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MMORPG Methodone

First post explains the reason :)

Author: tupodawg999

Encouraging Socializing in Momorpeggers

Posted by tupodawg999 Sunday September 19 2010 at 6:11PM
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I was reading some Koster posts linked in a thread:

http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/socialization.shtml

and

http://www.raphkoster.com/2009/01/28/ways-to-make-your-virtual-space-more-social/#more-2486

and thinking about design elements that would encourage socializing.

Except more accurately it wouldn't be about encouraging socializing generally it would be about design elements that allowed the socializer types to socialize. Explorer types can't explore if there's nothing to explore, achievers can't level if there's nothing to grind and socializers can't socialize if there's no people so how does a game give them what they want??

Or firstly why does it matter? From a game companies point of view i think it matters because socializers provide retention glue. For me personally i like there to be a lot of chatter in the cities at least. I tend to spend a lot of my game time poking round in remote corners but when i come back to the cities i like them to be buzzing.

Thinking back over my game time the most buzzing zone i can think of was Kelethin in EQ1. (There was East Commons too but i'm discounting that as it was mainly trading.)

So what made Kelethin a good social hub?

Looking at the list on the second Raph Koster link Kelethin didn't have many of the things mentioned. There was no specifically designed game elements in place to encourage socializing. And this is telling imo. Socializers don't need any encouragement to socialize. They just do it naturally. So in reality the question isn't, what should games do to encourage socializing? It's what do games do to stop socializing. Kelethin wasn't a social hub because of what the game had done but what it *hadn't* done.

 

Of Koster's list i think the only one Kelethin had was this:

"Gameplay patterns with “loops” to them. We often speak of games in terms of reward loops and compulsion loops. But don’t discount simple travel loops. We are used to “string of pearls” style layouts these days, where you operate inside a connected environment, then graduate out of it. But bringing people back to a base of operations, kind of Spirograph style, is a sure way to make that area into a more social one because the loop will tend to start and end there, meaning that the preparatory and mythologizing phases of the adventure will happen there."

The city was in the newbie zone.

Not only was the city in the 1-10 newbie zone but there was an 11-20 dungeon hanging off the zone too. So the city had the usual banking, merchants, repairs, crafting etc elements but it was also the centre for a lot of players levelling from 1-20. If there'd been a 20-30 dungeon / zone hanging off it as well (which there sort of was but it wasn't very popular) then it would have been even busier.

So all the game did to make Kelethin a social hub was to make it part of the newbie zone instead of separate which led it to be a hub for up to 200-ish players doing their thing in one space. Large numbers of people in the same space will attract socializers and 3-4 socializers in the same space will automatically lead to socializing.

 

So...

games like the cities to be big and impressive and that leads to them being separate zones. Personally i find it annoying as you have to chase round everywhere trying to find the merchant you want plus they usually feel dead. Historically early cities were very small and jam-packed and i think that's a better model for games for numerous reasons but especially for this socializing reason.

1) I think game cities should be small and compact and built around a central market area.

2) I think they should be part of a larger zone that includes the surrounding newbie area.

3) Ideally that larger containing zone should be directly connected to an 11-20 and maybe also a 20-30 dungeon or zone so there's a constant flow of players coming and going from those dungeons to the city and all in that same single space.

(This is looking at it from an early EQ perspective where the max level was 50 and getting from 1-20 might be 20% of a character's levelling to max. I can't remember the actual percentages but the idea is basically to make the city the most convenient hub for a sizable chunk of a character's levelling time.)

 

I think that one small change would have a dramatic effect on socializing.

Endgame-itis

Posted by tupodawg999 Thursday August 13 2009 at 4:44PM
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When I look at the various game design ideas I've had, brain-dumped in the "Clearing some Headspace" posts, a lot of them were less about the kind of game I'd like to play and more about how to deal with the "endgame".

To me the whole concept of endgame is meaningless. To me, you play the game and if you hit a point where there's nothing left for your character to do then you stop. However I'm pretty much a 100% explorer on the Bartle scale, and to me, exploring doesn't mean just walking through a zone. The easiest way to do that would be the race to max level and walk through grey zones. To me, exploring a zone involves seeing what it's like to level through on a troll warrior. A troll shaman, if it gave a different experience, would be a whole new exploration. Also a troll shaman doing a level 30 class armor quest might be a different exploration (of the game) than a barb shaman even though they were the same quests, depending on where the quest took them. And of course levelling through the barb starting areas would feel very different (hopefully).

So for someone like me Everquest was close to perfect. There were a lot of races with their own starting areas and i liked (or didn't dislike) most of them and there were a lot of classes and i liked (or didn't dislike) most of them so I had maybe 60+ combinations most of which i levelled up to level 20 or 30 at some time over the years I played. Also the zones were designed in a much more open and non-linear way than many of the new games so the "exploration" of a lowbie zone as a troll warrior or shaman meant something different because you had different levelling routes to choose from and part of the exploration (of the game, not the physicla landscape) was to find the best route for the class in that zone.

So that was great for me - no worries about "endgame" in Everquest because i never got anywhere near it.

Other people did though.

Eventually games with progression run out of road. A single player game aims for the road to run out at the climax of the story and end there but mmorpgs don't have that luxury. People level up and eventually they reach the end of the road and have to stop. Some people do this very fast. Some people have more or less the opposite mentality to me and want to get to max level as fast as they can. Which on its own would be fine. However when they get to max level they don't just say "i beat the game" and leave, they tantrum on the game forums about lack of endgame content until the devs give in.

However you can't blame the max level racers entirely as all they do is highlight the problem early. Most of the average players will be a mixture and they'll be partly levelling and sooner or later they'll all be congregated at max level. So what can a game do?

The traditional method in PvE games is to add more road through expansions and "raiding". However both of these methods can eventually lead to making the problem worse in various ways. One way is they both usually add better gear which means previously top level gear gets dumped on the market and more level 30s are running around in level 50 gear and more level 10s in level 30 gear. This makes the lower levels, even those who are only levelling casually, start to progress much faster.

At the same time new max levellers just starting the game have a longer journey to cap and start complaining about the speed of getting there. Also raiding drills down on any min-maxing imbalance so players begin to start new characters purely for the endgame - for example their human warrior wasn't good enough for their raiding guild so they so they start an ogre instead. However these characters are not started for fun, they are purely started for the endgame and now everything in between level 1 and max level is a "grind".

