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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: The War Against Down Time

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60 posts found
  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17765

6/14/14 2:30:12 PM#41
Originally posted by Loktofeit

 

Your bus stop example is real life. Yes, standing on a line or at a bus stop you may meet others and socialize. Waiting for the TI boat in L2 or standing online for your turn at a boss kill in AC are places where people socialized. Yes, that will happen. Yes, periods of low activity to allow for engagement are necessary. I have said that already. 

My suggestions are to have more support for smaller communities within the game community to let groups form and grow and to offer more features with low-activity mechanics so that both hands and minds are more available to socialize.

Your suggestion seems to be that devs should create scenarios where the entertainment that people are paying for is forced to a stop to get people to socialize. That seems like less than optimal design, but it seems to me you are of the mind that it is a necessary evil.  Am I reading you correctly?

 

It doesnt' make sense to suggest that removing moments of  "downtime social activity"   falsely attributed to the lack of socializating.

Can you link to where you are quoting me from here?

 

"I thought ESO was supposed to allow people of like mind to be in the same game instance? guess that didn't happen. "

Do you have a link to that? I never knew that was a plan of theirs.

 

I already included it in my snipped:

What has happened though is that MMOs have changed in many other ways at the same time that downtime faded away, and many have falsely attributed the lack of socialization to the removal of downtime.

You say the lack of socilization is falsely attributed to the removal of downtime. I'm saying that those were the moments "in the world" where socializing happened and by removing them you removed a chunk of socializing.

example the dotted lines are active play and the segments of downtime are between |   these |

------------- | downtime socializing | --------------| downtime socializing | --------------| downtime socializing | ----- etc

now remove that downtime and the opportunities to soicalize without replacing it with anything and you have:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- etc

 

I dont' see downtime as a necessary "evil" because I don't view it as evil. You do. And I respect that but that is where people interacted. My bus stop example may be "real life" but so is my waiting for the boat to talking island. You are sitting at your keyboard, you see other players, you can either get up and walk away or make an observation because it's a shared experience. That gets you talking with people. Suddenly someone says "anyone trying to kill X boss? I am and need help". That gives people an opportunity to join.

As far as ESO goes, that was common knowledge and one of their selling points.

Here is a thread on this site talking about it. I'm sure others here can chime in as it was supposed to be a big deal.

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/821/view/forums/thread/408710/Initial-survey.html

another thread where it's mentioned though it was presented in some interviews. Will have to find them.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/elderscrollsonline/comments/1vdsa4/rp_shard_concerns_on_the_megaserver/

 

article on this site:

There’s even going to be a survey in game that will let you choose what type of player you are and then it will group you with like-minded folks in the game’s many areas.

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/821/feature/6821/Stuff-We-Didnt-Play-PVP-and-Social-Integration.html

  ishist

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/27/06
Posts: 143

6/14/14 5:30:05 PM#42

The best implementation of non-downtime downtime was the entertainer classes in Star Wars Galaxies. The class was built to hang out in cantinas playing music, dancing, and chatting. Player would come into the cantina and hang out, chatting with the entertainers and each other, all the while slowly getting buffed from watching the entertainers. The entertainers made a living from tips given by the folks that visited the bar.

I think LOTRO and a few other games could make this work just as well with their instrument systems if listening gave buffs that built up strength and duration the longer you sat and listened.

Ironically, the "Bard" classes in most MMOs are just weak rogue/mages with a new paint job, when they could fulfill a similar role to SWGs entertainers.

It's always boggled my mind that no other game has taken advantage of this type of mechanic, as I recall the entertainer was a fairly popular role to play.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. - Douglas Adams

  Robbgobb

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/03/03
Posts: 434

6/14/14 7:36:59 PM#43

Did not read everything. I have to say that the world has changed. Games, money, and time are all different plus the speed which most people do things.

 

THE PAST

Corpse runs were something I never hated. I disliked going after them sometimes (lava) but overall was not horrible experience for me. Sitting and regenerating was not an issue. I still enjoyed the fact I had to be super careful and fully aware or else was going to have not made much gain when solo. I also was more willing to group up with others. Tagging a spawn meaning you get the credit was a problem but at same time also led to more groups. It is a loss/loss with a bright spot because it is either be a jerk or worry about ninja looters.

