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All Posts by JC-Smith

All Posts by JC-Smith

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336 posts found
For its time Scars of Velious for EQ 1 is it for me. So many advancements were made in that expansion that have now been duplicated many times over in other games.
Nice to see you still trucking along. Thanks for the videos.

Imo the key is finding a middle ground. If a game is too difficult, it's going to have a small audience, because that appeals to a smaller group of people. Casual games appeal to many more players. However, if you look at the chat when recent games have launched you see a ton of complaints about the lack of challenge. TOR had a poll on its forums a bit before it launched and over half the players thought the game was too easy.

I think basically what we're seeing now is that the earlier titles were too difficult to use. From the interface, to the learning curve and harsh penalties. It turned off many players before they got to the fun parts. WoW really streamlined a lot of things and made gameplay much easier. And it struck gold. But since WoW most titles have followed suit, but continuned to make things even easier. To the point where now you rarely see a game that doesn't have arrows to every quest stage, or where you should ever die in the first 10 hours without being a bonehead. And now you have players revolting against that. Maybe it's time to find a happy medium somewhere in between.

So how can change to find that medium?

The linear quest hub approach worked great for WoW, and has been cloned by pretty much everyone. It's hard to argue that it wasn't a huge upgrade from mindless grinding of mobs for experience. But as games have continued to get easier it's to the point now where players just go through the motions. They don't care about the quest descriptions, all they care about is consuming all the quests in this hub and then walking 3 minutes up the road to the next one and doing all of those there. There is absolutely no challenge, no mystique and no feeling that you aren't doing the exact same thing as every other player. Imo quests should be challenging. They shouldn't be linear. The problem is that if your making quests your way to grind to maximum level, players will gravitate towards whatever quest is the best experience in the least amount of time. They won't do difficult quests early on. That's where I feel skills based games can excel, they remove that from the equation. But I think that level based games can also use more difficult quests and less linearity but they need to make it worth the players while.

I think death penalties could be made a bit more difficult. Not going back to the experience loss of earlier games, or perma death of some newer ones. But making it a little more troublesome would help provide more of a sense of accomplishment when something is done, and prevent as many zergs. People are less likely to charge brainlessly into death when it affects their gameplay.

I think there needs to be more of a focus on group oriented content. And I'm not just talking about GW2's events, which are a step in the right direction, but are in themselves a solo act for the most part. Real grouping and socializing should be encouraged, though not forced. Part of the fun of those early games was that you had to meet people to maximize your potential, and that led to many positive things. It's just not there now. How often do players group with people they don't know unless it's just to kill a quest mob and then disband? In GW2 your often playing with 20 other people, but how often do you even talk to each other? Auto-grouping systems, experience bonuses for grouping, shared quest rewards, are a few things that can be done here and will make a huge difference.

Instant travel is a touchy subject, because it has its place. I do feel like a travel home ability that has a long recharge and casting time is important in any game. But lately games have begun to go to extremes. In GW2 the instant teleports everywhere just help to make a very large world feel small. And if you get into open world PvP, teleportation is a real problem.

That's just a few examples. But finding a middle ground is the key imo.

Originally posted by KingJiggly

I have never heard fo a casual sandbox. So that is what will keep sandboxes fro m ever reaching outside of there rather small communities, the lack of casualness. 

Most of the better sandbox titles (Eve, UO, SWG) were created when every game was hardcore. That having been said, I think a lot of people played those games who were not hardcore. Entertainers, musicians and many crafters were casual fans who often didn't really care much about combat or power grabs.
Although the mechanics of it are very dated now, I enjoyed questying in Everquest 1. You had to figure things out (until they reached EQ'Lizer or Allah at least), and the epic quests were truly epic to figure out.
Originally posted by znaiika

This is another open world ffa pvp game, nothing for pveers to do accept sit inside city and craft.

This is another game to please those less then 10% of gamers.

I bet that this game is going to stop taking care of bugs after few month due to low income.

But anyway, eventualy game developers would learn the hard way from their loss.

You apparently know a lot less about this game than your trying to lead on. It is not a FFA PvP game. It features a complex generated mission and engagement (similar to events in GW2) system, as well as a boss system that generates special abilities when mobs spawn and which are spawned dynamically through a Den system.

We've remained pretty mum publicly about the mechanics here as they are not set in stone. Only briefly mentioned some plans in a thread on the forum when it was asked a while back. We do plan on player owned shops though, with some type of an auction system though the specifics for it are still up in the air.

