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All Posts by Cydmab

All Posts by Cydmab

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35 posts found

At the risk of maybe being informative, some quests do NOT have the glowing pathway to quest objectives. Namely, quests that are designed to involve exploring/looking around. I think it's less about being a children's game, and more about not being forced to do X to do Y. If you want to fight something, you don't have to explore to find a fight; the maps and quest markers will guide you there. Conversely, if you want to go exploring, you don't have to worry about getting ambushed along the way by monsters. (And if you WANT the experience of doing both - exploring in a dangerous environment - instances sometimes have exploration-based optional objectives)

NO NO NO. start at age 17. There is almost no reason to start at age 10 now with the free rebirths at age 20. The exception is if you plan to rebirth every week, but that would cost 8$ a week, well over your budget.

If you have already made your character, at tthe very least make sure to make your free elf and giant support characters age 17. (Go to either the elf or giant town, talk to the leader, use the keyword "elves and giants" in conversation, ally with them, and you'll get a free character card for that race. Then talk to the leader again with the keyword, and break the aliance. Then one real life day later, do the same with the other race) Or even, seriously consider starting over. Age 10 will either seriously slow down your advancement, or cost you alot of money, or a little of both.

 

Things you may want to buy, from most recomended to least:

A thouroughbred horse: ~10$, one time exspense

A backup pet: yellow jindo ~3$ or minibear ~7.50. Jindo is cheap and adequate imho; bear is a better fighter.

nao  service: ~10$ month. Greatly dampens the death penalty. You get this free until you get to level 30, so you can judge for yourself whether you want it

"monthly" paid rebirth. When you reach age 20 (which will happen on a Saturday), use the free rebirth. Then play for just under 2 weeks. Buy a rebirth card at 8$ (or 10$ if you want to change to a more fancy look). Rebirth just before turning age 19 to age 17. You'll age up on that Saturday to age 18. Play two weeks and become age 20. Rebirth for free. This will let you rebirth every 2 weeks at the cost of 8$ a month. (As opposed to every 3 weeks for free, or every 1 week for 8$ a week)

 

To be clear, you don't need to pay for storyline quests anymore.

What to buy, in order of "almost mandatory" to "extravagant perks:"

 

1. A horse, 10$ one time fee. This will drastically cut travel times. I HATE traveling, so I consider this close to mandatory.

2. Another pet, 5$ one time fee. Pets are very useful, and the horse has a limited timer so you may not want to rely on it. You could make the other pet another mount (10$ one time fee)

3. Nao service, 10$/month. Optional. Cuts down death penalty significantly. If you play correctly, consevatively, and with groups, you'll never die, so you won't need it. Also, while the death penalty is fairly severe, it's not THAT bad. (Basically lose a resource that can be replenished by doing a short, although somewhat grindy, quest)

4. Rebirthing. You can rebirth for free every 3 weeks. Rebirthing speeds up character progression. If you play ALOT (like 40+ hours a week) then your character growth through experience points will slow down by the end of a week. If you want your extremely high amount of playing to convert into huge character power growth, then you'll be tempted to pay up to 8$ a week to rebirth more often than the three weeks. Note you get 3 characters for free now (a human,a elf, and a giant), so you could play 40 hours a week and advance all three at a good rate if you played them all equally.

5. Fantasy life service (includes nao service, 15$ month). Gives you special potion-like items and makes it easier to sell things to other players. I consider this wasteful, but if you have money to burn...

6. Buying items form the game with real money. You can buy even more potion-like items directly for fees. This I consider extremely wasteful, but if you don't care about money there is the option.

 

So in summary, I consider 15$ one time fee quasi-mandatory, a 10$ monthly fee for nao service very convenient but not required, and anything more than that to be optional at best, extravagant at worst.

P2P
General Discussion « Mabinogi
2/25/09 11:30:27 PM

and rebirths will be free too (at character age "20"). A case could maybe have been made that rebirths every 3-6 weeks was "mandatory" (although that's not really true) making the game sorta a 5-10$ month stealth-subscription, but that won't be true anymore.

