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AvenaOats's page

Goblin Squad Member. 3,088 posts. No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists.


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Goblin Squad Member

There's a PvP vid here Pathfinder Online - PvP+ by Nivia Rey

From Golgotha.

It does not look bad, a bit of polish lacking in the animations, but it does look very "samey" as previous mmorpgs I already played. The objects are like a playground where you can jump on top of to gain height and players float and bounce around. This all happened in other mmorpgs too. The graphics are nice and the skill-bar looks good too. I don't like the crescent moon gui on the characters at all.

I think the idea for combat is like a deck of cards you choose your build. It's a good idea, but the above combat just looks like previous mmorpgs. What I'd suggest is instead of skills for combat being like choosing a deck of cards, you have a Family which then means when you play a role that's the card from the deck you play. What is potentially quite interesting is that at marriage you exchange "cards/characters" potentially add a skill-trained char that you did not have who can augment skill-training for the next gen chars - as well as random generation of stats for next gen perhaps with some bonus if the family specializes over a few generations in some skill-training etc. The interesting thing is mortality makes losing a card a genuine loss albeit with PvP more controlled it's not plagued by the griefer issues.
It's also recoverable after a generation regen of new chars.

Other forms of PvP for chars to "earn a buck" from:-

* Tournies
* Gladiatorial contests
* Kidnapping and Ransom of characters / slaving
* Bandits-Guards in the wild on caravans only but not in realms ie between
* Barbarians creating their own settlements in the wild wilds FFA PvP community
* Bounty-Hunters, Privateers, Assassins under special circumstances: Rare
* Civil War feuds and Armies at War declaration between Realms
* Alignment/Religious PvP if chosen

Goblin Squad Member

To elaborate on the PvE in the Wilderness...

(Brendan Drain) For a PvE-only MMO, the cost of rapidly developing new zones, monsters, quests, and items could be prohibitive as players will complete the content in a fraction of the time it took to build. Developers could spend months working on a new dungeon and players can have it cleared within a day of release. Guild Wars 2 has made a fair attempt at this with its Living Story, though we don’t know how expensive that is and what the return on investment looks like for ArenaNet. And RuneScape has similarly been able to deploy frequent content updates over the years, but only because its simpler graphics and gameplay allow for more rapid content development than other MMOs. I guess the short answer on why nobody’s made a PvE-only MMO is probably that PvP is very cost-effective and repeatable content and that tacking it onto any functional PvE game is a good business decision.

(Bryana Royce) But MMO PvE has grown stale, so developers are looking in new directions. If I want a pure PvE combat game, a single-player RPG is probably going to do it better anyway. Large-scale PvP, on the other hand, is something MMOs and only MMOs do well, so it only makes sense that new developers are turning to it as a way to revitalize the genre.

(Eliot Lefebvre) Sure, EVE Online does it, but EVE also makes it possible for you to play large chunks of the game in relative safety and with little threat of PvP conflict; if you go out into nullsec, you’re taking a voluntary risk. So it’s be more fair to say that only a small percentage of players want to do everything in the game with the constant specter of looming PvP.

This is what Ryan and GW team have been talking about.

However I think a revision is in order for PFO:-

Eliot points out the EVE idea of safe space. I think this is valid for PvE and the idea I propose is the PvE Wilderness around the "Realms Galaxies" Map Scale I mentioned in the other thread.

Instead these should be thick with monsters and escalation mobs and their own routines that are death for characters unless they're adventurers or lots of guards too beating these things back. No PvP.

Royce goes on how large-scale PvP is MMO and that's the RTS Battles Armies scale of PvP via Treaties.

The bit to come to is the Drain statements: Now here's the interesting part, the Wilderness regions which are not secured with outposts or roads (the way to get to them) these are procedurally generated and randomly re-generated from time to time with devs adding new/different landscape (same biome) dungeons, mobs and other pitfalls and interesting things - as well as being a really large wilderness in total. This design is already being used in both CU and Crowfall to an extent. I'm fairly sure I recommended here long before they announced their plans. ;-)

This is the PvE component of the game and the major PvP is the battles. With excpetional Pvp thrown in in "sandboxed containers" to elaborate over time with flag systems.

Goblin Squad Member

Saiph wrote:
I cannot read all of your post material Avena, but I can tell you that Darkfall hasn't (and will probably never) have a huge sub base BECAUSE of its PvP system.

