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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why is 'instanced' a modern development?

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144 posts found
  znaiika

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/12
Posts: 203

4/11/13 4:48:19 PM#121
We have instaced games, because of limititions, like polygon budget, then also, behaves from different people, some are good, but many are bad.
  RajCaj

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/11/08
Posts: 684

4/11/13 5:35:07 PM#122
Originally posted by Lucioon

The problem isn't that Instance is an Modern development technique.

The problem is that when Nodes and Resources aren't instanced, people complain, and they complain with their wallets.

When people complain with Wallets, Instances gets put in. It was an necessary Evil in a sense of the word.

In FFXI, when I found an Node not already taken, it was awesome, I feel a small achievement that propels me forward and looking for more of the nodes. But when it was camped 24/7 it started to become tedious and boring and it makes me angry.

There should be balances in them, yet many developers takes the Instance way out. Because its easier, and its fault proof.

In FFXI , Named Mobs are also camped, but when you do get 1 and managed to kill it and still receive no loot, yes, it was tedious and it angers many.

The key is balance, and balance takes time, and resources to find.

So why not take the easier, proven way out, and just make stuff instanced, so everyone can get to it.

I prefer Balance , the balance between Anger and happiness. But really who would spend the time to do it.

It's important to understand who your target audience is, and what is the mission statement of your project.

For instance, Lineage 2 is an open world, instanceless (for the most part) game with an open PvP system.  It's also a very resource dependent game (monster loot).  Because there isn't a private instanced zone that drops materials needed to craft a particular weapon, players have to compete over that territory.

Because clans are stronger than the singluar, players gather and form clans to increase their ability to compete for said territory.  Sometimes competeing clans will join as an alliance & set up fair agreements on who gets to farm there and when.....sometimes they fight over it.  Either way, it creates social interaction, and dynamic player generated content.....things that will hold you to a game much longer than running the same instance 50 times to complete a set of armor.  (IF thats the kind of game your looking for)

However, if you have a game that doesn't focus on the social element, and more towards action combat....then the scenario you present will cause issues (if there is no supporting subsystems to take advantage of that resource constraint)

  Gyrus

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/20/07
Posts: 2324

4/11/13 7:21:32 PM#123
Originally posted by Purutzil

An instance does serveral important things. 

1.) Provides an environment clean from disruptions allowing a full game experience. This means allowing for players to 'run through' say a dungeon without everything being dead and farmed before the bosses just as a rough example

...

3.) Allows for 'events' that would be impossible in an MMO setting, allowing for more story to be drive in game much like a Singleplayer game would despite being in a MMO setting that can't do that.

...

I was just reviewing the thread and thought I would comment a bit more on these two points.

These are often points raised by Devs to justify instancing - but IMHO they are not always valid.

It is possible to have open world dungeons (non-instanced) and locations where the monsters aren't all dead and players do get the 'full experience'.

It's a question of "Player Density" and that is something that can be planned and controlled (to a degree) by good design.

What that means is making sure that no one area or questline is overpopulated.  You can do this by not focusing on a single story line which brings all players to the same location at the same time or character level.  Quest hubs and the demand for shorter travel times (with fast travel options provided) only serve to increase player density.

Players who have ever played 'open' games will notice that at certain population levels the game seems to 'work' and have a better feel about it?

For example The Chronicles of Spellborn in the last year (?) before it closed had a player density that meant you could move a bit away from the towns and feel like you were in the wilderness.   In the PvP zones the number of players meant that encounters were rare enough to be exciting - not frustrating.  The game had open world dungeons and the player density when I played was at the point where you would sometimes meet other players and parties but it wasn't a certainty.  Sometimes you would walk in on a fight and could assist people from other groups and different houses under an unofficial truce.   It really had a wild west feel to it.  

Vanguard at the moment also feels about right to me (although I haven't traveled far yet)

If you travel to zones like Evendim or Forochel in LotRO you get the same experience.

You find quest lines off the main story and locations that aren't being stomped on by all the powerlevelers just trying to get to level X-ty nine.

I have heard that in WoW there are some old locations and quest lines about that offer the same feel (don't play WoW - but some story about a haunted town and the ghost of a little girl?)

So, to me it's a question of design.  If you plan to have a large open world and encourage players to write their own story - not all simply follow a single quest line like lemmings - then you can reduce the pressure on dungeons and locations.

Nothing says irony like spelling ideot wrong.

  TheJoda

Novice Member

Joined: 8/12/10
Posts: 492

"Yes...... that's a Duck Staff of D00M!!!"