Hmm to come at it from another angle, I've actually come to like omni do-anything tank-mage-healer-dps-puller-crowdcontrol classes (or no classes). It allows for some more tactical depth to the gameplay because you have to decide which function to emphasize at any given moment.

Another thought, based on my view that "theorycrafting is good for the individual, but bad for the community" is to partly conceal information about other people's builds and performance. You should not be allowed to see other people's exact damage numbers. You should probally see broad indicates of what they did "Bob attacked!" or "bob cast a healing spell!" to make sure they are doing SOMETHING and to be able to coordinate strategy. And yeah you should probally see changes on something like a health bar if it impacts broad group strategy. But you should not see "bob did 56.8 damage!" or "Bob cast a healing spell that healed precisely 58.1 hit points and took 2.13 seconds to cast!" You should not be able to see other people's "talent builds" or the equivalent. You should not be able to see other people's exact hit points, stats, etc. Apearance should be cosmetic choice, and not give information about someone's gear quality.

If there is information that you absolutely have to know (class, level, maybe a marker of average gear quality if you have "leveling via gear") maybe the game should provide that, but even that should be minimized. I think instead it would be better to have badges/titles that a player could selectively show and conceal that are based on player accomplishments. I.e. if you needed someone with a certain minimum competance level, you can look for a badge that requires a certain challenging task to accomplish. If you are doing a "teir 3" dungeon, you could look for a "completed a teir 2 dungeon ten times" badge so you can infer they probally have the gear/level/player skill to handle a tier 3. If you are looking for someone who has alot of experience healing, you could look for a "healed people for 1 million+ points" badge. And so forth.

Put obsticles in the way of OTHER PEOPLE judging you on precise  theorycraft parameters, and hopefully the community will get less anal and unforgiving about deviating from "perfect builds." Then give each individual full information about their own characters so they can theorycraft by themselves as much or as little as they wish.

 

It's not necessarily make it better, per se, just less trivial, more dynamic. More need to adapt to changing environment.

well a couple small examples off the top of my head:

 

1. In Wizard101 (and other card deck based games), you have to adapt to whatever actual hand you have drawn. You can't have one static strategy you take to every single fight, because you don't draw the same cards every time. Now, wizard101 overall was too simple for me, but this is a step in the right direction of adding more complexity.

2. In mabinogi, you gain triple mana regeneration at night. So magic-heavy strategies are favored at night, while magic-light strategies are favored in the day. By itself this is not enough to make a game terribly complex, but little things like this encourage one to adapt to circumstances.

3. In puzzle pirates, they use time honored puzzles that have a good long learning curve (moment to learn, lifetime to master)

4. Games that give a heavy bonus to having a partner, but don't have excessively hard-coded class requirements. These can help encourage you to grab a random partner to help you do things, but you might need to adapt to your partner's strange build or even crummy gameplay.  The soft classes restrictions allow any partner to do, and give you a variety of tools to adapt to what your partner brings to the table. Class examples for me are CoH radiation or dark defenders (built a certain way) and LOTRO loremasters and burglars. These classes are kinda omni jack-of-all-trades characters. If partner needs healing, you can heal. If they need DPS, you can DPS, if a tank, you render the monsters helpless so you can both tank. If they use a wierd strategy, you have a long list of various powers to chose from. If your partner kinda sucks, you can play conservatively. If you partner is 1337, you can try for tricky high-payoff strategies.

 

hmm two thoughts:

1) Building on what quiz has said, maybe one solution is to make the game sufficiently complex that it can not be mathematically solved, but not so complex that it appears totally arbitrary. It must played "intuitively." Winning the game becomes more of an art, and less of a science.

2) alternatively, the real problem is a social one. The community expects you to conform to the "solutions" to the game, and failure will result in you being ostrasized, with noone to play with. Solution? Make more robust community building tools so that people who hate theorycraft can escape the general population and find and play with each other.

One server, multiple channels, which you can freely switch between. Then you can choose to be on a busy channel or a quiet channel, depending on your mood.

