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General Discussion Forum » The Pub at MMORPG.COM » Inconvenience is the Key

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246 posts found
  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

2/03/13 11:49:15 AM#21
Originally posted by hraeth

I want to travel, though travel needs to be meaningful and not 45 minutes of waiting on a dock for a boat to arrive followed by 20 minutes of standing on the deck of the boat.

One of the drawbacks of MMOs is that travel is very rarely--at all--meaningful. Part of the price a 3D world pays for camera control; you can see what's happening, out to the edge of agro range or even far beyond.

Surprise is only achieved by a mob spawning literally in your lap. Compromises exist; patrolling mobs help (a  little), randomly wandering mobs help (a lot more). Really tight density-spawning creatures are "annoying and tedious", if you're more concerned with getting from A to B than you are with killing spawns.

But still, for a reasonably careful player, traveling from A to B just isn't something that's ever classed as "difficult".

In the MUD days, we would travel from town to town via scripted movement--Move E, Move E; Move S, Move NE...you could do the moves manually, once you're memorized the sequence, but most folks, honestly, didn't do that for long.  A question of A to B being a 2-minute movement script or a 25-minute manual walk. "Surprise" consisted of moving into a room with a hostile crittur on your path; if it could get a hit in on you, your scripts would (sometimes) be interrupted, you could even get killed.

At best, it reminds you of a toon's mortality (sneaking through a zone that's at or above your level).

But town A to town B? Generally doesn't involve movement through much or any "near your level" territory. Which may be the design flaw that's really missing from this equation. Travel's is only meaningful through critturs (or players) that can do more than annoy you. Add mounts, and even fewer critturs can even annoy you. It's not inconvenience that's missing; it's relevance.

If you find travel enormously tedious, I might first suggest a PVP realm to 'wake you up'.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Mardukk

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/05/11
Posts: 1396

2/03/13 11:59:42 AM#22
Fantastic post OP. Too streamlined gives very little sense of accomplishment which leads to boredom. I do think its a fine line on a few issues. One thing that really needs to be addressed is the sense of danger when going through a zone as well as solo pve difficulty. Both need to be adjusted higher. I think we will eventually see some indie dev put difficulty back in solo play.
  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

2/03/13 12:10:27 PM#23

Perahps one of the simplest examples of how messy this concept gets is travel time.  If you were a developer, how long should you make players hold down the w key to get from one hub to the next.  Is it a complete waste of the player's valuable time?   Is it a check on over-efficient consumption of content?  Or is required part of building a sense of geography, isolation and anticipation?  Is it all of these at once?

My opinions on this are all over the map (and not always consistent with each other), but one of the trends that is setting off alarm bells for me is the notion of cash-shops being used to bypass inconvenience, that the idea of the sole reason an inconcenience exists in a game is to be a motivation for people to pay real money to get past it.  It freaks me out to look around on forums and see other people *not* having the same alarmed reaction, just taking it in stride.  It's a humbling reminder to me that I still have a lot to learn about how other people think.

  Ezhae

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/03/06
Posts: 734

2/03/13 12:14:07 PM#24

While I can agree witht he points, you forget that what you describe only applies to a small part of overall MMO playerbase. Keep in midn that back then whe, 100-200k players in a MMO was a lot, nowadays, ammo that falls that low is considered a failure and disgrace to the genre. 

Once the whole thing exploded (thanks to vairous factors) and a high profile MMO is expecte dto have at least 1 million players on board you get a lot more poeple that play to kill time, to have some fun for 2-3 hours a day every other day, those people make the majority of the customers so it's no surprsie that the developers started creating games that are enjoyable for that group. 

On whatever games official forums you will rarley find a huge number of posts syaing "stuff is too easy", on the contrary, majority will want more (stuff) for less (effort)m they want to know that those 2-3 hours they put in every now and than is meaningful in itself, separate from the "big picture" and provides noticeable progress to whatever goal they may have set for themselves. 

Same time you can see all those "hardcore" MMOs barley able to sustain themselves, with exception of EVE that due to it's unique approach has rather loyal fanbase. Doesn't help that when some indie company goes to make MMO that has more "punishing" gameplay 3 others try the same thing at same time which gives each of them even smaller slice of the overall pie and neither has enough resources to produce quality game on their own. 

