2007 at 6:59AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

It's about 6:30am on a Saturday, and I'm at work. Yeah, it sucks. Just thought I'd throw that out there...

 
Anywho... I was talking to my brother about Ultima Online yesterday. Our account is still active, not currently subscribed, but all of our characters and their possessions still exist. I think we are up to our "9 year veteran" awards or close to it lol.
 
So I've been thinking about UO, and have come to a startling realization!
 
MMO development has been going backwards!!!
 
What are some of the top features people on MMORPG.com ask for in their "perfect" MMORPG?
 
1. Skill based system - no more classes and levels to grind
 
2. Sandbox game play - no linear progressions / roller coaster rides
 
3. Open / FFA PVP
 
4. Player Housing
 
5. Less dependency on gear
 
6. All gear crafted by players / was equal (kind of) to loot
 
Ultima Online had all of these things and more. I consider the "high" point in the life of UO was when they released Renaissance and introduced Trammel to the world, and not long after that the Factions PVP system.
 
It was an open skill based system, gear didn't really matter at all, you had full Faction vs. Faction PVP and FFA PVP in Felucca, and a completely griefer/ganker free environment in Trammel. They had really expansive player housing, a massive world with no instancing, hundreds and hundreds if different monsters and NPCs to battle with, countless dungeons.
 
Pretty much, UO had everything that the "modern" MMORPG player has been asking for.
 
Where have games gone since those awesome days of UO?
 
1. Instancing
 
2. Class / level based systems (I blame EQ for this, d*mn you Everquest!)
 
3. Gear dependant play (again, I blame EQ for this, d*mn you Everquest!)
 
4. Much more restrictive PVP
 
5. Most modern MMOs no longer have player housing.
 
6. crafting in modern MMOs mostly sucks and is trumped by loot drops from mobs/raids (many games even require you to raid in order to get the materials to make the best crafted gear)
 
So why have MMOs taken such a major step backwards?
 
They haven't gone backwards in terms of:
 
1. Developer content - quests, dungeons, events, raids, missions, etc. etc. etc.
 
2. Graphics (obviously)
 
3. Accessibility (MMOs are now a major genre instead of a niche market)
 
and that's about all I can think of.
 
So why doesn't a developer just make a game exactly like UO, throw in a bunch of cool quests, dungeons, raids, etc. just for fun, and give it a sweet modern graphics engine?
 
I know people will say "that's what Darkfall is going to be!"
 
But for one, many are unsure DF will ever be released and two, the Trammel / Felucca split is what (in my opinion) was UO's greatest strength. DF is FFA everywhere, which will turn off a great many players.
 
What do you think? Has MMO development gotten so backwards that future games are looking more and more like old UO?

Class balance or unique classes? Both?

Posted by BadSpock Thursday October 25 2007 at 1:06PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

SpiritOfGame recently posted a link to http://www.wanderinggoblin.com/literaturedetail.php?id=65

a Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning impressions piece from hands-on play time.

One bit of the article impressed me the most, enough to right an entire blog about.

"One thing to note, as it will cause endless debate among overly knowledgable fanboys forever and ever -- the classes on the side of Order, and of Chaos, are not merely parallels of each other. Will this cause imbalance? Of course it will; no game is every perfectly balanced. Most MMOs, however, attempt to resolve this issue by making one side's "rogues" almost identical to the other side's "assassins", if you follow my meaning. WAR does not appear to even be considering this approach. Acolytes and shaman are not now, nor will they ever be, merely parallels of one another. The spells aren't basically the same, just with different names. They are different. We felt this added a lot to the game, and for this bold stand on class differences, we applaud the EA Mythic developers."

What do ya'll think of that?

Each race has one class from each of the four archetypes - Tank, Ranged DPS, Melee DPS, and Support.

What is interesting, is that this preview from Wandering Goblin seems to suggest that the differences between the classes of the same archetype are vast and profound.

The Black Orc (Tank) will not just have "orc themed" versions of the same abilities as the High Elf Swordmaster (Tank.)

