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News & Features Discussion  » General: A Plan For Effective Live Content

18 posts found
  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  8/12/09 9:13:03 AM#1

Carbine Studios' Senior Systems Designer Steve Williams shares some of this ideas on how live content could be effectively integrated into an MMO.

In my last article, I spoke about some of the difficulties in presenting Live Events for the Matrix Online, an MMO that last Friday took its final bow and closed down. As a former Live Events Team (LET) member, I got to see first-hand some of the issues that digital actors face in the MMO space.

To many people, the MMO is the perfect place to build tools that present fresh, live content to the player - it is a virtual world (to a greater or lesser extent) and everyone knows that a world is not always a predictable place! Against this is the increasingly mechanized experience players have - the theme park experience where every player experiences the same thing in the same way... every time.

Read A Plan For Effective Live Content

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  TwiztedTD

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/04
Posts: 79

8/12/09 9:19:54 AM#2

 I remember in Asherons Call, the Beal Zharon live events.  In fact I still have the videos on my computer from them.  These add a whole new fun factor for games.  Not just running around doing scripted things.  Being able to actually see and be apart of live vents is amazing.

  erictlewis

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 3058

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

8/12/09 11:20:51 AM#3

Back in the day before the NGE ruined SWG they used to have live events all the time. Tuscans attack bestine, nightsisters durring holloween. All kinds of live events.

Also EQ2 had some as well.

Lotro also had one once where a gm ran around as amothel and you got to battle them.

Live events can be done, and have been done.

 

  nekollx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/17/08
Posts: 573

8/12/09 11:39:37 AM#4

City of Heroes has dosen some regular live events as well, also use simupresense. But they also mix in some dev interaction. People still talk about Positron (Matt Miller)'s comment at the Freedom Phalanx seige of the end of CoV beta where he complained in character "they all grey to me" (redicusly low level)

  VuDu_DawL

Novice Member

Joined: 12/11/07
Posts: 65

"You don't give to get. You give to give. Anything else isn't giving. It is barter." - D.

8/12/09 1:26:18 PM#5
Originally posted by nekollx

City of Heroes has dosen some regular live events as well, also use simupresense. But they also mix in some dev interaction. People still talk about Positron (Matt Miller)'s comment at the Freedom Phalanx seige of the end of CoV beta where he complained in character "they all grey to me" (redicusly low level)

 

Anyone that has fought Positron knows he hax. :P  Hehe.

On a serious note, an alternative to "live" would be to have interactive AI, such as contacts. It would not be hard. There are already a few 'choice' menus - i.e. "Defeat xx of xxxxx to help xxxxx." or "Some either story arc or not door mission". I would like to see (espeically for my villains) actual CHOICES that AFFECT the rest of the arc. For example, my ice/thermal is not really a villain at all. She is a young child who has been a victim of circumstances (yeah, I know, that's what they alllllll say but this one is truly a good girl at heart). I would have loved to have had the option of, instead of betraying a patron, to refuse to work for Arbiter Daos and perhaps having the patron somehow find a way to redirect the Arbiter's attention and wrath elsewhere or having a positive outcome so that you still end up on the path of Project: DESTINY but without the betrayal (a betrayal that Xandra would never do). I spent the entire arc thinking "This is sooooo out of character." 

I would also like to make a choice TO betray that slimeball Westin Phipps, the kind of person who could make a hardened criminal go "Man, that is just WRONG."  I think it would be interesting to have differing outcomes resulting from dialog choices. Yeah, it is not "live" per se, but it would go a long way towards individualizing content without the expense of paying in game acting talent.

I wonder if they will make more 'gray' content once Going Rogue is live.....

 

  Maelkor

Novice Member

Joined: 8/20/05
Posts: 462

8/12/09 4:22:22 PM#6

Good article...good points. I think if dev teams took more time to plan for this stuff from the very begining...IE before the world is even created then a lot more could be accomplished. I have always felt the dev teams need to spend more time on creating the content tools themselves and less time on trying to pump out that initial content to wow the potential player base. A good set of tools can take that unpaid intern or minimum wage employee and let them create as much or more content than that high paid expert coder or artist.

 

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6668

8/12/09 4:45:19 PM#7

You know you really should have read the last thread before writing this one. 

I mentioned in the last thread that the best live content I have seen in an MMO was the sages in UO.  You let the players do it, if something needs spawned or done outside of what a player can do the GM does it.   You would be amazed at some of the unique events these sages can come up with.  Players participate whether there is a reward or not, don't remember any reward given for any of the sage events I did, but they were sure fun. 

So this article is truely missing the player designer.  You are just wasting your time writing the article if you don't include them.