So what happens is the average levelling speed goes up for the non speed levellers but still not enough for the endgamers and they want it speeded up more, which if they succeed makes the problem worse again. Further expansions gradually add to ever-quickening pace and no matter how much content gets added too many of the player base gets to the end faster than new content can be created and wants feeding more content. I can imagine a lot of game developers on the long running games eventually getting nightmares about it.

I think one possible solution to this for a leveled PvE game is to split the game into completely separate chunks. For example you start initially with a 1-50 game and people gradually start arriving at 50 and moaning. Instead of creating a new level cap and adding more content on top of the existing content, create a one way portal to a separate realm where the level cap is raised. If it's a fantasy game with gods then the obvious choice would be something like Everquest's Planes of Power where the players are summoned by their god to fight for them. Apart from ensuring the expansion couldn't mess up the balance you're trying to create in the original game something like this is easier to develop in many ways as things don't neccessarily have to make any sense e.g a self-contained plane of chaos created by a god of chaos could literally have anything in it.

A lot of the players who go through the portal would probably level up another character  to 50 in the "Old World" but also players who got to 60 in the new world would be able to create new level 50s to try out without having to level all the way from 1 if they didn't want. After 2-3 expansions the level cap would be at 70 or 80 and you could let new players start characters at either 1 or 50. The original world could have content gaps filled and be bug-fixed, balanced and polished to perfection completely unaffected by the "endgame" which would keep happy those players who liked the original game.

The second solution to the endgame nightmare is PvP. It could be the clanbox variety where the players decide on the teams or the RvR variety where the game decides the teams but either way PVP provides the potential to soak up infinite amounts of player hours as they fight each other. It's also extremely cheap content hence why so many games seem to want to go in this direction. Not everyone likes PvP, especially not all the time, but it's definitely an option and it also provides a clue to the third option, for in essence what PvP is, is dynamic player-generated content.

So the third solution to the endgame content nightmare may be to somehow have the PvE endgame content player generated and/or dynamic as that's going to be the only way long-term a game could create enough content to keep people busy. How to do that? I don't know plus this has gone on too long but I think it's definitely one way out of these games gradually eating themselves through expansions.

Clearing some Headspace part 6 - Colonization meets Second Life

Posted by tupodawg999 Tuesday August 11 2009 at 2:46AM
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More clearing of hobby game designing ideas from overstuffed brain.

Sim fantasy village meets colonization.

The last time i gave up on momorpeggers I decided to tinker around with writing one instead. It didn't get very far because I got got side-tracked and deflated by the mountain of 3D modelling, which was lucky really as my design sucked.

The basic idea was a kind of medieval fantasy sim involving lots of separate villages where you could progress through the social structure by working on a career like farming or whatever. There was going to be lots of villagey quests involving lost sheep and such with the occasional  more serious sighting of undead at a tomb but all fairly tame and low scale. One of the possible advanced career paths involved a kind of ranger career which was more heavy combat but that was the exception - most combat would involve hunting wild animals and be mostly safe.

The second part of the game was to involve players heading out from the village area into the wilderness and starting up their own settlements, clearing mobs, clearing forest and gradually taming it. This was tied into the old D&D idea of players being able to build strongholds after a certain level. This part was much more like a normal game.

The third big element involved characters only having a limited time before death but being able to earn "fate points" through various deeds which could be spent on improving their next character's base stats or buying them special abilities.

There's a lot of things wrong with this overall design but what's more interesting (to me) is what I think generated the components.

1. "Second Life" in green tights.

A lot of times in the past when I played Everquest I'd hear people criticize it as a fantasy themed chat room and more recently people criticizing a type of player for wanting a kind of medieval fantasy themed version of "Second Life". I used to dismiss those kind of criticisms but now I think there's a serious point in them. These games aren't really games to some people, including me, or rather they're only partly games. I think there's a whole segment of people who got into these games because of fantasy fiction (or sci fi) (and often games like D&D as well) and those people partly view these games as a kind of fantasy novel you can walk into. I don't mean just role-players either. I'm much too lazy to role-play but I do like a world that "feels" like it's a world and not just a game - and I've realized that's actually more important to me than most other factors.

So what I was unconsciously doing in my villagey design was getting to the basics of that fantasy sim, cutting wood, farming, learning some petty magic from the local witch, all the little immersive type things.

The other big aspect of that part of the design was how slow-paced i imagined it to be. There was to be progression but it would be very slow, through effectively only having the equivalent of daily quests and no grinding, so players and skills could only increase at the pace allowed by the daily tasks. For example i had farming pencilled in as having a morning task and an afternoon task so there was scope for two farming "skill-ups" per game day and no way to increase it. I only imagined these tasks taking a few minutes so what was i expecting the players to do in the gaps? I think i was unconsciously expecting them to chat.

In a chat room, messenger, or whatever, if the people you normally talk to aren't around you go off and browse or maybe play some online scrabble while you wait or something. My villagey fantasy sim was more or less doing the same. The ultra-slow gentle "levelling" I'd envisaged was a kind of mini-game to pass the time in between chatting. I also must have been unconsciously imagining a certain amount of compartmentalization as well, as the fantasy sim part and the chatting about everyday life part would be a strange non-immersive mix.

All in all I don't think it's such a bad idea if it was done consciously. It wouldn't be a MMORPG, actually it sort of might, but not in the now most commonly understood sense. It would be more like a social space with a game attached. There'd be the fantasy themed village zones with their OOC general chat. Role players would have RP channels to advertise and be able to create their own channel to do their thing. There'd be a lot of crafting - most of it completely unrelated to combat and with most of what would normally be the "game" implemented more as a collection of distracting mini-games to pass the time.

The number of activities that could be mini-gamed and "levelled" could be immense from heading off in the (game) evenings to trap some rabbits outside the village for a stew or a herbalist hunting down some plants to brew up some potions to jousting contests so there'd be plenty of aimless but aimiable activities in between chatting.

It would be a bit like Free Realms for adults who'd read too much fantasy lit. in their youth.

2. Niche-ism.

I had the Second Life in green tights idea first and later added the idea of players pushing out from the starting villages and colonizing. The idea in itself is okay and is pretty close to something like Wurm Online but I think I added it purely because the first half wasn't really gamey enough so I was thinking one segment of players would do the second life chat room thing while those who were playing the game as a normal momorpegger would need something else. But actually what my little hobby game designing threw up is what lies behind many of the recent game disasters imo - trying to appeal to everyone.

It seems to me there's only really been two real success stories in momorpeggers since WoW and that's WoW and Eve. A lot of other games have been successful in an objective sense but I don't think there's any except WoW and Eve that have been as successful as, or more successful than their designers expected (hoped). I think all the others hoped they'd be more successful than they eventually became.