It is indeed an interesting approach to class balance. I'm sure all classes of the same archetype will have some similarities, but often the most defining characteristics are not what makes two things the same, but what makes them different.

Personally, I think it's an absolutely marvelous idea.

In World of Warcraft, the current "standard" of MMORPG gaming, all Rogues are simply Rogues. Same abilties, same equipment, same talent trees... etc. Only thing that makes them different are the racial abilities, which generally speaking add very little distinciton between an Undead Rogue and a Dwarf Rogue for example.

Some games go farther as to assign different names to the same class depending on race. One race may have Assassins while the other has Scoundrals. But are they any different?

It sounds to me from reading this article that EA Mythic has gone a few steps beyond to make each class of each archetype unique and interesting. Obviously, this may cause balance issues for Mythic.  One race's Melee DPS archetype could end up more powerful then another, as some racial specific ability could be unbalanced.

I never played DAOC sadly, so for those that have, do you trust Mythic to delivery a balanced class system?

I just found the whole concept very, very intriguing. What do you think? Is this a smart move? Or for the sake of easier balancing, should all classes of the same archetype be the same?

KOTOR MMORPG?? and other acroynm fun!

Posted by BadSpock Tuesday October 23 2007 at 1:19PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

I'm trying to not waste my time going to all the links and articles that have been posted time and time again on MMORPG.com "confirming" or "confirming rumors" or whatever they've been doing. It's hard and so far I've failed. I'm excited!

But, to sum it up, it's been known for a while that BioWare, the company behind the amazing X-Box RPG Knights of the Old Republic as well as other great RPG titles, has been working on a MMO. It has been rumored for a long time that the MMO they have been working on is a Knights of the Old Republic game. Recently, some articles have surfaced claiming to "confirm" the rumor that BioWare's secret MMO project is indeed a KOTOR game.

This is very, very intriguing to me. So, instead of writing responses on the 18,975 threads on the MMORPG.com forums, I'm just going to write a blog post. Enjoy.

What made Knights of the Old Republic so good?

To me, it was the great story and great characters. The story was full of intrigue and wonder, secrecy and heart pounding action, and probably featured the BEST twist in any RPG story I've ever seen. The characters were dynamic and varied, but most importantly, very influenced by the decisions you'd make.

Their alignment system was incredible. Not only did your companions follow more closely down the path you had chosen for yourself (light or dark side) but they closer you grew to them, the more they'd reveal to you about their past and their motives. It was absolute genius.

But would it work in a MMO? I'm positive if BioWare is doing a KOTOR MMO they'll use an alignment and reputation system like they did in KOTOR 1. In a MMO you won't have a party of NPC companions, unless of course they try for the Gods and Heroes model (which I really hope they don't.) So the alignment system will be just for your personal good/evil focus, however obviously it should affect your standing with people/NPCs of the opposite alignment. The reputation can be used like that which we see in any 'traditional' WoW-esque MMO, however hopefully much, much deeper and more personalized then simply grinding faction for additional unlocks.

UXO (Ultima Ten: Odyssey) was planning to have a system where you'd be given choices during their quests to solve the problem and complete the quest in different ways, each effecting your standing with the different Virtues. This seems like the perfect type of set up BioWare could use for a KOTOR MMO. Of course, you'd have clear black and white good vs. evil options, but also a lot of gray ones that you weren't sure what the effect would be. KOTOR excelled at giving you dialogue options that were rarely 100% clear, and even if they were you'd never know exactly how your comrades would react. If they did this for a MMORPG, wow.... just wow. Best-game-ever material.

The big question to me is what KOTOR era time period? I'd say it'd either have to be:

A) During the events leading directly up to KOTOR 1. Post-Revan and Malik turning to the dark side and waging war on the Republic, but before the events of KOTOR 1. Have Republic and Sith for good/evil and PVP. Plenty of PVE options too.

B) During the Mandalorian Wars before the events of KOTOR 1. This would make it more difficult for faction type PVP, as there were very few Sith before Revan/Malik began their crusade. Unless of course you could be a Mandalorian character.