 

TODAY

I do socialize a little but not much. I don't worry about much or even equipment really as it doesn't matter. There is no need to try and be careful or even try and be efficient. The game really only needs me to push some buttons. I can find what I want through google if looking for something or if I just want to play then I will get my levels. People are speeding through so just wait a bit if need big thing killed as someone come along and you just get a few hits in on it for quest complete. 

 

I am not impressed by MMOs any more. They can be fun but they really do not offer much challenge most times except for the things that require a group or raid. So the forced interaction seems to be the permanent to the games. That is not a bad thing but reality. Being social is totally different. People have their devices to mess with outside the game or alt tab to look at or play other things. I can see interesting mini games working to a degree but what is actually going to make players want to interact. Seems like at least 50% of the community I see speaking in chat are people I don't want to socialize with. I normally make a chat tab for party and say chat plus guild if in one.

 

I see people interacting because they want to. A member of a Wildstar guild yesterday was talking about how had 5 people join and they will not talk to the guild and only group with each other. I am in a guild in GW2 that has 2 people who will sit in guild chat and talk for a couple of hours while doing nothing else. If want to interact with others then interact. I enjoy reasons to slow down and stop for a few but forcing it is not going to work. I make few friends now but I still make them in MMOs if I desire to try.

 

 

  Vorthanion

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 1986

6/14/14 8:48:32 PM#44
As far as I'm concerned, action combat was and is the greatest enemy of social interactions in an MMORPG.  Fast paced combat, fast paced content, instancing and the overall loss of virtual worlds design style have queued the death knell of natural socializing in a MMORPG game.

  justmemyselfandi

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/09/14
Posts: 157

6/14/14 8:56:42 PM#45
Downtime is also the reason you didn't have a max level EQ character in 2 weeks.
  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12458

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

6/14/14 9:07:26 PM#46
Originally posted by Vorthanion
As far as I'm concerned, action combat was and is the greatest enemy of social interactions in an MMORPG.  Fast paced combat, fast paced content, instancing and the overall loss of virtual worlds design style have queued the death knell of natural socializing in a MMORPG game.

It definitely does switch the combat to a system where socializing becomes difficult, but I think the more pressing issue is that MMOs have become solely about combat. Most western MMOs are little more than genocide simulators.  

"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

  bingbongbros

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/21/10
Posts: 599

6/15/14 6:47:39 AM#47

Man, the OP is crazy right about everything! Every thing he ever wrote here is 100% true and everyone should listen to him.  Why doesn't anyone let him make his own game?

 

By the way, has anyone ever played that awesome game that is in beta and shortly about to launch named Firefall?! It is like the best game ever made, I heard they even have a tour bus for esports matches across the country!

Playing: Smite
Played: Nexus:Kingdom of the Winds, Everquest, DAoC, Everquest 2, WoW, Matrix Online, Vangaurd, SWG, DDO, EVE, Fallen Earth, LoTRo, CoX, Champions Online, WAR, Darkfall, Mortal Online, Guild Wars, Rift, Tera, Aion, AoC, Gods and Heroes, DCUO, FF14, TSW, SWTOR, GW2, Wildstar, ESO, ArcheAge
Waiting On: Nothing really, though Black Desert looks pretty amazing so far.

  Ludwik

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/06/14
Posts: 270

6/15/14 7:46:26 AM#48
Dislike action combat.
Dislike permanent uptime.
Miss spawn camping.

My favorite activity back in original EQ was going into Lower Guk or Sol B and just camping a named spawn. You'd clear the room and just hang out. You could socialize, you could get up from the computer and do stuff, or you keep pulling trash for exp. You could relax and enjoy the game.

Now every game forces you to be a hyperactive energy drink chugging coke fiend. It's like... OMG OMG DODGE SLASH RUN OVER HERE DODGE EVADE OMG WHATS HAPPENING DODGE SLASH OMG OMG... When you're done you just want to grab a cigeratte, roll over, and go to bed. But you can't because you're only 20 seconds into the dungeon and that was the first pull.

Yeah, forget that.
  BailoPan15

Elite Member

Joined: 5/26/14
Posts: 430

6/15/14 8:06:28 AM#49

I'm wondering if Mark Kern is actually playing games the MMOs he's making.

