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the Lonely Altar

I don't play "games", I play MMORPGs! This is where I talk about them!

Author: Tierless

#98 Question Everything; Stealth

Posted by Tierless Monday June 9 2014 at 2:49PM
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(WARNING; Stealth is a sensitive MMO subject. The blog below is based upon self reflection of my experiences both as and against stealthers. I will now put on my flame suit while you read beyond.)

How could Camelot Unchained have stealth without the hate, fear, and balance issues that tend to accompany it? I’m not sure, I hate stealth in my MMORPGs because if it’s in I HAVE to play it and as an alt fiend playing one class is simply not ideal. But how could I not play it? Stealth allows me enough tactical advantages to make not paying a stealther seem gimpish.

I have 100% control over who, what, where, when, why, how! So much control! So much win! Did I mention I personally view victory in combat to be based on how many elements of a battle I am able to control? You see! I HAVE to play a stealther if they are in! Not to mention it’s fun being a sneaker! So many fond memories of ganking at flight masters, inside of inns, inside of towns, while people sat in raid groups, in lowb zones...you get the idea.

But how can we have a respectable stealther without borking the game by turning it into world of WTFPWNEDBYASTEALTHER Unchained. I don’t know for sure, but I will dare to ask. It’s time for another round of Question Everything, this time, Stealth in Camelot Unchained!

To solve the riddle we must identify the problems.

#1 The seemingly unfair advantage of living in a hidden realm. Ok, that isn’t gonna change! Moving on...OK they could use terrain and camo and be sneaky but that is really only applicable in a 1 v1 isolated scenario and I don’t think most players pick a stealther to solo, I think they pick them to ASSASSINATE! #1 HAS to exist in CU. Stealthers need a stealth realm to be stealth, but making it less comfortable and a bit of a risk to them helps justify it in the mind of the non stealther. Add some risk to stealth via stat decrease, health decrease, or mechanics like X time in stealth means X time out of stealth-but with wounds. Maybe being in stealth gives you special mind or body wounds that need special healing. Anything along those lines works for me.

#2 The stun. I HATE being stun locked simply because it is 100% in direct contrast to actually fighting in a game. You have 0 options, it is not fun in any way, and you have 0 response to the stealther. As a stealther I love it! It’s 100% CONTROL! Solution? Keep it short or remove it. Solved! The stun can exist but it HAS to be short, very short. The stun hate comes from the over extended frozen state. Keep it short and non stealthers won't feel as though the battle is pointless and they won't hate the stun...as much...

#3 The High Damage Opener!!! Vaporizing players before they can click is simply BS. Not even Superman could do that (without using his laser vision) so it’s obviously OP. Once again I’ll go back to fighting. PVP is about fighting. Getting hit twice in a fraction of a second and falling over dead is not fighting, it’s lame, just lame (unless you are the stealther). We can’t have that and have players be ok with stealth. Solution? The opener can be damaging, but only if your rogue is wearing nothing but a cape and a smile (boon and bane baby). A better solution is allowing rogues to (GASP) wear heavier armor increasing survivability while giving up some opener damage.

“But Tierless I’m a ninja assassin” You still can be, as long as you pick a wounded target. Act like a real assassin and attack at the most opportune time. Lets be honest assassins don’t go in looking for a fair fight, they wait for the most opportune time to make a kill, like a wolf on a sick baby moose. You should not be going in lone wolf to one-shot a strong healthy bull moose in his prime. The young, the old, the sick, those are the targets you are looking for (slowly waves hand in-front of your face). Wanna take down that bull moose? Then form a pack! But be careful...the more stealthers near one another the less stealthy they might become...more people, more steps, more noise, less stealthy...You didn’t think it would be THAT easy did you?

#4 Vanish. So you overcome the BS lock, and the BS opener, and they poof and disappear with their get out of jail free card...BS! Yet again, this breaks the game for the victims and promotes a join em or lose to em mindset. How do we fix it? See #3. Pick your target, pop out, and live with the consequences of your choice. Vanish is a cop out. If you find yourself needing a vainsh it means you weren’t patient enough. Had you been you would have waited for the baby moose to stray away from the herd. Instead you jumped the gun and now you have a giant moose herd about to trample sneak off your face! Human up, accept your fate, kill and run or be killed but always remember opportunity rewards those with patience.