So for character races, it's Star Wars, so you have about a billion options.

I'd REALLY love to see the option to not JUST be Jedi, but also Mandalorians and Droids. Obviously, the Mandalorians are powerful enough to wage war with the Republic (Jedi) and do OK, and droids can use the fact that they are robots to be as fast/powerful etc. as a Jedi. This way, NO alpha-class, competition between Jedi and non-Jedi, and a LOT more interesting then only having Jedi.

If the game is just Jedi of either Light or Dark side alignment, all with lightsabers, it's going to be boring.

Throw in Mandalorians and Droids, tons of guns and explosives etc. and use the fact that their technology allows them to compete with the Jedi, and you got yourself a great game. We saw from KOTOR 1 that all characters were capable of becoming evil or good, without having to be Jedi to do so, so the alignment system will still work having non-Jedi players.

I'd also say don't even attempt to throw in space or vehicle combat. Not at first anyway. Concentrate on the ground game.

Only thing that worries me is the combat system and advancement system. The combat system in KOTOR was boring and not all too entertaining in my opinion. Mass Effect looks to have the same type of system in place. A MMO will not be able to have the "stop time" feature that ME and KOTOR have, so they'll have to adjust the combat system in a big way. I'd be 100% ok with a WoW like skill bar and abilities etc. system, but throw in the stances from KOTOR 1/2. Different saber art forms for different situations and different "stances" for different group roles available to all characters. Throw in different strengths and weakness for one saber vs. dual sabers vs. double bladed saber and you have even more options.

The advancement system in KOTOR was pretty lack-luster too. Choose a Jedi class, put points into skills you'd never really use (demolition/security on the main character? wtf. I'd only ever put points in persuasion and healing, I'm a Jedi not a hacker, I have a party of characters for that.) So they'd have to modify that a bit. Putting points into force powers as you level? It'd work, but you'd have to expand on it for non-Jedi players.

There could be a lot of class/skill options though. Jedi could specialize in being offensive with powers (ranged) or offensive with saber (melee.) Defensive with powers/melee. Or a more support class of Jedi. Of course, throw in fact that they are either Light or Dark and with those alone you have 10 classes for Jedi.

Add different melee/ranged/support/hacker/demolitions/etc. for Mandalorian and Droid characters and boom, you have LOTS of options.

So much potential... I think BioWare will put together an incredible MMORPG. If it's the Star Wars universe and KOTOR, I will be extremely happy. Even if it's not KOTOR, it will be a good MMORPG. BioWare doesn't make bad products. Period.

Your thoughts?

Server Rule Sets

Posted by BadSpock Friday October 19 2007 at 2:16PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

UO had it right.

Alternate rule sets on servers are is only way IMO.

+You need PVE friendly servers -

-Only voluntary PVP under controlled conditions (like battlegrounds/arenas/duels), minimal grind, very solo-friendly. The EQ2, WoW, LOTRO type of "normal" servers. It's obviously popular.

+You need "hardcore" PVE servers -

-Only voluntary PVP under controlled conditions (like battlegrounds/arenas/duels), slower leveling pace due to things like XP loss on death, slower gain rates for skills, less XP for quests / killing mobs, etc. More difficult mobs (more health, more damage, etc) to encourage/enforce grouping and more difficult soloing

Travel options SHOULD BE THE SAME. There is nothing "hardcore" about having to ride/walk for an hour to get somewhere. If anything, UO had the most "EZ MODE" travel system ever and it was the best. You could create Runes bound to a location and teleport their at will. No mage skills? You could buy and use Rune Scrolls and Teleport Scrolls.

+You need PVP friendly servers -

Same as "normal" PVE servers, but also with open PVP between rival groups/factions like on WoW PVP servers

+You need "hardcore" PVP servers -

Same as my "hardcore" PVE servers but with the PVP rules of the "normal" PVP servers listed above and limited item loss on death. If you have 12 slots for armor+weapons+items, make it so only 3-4 or so can be "protected" from player loot with an insurance type system at a financial cost to the player.