Seems to me what you are worried about is not levels per se, but gating content. Levels in a certain family of games are set so as to render content over your level as effectively impossible, and therefore gated. (Sloppily designed games in this family also backward gate by rendering low-level content completely trivial, and therefore for anyone who cares about at least the illusion of challenge, gated off. However, many of these games have exemplar/mentor/deleveling mechanics to get around this problem. Just because one massively large game fails to do it does not mean this is a necessary consequence of level based systems.)

So the question is, should games gate off content, and how much? I think a little bit of gating can be ok if there is an overwhelming amount of content. It helps the player pace themselves, and gives the game a chance to provide meaningful rewards by providing access to content. Good gameplay + promise of reward is, let's face it, more pleasurable than just good gameplay by itself.

However, good gameplay is still mandatory. Gating becomes a problem for me when there is a shortage of interesting things to do. Then you can get to a situation where the game is boring now, but promises to become fun later if only you "grind" through the boring part. This is now completely unacceptable to me. This is the bad gameplay + promise of reward paradigm. I've done it before, but I'm tired of it now. And what makes it so frustrating is that if only the game did not gate off the fun content, I would still be able to squeeze some more fun out of the game. But alas, I must quit a game that tries these shenanigans on me.

Another issue is changes in the nature of the content. If a game starts off with, say, an emphasis on solo/small group play but gates off access to, say, PvP and large raid play (*cough* WoW), then even with a tremendous QUANTITY of content, if a particular individual enjoys PvP and raids over soloing and small group play, then this poor person is effectively doomed to feel like he is grinding at low levels. (If the game then backward-gates content, the person who doesn't care about PvP and large raid play might suffer from the opposite problem of having less content after reaching max level than they had at lower levels)

I think it's a matter of illusion or perception.

Suppose you had a game that focused on a massive faction versus faction war. Now suppose that the game only gave you feedback and rewards based on how the overall war effort was going. Your contribution is now small and minor. You do your thing to help the war effort, but you aren't the center of the story; you are a bit player.

Now suppose instead the game only gave you feedback and rewards based on your individual performance, such as your own individual combat rank, or how many kills you make. Whether your faction "wins" or not is irrelevent, even hidden from you. Now the focus is on YOU and your performance. You are the center of the action.

In a simulation/economic game, you might have a game that reports and rewards based on how a large population is doing. "The economy of the Kingdom grew by 1% this week due to the hard work of the citizens!" Or it might focus on individual feedback, concealing large trends "Your virtual business increased revenues by 1%!"

For a "theme park" PvE game, suppose you had quests that involved you making small, invisible contributions to a larger effort. "There are a billion goblins out there that we need to kill. I am asking all adventurers that come through to do their part, and kill 10 goblins. Will you kill ten goblins?" In the illusion that such a quest is creating, your character is a bit player in a large effort.

Now suppose instead the quests tried to prop up the illusion that you were the great hero "There is a boss goblin leading an army that will kill us all. Will you kill the boss goblin and be the hero of the city?" Now the illusion presented is you are the center of the story.

Which do I prefer? I'd rather be the center of the story, BUT I'd much rather it be credible. In MMOs it's typically easier to make it credible that you are a bit player. I'd rather be a real bit player than a fake hero. 

In practice it seems that MMOs try to do a little of both.

Puzzle Pirates already has subscription option (some servers micropayments, some servers subscription). I wouldn't play on the subscription oceans though. Some people do, however.

I could imagine paying a subscription to Mabinogi (depending on how they set it up), but... if it were 15$/month I'd play once every three months, 10$/month every other month, and it might disrupt the community since I presume it would shrink. I prefer it the way it works now, where when I play a little it's free, and when I play a lot and want some perks I pay 10-15$ month for those months.

There's also the issue of free-trials. I'd never have even tried these games if they didn't start off free.

Another approach is subscription games with a low subscription. I'd accept some cut corners on graphics for example if the game play was still fun.