Let me help you OP and introduce you to the new wave of gaming

1. There are cities full of players just casually chatting

2. Do not curse action combat, it was needed and it didn't lower socialization. People just use Ts3 now, how about you start integrating VoIP in your MMOs? Maybe make it so when I speak on the VoIP its as if my character is talking in the room, add the room's echo, it will increase immersion than 10000%.....Or the bandwidth gets too expensive? xD 

3. Games are much better now than what they were. Take your nostalgia home and don't hinder progress.

 

We live in the multi core era, there are no single core computers, hell some of us even have 2 GPUs. You can not tell me that another thread just for VoIP is going to tax the system too much. 

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12458

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

6/15/14 8:56:51 AM#50
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by Loktofeit

 

Your bus stop example is real life. Yes, standing on a line or at a bus stop you may meet others and socialize. Waiting for the TI boat in L2 or standing online for your turn at a boss kill in AC are places where people socialized. Yes, that will happen. Yes, periods of low activity to allow for engagement are necessary. I have said that already. 

My suggestions are to have more support for smaller communities within the game community to let groups form and grow and to offer more features with low-activity mechanics so that both hands and minds are more available to socialize.

Your suggestion seems to be that devs should create scenarios where the entertainment that people are paying for is forced to a stop to get people to socialize. That seems like less than optimal design, but it seems to me you are of the mind that it is a necessary evil.  Am I reading you correctly?

 

It doesnt' make sense to suggest that removing moments of  "downtime social activity"   falsely attributed to the lack of socializating.

Can you link to where you are quoting me from here?

 

"I thought ESO was supposed to allow people of like mind to be in the same game instance? guess that didn't happen. "

Do you have a link to that? I never knew that was a plan of theirs.

 

I already included it in my snipped:

What has happened though is that MMOs have changed in many other ways at the same time that downtime faded away, and many have falsely attributed the lack of socialization to the removal of downtime.

You say the lack of socilization is falsely attributed to the removal of downtime. I'm saying that those were the moments "in the world" where socializing happened and by removing them you removed a chunk of socializing.

example the dotted lines are active play and the segments of downtime are between |   these |

------------- | downtime socializing | --------------| downtime socializing | --------------| downtime socializing | ----- etc

now remove that downtime and the opportunities to soicalize without replacing it with anything and you have:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- etc

 

I dont' see downtime as a necessary "evil" because I don't view it as evil. You do. And I respect that but that is where people interacted. My bus stop example may be "real life" but so is my waiting for the boat to talking island. You are sitting at your keyboard, you see other players, you can either get up and walk away or make an observation because it's a shared experience. That gets you talking with people. Suddenly someone says "anyone trying to kill X boss? I am and need help". That gives people an opportunity to join.

As far as ESO goes, that was common knowledge and one of their selling points.

Here is a thread on this site talking about it. I'm sure others here can chime in as it was supposed to be a big deal.

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/821/view/forums/thread/408710/Initial-survey.html

another thread where it's mentioned though it was presented in some interviews. Will have to find them.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/elderscrollsonline/comments/1vdsa4/rp_shard_concerns_on_the_megaserver/

 

article on this site:

There’s even going to be a survey in game that will let you choose what type of player you are and then it will group you with like-minded folks in the game’s many areas.

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/821/feature/6821/Stuff-We-Didnt-Play-PVP-and-Social-Integration.html

Yes, people socialized during downtime. I never said they didn't. Yes, with forced downtime gone, those opportunities to interact (opportunities, not guaranteed moments) are no longer present. Did the removal of downtime cause the complete breakdown in socialization? No, Sovrath, it didn't.

Was downtime removed with nothing to replace it? No, Sovrath, it wasn't. There are more guild tools, more chat channels, in-game and out of game VoIP, collaborative objectives and other features in today's MMOs than there were in many of the older MMOs. You may not prefer them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. 

Not sure whether you are trying to create a set of red herrings or just misunderstanding. 

 

"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

  kjempff

Elite Member

Joined: 10/12/04
Posts: 808

Make worlds not stories

6/15/14 4:48:26 PM#51

One step would be to actually be able to do combat and type at the same time... Away with the boring shallow twitch combat and in with more strategic combat and all longer fights.

Then give players a reason to socialize, away with the cursed action house, in with manual player trades. Make players dependent on eachother both in combat by using roles, and out of combat by buying and selling services to eachother.. Repairing, tradeskilling, training and much more.

 

  Velocinox

Elite Member

Joined: 3/15/06
Posts: 710

6/15/14 5:37:18 PM#52

Forced downtime caused socialization?

