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MMORPG Game Concepts  » Indirect Grind, no free stats, Crafting based economy

8 posts found
  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 699

 
OP  6/13/12 9:29:49 AM#1

So I've decided I liked the FEP system from Haven and Hearth http://havenandhearth.wikia.com/wiki/FEP , which is an advancement system based on gaining stats through eating crafted food.   But I've decided to turn it into a logarithmic advancement system, meaning players could get to the 30% point of max power tier in under a day but getting the last 30% would take about a week of time(even then still having tiny little +1s here and there you could get with a lot of effort).

 

I've also come to hate "free stats" in a PvP games.   A classic example of a free stat would be the Navigation skill from EvE where you gain 5% speed for every level http://www.eve-wiki.net/index.php?title=Navigation.   I believe this is fundamentally a flawed design for my goals since it does not offer play and counter play in customizing your character.   You just have it or you don't, after you have the skill there is no longer a cost for having it(I'm not going to argue something silly like cloning costs).

 

Game based on crafting to allow players to customize the gear that they've spent time gathering materials for.   Crafting increases team play, as to produce 1 item you don't need the group all conquering a dungeon at the same time you can log on at separate times or even gather materials in completely different parts of the world for your production. Essentially I choose to have all gear be made by crafting to reduce the cost of team play, increasing the total amount of team play. I see a difference between team and group play, and team play is more than sufficient for awesome MMO "touch and feel".

 

The game is also designed so that there are almost "no skills to level", with the exception of stats.   There is no sword skill, no iron smelting skill, or similar.   There is also no experience bar anywhere as the food/stat system means it's not required.   Essentially I am achieving a system where if you can acquire food you're going to be able to advance, and to acquire food you're going to need to make it or trade for it.

 

________________________

 

Crafting is not tied to a crafting skill/level, if you have the materials you could create an epic item.   Instead Crafting is a step by step process(materials, production process, production process, finalizing), the steps used for producing an item will produce a seed value for making the item(seed value slightly modified by account number).   So taking the same steps on the same character will always produce the same item, achieving an extent of navigable randomness.

 

There are four stats: Mind, Body, Spirit, Soul.    All of these stats are essentially identical in the sense that they provide points for investing into a skill tree, and that they provide "reasoning flavor".   These stats usually provide no direct benefits however may make some abilities more powerful.   The skill tree essentially contains all abilities and stats in the game, to start in an isolated part on the skill tree would cost 15 points, to invest in an ability that is "connected" to another 5 points worth of stats. An unlocked ability could be anything from a usable Skill/ability, to +100 health, or +armor. The end result is that a "create your own class" system happens as you unlock abilities and stats, but you can't spread your arms too wide without high costs in effectiveness. Players are also forced to spread arms as there isn't the ability to cross link unrelated paths.

 

As mentioned earlier stats are increased by eating, so an example food item

Slice of meat
Body +5
spirit -1
skill change +.2 (after collecting a full skill change can un-invest 1 ability in skill tree, with extra rules)
if body>50 spirit -3
if body>75 mind -3
if body>100 body -5

What a player with >75 body would see would be(body +5, spirit -4 mind -3, skill change +.2). A newbie with 30 in every stat would see(Body +5, Spirit -1 , skill change +.2). The diminishing returns on high stats is how I achieve logarithmic growth as players min-max themselves they're going to need to eat more and get fewer stat returns. It also makes it so that newbies have an easier stat system to work with before they get to the point of min-maxing. It's also worth noting these are directly added/subtracted from stats rather than a random FEP system. Which means that by design producing food will be a process that is a bit longer than in Haven and Hearth.

 

A few additional rules that need to be worked on: What happens when players no longer have the stats for a skill tree? Type of combat system to tie it to? the type of stats gear should give, and if gear should affect ability unlocks? and just tons of organic questions that can only be answered by playing with a working system.

 

So I'm just looking for views from people who like MMOs.

