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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Exploration Zones: an alternative to Raiding?

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76 posts found
  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

1/10/13 12:12:02 PM#41
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by nariusseldon

The "exploring to make money" idea would not be very different than an infintie dungeon, except for the combat part. In fact, it would be more fun to throw in combat. Looking at generic landscape is not fun at all, even if there is a random treasure chest every 2 miles.

The "escape" from bad people idea is difficult in a MMO. In a MMO, you don't want to run away. You want to confront and defeat the bad people. So i doubt that will work.

Why does exploration need to be about combat?  Why not make combat something that happens when you aren't able to get around mobs without fighting them on the way to where you're going?  Why not make the good loot from exploration something that is found laying on the ground, rather than dropped by mobs?

I was more thinking the "good loot" is the mountain full of precious metals you find and then have to build your camp and dig your mining shafts/tunnels and then defend them from raiders and clear out the monsters you find in the dark caverns so you can keep gathering your minerals to create better weapons and armor and fortify your camp into a fort into a walled city etc. etc. etc.

The good loot is IN the ground, after all :)

The "treasure" is what you use to make the stuff you need.

The reason to fight is to keep your control of the treasures.

The reason to "escape" for the bad people is find additional sources of resources instead of having to fight to take over one someone else has already claimed.

But because you can't just teleport around all across the world you can really only explore out so far before you're "off the map" enough if you get into a tight spot you have no chance of making it work - and no one to trade with even if you are successful.

The "civilized world" expands as far as their are players willing to find something versus those more interested in fighting over and/or working with what's already established.

Now Playing: Destiny

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12276

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

1/10/13 12:14:12 PM#42
Originally posted by BadSpock

I was more thinking the "good loot" is the mountain full of precious metals you find and then have to build your camp and dig your mining shafts/tunnels and then defend them from raiders and clear out the monsters you find in the dark caverns so you can keep gathering your minerals to create better weapons and armor and fortify your camp into a fort into a walled city etc. etc. etc.

The good loot is IN the ground, after all :)

The "treasure" is what you use to make the stuff you need.

The reason to fight is to keep your control of the treasures.

The reason to "escape" for the bad people is find additional sources of resources instead of having to fight to take over one someone else has already claimed.

But because you can't just teleport around all across the world you can really only explore out so far before you're "off the map" enough if you get into a tight spot you have no chance of making it work - and no one to trade with even if you are successful.

The "civilized world" expands as far as their are players willing to find something versus those more interested in fighting over and/or working with what's already established.

I want to subscribe to your newsletter, sir.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19793

1/10/13 12:14:20 PM#43
Originally posted by BadSpock
 

I was more thinking the "good loot" is the mountain full of precious metals you find and then have to build your camp and dig your mining shafts/tunnels and then defend them from raiders and clear out the monsters you find in the dark caverns so you can keep gathering your minerals to create better weapons and armor and fortify your camp into a fort into a walled city etc. etc. etc.

The good loot is IN the ground, after all :)

The "treasure" is what you use to make the stuff you need.

The reason to fight is to keep your control of the treasures.

The reason to "escape" for the bad people is find additional sources of resources instead of having to fight to take over one someone else has already claimed.

But because you can't just teleport around all across the world you can really only explore out so far before you're "off the map" enough if you get into a tight spot you have no chance of making it work - and no one to trade with even if you are successful.

The "civilized world" expands as far as their are players willing to find something versus those more interested in fighting over and/or working with what's already established.

Then teh fun gameplay is to set up camp and defend it. The "exploring and finding it" part is just filler, and non-fun. Why not just skip the exploring, and go to the defending part?

And who say you cannot teleport? It is a game. Anything can happen. I bet (at least for me) it will be more fun to add a button to say "hit this and you will be teleport to teh new depsoite, and now you job is to set up camp and defend".

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

1/10/13 12:15:11 PM#44

Oh and another reason why Minecraft works?

Night and day.

You only have X amount of time to "get ready" and defend yourself before the night comes and the world gets a whole lot more dangerous.

Would work in a MMO too - used to be that way in the classic MMOs.

You could spend the day exploring and pushing the boundries of the "known game world" but you don't stop and set up camp or find a safe place to hide/log out before night comes you are in real DANGER and if you're "off the grid" a death means going allll the way back to where you started your exploration adventure.