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

2/03/13 12:22:47 PM#25
Originally posted by maplestone
My opinions on this are all over the map (and not always consistent with each other), but one of the trends that is setting off alarm bells for me is the notion of cash-shops being used to bypass inconvenience, that the idea of the sole reason an inconcenience exists in a game is to be a motivation for people to pay real money to get past it.

The dubious honesty of faster-mounts puchasable only with cash?

Not substantially different from pay-by-the-hour services (yes you, 1st gen MMOs) manipulating income with jogging speed,  is it? A wee distasteful, but reaching clear back to the dawn of internet.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

2/03/13 12:25:46 PM#26
Originally posted by Ezhae

On whatever games official forums you will rarley find a huge number of posts syaing "stuff is too easy"

:raise hand: I've seen those posted virtually every day in certain games.

Scratch that, every game. "Too EZ" is just a traditional pose-and-flex topic, has always been.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Ezhae

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/03/06
Posts: 734

2/03/13 12:38:57 PM#27
Originally posted by Icewhite
Originally posted by Ezhae

On whatever games official forums you will rarley find a huge number of posts syaing "stuff is too easy"

:raise hand: I've seen those posted virtually every day in certain games.

Scratch that, every game. "Too EZ" is just a traditional pose-and-flex topic, has always been.

Well yeah, it's often as bragging when someone first complains that it's too hard. WoW is best example in that regard. The game wasn't exaclty hard since the start but as more poeple trickled in, discooverign the genre thorugh WoW, the more and more you've seen people asking for stuff to become easier to get for "average player". 

  User Deleted
2/03/13 12:42:35 PM#28
I remember when we just played the game.  When playing Pac Man didn't go around shouting, "WTF that Red Ghost is OP" we just learned to deal with it - and got better at the game.  Inconvenience comes in many flavors.  I don't like mindless repetition, but I'll take inconvenient challenge any day.
  Banaghran

Novice Member

Joined: 1/17/12
Posts: 872

2/03/13 2:02:49 PM#29
Originally posted by Icewhite

One of the drawbacks of MMOs is that travel is very rarely--at all--meaningful. Part of the price a 3D world pays for camera control; you can see what's happening, out to the edge of agro range or even far beyond.

Surprise is only achieved by a mob spawning literally in your lap. Compromises exist; patrolling mobs help (a  little), randomly wandering mobs help (a lot more). Really tight density-spawning creatures are "annoying and tedious", if you're more concerned with getting from A to B than you are with killing spawns.

But still, for a reasonably careful player, traveling from A to B just isn't something that's ever classed as "difficult".

In the MUD days, we would travel from town to town via scripted movement--Move E, Move E; Move S, Move NE...you could do the moves manually, once you're memorized the sequence, but most folks, honestly, didn't do that for long.  A question of A to B being a 2-minute movement script or a 25-minute manual walk. "Surprise" consisted of moving into a room with a hostile crittur on your path; if it could get a hit in on you, your scripts would (sometimes) be interrupted, you could even get killed.

At best, it reminds you of a toon's mortality (sneaking through a zone that's at or above your level).

But town A to town B? Generally doesn't involve movement through much or any "near your level" territory. Which may be the design flaw that's really missing from this equation. Travel's is only meaningful through critturs (or players) that can do more than annoy you. Add mounts, and even fewer critturs can even annoy you. It's not inconvenience that's missing; it's relevance.

If you find travel enormously tedious, I might first suggest a PVP realm to 'wake you up'.

Well, what compells you to reduce the argument just to combat, aggro and ambushes?

How about stamina, encumbrance (sic?), class based teleports and forms of travel, transportation blocked zones and areas, area bonuses/penalties (peace/periodic damage, regen+-) promoting mobility instead of sticking to a spot...

Those were all in the muds, but ofcourse, these days, when "combat is the core mechanic of mmorpgs"...

Flame on!

:)

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5543

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

2/03/13 2:10:52 PM#30
Originally posted by maplestone

Perahps one of the simplest examples of how messy this concept gets is travel time.  If you were a developer, how long should you make players hold down the w key to get from one hub to the next.  Is it a complete waste of the player's valuable time?   Is it a check on over-efficient consumption of content?  Or is required part of building a sense of geography, isolation and anticipation?  Is it all of these at once?

