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I marked that I liked most of what I saw. There's some question marks for sure. But overall I thought it looks promising. It's always refreshing to see developers trying new things.
I liked it, personally. Something different, a bit different than I expected. Loved the SOEEmote, like that they are releasing the tools soon, combat looked fun to me, though I can understand why some would not like it (some people just do not like action combat). Graphically, even though I generally don't like the cartoony look, I thought it looked good in action here. Didn't really bother me.
We're released a new feature which takes a look at the Inquiry system which was introduced in the last alpha patch. It can be found here: http://www.therepopulation.com/index.php/news/110-inquiry-system and here's a cut and paste.
The most recent alpha build of The Repopulation introduced a new Inquiry system. The purpose of this article is to explain this feature to players: What it is, and why it is important.
The Basics: How Inquiries Work
You can make an inquiry with most NPCs in The Repopulation. The questions that you can ask them are determined by a per NPC basis. Some questions will be given to anyone and others require you to know certain specific bits of knowledge in order to inquire about them. You can acquire this knowledge in many ways. By reading books, inquiring with other NPCs, overhearing NPCs speaking about matters, exploring areas, through missions, or via engagements.
To make an inquiry of a NPC about a matter you simply right click on them. If you already have missions for that NPC you will get the mission dialog first; followed by the inquiry options. If they are a vendor you’ll receive a vendor window which contains a button that you can click to enter into an inquiry. Otherwise you’ll instantly receive the inquiry chat bubbles.I
nquiries, like mission text, take place using a chat bubble system (as depicted in the above screenshot). Inquiries are separated into topics such as “Tell me about...”, “Where is...”, “Why...”, “Do you...”, etc. Clicking on any of those topics will present you with a list of subjects to complete that sentence. Most NPCs also provide an option which allows you to enter in text. This is typically used for things like finding information on NPCs in the city or asking for directions to a particular NPC or landmark. But it can also be used to allow players to ask about hidden topics.
Inquiries are tied into the Diplomacy system and allow you to increase your diplomacy through use. As your diplomacy skill rises you’ll receive more complete information at a higher frequency. A low diplomacy skill will often result in NPCs who are not willing to divulge information, or who will only provide partial information.
Now that we know the basics of how the system works, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do with inquiries.
One of the simplest types of inquiries is the “Where is...” inquiry. This inquiry allows you to ask about other NPCs who have some type of relationship with this NPC and who they are willing to talk about, or to enter in a prompt and ask about any other NPC. Some NPCs are more willing to provide this information than others. An NPC with a Talkative or Helpful personality is far more likely to aid a player than an NPC who is Quiet, Shy, or a Jerk.
If an NPC is aware of whom you are inquiring about, and you pass the diplomacy check, they will provide you with a tracking marker to the NPC’s current location. They may also provide some additional information such as specific times that an NPC is available. This is important because some NPCs have multiple spawn locations, may path between multiple locations, or might only be available at certain times of day. For example, many shops close at night
Obtain Details About NPCs
Another very common type of inquiry is asking a NPC to tell you about another NPC. They will often speak about NPCs who they have some type of a relationship with, or give you a prompt where you can enter the name of other NPCs in the area.
This method allows you to obtain useful bits of information such as providing clues about an NPCs personality traits, their profession, and problems which may be bothering them currently. It’s important to note that most NPCs in The Repopulation have their own moods, dilemmas, personalities, professions and other useful traits such as the cause of their current dilemma. Some of those traits will change based on events in the world and new opportunities become available as an NPCs traits change. For example, if a local gang or indigenous species raids a shop’s supplies, the shopkeeper may feel vindictive, or depressed. When they are in those states they could give missions or inquiry choices that they would not give at other times.
Backstory and history are important for establishing a meaningful world. MMOs generally try to provide backstory through missions, but polls have shown that most players don’t even read the mission text in most modern MMOs, simply accepting the mission and following quest helpers. Books are also employed by some games (including The Repopulation) to help provide some background information to players who take the time to read them. But many bits of backstory will never be known by the general populace.
Our inquiry system allows us to place pieces of knowledge on NPCs based on what they should know about. For example; a Doctor might be able to describe to you how Cloning works and the principles of the Judair Limiter and memory retention. Where a robotic engineer might be able to tell you about robotics manufacturers or certain parts. Many NPCs can tell you about local events, or an area’s history.