I appreciate anyone read any of the posts, so thank you very much and taking the time to respond secondly, too. I think the combat quality itself and the actual context for that quality ie other player opponents > AI is what made DF + sandbox open-ness successful.

What created a glass-ceiling is: Lack of polish and performance at launch months and then the inevitable ceiling with FFA PvP as the good are driven out by the bad and the ugly so to speak. Tharak is right, Mount & Blade, Deliverance Kingdom (solo player) visceral experience of a fantasy world with fewer players + sandbox or open worldness is going to succeed (see WOW combat core loop quote above). The other area is the hybrid of other genres, Total War is making a warhammer mod from the RTS pov and FPS is of course as above.

One of the reasons I believe the RTS Scale is necessary fit for PFO, is not only the derivation from story, but also the "fit" for Pathfinder PnP/TT players matches too; with wider RP roles and Sim Life in large social network structures. Heroes are the Paladin above (rare Jedi equivalent and massive talking point pull feature) or the Legendary Generals ie PvP genuis tacticians who command the armies in battle and the fates of realms in their hands. Again players can feel like real heroes with their archetype classes going off on party adventures for fame and honour and harder and harder PvE dungeons - free of PvP.

Bluddwolf wrote:
I really wish Lee Hammock had just brought the PVP Flagging and Faction system over from Fallen Earth, if not mechanically at least in concept.

[Preamble]Sounds interesting, the good result is the outline of systems then players organically veer in a direction and that gets reinforced by the devs over time tweeking with feedback? The way I'd do is sandboxing PvP into discrete containers then working on Flag Systems within each "sandboxed environment" so for example using the RTS Engine (aka Scale + Family System) you have Realms separated by large wilderness. This means the development can go ahead of multiple settlement types from small farmstead aka holdings, to local fortressed settlements aka Holdfasts to Strongholds aka city regional centers with loads of builds and peasant families working here.[/PREAMBLE]

So with this each Family in the Realm sorta depends on their neighbours and the Fielty System but it's "intra-competition" to progress Families upwards so economically successful via harvesting/gathering then selling/processing/trading but % to direct overlord ie tax then that overlord has (larger Family (combo of sub and social progress in players) has to raise some of their chars as Soldiers who are levied by the higher lord still eg the Local Holdfast etc upwards to the realm.

So you have politicing and positioning going on. There's your conflict and cooperation atst. Now on PvP which is combat conflict sub- the sandboxes come in. Soldiers or Guards can kill bandits who are banished characters from the realm or other realms and flagged for PvP. Those bandits can't trade, they can only get what they make and take. Basically that would be one sandbox version you could add various flags too. Chars might have bandits because they could if enough of them and good actually make a big killing and then they can give those gains to the family or black market them off etc.

* So for example Adventurers would be either immune from bandits in PvE adventures or indeed much more powerful and make mince meat if attacked by bandits.
* Another thing, Bounty-Hunters would be rare chars that hunt bandits so there's always an interesting dynamic of many bandits to few bounty-hunters and of course that cat-and-mouse.
* The other sandbox would be the RTS armies and battles and under various Treaty flag sytem for starting and ending. High level of politics.
* So I think flags can work but they need to be sandboxed into containers for specific contexts. Is the concept idea. Quick egs above.

To clarify: With this system, it's deliberately NOT CLEAR which characters will be profitable and it depends on proportionality and conditions. This is the created by having a large cast of characters that any Family could invest in (more options for the Bigger Families who pay more sub and also need more social progress (in part by having more chars and more char options flexibility). Sometimes investing in chars will be a dead duck other times safe call and so on, but after each generation and mortality these decisins are being renewed and investments are being decided upon and acting upon via player experience and changeable conditions/circumstances and needs (social position). The Bandit might be a waste but then it could lead to a big economic gain too... The PvP however is sandboxed within these conditionals; the actual combat itself can be fairly simple, it's the context and decisions that make it rewarding and risky = and the players that organically make it happen or via their own actions peter out from time to time.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:

The one thing that I really worried about with PFO was that they were trying to please two demographics that were pretty much totally opposed to each other. The PnP crowd tended to see PvP as a "necessary evil" at best, and one they hoped to avoid. Some lingered and fought anyways, some left or failed to be active (such as myself), and some simply stay in the game and continue to do their best, both in play and in crowdforging, to avoid having to deal with fighting other players. They wanted PvE and crafting/gathering, and that's what they got. And currently, that's all we got.