 

Forced downtime caused me to take a bio-break, get a snack, and surf the web. I have nothing to talk about with people I'll never meet.

 

Forget that original EQ had the largest game world at release of any MMO since. Forget that it had slower leveling, so even hot-seating you couldn't level to max in a week, forget that it had distinct areas of the same level to advance in so even if you had leveled up to max you could play the game entirely again and never hit the same spot you used to level on your first character. Nevermind that each expansion was huge in its own right and added a significantly large area to adventure in again. Nevermind the fact that full MMO game worlds today are a fraction of the places to see and adventure in that vanilla EQ was.

 

Sure, it was forced grouping.... If you conveniently forget about all the above points.

 

Don't gloss over the laziness of the initial game world design in games today, or the impatience of the publishers. The reason the soup isn't as good today as it was back then isn't because you had all your friends help you make it, it's because it was made from fresh ingredients and attentive care, and enough time to let it simmer, NOT just poured out of a Campell's can and boiled as fast as possible with the stove set on High.

 

 

'Sandbox MMO' is a PTSD trigger word for anyone who has the experience to know that anonymous players invariably use a 'sandbox' in the same manner a housecat does.


No game is more fun than the one you can't play, and no game is more boring than the one you've become familiar with.


How to become a millionaire:
Start with a billion dollars and make an MMO.

  MadFrenchie

Elite Member

Joined: 5/02/14
Posts: 463

6/16/14 7:39:13 AM#53
Again, I'm in absolute agreement with Mark. Downtime was time to BS around with the your group mates, chat with guildmates, or browse forums and interact that way. That's missing from today's MMOs.

I will say that EVE Online, due to the unique nature by which their combat and other activities are accomplished, provides time for this interaction. And it really shows, as channel after channel is alive with constant conversation between players. I really feel that this contributes to EVE's ability to maintain such a solid and loyal player base over the years. Players don't just blow through content as quickly as possible and move on. They stay a while, progress their characters, and make pals and enemies. All this supports an attachment to the game that I think really shows.
  Nitth

Elite Member

Joined: 7/29/10
Posts: 3494

Magic Propels my Rolly Chair.

6/16/14 7:51:39 AM#54


Originally posted by Thupli
I started wow in tbc (coming from final fantasy 11). I always wished that there was more to an inn than simply parking your toon there. Ie, if there were mechanics that made you take your character to an inn to "decompress XP" so to speak, that would be great. BUT you would need something to 1. facilitate not getting too bored 2. not be required too often to make it tedious 3. make it not eat up to much time.Inns have so much potential to capitalize on.

That's actually an excellent idea. stick a mini game in every in, Have ale that buffs and GIVE xp while you are there. Nothing draws characters in like xp!


TSW - AoC - Aion - WOW - EVE - Fallen Earth - Co - Rift - || XNA C# Java Development

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12458

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

6/16/14 10:06:47 AM#55
Originally posted by Nitth

 


Originally posted by Thupli
I started wow in tbc (coming from final fantasy 11). I always wished that there was more to an inn than simply parking your toon there. Ie, if there were mechanics that made you take your character to an inn to "decompress XP" so to speak, that would be great. BUT you would need something to 1. facilitate not getting too bored 2. not be required too often to make it tedious 3. make it not eat up to much time.Inns have so much potential to capitalize on.

That's actually an excellent idea. stick a mini game in every in, Have ale that buffs and GIVE xp while you are there. Nothing draws characters in like xp!

In-town Taverns/Inns could have

  • - places for cooking (make the grog and ale for the evening)
  • - separate large rooms to break off into if you want to be in a smaller group
  • - places to sit, room for brawls
  • - games at the tables (ex: dice, chess, checkers, backgammon)

I would really like to see a scene like this in a modern MMO: 

"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

  Coldren

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/19/08
Posts: 435

6/16/14 2:19:54 PM#56

Mark,

Here is what I think is a very simple idea to implent that may address all your issues of your last few articles:

Social EXP and Bonuses.

Think of what this does -The more you group with the same the people, the more your "Friend EXP" goes up, which can then be applied to a group when you work together. This would work both in pairs and up.

So let's say you do a lot of things with one friend. Your friend and you both gain EXP with each other, so that at certain levels, you get certain bonuses. Things like increased out-of-combat regeneration, increased chance for higher level loot, increased PvE or PvE experience.

That's great for pairs, but what about groups?