Trying and failing to appeal to too broad an audience while WoW was sitting on that ground is I feel a big part of why those companies didn't succeed as well as they hoped. Whereas little Eve, very focused on their specific player-base chugs along quite happily.

So, I've come to think niche-ism is the way to go, whether you're a big game company, a small indie outfit in a low-rent basement or some individual guy messing with momorpegger design as a hobby.

Easier still if you are just one guy then you're already a niche of one. So just think up the kind of MMORPG you'd want to play and work with that. Odds are you'll never finish it anyway and if you do there's almost certainly other people who are the same niche as you - not many maybe but definitely some.

3. Character aging and fate points.

I think i added this idea as my way out of the "endgame". I wouldn't actually need this in a game designed purely for me. I never get to max level in the games i've enjoyed anyway - perhaps because to me these games are a kind of visual fantasy fiction or "second life" and getting to max level is "the end". In my design I'll just have max level as 51 so people who like nice round numbers could get to 50 but avoid 51 and the dreaded "end".

Clearing some Headspace part 5 - Prison Planet

Posted by tupodawg999 Thursday August 6 2009 at 11:55PM
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I keep tinkering with game design / programming stuff but get side tracked all the time by too many ideas. I'm going to make a few posts of ideas that I'm not going to pursue but which are taking up room in my only modestly sized brain.

I was thinking about Darkfall and the whole FFA PvP thing and how a game would need to be if it was going to appeal to me (after various experiences over the years on PvP servers rife with hacks, exploits, macroing etc).

 

Prison Planet

Game start would be a cut scene where a prison ship docked at a space station above some horrible planet. You'd shuffle off all chained together into the space station and the ship would leave. In your cell there'd be hologram training explaining the basics of the game. After that tutorial, which you could skip 2nd time round, there'd be another cut-scene where you'd be taken out of your cell and put into some kind of pod and fired out into some random point on the planet - a minumum distance away from other players and predator beasties. The pod would self-destruct within a few seconds so you'd need to get out quick and run or you'd die straight away.

You'd start the game completely naked (maybe some underwear).

The world would be huge and could be huge because it would be mostly empty. There'd be different terrain areas e.g temperate, desert, forest etc. There'd be large numbers of small and large herbivores and smaller numbers of predators. The herbivores would be crafting materials on legs while the predators would be very dangerous and best avoided wherever possible. There might also be some minor sentient goblin type mobs but these would mostly go around in groups and be very dangerous initially and best avoided. If a player was lucky enough to come across one on it's own it would be a good head start as they'd have better gear than a player could make early on.

The game would heavily revolve around crafting with most of the environment being usable or neccessary in some way. Your first weapon would be the first club-like piece of wood you could find. You'd be able to make basic tools from rocks and lumps of wood and with those basic tools you could make basic gear and the basic gear would help you kill something that dropped crafting materials you could use to make better tools which would make better gear etc in a kind of crafting spiral.

You wouldn't be able to master everything. Each craft category might take 100 points to master and you had say 200 points in total. There'd be sliders to portion out your points that would set the maximum e.g foraged tools 40, foraged weapons 40, foraged bow 40, foraged clothing 40, herbs and medicine 40 or bows 100 and everything else 20. You'd still have to practise to raise the skill but the maximums would be set.

The crafting would be designed to counter macroing as much as possible and ideally make it impossible. One way would be to use weight and inventory so you couldn't craft stacks at a time e.g you'd only gather one unit of lumber at a time as one unit would be all you could drag. So you'd make crafting involve gathering one unit of lumber, dragging it back to where the tools were, and then multiple stages to make an item. So instead of gathering 20 units of wood and then making 20 of an item for 20 potential skill ups you'd gather one unit and have 5 stages of making one item for 5 skill ups then repeat.

Another example might be making a basic trap from a lump of wood and a large rock. First you'd need to find some kind of small creature's burrow. You'd forage one rock and one lump of wood from the environment which would be all you can carry then you'd set the trap near the burrow. Actually setting the trap within range of the burrow would be the neccesssary last step in the process for the skill up and say only three traps in total could be set near the same burrow.

So basically you'd design the crafting around not having repetitive tasks in the traditional MMORPG way but instead make it a complex sequence of steps.

If you're going to have FFA PvP then players need to be on as level a playing field as possible which macroing interferes with. Also by limiting the total skills available and forcing players to choose what they focus on it means it's never impossible for newer players to catch up.

You could change your mind about what skills to focus on by moving the max slider down and your points in that craft would decay by 5 points a game day which could then be trained in something else.

I'd have some kind of special temporarily spawning areas like moving oases that would provide the next step as these areas would spawn some beastie that had teeth hard and sharp enough to make a wood cutting axe or saw. With this you could find some forested area and make yourself a log cabin and after that a pallisade. This would be important in many ways but one would be you could build a smelter and forge and move on from foraged tools and weapons to mining and making metal ones.

Foraging and Farming

Everything you did in the game would cost energy, even walking, and you'd replace that energy with food from foraging and hunting. Initially finding food would take a lot of the game day and a lot of the crafting and skills would revolve around it.

Eventually as mentioned above you could build yourself a log house and pallisade. The pallisade would enclose a vegetable patch so you could switch some of your foraging skill to farming. Farming would have an advantage and a disadvantage. Your plot would need tending every game day to provide food but it would take less time than foraging. So you'd have more time in the day but you'd be tied down to your food plot.

Once you got that going you could advance to animal taming. You'd build some kind of coop and find some chicken type creature. Once you'd raised your animal skill through that you could make a pig sty. After that you could trap a wolf cub and tame it as a pet dog, fourthly some creature to be a pack animal and lastly a mount. Maybe.

Other Players.

No world chat or region chat of any kind. There'd be a short range "say", a slightly longer range "shout" and a "whisper", but only if you were grouped and close by to the person you were whispering to. The only exception would be a clan town which would count as a mini-region with it's own channel - no guild chat outside though. There could be smoke signals, gongs, signal horns and beacons however.

FFA, full loot, usual stuff.

When you met a player you could run, hide, attack, say hi etc. Assuming niether attacks then they could form a proposition group. In these you could still attack the other person at any time if you wanted. If you grouped with somone in a proposition group for a significant amount of total time - say 6 hours in total (not all at once) - then you could form a friend group. If you were in a friend group then you could no longer attack each other while you were grouped. If you stayed in a friend group for 6 hours in total you could form a clan - once in a clan you couldn't attack each other even if not grouped.