Inquiries can also be used to provide hidden mission opportunities which reward players who take the time to solve them. Keep in mind that most missions in The Repopulation are generated and can be tailored for your character. These missions, along with the inquiry and achievement systems can use one another as filters when generating new opportunities. It’s a complex web that means that most characters will not have all of the same opportunities available to them. If you are a thief or an assassin, you’re going to have a very different set of opportunities than a player who plays primarily to gain military rank in an honorable fashion.
Philosophy Behind the Inquiry System
The inquiry system allows us to take bits of knowledge acquired from a player and to use that to open up rare or hidden content. But why is it needed? To understand those reasons, let’s take a look back at old school single player RPGs and early MMORPGs.
Most older games did not feature quest journals and those that did still required a player to figure out many things on their own. Early MMORPGs used a ‘guess the keyword’ system which required players to listen to what an NPC said and then ask them about the right keywords to receive more information.
Many of these were positive additions. Journals were certainly a good addition. Quest Helpers were also useful, for the most part. In many cases waypoints and glowing trails are also welcome additions. In our play tests we’ve found that many players have grown attached to these mechanics and as a result we’ve tried to design the game with a mixture of easy to complete templates along with more complex ones. While there are plenty of simple kill, interact or deliver generated missions there are also more complex missions which will require some thought to complete. Because most of these are generated missions they are more difficult to spoil. We also feel that some of the highpoints of old school systems have gotten lost along the way.
Let’s take the case of an old school MMO approach to a hidden quest. You might speak to one NPC in town and hear about a relation of theirs that had disappeared when traveling to a far off location. You’d receive a keyword which you could then use on an NPC hidden somewhere in that location. Some players would pay attention to this, and others would simply dismiss it as random NPC chatter. If you mentioned that keyword to the proper NPC in that far off location it would open up a new quest and reward the player for paying attention.
The single player approach to that solution would be that the first NPC would give you a new hidden piece of knowledge that allowed you to ask questions about this missing person to NPCs in the far off location. Some might offer clues to where the NPC was located and if you found the proper NPC he would give you the new mission. If you weren’t aware of the missing person you would not be able to ask questions about them and you would be unable to obtain this mission.
In Repop this type of opportunity would work similar to a single player game. If you had run into the first NPC you could receive knowledge on the second NPC through an inquiry. For example, you might be able to ask them about their family or what is wrong if they had a dilemma that indicated they were stressed or in a depressed mood. It would otherwise work in the same manner as the single player example.
To many old school MMO fans the introduction of Everquest’s epic quests were one of the most memorable times for the game. It was months before some of those missions were solved, and they encouraged players to work together to discover the next steps. When the epic quests appeared in Everquest 2 though they didn’t have nearly the same effect because you pretty much knew exactly what you needed to do. It was just a matter of putting together a team of players to do it. While memorable, those types of quests simply don’t exist in most other modern day MMORPGs. Quests have become a way for players to gain experience rather than something you do for a challenge.
You might first receive a lead in a mission through a random engagement or emailed as a job offer. This mission may not seem like anything special at the time but it will give you an internal flag which may later be used to interact with certain NPCs to inquire and open up another mission. Series of missions are a mixture of unique missions which can be chained one after the next, appear randomly after you meet certain criteria, or obtained through inquiries. This mixture of advancement methods and prerequisites means that two players may work their way through a series of missions in a completely different manner, using completely different NPCs and branches. It also allows us to create reusable content that players need to solve on their own, without being able to resort to spoiler sites.
This article has covered the basics of the Inquiry system and what you can expect from it. This system is still in its infancy and should continue to evolve in the coming months. We hope you enjoyed the article.
I definitely don't want to see camping make a comeback. Mob grinding for hours in the hope of getting a rare piece of loot from a rare spawn mob was not an enjoyable experience in itself. I'm all for more group content though and more boss content. Would much rather see it on the move though and with more variety in loot than we used to have in those old days. I certainly don't want to hear, "Camp Check!" ever again.
Please email us at the address given and we'll take care of you. I don't personally know how to pull the information you need, but someone at that address will be able to help you.
If you have pledged and have not yet received backer status please email email@example.com and we'll get you fixed up.
