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All Posts by JC-Smith

All Posts by JC-Smith

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399 posts found

I feel like MMOs have shown a ton of improvement over the years, and we generally don't realize how much until we go back and try to play the older games. Then it is very apparent. But I also feel like the refinement that has taken place over the years has also caused a few really cool things to get lost.

I'm not a fan of forcing down time or long travel times to encourage socializing, though I do agree that they did do just that. I am a fan of harsher worlds though, more strongly encouraged grouping, overlapping levels on content, and many of the things that we don't really see any more. The strings were less apparent back then, and players needed to rely on each other more. That helped keep players on their best behavior.

Originally posted by vort3x

I've been excited about this game up until the point when I saw that it's using the same engine as SWTOR...

Probably the worst AAA MMORPG engine ever created, unless they can make much much better use of it than BioWare did.

There's a lot of lengthy posts on that subject already but a the cliff notes version is:

- Bioware used a version of Hero Engine that was not meant to be licensed. It was basically the alpha version of the engine used for Hero's Journey that they wanted to license to reduce development time. It had some pretty serious problems. For example, they had issues with keeping everyone connected and editing together so had to break into teams of 25 people with their separate builds, which isn't something they anticipated. Those issues were smoothed out over time.

- The current version of Hero Engine has gone through many, many patches since that point. It has a completely new renderer, along with many other features that were not present in the version that Bioware licensed.

- For MMOs the engine isn't just referring to the renderer, and I think that's a common misconception. Players are used to the engine meaning the graphics. Hero Engine's renderer can be replaced. It's largest strength isn't in it's rendering (which is sufficient but not cutting edge), it is in its networking, FX, Seamless support, Spatial Awareness, Spec System, etc. It handles all the under the hood systems which are often very MMO specific things. IMO for a general purpose MMO engine it's the best solution on the market. As a rendering engine there's certainly better options out there.

- The engine does not make the game. The engine didn't make TOR a theme park game, nor did it cause it to run poorly in Ilum, two common complaints that get brought up when discussing it. Those are design decisions that were made by Bioware based on their vision for the game. The engine itself is pretty low level and you build on top of it. They made decisions which they felt were right for their audience, but those decisions contributed to Ilum running poorly (because the game was designed as solo or small group game and had a lot of customization in armor looks). They choose the theme park story driven gameplay because they felt that was what the majority of players wanted. Unfortunately for them the timing may have been bad. Add on top of that the shut down of SWG had a lot of players rooting for the game to fail, and who had expectations that didn't necessarily coincide with Bioware's own.

@Shadow9D9: Your posts aren't worth responding to at this point. Every single statement you've made has already been addressed previously, your just rehashing things in the loudest fashion possible. You know good and well that Kickstarter requires you to give an ESTIMATED delivery date. Why would we set it at 2016 if our best estimate was an end of 2013 launch? It's an estimated date, nothing more. MMOs generally miss those estimated dates. It's impossible to project a date more than a year into the future on something with so man moving parts and potential unforseen issues. We would have loved to have met it, but we certainly aren't going to ship the game in poor state just to hit an estimate.

I do have a challenge for you though. Since this game is taking way too long to build in your estimation. Name me a list of games of MMOs that were announced after Repop (late 2011) that have already shipped. It's a very simple request. And no Defiance doesn't count, it was announced a few months before Repop.

Originally posted by shadow9d9

Are you trying to say that because some people are hopeful and like presentations, that that somehow has an impact on whether a game actually ever gets released?

I'd guess it is more that just because you personally feel it may not be released, there are a lot of people who would disagree with you. I'm not sure what would cause you to believe that a game that has been in development for three years and is already very far along would for some reason not stick it out and finish off. I can see your point if your referring to games that start at the concept level. People don't spend years of their lives working on something for free, or for a below market value salary just to one day decide they should one day stop development.

It's also not like the games development cycle has been anything out of the ordinary. Brownie points for anyone who can name a single MMORPG which was announced after The Repopulation (late 2011) which has already reached market. It may be behind some of the initial projections for it, but it certainly isn't outside of the norm for an MMO. 

If Repop's goal was simply to reach market, it could be released right now. But it would be buggy and unpolished, midway complete content wise, and some parts of the world would need to be removed because they lack content. That benefits noone. The goal is not to rush the game to market, it's to make sure that when it ships it's ready. If players lose patience waiting, our apologies. But your best chance at long-term success is to get it right at launch.