Your name would be hidden as in Darkfall so you could hide easier but if a player clicked on you they could see your name color. The color would be blue or something initially. It would go orange if you'd killed a player in self-defence. Proposition, friend and clan name colors would be various shades of green. If you attack and kill a player your name would go red. Red names could only group with other red names and so could only form red name clans. Players in red name clans could always attack each other at any time.

Creating and maintaining clans would be difficult but very beneficial because different members could specialize in different trade skills. A solo player could be entirely self-sufficient but their self-made gear would all be average.

Clans might have max numbers based on the size of base - maybe six if they don't have a base at all. A lot of buildings and structures would require larger numbers for specialization purposes. A base might start as a collection of wooden huts with a pallisade - move onto mud brick - then eventually stone walls. So the sequence might be - basic stronghold -> new crafting structure that unlocks a new craft -> player specializing in that craft -> upgraded stronghold etc.

Combat

Combat would absolutely not be twitch based in any way as that's just a recipe for hacks imo. It would be sort of skill-based but not in the sense people normally use. There'd be a pool of skills that you could pick from and these skills would be like your deck in a card game and from those cards you'd pick your stance. Your stance and the other players would go up to the server and all the calculations would be done there. The skill would be in choosing the right stance for the situation. Solo combat would be quite static this way but around half the available melee skills would be group skills so group fights would be very tactical.

Every player or predator mob killed would gain a new skill from the pool. If you were solo and didn't have a home then death would be perma-death. A "home" initially might be a cave or a bunch of rocks you could crawl into. They'd usually have some nasty already in residence so you'd have to kill it first then click some rock or something to claim the spot. If you die solo within a certain distance of your home then you'd respawn there. The better the home the longer the distance. A clan town would provide a much larger safe radius. Regardless of home radius, if you were grouped then you'd be unconscious and if your team mates won the fight  they could bandage you up - if they lost you'd either respawn or be perma-dead depending on home radius.

Even the biggest clan town would have a limited home radius so long-range raiding would be risky. This would give smaller groups and solo-ers a chance to survive by moving away. Clans could extend the safe radius a bit if everyone in a group was mounted. Another option would be crafting and filling a load of supply wagons and then using them to build a temporary supply camp near where they wanted to attack. The supply camp would last a few hours or so - and could be burnt if found.

Non perma-death deaths would still have a significant penalty - you'd lose one of your skills and maybe some random gear plus wounds would take a significant time to heal. There'd be no healing in the usual MMO sense - only after-combat stuff that increased the speed of natural healing and prevented infection etc.

Gear would matter mostly in terms of armor and penetration power. It would be set up in such a way that twinking wouldn't help much solo i.e a twinked newbie character fighting an experienced character with average gear would mostly miss. The experienced character would mostly hit but maybe not be able to penetrate the twink armor. The odds would be set so the twink might get lucky but most of the time the higher skills would pay off.

At the same time 2-3 newbie characters with trashy gear might be able to beat an experienced character with average to good gear as outnumbering an opponent would be a major advantage.

Archery would be tricky. I'd probably make it so archery was pretty useless against a moving target and being in melee while holding a bow got a big penalty. So archery would be a great alpha strike if you managed to sneak up on someone but after that you'd want to drop it quick and draw your melee weapons.

There wouldn't be any magic initially though it might be possible to learn off stray dryads or something. Also if a clan eventually built an advanced enough city they might develop it. Similarly priest type skills wouldn't be available initially but could possibly be gained through chance encounters in the wilderness and then developed through building a shrine or something.

The non-crafting skills would have a limit total in a similar way to the crafting skills so melee skills, stealth skills, healing skills etc would all come off the same total. So no one would ever be able to be good at everything and new players could catch up in skills easily enough.

Conclusion

I could go for an ultra-harsh game like that as long as I knew it was a guaranteed even playing field where the only effective ways to load the dice were knowledge of the skills and game world, superior clan organisation or numbers i.e things that were reasonable in the context of the game, and a self-sufficient soloist type could still survive as long as they kept away from the main zergs.

Clearing Some Headspace part 4: Warhammer 40K

Posted by tupodawg999 Sunday August 2 2009 at 7:02PM
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I keep tinkering with game design / programming stuff but get side tracked all the time by too many ideas. I'm going to make a few posts of ideas that I'm not going to pursue but which are taking up room in my only modestly sized brain.

None of these are my ideas exactly - I picked them up from various places and I'm just applying the concept to an MMORPG.
 

Warhammer 40K meets Planetside

PvP is very much a love it or hate it thing imo and after playing UO and on various Everquest PvP servers I mainly hated it. However the WAR trial converted me to the idea that RvR games could potentially be a lot of fun if they were done right. I think a mainstream "casual" type RvR game needs:

-- large battles

------ large battles dilute the effect of hacks and general gankerage which you always get with PvP

------ large battles are fun

-- lots of large battles requires lots of players which for a casual PvP game requires (imo):

------ team-based so people know they're not going to be ganked by their own side

------ pretty low death penalty to maximize the numbers of potential players
 

------ all progression through PvP: exp, gear everything

------ no tiers, design it so the battles contain everyone from lvl 1 to lvl 50

------ channeling so players are pushed into large battles

-- terriotorial control

------ the battles and leveling may be fun but eventually it will get old without some underlying narrative

------ there has to be terriotorial control and the possibility of actually winning the war

-- winning the war should be difficult

------ three sided RvR has a built in balancing mechanism

------ capitals should have a fairly huge built-in defensive advantage but not impregnable

 

I think Warhammer 40K would suit this very well.

Instead of a single world i'd make the meta game be a star field with a bunch of planets including various homeworlds.

I'd take the 40K races and try to fit them into three sides - the humans would be an obvious choice for one side with Imperial Guard and Space Marines.

The game would make all the decisions about which planets were attacked and who was invading and who defending. The battles themselves would be like a mixture of scenarios / battlegrounds and linked RTS maps. So the scenario battles would have an actual consequence - they'd decide if the invasion was successful or not - but the mechanic of scenarios would be used to collect lots of players and through them into a battle.

The scenarios would be linked also i.e the game decides the humans are attacking an orc-chaos team held planet so the first map is a space assault where the humans are landing from space in shuttles or pods or whatever. If the humans win then it moves to the second map which is a straight fight starting from opposite ends and if the humans win that then there's a third map where they assault a base representing the planet's capital. They'd need to win all three maps to capture the planet.

The game would constantly be creating attack-defend pairs across the star field depending on player numbers with ideally something like 100 vs 100 battles.