 

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  ghstwolf

Novice Member

Joined: 3/21/08
Posts: 386

6/13/12 8:02:46 PM#2

With what is layed out here, I'm not a fan.

Here's my issue, it doesn't mesh with any setting mode well.  The closest match would be colonization/survival types of games, but for those you would need to add a moderately complicated hunger mechanic.  Even then, some amount of skill progression would be desirable.  The main stats would also likely have a greater impact on effectiveness.

Right now the trade offs that you claim to be seeking are at a 3 when you really are looking for a 7 and I'm talking about cranking it up to 11.  You just need more cowbell in the mix.

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 699

 
OP  6/20/12 11:27:28 AM#3

There is not a hunger mechanic.  

Instead all stat advancement, and later on tweaking stats is based on eating to modify stats.  Stats then allow you to invest into and modify abilities to determine play style.   Later on ways to save stats/similar would be offered so players can advance multiple "bodies" on the same character.

Essentially I considered this an ideal trade off as it allows players to perform anything in the game and if it draws a profit of some sort they can make/trade for food and therefore advance.

Further is provides skill based "class building" type progression.

_______

if you're looking for story it's pretty easy to whimsy something up.

Lets see when a player joins an MMO they usually don't know what someone their age should, likewise when they reroll they know way more than they should.

We need an excuse for why food matters so much. Without needing to eat

We need as excuse for why players don't stay dead, but can disappear forever if they choose to quit. And why they don't lose gear.

We also need an excuse for why players don't fight each other outside of duels.

And why there are soo many players.

__

I'll take a bit of international lore. Lots of cultures have stories of fey/wrong/demon/whatever where if you eat food offered you become "part of their world"/"corrupted" sometimes even in good ways.

Lets see I'll place the players as sucked in from another world(another common story). Purely an inconvenient byproduct of energy production(kind of a silly turn). Lets play it up and have the first few hours being quests/decisions with NPCs telling them who you are and where you're from(AI character: I'm an archeologist I love studying cultures, and I'm your sponsor. This is soo exciting). Then them explaining why you can't die and that since you're useful they'll be pretty helpful. Then at the climax show the players "The punished" immortals that just won't get along with the world kept magic'ed as stone/ice/whatever.

As the story goes on you direct players to more repeatable and dynamic content. Since the leveling curve is designed to be very logarithmic they're not far from the rest of the player base by the time the story completely dead ends. Further due to logarithmic leveling that means my limited time to produce content can have almost all be content aimed at the "max power tier" with myself targeting difficulty instead of level in development.

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  ghstwolf

Novice Member

Joined: 3/21/08
Posts: 386

7/05/12 9:50:54 PM#4

I really fought with using the unorthedox term "setting mode".  A more complete version of what I meant is:  How well does it match up with the actual gameplay?

I get that in terms of lore we can explain virtually anything, but a bad fit between the general gameplay and a specific element (especially a major element) will still feel quite out of place.  For example, sticking EvE's real time progression system into a hack 'n slash game isn't likely to be well received by players.  On a number of levels it just doesn't match the gameplay.  To a point I think the food for progression idea falls to a similar fate.

To me, food works better as a resource than as a means of progression. 

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 699

 
OP  7/07/12 3:09:57 PM#5

Now I understand your initial point.   The game is fundamentally designed to be based on crafting, to the point that there are no gear from anything such as loot/quest rewards/similar.   The closest thing to such loot rewards would be collecting a custom skin allowing you to change the graphical output of crafting a couple times(all other stats still identical).

But I honestly think that it will be hard to surprise players with how food is used since it's been used as soo many different ways  Timed-health-bar(resource), healing, temporary buffs, advancement, and even some weirder things like keys/quest objectives. In the end though people will associate food with the body things like meat for strength fish for intelligence are pretty easy for players to pick up.

Initially I thought I'd tried something like blessings.   But in the end the most useable way I could find to distribute them would be through random alters in the environment, and I don't want exploration to be forced to a greater focus because of the cost of rolling out new terrain.   Even procedural content takes about as much time as hand rolling stuff out by hand, resources are just shifted to other departments.  From experience I know it's easier to find someone with design ability than additional programmers, also it's easier to remove level/skill/art design work from a game if stuff goes sour. This system also required players to perform exploration to level, or implement trade-able tokens.