4/11/13 7:25:51 PM#124
......Train to zone in!!!!!!!!           <-----that is why instanced dungens suck, you will never hear that =(

....Being Banned from MMORPG's forums since 2010, for Trolling the Trolls!!!

  Aelious

Elite Member

Joined: 9/27/11
Posts: 2539

World > Quest Progression

4/11/13 10:02:34 PM#125
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Axehilt

 
MMOs aren't "supposed" to be anything.  Games as a whole WILL be whatever the market pushes them towards.  And if a game is poor at delivering fun (the primary purpose of gaming) then it will wither while other games thrive, and more games like the other games will be made.

This ^^^. They are just entertainment products, competing with other entertainment products in the market place. The fact that many complains that modern MMO are not "supposed" to be like this .. is proof enough.

Holding onto old, tried and failed ideas .... i suppose .. is human nature. But no matter how hard one screams, if the market doesn to respond, you won't see anything beyond niche.

 

The market is responding by the wave of "old, tried and failed ideas" coming

  Aelious

Elite Member

Joined: 9/27/11
Posts: 2539

World > Quest Progression

4/11/13 10:49:47 PM#126
Originally posted by Axehilt
Originally posted by Aelious
Axehilt

Having to wait x amount of time for a respawn is different than being griefed. If you're griefed you report the person and is a different subject. My point is that I think in an MMO is to be played with a "massive" amount of people, just like you do in real life. Along with that can come the same tribulations dealing with people but there is more value IMO if you're part of that rather than playing a game that is all about "me". I don't see the point really but that's just me.

I can see why people don't want to wait for anything and can even use the excuse of playing games to escape real life situations. MMOs are supposed to be different though. I think you are seeing why right now with the "in/out" nature of play. Consume and move on since there is no sentimental value to the time they spent around tons of people because they hardly had to interact.

Long story short I think seperation instancing can be detrimental to an MMO and I'm not talking about revenue.

Yeah but your opinion isn't what matters -- at least not if you can't present a set of logical reasons people are getting value for the cost they pay in fun.

Basically you have three options:

  1. Concede that people by and large don't perceive enough value to the cost in fun they play by sharing a world with others, and that your opinion that MMO stands on its own merits is a niche opinion.  (Others don't perceive zero value to a game being MMO, just not enough value.)
  2. Figure out ways of reducing the cost of sharing a world with others, like bosses which are instantly summoned and whose kill credit it shared (WOW does the latter nowadays and it helps considerably; no more "line" for the named mob.)
  3. Figure out ways to increase the value players get by paying that cost.  The ideas here will be less refined, as few games really achieve this in their open world.  At least not without also increasing their cost for playing and failing to address the main problem.
Because #1 is the reality of the situation right now, and the reason games are shifting away from shared MMO spaces, or at best are shifting towards things like GW2 where it's kinda not an MMO because everything feels the same no matter how many players are with you.
 
MMOs aren't "supposed" to be anything.  Games as a whole WILL be whatever the market pushes them towards.  And if a game is poor at delivering fun (the primary purpose of gaming) then it will wither while other games thrive, and more games like the other games will be made.

 

Those are really well thought out points but don't apply.  I'm not saying people cannot or should not play a game the way they want to, I want people to enjoy their time in game.  I'm also not going to try and quantify how many people want what and/or convince them something is more valuable than they think it is.  Value is subjective of course and there are plenty of people who like to play with a large amount of others already and do in titles that offer it, to those people there is value.  WoW might have a huge amount of players but that doesn't make thier model the "best" and doesn't change the medium an MMO offers.

 

I am speaking about the intention of MMOs and how ignoring keystone aspects, like the overuse of instacing, is a detriment to this intention.  The technological structure of them allows for a "massive" amount of people to play together. Not 4, 5, 10 or just 40 people and if this was the case early on developers would have saved a LOT of time and heartache.  I think there is a lot traded with the removal of "MMO" features.  The graphics are better and additional systems have been added but the core capability ignored.  My opinion of what "MMOs are supposed to be" is not due to my own want, it has to do with the capability of the technology and is completly unrelated to the business aspect of things.  It has nothing to do with popularity.  If it did I would bring up the change in developing MMOs we see now .

 

Again, I don't care how a person plays any game nor do I care that millions of people do exactly the same thing.  Hundreds of thousands like to play another way, at some point it becomes silly to use popularity as a crutch to justify a personal stance.

  Phelcher

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/01/09
Posts: 1133

4/12/13 1:47:19 AM#127
Instancing is not a modern development, it is a developer's crutch that they fall back on when they lack creativity...   Or, when developer's want to cut millions from their budget!

