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3D Vision, your favourite MMO seen thrue the NVIDIA 3D VISION Glasses

I discontinued my old blog "random ideas for mmos" to blog about a couple of tests playing various MMOs with NVIDIAs new 3D-Vision Shutter Glasses.

Author: craynlon

3D Visions of Dungeons and Dragons online

Posted by craynlon Thursday August 20 2009 at 3:49AM
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Well it has been a while since i updated my blog but with DDO going FreeToPlay any Time soon i tought I give you my impressions of the game in Stereo-Vision.


Character/ Environmental Detail

Having passed its 3 year anniversary, Dungeons and Dragons Online is one of the older MMO’s out there. As far as I know it uses a rendering engine of Turbines own design and basically has the same core rendering engine as LoTRO. I have to say that I did’t find the graphics so spectacular in regular 3D but in s3D they are very nice. Being a bit spoiled by more modern games I always found that DDO had to view options to customize the looks of your character at the start but now and then I see higher level characters spotting pretty nifty armor.

Characters and environment don’t have the highest polygon count there is but once you turn on s3D mode the visuals are very crisp and for me its like looking at my painted tin miniatures I had as a child when I played pen&paper D&D some odd 25 years ago. The environment looks pretty well, especially the insides of the many dungeons. A small negative point I have with the game is that the dungeons often look the same and the whole game lacks a bit in graphical variety for my personal taste. Well maybe thats just me being a n00b (only lvl 6 atm) and I would see more exiting places later on.
 

Depth/ Ghosting

I may have said that about other games as well but the feeling of depth in DDO is one of the best I have seen for a 3rd person game. There are some light sources in the game here and there that can give you some ghosting but since most of the gameplay takes places in moody lit dungeons the overall ghosting is next to not noticeable. As I said the depth effect for the characters is very good and also, mostly due to the dungeon type of gameplay where you don’t have very high distances, the whole scenery looks very “solid”. In some rare occasion tough the camera would rotate an object (i.e. part of a tree or wall) to close to the eye and it breaks the overall good effect but that rarely ever happens, so in all the camera works pretty good in s3D.
 

The Interface/ Combat

For my personal taste the front of my screen, which I like to call windshield, is pretty cluttered with the many parts of the user interface. Especially if you are a caster, or otherwise have many skills a good part of the screen will consist of hotbars, compass, chat, options menue, adventure tracker and so on wich partly can be minimized but still take to much space for my liking. on the other hand the onscreen text is very much readable and clear. The targeting cursor isn’t really 3d but its usable. NPC’s names are pretty much where they should be, on top of the model. Spells and other effects are true 3d so they work very nicely in s3d mode. If you like to, you can turn most of that off in the game options.

The gameplay itself demands a bit of manual aiming and movement in fights but this works very well in stereo 3D.


Final Toughs

Overall DDO is another game where my preferred method of playing is the s3D mode.
If I were developer for a day for DDO (and could work really really fast) i would probably iron out these minor flaws:

* Redesign the interface to give more space to the 3D environment.
* Do voiceovers (yeah yeah i hate to read quest text)
* Bring in more variety in the environment and character customization.
* Bring in some visual, 3D information about my health and mana so I dont have to constantly shift my focus from 3D scene to interface when playing.

Anyways I’m pretty happy to continue playing DDO in s3D, as a matter of fact I think I’ll do that right now…

if you are interested in stereo pictures of the game or just want to read the whole text again please visit my blog at http://craylon.wordpress.com

3D Visions of The Chronicles of Spellborne

Posted by craynlon Monday May 25 2009 at 12:58PM
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This is a mirror of my blog at http://craylon.wordpress.com where you can also find stereoscopic screenshots to this article:

 

As a hardcore Spellborne Player for the past 4 month now I may be a bit biased towards the game. When I got my 3D Vision glasses I was pretty disappointed about the lack of depth but with the release of NVIDIA’s 1.08 Drivers the game went from “ugly” to “good”. It’s not perfect but perfectly enjoyable in 3D. Prior to this test i spend around 10 hours playing the game with my glasses on (in 4 settings since my old eyes seem to get weary after 2-3hours using the stereoscopic view).

