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[Preview] The Repopulation: Building Something Grand in the Sand
News & Features Discussion « General Discussion
9/06/13 3:13:15 AM
Lastly, with regards to cash shops. Every game has them now. With WoW moving to that route, who is still holding out? The difference between F2P, B2P, or Subscription at this point isn't if a game has a cash shop. It's if you have to pay every month in addition to it, and if you have to buy a box to play the game. The box price is a nice initial burst of money for developers, but is also a barrier of entry to players.
Indie titles have to deal with plenty of skepticism (and rightly so) and less marketing (can't afford it). They can't afford to have those barriers of entry. You want everyone to try the game, which then puts the the honus on you to deliver gameplay and retain those players. If player's like it, they can buy a membership (which is like a one-time box price and unlocks a set of account perks (inventory space, character slots, etc) at a lower price than if you bought them piecemail. Or they can just continue playing for free, free players are valuable for a game too. So F2P for an indie title makes a lot of sense, provided you can retain those players.
It really just boils down to if a game is Pay to Win or not, and Repop will not be. There are two philosophies among F2P games. The first and most common is going to maximum profit for players. The problem with this approach is that it limits its potential player base because noone who isn't paying is going to want to play. Repop's approach is completely opposite: desiring as many players as we can have in the game, even free players. Free players not only can be converted later to paying players, but they also can be friends, or family members of paying members. Them playing can make the game more fun for the other players who are paying customers. They can bring in other players who become paying players.
If you had the choice of 10 people giving you $20 each, or 50 people giving you $4 each, it would seem like a wash, with the $20 version actually making slightly more due to server costs. But then you have to consider growth. 50 players will have a lot more relationships with new faces than 10. They can help the game grow faster by word of mouth. Nobody wants to play in an empty world. Especially when you have a game like this where there is a focus on social oriented aspects (Entertainers, Engagements (mutable public quests), Nations, Cities, Crafter's Economy, and Sieges). It's more enjoyable to do those things when you have more players.
Once you realize that, then you really are just saving that box price you'd normally play just to try a game, and the the subscription cost you might pay in the before that game almost inevitably turns free to play down the road. Realize the goal here isn't to suck as much money as you can from each player, but rather to ensure that there are plenty of players making for a healthy world.
[Preview] The Repopulation: Building Something Grand in the Sand
News & Features Discussion « General Discussion
9/06/13 2:53:34 AM
Originally posted by Moirae
You'd be right if more of the same included:
- A generated mission system which tailor creates missions for the players based on their skill sets and past actions. These can be very complex missions (you could have 20 step epic missions that are generated), and are mailed to the player using an in-game email system as job offers, which means that players do not need to return to town to get missions.
- NPCs in the game have a variety of personality traits. This is a mix of static and mutable data, and can be persistent. Examples of personality traits include: Moods, Dilemmas, Personality, Profession, Relationships, and Causes. As things happen in the world an NPCs traits can change, some of them permanently. The games systems (usually the mission system but also engagements and other systems are affected by them) can then use their traits as filters to determine things that go on. For example, if an NPC is in a certain mood they may offer different missions related to that mood. The generated mission system uses filters for this.
- An inquiry system which allows you to inquire with just about any of the NPCs in game and ask them a series of questions about things that both you and they know about. There are hidden missions and lots of lore information in these inquiries. They also allow you to ask them about other NPCs to find out their personality traits, ask for directions, or find out what is happening in the local area (past and current events), or other friendly areas. Not all NPCs respond to the same questions. A diplomacy check is used for these so the higher your raise your diplomacy skill the more information you will get out of them.
- A complex Area and World Event system which keeps track of both things that are currently affecting an area and things which have happened in the recent past. Engagements (our form of a mutable and spreadable public quest), Dens (our form of random NPC spawns), Missions, Inquiries, and other systems can access the events, and change based on what is currently happening in the area. This means areas can change significantly based on things that are happening there. Sometimes the indigenous species will take over areas for example, and a series of new opportunities open up while that happens. That could last for days. Based on how players respond that might change and something else would then happen. This adds replayability to areas.
- Weapons and Armor base pieces are shells. They only have some very basic stats. The majority of your stats are determined by what we call Fittings, and each armor or weapon can house 5 of them. By adjusting your fittings you adjust and customize your character.