"No they are not charity. That is where the whales come in. (I play for free. Whales pays.) Devs get a business. That is how it works."


-Nariusseldon

  Instigator-Jones

Novice Member

Joined: 2/07/13
Posts: 520

4/12/13 3:42:13 AM#128

I honestly do not understand the vitriol against instancing. The ganking and farming issues aside, it would seem instancing provides the developer a way to tweak, adjust, and add portions of the game without shutting down the entire world. While some instancing seems a little excessive with wait times between emersion, others transition quite nicely. The ‘one world’ concept, I think, is great; but it would seem, historically and presently that you’d forfeit graphics or mechanics to get it. In this age of ‘realism’ and 80+ fps bragging, I don’t know anyone that would want that.

So, if you want one world, play an 8-bit hack and slash. Maybe we’ll see more streamlined instancing that the player barely sees in the near future.

  GroovyFlower

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/12/11
Posts: 1252

Skyrim

4/12/13 4:10:32 AM#129
Zero instance worked fine in AC2 and DFO dont see a problem with fighting over bosses or mats , it was never a problem in those games they handle it perfectly with randomness and  willingnessby players to wait in AC2 people wait for respawn.
  Gyrus

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/20/07
Posts: 2324

4/12/13 4:16:25 AM#130
Originally posted by Instigator-Jones

... While some instancing seems a little excessive with wait times between emersion, others transition quite nicely. The ‘one world’ concept, I think, is great; but it would seem, historically and presently that you’d forfeit graphics or mechanics to get it. In this age of ‘realism’ and 80+ fps bragging, I don’t know anyone that would want that.

So, if you want one world, play an 8-bit hack and slash. Maybe we’ll see more streamlined instancing that the player barely sees in the near future.

That's a big part of it too I guess.

What is important to the majority of gamers at the moment?

Is it story / plot?  And if so are they only interested in their own story or the story of the whole 'world'?

Or is it gameplay?  If so is it features and options or simply combat and DPS?

and how about graphics?  Do they want photo-realism or are they prepared to be given the general form and fill in the rest with their own imaginations?

Some answers support instancing - some don't.

I guess from the developers point of view it's a matter of matching up those answers with the customers they want and the content they can deliver.

Do they want casual customers?  Long term customers?  "Hard Core" gamers or players just passing through who will stay just long enough to pay for costs?

Nothing says irony like spelling ideot wrong.

  emperorwings

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/25/06
Posts: 1410

4/12/13 4:20:50 AM#131
Should all be open world

This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  Arakazi

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/09
Posts: 864

4/12/13 4:55:51 AM#132
I think instancing works for certain types of games - mainly pve based games where it can allow complex mechanics. Ideally I would like all dungeons being part of a persistant world, but these dungeons tend to be tank and spank and very little else.

<p align=center><a target=_blank href=http://www.nodiatis.com/personality.htm><img border=0 src=http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/11.jpg></a></p>RL][/CENTER]

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5725

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

4/12/13 5:44:56 AM#133
Originally posted by Gyrus
Originally posted by Purutzil

An instance does serveral important things. 

1.) Provides an environment clean from disruptions allowing a full game experience. This means allowing for players to 'run through' say a dungeon without everything being dead and farmed before the bosses just as a rough example

...

3.) Allows for 'events' that would be impossible in an MMO setting, allowing for more story to be drive in game much like a Singleplayer game would despite being in a MMO setting that can't do that.

...

I was just reviewing the thread and thought I would comment a bit more on these two points.

These are often points raised by Devs to justify instancing - but IMHO they are not always valid.

It is possible to have open world dungeons (non-instanced) and locations where the monsters aren't all dead and players do get the 'full experience'.

It's a question of "Player Density" and that is something that can be planned and controlled (to a degree) by good design.

What that means is making sure that no one area or questline is overpopulated.  You can do this by not focusing on a single story line which brings all players to the same location at the same time or character level.  Quest hubs and the demand for shorter travel times (with fast travel options provided) only serve to increase player density.

Players who have ever played 'open' games will notice that at certain population levels the game seems to 'work' and have a better feel about it?

For example The Chronicles of Spellborn in the last year (?) before it closed had a player density that meant you could move a bit away from the towns and feel like you were in the wilderness.   In the PvP zones the number of players meant that encounters were rare enough to be exciting - not frustrating.  The game had open world dungeons and the player density when I played was at the point where you would sometimes meet other players and parties but it wasn't a certainty.  Sometimes you would walk in on a fight and could assist people from other groups and different houses under an unofficial truce.   It really had a wild west feel to it.  