This only works well if you give XP toward leveling for PVP actions/killing other players.

Roleplaying versions of these servers types are also needed.

Now, splitting your servers has risks and rewards. You need to have a very large population in your game in order to make it work. Otherwise, the more "uncommon" servers like the hardcore servers and the Role Play servers will be sparsly populated. Obviously, you can play around with server merges and creation/removal based off of player demands to achieve an acceptable level of players on each server type.

Ultima Online was doing this way, way back in the day. The Trammel / Felucca split was pretty much like playing on two different servers by today's standards, and they had Siege Perilous for their "hardcore" server.

Obviously, the rules and numbers are debatable, but the point is give players options.

But who would play on the "hardcore" servers? Why not just play on the "normal" servers and grind/farm/power level yourself to the top and then dominate the game? Why go through the hardship of the more difficult servers?

If you are asking those questions, then you belong on the normal servers.

The point is, give players choice. Freedom. You can't create a "hardcore" game and expect it to do as well as the more "mainstream" titles. It's just not going to happen.

You also can't continue to make carbon-copy cookie-cutter games that so many players find "too easy."

What you CAN do is create a game that has server rules for both. Enjoy.

Dynamic vs. Random

Posted by BadSpock Thursday October 18 2007 at 11:00AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

  • This is in response to Vajuras' excellent post. Please read at http://mmorpg.com/blogs/vajuras/102007/598_Optimization-Patterns-and-Routine


    Is the way Hellgate:London and Dungeon Runners operate truly dynamic or is it merely random?

    Let's say you have a level range for an encounter/instance. Let's say it's 7-10. So, the "randomness" occurs as follows. All enemies within the encounter are assigned point values. The total point value for all enemies in the encounter has to add up to a certain number. That magic number is based off of what a level 7-10 player should be able to defeat.

    So one time through you may have tons of level 7 mobs but only a few level 10. Next time it could be less total mobs, but more of them towards the level 9-10 range.

    Get what I'm saying? Is that truly dynamic or just controlled randomness?

    To me, "dynamic" means that it alters the encounter based off of your character's build, your group compisition and size, the level range of your group members/your own level, the mean level of your equipment, etc.

    Only level 7 but have twinked out uber level 7 gear? Have a "optimized" high DPS build? Have 3 people in your group instead of 4?

    A truly "dynamic" encounter would be able to collect allllll of these variables and alter the difficulty and symantecs accordingly.

    Is this possible? I think it definetely is, but it would require a lot of programmer leg work.

    So why do it? Because then the game wouldn't require optimal builds and maxed out stats etc. but instead be custom tailored to your character/group and you'd win based off of your skill, coordination, and effort... You'd have to use what you have to the best possible advantage instead of pre-loading your group for success. 

    Not because you "prepared" enough before hand by farming the "right" equipment, finding the "right" group members, and using the "right" build.

    This way, every encounter and every instance run would be different. No optimization and memorization. That's all WoW raiding is, trust me. Optimizing your party layouts and configurations, optimizing your stats/talent build to fit your role, then memorizing and repeating the content. Over and over.

    But what if it was different every time? No longer would you have to call a raid off because you don't have enough of X class or somebody of Y class is the wrong build.

    But why stop there?

    Make the encounter different if you run it during the game's day cycle then if you ran it during the night.

    Make different difficulty levels, where the "magic number" the game tweaks the encounter to is set to a different lowest common denomenator. So from our previous 7-10 level range encounter, "easy" mode is based off an average level of 7, "standard" mode is based off an average level of 8-9, and "hard" mode based off a level 10 average.

    Games like WoW have done random events and situations in raids. Like the final boss of Karazahn, the Prince guy, where his Infernals that fall from the sky land in random locations. Sometimes, this random spawning can and will destroy even the best raiding group. That's no fun. You can't over come that kind of randomness.

    Dungeon Runners is all random dungeons. Not a bad start. From what I hear, Hellgate: London is very much the same way.

    But why stop at random?

    Why not make them truly dynamic.

  • Linear+Radial progression? Possible?