 

Character/ Environmental Detail

When I first saw screenshots of Spellborne I totally fell in love with the artistic style. This is of course my personal view. If WOW/War uses a typical American art-style and Lineage 2/ Aion is typical Asian then I would say that Spellborne adapts a typical European Style as you would see in French/ Belgian Comics. The game itself uses the Unreal Engine Version 2.5 and the 3D Vision glasses do a very good job transferring that screwy, disproportional art-style into a fantastic “true” 3D scenery.

Characters and environment seem to have a nice polygon count resulting in a world with a lot of detail. The art-style is to “cartoony” to attempt realism but the viewing experience is something you’d expect from from high quality 3D-Animated Movies like “Monsters vs Aliens 3D” and “Iceage”. In comparison to WOW I would say the game’s 3D models are more complex and the world looks more detailed.

 

Depth/ Ghosting

With the current drivers the feeling of depth in The Chronicles of Spellborne is pretty good in stereo mode. In the options menu you can adjust brightness, contrast and gamma and I found no significant loss of color quality adjusting those to counter the loss of brightness due to the glasses. I also turned of Gloom there because I felt that it added to ghosting. After playing with convergence and depth a bit I came to a setting where I noticed only some minor ghosting in the far distance that satisfied my wish for a very 3-dimensional look and feel of my character and the scenery close to it. The characters, NPCs and the world look very solid as if you bought brand new toys and placed them in a fantastic diorama. Fires and other bright effects worked for me pretty good and without ghosting although at some places i felt that point-lights from lanterns and light crystals were just a bit to bright but maybe that’sa result of my tempering with the settings to much. Playing the game I didnt noticed any clipping or unusual effects where the models geometry would mess with my immersion into the 3D setting.

 

The Interface/ Combat

After the introduction of the 1.08 drivers the game seems to utilize 3 “planes”. At the front of your screen, which I like to call windshield, the graphical user interface consisting of chat window, mini-map and some buttons is very much readable and clear. Behind that, into the screen unfolds the 3D-World. The interesting thing I noticed about Spellborne is that there is a 3rd plane similar to the “windshield” but set a bit deeper into the 3D scene. The targeting cursor as well as the NPC’s names and health bars and the speech bubbles from dialog are placed on this 3rd (or middle) plane which works OK for the targeting cursor but doesn’t feel right for both names and health bars. All in all I have mixed feelings about this middle plane. On the positive side, the names of the NPCs for example as well as the speech bubbles are much clearer and more readable then for example in Aion where this information is placed correctly above the head of the NPC resulting in hard to read text for NPCs in a distance. On the negative side I had to turn off health bars completely (which is easily done in the interface options) because I felt they messed up my 3D Vision. The rotating skill deck on the other hand, one of the key features of TCOS, is a 3D-Object itself and looked pretty cool and natural in the 3D setting beside the minor flaw that the bar where you build up combo points is stuck on the windshield.


Being a game where you have to dodge and aim manually I had my doubts at first how this would work in ”true” 3D but after a few minutes the combat and aiming felt pretty natural. Both ranged and melee attacks work fine due to the middle plane even without a real 3D-cursor. Selecting a Target or interacting with it was also no problem. A selected target also spots a white circle around its models base. As far as Effects go, I didn’t notice any misplaced skill-effects and the visuals of these skills are pretty amazing to see in stereo vision.

 

Final Toughs

Overall the game is perfectly enjoyable and looks stunning through the 3D Vision Glasses.
If I were developer for a day (and could work really really fast) i would probably iron out these minor flaws:

The information about the opponents health could be placed at its model base. For example a full red circle means full health and then like a clock if the monster looses health replace the red with white so that a monster with half his hp would have the right side of its base-circle white, the other half red.
With that the “selecting” of a target could be discussed. Maybe the target that I aim at should be selected automatically instead of some target I clicked or “tabbed” to before.
The names of the NPCs as well as their speech bubble should be places at the right coordinates in the 3D-scene even if that means trading of readability.
There should be options to turn off individual GUI items on the windshield plane. I for one would be perfectly happy turning off all, keeping only my rotating skill-deck when it comes to combat.
Some point-lights could loose a bit of brightness and some more ambient light could be used there instead
Anyway these minor flaws won’t keep me in enjoying the world of Spellborne in “true” 3D from now on and I’m hoping to spend many many more hours in that beautifully screwy world.