I feel like the PnP demographic just didn't transfer well to Fantasy EVE, for multiple reasons. I think Goblinworks tried to please everyone and ended up pleasing few.

I think the digital mmorpg market was the intended market, the PnP market just not either transferable or big enough? If so, I think politically this is a mistake and philosophically too. The way to rectify this I believe is to take the Archetype Class System of Pathfinder at the RTS Scale and include under the 4th Pillar of "Adventure" immune to PvP because PvP is sandboxed into containers. The concept would have to be changed for their purpose in the game:-

1. Vast Wilderness Exploration: What I'd do is make other characters easily die in the Wilderness and leave it to the Party of Adventurers for PvE here eg Monster slaying (various alignments) and long time away from civilization with specialists living out here:-

A. Barbarian Settlements (different culture)
B. Rangers guiding others out here (some skill thing to do this)
C. Druids extracting info out here.

Literally without roads it's almost no-go (you're ripped apart by some horror of a monster) or can't-go (too slow impassable, run out of food and rations and die).

2. Dungeons: Here the roguelike style is employed with systems from Torchbearer / Darkesest Dungeon but roguelike party style and of course mortality is par for the course.

The link up is some sort of honour for the family if they're successful to boost their social position and possibly some magics are needed to fuel some sort of building eg temple or other in the realm for some super function eg magical defense or dragon rearing - you name it... At this scale you do the old tile-set vision and the combat system tree could be worked on over time in isolation too for TT or whatever it is that fits PF players ideas about this best some computer version of d20...

But again it's sandboxed in it's own system.

* No PvP
* Full Class Party System
* Dungeon runs
* WIlderness Exploration and hanging out adventures
* Link in with Family and Realm functions for Family's to make investing here worth it (fun and progression).
* Mortality ensures match of investment of chars fits risk and reward.

Big Take Home: Reconcile Pathfinders Roots and community with new digitial overlay of the KINGMAKER CAMPAIGN of Exploration (some overlap) Development and Domination.

And there's a design upside to sandboxing this system too: The combat system can be more complex, more balanced and more directly transferable given the matching context it's intended to be designed for - the complex multi-class tree and exp bloat of vets nightmare is removed!

Secondly and equally important to state: You know wormholes are a success because they allow chars in EVE to do their own thing at that scale of small party/solo. Same with Adventurers who are especial proportionally rare chars anyway or should be!!!!

Goblin Squad Member

I honestly think changing the scale then changing the Family structure at the heart of player agency on the world and other players (ie drilling back up high-levels will resolve problems at lower-levels eg pvp systems). An example of this recently casting his mind back Raph Koster's blogging on:-

Raph Koster on SWG/Pvp Flag System:

TEF stands for Temporary Enemy Flagging. We knew when doing a Star Wars game that we needed to be able to account for the scenarios in the movies. This makes for a tricky problem

On top of that, we knew that PvP was, well, fatiguing. Given that we were limiting each account to having a single character (for lots of reasons, including PvP, actually), making players have to pick a side, never change, and be always vulnerable, felt like a big ask. The spirit of the game was all about changing your character up over time, and trying new things, so a system of permanent choice for PvP felt wrong.

The original proposal for a PvP system in SWG was actually something called Outcasting.

Some of this was inspired by how the late Jeff Freeman had run his UO gray shard

So it was abandoned in favor of a new system, what came to be known as Temporary Enemy Flags

The problem is, what’s the list of stuff that can trigger the flag?

On the other hand, “making mistakes with your flagging” as this quote puts it, happened all the time. Saying it was “impossible to be griefed” is just not correct.

Why was the TEF system removed?

Too many edge cases, basically. Helpful actions got to be very… subtle.

The audience is now large enough that you can make a business out of a game like that, and can feel free to alienate hundreds of thousands of players. But when we were designing SWG, we were thinking that there were only a million MMORPG players in the entire Western world. We couldn’t target a niche that way.

Long long ago, I stated that “the future of MMOs is ‘PvP'” and I think I was absolutely right. But my point was that there are many ways of putting players into competition.