These kinds of mechanics WORK and could be put into a MMO environment.

Now Playing: Destiny

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13399

1/10/13 12:19:29 PM#45

Ultimately, I think that in order to make random content work, you need a lot of stuff to be player-generated.  The trick is to do this without giving players ways to unbalance things.

Suppose that you had a highly versatile character-creation system, both in graphics and in function.  And then part of the terms of services agreement is that the game can take your character and use it for monsters that you fight out in the game world.  If you can get players to make a huge variety of characters, then now you've got a huge variety of monsters for players to go fight.  While it could be disturbing to fight your doppleganger, imagine if there were multiple servers and characters created on one server could only appear as monsters on other servers.

Now, a company may need to filter this somewhat, and not stick everything that players create into the game world.  But a ten second look at what a player has done for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down is a lot faster than the half an hour that it took the player to create and customize his character.

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

1/10/13 12:19:31 PM#46
Originally posted by nariusseldon

Then teh fun gameplay is to set up camp and defend it. The "exploring and finding it" part is just filler, and non-fun. Why not just skip the exploring, and go to the defending part?

And who say you cannot teleport? It is a game. Anything can happen. I bet (at least for me) it will be more fun to add a button to say "hit this and you will be teleport to teh new depsoite, and now you job is to set up camp and defend".

You ever played Minecraft?

One of the best parts is digging through a wall and all of a sudden "BAM" a wide open cavern FILLED with monsters and precious metals.

Securing it from danger and building the neccessary utility to fully explore and mine out the area is a hell of a lot of fun too.

But in a MMO, the resources wouldn't be "one and done" as they are in Minecraft.

They'd be more like resources nodes are in MMOs - they respawn.

Hell a big part of the gameplay could be creating the tools/facilities and then STAFFING them with players/NPCs in order to gather resources at the highest possible rate.

Like if a particular resource area has a gather rate of 10 unit per minute you'd need the facilities, tools, and personel to gather at 10 units per minute which would require skill levels of X and / or level Y in that Trade etc. etc.

And you'd have reason to defend your investment into the area and continue to build it up.

That right there serves as a limiting factors to the exploration elements, and creates "content" just by giving you, the player, resources to gather and the tools to gather them and build infrastructure to maintain them and increase efficiency.

Now Playing: Destiny

  NaughtyP

Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/11
Posts: 795

1/10/13 12:21:41 PM#47
I'd love an ever-changing, ever-expanding world. Even if I couldn't impact change that much myself, just the idea of a game world changing in some way makes the explorer in me happy. At this point, I want my MMO experience to be as unpredictable as possible!

Enter a whole new realm of challenge and adventure.

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

1/10/13 12:22:24 PM#48
Originally posted by Quizzical

Ultimately, I think that in order to make random content work, you need a lot of stuff to be player-generated.  The trick is to do this without giving players ways to unbalance things.

Yeah, that's really what it comes down to.

Random generated without player made means repeatable missions and such like we've seen in SWG, EvE, and they do get super boring for most people after a time.

But the answer to longevity IS always going to be "other people" but the big problem I think is that most if not all sandboxes have really only explored the possibilities of giving us access to "other people" by poking them with a sharp stick or shooting at them.

Cooperative sandbox elements are of PARAMOUNT importance, and that aspect of sandbox has been VASTLY underdeveloped.

Now Playing: Destiny

  Ice-Queen

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 2435

"Always borrow money from a pessimist. They won't expect it back."

1/10/13 12:28:40 PM#49
I'm all for exploration, but going somewhere just for xp or hopping around in the air on blocks to do puzzles is not my idea of exploration. There were plenty of places to explore in games like Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, and Dark Age of Camelot, that was part of the fun, roaming about and seeing areas off the beaten path you hadn't seen before, I didn't need a reward for finding it, the reward was finding those wonderful places.

What happens when you log off your characters????.....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFQhfhnjYMk
Dark Age of Camelot

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

1/10/13 12:31:11 PM#50

Most of the time in the MMO world these days if you see another players it's all about "what can this person do for me?"

the next step of evolution in this genre is going to be a game where people start thinking "OK, what can we do for each other?"

But how do you get there?