Our plan is to have a reverse auction system for crafters where the end users would be able to request the items that they need and to specify what they are willing to pay. Then for crafters to be able to fill those orders in an automated fashion. That's the basic idea behind it, but it is not yet functional and is viewed as one of those features we can squeeze during beta testing rather than before. Until we have the specifics finalized we probably won't have any greater detail.

Originally posted by kadepsyson

I'll check the official forums to see if they replied, but one thing that wasn't quite clear to me was if the rooms and overall structure of a house was just a series of separate rooms that could be joined together.

I was hoping for something a tad bit more, such as placing walls instead of whole rooms.  I'll check that thread though.

You place an entire building using a preset layout based on the blueprints. There is no room per room construction, only furniture/decoration placement inside of that buiding.

I'm not sure where you are getting your info, but you've been badly misinformed. We've stated multiple times this will not be a pay to win game. It's our view that free players are just as important as paying customers, because they keep one another happy and give one another other players to play with. Your paying customers will often have friends who are free players, and being able to play together keeps them happy.
Originally posted by MumboJumbo
Thanks for the fb. Repopulation genuinely interests. What sort of vehicles are in the game?

At the moment there are two types of transportation vehicles in game. For launch there will also be combat and siege oriented vehicles. Vehicles do support multiple passengers/gunner/etc slots and there will be a vehcle upgrade system as well.

Originally posted by Rednecksith

The game failed, completely and utterly, the first time it launched. I see no real reason why it will succeed where it failed the first time.

You may be thinking of another game, as this one has never launched.

I think this was already posted in another thread here (as a link to a blog), don't think the OP was the original author, just reposting it. That having been said, if your suggesteing that one of our staff posted that, not likely. This was also posted on our forums, and we were quick to point out a few things about it.

Mainly, we don't want players expecting an SWG clone, because Repop is not an SWG clone. It does have many of the features that made SWG popular among sandbox fans, but our implementations of most of those features are very different.

On Automation...

Our mission, den and engagement generation schemes go far beyond what you've seen in previous generated titles. A mission template for example might contain 30 goals, 4 randomly generated npcs mixed with 3 static, 2 generated items, some steps where random chance takes you into a different outcome, and branching outcomes on multiple parts. Or they can be a simple check with NPC or pick something up and return it. The templates provide you with the storyline, which is what will remain the same. The locations, and everything else is generated though. Some things are repeatable, and others are not. Some form complex chains. All of them can be configured to only happen in a certain place or multiple places. They can be configured to only be given to players who have meet criteria such as having a certain skill at a specific level, other missions completed, reputation, etc. They are tailor made for your character.

So while there is certainly a mix of menial things to keep you occupied that involve menial tasks, there are also also missions thrown into that mix that are quite a bit deeper than in your average mmo. While doing all of these different tasks, your building your characters reputation. Depending on the dialog paths you choose (we use a branching dialog system), how you complete certain goals (some have multple ways of completion), etc. NPCs will form their responses to you. Some options may only be available to players NPCs view as Greedy. Some missions will only become available when NPCs are themselves feeling in a certain mood or facing a certain dilemma. Players can alter an NPCs dilemma, cause and mood through completing missions, which NPCs can talk to other players or NPCs about, even mentioning players by name.

So if your judging a generation system by the SWG or DAoC style generated missions where all you were doing in each generated mission was walking to talk to an NPC or moving to kill a den, then your barking up the wrong tree. Those types of templates do exist as filler to mix up the missions and ensure players always have an endless stream of content. There are also simple tasks for non-combat types such as Diplomacy, Hacking, Medical, and Crafting missions, as well as a filter to allow you to filter out certain types. But they are also wedged in with missions that require you to make decisions that will affect your character long-term, and with epic generated missions which are long and challenging, with substantial rewards for completion. From a gameplay perspective, I don't think your losing anything over the current crop of MMOs there, other than that you may repeat the same stories multple times in your career. The steps you take on those templates though will be different though, and we also require players to figure out a bit more than they do in most other titles at this point. Things like quest markers and arrows to waypoints are a purely optional feature. Some missions provide them, and others make you figure it out. It's all determined by the template.

The content is pretty much neverending. Just depends on how we set up the spawners and events. For example if we mark an area as a Den or engagement region we then attach certain templates to it based on what that area should contain. If it's an engagement area then this can be long chains of things to do. Engagements are similar to Events in GW2 except they tie in a bit more into our other systems so we can tie them into missions, dens, NPCs, etc. If you allow FPR players to start setting up Camps in an OWON controlled area, then the OWON players suddenly start receiving engagements to seek and destroy those camps. FPR players would have their own version of the engagements to help keep building up these areas. Depending on how each of them respond the engagements keep mutating and affecting the other sides. If those FPR camps turn into bases, suddenly you have missions being given from them, and more complex goals.