Originally posted by Xssiv

As a player who's been following The Repopulation for years, I was definitely disappointed when I learned it was going to be F2P.    My concern is that when a developer's revenue model relies solely on micro-transactions / cash shop, there's a significant risk that they will need to cross certain boundaries in order to entice players to keep purchasing items.   There's also the unknown affect on the in-game economy.


I think the million dollar question there is can a game support itself on cosmetics and convenience items? I think the answer to that question is yes, but it certainly will cut into the profit margin. You'll make a lot less money per player than if you are selling items of power. But you'll also appeal to more players by not doing so.

We'd rather sacrifice the amount of revenue generated per player in exchange for a higher number of players. Even if that winds up being less money, if it keeps the game healthy then the longer-term projections should improve. Because word of mouth and healthy servers will bring in additional players long-term.

We're certainly aware of some of the monetization techniques that other games have tried over the years. I do think it's telling though when you look at companies that have been doing F2P for a while, that over time the games have become less and less pay to win. I know I personally can't stand games that give you a harsh death penalty that is there solely to encourage you to buy an experience debt reducing potions, for example. You get the feeling the death penalty was invented in this case for monetization purposes, even if it hurt gameplay. We don't have anything like that in our microtransaction docs. Our standpoint is that players like myself simply won't play those games, so while it increases your revenue per player, it hurts your game.

We do appreciate everyone's input. One thing that should be stressed though is that even if we were swayed into believing that a subscription would be the right choice, we would be unable to make that switch after the game has already been marketed and sold as a F2P game. We couldn't change that after many players had already backed the game under the F2P pretense. It wouldn't be fair to our backers.

That having been said, while I understand some of the arguments for subscription, I don't feel it's a good route for MMOs in this day and age. There are certainly fair arguments that can be made on the other side of that. But it's not about failed games. It's about a barrier of entry, and the fact that there are so many free to play options out there. It isn't the same market that many of us started with 15 years ago. Nowadays players can hop to any of dozens of quality free to play games on the market at any time. They can easily swap between multiple games in this scenario without having to pay any fees, which makes it more difficult to justify a subscription. They may want to try a new game that is coming out, etc. F2P allows those players to try new games, and keep playing yours, which benefits the community.

It also makes it easier for them to bring in their friends or family members. Whether those players ever pay or not, they help make paying customers happy. You see many games convert to free to play, but how many companies do you see that have already done free to play titles which convert to subscription? F2P is simply a healthier business plan in today's market. But that doesn't mean that all F2P titles are Pay To Win either. There are different philosophies. Just as there are different philosophies in titles that convert to F2P and those that are designed as F2P, with converts generally going the freemium route which works much differently.

The best answer that I can give here though is that we thought long and hard about F2P. When the game was still in the concept stages F2P was not very popular and we were looking at a boxed price and maybe a small subscription fee. By the time it moved into full scale development F2P was a valid option but like many players we had concerns about it. Many of the titles we saw at that time were Pay To Win, though others were very much cosmetic only and we couldn't see how those titles could possibly exist on that. There's a lot more information out there now. And it's a lot easier to learn from the mistakes of the earlier titles. You can see what worked for them and what didn't work, and you can see what players accepted and what they rejected.

Once we were sold on F2P we began designing gameplay elements around that fact. For example our armor and weapon shells allow us to sell cosmetic items because they only determine your basic weapon or armor type and have no extra stats. It allows players to still have an idea of what people are wearing without being a pure cosmetic slot item. And it allows us to sell those items in the shop without concern of being a way to buy to power. We've spent a lot of time discussing these things, and we are happy with those decisions. All we can really ask of players is to try the game when it's released, it will be free. Then make your decisions on the payment model or the game itself.

I think we've been pretty clear on our F2P stance and that we will not allow people to buy power. If people choose to not believe that, that is their choice. It would be nice though if players stop trying to inject the worst case scenario of F2P games into any game that happens to be F2P.

There are some lengthy threads on this subject already, I'd suggest reading those for more details. But the easiest way to understand why this game will be shipping F2P is to simply examine the MMO market. How many games in the past three years have launched as subscription? And of those how many are still subscription? There's a reason for that.

