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The Casual Life by Wintyre Fraust

An older, casual player's perspective on MMOG's in general and GW2 in particular.

Author: Meleagar

No More Dead Areas or Ghost Towns

Posted by Meleagar Monday June 14 2010 at 3:54PM
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Why are starting cities and low-level areas usually abandoned? Why is virtually everyone in the game in one area?  Why are they camping one boss or repeatedly trying to get into a very few areas? 

Some might point to bad or lazy game design; I disagree. I think that's the necessary result of the current mainstream MMOG design, which promotes min-max, efficient gameplay. People don't lounge around in town, hang out in Taverns, or wander around lower-end areas because it's a waste of precious online time.  The less time you can spend in the game, the less you are likely to spend it inefficiently when it comes to maximizing the potential of your character.

The game I advocate here, though, has no such problem, because players can do whatever suits their fancy during their online time because all characters advance 24/7 at the same general pace. You can get drunk and stumble around and go on naked gnome runs or attend all the social events you want without a single concern that you're wasting valuable advancement time or that you'll be falling behind your  friends or guildmates.

In fact, you never have to set a single foot outside of your city or area of birth. You don't have to engage in a single battle or fight. You can learn a craft or trade, work hard, save your money, buy a house and open up a shop without ever leaving town. 

Without the core design of the game driving players into more efficient areas of the game and out of non-experience giving areas, there is no longer any dynamic that so often turns what should be great social centers into ghost towns; nor does the code drive virtually everyone into competition for the same experience-efficient mobs or areas.

thanto writes:

This has been done to an extent in Perpetuum Online.  Everyone gets what are called Extension Points at a rate of 1 per minute, regardless of what the player does.  These EPs are spent on what are called Extensions, essentially skills.  Extensions are what drive range, damage, and a slew of other things.

Extensions are only half of the equation - the other is gear.  This is pure money driven.  The great thing is that there are a number of ways to get money.  You can grind mobs and sell their loot to other players or to crafters for recycling, you can mine/harvest raw materials and sell them to crafters, or you can manufacture goods and sell them to players.  In the end, it all goes back to the crafters.

 

Perpetuum Online is in Closed Beta right now.

Mon Jun 14 2010 8:15PM Report
Meleagar writes:

It's a step in the right direction - like Eve was a step in the right direction. Ultimately, though, if there is any part of the game that is (1) necessary to meaningful advancement, (2) can only be done while online, and (3) the more time you spend online doing it, the more you can advance your character in a significant way, then nothing has been fundamentally changed, IMO.

Mon Jun 14 2010 8:32PM Report
Teala writes:

You don't explain what will draw people to dead areas or towns that are now empty.    So what would bring players to these areas if there is nothing to do there?

Wed Jun 23 2010 6:23PM Report
Meleagar writes:

Teala:

In the game I'm advocating, there is no game mechanic or reason why people will abandon areas or towns, because there isn't any dynamic that forces them to focus their time in any location for the efficient advancement of their character.

Freed from such linear constraints, developers can pack every area with all sorts of quests, recurring events (like invading uber-mobs), story and lore, opportunities for player housing, natural disasters, etc.

The ramifications of a full 24/7, classless, unlimited advancement system are far greater than most people can think. It frees the deveopers to do virtually anything they want when it comes to interesting content, because nothing they do is going to cause players to lose any character advancement.

So, how about a dragon that invades the city? Or a giant that is now roaming the farmlands?  A system of city-state allegiances that pits city against city? That gets players to attack the lands held by their competitor city-state?  Without an "I need to efficiently advance my character" dynamic whatsoever, players are completely free to involve themselves in whatever activities developers dream up for them, wherever those activities are, and whichever ones suit them.

Thu Jun 24 2010 7:00AM Report

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