Notably SWG also uses what again I'm calling the EQ/WOW Engine. He actually hits the key words/groups:-

* Single Character - single account
* PvP is one form of competition
* Aligning story and mechanics (unity of aesthetic)
* The rabbit-hole of PvP corner/edge cases...
* Estimating what the market could currently cope with

All these lessons are pertinent to the thread subject by the OP. I think that is very clear. Now to extend the conversation in the direction I think has a future:-

Here's Raph Koster on Jedis and SWG and let's get a solution for this for once and for all:-

On Heroes and combat balance:

You see, Jedi are an immense attractant to players, readers, viewers.

Except that of course, you quickly realize that by comparison, everyone else sucks.

— and trying to figure out what the heck to do with Jedi.

We would offer a Jedi system that effectively gave a different way to play the game. A method that kept Jedi rare, powerful, and yet allowed everyone a shot.

Every player would have a special character slot available to them, distinct and parallel from their regular character. This character would be locked into one profession, one class: Jedi. They’d start out weak as a kitten though, untrained in combat or anything, and with barely any Force abilities at all. Luke without womprat-shooting experience maybe.

=

Professions fell out. The designer who was doing the skill trees couldn’t manage to lick the problem of trees that were of varying sizes and interconnected in unique ways; originally, the trees were all different, and there were “surprise” professions that might appear if you mastered two skills from disparate professions, more like a skill web.

There's some really important lessons Raph has "seen almost / almost seen":-

* A real Hero = rare, powerful, popular
* He almost designed a special character slot for this role (!see Family System)
* The skill-training tree became very complex and unwieldy = eternal balance issues as well as of course immortal character bloat problems

I think I've given the correct answers to 2nd, 3rd points. The first point on Jedi, here's the answer and it's going to be built on the RTS-Scale Family-System Engine I proposed for PKO (PFO!):-

* Paladin is the equivalent of Jedi.
* Limited proportions per Realm
* Huge Family influence can only access this special class
* Throw in the alignment choices specific to PFO
* Requires high development of associated deities to make the possibility activated
* The Families themselves are high LG in their cumulative score of all their character's actions is social progression + merit system progression

Bingo: You have an uber hero with special powers: Who is mortal too.

Again Bigger Families ties into higher sub fees for initial chance to access higher influence and growth of these families to influence the realm (ties into payment/pricing system). A lot of Roles could be developed/deployed in this approach.

Obviously the role of the Paladin Char is super-do-goodin' with special powers (and a penchant against undead if got that right). A major PvP enforcer/arbiter etc in the realm. The good deeds probably even power some supernatural temple thing too etc...

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Tharak Venethorn -

Politics of Marketing:
I think Mbando identified something fundamental, with his "Rhetorical Challenge Facing PFO" question. This actually addressed the Day 1 challenge for PFO's design:-

1. Fantasy EVE = FFA PvP draw
2. Pathfinder PnP draw

It's the one thing I always found a bit strange with Ryan's approach going via a lean development model; which has this incompatibility in it above. I suspect the numbers of 1 (sandbox mmorpgs) made 2. pale in comparison and/or the data suggest 2. don't cross over much anyway?

And we see that with the KS, that the PnP crowd merely wanted the excellent quality stash on offer and not the game. This was always disconcerting and the feeling of disquiet I felt about this never went away.

However only very recently that disquiet feeling has bubbled up into verbalization and hence I am able to express with reasoning the implications that will impact on the market reaction to PFO...

I did not realize the implications of how "political" the mmorpg player market is in it's reactions and grapevine of mmorpgs, if you're making these thinigs. I always viewed this as "excessively high whinging levels in this genre" which is probably true, but atst to treat the broad range of players like political voters to capture, that is the way to get the right feedback on making a mmorpg succeed. Ryan pointed out they've done no marketing but I think the problem is there is already a constituency of players who are against PFO because it's core market has not been convinced.

Tharak Venethorn wrote:
I feel like you have a lot of good ideas Avena, though due to their length they might be better expressed as a sound file or video. Lol

Yeah I'm really sorry about that to anyone/everyone. Appreciate how deathly dull and counter-productive wall of text is to successful communiation.

If I had time it would be worth compiling all the ideas into summary article for creating "the next really big virtual world, after EVE".