Making the PvP less hardcore to attract numbers would be compensated for by making it fast and furious - you'd log on, walk into your side's lobby which would look like the interior of a space station with a fleet of ships out of window and then without any warning you're strapped into one of five shuttles with 20 other players in each heading for a planet fall. The door of the shuttle opens and you might be in a desert, a jungle, a swamp or many other potential maps and explosions are going off everywhere.

No PvE to speak of except as a a kind of added problem. All levelling would come from being in the battles. The maps might include stampeding dinosaurs or giant beetles that come out of the ground disturbed by the fighting but they'd be there as an added worry rather than an alternative way of levelling. You'd get exp if your side won the battle and less if you lost and that would be it. As you leveled you unlocked standard gear or abilities so your level 1 grunt ended up as space marine chaplain.

###

Throwing 1-50 in together.

Players would have "hits", armor would have "hits" and weapons would have "hits".

Say there were six armor slots and every weapon that hit (without a sniper weapon) randomly struck one of the six slots. Say space marine armor could take six hits. Players might start with one "hit" (maybe two) and get one extra every ten levels.

So twenty level one grunts with no armor and a pew pew gun that did one "hit" vs a level 50 space marine in six "hit" armor, flamethrower in one hand and grenade launcher in the other. Assume everyone hits.

First round - space marine loses 20 hits worth of armor scattered around the six slots but he kills 8 level 1s.

Second round - space marine takes another 12 hits worth of armor but kills another 6. Depending on chance he may have lost 1-2 less points of armor and lost 1-2 of his six body "hits" instead.

Third round - very 50/50 now, the space marine maybe has 4-6 points of armor left in various slots and 4-6 body hits and still has six level 1s to kill and they're spread out not so his AOE is less effective. He might just make it or maybe not.

That would be one way of doing it - you'd need to decide what number of level 1s you wanted to equal one level 50 and build your weapons and armor around that.

###

Another aspect of throwing all the levels in together is handicapping the victory totals - the battles are unlikely to be ever be completely even so you might total the players x levels of the stronger side and subtract the weaker and give that point total as a bonus to the weaker side. Winning the battles might take 5000 points for example and the weaker side might get 500 free points as the battle starts.

###

I think that could be a lot of fun especially with the 40K IP as visually seeing space marines battling 12 foot chaos demons would be a blast.

###

I'd make the levelling be like a tree where you could branch out in different directions to pick up different skills - so you could switch between infantry, medic, engineer, tanks, aircraft etc. You'd only have one character but eventually they could unlock the whole tree for their side.

Levels 1-30 might be unlocking all the Imperial Guard stuff and you'd be available to start going up the space marine / witch hunter / daemon hunter trees from around 30.

One of the other teams might involve a main orc tree going from 1-30 with an alternative  chaos demon branch going off at level 20 and chaos marines starting at 30.

###

I'd have a neutral mercenary faction as well that just went to level 10 and i'd make it F2P. These players could be added to whichever side was outnumbered as and when neccessary.

###

Level 1-10 gear unlocks might go something like:

1: pewpew gun

2: first armor, one "hit" protection over 2 out of the 6 slots, 50/50 protection on one other

3: armor repair kit that repairs one armor "hit"

4: boots, 50/50 protection on legs slot

5: smoke grenade

6: shoulders and gloves, 50/50 protection on arms slot

7: Explosive grenade

8: full basic armor, one "hit" protection over all 6 slots

9: night vision goggles

10: +1 body "hit", medikit that heals one "hit"

etc etc eventually unlocking all the 40K gear, vehicles and abilities or at least the stuff that fits in well.

Clearing Some Headspace part 3: Overlord

Posted by tupodawg999 Saturday August 1 2009 at 10:01PM
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I keep tinkering with game design / programming stuff but get side tracked all the time by too many ideas. I'm going to make a few posts of ideas that I'm not going to pursue but which are taking up room in my only modestly sized brain.

None of these are my ideas exactly - I picked them up from various places and I'm just applying the concept to an MMORPG. 

Overlord

The game world is the size of a middle-sized game continent/island like Northrend in WoW or Faydwer in EQ and it slopes upwards to the centre. It's all one big city. 

The city is divided into six or seven levels like the tiers of a wedding cake and the tiers are separated by walls. Each tier is further sub-divided into dozens of quarters and sections. There's slum bits in each tier and some nice bits in each tier (even the lowest tier has sections where the rich keep their pleasure boats for example) but the proportions follow the usual pattern - the top layer is mostly rich and the bottom layer is mostly poor.

I was thinking of this more as a skill-based rather than class-based and possibly a more PvP type game. The aim is to take your guild from the slums / fishing quarters up to the top tier and would mostly work on building up the guild reputation and thereby gradually getting offers of work from higher up the tiers. There'd be abandoned buildings to use as a base in tier 1 then if you moved up you'd have to leave that behind and create a new base on tier2 etc . The aim would be to discourage guilds recruiting newbies from the lower tier but to form up at the bottom then move up as a group so maybe a max number in the guild.

There'd be no law in this city except the law made by individual factions so one section might have a fishing collective who have their own militia another section might be run by the baker's guild etc. The player guilds would often be hired as a guild to either trash or defend one of the city factions. There'd be solo and small group missions as well - the reward for completing these would include adding points to the guild reputation.

Players in the starting tier would be PvP immune until they joined a guild. Players could choose the solo path all the way but it would be harder. There would be solo missions to increase their solo reputation but these missions would involve conflict between two of the city factions and eventually they'd run a mission where another solo or a guild was attached to the faction they were attacking. This would flag them for PvP and it would be a one way thing.

As well as solo missions, if a guild that was below the max number had a mission and they needed extra bodies they could attach solo players a bit like open warbands in WAR. If they had a guild mission to go trash a gang that ran a certain section of the city and they didn't have the full 24 then they could make it open and solos could join temporarily. This would make those solos immune from attack by that guild until the end of the mission plus 5 minutes or something like that.

Solos would rise through the tiers of the city in the same way as guilds - by increasing their reputation till they got a mission from a faction in the next tier up.

There'd also be non-combat soloing via tradeskills and suchlike. Tradeskillers who never joined a guild and who never joined in a guild mission would stay PvP immune.

The game would mostly revolve around player clans though.

Although the city was all humans there'd be plenty of cults and demonologists and witch covens in the basements as well and the whole island would be built on top of a gigantic cavern with demons and **** for variety.

A lot of the missions could revolve around food because the basic diet was fish and there were too many people for any large farmland so the richest factions had walled off enclosures where they could grow wheat and a loaf of bread would be worth a lot of money. Also factions would have chicken coops and pigs etc and missions would often revolve around stealing another factions chickens because any food that wasn't fish was extremely valuable.