 

Next to come: my re-evaluation of Lord of the Rings online, stay tuned

3D Visions of Aion ToE

Posted by craynlon Saturday May 23 2009 at 10:59AM
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This is a mirror post of my blog at http://craylon.wordpress.com where i rate MMO's by their ability to be played in "true" 3D using the Nvidia 3D Vision shutter glasses :

 

Aion: The Tower of Eternity, 3D Visions

Aion is probably the game I had the least time testing. I took a couple of screen shots while in the Chinese beta and i taught i could finish up testing it later but my time was up before it came to this. So basically I’m writing this entry from memory and based on the shots i took. In future updates I promise to post the individual settings and tweaks I did on the games as well, for Aion for now I’ll only give my first impressions.

Character/ Environmental Detail

Being a 3rd generation MMMO (if you count Ultima/EQ and Lineage1 as the 1st and WOW/ Lineage 2 as the 2nd) Aion looks a lot more detailed in both characters as well as environment then its predecessor. The cysis engine seemed to be a good choice both for “normal” and stereo 3D rendering.
Both Characters and environment seem to have a high polygon count given them a very realistic feel. So far i didn’t notice any displaced effects. The PC and NPC names hover above their heads at the right spot and can be read OK even in stereo 3D mode.

Depth/ Ghosting

In Aion the feeling of depth is pretty good in stereo mode. In the front of your screen, i like to call windshield you have your interface, in the depth of the screen the scenery unfolds. I noticed some minor ghosting and displacement of light sources but the characters themselves as well as the scenery look very solid.

The Interface/ Combat

The interface works pretty well in 3D Space. The Skills, the Minimap and Healthbar as well as the Chatbox are “on the Windshield” in front of the screen while scenery unfolds in 3D behind them. I don’t think that the games has a 3D cursor to select enemies but the selected enemy has a glowing red circle at the base of the model in the 3D Scene. As mentioned above names of the monsters you fight are also placed at the correct 3D Coordinates so that they do not disturb the depth feeling.I noticed tough that there are some small bullets framing the name of the selected target that are rendered on the windshield same as the damage numbers if you hit your target. This seems to be a minor flaw which, besides the missing 3D cursor that sets the game back a bit from being viewed perfectly in 3D. The spell and skill effects on the other hand are shown where they are supposed to happen and look pretty cool.

Final Toughs


Overall the game looks pretty set up for the use with the 3D Vision Glasses. There are minor flaws that the devs could iron out easily if they wanted to to get into the excellency category for NVIDIA. As soon as the game goes live in Europe I’ll probably spending much more time with it to test if you could play it entirely in 3D-Depth mode

 

Next to come: Chronicles of Spellborne, stay tuned

Nvidias 3D-Vision and your favourite MMO

Posted by craynlon Wednesday May 20 2009 at 2:47PM
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 I’m writing this first Article 2 weeks after i purchased the combination of the NVIDIA® GeForce® 3D Vision™ and Samsung® SyncMaster™ 2233RZ 120Hz LCD.