For me, grinding is doing an activity I don't enjoy simply for the reward the game offers me at the end. This need not be "advancement" per se. It could be direct access to content. For example, I might grind through the early parts of a quest chain in order to get to the last, interesting part of the quest chain.  Or it could be a social/appearence reward. For example, collecting a resource in order to make a new set of statless clothing to change my character's appearance.

To the extent that levels act as a gate to new, interesting content, and that the content available early on is not interesting (either inherently or because I've already seen it with another character) then leveling up can be a grind for me.

I have a few weeks to wait for the next update to Mabinogi, so I figured I'd try a new game in the meantime.

1. Free/free trial - Only need to play for a week or two, so not looking to spend any money on it

2. Not like EQ/WoW/etc. or Diablo etc. I've played these style of games to death, tired of them

3. I have played over the last couple years: ATITD, Puzzle Pirates, Toon Town, Wizard101. All these games were very good examples of what I'd like to do: something different, fun for at least a little bit, and cheap/free (at least to start)

4. I have also recently tried Eve and Atlantica. They did not gel with me, although I do appreciate the attempt to do something different, and did get a couple days of enjoyment I guess.

5. Obviously, needs to be available immediately.

6. System requirements can't be TOO high; needs to play on my two-year-old laptop

Any suggestions?

How about a skill (or player skill) based system plus a  "reputation" based system. You don't identify someone as a good "healer" by them being a member of the "healing" class, or even that they have rank x at healing skill (in particular, with a sufficiently complex skill system it should be impossible to summarize someone with just one skill), but from the fact that they have been rated highly as a good healer, either by the game (puzzle pirates), by organizations (belonging to a well known guild that specializes in healing - note, it helps if the game allows people to belong to multiple guilds), or by personal reputation or reference (bob says joe is a great at performing the healer function, let's recruit Joe). The latter two methods point toward social-networking tools being important to help in group formation.

Classes can be a work-around to a bad social-networking system in a game, but honestly sometimes those don't even work. In some games pick-up group quality is just so terrible that just because someone is a member of a "healer" class is just not enough assurance they can actually function as a healer.

Hmm, the game is partly skill (and lag) based. A good way to describe it is when you first enter a new dungeon, you will probally die horribly and often. With some practice, thought, and strategy, you will eventually die occassionally. With more practice, the dungeon will become a cakewalk. Levels and cash shop options will slide the learning curve over so the die all the time period becomes shorter, and dungeons will become trivial sooner. This is why noobies sometimes feel its too hard, and oldies find big chunks of the game trivial. Levels and cash provide a handicap. However, with enough practice, one can eventually master virtually all content with a free character (if built correctly) without ever spending a dime.

The cash options roughly fall into a few categories:

 

1. Items you can trade with other players; I almost never buy these, but you could if you really don't care about spending real money.

2. Subscriptions to make trading easier or soften the relatively harsh death penalty. If you don't mind a challenge and slower money making, you don't need these. The subscriptions also give access to some special quests and powers.

3. rebirths, which are a form of buying levels. Levels become harder and harder to obtain, but you can pay 8$ to reset your current level back to 1, making it easy again to increase your overall level (which determines how many skill points you have). You don't have to ever do this, since most dungeons can be handled by a no-rebirth character with enough practice. Furthermore, even if you do decide to rebirth, you can either do it often (every 3 weeks is the most) or pace yourself over longer time horizons. Basically, if you want to keep advancing your character, you can decide to rebirth when the grind becomes unbearable. I like to rebirth occassionally (every 6 weeks) to try out different skills.

4. Pets. These are the closest to being mandatory/overpowered (having one or two is immensely helpful), but they are one time costs. If you do decide to play the game alot, it's hard to resist paying about 10$ for a horse and 3$ for a dog.

Throwing out an idea for brainstorming.... what if perma-death was linked to free-to-play/trial mode. When playing a game in trial mode you get one life. IF your character dies, you have two options: start over, or pay for a ressurection. You could also make the ressurection a one time thing, where if you die again, you again have to pay a nominal fee. Like coin-op arcade games.  YOU LOSE. insert one quarter to continue.

