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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » No NPCs: Player Dependent Sandbox

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28 posts found

Novice Member

Joined: 9/08/11
Posts: 713

7/16/12 4:14:50 PM#21

The OP's description sounds alot like Mortal Online. But MO has some NPC's and doesnt have permadeath, it is full pvp-full loot though.


Advanced Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22588

7/16/12 4:15:50 PM#22
Originally posted by ReallyNow10

Depends upon what's going on.  You sort of had an unspoken guard duty in Shadowbane, where players hung out and sort of watched their player made town, guarding it against raids.

And shadowbane is a failure and close-down.

I suppose you could have a criminal element (NPC's and PC's alike) come out at night to try to raid shops and mug citizens (NPC's and PC's alike, hehe), and there could be bounties and a jail, and faction increases for upholding the law.

LOL ... and you have to sit in jail now when you play? What is next? You have to watch your toon sleeping?

And even if there is a criminal element, do i need to stand around 5 hours just to see that?

Remember, you don't always have to be the center of an RPG experience, "the hero", to enjoy a game world.  Some players will want flashier play, some will want to craft and set up shop.  All, I think, can appreciate the immsersion of a living breathing world.

This is the strangest argument. I don't know about you .. but i do not play a game to have a boring experience like standing guards for hours. A living breathing world is not guranteed to be fun & interesting. I would much rather have a fun game than a boring living world.

Living world is not the reason why i play a GAME. I highly doubt there is a big market for a "shop keeper" class. Count me out. If i want to stand around and make/sell stuff, i will open a lemonade stand in front of my house.

Now, I agree that voiding all NPC's might be a stretch, maybe have it so players can take up NPC duties from time to time, even if just to earn enough coin to make the difference for some item at the Auction House.

It is a BORING, bad game design to ask players to play NPCs. What is next? Sit there 8 hours as a shop keeper and run the cash register? Run a tavern and flip burgers?



Novice Member

Joined: 5/27/11
Posts: 463

7/16/12 5:54:25 PM#23

The problem with the whole Guard duty issue is that there's a big difference between 'not having to be the hero of the game' and 'having fun'. 


Most of us that were used to holding out against the Chinese in Shadowbane know that being relegated to watch a hold was really boring (and that reclusive healer in the back of your base, fresh out of his probation period, was ready to summon Shaxx the Traitor into your main hold).


I don't mind playing a non-heroic part.  I just would appreciate having a fun time with the game. 


Elite Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 8550

7/16/12 6:31:24 PM#24

If the player doesn't matter, why not remove all character-based progression entirely instead of bothering with the term "permadeath"?   Because if "the player doesn't matter" is the only rationale for permadeath, there's no point in even calling it permadeath.

In a general sense you're explaining Haven & Hearth (right down to the permadeath-which-doesn't-really-need-to-be-permadeath)  Extensive crafting system, nothing exists without players building it, no NPCs exist except monsters.  It's a great design, although the inclusion of PVP at all felt unnecessary (granted I never saw PVP once in the ~2 months I played.)  The actual implementation of H&H is a little shaky (weak (some would say terrible) graphics, weak net code) but the design itself is fun.

Another another rough part is the idea that the game would necessarily be "truly massive", or reflect Total War/etc.  To be truly massive the moment-to-moment gameplay would need to be crazy fun (H&H is most of the way there, but could be improved tremendously.)  As for chasing a similarity to Total War, you have to concede that it wouldn't be fun to play a single unit or a single builder in one city in Total War -- so the goal isn't really TW at all, except in sense of scale.

It's a frequent mistake to assume that because Game X where you control an entire nation is fun that creating Game Y where you're only one dude in that nation will be equally as fun (it can be true, but it means that as one dude you need at least as many types of interesting decisions as you had in Game X, which means entirely different gameplay.)

Players also have a desire for autonomy, which argues against the "play as a single unit in Total War" model but doesn't argue against H&H.  You're free to make your own isolated settlement by yourself, but you'll advance slower and be forced to take a mediocre generalized build instead of being able to really specialize your skills alongside others so that you all benefit from amazing skills.

"Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates


Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

7/16/12 6:39:17 PM#25
Originally posted by xDayx

The OP's description sounds alot like Mortal Online. But MO has some NPC's and doesnt have permadeath, it is full pvp-full loot though.

It has very poor production values as well though.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/14/04
Posts: 992

7/16/12 6:43:19 PM#26

Yeah, both Haven & Hearth and Xsyon are games made with ideas like in the OP. I very much enjoyed both games but it's also clear that we're looking at niche territory here.

It's a design that won't get a mass market and thus won't get a sizeable development budget. There can be good gameplay but polish, features and graphics will be less than what most MMO customers expect these days.

I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.


Elite Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 8550

7/16/12 6:57:32 PM#27
Originally posted by Larsa

Yeah, both Haven & Hearth and Xsyon are games made with ideas like in the OP. I very much enjoyed both games but it's also clear that we're looking at niche territory here.

It's a design that won't get a mass market and thus won't get a sizeable development budget. There can be good gameplay but polish, features and graphics will be less than what most MMO customers expect these days.

I think it's tricky to call these games niche.

The existing implementations aren't game-like enough.  If you made a game where building your settlement (or contributing to a larger one) had the moment-to-moment fun of a really good game, then that's going to be much more widely appealing.

Things like H&H and ATITD's crafting systems are the first step towards being stronger games (as sandboxes) because you don't just click a button and wait, you set a number of crafitng operations in motion which all have various durations and (a) there's gameplay to learning the timings so you can optimize your time and (b) there's enough of these different tasks that you're constantly in motion doing something.  Those are the first major steps to being a fun crafting-centric game.  The next steps are to really create entirely new gameplay around crafting.  It probably can't even feel like a crafting minigame, but rather it has to feel like crafting is a full game unto itself.

Certainly without that sort of gameplay innovation, they're a niche category.  But I think there's a ton of potential upside.

"Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates


Novice Member

Joined: 11/06/07
Posts: 456

7/16/12 6:58:46 PM#28

I'm pretty sure this game has been made...


It's called LIFE. Go outside. Take a stroll to your local market. Those aren't NPCs behind the counter. Head to the police station. Again, more player characters and not NPCs. Oh, and if you want you can test that perma-death idea too...



Geez... Way to lose sight of the purpose of a game. A real-life simulating game where you need masses of players to create the world and content also requires incentives to do such a thing and be entertaining to do it. All of the elements have to come together for a purpose and be fun. Many games have bits and pieces of what you've suggested. I know MO has been tossed out there. But another one similiar is EvE Online.

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