- Vehicles that can be multi-passenger and have an upgrade system so that you can "trick out your ride". The upgrade system works similar to fittings. They can provide special abilities for your vehicle, and increase its effectiveness. Vehicles can be combat oriented. These types of vehicles include player controllable turrets, mechs, and traditional types.
- There is a three faction PvP system, but it's not what has been there in other games. The third faction is like a Free For All Faction. They start as hostile to everyone, but each nation (like a guild) is able to set their own relationships with every other nation (both sides need to consent to raise to a friendlier status) . So that changes the third faction into a nation diplomacy system.
- Nations can create full scale cities and units (defensive units such as turrets or guards). They set their "laws" in the city, including telling units which hostility level should be killed on sight, who is able to build there, etc and are governed by a mayor. Rival nations can siege those cities, crumbling walls, destroying buildings, and optionally taking over a city.
- Crafting is an integral part of the game. Most everything is craftable, many things are only craftable, and the highest quality gear is crafted. This is a very complex system which allows for a ton of variety in results, and in crafter specializations. Not only are there a ton of different trade skills, but each recipe has its own mastery level. Crafting is not tied to combat (though some components of some trade skill lines may only be collected from mobs, you can trade for those components). You can just start a new character, start harvesting (either by whack a node harvesting or by dropping harvesters) to collect resources, and craft away. There's also generated missions and engagements which are crafting oriented.
- Combat has two modes: RPG or Action Mode. They both work the same internally, but they allow the user to control the game however they wish to control it. RPG Mode controls like your traditional MMORPG, ability bars, targeting, etc. Action Mode controls like an First/Third Person Shooter it still uses abilities but it places them into a deck and automatically determines which to use by the situation, whats available currently (timers), and which action key you pressed (left mouse = normal, right mouse = momentum based, ctrl toggles defensive). You can toggle between the two modes at the press of a key.
- Skills based system (no levels or classes) which doesn't cap how many skills you can master. Instead it uses a checks and balances system based on your current weapon to balance combat skills. This means veteran players can master many lines and switch roles simply by switching out gear, but you can't do that effectively in combat because there is a time delay on each switch of gear in combat. So more time = more options, but not neccessarily more power. There are roughly 75 skills in-game. This includes a wide variety of different things from rogue skills, traps, diplomacy, intimidation, animal handling, etc.
- World Spawn Management system which tracks traffic (player and NPC) in different areas, and metrics of that traffic (strength, wealth, type of mob (prey, predator, species, etc), and the like). It then uses those metrics to determine where to spawn mobs managed by it. So they will change locations based on what the players are doing in the world.
Repop may not be for everyone. But it's certainly not more of the same. It should also be noted that every single one of those features other than the vehicle upgrade system (which is coming soon) is already functional in alpha testing.
I know a lot of people have been asking to see an alpha gameplay video. MMO Hut posted one today with some footage from PAX: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4_4Sel53-w
One of the BIG reasons why people are sick of certain MMOs
The Pub at MMORPG.COM « General Discussion
9/03/13 7:00:32 AM
My first MMO was UO, which was absolutely amazing. It felt like you could do so many things, and it took years for other titles to start offering some of those features (like mounts, housing, boats, taming, fluctuating economy, harvesting). The PvP also had a very wild west feeling that I really enjoyed, but which sadly turned away many players.
Everquest though was equally amazing. It wasn't the sandbox that UO was, nor did it have nearly as many non-combat features. But the world and setting was great. The quests were fun. Being 3d really helped. It was my first taste of raiding which was a blast, and after the period after they added the epic quests was fantastic.
From there it was a mixed bag. Most of the titles after Everquest had some things I really loved,but other features that hurt them.
Dark Age of Camelot was mediocre in the PvE department, but the PvP was fun, and the epic quests were the start of something we'd see more of in later years. Asheron's Call had great events, and a nice skills system, but was butt ugly and felt clunky. Anarchy Online was beautiful and had a nice generated dungeon system, but the classes just felt off.
Star Wars Galaxies was probably the next big thing for me. It had most of the same features as UO, but in 3D, and in a larger and more familiar setting. That was years after my first MMO, and after my second big MMO moment which was just as important. Despite its bugs, and its often unchallenging PvE, it felt like a world and sucked you in. I think it had pretty much the same effect as UO and EQ in that regard. Felt like a great game.