Tharak Venethorn wrote:
The factors I'm seeing that make Crowfunded titles succesful

I think your observations match here: The Crowfall Budget Question

Interestingly I read a quote in a forum elsewhere:-

Quote:

Can't remember where I heard the interview, but it was a Blizzard designer talking about how in WoW they first made just the hero, the mobs, and some minimal content and messed with it until the act of killing monsters alone was fun. Quests, exploration, lore, social interaction was all built on top of the fact that the basic mechanics were viscerally satisfying.

The question of whether your core loop is fun or not is a question you should return to over and over again.

There's selection bias because I'm looking for this, but it holds true for the EQ/WOW Engine mmorpgs which I'm going to include Crowfall and EQN in. Like the article concerning the gravitational pull dynamic of WOW changing into a Black Hole from newer mmorpgs siphoning off it's energy!

Now turning around coming back once again to this thread's subject and again using a comment from a forum elsewhere to use to illustrate the point and distinction being made:-

Quote:
If you do your MMO right, you don't need an AI for this. Players will fill the roles. Provide the right incentives and I guarantee players will stay in town and RP an innkeeper instead of fighting monsters. First key mistake many MMOs make is assume everyone is interested primarily in combat, with perhaps a hobby or two of crafting.

From these 3 observations:-

1. PvP and political market
2. Combat and Core gameplay loop quality
3. Game Design Focus of player interactions

These are the major areas that PFO I think is going to struggle. This thread itself goes down the Pvp rabbit-hole that goes deeper and deeper.

Goblin Squad Member

Tharak Venethorn wrote:
@Bluddwolf and Avena. If you look at the subscriber numbers for Wurm, Mortal, and Darkfall you have the numbers for games that will drag on without shutting down, continually improving but doing so at a rate too slow to ever catch up with their competitors. I think at least Darkfall was somewhere in the 10k sub region so that's really what it takes to not have a backwards title like Mortal that gets more outdated as time goes on. And that was during a time where their only real competition was EVE. I wouldn't be surprised if those titles started to shut down as some of the newer ones hit the market. Even EVE itself may suffer greatly from the release of Star Citizen.

I suspect DF got good number due to less PvP Sandbox games, it's actually got more visceral combat and a good feature list.

And this makes me come back to the big danger for PFO:-

1. Combat
2. PvP

What would I do? Well if the scale was different as said, and if hence this derived Family System hence and if that led to limited skill-training per character per lifetime and simple limited slots (as well as function of limited time ie capacity) then some chars in Families could be trained up to be the Pathfinder Adventurer Classes.

If again from SCALE we have pockets of realms interspersed with huge swathes of wilderness (buffers of the end-game armies and also for trade reasons) and also community building reasons then these adventurers can do:-

1. Dungeons
2. Monster Hunter wilderness 101 PvE

It's do-able that the only PvP threat they come across is not other adventurers (though that could be quirked upon via exception rules) but bandits who'd be much lower ability ie on a level with guards for trade caravans.

In such a set-up I think PvP could be controlled successfully so people who want to "pve heroically" can do so unmolested.

Coming back to territory, soldiers and workers. These characters can interact. Soldiers can be "given to control" by the higher up status players to marshall in units around player lower status families running workers to run outposts and such like.

What you'd need then is intrusion could lead to capture or combat and death with rivals but also breaking of treaties which could lead to escalation and potentially breaking of all Treaties of the offending players so other groups could invade or some elaborate treaty system to keep low-level skirmish at the right periodic level before it escalates to war decs.

But I think PvP can be reigned in more successfully using the Family and character spread of functions more effectively than what PFO is trying to achieve atm with x1 char multi-classing. I mean the whole system doesn't even fit the above concept of kingdoms at war and kingdoms being built. And that's due to being bolted-on to x1 char that does everything.

In a sense you sort of want the emergent complexity of eusocial insects such as ants emerging with different castes doing different functions.

To add, imo, I don't believe "most players want to play heroes" what they want is their characters to do creative things that change things that pleases the player in a very personal way - this is exactly what Minecraft achieves and I even asked my nephews' young friends what is was about that game they liked and that was the answer I think I successfully managed to summarize out of their "Idk... it's sort of... jumble of things/anecdotes that they wanted to talk about that they did that they thought was special/really funny/scary/skillful etc... ."

This comes back to an assumption Ryan made before:-

These games do not succeed because most people want to be heroes to begin with, not "work up" to it by leading a mundane life in a simulated world first.