Eventually the clan would reach the top tier and a final fancy base and work to max their reputation. Once the reputation was maxed they could try and take over as Overlord.

This would basically involve some kind of instanced battle where your clan attacked a palace battlefield and had to kill the Overlord within a certain time.

The first clan to do this obviously would be fighting NPCs (or maybe the devs) but after that the clan would be the new bosses. The "endgame" would be trying to stay there as long as possible while other clans came up and tried to replace you. The battles would be instanced and timed for the prevalent timezones so everyone could be on and they'd be maybe an hour or half an hour. After the game had been running a while the Overlord clan might have 2-3 battles a night queued up as other clans tried to take over.

One of the defending players would be designated as the Overlord - usually the guild leader or one of the officers if the leader wasn't logged on and the attackers would win if they killed him inside the time.

If the Overlord guild lost then either they lose all their reputation and gear and go back to the slums again as newbies or perma-die or something like that that would provide churn and "new" blood at the bottom of the pile.

The challenge would be to see who could stay as Overlord the longest.

 

Clearing Some Headspace part 2: The River

Posted by tupodawg999 Friday July 31 2009 at 6:09PM
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I keep tinkering with game design / programming stuff but get side tracked all the time by too many ideas. I'm going to make a few posts of ideas that I'm not going to pursue but which are taking up room in my only modestly sized brain.

None of these are my ideas exactly, they're ideas I got from elsewhere which I applied to the idea of an MMORPG.
 

I think I got this one from reading a Warhammer pen&paper RPG book once.

 

The River

The game world would follow a big river from source to the sea. There'd be farmland all along the river  which shades into deep forest and then impassable mountains so it's basically a claustrophobic rectangular box. The claustrophobic feel is part of the atmosphere. All along the river is villages and towns more or less in a continuous chain. The town and village bosses are mostly knight types but some are temples and a few wizard schools or towers. Each village/town and their boss is a faction in the game - controlling three makes you a baron, 6 makes you a count, 9 makes you a Duke. The towns are worth three and initially all the Dukes and their equivalents (e.g Bishop-Prince or Sorceror-Mayor) are from the factions of the towns.

The basic style is high medieval germany split into dozens of separate fiefdoms except it's the Warhammer version, so although things seem normal on the surface underneath it's a different story with the human world under constant stealth attack from chaos. The surrounding dark forests are all full of lurking monsters and the sewers and basements are full of witch covens, ratmen and chaos cults with the constant threat of plagues started by Nurgle cults. The feel is dark and claustrophobic and shadowy.

The church / temple is singular but with lots of seperate orders and branches. Some of them are archetypal goodies but others have been corrupted by chaos in one of two ways: some orders have become so hardcore in the war against chaos that they've turned into inquisition types while others have surrendered to chaos and just pretend to still be part of the church.

The goodie bits of the temple and some elf or dwarf places tucked away in the forests are the only places in the game that feel nice. Everywhere else is dark and scary.

The chaos side is definitely weaker and has to operate in stealth but it's rotting the non-chaos world.

The core levelling game would revolve around two sets of questing / grinding: the monster part, whether in the dark forests or in the sewers under the towns and a second part that revolves around the constant in-fighting between the game factions. These factions would be constantly competing with each other with knights trying to become barons, barons trying to become counts, counts trying to become dukes and the dukes vying to be the one with the most power and influence as that is the one who gets elected to be Emperor.

Initially the game itself would handle all the random diplomacy and conflict - although some quests might influnce its decisions - and the players would be presented every day / week / month / whatever with the factional standings and who is hostile to who. For example the attitude of NPC guards to a player might change if two factions became hostile.

The second part of the game and what would eventually become the endgame is players would have to attach themselves to a game faction and they would be affected by the changes in dipomatic relations of their faction. More importantly though, player guilds would have to attach themselves to a game faction as well, so if you started a guild you might choose to attach it to the town of Aachen. Once attached your guild could do things to raise their guild level and at max level your guild leader would make the diplomatic and war decisions for that faction. Basically every diplo time unit, say a RL week, the game would present the guild leader with a list of possible diplomatic orders and those orders would be collected with all the rest of the factions and the game would display the results of who was at war, who allied etc for the coming week.

The aim would be to get your faction to be a duke and then build your duke's influence up to be top dog so your guild became the emperor guild. The endgame would basically be a high score competition of who could stay emperor the longest, for as soon as someone made it the rest of the factions / guilds would all be conspiring to cut them down.

Influence wouldn't just be conquest e.g a high-skill sculptor NPC or player could make sculptures for your town and that added influence. However most of this diplomatic meta game would involve attempting to take over neighbouring villages / castles. The way it would work is say the Duke of Aachen faction is being controlled by the leader of an attached player guild and he decides to attack a village adjoining one he already controls and a war gets declared between the two factions for that week. There'd be a fixed times each day (based on time zones) where there'd be like a scenario type battle fought between the two sides. The winners over the course of the week would win the war and that village (and any player controlled guild that was attached to the village) would then switch over to the Duke of Aachen's faction.

If two factions were at war then individual fights could take place as well between rival players but the outcome of the war would be settled in the scenario battles with fixed times so both sides could be massed. NPCs would be added to outnumbered faction if appropriate e.g if it was two Duke factions and one had 80 and the other had 40 the outnumbered side would get 40 NPCs but not if a Duke faction was attacking a Knight faction.

There could be non military faction warfare also: temple priests could go on a conversion war to take over a temple village belonging to another faction - the two villages in this case wouldn't have to be adjacent or an agent could be sent to try and make a faction rebel from it's overlord.

Eventually, if all the game factions had an attached player guild then newer guilds would have to attach to those player guilds as an auxiliary. Attached guilds would obviously have their guild base in their attached faction's terriotory.

Another option for a guild would be to designate themselves as a mercenary company. The way this would work is the guild would'nt have a permanent base. Instead every week when the diplo decisions have been made, factions that are at war will advertise for mercenaries and the guild leader of the mercenary guild would pick which faction was going to be feeding his troops that week. The merc guild then becomes part of that faction until the war is over and they no longer need mercs.

Once they're attached to the new faction the players from the merc guild would have to travel to the town or castle that hired them and there'd be a reserved space where they'd build their camp. The advantage of a merc guild would be you could pretty much guarantee your guild would have war scenarios to fight in (as the war scenarios would only be open to the warring factions, allies and mercs). Merc guilds wouldn't be part of the whole emperor thing though.