    Posted by BadSpock Monday October 15 2007 at 2:45PM
    Login or Register to rate this blog post!

    Just decided to go on a rant about MMORPGs....

    I define linear progression as you move from area A to area B.... from level 10 to level 11 to level 12...

    I define radial progression as you can start in area A, B, or C and can then go to area D, E, or F... and you can level from 10 to 11 to 12 in combat, or 5 to 6 to 7 in crafting, or social etc.

     

    The biggest problem in many MMORPG games is that they force players onto a rail system. Saying that you WILL go from point A to point B. The biggest culprit is World of Warcraft.

    "If you are a Night Elf you start in this zone. Then you go to this zone. By the way you can only be this class, or that class."

    I want freedom! And the only way to give that freedom is through radial progression.

    Imagine a WoW where you could start any race in any of the starting zones (split by faction still ok, no Alliance starting in Horde areas etc that's just silly.) Now also imagine you can choose from whatever of the nine classes you want to.

    True, an Undead Druid starting off in the Blood Elf home lands is kind of wierd... and it doesn't really mesh with the principles of the IP... but what does it really matter?

    You end up going to the same zones doing the same content anyways, you just hate your character more because you couldn't:

    A)pick the race you wanted or

    B)pick the class you wanted.

    C) You hate the starter zone and joining zone for that race because you've been through it 99,000 times.

    True, you can make the long trek from one side of the world to the other to adventure in the different noob zones, but what's the point? You end up in the SAME zones doing the SAME content anyway.

     

    I want choice! I want more options!

    Why not have 3-4 zones for every level range? Why does every 30-40 and 40-50 have to adventure through the same quests in the same zones?

    See THAT is the kind of expansions I want to see. Add new mid and low level zones and content. Don't force everything to the end game. If players knew that companies cared about the journey as much as they cared about the end, it'd probably just the fundamental nature of the game so much it'd be far better then anything we've seen on the market so far.

    I also love the idea of different "types" of levels. Let me say first, that level system are generally a good thing because they make it easier to balance content. I think games go too far in the fact that the ONLY factor in PVP in many games is level, and if at even levels then it's gear.... but that's another story...

    Give me alternate paths of advancement. I like how Everquest 2 had crafting levels that were completely separate from the combat or adventuring level or whatever they called it. I think Vanguard went further by also adding gathering levels and diplomacy levels.

    Give me options! Don't force people down a linear roller coaster. Let them branch out and try different things. Let them make the character that they want to make, not bound by any rules or stipulations.

    That's one really positive thing about Warhammer Online that I am looking forward to.

    They have level 1-40 zones for each racial pairing. So, in essence, you could play one character of each race and have 8 completely different game play experiences. That's the kind of choice and freedom I like to see.

    So combine the natural balancing effect of linear progression system with the freedom and flexibility to define your own game style in a radial progression.... don't follow stigmas and hard coded rules about this 'having' to be here and that 'having' to be there... offer different advancement paths for expanded re-play value...

    and you just may have yourself a winner.

    What's the point?

    Posted by BadSpock Monday October 15 2007 at 11:51AM
    Login or Register to rate this blog post!

    Ok, I'm giving up.

    Thank you to all those that read my blog posts about my "perfect MMORPG."

    Also a special thanks to those who took the time to comment.

    I'm not going to continue posting blog entries in the way I was before, with the part by part, section by section format as before.

    To any who enjoyed my sequential posting of "My Perfect MMORPG" writings, I appologize for discontinuing but I've simply lost the motivation to continue.

    I'm going to instead use this blog to just write freely about certain games, game play systems, ideas, and of course my own insane ramblings on this or that...

    I believe that the MMORPG genre is at a stand still.

    World of Warcraft oppened the door to so many new gamers. Ever since WoW I feel that the MMORPG industry has been kind of caught up in a honeymoon effect.

    Everyone wants the success that WoW has/had and to do so they try to mimic WoW as closely as possible... yet adding that new "twist" that will catapult them to WoW like success...