My opinions on this are all over the map (and not always consistent with each other), but one of the trends that is setting off alarm bells for me is the notion of cash-shops being used to bypass inconvenience, that the idea of the sole reason an inconcenience exists in a game is to be a motivation for people to pay real money to get past it.  It freaks me out to look around on forums and see other people *not* having the same alarmed reaction, just taking it in stride.  It's a humbling reminder to me that I still have a lot to learn about how other people think.

Good point. If OP really thinks inconveniences are the key, he/she should try playing F2P games for free. There will be plenty of inconveniences there.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Banaghran

Novice Member

Joined: 1/17/12
Posts: 872

2/03/13 2:28:39 PM#31
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by maplestone

Perahps one of the simplest examples of how messy this concept gets is travel time.  If you were a developer, how long should you make players hold down the w key to get from one hub to the next.  Is it a complete waste of the player's valuable time?   Is it a check on over-efficient consumption of content?  Or is required part of building a sense of geography, isolation and anticipation?  Is it all of these at once?

My opinions on this are all over the map (and not always consistent with each other), but one of the trends that is setting off alarm bells for me is the notion of cash-shops being used to bypass inconvenience, that the idea of the sole reason an inconcenience exists in a game is to be a motivation for people to pay real money to get past it.  It freaks me out to look around on forums and see other people *not* having the same alarmed reaction, just taking it in stride.  It's a humbling reminder to me that I still have a lot to learn about how other people think.

Good point. If OP really thinks inconveniences are the key, he/she should try playing F2P games for free. There will be plenty of inconveniences there.

I vote to extend Godwin's law to "cashshop F2P" :)

These games more often than not offer equipment , experience and skills in a cashshop, does that mean that equip, experience and skills are put into the game just to milk the cashshop, and should be abandoned altogether? :)

Flame on!

:)

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

2/03/13 3:01:21 PM#32
Originally posted by Banaghran

How about stamina, encumbrance (sic?), class based teleports and forms of travel, transportation blocked zones and areas, area bonuses/penalties (peace/periodic damage, regen+-) promoting mobility instead of sticking to a spot...

Those were all in the muds, but ofcourse, these days, when "combat is the core mechanic of mmorpgs"...

I do remember some teleports, generally only something you did once your backpack was full, from atop the corpse pile and back to 'town'. I suppose the specifics varied by title, but it was a pretty "big gun" power in MUDs, not something used every trip. GS used a lot of 'anchor point' teleport gold rings, which included a chance of being "mugged' in transit. Relevant?

Area bonues--again, would they raise a 'trivial' crittur up to 'actual threat' level?

Encumberance--Maneuver penalties, generally. Might get you killed, once in a great while, if you were silly enough to stay out in the wild that way. Maybe it's just me, but that's one 'archaic system' that was a damn good idea to get rid of; it was incredibly clumsy.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Cephus404

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

2/03/13 3:21:33 PM#33
Originally posted by zymurgeist
There is a huge difference between challenging someone and just throwing up a series of pointless roadblocks. MMOs commonly  put time sinks and other bizarre barriers in players way. They were never, and still aren't, challenging. I'm not sure they can ever be challenging because people would just cry a river until the nerf bats come out. As it is people still whine about gear checks in WoW. That's not exactly a hard game.

There's a difference between challenging and frustrating.  Most things in MMOs aren't very challenging, they're just frustrating, pointless roadblocks as you say.  Given the choice between frustrating and simple, I'll choose simple every time.  Unless they can figure out how to challenge without the challenges being pointless, why bother?

Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
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  Banaghran

Novice Member

Joined: 1/17/12
Posts: 872

2/03/13 3:22:39 PM#34
Originally posted by Icewhite
Originally posted by Banaghran

How about stamina, encumbrance (sic?), class based teleports and forms of travel, transportation blocked zones and areas, area bonuses/penalties (peace/periodic damage, regen+-) promoting mobility instead of sticking to a spot...

Those were all in the muds, but ofcourse, these days, when "combat is the core mechanic of mmorpgs"...

I do remember some teleports, generally only something you did once your backpack was full, from atop the corpse pile and back to 'town'. I suppose the specifics varied by title, but it was a pretty "big gun" power in MUDs, not something used every trip. Relevant?