Crafters / traders might have the option to join neutral factions that weren't part of this so they could do their own thing. There could also be something like a neutral bard class that took all the actual messages and did most of the diplo as paid agents. There could be a seperate little PvP game between bards and assassins who were immune to the regular factional conflict but not to each other.

Clearing Some Headspace Part 1: Clockwork Planet

Posted by tupodawg999 Friday July 31 2009 at 3:07PM
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I keep tinkering with game design / programming stuff but get side tracked all the time by too many ideas. I'm going to make a few posts of ideas that I'm not going to pursue but which are taking up room in my only modestly sized brain.

None of these are my ideas exactly, they're ideas I got from elsewhere which I applied to the idea of an MMORPG.

 

Clockwork Planet

I like the lore of games to have some kind of logical consistency and sometimes that is limiting when you want to add whatever crazy stuff you feel like. So...

Mad Melkath the gnome makes himself a steam powered hollowed out flying space planet. Basically it's a hollow sphere with an artificial world in the middle. The game world is circular with mountains all round the edges. If you travel right to the edge of the world (very dangerous) and climb up the mountains you'll find locked metal maintenance hatchs painted blue and little holes for lights to shine through as stars at nighttime etc. You can see the metal plates rivetted together, painted blue with clouds on top.

Despite being artificial this circular world is quite big.

There's a large central sea in the middle so the map would look a lot like the mediterranean with the surrounding land - plus mini versions of the black and red seas.

The realms and cultures would partly reflect that meditteranean first impression but because it was Mad Melkath's mad play world it would be full of kidnapped humans and creatures from different ages and different planets so...

The north central section would be ancient roman, though not necessarily human, going east would be an ancient greek themed area with creatures from that myhos - fauns, dryads, demi-gods etc. Heading into the north-east corner around the black sea would be steppes with centaur tribes but the crimean peninsular itself would be a SE asian style human starting place.

Heading south through the equivalent of Turkey and the middle-east would be - dunno.

Then egypt with actual dog and cat headed people, mummies and undead, down the coast of the red sea towards the SE corner could be an India style starting place.

(The mobs in these different cultural areas would reflect the different mythologies for variety and atmospshere.)

Going west along Africa would be... loads of stuff plus an African style starting area and along the southern edge lots of deep jungle with aztec style lizardmen (a cliche but a cool one imo).

Then up to the NW bit of the map which would maybe have a medieval bit in the west and a more tribal celtic/germanic/slavic feel in the northwest (or vice versa). The dwarves and halflings would be round here.

The towns would be mostly on the coast and connected to the towns on either side by ship so you could hop round the coast of the world from town to town quite quickly. There'd also be a few towns deeper inland which could connect with the sea towns by river and which could also be quick travel connected via river boat. Travel away from the towns into the wilderness areas would be much more of a hike however. The central sea would be too rough and dangerous for normal travel.

There could also be any number of islands added if neccessary for odd little zones that didn't fit anywhere else.

The core of the game would be a standard PvE type levelling game.

The end game would revolve around a big tree.

The sun in the game would always look like it has an X drawn on it because it's basically a giant light bulb held in place by the four branches at the top of a giant  tree that has it's roots at the bottom of the centre of the central sea.

This tree has a collection of giant shelf fungus growing out of its sides, the lowest of which is just above the sea level. Vines around the tree provide a path from one of these shelf mushrooms up to the next level and it would be basically like PoP in Everquest where you battled your way up from one shelf to the next where each shelf was like a zone.

You wouldn't be able to reach this area till max level and you'd maybe need a guild that had a high guild rank to build a ship capable of the voyage or something. Ideally I'd like to make the journey one way so when you hit max level that character left the main world behind and moved to the raid part. This would be so you wouldn't bloat / inflate or mess up the core levelling part of the game through unexpected side effects of things you added to the endgame side.

So there'd basically be a "normal" set of PvE levelling zones and then a physically seperate set of weird raid type zones like in EQ's Planes of Power expansion - the max level might increase in this raid bit but only there, again to keep the two parts of the game seperate so you don't unbalnce the original game. Alternatively the progression from this point could be something like AA points or just gear based.

(Personally i think these games get messed up if you don't keep the two parts seperate.)

Anyway, eventually you'd reach the top of the tree and there'd be a maintenance hatch into the spaceship part of the planetoid with lots of gnomes and clockworks and stuff and after you fought your way through however many raid encounters you'd eventually get to Mad Melkath himself and killing him would be the end - all the players involved would be inducted into Hall of Fame and there'd be a big screen saying...

THIS THE END OF THE GAME

THERE IS NO MORE

DON'T BOTHER WHINING IN THE FORUMS

THIS IS THE END

###

I can feel my brain is a little emptier already.

edited some typos.

Class vs Skills Part 2

Posted by tupodawg999 Thursday January 8 2009 at 11:03AM
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Further thoughts on the class vs skills debate after trying a bit of prototyping.

I decided to try and do quick and dirty prototypes of various of these design ideas separately to get an idea of how difficult they'd be to code fully. I think this is a good way of stopping yourself going down blind alleys. I started off trying to build a little standalone thing using Visual Basic that displayed all the skill trees I had in mind on separate tabs with the code for requirements ( the code that for example stops you selecting "Master Swordsman" unless you already have 24 warrior skills including "Expert Swordsman" ). It didn't take very long before I had skills and tabs out the wazoo and it was all getting a bit too complicated. I could code my first idea eventually but the fact that it turned out to be overly complicated to code made me step back a bit and think harder about why I'd automatically picked a skill based system.

What's wrong with classes?

After thinking about it I came up with three things that bugged me.

1) Freedom within a class:

You start a game and decide to play a warrior. You're okay with playing a class with restrictions etc--you can't heal, can't use spells etc and that's ok. You decide in your head that you want him to be a big dumb guy who uses a two-handed hammer but you can't because the fighter class in the game doesn't work that way. So it can be quite minor like wanting to use a 2H hammer but the game making you use axes.

2) Hybrid, but not my hybrid.

There are archetypes and a class is usually either an archetype or a hybrid of two archetypes. Some of theses hybrids are almost standard, like the fighter/priest paladin hybrid, but some aren't, so a particular game might not have *your* fave hybrid. Games with multi-classing can get round this to a certain extent but even then it might not be enough for some e.g one player might want a hybrid that was 2/3 fighter and 1/3 scout while another wanted 2/3 scout and 1/3 fighter.

3) Right name, wrong hybrid.