As a player, a game launching as subscription and then trying to conver to F2P a year later should be a larger concern. During that time you pay the boxed price, followed by a monthly subscription, probably with a cash shop the entire time. And then the game converts to F2P. Your paying a lot more money to get where you could have been from square one.

There's a very simple solution here. If you don't believe in something, don't spend money on it. Plain and simple. You've been provided with the reasons it exists, yet those reasons never get addressed, you simply continue saying why you don't like it. That's fine, your entitled to have that opinion. But other people do want the option, and that is why it exists.

There have been players in and testing the game for a long while now. The game has been shown at three major shows, and there is a ton of footage on the game, both from in-house video and from third party video at the shows. It also had boxes where you could play the game at PAX Prime. Those features touted from the previous and current Kickstarter campaign are already functional features. They aren't what is keeping the game from being launched. Content is the game's problem right now, it needs more of it. You'll notice the stretch goals in this campaign aren't things like adding new areas to the world. They are programmer and art related tasks. They are things that can be built separately while the content is being completed.

What I think your saying, is that before a game ships you should not take any more money that players are wanting to spend? If that's the case then you have a problem with crowd-funding in general. Which goes back to what I said in my last post. If you have that problem then you should have it with just about every crowd-funded MMO to date because almost all of them open in-house stores after their Kickstarter campaign. If that's your stance though, then your entitled to that opinion.

Replay can be found here: http://www.twitch.tv/mmorpgcom/b/495101562

 

Originally posted by shadow9d9
Giving more money to a company that hasn't produced a single finished product yet is silly. 

You do realize that pretty much every crowd-funded campaign does this from a store on their site immediately after their crowd funding ends. The only difference here is that we choose to do a round of Kickstarter instead of using an on-site store. So if you want to use that argument, you need to use it across the board.

Kickstarter allowed for a short window and to ensure some stretch goals either were met, or got pushed to post-launch. It made sense in this case.

This is good news. Looking forward to trying it out.
Originally posted by Ozmodan
Originally posted by LoverNoFighter

The Repopulation is SWG's spiritual successor.

The only light in the dark MMO tunnel.

Huh?  The repopulation is nothing like SWG.  Where in the world did you get that idea.  Full loot pvp has no place in an indie game ever, unless they can magically players to using only their client when playing the game.

The Repopulation only features full loot on hardcore servers. There is no PvP looting (or much in the way of any penalty for PvPing) on normal servers.

There were a couple nice bits of news for The Repopulation today.

First the game was Greenlit on Steam after a very short campaign.

Second it reached its first stretch goal, and with it the first creature mount has been added to the game. We have been working on this for the past few days in anticipation. There is still a bit of work to be done mechanics wise, but you can see a screenshot of the first mount in game below.

 

Bugs can be expected in an alpha. They've completed an important milestone in getting the game into the hands of players, and I'm sure the money they generated from the alpha sales will help them reach future goals more quickly. I'm looking forward to seeing the final product.

I don't want to keep rehashing what is said in every one of these threads. But this Kickstarter is a stretch goal campaign. It's about generating money to try to get some often requested features into launch. Those features would not be able to make it into launch without delaying the game under current budget constraints. This campaign gives the community a chance to see them hit release.

It's really no different than having an early adopter/pre-order store on your web site, which just about every crowd funded game does. The only difference is that because there is a 30 day window, it ensures that any stretch goal met during this campaign will make it into launch. After that there will not be enough time to guarantee that.

I don't like it in PvP games, because I feel it's unfair. In PvE games, while I am not thrilled by it, it's less of an issue. We'll all hit max level eventually.

The sheer numbers would win it, but it would also be somewhat inefficient. You lose efficiency as your team size increases, but you can also get a lot more done by sheer brute force.

It really depends on who is making the design decisions though. If you have 50,000 developers and they have many people brainstorming and working out the best mechanics unselfishly that would be pretty hard to beat so long as they all had an idea of what was possible, and what was not. Not 50,000 random people. If you have one person making the design decisions and the rest just doing the work though, that could have the potential for disaster unless the designer was amazing at what they did.

A second interview on the same channel happened last night. You can see the recording here: http://www.twitch.tv/deadpoolyplays/c/3491922

This includes some fly by footage, and a long 3 hour Q&A session.

Brad doesn't always get a fair shake. Obviously he's made some mistakes, but who hasn't? Live and learn.

He's a good game designer though, and I wish him luck with his new game.

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