I probably haven't gotten back to that level of enthusiasm about an MMO since. EQ 2 was disappointing at launch. It got better and held me for a while, but it never had the same effect. I wasn't a huge fan of WoW, though I did max out and can see the attraction. It's the only MMO my wife ever really enjoyed though. D&D Online had great dungeons, good NPC variety, but a lot of flaws that hurt it such as the lack of crafting or soloability. LoTRO had nice epic quests, but it always felt like a wow-clone that had prettier graphics but wasn't quite as good as WoW. Warhammer added some great innovations with public quests, open grouping, etc but all of the instancing in scenarios, and the fact that you were penalized for leaving the war camps really hurt it. TOR was a quality wow clone but by that point, I was getting tired of seeing those same old game mechanics over and over again. Guild Wars 2 was such a mixed bag to me. The events were a blast to begin with but got tiring after doing them repeatedly and as the player counts diminished. I never really liked its class or ability system. I still will fire it up now and again but never get far. Neverwinter was just too instanced.
Is it that I'm just tired of the genre? Perhaps but I don't think that's the case. I think it's more the way the genre has evolved. UO was very soloable, but it kept you involved because you were part of something that was going on. You felt a sense of community. PKs were rampant, you found other players to help you take them out. You didn't have to be involved in combat to participate in the world.
From Everquest until WoW, every title other than SWG (which was very UO-esque) hooked players with the social aspects and grouping. You may be able to solo but it was faster and safer to group. That enforced bonds with other players, and kept you sucked in. You logged in and were immediately sending tells to your guild or friends list looking for a group. That made those games more enjoyable. Not the forced grouping, which sucked for people with limited time, but just the fact tht you were tied in to a community. That's what all those early games had in common. You helped other players, because you would want them to help you if you were in the same position. Etc.
WoW was certainly a revolutionary title. Most successful MMO of all time for a reason. It expanded the genre to ridiculous numbers. And it did that by making a very solid MMO which ran good on old computers, allowed you to solo to max level if you choose, had an easy to use interface, and was quest driven rather than mob grind driven. That appealed to a lot more players who could easily pick it up and have fun. The problem is, as a result of WoW's success other titles just took those ideas and cloned them for the most part. But they often missed something along the way. After a while players could see the strings. But just as importantly, because they stopped relying on other players the community aspect took a nosedive.
The majority of WoW clone players spend the bulk of their time soloing. They never really feel attached to their community. And part of that is because they never even cross paths with players outside of their level range because each zone has a very small strict level range. So you never really felt attached to other players unless you were in a guild, and even then a lot of players spend most of their time soloing. I honestly felt like GW2 was on the right road to solving that problem. But what wound up happening is everyone just soloed in the events and rarely even bothered talking to one another.
So to me that's what has been lost. MMOs need to get back the social aspects. And they need to try to innovate. Try new things, even if you fall flat on your face. I'd take that over another game that just clones the last.
Thanks for everyone who participated in the events this weekend, either online or at PAX. We received a lot of good data and feedback.
Call the ambulance WoW under 8 million subs now
General Discussion « World of Warcraft
8/24/13 2:15:53 AM
You can't stay the king of the hill forever. Wow had an amazing run, and it's now slowly going downhill. I'm sure most games would love 8 million subscribers though.
EQ:N, the most Soul Crushing MMO to be released in the past 10 years!
General Discussion « EverQuest Next
8/24/13 12:39:56 AM
EQN certainly has drawn a wide range of opinions. My thoughts when I saw the announcements were generally pretty upbeat. Love the sandbox elements and the voxel system. Like that they are trying to get the community involved early on in the project. Not a fan of the graphics style, or the GW2 style limited combat options.
But overall the game has a ton of promise, and it's still early enough in development that players can make their voice be heard. I'm certainly going to give it a whirl when it comes out.
Lead Design refuses to confirm %done or to completion
General Discussion « EverQuest Next
8/03/13 9:10:21 AM
Mind you this is all speculation, but it seems to me that they have been building up the tools. I don't think the actual game is all that far along. It looks to me like they focused on getting a few places, a couple classes, etc ready for the presentation. Focused on making those look good (which they did) but content wise it likely has a long ways to go. I'd guess Christmas 2014 at the earliest. These games take time to build. They started from scratch two years ago.
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.