Area bonues--again, would they raise a 'trivial' crittur up to 'actual threat' level?

Encumberance--Maneuver penalties, generally. Might get you killed, once in a great while, if you were silly enough to stay out in the wild that way. Maybe it's just me, but that's one 'archaic system' that was a damn good idea to get rid of; it was incredibly clumsy.

You must have played some very simplistic muds then, you know, kinda hard to argue if someone approaches you with "the frozen pizza they sell at the local 7/11 is crap, all italian food is crap and everyone should eat hamburgers".

I remember teleport disabled zones that DID make your life more challenging and where abilities like run energy regeneration or carry capacity would shine, not even mentioning fighting with penalties, in a area where you cannot regenerate, we would use the special (racial, class or quest gained) teleports to go to town and then back as mana batteries in a proper "raid", good times....

Just the consideration that a thief would be able to go on forever exping in a hostile environment while a mage would have to find ways to escape (ways to travel?) once in a while to regain mana seems so completely outlandish these days...

Flame on!

:)

  hraeth

Novice Member

Joined: 10/25/07
Posts: 34

2/03/13 3:47:17 PM#35

I think the issue of meaningful travel has to be solved with the possibility (probability?) of worthwhile encounters while traveling.  Certinaly the current model of static (+ a few roaming) spawn while you travel from A to B is in no way meaningful and functions as a simple time-sink.  I'm interested in the model Pathfinder is proposing where dungeon entrances will appear randomly throughout the world, the idea being that you will happen upon them while traveling / exploring.  I think this and other ideas like it may be one answer to the problem of meaningful travel.

To those who's sage suggestions to the OP are along the lines of, "if you want inconvenience go play F2P games without paying...":  I think that's hardly the kind of inconvenience that is being looked for here.  Inconvenience must be meaningful.  Needing to hold a torch in one hand or having a wizard expending some of their precious mana on a light spell while delving deep into a dungeon is meaningful (and immersive).  Not being able to wear gear because you haven't unlocked the ability in the cash shop is not meaningful (and breaks immersion). 

  Banaghran

Novice Member

Joined: 1/17/12
Posts: 872

2/03/13 3:51:49 PM#36
Originally posted by hraeth

 Needing to hold a torch in one hand or having a wizard expending some of their precious mana on a light spell while delving deep into a dungeon is meaningful (and immersive). 

Add in having to unequip the "light source" equipment slot and aquire in some way the "infravision" buff because the skeleton horde 'round the corner is unable to see in the dark for more fun :)

Flame on!

:)

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

2/03/13 3:52:39 PM#37
Originally posted by Banaghran

These games more often than not offer equipment , experience and skills in a cashshop, does that mean that equip, experience and skills are put into the game just to milk the cashshop, and should be abandoned altogether? :)

Flame on!

So no flames needed - I agree with you.  If anything is boosted/accelerated in a cash shop, it means people are paying real money to *not* play the game ... which calls into question what the entertainment value of that feature was in first place.

  Phaserlight

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/18/04
Posts: 707

Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done. -Lao Tzu

2/03/13 3:53:45 PM#38
Originally posted by Icewhite

In the MUD days, we would travel from town to town via scripted movement--Move E, Move E; Move S, Move NE...you could do the moves manually, once you're memorized the sequence, but most folks, honestly, didn't do that for long.

Heh, I remember doing that back in the 90s; after spawning, sleeping to max health and mana, thinking "I want to go to zone X" and punching in a sequence of directions twice as long as the Konami code from memory.  I didn't intend to memorize the directions, it just kind of happened.  The only time limitations involved running out of stamina.  PvP was also really intense in the MUD days.

/OT

"To be what you are not, experience what you are not." -Saint John of the Cross
Authored 110 missions in Vendetta Online
Check it out on Steam

  Alders

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/10
Posts: 1702

I cannot fiddle but I can make a great state of a small city.

2/03/13 4:04:17 PM#39
Inconvenience works, when options are limited.
  laokoko

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 1916

2/03/13 4:13:29 PM#40

I just think when most of the "so called mmorpg" have turned into instanced dungeon and instance raid and instance battleground, you really don't need those inconvenience. 

The inconvenience is really there mostly for those open world pvp games.  You need people to have long travel times so they can fight each other.

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