I think exploration and discovery only goes so far - you have to have reason to work together and build together - and unless you are the rare couple % of people that want to climb the mountain just because it's there, people need reason to climb it.

 

Now Playing: Destiny

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

1/10/13 12:33:09 PM#51
Originally posted by Tayah
I'm all for exploration, but going somewhere just for xp or hopping around in the air on blocks to do puzzles is not my idea of exploration. There were plenty of places to explore in games like Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, and Dark Age of Camelot, that was part of the fun, roaming about and seeing areas off the beaten path you hadn't seen before, I didn't need a reward for finding it, the reward was finding those wonderful places.

Well, back then worlds were built not just zones.

MMOs designed with zones will always be checklists to complete when talking about "exploration."

Now Playing: Destiny

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13399

1/10/13 12:49:22 PM#52
Originally posted by BadSpock
Originally posted by Tayah
I'm all for exploration, but going somewhere just for xp or hopping around in the air on blocks to do puzzles is not my idea of exploration. There were plenty of places to explore in games like Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, and Dark Age of Camelot, that was part of the fun, roaming about and seeing areas off the beaten path you hadn't seen before, I didn't need a reward for finding it, the reward was finding those wonderful places.

Well, back then worlds were built not just zones.

MMOs designed with zones will always be checklists to complete when talking about "exploration."

Every large game world is split into zones.  In fact, they're typically split into zones in several different ways.  It doesn't have to have a sign posted saying, "You have crossed a zone boundary!"  Zone boundaries can be invisible to the player, as they often are.

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

1/10/13 12:57:53 PM#53
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by BadSpock
Originally posted by Tayah
I'm all for exploration, but going somewhere just for xp or hopping around in the air on blocks to do puzzles is not my idea of exploration. There were plenty of places to explore in games like Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, and Dark Age of Camelot, that was part of the fun, roaming about and seeing areas off the beaten path you hadn't seen before, I didn't need a reward for finding it, the reward was finding those wonderful places.

Well, back then worlds were built not just zones.

MMOs designed with zones will always be checklists to complete when talking about "exploration."

Every large game world is split into zones.  In fact, they're typically split into zones in several different ways.  It doesn't have to have a sign posted saying, "You have crossed a zone boundary!"  Zone boundaries can be invisible to the player, as they often are.

Well you know what I meant Quiz...

The typical MMO zone with tons of invisible walls and impassible barriers and 2-3 entry/exit points.

Exploration is always a checklist in those types of zones.

Doesn't matter if there is a loading screen or not between areas.

Now Playing: Destiny

  Ortwig

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/20/12
Posts: 1047

 
OP  1/10/13 6:46:33 PM#54
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by nariusseldon

The "exploring to make money" idea would not be very different than an infintie dungeon, except for the combat part. In fact, it would be more fun to throw in combat. Looking at generic landscape is not fun at all, even if there is a random treasure chest every 2 miles.

The "escape" from bad people idea is difficult in a MMO. In a MMO, you don't want to run away. You want to confront and defeat the bad people. So i doubt that will work.

 

Why does exploration need to be about combat?  Why not make combat something that happens when you aren't able to get around mobs without fighting them on the way to where you're going?  Why not make the good loot from exploration something that is found laying on the ground, rather than dropped by mobs?

Because just looking at stuff .. unless you dump nice art resource into .. is boring.

Now .. making avoid mob a gameplay element is fine (essentially stealth). But again stealth is not exploration. Either combat or stealth is fine with me, although i think both are better down in dungeons because there will be walls, and other terrain features to enhance either combat or steath mechanics.

I don't think anyone is saying there wouldn't be any combat.  The great thing about the idea is that you could face combat at any moment, possibly even PvP combat.  A raid or dungeon (ruin?) could be tucked into the zone at some place as well.  The thing that the idea does bring, however is variety.  You might need to solve a puzzle at one point, defend a location at another, deal with terrain effects in another, retrieve resource nodes in another.  Someone else stated somewhere else that no one would travel to the zone unless there were great rewards -- there certainly would be those as well, but there simply wouldn't be the one true path to them (e.g grind and repeat) evey time.  

 

By the way, great discussion and ideas on this.  For those interested, here is the original thread:

http://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?t=59715

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/10/13 7:40:20 PM#55


Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by lizardbones If the content is instanced, it's pretty easy. It would be a lot like current dungeons and raids work now. Players would go to the entrance, or queue up and go.