Since I’m a MMO-Addict i tried out numerous MMO Games and Demos including World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, Chronicles of Spellborne, D&D Online and Warhammer Online

 

Introduction

For those who are unfamiliar with Stereoscopic Glasses, they use a technique that provides a different image for each of your eyes in 3D-Games giving these Games a true 3rd dimension often described as looking thrue a window into the world behind your screen. since almost all MMO’s i testet use 3rd person view it often feels like looking into a toybox full of living, breathing toys. My personal impression : “If you get the game to workin 3D-stereo mode, its an absolutely awesome experience”. A lot of games swich from “i view some kind of movie there” to “omg there are little toy people running around inside my room (monitor)”. I noticed that in some games where i didnt liked the standard 3D art that much,in 3D stereo mode i was totally amazed on how fantastic the world looks. Especially when i retried DDO in stereo mode i was like “wow that stuff looks as if im playing with living tin-miniatures”

The glasses basicly work with every 3D game out of the box even tough for some (like wow) NVIDIA provides special profiles with settings (like depth) customized for the game.
You also have to keep in mind that the depth-effect comes from “how much the developers stay true to a 3-Dimensional” setting, so if they program in some clever tricks like lighting, effects, bloom or other stuff that doesn’t happen at the coordinates in the 3D world where they suppose to happen its better to turn these effects of so not to ruin the scene.

NVIDIA rated some of their driver supported games already on their webpage but since im a fan of classic western ill put my reviews into categories of “The good, the bad and the ugly”.

 

The Good

I have to agree on NVIDIAs excellency rating for both World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online. In addition to these 2 games id like to add AION and D&D online as games that work beutifully and almost without tweaking/ compromise:

World of Warcraft
Warhammer Online
Aion
D&D online

The Bad

Only two games in this category and thats Age of Conan and Lord of the Rings online. These games either have heavy issues like misplaced textures, flickering or no noticable depth effect

Age of Conan
Lord of the Rings online

The Ugly

Well ugly may be a to strong word for these games. Basicly this category is for games that look good in stereo 3D Mode but in some cases have minor flaws or need to be tweaked heavily.

Lineage 2
Chronicles of Spellborne

These categories of course are not set in stone. NVIDIA promissed to work with game developers to pimp up their games for 3D Vision and maybe some people more clever then me can also figure out some tweaks to make bad or ugly games more playable/ enjoyable in 3D Vision.

 

Final Toughs

Common Problems that all of these game share:
IMHO the biggest strain for the eyes is the extensive use of the graphical user interface (GUI). All these elements like skillbar, chatbox, minimap, lifebar, character portrait are usually rendered in 2D at the front of the scene. The effect is like driving a car with a thousand stickers on your windshield. You can look at whats beyond the windshield and view the world in perfect 3D but if you have to focus on those stickers that are attached to your windshield from the inside you have trouble watching the road.
The same goes for PC/NPC Name, Lifebars and other text or information that is pasted into the 3D environment. Even if it is placed perfectly (like in wow or war) above the head of the 3D model

My hope would be that in the far far future MMOs could be a lot less text heavy.
NPC’s could have voiceover dialog and enough diversity in their appearance to make stuff like “Go to Captain N00bslayer, he’s the big Ork in the main building” work on audio and appearance alone.
NPC’s and Players alike could have “near death animations” where they limp, cough and bleed instead of half full healthbar sticking somewhere on the screen or besides their model.

In the “first Look” i gave these games above i spend around 1h with each game, often in the free trial version of the MMO. In the coming months I’ll post individual game reviews with (stereo) screenshots here and at my blog at http://craylon.wordpress.com so keep your eyes crossed and your glasses clean…

2009 The year many MMOs will fail

Posted by craynlon Sunday January 25 2009 at 1:05AM
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 when you look back at this past year you saw som MMOs come into this world just to struggle or die. some say its because of poor quality but i would say its also based on the shape of the market and i would say we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in 2008.

if you compare an mmo with a single player game for console or pc you see that the mmo title is loaded with ambition from both developers and gamers. while the single player game has to sell ok on release the mmo is supposed to make money years and years after its release. while youd buy a single player game, play it a while and then buy the next, the mmo is supposed to keep you entertained for 100 of thousends of hours. because the player forges a bond between himselve and the mmo game "investing" into his character and the community the mayority of the players wont as easily try out new mmos like they would with single player games. while the console/pc gamer cant wait till the next game is released the mmo gamer rather waits for updates/patches of the game he plays.