Here's where the system can really kick off. If you have friend EXP with a certain percentage of people (Lets say if you have high social EXP with 2 of the 4 other group members) at a certain level, everyone in the group or raid gets another set of bonuses. That way, even if your normal group isn't on, one guy is sick, you can bring in someone new and they'll start getting EXP, reinforcing social circles. This also, I think will create a quasi reputation system - If you are a poor group mate, you will not advance as fast as those who aren't, well.. Jerks.

Even go further and add tiers for grouping with guildmates of ANY level (This is important so as not to exclude new players from events).

The social implications are obvious, but what about other systems like downtime, solo, etc.? Well, this is a a good way to segway back to classic levels of difficulty, but provide a way out if you group more.

Seems a very straightforward method that may improve all of these aspects. Obviously, you will need to work on ways so as not to have these bonuses exploited, so that they can still be meaningful without being neutered. But that's where you, the developer come in. ;)

Just throwing that idea out there.

 

  Cramit845

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/20/14
Posts: 322

6/16/14 4:09:43 PM#57

I do miss the downtime interaction.  I still play EQ1 on a server that is only up to Kunark because I love this style of gameplay.  I agree that forcing downtime isn't the best implementation but I do feel that if all the different styles of MMO's of today keep getting into their own niche, then there is a market for a game with forced downtime.

 

I think it's all about options.  The more and more MMO's that come out, the more styles of MMO's will be available.  I feel this style of MMO is in desperate need since there aren't any games that do this well that I have played.  Another EQ1 type of game is in desperate need IMO, to at least give those of us that enjoy this style of gameplay a new home.  I don't mind continueing to play EQ1 because it offers this, but having something a bit more updated would be nice.

  Velocinox

Elite Member

Joined: 3/15/06
Posts: 710

6/16/14 5:02:51 PM#58

There is still plenty of downtime in today's games...

 

It's 7pm everyone ready?

No. Fred, Barney, Betty, and Wilma aren't here yet. They said they would be running late. Also Homer just left to check the door, sounds like he has some visitors. Chris went bio, and Stewie had to put some clothes in the washing machine...

 

15m later...

 

Are ready now?

No. Fred and Wilma showed up but they said Barney and Betty were getting something to eat first. Chris got back from bio but Bob left since we were waiting anyway...

 

30m later...

 

Are we ready now?

No... (etc.)

 

'Sandbox MMO' is a PTSD trigger word for anyone who has the experience to know that anonymous players invariably use a 'sandbox' in the same manner a housecat does.


No game is more fun than the one you can't play, and no game is more boring than the one you've become familiar with.


How to become a millionaire:
Start with a billion dollars and make an MMO.

  Vynt

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/19/04
Posts: 601

6/16/14 6:02:35 PM#59

I've never really attributed socialization to downtime. Socialization had more to do with grouping. In the older games, I really only had downtime when I soloed. To alleviate that downtime, I grouped. Often having no downtime, or so negligible as not to matter, even in EQ.

While grouped, I socialized, solo, obviously not except for tells or guild. MMOs have gotten away from grouping, so not really much socializing except for guild chat usually.

The type of combat does play a part in how much one can talk, but it is still done when grouping, but it really depends on the group. Often today groups consist of quick dungeon runs to never see them again. Even so, when I was playing FFXIV, I talked quite a bit with people and I mostly grouped in that game.

Raiding was a bit tough, but mostly was before and after a fight.

Even socialized in vanilla WoW when I grouped a lot and the dungeons were longer.

 

MMOs need to bring back greater grouping if people want to see some socialization again. Not talking about forced grouping either, but incentive to group. Need mob exp back so that is viable instead of purely quest based progression. Camp and group bonuses are needed again. Grouping became detrimental, slower than soloing, so people don't bother. It takes time to get a group and then get less exp? lol people are not going to group. Make grouping an equal or even better option and more will do it, more will socialize, and people will still solo and not feel forced.

The classes that could solo in EQ and daoc, did not feel forced to group when grouping often was superior because soloing was still rewarding. Today's games just have no balance of playing path. Of course that leads to other issues when people solo to max then need to group to raid and dont know how to play their class in a group setting.

 

TLDR: grouping tends to foster socialization, not downtime.

  grummz

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 56

6/17/14 10:56:33 AM#60
Good idea. I've been working along similar lines inspired by SWTOR legacy system...but with other friends instead of alts.

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