If you take a look at the Den system, those replace static mobs. They spawn on demand and can be tailored (within parameter ranges) to make them more challenging to higher numbers of players. A den might have three forks it can follow for example. One spawner might have a chance to spawn Lesoo, Okolat or Bandits. Maybe Bandits only sprout up at night but the other two can occur at any time. Each of those could have multiple waves set up of their own spawns, and those rules also obey how the players are reacting to them. Bosses and mini-bosses come through these events, odds vary by the template, but suffice to say that if you want to find bosses for raids or grouped content, it's always spawning dynamically in the world. But each encounter is going to have it's own bit of generation. Not only do the mob types and counts have variation, but any mob that is flagged as a Boss will have generated special abilities. We create something like 10 or 15 special abilities per species and difficulty type. They'll randomly choose a few of those. As anyone who has done much raiding knows, combining diffferent types of special abilities together can make for some challenging encounters, and that's what happens every time a boss spawns in The Repopulation. Some combinations of effects are much more challenging when combined with a diffferent type of effect. And as a group or raid, you will need to identify what they are doing and adjust to it on the fly in order to succeed.

So while your using generation as an example of how things will simplify gameplay. Imo they actually do the quite the opposite.

... Regarding Hero

There's a segment in one of the videos which shows some of the character creation sliders, and there are many of them. You have fine control over the entire face, body dimensions, etc. This goes beyond your average MMOs customization. A huge variety in customization. You also (as of about 2 months ago) have the ability to choose between many preset heads that you can can use as a base before starting on all of those sliders. You can tint your gear and skin. And by launch you'll also have tattoos. Armor and clothign wise at this point there are about 10 sets appearance wise, which will grow before launch. But it's safe to say that we have different metrics than a game like TOR. Our focus is going to be more centered on larger encounters during PvP, Sieges, Engagements, etc. And it will be adjusted accordingly.

In the case of TOR, your talking about multiple texture styles per visual tier, per class and 8 classes. It offered some great variety and within the goals of their game it made sense. However, it can cause a struggle when dealing with PvP because your really pushing a ton of state changes and using a lot of memory on the video card. A PvP focused game wouldn't want that, as PvP players are generally going to turn down the options to make gameplay silky smooth. That's the balancing act that developers need to deal with. In the case of TOR they choose their parameters as it made the most sense for their game. For us, 15-20 tintable sets would make a lot more sense than 100, for example. And end user might look at WoW and at ToR and wonder why they can have more customization in WoW and it handles more players well. For them they blame the engine, but the reality is that TORs characters were FAR higher polygon wise,  and used normal and specular map data and higher resolution textures. WIth the same texture, just adding normal/specular will more than double your texture usage. So this makes the hit on each texture much more harsh, and as users begin to fill their texture memory it makes it far more inefficient. In general the less texture or state changes you can get away with the better. Single player games always have an advantage here because they can develop content that is single model and single texture. In MMOs players can not be handled in that manner. That ensures that they can't be batch rendered efficiently. Developers have to make a compromise somewhere in between. How much customization is enough for what we're trying to accomplish. You can't blame the engine for decisions they make.

...On AI

Again, your completley off base. Your trolling, and I'm only taking the time to respond here so invalidate the things you've said. Repop uses an AI template system. We can create custom AI types for different roles, and NPCs have control over which types of those templates to use, ability selection strategies, formation strategies, etc. There are two different player detection mechanisms, and hooks for all the main things that an NPC would do so each can have custom code. At day one of alpha start there were a total of two AI types being used: One for Turrets, and one for Creatures. Both using the most generic rule set possible. There are now multiple types. AI has already been improved in numerous ways since that time. And it's going to improve quite a bit more prior to launch as we have more time to tweak it. It hasn't been a high priority for us at this point, where getting vehicles, entertainers, sieges, dens and pvp were. By the time the game launches, you can expect many improvements.

... On Customer Service

Not going to pretend we are going to have a huge CSR army. We'll do what we can. The key is to make players need support as little as possible and to staff as many CSRs as necessary. Your really grasping at straws though.

Just need to correct a few things:

... On Size Of the Team, or Size of the Budget

While you can generally assume that more manpower = more production, that isn't always the case. In Repop, much of what we do is based on generated content. Once you have a good generation system in place, it allows you to be more efficient in your content creation. Rather than designing 7500 hand designed missions by hand, we focus on designing 500 templates. The templates specify the rules, item types, npc types, etc and each of those can be reused many times and each time the npcs, items, etc will be different. You can a lot things done with less people if you can automate or reuse a lot of it.