 

In a sense Mabinogi sorta works like this. If you die in free-play mode, the death penalty is fairly harsh (once you reach a certain level and have a certain amount of gear). But if you die with a nao subscription, you are allowed one painless death every 30 minutes or so. I've used the nao subscription as a handicap for dungeons I don't have much experience with, but once I became familiar with most of the game, I turned it off. This amped up the challenge level from "can you finish this dungeon without dying too much" to "can you finish this dungeon without dying at all" keeping the game interesting longer. And I am rewarded for accepting the higher challenge by not having to spend as much money.

I've become pretty tolerant of cash-shop games (I used to fear them, but then having tried some I realised all the things I thought would be problems were for me no big deal) but there is one thing that still angers me, a kind of bait and switch. For me it is presenting a particular piece of content as free (or having a certain cost) but in truth the cost is higher.

I am ok with pricing content ("this special dungeon is 10$ to play!"). I am ok with having content where it is public knowledge it will need cash shop items ("this is the hardest, most unfair dungeon in the game. To even have a chance, expect to spend 10$ in cash shop items.") To me the above two cases are sorta equivalent. If anything I've come to prefer the latter, if it is designed as "this dungeon is unfairly hard. If you play perfectly, you can get through spending 5$. IF you play sloppily, you can get through having spent 15$. The better you play, the cheaper the dungeon." I've even come to view free content this way. "This free dungeon is free to play. IF you play it perfectly, it's free, and you'll win. But if you are sloppy, you'll fail, unless you pay x$, where x depends on how sloppy you are."

However,  I am NOT ok with something secretly requiring cash-shop items. A special quest costs 10$ to do.... half way through you come to a dungeon that is literally impossible to beat using normal means... but by spending another 10$ you can have a chance to beat the dungeon and do the second half of the quest.

So for the pet example, I'm ok with 250$ pet. IF advertised as such, its the consumers choice. I'm not ok with a 100$ pet, who turns out needs to be fed 10$ items every day for 15 days or it dies. That's decietful.

Are there multiple servers that you can freely travel between? Makes me think of atitd, at least back when I played it. There was one "Server" but it was broken up into different player made cities that clustered around "chariot stops." You could use the chariot stops to teleport between the cities. You could, in theory, run between the cities manually, but it would literally take hours of real life time. So it felt a little like de facto multiple servers, with the ability to transfer between them.  Since the cities were player-made, each was unique. I'm not sure, but there were rarely more than 100 people online in each of the cities.

 

Another possibility is advanced NPC AI. I imagine a world where the AI was good enough to be somewhat interesting, but still not interesting enough to completely rely on. So make a game world that has lots of AI NPCs suplamanted by "100" PCs. Maybe that would be good enough to be interesting, and have the advantage that the NPCs do the chump jobs while the PCs do the "interesting" things. This could make the world more plausible and maybe more living/breathing than a world of all adventurers.

Or maybe, have the NPCs scripted by players. Maybe, each player gets 10 characters. They can only play one at a time in avatar-mode, but they script the other 9 to act in the world automatically, 24-7. Since the NPCs are player made, they might very well be interesting, and it distributes the workload of scripting AIs from the developers to the players.

And if you aren't a hunter? Or a captain in the right place? Or allready at the summoning horn? I found it just increased the critical nature of kinships. A kinship can work around all the travel time stuff by having mules camped out at horns (or captains anywhere), having an army of hunters bound to different campfires, etc. So again, have a kinship -> golden. If on your own trying to build a pickup group.... good luck if you only have a 10-30 minutes time budget for group formation.

When I came back after the implementation of all the summoning horns and campfires, my kinship was still operational. I had well functioning groups ready and transportation to anywhere in the world in under 10 minutes, because of all the resources the kinship brought to bear. Then I left again and AoC happened. When I came back, my kinship had completely vanished, my friends list was dry. Totally different game.

 

CoH is head and shoulders superior to LOTRO for easy group formation. Toontown, Wizard 101, puzzle pirates have teleport-to-friend features.

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