  Vespers

Novice Member

Joined: 6/12/06
Posts: 247

8/12/09 5:08:55 PM#8

Nice read Steve. However, from what I am getting from this(and I may be WAY off base here) is that cookie-cutter Live Events, by way of new developer tools, may be the way of the future in MMO gaming. It will allow for an increase in Live Events, a decrease in personel from the LET, GM, and Devs, as well as a more structured and less chaotic Event, but at what cost? If all the LET member needs to do is "Copy and Paste" a list of preset commands such as "Run Event 32, Reward 4, and Monsters 6B" then where is the human interaction by the Event team? I do understand that, in theory, these tools will allow the devs to free up some personel from the menial tasks of organizing, setting up, and policing the activities during, as well as Pre and Post, the Event, thus allow more time available for the LET to directly interact with the playerbase. However, do you really think that it will happen like that? Will the game company simply see the streamlining of the Live Events as chance to do more with less? Instead of normally having a LET of 6 to 8 people, will they only use 3 or 4 people instead? Are we headed to an era of Quantity over Quality in the Live Event's arena? I surely hope not as some of my greatest memories of my past MMOs stemmed from my being involved in Live Events and rubbing elbows with the people from behind the scenes, the GM's and Devs of the game.

  Vespers

Novice Member

Joined: 6/12/06
Posts: 247

8/12/09 5:28:11 PM#9


Originally posted by Ozmodan
You know you really should have read the last thread before writing this one. 
I mentioned in the last thread that the best live content I have seen in an MMO was the sages in UO.  You let the players do it, if something needs spawned or done outside of what a player can do the GM does it.   You would be amazed at some of the unique events these sages can come up with.  Players participate whether there is a reward or not, don't remember any reward given for any of the sage events I did, but they were sure fun. 
So this article is truely missing the player designer.  You are just wasting your time writing the article if you don't include them.

Actually, unless i'm mistaken, SWG also does the player designed Events as well. There are numerous ingame tools that can be bought to facilitate these types of events so a GM is not really needed to spawn particular items or NPCs due to the large amount of purchasable Event items.
I think what Steve has focused on was more of a specific company team(LET) and the options that are available to them, in order to better serve the community.
However, your point of using ingame tools to run player run events is, IMHO, an excellent topic in which Steve might want to consider for his next article
.

  cosy

Newshound

Joined: 9/15/04
Posts: 3306

EvE Rules #491 you should never, ever attack Russians on winter months

8/12/09 5:46:04 PM#10

the image used to promote this on front page is damn wrong i know that most of US ppl are baptists but using a orthodox image like that is wrong

PD:EvEisNot4WoWkids
BestSigEver :P

  Bountytaker

Novice Member

Joined: 1/09/07
Posts: 323

8/12/09 7:32:57 PM#11

 

Another fascinating read.  Thanks for the article Steve.  Glad to see mmorpg.com giving us more non-commercial access to the industry, and more articles about the design process.  Its articles like this, and only ones like this, that keep me coming back.  Again thanks for the good read.

Originally posted by Vespers

Nice read Steve. However, from what I am getting from this(and I may be WAY off base here) is that cookie-cutter Live Events, by way of new developer tools, may be the way of the future in MMO gaming. It will allow for an increase in Live Events, a decrease in personel from the LET, GM, and Devs, as well as a more structured and less chaotic Event, but at what cost? If all the LET member needs to do is "Copy and Paste" a list of preset commands such as "Run Event 32, Reward 4, and Monsters 6B" then where is the human interaction by the Event team? I do understand that, in theory, these tools will allow the devs to free up some personel from the menial tasks of organizing, setting up, and policing the activities during, as well as Pre and Post, the Event, thus allow more time available for the LET to directly interact with the playerbase. However, do you really think that it will happen like that? Will the game company simply see the streamlining of the Live Events as chance to do more with less? Instead of normally having a LET of 6 to 8 people, will they only use 3 or 4 people instead? Are we headed to an era of Quantity over Quality in the Live Event's arena? I surely hope not as some of my greatest memories of my past MMOs stemmed from my being involved in Live Events and rubbing elbows with the people from behind the scenes, the GM's and Devs of the game.


 

I could also see how that could come about.  The "corruption" of LET's would certainly be a bad thing, and these tools could certainly be used for that purpose.  What's important to remember, IMO, is that what "tools" can help start, or end, a live event, the beauty of the whole thing is the unpredictibility of the stuff in the middle.  Even if you started off every event in the same exact way, the PLAYERS that get involved are what bring uniqeness.  Which is why the other post about player led events has some validity too.  The beauty of the mmo is that it brings all of these players together and allows them to interact/play on their own terms.  While most designs "direct' players in one way or another, they can't completely eliminate the creativity and unpredictibility of the avg. player.