Vanguard at the moment also feels about right to me (although I haven't traveled far yet)

If you travel to zones like Evendim or Forochel in LotRO you get the same experience.

You find quest lines off the main story and locations that aren't being stomped on by all the powerlevelers just trying to get to level X-ty nine.

I have heard that in WoW there are some old locations and quest lines about that offer the same feel (don't play WoW - but some story about a haunted town and the ghost of a little girl?)

So, to me it's a question of design.  If you plan to have a large open world and encourage players to write their own story - not all simply follow a single quest line like lemmings - then you can reduce the pressure on dungeons and locations.

This not "good design" its just having a scarce population. Even in Vanguard, which is all but dead, I encoutered other people frequently enough to run into cleared dungeons, and monsters spawning right on my face. Instanced content is guaranteed to be disruption free both toward the outside game world and within the instance. That rock solid guarantee is a big deal from a design stand point and it allows you to do more profound events and encounters within the instance.

And the "own story vs lemmings" is a false dichotomy, so just leave it.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Gyrus

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/20/07
Posts: 2324

4/12/13 8:43:39 AM#134
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Gyrus
...

So, to me it's a question of design.  If you plan to have a large open world and encourage players to write their own story - not all simply follow a single quest line like lemmings - then you can reduce the pressure on dungeons and locations.

This not "good design" its just having a scarce population. Even in Vanguard, which is all but dead, I encoutered other people frequently enough to run into cleared dungeons, and monsters spawning right on my face. Instanced content is guaranteed to be disruption free both toward the outside game world and within the instance. That rock solid guarantee is a big deal from a design stand point and it allows you to do more profound events and encounters within the instance.

And the "own story vs lemmings" is a false dichotomy, so just leave it.

Actually "own story vs lemmings" is a misquotation.  Since what I actually said was "encourage players to write their own story - not all simply follow a single quest line..."

The bit about lemmings was "like lemmings" which is a metaphor.

 

But this bit about the false dichotomy intrigues me... so much in fact that I want to know what you think the other options are?

Nothing says irony like spelling ideot wrong.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

4/12/13 9:00:20 AM#135
Originally posted by Aelious
The market is responding by the wave of "old, tried and failed ideas" coming

Shall we start the next "MMOs are DED! Doom!!!" thread right now, or wait for the next "big title" flop to start the next wave of general despair?

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5725

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

4/12/13 10:29:38 AM#136
Originally posted by Gyrus
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Gyrus
...

So, to me it's a question of design.  If you plan to have a large open world and encourage players to write their own story - not all simply follow a single quest line like lemmings - then you can reduce the pressure on dungeons and locations.

This not "good design" its just having a scarce population. Even in Vanguard, which is all but dead, I encoutered other people frequently enough to run into cleared dungeons, and monsters spawning right on my face. Instanced content is guaranteed to be disruption free both toward the outside game world and within the instance. That rock solid guarantee is a big deal from a design stand point and it allows you to do more profound events and encounters within the instance.

And the "own story vs lemmings" is a false dichotomy, so just leave it.

Actually "own story vs lemmings" is a misquotation.  Since what I actually said was "encourage players to write their own story - not all simply follow a single quest line..."

The bit about lemmings was "like lemmings" which is a metaphor.

 

But this bit about the false dichotomy intrigues me... so much in fact that I want to know what you think the other options are?

It is a misquotation only if I used it as a quote. I shortened your strawman a bit. There is rarely a single questline, but set of questlines, many of them optional and/or parallel, and the whole "creating your own story" business is just fancy way of saying you're dicking about with no set objective. Its the way you phrase it, right?

No one is a lemming, and you're not creating your own story. Not really.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  RajCaj

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/11/08
Posts: 684

4/12/13 12:18:58 PM#137
Originally posted by Instigator-Jones

I honestly do not understand the vitriol against instancing. The ganking and farming issues aside, it would seem instancing provides the developer a way to tweak, adjust, and add portions of the game without shutting down the entire world. While some instancing seems a little excessive with wait times between emersion, others transition quite nicely. The ‘one world’ concept, I think, is great; but it would seem, historically and presently that you’d forfeit graphics or mechanics to get it. In this age of ‘realism’ and 80+ fps bragging, I don’t know anyone that would want that.

So, if you want one world, play an 8-bit hack and slash. Maybe we’ll see more streamlined instancing that the player barely sees in the near future.

Most of the vitriol comes from MMO gamers that are looking for that competitive nature that comes with "virtual world / persistant" type of gaming experiences.  When you introduce an exclusive hiding place for people to do their MMO business in, you take away that competitive / social dynamic.