in 2009 we have a ton of new mmos hitting the market, maybe more then ever in the history of mmos. each company expecting to get a million or so players for their game.

i would predict that this is not going to happen and that in 2009 a lot of these game will fail under the pressure devs and players expectations 

in 2009 12milion people will still play wow and stick to their game because thats where their friends are and they feel they have "invested" to much into wow to change game

in 2009 hardly any of the mmos will bring in a big chunk of new players because their is no radical new concept that brings non gamers, women and old people into playing mmos

in 2009 all these new mmos competing for basicly the same ammount of players (maybe even less if the financial crisis hits hard) yet i doubt that their studios and investors would be happy with just  an ongoing player base of around 100k players.

 

2008, some minor improvements to mmorpg'ing

Posted by craynlon Thursday December 11 2008 at 3:37AM
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OK, it's the end of the year and every site hands out awards in masses.
Despite the let down of being a not really recognized genre in the MTV-Game Awards lots of MMO sites find the time to create their own awards to honor the players in the MMO-industry.

But besides the big awards and improvements (or the peoples feeling that there were none) i think some small steps in evolution get easily overlooked. So in this blog i want to present a few details that caught my eyes in 2008 which i hope to see resurface in MMOs yet to come:

AOC: voice over quests
As many might know aoc already got nominated for innovation for their combo-fighting system but thats a feature to be spotted easily on the surface. a more subtle feature that really enhanced my aoc experience was the fact that NPCs would talk to me and i didn't have to read (or just skip) the quest text.
It would have been great if every npc in every game would have as good voice over dialog as the NPCs in Conan at starter and lore quests.

WAR: the Tome of knowledge
Another game that got nominated for an award for the introduction of public quests. yet a maybe overlooked feature is their Tome of Knowledge, an in-game book that records your achievements full of hints to unexplored features and lands. Since I'm not that big of an explorer when it comes to WAR i haven't seen its full potential and benefits but the implementation and the fact that its much more then a simple quest record makes me want that in my other MMOs as well. 

Chronicles of Spellborne: the PEP-System
If you think TCOS many think about the real time combat, the rotating skill deck and the stateless gear. for me its all that plus the PEP System. The PEP System is an extra pool of XP with 5 levels where you get a small bonus to stats each level like increased run speed or attack power. for me it brings back the concept of a death penalty since you loose a pep level once you die. while playing aoc and war i often "died to travel" and always felt a bit bad about it. Spellbornes PEP System put back the fear of dying into my heart making me go grrrrrrrrrr whenever i couldn't outrun mobs and lost my life. its not as harsh as Lineage2 where you actually can de-level from dying but it still makes you fight to stay alive.

 

When i look back at the games i played in 08 i wish i could be Dr. Frankenstein and just cut out the best parts of all the MMOs and create a big monster MMO with all these features.

But these are only my own personal mini-features so I'm exited to hear what other MMOs features caught peoples attention 2008 that never were discussed as mayor feature of the game.

Chronicles of Spellborne, 3rd day impressions

Posted by craynlon Monday December 1 2008 at 3:45AM
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Here are some random impressions from my 1st three days in TCoS

1st day: friday
- got the game from amazon on the day of the german launch (friday)
- i saw 4 servers, 2 international(pve/pvp), 2 german (pve/pvp) and decided on the international pve server.
- the server was practically empty probably due to the fact that most other countries only launch this friday dec. 5th
- i played a trickser (rogue) up to lvl 8 in around 6h
- there were a lot of quests to choose from and the game basicly seemed polished and bug free up to that point.
- i love almost every aspect: graphics, fighting system, customization, quest/story
- if you are new to the game and didnt play beta you have a ton of exploring to do since there arent any destination-marks for quests on your map
- i liked the exploring aspect. in contrast to war where i clicked thrue the quest text and ran to a red-area in tcos i actually read the well written quests and explored the are
- the zones are big compared to age of conan, maybe similar to war but a bit smaller then wow
 