    But no one has been able to duplicate WoW's success. Even worse then those trying to copy WoW, are those that try explicitly to be totally different then WoW like Vanguard, but then fail even worse then the WoW clones.

    Then we see games like Tabula Rasa that supposedly "eliminate the grind" even when compared to WoW and people say the game has no depth or re-play value.

    So what's the solution? How do we get out of the WoW honeymoon effect?

    Games like AoC and WAR promise new game play systems and more impact on the world, but they both feature levels and classes and the same linear story telling. They both just offer a different twist.

    AoC twist - Mature!

    WAR twist - RvR!

    Not to say that either game won't be good, but with WoW releasing another expansion around the same time as the release of AoC and WAR, will either game really break out so well that they'll seriously compete and distance themselves from the WoW model?

    I doubt it.

    Point is...

    It's hard to stay motivated to dream up a "perfect MMORPG" when all we see time and time again from developers is more of the same.

    Even games like Darkfall are just more of the same, but instead of being more of the recent WoW style, DF will just be more of the old (UO) style.

    Action oriented games like Spellborn and Fury are barely MMORPGs anymore as they become more and more about twich gaming (even Tabula Rasa to some extent.)

    So I'm waiting for a traditional Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game to come out that expands upon and Evolutionizes the the genre, not re-invents it.

    Until then, I'll being playing a little World of Warcraft because it's really the most polished and complete title out there....

    My perfect MMORPG - Part 7: PVE (section 3)

    Posted by BadSpock Monday October 8 2007 at 2:58PM
    Login or Register to rate this blog post!

    Sorry, it's been a while... I've been playing a LOT of Halo 3 haha. It's kind of dominated my life since it was released.

    I even cancelled my new EQ2 subscription before the free 30 days ended because I knew it'd go to waste, as I'd just be playing Halo.

    But, very VERY long over due is the final PVE section on the PVE Siege Warfare.

     

    I've already talked about the quests, factions, dungeons, raids, and all other aspects of the PVE system in my ideal MMORPG. Even with just those systems in place, you could probably create a full and complete MMOPRG by today's standards, but as usual I want a game that offers more.

    Tabula Rasa has taken the first giant leep towards this type of game play. In Tabula Rasa the enemy faction, the Bane, can attack and control different points of the maps. Players have to then band together and work with friendly NPC's to recapture these points. Problem in Tabula Rasa is that the A.I. isn't very good, and a lot of bases (at least the last time I played) could be recaptured from the Bane by a single player. Hopefully, they get it all worked out before release because it really is an ingenious system.

    The problem, in my opinion, with Tabula Rasa's system is that so many points are capturable by the Bane that it can interfere with the rest of the game. You may find the base you need to go to in order to complete a quest or repair your equipment is now under Bane control. I don't like that idea, I'm all about giving people options and choices, not forcing players into doing anything that they don't want to do.

    So my PVE warfare system would work similar, yet with a few key differences.

    The world would be laid out so all of the major questing locations are contained in areas that are heavily protected from the enemy NPC faction.

    The only towns/outposts/cities that are designed for the PVE Siege Warfare are those in the outlying regions. I want it to feel like a war that is faught on a distant front, not in the back yard. But why? Doesn't this take away from immersion? I concede that it may, however with the quest and storyline system as it is described in my previous posts I feel that the "war" will be felt no matter where you are in the game world. So why make it an inconvienience to the player that doesn't want any part of this kind of game play?

    The enemy faction that players will be battling for control of these outlying regions will be the same enemy that is dealt with in the majority of quest lines and the main story arc. It's the same war, the same enemy, just being faught on different fronts simultaneously is how I would like to think of it.

    The enemy will attack these regions and will control them if players don't participate. They will not continue to advance into the "major" game world areas even if they control every single point in the PVE Siege Warfare areas.

    By the way, I keep saying "PVE Siege Warfare" because it will be very, very similar (if not identicle in some aspects) to the PVP Siege Warfare that I described in earlier posts. The PVP war will take place on seperate lands as discussed before, and the PVE warfare in the "main" land where all the quests/story elements exist. The same type of systems like Siege weapons and Throne Room control etc, but you'll be fighting Mobs/NPCs instead of other players.

