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Ramblings From An Addict

Short Commentary on MMORPGS.

Author: telebreth

SR2: Where is White Wolf when you want Vampires?

Posted by telebreth Friday April 11 2008 at 1:12AM
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So I was talking in Ventrilo just before a raid in WoW with a friend. Wouldn't it be nice if White Wolf released Vampires: The Masquerade as an MMO? I think so. I also think that this is a perfect time to flesh out some of the things I was speaking on referring to no experience gains but changing to something different for "Leveling" as we know of it today.

If any of you know, remember or understand from playing how siring works in the Vampires realm consider the following.

When you start playing you can start as any of the current Kindred Clans and if you wish as a Human. Instead of leveling you find yourself in a Clan from the start of the game. Nothing like a Guild system. BUT there would be like Clan Halls and things like that. It would be your quote n quote starting areas. These areas like Capital Cities in most games would introduce you to the Hierarchy of your Clan, have missions and or quests and instead of receiving experience points that simply move "up" everything would flow around the concept of say....faction. Some things you do make your clan happy...other things make them mad. Betraying your clan and choosing something different would always be an option. Feeding off the elders would carry the same consequences as within the world and theoretically would be HOW people could start playing and immediately bypass the leveling system and become extremely powerful from the start. However, feeding off the elders carried many horrific consequences that would all be played out in game.

Faction would be the driving force behind opening all abilities and skills. Based on your actions things would be open but they could be closed to you as well. If you are discovered betraying your clan you could be penalized faction and loose abilities and have to find other ways to receive those abilities again. Gain the favor of your Clan or even allow yourself to be sired by another Clan and then take upon yourself their racial traits and abilities. Get tired of being Mirovigian and gameplay seemed dull....go get sired by someone else. Tired of being human allow yourself to embrace the life of the Kindred.

 

NO one would ever have the same abilities exactly unless they followed the exact same paths...however because you can choose when and who to betray, when to increase and decrease your faction and therefore open or close abilities nothing is locked or set in stone. Allowing for wider arrays of races from the start instead of classes but functioning along the same lines as classes gives the feel that classes are indeed still there. Things could still be mathmatically tracked by asshats and the entire world would be at ease. Especially me....someone who is dying for a twist to things we have been doing forever...not to mention I am dying for a Kindred MMO.

SR1: Alternatives To Experience Points

Posted by telebreth Wednesday April 9 2008 at 5:21PM
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Any time someone requests a topic I will try to stem off with a new blog and archive them by what request I am covering. The first request was to blog about possible alternatives to experience points for leveling in future MMO's and how these alternatives may function.

While many games in the Role-Playing genre level based on experience points some companies have made attempts regardless of how large or small to change leveling as we know and understand it hopefully making it more "User Friendly" One of these games I have seen in action though have not gotten a chance to play myself is Crisis Core for the PsP a Final Fantasy VII Prequel if you will. In CC (as I will call it from here on out) players engage in combat and experience a slot machine style interface in the upper left hand corner. Throughout fighting the slots are constantly spinning. When a player reaches a certain number of Soldier Points the chance for what we used to know as a Limit Break now called a "Power Surge" takes place. If you roll all 7's or three sevens, your player gets to level up, otherwise you experience increases to your attack power hit points and the like. If you receive two numbers which are the same your materia has a chance to level up.

In my time watching this play out, I thought "WoW, this game could take ages to level..." seeing as how your chance to level seemed random, however when we took a look at Walkthroughs for CC it seemed as though players worked out a mathmatical equation so as they could track what they then called Experience.

 

In my opinion, one of the only successful ways I see future MMOs breaking from the confines of XP as we know them would be to rework leveling into more of a Rank Structure. Similar to schools or signing up for militia or army. Take for instance wanting to be a Warrior. You have a representative for people who wish you to fight for them you go through Initial Training and eventually get sworn in. You start as a low man on the totem pole receiving only basic or nub gear, skills, and stats. Based on your actions, successful full completions of quests and objectives etc you can impress your leaders with something like faction. At a certain point you receive a rank increase which then unlocks new skills, gear etc. The game still allows you to progress but it also gives you the ability to attain to much of the game content in your peon state as well. Allowing for larger combat sequences in where some people serve as fodder on the frontlines or more experienced troops sent in on flanks or as "the cavalry" Your ingame ability and dedication allows your level NOT a mathmatical number which can be tracked and estimated. Leveling could happen swiftly for people who gain the favor of their leaders and can even loose rank for insubordination and re-rank with other factions. If you remain loyal to people group 1....you have access to their special sciences, abilities magics etc. But you can/could also betray them and switch factions as a similar rank for someone else...loose those abilities and have a whole new slew of abilities with people group number 2.

A game functioning like this keeps not only the level mechanism fresh and new for players but also keeps the PvP fresh and new as you encounter other allies and enemies with different abilities. As content is included new people can come on the scene and challenge people and their loyalties. I believe changing to a more RL model of moving up in the work force or the military is a much more reliable method of advancing in level as we know it. Of course, it could be as flawed as the slot machine method and could possibly become tedious and/or annoying at times.

Rich MMORPG Content

Posted by telebreth Wednesday April 9 2008 at 1:09PM
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Lately I have read some commentary on what things make MMORPG's worth playing. What should be kept and what should be tossed even what things should be considered for the future. I would like to take this time to share a couple of my concerns as I look forward to continuing my contribution in MMO gameplay over the 10-20 years.

 

Things that should be kept:

    Leveling- Leveling is what makes Role-Playing Games the unique genre it is. In and of itself its what we have been doing that keeps us coming back to the genre. While there are many other rewards to gameplay at least for me, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing each time we get to a certain experience something about our character changes or improves. Whether its increased stats, increased skill knowledge or improved skill knowledge we grow and change as we interact with our environment. Its like "growing up" without having to "grow up" each year we grow up at a pre-determined pace set by experience points or skill points so that we get daily enjoyment instead of the monotony of real life time as we know it.

    Classes- Classes give us a back bone for the things we wish to do with our character. Classes should in some way remain in an RPG Genre so that we can track as gamers where we desire our character to be without a deep knowledge of a specific games mechanics. If every time I switch playing an RPG and have to adopt a new Class System or way to make my character do specific things I may loose interest as I do not spend my life gaming as well as MOST subscribers wish to log in and play for enjoyment. Are there hardcore gamers who will spend thousands of hours learning new methods and ways of doing things? Absolutely. However, to assume the majority of the population wish this undertaking is neglecting the opinion of many for the opinion of the few.

    Races- It is always important as well as with the LORE of a game to include rich choices of people groups that are unique people unto themselves. Certain traits no one else has, abilities or skills make character creation more enjoyable because we are only ever given one race in RL to be a part of and in the fantasy world it is nice to experience what other people groups experience inlcuding but not limited to the discrimination existing in the worlds we play for the races I speak of.

    PvP- Fact of the matter is, people do not always get along. Engaging in combat with races, classes, or even people JUST LIKE US should be implemented. I would love to see this expanded on in the future where we may find sects of each class or race that may fall under their own discriminations creating more vast uses of PVP Content. It is sad to know the only identifier at the moment is I wish to flag on and attack people for no reason...That is chaotic. However, defining this combat and giving people reasons to attack others would be unique and MUCH more believable as I play. Instituting a Guild System not run by players or based on things like the race you are or the classes you play would allow much more for this. Even including quests to engage in PvP for a reason rewarding the victor and taking from the loser would bring more depth as well.

    Seamless Environments- When you travel from one point to another it takes time. I enjoyed this in WoW. While Dungeons were instanced the world as we knew it was seamless it took time to travel continent to continent. It made the adventure much more realistic. The traveling from one town to another in LOTRO being automated took away from this. Just as the instancing of towns and even the general world in Guild Wars did as well. Dungeons are understandable but give us the feel of travel in our fantasy avatars and we will thank you for it.

    Instanced Dungeons- Are awesome. With being multi-player at the emensity an Online Role-Playing game is...I do not want to have to fight a Dungeon Boss against the entire server. I do not want to have to compete for a kill. I enjoy taking my group in and discovering a strategy and killing the things in a location as if I was playing an RPG by myself but with a few other RL people instead of an automated party I command what to do.

    Skills, Talents, Feats- Regardless of what Class we choose or type of character we pick, we need to have diversity of abilities. Not everyone that plays a warrior should have to be a warrior the same exact way as another warrior. I think atm instead of making 25 skill for a warrior accessible by all and then choosing the five-ten abilities you will use....make 100 and have specific events make certain ones available at certain times. In my opinion I dont care exactly how its done.....Just dont take these away. Allow us to use skills, talents or feats and then allow us to customize them for ourself. So they become unique to us.

 

Things that do not need to be kept:

    Free 2 Play Models- Ok its getting old. The only thing a free to play model is out to do is rob me of money for a service. I have to be honest. I would rather pay 15.00 a month for WoW than spend 1,000.00 to get gold, items and the like so I can have a toon that is "kick ass" Sorry. You can expect to not have me as a subscriber of your game. 

     Click To Move- Sorry, I have been spoiled by cool games. I enjoy free movement. If I cant have a key bound for free movement on my MOUSE...I wont play the game. Its available....other games do it....If you think that "We wont do it because WoW does it....Then you are selfish and you will never be able to get beyond WoW being better than you. " Get over it. WoW isnt better than anyone....If your development team allows status quos to direct your vision or direction for a game you are making then that status quo will always own you. Fact is...the feature is nice...enjoyable...And makes for realistic gameplay. Get with the times or get left behind.

    Experience Points- Just because leveling should stay does not mean that experience points should as well. It is nice to think that you could use an ability and based on your comfort with that ability it levels....Come up with something new....no one wants to kill monsters for 50 hours to gain said amount of levels. I mean come on we could just sit in Elwynn Forest and kill 65,450,999 boars to get to 60....anyway you get the point.