I also tried gems socketed into the body.  But players expect reuse and free respecting with such a system.  In my case I felt it devalued specialization, and further reduced crafting demand due to the free reuse. Food would cause revolving demand as people respec themselves. There was also a major downside that jewellery isn't as "rich" as food somewhat limiting my range on implementable mechanics. It also feels silly to have hundreds of "inconvenient" players be loaded with wealth.

________

To be honest I'm more concerned about people's opinions on leveling up ONLY by using crafted items(calling it food is really just a token term), whether crafted by yourself or traded with someone else.

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  ghstwolf

Novice Member

Joined: 3/21/08
Posts: 386

7/07/12 11:35:09 PM#6

To answer you're main concern, I wouldn't be interested under the conditions layed out.

Don't get me wrong, I'd be fine with such a system in a single player game.  However, in an MMO setting I just cannot see that working out.  It's a matter of the underlying economy within the game.  Single player games generally can set the market pretty well, MMOs can rarely control a market well enough to tie progression to it.

An MMO often has 2 disperate markets, the NPC and the player run.  The player run market often runs at insane inflation rates (prices escalate), while the dev controled market is usually stagnent.  The disparity between those 2 economies is hugely important, and the "sweet spot" is small and difficult to maintain.  I suspect that reality is why so many games seem to avoid including meaningful markets.  Perhaps that is simply a business choice, the marketing trolls run their spreadsheets and place no real importance on a quality economy.  To be honest, a good economy is unlikely to show up as a major factor for moving units or continuing subs.  I'm pretty sure the upkeep is expensive enough that it makes much more sense to largely ignore it and add more recognizable content.

This isn't to question your ingenuity for overcoming the myriad of issues that plague in-game economies, or your perseverence in managing it.  At the same time I am quite skeptical that the issues can be solved in a satisfactory manner to couple it to so directly to another major system.

  Disdena

Novice Member

Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 1098

7/09/12 9:52:11 PM#7

I kind of like the idea. I don't think there's any big problem with an MMO using food as progression. One of the main issues that I see is that you can easily buy levels with currency. A level 1 alt could take a modest amount of money to the auction house and sit down to a meal of 600 pork chops, instantly finishing the trip to max level.

You might want to look at Kingdom of Loathing for inspiration. Levels are entirely based on your stats (your main stat, actually) so as a Sauceror you would gain a level when your Mysticality reaches a certain threshhold. And then your level only determines which quests and areas are available and which spells you can learn. You gain stats by winning in combat, but you can also gain (or lose) them by eating food, drinking alcohol, and using consumable items. You are restricted to a certain amount of these items per day, but then again you're also limited to a certain number of combats per day too. The daily restrictions definitely reduce the ability to powerlevel a friend or an alt with mass amounts of top quality food.

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 699

 
OP  7/14/12 7:44:58 PM#8

The system is purposefully designed to allow someone to get to max level by doing "anything" profitable(IE increase market value).   I do see some negatives: player kneejerk reactions, inflation, farming(even from normal play), and plenty of things I haven't thought of.

To be honest I'm aiming more for leveling to be more based on changing how you approach dungeon problems. Bludgeoning, swording, blasting, healing, or mini-gaming your way out(climbing/bribery). To be honest I can't afford the time/cash for the level of content required for a normal level 1 to X, I'm aiming for a short curve(20-50% gain in power) to have players choose difficulty level(0-150% depending on the area). Basically the goal is to have all content I've ever made/commissioned be "gainful for a player" no matter how long the player has been in game.

I feel that the above solves most inflation problems, since the player doesn't spend the first 20+ hours of their time leveling in content that is designed to blatantly have an uncompetitive level of profit. The inflation that I would be fighting against would be play from outliers, if such play is worth stoping.

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher