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Quest for the perfect Fantasy Sandbox!

I started playing MMORPGs, approx. 4 or 5 years ago, and by then MMOs were already settling into the theme park style, much to my disappointment. I've tried various attempt since which fell short. So here I'll be ranting and maybe make a review now n the

Author: happyfarts

Concept: 'First!'in a Sandbox

Posted by happyfarts Monday October 10 2011 at 9:23PM
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So let us start off with agreeing on something. It might not be an original idea but almost everyone likes to be “first” at something. If you don’t believe me, just check out the first comments on youtube.
 
Well, MMORPG players are no exception. Whether first in their skills or in their achievements, we all get a special kick out of being one step ahead of our peers in one way or another. This is an element not to be under-rated! Sadly not everyone can be first, and no one can be first at everything ... but I’m sure that is something we have all learned to live with by now.
 
Exploration
With no further ado, let us burn the world maps, trash mini-maps and  pull out a compass. The ready-made maps are a terrible idea! They help kill an element of unknown in the game. Now onto the good stuff!
 
In my opinion there should be a new item slot added to a player’s inventory, a Map slot. Over here the player will carry his or her map of a region.
 
There are several ways a player can appropriate a map:
  1.        They can start off by purchasing a blank map and go around exploring. Their map will automatically start to fill up as they explore, but their map will be sketchy. If they want a more detailed map they’ll need to learn cartography. With cartography they will also be able to copy their maps or other people’s
  2.        They can buy a map from a local town, if available.
  3.        They can buy a map from a player cartographer who’s already explored the area
  4.        They can kill and loot another player’s map
Something very important, Cartographers should be able to make annotations on their maps. Like marking resource nodes, mob spawns, player cities, strategic points and whatnot. This would give their maps added value ... of course they could as easily sell you maps with bogus annotations.
 
The less information the player has ready at hand, the more he has to discover for himself. And this information can become a new form of trade.
 
Another example how this can be implemented, starter towns can provide players with a basic introduction to herbs which everyone can gather. But then it will be up to herbalists to discover the purpose for their use through some research ability. They can sell this information for a handsome sum to the NPC town or else keep it to the info to his greedy self.
 
One can argue that eventually their skills will become obsolete. Well I disagree. The game makers can introduce new rare herbs in secret patches and leave them to be discovered. Maps might need to be updated as wild life migrates or player fortifications rise and fall or humanoid mobs expand their territory. Yes I dream big, somebody has to  :)
 
One Name, One Head, One Kill
The name says it all. I don’t care how badly everybody wants to kill Lord Fatface! Lord Fatface can only die once! Unless he comes back as the living dead ... My point being, specific characters should never respawn ad eternum. There can be plenty of anonymous Goblin chieftains or Demon lords, but once you give a mob a name just make him bloody hard to kill but once dead, STAYS dead!
 
Nothing ridicules players’ achievement more than leaving the “Dungeon of Terrors” only to find another party trotting in to do the exact same thing!
 
New Recipes
Recipes should not drop off some random gorilla you killed.
There should three alternatives:
  •          A player crafter uses a research skill at the cost of some selected mats and discovers a recipe based on those mats used. Once discovered he can have his recipe copied and, like the herbalist, sell it out or keep to himself
  •          Basic Recipes can found for sale in different NPC towns
  •          Players can find remote NPC craftsmen who are willing to exchange some of their recipes for a favour
To state clearly, not all recipes that can be researched should be found off NPC craftsmen and vice versa.
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There’s probably more I can think up but I’m too tired and I need my sleep, besides this gives you the general gist of it. MMORPG developers need to give more opportunity for players to discover things for themselves. Players want to feel like they are making a difference with what they do.
 
Guild Wars 2 is taking a good initiative with their dynamic quest system. I’d like to see that in action. Well that’s enough ranting from end for now. Peace out
 
 

 

 

Concept: Mobs in a Sandbox

Posted by happyfarts Sunday October 9 2011 at 3:41PM
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My first post is about PvE, and it's missing counterpart EvP. You might think I'm veering a bit off my sandbox theme here but frankly I believe that Sandbox elements should be not be limited Player-side, but should also be reflected in the NPCs, from here on referred to as mobs.

As anyone who’s played an MMORPG can tell you, for the most part mobs are little more than a mobile resource node with about as much intelligence as a land mine! This lack of intellectual challenge reduces any PvE business one might have to a mundane task and something no one would engage in for any stretch of time if avoidable.

 

Function followed by Purpose

Mobs lack a goal. A scope in the game other than wondering around till a Player comes to kill them. For example, a Goblin spawn has multiple functions. 

Firstly, to defend their respawn point from outsiders. This is done via tight defence at home base and patrols around their perimeter. They defend themselves successfully enough their numbers can grow and their patrols will get bigger and spread over a wider area.

Secondly, to feed themselves. When I say eat, I don't mean they actually "eat" but they'll gather supplies at their base in a big pile of goodies which deplete over time which Players can loot. To keep their bellies full the goblins will have to send out hunting or raiding parties. Hunting parties will hunt the local wildlife, gathering meat and skins. Raiding parties will hunt other humanoid mobs or Players in an attempt to skip the harvesting process. Lazy goblins!

Lastly, world domination! Lazy cowardly bums they may be, but goblins have their eyes set on the heights. Depending how successful they are in the previous two functions, they will ultimately form battle parties to make a nuisance of themselves.

 

Ding!

Mobs who survive attacks from players or other mobs should skill up from their encounters (within limitations) meaning if enough dumbasses die at a goblin’s hand he will become stronger and more dangerous an opponent!

 

What you See is what you Get

One of the most tiring elements in PvE is that randomised drops. Why does a wolf not always drop teeth? How long can a toothless wolf survive?! Or why does killing a gorilla drop a magic wand? When I kill something I expect to get what it drops, namely any gear it was wearing and yield meat/skins, if applicable, to skinning.

 

"Nice Gear. I'll Take it!"

Yes, every true sandbox should have Full Looting. But no, it's not just players who can loot your gear. Mobs should be fully capable of looting player loot. Naturally only humanoid will try loot your corpse and that's only if you have better gear. Now you can normally expect them to almost always steal your gold and nick any other interesting items.

 

No Radar

Yet another poorly implemented idea is how a mob notices you. Normally it would be that you tripped into his perimeter or attacked him. Well in reality mobs should have AT LEAST 2 senses. Sight & hearing.. Their cone of vision picks up whatever is directly in front of them, while their hearing will have a circular range will pick up the less stealthy. The acuteness of each sense varies between mobs of course.

Ideally I would add a 3rd sense, Smell, which would act similarly to the Sight, but it’s direction and range depend on the wind   :)

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That is the general idea anyways. Many people would not welcome this. Mobs that the Player?! That act with co-ordination? That go after resource nodes?! That can skill up?!!

In fact most people would feel like they’re in Jurassic Park after the power cut. Well that’s exactly what I want to see. A more dynamic environment in which players can integrate in. An environment that will never feel static or stale because it is in a constant flux.

PvE would finally become an engaging experience!