For things like artwork, you outsource to external artists or art houses, use licensed models, etc. Those types of things would all be mentions in the credits, but they don't count as team members.  Outsourcing is generally far more efficient from a price standpoint than if you do everything in-house.

... On Hero Engine

Your making a judgement on the engine based on how you saw TOR handle PvP or crowds of players. That is not a Hero Engine problem. It's a problem due to a lot of customization on the TOR models. It works fine for the situations the game was designed for most of the time (sparse player population, personal storyline, lot of soloing). It didn't work as well with a large number of players. But those are design decisions.  Had TOR had a primary focus on large scale PvP they probably would have gone in a different direction there, maybe sacrificing some customization to get it done.

As a renderer, Hero Engine isn't on par with the likes of Unreal Tech. But it's strength isn't in its renderer. It does a lot more than that.

... On AI

The last video footage was shot on the first day of ALPHA testing. You can't judge a game AI or any of its systems really based on a 2 second splice you saw in an alpha stage video. At that stage of development everything is still very much a work in progress.

Having worked with Hero Engine for about a year and a half now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the thing. It's renderer isn't on par with the likes of Unreal Tech, but the editors, collaberative editing, networking is all just fine.
Originally posted by SalivalMundane
No sex, just clones. lol, Seems im losing interest in this game, once i noticed their release date was dec 2012 i kinda put it on the back burned and have big doubts regarding the hero engine and a sandbox MMO. I also really dislike how they are attempting to get more money from different ad campaigns, really seems like Repop is a money grab game and might be a complete disaster of a game.

Release date is not December 2012. It's some time in late 2013. Hero Engine can build any type of MMO, first person shooter, sandbox, action rpg, etc. Last but not least, the game has never ran any type of ad campaign.

There's always Orgia Romanus. =P

The game will have both a Hardcore PvP (FFA/Loot) and a Normal ruleset server. The normal rule set server features PvP that is a cross between Dark Age of Camelot and SWG mechanics wise. All players start as Inactive Military and as such they can only attack or be attacked by others in the contested areas (which is a good sized slice of the world in between the OWON and FPR controlled territories). If players set themselves as Active Military then they can attack or be attacked by opposing Active Military members anyplace in the world (but friendly guards will still protect them). There is also a third faction (Rogue Nations), which is basically not affiliated with either of the two main factions, and allows users to set their own hostility rules to other nations. For rogue nations each nation (which is like an extended guild) is in essence their own faction. Rogue Nations start hostile to everyone else, but they can form alliances and such with other rogue nations to prohibit them from fighting one another.

It will be a free to play game with a cash shop, but it is not a pay to win game. The store will mostly be operating on account perks (bank slots, character slots, mission slots, inventory slots, etc) which can also be unlocked in bulk through one-time memberships (pay once, lasts forever) and cosmetic items. There will be stims which can enhance your potential to learn (increases skillup rates) but those can also be obtained through adventuring, and give a smaller bonus than in most other games. We value free players, as they enhance the experience of everyone else, and don't want them to feel like they can not compete.

Ironically you could make an argument that Star Wars Galaxies (in the eyes of many players the best sandbox MMO to date) was the precursor to WoW's very theme park oriented gameplay. The idea had been tossed around for a while. In SWG you had rebel, imperial, hutt and other theme parks that were very similar to the quest centric gameplay that now dominates the market. You'd go through a series of missions for those NPCs, and eventually work your way up to the feature characters.  It was just a small part of the gameplay of SWG though.

Other games before WoW had begun a shift towards a more quest centric approach, but just not to the same level. DAoC's epic quest series gave very good experience, but you still had to grind on mobs for most of your exp. Everquest 2 which beat WoW to market by a month or so, also gave good experience for quests, but there were not enough of them to level off of completely and much of its world was still group oriented.

But in those days the main way to gain experience was just to grind on mobs. Killing over and over. Anything that gave experience, kill it. Leveling by quest was much more enjoyable for most players than leveling by slaying whatever mob gave exp. It gave them some focus, and allowed for some storyline to be inserted. All in all, it was an improvement over no direction at all.

Unfortunately like anything else, once the strings were visible and every game started cloning the style, players quickly realized things that they may not have originally. They were generally being driven along the same path as everyone else. Most quests followed a few basic templates and the story meant very little. Players were suddenly grouping less because it was more efficient to solo grind in a lot of cases. So now we have players sick and tired of the same grind, and wanting something new. But if you compare it to what existed beforehand, I still feel that quest grinding is preferable to mob grinding.

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