I don’t think I have all the answers but I think moving toward a version of stealth that utilizes mechanics similar to what I have mentioned would create a form of stealth that would please both the stealthers and the non stealthers while working well in the CU RVR environment. (ok it would probably just make both the stealthers and non stealthers angy, which IMO is the best way to know I’m onto something)

All that might sound anti stealth to some people, but I’m not. I love em’ but I’m the most introspectively critical of the things I love. What I’m saying here is you have hella advantages stealthers, it’s about dang time you accepted the consequences that those advantages provide you. Wanna be an assassin, act like it! If you expect other players to accept your super magic plane of invisibility then you must accept the risks that your chosen profession comes with. Boon meet bane. Stealth is a great power, perhaps one of the greatest, with it comes great risk, but also the access to great gains. Use it well and victory will almost always be yours. Use it poorly and you will get stomped by a moose herd!

#97 Launch Day Part II

Posted by Tierless Saturday June 7 2014 at 11:50PM
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How a company should handle the “Far and Away” like rush for land and resources on day one is something I am less savvy about. It would be pretty unfortunate if day one looked like a race with the biggest guilds snagging all the good stuff within the first hour (which is something I’ve seen several times now).


“Solution?”


Just one? Why I have several. 1. Shut the doors and rearrange the house a bit before launch. That will keep the battle planners from steam rollin on day one AND keep the launch day a bit more fresh and exciting for those weary testers. 2. Make everything conquerable one way or another. That way even if a great spot is taken it has the potential to be re-taken by someone else at some point. 3. Chaos. use random in game things like natural disasters to shake things up every so often (like when a game has been dead locked and become stale as a result).


“But dev dur dur der der! Waaaaaa!!”


Yeah I know, you earned it and shouldn’t lose it because a dev said so. I agree, I’m talking about once in a few years game wide hell unleashing. Even then we both know in a game where land is conquerable the ruthlessly efficient cream will float to the top again eventually anyway. This just keeps everyone on their toes and keeps the game feelin alive.


“What else?”


I’m not sure. A part of me wouldn’t mind putting the aged tester folks on a designated server but another part thinks it’s good to get them out among the sheep to help lead them to slaughter...or victory depending.


All I know for sure is nothins for sure. Times have changed quickly and every aspect of new MMOs needs to be considered. From testing, to day one, to say 30 to day 500 it’s all a lot different now than it was just a few years ago, which can be great, and bad, but is mostly just...different. I like different. It keeps things interesting which is what I love the most about the current MMO situation. I feel like it’s the Wild West again, now the trick is to find a game that has the same feeling.


Disagree? Suggestions (other than stop blogging)? Smiley faces? Feel free to comment below.

#96 Launch Day part I

Posted by Tierless Thursday June 5 2014 at 12:11PM
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Back in the dark days (which I call them even though I consider them more enlightening than the last several years of MMO development) day one, launch, the big bang, someone turning the lights on was a pretty epic event shared by thousands of fans that had been waiting FOREVER (ok a few years)! And now that once in a game cycle epic playerbase wide even is dead...don’t fret, it’s not really good, nor bad, just...different.

Back then testing was done on a smaller scale. Beta invites were coveted. On launch the vast majority of the player base knew very little of the actual game. Day one was like a traditional wedding night! So much mystery, so much excitement, sometimes disappointment...the sense of discovering the unknown but not just for you, for almost every player!

Ever since the invention of pay to test things have changed. By the time a game launches just about every fan of said game will have seen what was under the sheets to some degree. They either did alpha, or beta, or both or knew someone that did, or got it from the company themselves. Now more than ever developers are pulling back the big green curtain early and allowing the players and game sites to peek under the hood.

At first it was used for hype, but now I’m slowly seeing more and more companies expose the nasty stuff. The ugly unexciting broken stuff...and it’s beautiful! Nothing will educate and increase appreciation like showing people the bloody knuckles (ok calloused fingertips). It will make the players (the smart considerate ones) appreciate the process more than they would have otherwise.

There was a time when the relationship between dev and player was almost war like, and in many games it still is, but if you do it right, if you forge it right, I think the players become more like an old friend that comes to town to visit once in a while. As long as we don’t overstay our  welcome it maintains a beautiful friendship.

Back to launch. Day one for me might have been two years ago, for you it was a month ago, for the fence sitters it was actually launch day. That is a helluva knowledge gap to overcome on official launch. The conservative in my says “tough, step up, buy bootstraps, fashion them, then pull yourself up by them, dive into what knowledge you have available and catch up as much as you can newby!” As much as I like to sound gruff that isn’t the best model for retaining the darned indecisive folks.

“What’s your point you masked fiend!”

My point is launch day is different now and developers need to be aware of it and create a strategy for it. The best solution I have is the most obvious, don’t hide it-pride it. Put out as much information as you can about your game, be as transparent as you can, and push out as much as you can before launch, then leave it to the player to seek out and utilize that info. Best of all that leaves them with no excuses when they call for a wambulance!