As for having to trade off game performance for a less modular architecture...your statement is true, but I think we can do a bit better than 8-bit (Super Mario Brothers for NES).

Lineage 2 was a poorly architected MMO, that was one of the first games of it's kind to use the Unreal Engine on a massive scale.  The graphics aren't exactly state of the art, but for 2004, they were very nice...and still hold up reasonably well today.  I remember castle sieges drawing 100 vs 100 in the same general area without crashes and reasonable framerates (provided you had a decent rig & video settings tuned appropriately)

But to that point, I think most of the folks looking for those virtual world / socially competitive MMO gaming experiences place ultra realistic 80+ fps performance a little lower on the totem pole than meaningful competitive content.

I've made the argument for a long time......A MMO with a simple isometric POV / Diablo III level of quality graphics matched with a good sandbox UO type experience would do well within that niche of MMOs.

  RajCaj

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/11/08
Posts: 684

4/12/13 12:26:33 PM#138
Originally posted by Arakazi
I think instancing works for certain types of games - mainly pve based games where it can allow complex mechanics. Ideally I would like all dungeons being part of a persistant world, but these dungeons tend to be tank and spank and very little else.

Very true....

Before starting WOW in 2006, my previous MMO experience was primarily with persistant world games (Ultima Online, SWG, Lineage 2).  Dungeons in those games were essentially just another monster spawn point where you fought higher level monsters that dropped better loot.  Boss monsters were, for the most part, tank n' spank (because of the logistical issues with having to deal with other people / groups)

As such, my dungeon crawling experience in L2 consisted of sitting in some side room in a dungeon with a party killing the same monsters over and over again for hours at a time (for optimal XP gains & chance at better loot)

 

When I first played WOW, it was a really refreshing expeirence getting to participate in an actual dungeon crawl with a group of people where there was a start & finish....with more interactive Boss fights.  It was a nice change of pace.

 

BUT, the downfall with that model is that it eventually runs it's course and becomes just as mondain as the mindless monster farming in the persistant world dungeons.....only without the excitement associated with the competitive element (PvP opportunities over leveling / resource spots)

  Gyrus

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/20/07
Posts: 2324

4/12/13 7:19:02 PM#139
Originally posted by Quirhid
...

... There is rarely a single questline, but set of questlines, many of them optional and/or parallel, and the whole "creating your own story" business is just fancy way of saying you're dicking about with no set objective. Its the way you phrase it, right?

No one is a lemming, and you're not creating your own story. Not really.

 

There is often a single questline.  

And in many games the parallel questlines are simple variences based on the class / race you choose.  

For example in LotRO there are three starting areas (four if you know your way around) depending on your race.

And the missions in those areas are the same for any charcter that starts there.  Every once in a while you get called on to do a class quest... but then you end up back on the main quest line.

Ultimately you end up in Bree and talking to Aragorn in the Prancing Pony no matter which starting area you start in.  And off you go on the main quest line proper.

For many games - that's all there is.  True there might be the odd side quest chain of three to four quests - but to progress you have to continue with the main / race / class questline.

To be fair - in the case of many games that's how it is because there simply isn't the content to support anything else - because content costs Dev Time.

But in some games (again to use LotRO as an example) you can - if you want to get off the main questline to a degree.

In LotRO you can (at about Level 20) go exploring and find other zones off the main questline.  There will be links in those zones back to the main questline (sort of a designer's prompt: "Did you forget what you were supposed to be doing?  Are you a bit lost?  Go to visit this guy... and while you are there you should see that he has some other quests too.")  But you can to a degree "write your own story".  

And the point is - that away from the main questline there is less pressure on the dungeons.  Sure - sometimes you might run into others running around in the same area as you - doing the same quests and killing the same mobs - but honestly the further away from the "Fellowship" quests you get (main questline) the less this happens.  There are still lots of people there - but far better dispersed.  Lower Player Density.

Under those conditions instancing is mostly not necessary.

There will be players like RajCaj:

"As such, my dungeon crawling experience in L2 consisted of sitting in some side room in a dungeon with a party killing the same monsters over and over again for hours at a time (for optimal XP gains & chance at better loot)"

But the problem there is not a matter of instancing or not (players can and do repeat instanced dungeons too) but allowing players to farm the same resource over and over.  It also rests with the players, farming the game for stats rather than enjoying the experience for what it is supposed to be.  Instancing doesn't fix that either.

Nothing says irony like spelling ideot wrong.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20515

4/14/13 1:27:55 AM#140
Originally posted by emperorwings
Should all be open world

I am glad you do not dictate game design to all devs.

Obviously many disagree.

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