    The enemy faction will even have a home city deep behind the front lines of the PVE war, and if players can defeat the enemy faction time and time again, pushing further and further into their territory capturing control points they'll eventually be able to lay siege to the enemy faction capital in a massive raid, including mini-bosses and an all-powerful super boss. Obviously, unlike the instanced dungeon/raiding game, this will all be in the open world and without instancing.

    To counter the imbalance that we see in Tabula Rasa, and in order for all players to be able to participate in the PVE Siege Warfare, you have to make the enemy you fight a little different. The best comparison I can give is to (of course) the A.I. in Halo 3.

    First off you have the little guys, like the Grunts in Halo that are weak, come in large numbers, and are generally stupid unless being directly ordered around by more advanced units. In my ideal MMO, these will be balanced so that even a first-hour newbie can hold their ground against them, while an experienced veteran will be able to cut through them like butter.

    Second you'll have mid-level units, like the Jackals in Halo 3, that are tougher, smarter, and use solid tactics, yet don't flood into battle in mass like the low-level Grunts do. A small band of "newbie" players will be able to defeat them, though 1vs1 solo will be very very difficult for a newbie player. Mid-level and experienced players will find these units a comparable challenge, while advanced players will still dominate them.

    Lastly you'll have the "elite" enemy soldiers. These will be the leaders of the enemy faction's attack groups, those in charge of the sieges. Also, the head of their defense if the players are assaulting an enemy encampment. These elites will wipe the floor with newbie players, but a large enough group of mid level players can take them down. Even the most advanced players may want to group up to combat these enemies, as they will be extremely difficult for anyone to solo.

    By doing it this way, you make a system where everyone can participate in the conflict, but you still give people a challenge that is not impossible nor is too easy. If players choose to not participate, they don't risk being annihilated as the enemy will move in on their prime questing lands, none of that, but instead they will just be missing out on another great game play system that is fun and rewarding.

    Speaking of rewards, I'd like things to be handled very similarly to the PVP Siege warfare. You get money, experience, and of course up your skills for fighting and defeating enemy units. More for the elites and less for the grunts. Also, for participating in the successful siege or defense of a control point you gain additional experience, money, and influence.

    All faction influence gain for the PVE Siege Warfare will be with the main army of the PVE world. The PVP world is split into the different factions as previously discussed, but because of the enemy threat the factions have banded together to form one great army in the PVE world. The ONLY way to get the titles/rewards from this faction is to participate in the war.

    Obviously, this is another great way to play your character and level/gain skill without grinding. Tired of doing quests? Don't feel like running a dungeon or raid? No crawl-dungeons? Open your map and you'll get a run down of what areas are currently under control by players or by the enemy faction, and you'll even get an indicator as to which areas are currently in conflict. Hop over there (more on travel later) and fight for the honor and glory of the Kingdom, all while getting money, experience, and influence for yourself.

    What I forgot to mention in the PVP Siege Warfare system was the auto-grouping feature. You can head to an area by yourself and be automatically thrown into a group with other players in the area. This is advantageous to everyone because of the Rank based buffs in PVP, and also the experience sharing system.

    The PVE Siege Warfare will work exactly the same way, with different Ranks having expanded powers and AoE buffs, but unlike the PVP system, the PVE system everyone will "work" for the same faction.

    As a quick end note, if they players push the enemy back to their home city and lay siege to it, killing the final super boss they will "win" the PVE war and be rewarded accordingly. After a brief period of time, the enemy will return as Undead versions of their former selves and will be more powerful to push the players out of their areas. After this period has passed, when the scales are yet again made even, then Undead will phase out and the living armies phased in. This way, it kind of adds a story/continuity balance to the system, but it also makes it really hard for players to hold onto all the lands forever.

     

    I hope this makes sense... it's been a while since I've thought about any of this, been too busy with Halo! Thanks for reading, sorry it's been so long, and I'll be sure to keep coming back and editting/adding to this post.

    Please comment!