That's how this part of the conversation started. :)  I presented that it would require phased or instanced content to do what the OP wanted. Quizzical then went on about procedurally generated terrain. There's a lot more to world building and game design  - especially, one with features the OP is suggesting - than the randomized content and the map it all sits on. If open zones are the choice, then as players move through the area, new zones are added at the edge of existing zones. As the puzzles are completed, zones gain a fast travel system, so that players aren't walking through 100 "cleared" zones to get to new territory. Maybe give players the ability to own the generated zones and fight over ownership of zones.
But at that point, aren't you getting into a disjointed patch of levels in some puzzle game and moving further away from the OP's interest in exploring a world?  
 



Stitching the zones together would be a challenge, but I don't think it would be the biggest challenge. Minecraft adds extra space one 16x16 chunk at a time, but the terrain does not stick to the 16x16 square rule. It should be possible to add larger zones to an existing map in a similar way.

I keep bringing Minecraft up because they've done a lot of the same kinds of things being discussed. If Mojang hasn't, then people writing Bukkit mods have. Bukkit mods like TerrainControl and Dungeon could almost create what the OP is talking about, or at least a framework that could be built up to what the OP is talking about.

I think it's better to use the term "Procedurally Generated" rather than "Random". Minecraft really is random, and sometimes it shows. You get some really neat stuff, but you also get some really nonsensical stuff. The OP's idea would need to be a lot more procedure, and a lot less random. It would be a good bit of work, adding things that could show up, making sure they make sense and then testing them, but what you'd get is a much larger area of content added to the game.

I like the open world idea myself. Especially if players can earn the right to own chunks of land and possibly defend that land from other players. Maybe they can setup rest stops on their land or something similar. Things like this aren't really viable using instanced content.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 6034

1/10/13 7:48:02 PM#56
Originally posted by Ortwig

So, I saw the thread on end game content here, and it reminded me of a post I saw over on the TSW forums that got a lot of interest.  So an idea about what SPECIFIC kinds of things could be designed instead of, in addition to, or encompassing raids, that would be more interesting (and possibly more story based, and aimed at factions, groups and PvP) than simple gear grinding.  Posted below -- I though there was a lot of opportunity with the idea, and got many more ideas going...  thoughts?  flames?  nukes?  ;)

Posted by: ravnicor

Ok, so a lot of flak has been flying around about raids lately. Most of it has been along the lines of "herp derp raids are dumb/awesome". But the nay sayers don't really give a lot in the way of an alternative to raids other than "more missions please". Which is fine, but it isn't the time sink required to keep an mmo running for end game content.

So, here is a time sink option for the non raiding community. I lay no claim to this idea, funcom may user or ignore this as they please.

Exploration Zones. Throw together a zone with a crap ton of hidden lore and places to explore. We'll start with an artic zone as the first example:

Three small camps, one for each faction. Camps have a small number of repeatable quests that give you tokens. Spend tokens on exploration gear. Like flashlights, batteries, explosives to clear blocked tunnels, flares and markers. Don't allow maps or coordinates in the zone. Have a stacking timed debuff (like the wind gave you in Hell Fallen, but takes a good 10 minutes to kill you). Slow the debuff with winter gear, clear it with thermal packs. Have PBAOE items to encourage group exploration. Now, imagine investigation or archeology quests in this place. Exploring tunnels in the frozen mountains, finding ruins and broken cities in the deep places of the earth. Finding shards of lore that can be assembled with special crafting kits to learn unspeakable knowledge. Maybe a rare spawn mob or two. 

Think about it. Near infinite progression.

Explore the Hell Dimensions.
Agartha.
The Dream Scape.
The Artic Tundra (ala Mountains of Madness)
Maybe even explore Astral Space (like the animanaught last boss in Facility)

The possibilities are quite literally endless.

So, does anyone want to go exploring with me?

Still confused about how this is an alternative to raiding.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12276

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

1/10/13 8:12:11 PM#57
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by lizardbones If the content is instanced, it's pretty easy. It would be a lot like current dungeons and raids work now. Players would go to the entrance, or queue up and go.