My point is that people are blaming the payment model for communities being worse today than they were 10-15 years ago. I agree with you that they are. But I think the primary blame for the community dropping off is the lack of need of other players.
Those examples you gave are all older titles in the forced grouping era of MMORPGs. During that era players generally behaved much better, because they needed one another. They were always grouping and if you got a bad reputation you weren't going to find groups. When grouping you were generally sociable and it made for much better communities in general.
The anti-social players started when games became completely soloable. Post-WoW it just became easier and easier for players to do that, and in many cases grouping slowed you down. Suddenly players are rejecting group invites when they are solo because they don't want to have to get slowed down. If they want group content they use group finders with cross server grouping. They may never see these other guys again. So suddenly you have a lot more Greed looters, and anti-social types. There are less repercussions for doing so.
That problem is both in the P2P and F2P games in this era.
Originally posted by firefly2003
In regards to problem players... wouldn't it be easier to just for registration and to actually play the game require a Credit Card on your account file as a mandatory requirement, if a player is banned that CC on file is banned and another CC number is required to make another account? People only have a finite number of cards once their banned they can't come back. It would be a good deterrence to such players and nothing would be charged to the card unless you buy something of course but a ID requirement would be a nice thing to have in all future MMOs and a CC is the best solution, I think their would be a small minority of players out there would be against this mostly, paranoid people, kids, and hackers-cheaters.
I don't think it's a terrible idea, it's similar to what a lot of companies have done with their free trials.
The main problem for us though is that it creates a barrier of entry. We don't want players to feel that they have to pay to play. We value free players. Maybe they convert to paying customers later, but either way we like having them in the game. The percentage of problem players is pretty small, so you cut out of a lot of potentially good players to get rid of a much smaller number of problem players. We want EVERYONE to try our game. If they like it keep playing, if they don't move on. But that's hard to do when you force them to enter in credit card details before playing the game. People are wary they are going to get auto-charged after at time period, which some free trials did automatically at the end of trial periods unless you manually cancel. They may be kids who don't want to go through the effort of trying to talk their parents into giving them some money for it if they haven't tried it yet. They might be suspicious of giving out credit card information to a company they aren't familiar with. Maybe they are on a shared computer and don't want to get out a card. Or maybe they are just too lazy to walk to the table and pull out their credit card just to try a game.
Bannings have an effect, even on free players. Sure they can make a new account. But they lose all the time they put in to their character. I think people tend to underestimate how much that affects players actions. The cost of a box or a subscription is probably far less affecting to many players than the loss of days, weeks, or months of time. I don't think it's much of an issue when players have already put time into their characters. If they were going to behave like jerks, they would have done that in a subscription game, as well. You just ban them like you would in one.
The problem players that does not help with are the gold spammers. But there are good solutions for that out there already. Automatic flaggings/bannings, ignore features, report features, auto-ignore, and then more complex and sweeping things like having an option to filter out global chat from non-members in a membership game.
Originally posted by Mkilbride
For future deliveries Kickstarter requires you give an Estimated date. Not expected, but Estimated. You have to specify something there. We've only ever officially announced two dates: Start of alpha and start of alpha 2. And we delivered on both of those dates. We're not going to give any firm dates until we are fairly sure we can meet them.
Originally posted by AtrocitusIn order to have a delay, you need to have a release date in the first place. And there has never been one. The game will be done when it's done.
Originally posted by Atrocitus
If your going to troll you should at least do your homework. There was no "recent F2P announcement". This game has been free to play from the get go. That was clearly written on the Kickstarter a year ago.
May was a month busy with constant content updates along with some bug fixes bringing us further along. Most of the content updates this month focused on the Plymouth area in preparation for the recently started Alpha 2, but we also found time to sneak in a number of new features.
A lot of effort went into improving the Rogue features of the game this month. Thievery saw a number of improvements, and we introduced several new mission templates that center around Pick Pocketing NPCs or stealing from shops. We also introduced a new locked container system. These containers or inventory items require Hacking skill to unlock. The mission system also received a significant number of improvements. This includes improved mission chaining, generated mission selection, mail event notifications and prop interaction features. It also includes several new types of generated mission templates. We also made headway on the Work Order system which we expect to go live next month.
As mentioned in last month's report, we added in a few more alpha testers to the fold. We will be opening a few more slots this month, so be on the watch out for news about slots being filled and of course check out your email for invites.
