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Ideas for next-gen games

In this blog, I'm trying to give some of my ideas to make the next generation of games innovating and fun.

Author: Drolletje

Player Skill: twitch and tactics

Posted by Drolletje Sunday November 25 2007 at 3:14PM
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As you can see in upcoming mmo's, the emphasis is slowly moving from character skill to player skill. So it will matter more how good the player behind the computer is, and not just how much strength/agility/intelligence his in-game character has. I think this is a very good evolution. But now my question is: which parts of current mmo's can be improved by involving more player skill?

A first thing I can think of is the character build: give the player a lot of choices, so he can build his own, unique strategy and there will never be two players with exactly the same build. The general rule here is: the more choice, the better, as long as the different choices are properly balanced.

Another thing where player skill should definately be more involved is crafting. I've seen a lot ideas about crafting mini-games. But I think that there should also be the opportunity for players to experiment with new materials and different proportions of those materials, instead of having fixed recipes for everything.

The most important part however, and perhaps also the most difficult, is combat. I think everyone agrees when I say the time of auto-attack-->afk-->loot is over. But what is coming in it's place? There are two ways to involve player skill into combat. The first one is twitch: the player with better reflexes, will win. Some upcoming mmo's are trying to implement this with an fps-like combat system with manual targetting and no auto-attack. The second one is tactics: the player who makes the better decisions, will be the better player here. For this system to work, there obviously have to be a lot of non-trivial choices during combat. Choices that have a lot of different possibilities that all have an unique outcome and have an impact on the combat. But for such choices to be made, the player has to get a little time to think before he acts. This goes however head-on-head with the first possibility: twitch. So when making a game, there has to be made a choice: what kind of player skill do we want to reward: fast reflexes or good decisions?

Now this is I think a matter of personal preference: it's the reason why some people play shooters, while others prefer strategy games. I will give my personal preference however. That would easily be the second one because I think in order to win a battle, you have to adapt to your enemy and try to counter his decisions. This can only be accomplished when the player has time and, more important, opportunities to do this. This is simply not possible when everything depends on the speed of the player.

To sum it up: Involving more player skill in mmo's is good, but it should be more in the form of meaningful decisions with maybe a bit of twitch. Please keep the pure twitch for shooters. I'd like to hear what you prefer: more twitch, or more tactics? Or do you rather have the old system, where the player with the most time spent in-game will have the strongest character?

daarco writes:

I agree a lot with this blog.

And i want more tactics before combat and more twitch during combat.

With that i mean you should be able to plan a attack, using terrain,gear and do on to win. Not only character skill. And also that you can choose how to make a uniq character from the beginning.

Sun Nov 25 2007 4:01PM Report
mja1983ca writes:

I think the difference between the 2 are less clear then you may belive.

I think anyone will tell you star craft is a strategy game but often times the person who wins is the one who has the highest number of commands per second, just look at how fast the pros can do things and tell me thats not twitch game play.  The best secnario is one were everyone can thrive, maybe i can cover for my slowness by being more sneaky about things, the more people a game apeals to the better.


Sun Nov 25 2007 7:03PM Report
t0nyd writes:

WoW and Guildwars are both twitch based MMOs. With WoW, if you take 2 players of equal level with equal gear the winner will be determined by who is faster and which class is better. Most fights in these games are decided in under 10 seconds.

The problem with games like WoW is that they design specific classes to beat specific classes with no real logic in mind. Rogues are supposed to win over clothies. So they give rogues an overwhelming advantage so that even a child can win over a clothie.

With guild wars you have a much broader design spectrum. Class is important but not as important as you would think. Gear isnt the overwhelming factor. The skills you place on your hotbar and your ability to play determine who win.

Mon Nov 26 2007 12:14AM Report
BadSpock writes:

It is possible to have strategy and tactics without having to resort to "twitch" based combat.

I hate twitch combat in a MMORPG... I'd hate it in Oblivion if it weren't for the fact the rest of the game is soo good..


Mon Nov 26 2007 10:52AM Report
Gbakos writes: I totally agree with what maj1983ca said, the best mmo type would be one that could make fair and fun game play available to everyone with minimal time input. Of course the players would have to practice and gain different upgrades, however one shouldn't have to grind for a month to compete with peers. I'm not really a huge fan of twitch, so i'll have to go for strategy, but I believe that a system where strategy counts would be the best. nice blog btw. Mon Nov 26 2007 12:17PM Report
BlackWatch writes:

I agree with Heerobya... I'd rather leave the 'twitch' to FPS games. 

I'd rather focus on strategy than how fast my keystroke/mouse-movements are. 

When I need my 'speed-fix', I play FPS games or I'll hit a console game for some racing/sports games. 

Perhaps 'next-gen' games will feature both 'twitch' and current systems, but any MMORPG that is 'twitch' based now... I won't play it. 

Mon Nov 26 2007 1:07PM Report writes:
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