2nd day: saturday
- still pretty lonely on the server, soloed almost all content
- i found my trickster rather squishy and the fights are pretty challenging. more then 1 mob my level left me to die/run a lot of times
- i was a bit frustrated because of the lack of information in the handbook concerning how to distribute my attributes, i felt i messed up when i put points in the body attribute as well
- i played my trickster to 10 now and started a "house quest"
- dying really hurts since you loose pep ranks, especially if its from ur own stupidity like jumping down a ladder
- since i was a bit frustrated with the trickster i started a bloodwarrior on a german server
- both german servers are pretty active. lots of chattering in zone chat, nice community, lots of ppl helping each others
- heared a friend bought the game at a local gamestore after some searching to find a store that carried it
- the bloodwarrior is a lot easier then the trickster it seems. even fighting 3 mobs at once i can survive

3rd day: sunday
- started a new char to play with my friend, a mage
- it seems you get full xp in group and its lots more fun
- once you did the quest and know where to go its a looot faster

all in all i like this game a lot.
sure its a smaller game but its a good start and has a solid base. i like the graphics a lot and after the 3 days the fighting and skilldeck building still feel fresh and innovative. also the different classes i played feel differently so i didnt mind doing the quests all over again.

a (little) thing that got lost in mmo popularity

Posted by craynlon Saturday November 15 2008 at 7:45AM
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 ok we talked about mmos becoming single player games, the lack of chatting and the general dumbing down of mmos wich are all big issues.

in this entry i wanna talk about a rather small thing that i think got lost when mmos became mainstream and thats the feeling of internationality.

when i started out my journey into serious mmoing ;) 4 years ago in lineage2 there were 6 server based in the usa (for the western world, i know they had korean servers as well).
now when i look even at smaller mmos like aoc or chronicles of spellborne they release the game in usa, europe, asioa, russia on different servers and in europe ull even get language servers for french/ german/ spanish...

for me doing this the whole genre looses a bit of its magic

in l2 i used to login in at any crazy time and would meet people playing, be it some americans that played bevore going to bed or russians just getting up. the servers were full of live 24/7. i chatted to people from brazil and china about musik and even if some people only spoke broken english (like me) there almost always was a way to communicate.

now i have the option to play in german with germans on a german server (wich i dont, i always choose an engl server)

it seems to me it was a natural way to go and necessary to draw in  people unable or to shy to speak english into the new mmos but just like making the mmos into confortable soloable games these national or geographic servers cut away a little bit of the magic that i felt when i first entered the mmo world.

 

ps.: as for lag, i had the feeling of less lag in  l2 runnig on an us server then in war on a european servern, ping isnt all.

RIFNG 6 : a MMORPG without groups ?

Posted by craynlon Monday October 6 2008 at 3:43AM
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Hello,

its been a while since i tortured you with my ideas how MMOing could evolve but playing WAR for a few weeks made me think: "Do we really need groups in MMORPGs ?"

heres my personal history of groups/ grouping:

in the stone age there was pen&paper(& dice)
you got together with a few friends, there was these guy called game-master who in contrast to modern day mmos told the story in contrast to being a service technician. in 99.9% the guys around your ling room table was "the group". if someone asked you "hey, can i come play on Sunday?" you wouldn't say: "sorry our group only allows 6 people" and only very rarely the gm would have another group in your living room playing with them both. and if he would he wouldn't make 2 different group chats if they were in the same room.

in the bronze age there were single player rpgs
"pool of radiance", "dungeon master", "baldurs gate" adopted the pen&paper rpg to the pc and tried to simulate it. the gm and dies were replaced by program and CPU and since it was a in the pre-internet area you would play the game alone in front of your computer. to have a group feeling you could invite a number of npc to your party and basically play/command them all. since the game would have been to easy if you would rush a dungeon with a group of 50 henchmen the group size was limited to around 4-8 characters.

then came MMORPG
they basically took from single player rpgs and replaced all the npc by player characters.
as of today i cant think of an MMORPG that doesn't allow the grouping of players into some sidebar where you can see little portraits of your group mates along with their health, buffs...

my question is if this group mechanism is really necessary or:
could there be a MMORPG without groups ?