Crafting and Harvesting
Graphics and Animations
Thievery and Hacking
User Interface and Options
Bug Fixes and Minor Improvements
Too many mediocre MMOs - Are the developers really the problem?
The Pub at MMORPG.COM « General Discussion
5/31/13 5:36:31 AM
In my opinion, the sooner developers start realizing that they can never create static content as fast as players can consume it, and turn to generation the better the genre will be in the long run. MMO players consume content quickly, and game studios approach to that problem is to throw more people at it. Where it should be let's build a system that can produce content for us with less effort.
Star Wars: The Old Republic ... in the shitter
General Discussion « Star Wars: The Old Republic
5/24/13 5:50:30 AM
Originally posted by gervaise1
They are definitely making money. Servers don't cost that much to run.
One other thing I'd like to add along the lines of the original post. I just wanted to mention that we are pretty happy with Hero Engine in general. Every engine has its strengths and weaknesses but overall, even if we had an unlimited budget I think our choice would be to stick with Hero Engine. The only thing we might change if we did would be to use a deferred rendering engine with Hero's core.
Hero Engine isn't a cutting edge graphics engine, but it can produce graphics competitive with other MMOs. But the other areas of Hero Engine really shine. Productivity wise, it's fantastic. Being able to make script changes and have them working in game immediately is a huge productivity boost, as is the collaberative editing tools. Some of our alpha testers can attest to how easy it is to change things on the fly while people are playing. Where in an engine not designed for this sort of thing your looking at restarts and patches and losing a ton of productivity in the process.
While many players might look at things like Unreal Engine, Crytek, Unigine, and wonder why we didn't go those routes instead. They are after all better graphics engines. But they don't tackle the MMO specific issues that Hero Engine does. Seamless world design and on-seam proxies is a complex feature that most single player or small group games don't need and do not invest time in. As is spatial awareness (which allows things like phasing), and being able to introduce data easily on the fly without causing issues to players. Parts systems and character customization. Client side caching, communication between many types of servers where most single player engines are really designed with a one server (the game or zone server) in mind. Those are all things that take time to develop and test properly. So using an MMO specific engine such Hero Engine is a huge time saver for developers.
Originally posted by hfztt
There's quite a few more than that with the Early Adopter program. But us not letting more people into testing has nothing to do with server stress or load. It has everything to do with keeping testing small until we are comfortable with the product being seen by the masses.
Alpha testers generally understand what an alpha test is. And in the early MMOs beta testers generally did too. They understand things like some animations or models being placeholder, or certain areas being under construction. But in this day and age beta is synonymous with open beta. Most games keep very small betas of experienced testers, and then when a game nears release they start giving away beta keys and letting in thousands of players. That is typically in the couple months just before launch. As a a result, that is the perception of beta testing to a modern MMO player. While many of those backers probably would completely understand a game being in a testing phase, many other players do not.
Repop is in alpha, it's not ready for a large number of eyes on it at this point. While almost every major gameplay feature is working (exceptions being sieges and vehicle upgrades) it still has a lot of animation, FX, and content work that needs to be done before it begins opening the door to larger numbers of players. Alpha phase 2 begins next week, but it will still be a small number of players. Each phase from this point on is aimed to double the number of players as the last. They'll be coming much more quickly and each will be focused on a specific area of content until we feel comfortable with the game moving on to beta.
This has nothing to do with server specs or Hero Engine though, and is entirely tied to how quickly we can finish the content necessary to move to each new phase.
Hero Engine is a quality engine. The problem is it takes a long time to build an MMO (5 years typically). Star Wars: The Old Republic was their first license. They were building it for their own game, Hero's Journey. Bioware wanted an early copy so they licensed it and eventually they wound up cancelling Hero's Journey and focusing on Hero Engine. The engine has been licensed by many other companies (Zenimax for example). But MMOs typically have a much longer development cycle than single/small multiplayer games, and some of the people who license Hero have chosen to bind it with a high quality rendering engine and use the other features of Hero Engine.
The important things to note on TOR are that:
Now I can't speak too much about the games you mentioned, as I am not completely in the know about everything that went on behind the scenes with them. Faxion appeared to be built on the Hero's Journey core. They basically took an in-development version of Hero's Journey, themed it to their game, and gave it stylized graphics. It was stable and solid, but it had a few marks against it. The art was very stylized and I think that and the setting turned off a lot of players.But it was also very much a Pay to Win title, which I think also hurt their chances of retaining the players they had. I don't think their failures had anything to do with the engine though.