That's how this part of the conversation started. :)  I presented that it would require phased or instanced content to do what the OP wanted. Quizzical then went on about procedurally generated terrain. There's a lot more to world building and game design  - especially, one with features the OP is suggesting - than the randomized content and the map it all sits on. If open zones are the choice, then as players move through the area, new zones are added at the edge of existing zones. As the puzzles are completed, zones gain a fast travel system, so that players aren't walking through 100 "cleared" zones to get to new territory. Maybe give players the ability to own the generated zones and fight over ownership of zones.
But at that point, aren't you getting into a disjointed patch of levels in some puzzle game and moving further away from the OP's interest in exploring a world?  
 


Stitching the zones together would be a challenge, but I don't think it would be the biggest challenge.

Agreed. It's not a challenge.  Not a challenge or even a concern compared the the greater task of managing the continuity and gameplay experience of a persistent multiplayer world. That's what I'm trying to tell you but you keep going back to drawing terrain. That is the simplest and least worrisome part.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19793

1/10/13 8:34:39 PM#58
Originally posted by BadSpock

Oh and another reason why Minecraft works?

Night and day.

You only have X amount of time to "get ready" and defend yourself before the night comes and the world gets a whole lot more dangerous.

Would work in a MMO too - used to be that way in the classic MMOs.

You could spend the day exploring and pushing the boundries of the "known game world" but you don't stop and set up camp or find a safe place to hide/log out before night comes you are in real DANGER and if you're "off the grid" a death means going allll the way back to where you started your exploration adventure.

These kinds of mechanics WORK and could be put into a MMO environment.

None of this has anything to do with exploration. It would work as well without exploration at all.

  Ortwig

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/20/12
Posts: 1047

 
OP  1/10/13 8:40:16 PM#59
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by lizardbones If the content is instanced, it's pretty easy. It would be a lot like current dungeons and raids work now. Players would go to the entrance, or queue up and go.

That's how this part of the conversation started. :)  I presented that it would require phased or instanced content to do what the OP wanted. Quizzical then went on about procedurally generated terrain. There's a lot more to world building and game design  - especially, one with features the OP is suggesting - than the randomized content and the map it all sits on. If open zones are the choice, then as players move through the area, new zones are added at the edge of existing zones. As the puzzles are completed, zones gain a fast travel system, so that players aren't walking through 100 "cleared" zones to get to new territory. Maybe give players the ability to own the generated zones and fight over ownership of zones.
But at that point, aren't you getting into a disjointed patch of levels in some puzzle game and moving further away from the OP's interest in exploring a world?  
 


Stitching the zones together would be a challenge, but I don't think it would be the biggest challenge.

Agreed. It's not a challenge.  Not a challenge or even a concern compared the the greater task of managing the continuity and gameplay experience of a persistent multiplayer world. That's what I'm trying to tell you but you keep going back to drawing terrain. That is the simplest and least worrisome part.

The hard part would be creating chunks of content that make sense together.  Random map making is not really the full idea, but rather varied *rational* content within the context of the world at hand.  I'm thinking you would place together a module/chunk/node -- it could be a village, a piece of challenging terrain, a weather event, a puzzle, a raid or dungeon, a mob encounter.  But the various pieces within that module is where the variation would take place.  These pieces could be the kinds of things that get updated in a DLC with new challenges and could always be mixed and matched to create challenges that aren't the same every time.  The hard part is getting that rational piece down so it's not just, as you say, a random terrain generator.

  Ortwig

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/20/12
Posts: 1047

 
OP  1/10/13 8:41:31 PM#60
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by BadSpock

Oh and another reason why Minecraft works?

Night and day.

You only have X amount of time to "get ready" and defend yourself before the night comes and the world gets a whole lot more dangerous.

Would work in a MMO too - used to be that way in the classic MMOs.

You could spend the day exploring and pushing the boundries of the "known game world" but you don't stop and set up camp or find a safe place to hide/log out before night comes you are in real DANGER and if you're "off the grid" a death means going allll the way back to where you started your exploration adventure.

These kinds of mechanics WORK and could be put into a MMO environment.

None of this has anything to do with exploration. It would work as well without exploration at all.

I think the term "exploration" refers to traversing unknown terrain.  Unknown in the sense that you're not sure from encounter to encounter what challenge you will run into.

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