don't get me wrong, this isn't about the question if people should work together at a team. this is fundamental to MMO and the reason why we play the MMs in the first place. my question is directed to wads finding alternatives to a static, limited in number grouping system, the group sidebar.
my question are:
-shouldn't all characters in the same room hear what a character says (if its not a whisper)
-shouldn't all followers of (insert your deity here) get buffed by a prayer if they are close to the priest ?
-shouldn't all people be able to get loot from a slain monster if they were near by (or for the sake of peace helped kill it)

- shouldn't a tank be able to have a watchful eye on a priest even if they are not technically grouped together ?

lets see why we see the group bar as a necessity in on-line games and what mechanism could replace it:
1. group chat:
should be replaced by local chat anyway. guild-chat and whispers are fine but group chat seems a contradiction to realism. just throw it out and make people here whats been said around them regardless of grouping
2. buffing/ healing:
area heals/buffs should be just that: an area effect
area buffs could also be limited to people of a certain believe (deity) or fraction (your guild)
single heals could be spotted visually, i.e. if the base marker of someone goes red he needs heal, or better yet have healers really work for their money spotting people that bleed, limp or have any other kind of visual wounds.
to help healers watch out for a single target (i.e. the tank) maybe allow healers to have their own grouping feature called "healers eyes" where he puts people on watch and gets alerted when they need heal
3. loot/xp distribution
warhammers PQ system seems to work nicely on that regard (at least there doesn't seem to be big drama about it). you get a chance on loot depending how much you contributed. apparently they found a system not only based on damage to the mob but includes healing, buffing, tanking as well. maybe it needs some tweaking but generally it shows it can be done.
in a more harsh environment you could also go with a "grab what you can get" loot system as i often experienced in my pen&paper days where the thieve asked me to make a roll to quickly grab a ring from the treasure without his companions noticing it.
4. other mechanism
whenever a player needs o follow/watch another player he could include that person to his personal watch list. this list would be pretty much similar to the group bar you have ATM (maybe smaller or larger but not limited) to get quick infos about those people.

in short, i didn't find a reason yet why this typical 6-man group sidebar exists from MMO to MMO where i see it as historical ballast from single player rpg games

a WAR game with more instanciation

Posted by craynlon Monday September 29 2008 at 3:44AM
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The topic of pro and contra instanciation has probably been diskussed to death but yet heres another blog about the topic:

After playing warhammer online for around 10days now i fell in love with szenario pvp. i never was into online fps shooters like team fortress or unreal but in warhammer, even tough i find there could be more variety, i really love to play them. for people not familiar with war its usually taking 7-14 people from each realm (side) and let them fight an opponent team the same number.

all this happens in a closed area, an instance

heres the benefits of instanciation:
- fair matches can be guaranteed by letting the server pick
- even more complex matching mechanism could be implemented to even out not only numbers but also classes and levels
- hardly any lag issues due to limiting the numbers of participants and having a confined game space
- no afk/ waiting for class. players only wait for the instance/match to happen then jump into it. they can just go their normal mmo life (pve/questing/world pvp..) while waiting for the match to start
 

this is a good use of instancing but only a start imho

id like to see even more instanciation in war(hammer) like games

heres the improvements id like to see implemented:

- recruit people from all servers for the instance
- instanciate open world pvp/ sieges
- make more complex matching algorithms to ensure more even fights
- maybe even instanciate the public quests


now the usual argument against instanciation is that it breaks the immersion/ the feeling of a seemless world.

but it never is a world in the first place:
if you can run from one end to the other on foot thrue the whole country in one day, how can it be a world ?
in the world of warhammer their should be 100th of border keeps along a vast border. the realm should have population in the millions not in the 1000th.

now a server probably cant handle 1milion players so i suggest that the servers are like patched up parts of the realms where the player lives in and spends his/her every day live of keeping their village save and training for war.

yet when they hear the call of war i doubt it breaks immersion that they could go to their local recruiting officer to be shipped of to war on a distant battlefield (the instance) to return later to their local life