So, IMO, streamline the process a bit....it's cool.  It just helps us get to the real meat of the interaction anyone, the real wonder of the live event process...the unique interactions between the players.

  rbc13183

Novice Member

Joined: 9/07/08
Posts: 206

No one has ever escaped the shadows...

8/12/09 8:01:59 PM#12

Whoever is offended by that picture needs to grow up.

"Everyone dies. It is how one lives that matters."
— Artemis Entreri (R.A. Salvatore)

"P.S. MAKE NO DEALS WITH THE WOLF." -Durzo Blint-

"But, there is one they fear.

In their tongue, he is Dovahkiin -- Dragonborn!" -Game of the Century-

  FreddyNoNose

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/05
Posts: 1564

8/13/09 1:41:22 AM#13
Originally posted by cosy

the image used to promote this on front page is damn wrong i know that most of US ppl are baptists but using a orthodox image like that is wrong


 

I was wondering if they got permission to use that from Monty Python and the Holy Grails owner.......

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5248

8/13/09 3:13:32 AM#14

Yes its one by Terry Gilliam I think.

I am a fan of live events and some good ideas are put forward here. But I don’t think MMO companies make as much use of players running their own events as they could. Once players have been spotted who put on their own events regular, why not give them some of these tools?

They could submit a script to the MMO and would not have to be able to reward the players anything. We do player planned events for no rewards all the time. Here the event organiser could place a few mobs, clear an area of the usual ones there. Speak ‘as’ npc’s and so on.

This would be cheaper and more relevant to the individual server. Just don’t give them to much power and it should work fine.

  tazalanche

Novice Member

Joined: 3/29/07
Posts: 28

8/13/09 4:31:01 AM#15
Originally posted by cosy

the image used to promote this on front page is damn wrong i know that most of US ppl are baptists but using a orthodox image like that is wrong


Your post is wrong.  Most of the US are Protestant Christians (of which Baptists are a denominational part of Protestantism, not all). The image is a parody & intended as such on a site known for its occasional "tongue in cheek" entertainment.

 

Either way, I thought vulgarity was wrong?

Hypocrite much?

 

Please check your off-topic, "holier than thou", attitude (pun intended) at the door because people like you give everyone else in your country a bad name.

  drbaltazar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 7951

8/13/09 7:20:53 AM#16

 ustream.tv/channel/athene this guy started his live show not long ago,he decided to do it live 

and he an lol of wow player did a live event in wow 

if you missed it go to worldofathene.com to see the edited version 

you can see that live things can and will happens in the futur athene is proof of that 

how wil it be in the futur lol beats me 

but athene is one way of doing live 

  Bleakmage

Novice Member

Joined: 12/06/04
Posts: 177

I cut my teeth on Pong. \m/

8/14/09 5:09:17 AM#17
Originally posted by Maelkor

Good article...good points. I think if dev teams took more time to plan for this stuff from the very begining...IE before the world is even created then a lot more could be accomplished. I have always felt the dev teams need to spend more time on creating the content tools themselves and less time on trying to pump out that initial content to wow the potential player base. A good set of tools can take that unpaid intern or minimum wage employee and let them create as much or more content than that high paid expert coder or artist.

 

 

Digital Actor = Dream Job

Pay me minimum wage. Pay me by the hour. :D How this would be hard to do or expensive if you had one dedicated minimum-wage digital actor per server in a game is beyond me. Give that digital actor other tasks to do as well, just to make his minimum wage job that much more interesting. For example, the digital actor could also act as a form of moderator for various in-game tasks in need of moderation. I would excel at this job and do it for minimum wage the rest of my life, if the game was good. \m/

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bleakmage

  Bountytaker

Novice Member

Joined: 1/09/07
Posts: 323

8/14/09 6:33:50 PM#18
Originally posted by Bleakmage
Originally posted by Maelkor

Good article...good points. I think if dev teams took more time to plan for this stuff from the very begining...IE before the world is even created then a lot more could be accomplished. I have always felt the dev teams need to spend more time on creating the content tools themselves and less time on trying to pump out that initial content to wow the potential player base. A good set of tools can take that unpaid intern or minimum wage employee and let them create as much or more content than that high paid expert coder or artist.

 

 

Digital Actor = Dream Job

Pay me minimum wage. Pay me by the hour. :D How this would be hard to do or expensive if you had one dedicated minimum-wage digital actor per server in a game is beyond me. Give that digital actor other tasks to do as well, just to make his minimum wage job that much more interesting. For example, the digital actor could also act as a form of moderator for various in-game tasks in need of moderation. I would excel at this job and do it for minimum wage the rest of my life, if the game was good. \m/


 

Don't know about 'minimum wage", but, I admit, I wouldn't mind trying out for a Live Events Team job as well. :) I think I could be good at it. :)