Dominus was a promising title that was built in short time using the Hero Engine. It was a PvP focused game, and had a pretty large sized beta. They ran into publisher issues, there are things discussing it. Had they been created in the post-Kickstarter era they probably would have shipped. It's unfortunate that they didn't. But again this had nothing to do with the engine.
Backing the hell out of this. An issue, though.
General Discussion « The Repopulation
5/23/13 8:50:48 AM
I see your message on Facebook, it's only about 90 minutes old. Josh will fix you up when he gets online today, though it's pretty early in the morning still in America, give it a few hours.
We feel like the market has expanded over the years. There are more people playing MMOs than ever before. But many of those players are tired of the theme park treadmill. I don't think we're alone in those thoughts, there's a number of sandboxes on their way now. That wasn't the case when we began development though.
Repop is a very different game. It certainly isn't going to be for everyone, and we're not trying to make it be. Much of the PvE game is driven by our generated mission system which is very different from any of the other quest systems to date. Some are going to enjoy that some will not. While public quest type systems have become more prominent, we're doing a lot of different things with our engagement system which may or may not appeal to some players. Longer term content shifts based on player reactions and such. Crafting is very complex and intertwined into multiple trees, which will also not appeal to everyone as it is very different from the crafting in most other titles.
The fact that we don't have a large budget combined with those things definitely points to a more niche audience. We're not hoping for 15 million players. But at the same time we're be disappointed to only have 2000 players. The market has expanded over the years, so that a tiny percentage of it is still a reasonable sized number. Yet if you go through the sandbox titles in that time the only one which has been able to sustain any substantial numbers is Eve Online. Eve is certainly a niche title. But that niche is larger than what would have been the market leader pre-WoW, in the west at least. But Eve grew slowly over many years, and with less competition. Star Wars Galaxies also fell in that category before closing, though it never really recovered from the NGE. Most other sandbox titles have had under 10,000 players. We feel that is a mixture of a few things. One being that the games are generally a lot more hardcore and don't appeal to most players (a very small niche) and the second is that most of them are subscription only and players aren't willing to pay money when there are so many free alternatives.
We feel we have a product that can appeal to more than just a few thousand players. I think there's a lot of old school players who miss games that were a bit more social oriented, and not on rails. We also think there are a lot of new school players who are simply looking for something different. There is a huge number of MMO gamers who have never played anything other than Wow-style theme park treadmills. But many of those players wouldn't be willing to try the game with a barrier of entry. A free trial is one way to go about that, but it's not the same. Players don't look at it in the same way. Some players simply are unwilling or unable to pay, but that doesn't make them bad for the community.
So we feel we can hook enough players who will enjoy a very difference experience. But in order to maximize that we need to get those players to try the game. We do that with true free to play. There aren't level restrictions or caps for free players. You can play and do almost everything that a paying player can do. There's a few small restrictions such as you can not form or lead a nation without paying a one time fee or membership, and it's not going to be as convenient (free players have less bank slots, inventory slots, mission slots, etc). But you are able to play and be competitive without ever spending a penny. That's our pitch to players. Why not try it. If you don't enjoy the game, move on with no risk, and no credit card entry to sign up for your free trial.
So our hope is that players will do just that. Give the game a try. And even if it only appeals to 1% of MMO gamers, that's still a significantly larger number of players than what we could expect from a subscription game.
It should also be noted, that while Repop is certainly going to be very different than your average MMO in a lot of ways, we've made a lot of design decisions that are meant to appeal to a more casual audience than your typical sandbox. We do a lot to encourage grouping and make it easier for players to find groups, but it's not forced on them. We also use a lot of generated content so players who need something to keep them focused and moving forward (probably a large percentage) will always have those opportunities. Where most recent sandboxes catered primarily to more hardcore, old school gameplay mechanics, we've taken a middle ground with most of ours. We want to expose players to sandbox features, social content, non-combat options, and the like, but we are also trying to appeal to a more casual fan base than most of the other sandbox titles in recent years. We do feel that more casual players will be able to enjoy the game, but also think that the only way to prove that to them is to get them to try it in the first place.