With the standard MMO combat system you have the set roles, CC, Melee DPS, tanking, healing, ranged DPS etc and over time (it seems to me) games have become increasingly focused on slotting a particular class into one of those roles. That can cause a conflict sometimes if the role doesn't fit how a player sees a class. For example in most games now a ranger is ranged DPS for group fighting whereas my kind of ranger class would involve lots of non-combat skills that made it easier to explore without dying. So there can sometimes be a mismatch between the game's definition of a particular fantasy archetype and an individual player's definition of that archetype.

So, at least partly... class vs skills is actually a spectrum rather than a clear divide and the spectrum is how much player freedom there is when it comes to customizing the abilities of their character and how much a lack of freedom bothers individual players. My first thought was to have (almost) complete freedom where a player could learn any skill up to a maximum number of skills. But that first prototyping made me stop and think about it more.

So what I'm thinking now is:

1) Freedom within a pure class i.e a warrior talent tree where you pick the individual skills you want as you level / skill up. Or a wizard skill tree with different lines of spells and you pick the upgrades that suit your preferred style.

2) A multi-classing system that lets you make the hybrid you want. One way would be divide skills into categories with a self-contained upgrade tree and then allow players to pick the three categories they wanted. For example a player who wanted a pure fighter would pick the general, basic melee and advanced melee categories while a player that wanted a priest would pick the general skills, basic melee and priest skill categories. You'd build your own class from selecting 3-5 skill trees that each contained a bundle of related skills.

This could be quite a good way to do things even if you wanted to have pre-set classes. By writing the code around a game class being a collection of 3-5 skill trees you could easily create a new class around a different collection of skill trees.

This sort of system might also help with point 3) above with one collection of skill trees suiting a player that wanted to be ranged DPS and another being better suited to exploring.

So, back to the drawing board for me but it does show how useful prototyping can be in getting a clearer picture of what you want.

Edit: Forgot to mention: after having a quick dabble I can see how classes are preferable from a coding point of view. Classes may or may not not be technically easier to code than a skill system but they are conceptually easier to code because they are inherently modular. So I think there's a definite balance to strike between player freedom and ease of coding especially if you have limited resources. Decisions, decisions.

Death Penalty

Posted by tupodawg999 Tuesday January 6 2009 at 5:42PM
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Harsh death penalties suck but...

A lot of ex EQ players will have clear, strong memories of the buzz you could get from things like surviving your first Qeynos-Freeport run. The death penalty in EQ was harsh and was the source of much grief but at the same time without that kind of harsh penalty you don't get the big rush of pleasure when you survive a close fight at the bottom of a dungeon where you really don't want to die. So by taking away the lows of a severe death penalty you also take away the highs you can get when you *just* avoid it.

So in my ideal game there'd be an extreme death penalty. In my ideal game there'd be perma-death, except...

in a normal game perma-death would suck 99% of the time and only be really cool 1% of the time i.e when you avoided it or when you died but in a cool way i.e being rearguard for the rest of your group to escape.

It would suck because too much of the time you'd die in stupid ways e.g lag deaths, disconnections, the doorbell rings and while you're away the level 4 psycho-rabbit gnaws you to death one hitpoint at a time.

So if you still want a perma-death game (which I do) then the game has to be designed around it.

Some players, almost certainly the vast majority, would absolutely hate perma-death so games with it would need to be designed around being able to avoid dying by cautious play. Games with low penalties can have fights that take 12 wipes to figure out but games with PD need to have lots of "run!!!!!" options built in.

I think even that is probably not enough. My current thought is there has to be a choice. There has to be decision to risk perma-death. Also this can't be a one-off decision at character creation there needs to be a decision each time. Otherwise you could have situations where a player (me for example) chose perma-death at creation but then one day they're having bad lag spikes but it's the weekend and they're craving finishing some quest and so they can't wait and so they die from lag. No fun.

My current idea is....

Base the game around the idea of hubs and the risk of perma-death being based on your distance from the nearest friendly hub. So your starter town would be your first hub, the place you're bound with no chance of perma-death there at all. The risk of perma-death would go up with each zone further away from your hub. The adjacent zones would also be safe from PD -- so your race's version of Qeynos Hills or Northshire would be safe too. There'd be a death penalty (still quite a harsh one in my ideal game) but no chance perma-death.

I'd have some kind of point score system where each overland zone away from a friendly base you were would add one point to the risk and going into a dungeon would be two points so for example going into a dungeon two zones away from your base would be a risk of 4 points. The chance of PD would come when you went above a certain number. So basically you'd never *have* to risk perma-death. You could always play within the safe range.

(Also there could be ways of reducing the point score e.g grouping. The numbers of ppl you were grouped with could subtract points maybe.)

So there could be a human city and a bunch of zones away a dwarf city. At game start the two races are neutral. A human player could safely travel east a couple of zones, safe as in no PD if they die, but to reach the dwarf place they'd have to cross a zone that pushed the PD points over the threshold. You wouldn't have to do it. But some players could accept diplomacy type quests to the dwarf city. They'd risk the PD and get the buzz (and a nice reward) for the risk.

If you were bound at a friendly hub the safe range would be higher than if it was neutral. So the human player could bind at the dwarf city and do quests that raised dwarf faction. Eventually they'd get friendly or whatever and then the journey would become safe *for them* because they had a friendly hub at each end of the journey. If enough players did the diplo quests then the dwarves and humans make an alliance and the journey becomes non-PD for all the human and dwarf players.

I'd also have PD for certain heroic and epic quests. The very last fight you'd have to risk PD. I'd make all the very best gear in the game like that. You wouldn't have to do it but the bragging rights would be cool.

ps The idea behind the system is that if you die in the game you don't really die. You were just badly wounded but managed to get back to base somehow or you were found wounded by a trader and he brought you back on his wagon. So the closer you are to a base the more likely that is. That's why there'd be no corpse run. You'd respawn back at base badly wounded and gear smashed up as if you'd been dragged back unconscious somehow.

pps Some mobs could have a higher chance of PD and others less. For example, mobs that would eat you might add a point to your PD score. Mobs that wouldn't neccessarily care about killing you might subtract a point. For example, if you died to bandits in a PD zone you might not end up perma-dead, instead they'd strip all your gear and you'd respawn back at your hub. For a lot of players that might be even worse :p

In a case like that you could have the bandits put all the player's gear in a chest and sell onje piece per game day so the player has a chance of getting it back.

ppps Another option could be if you had a PD death fighting dark elf slavers you'd end up in a slave pit in their city with a chance of escape.

pppps As I'd want the option of factional PvP (with no level restrictions) in my perfect MMORPG this is also how I'd stop high levels of one faction griefing low levels of another faction. I'd make it so being in the home city of an enemy faction was automatic PD if you got killed.

 

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