Again this is an insight worth remembering:-

Ideally we will have some things that you can do very early in your character's life that will meaningfully contribute to the success of your group in PvP.

So I think if you have a Family system each player is focusing on that as "their group" eg their holdings, their various skill-training to complement the Family assets then making the best connections with other families and at higher social levels providing soldiers/militia (via their own taxes on lower social families). So there's working in one's own group, among your neighbour groups and above and above. It also allows different families to concentrate depending on the scale and size of investment of gameplay they want to do on pvp or no pvp and even outsourcing pvp eg soldiers sending off for the pvp big shot players to manage and patrol.

Another quote:-

The logical way to play EVE is to do something as soon as you can do it, not wait until you can do it perfectly. During the time you're training to do it perfectly, you'll be learning how to actually use those ships and modules that you're training for. So when you get them, you'll be able to use them at a high level of proficiency. And you have all the fun of actually playing the game along the way.

This presupposes the "bloat in skill-training" ie unequal stats but it's a trade off of vets > newbs because player $ => skill-training = Time(investment) => return on power increase/variety in game => economic impacts and hence success.

However I think if Family System is employed at the lower levels certain roles/careers skill-training (call it peasant level for arguments sake) are accessible for these chars of small Family 2-3? maybe x1 PF archetype Class I'd go for rogue to choose an illicit path to steal from nearby families (internal parasitism is necessary to climb the greasy pole)... anyway the point is: they can make economic gains for the Family to get better infrastructure and assets for their family eg buy land to make a small farm or other economic activity as the basis for the game (lots of players here). At higher sub level bigger family and access to more roles more adventure class roles... but also more ability for their family to social progress which itself is a gate to more important roles higher up... that's the new loop of progression instead of the above one of "char power bloat". It's based on time/money investment -> opportunity => social progression = Access to more roles involved with interacting with other players hierarchically.

At the higher and higher level of large Family, new functionality wouldl be needed to allow several Families to share their Families everyhthing logging in as who as they please. This opens the door to more integregration and efficiency but also to "take-overs" by different factions within different families and hence "civil war". This could be at large scale and via many marriages.

Finally, to loop back to what I think players really want, Ryan said again somewhere:-

Gah can't find the Tome Of Knowledge quote (gah! just lost the write up here which was magisterial fuuu)... but coming back to what players want out of these games the sequence of events that produce emotions that then when combined into coherent story creation become "experiences"; and that is not only reserved for "heroic" stories but for a huge range of events over characters'life times and how those interact and impact on each other and shared events are interpreted by different characters for good or bad...

Take 2: Effectively using Families and extended functionality (eg automated recording of the players' screenshots and stats) for the player to then after a game session write up a journal of their characters lives and record this during their life-times... you are growing the story of the characters lives and histories and collecting this for others to read and enjoy. This to me of "Post Hoc" sstory creation is the essence of these virtual worlds successfully being realized as living and breathing (both in the simulation of the code) but also in the minds and shared culture of the participating players of the game.

Goblin Squad Member

Ah righto, those numbers, I think PFO could be quite sticky if it hits 10k. But it's another question to then get that forward momentum from there and then how long to the full design doc vision?

As said PFO is seen as a PvP Combat game. So the combat has to be high quality and then the PvP has to square the circle of being satisfying via consequences eg full loot and item destruction and be tethered so that it does not consume the whole game-play of other players.

For all those reasons, as much as I like PvP I think it's going to detract from PFO's appeal to more of the market.

What you want is a world. In that world you want characters doing interesting things such as building up base with multiple functions for all to use to progress.

From that "investment positive" gameplay you want danger and challenge to that eg PvP or I'd suggest the treat of as much as the actual occurance. Then players band together to invest in defence... but I think players want opportunities to make a living eg farming, lumbering, mining, trading, transporting, hunting, fishing and so on.

Defence should be soldiers not any of the above. Think of the levy of taxes on the peasant families to their uppers and then the uppers of soldiers to their liege lord. At each point of the chain, each is concerned with their own preoccupations which chains upwards to defence of the realm spending and force projection - and prestige!

* PvP comes in in Soldiers through battles.
* Bandits through outcasts
* In the wilds ways away from realms (big -> huge map) ie space between realms
* assassins at very high dev level and extreme expense and rarity proportion

So I think,

1. The Economic Game
2. The Social Game
3. The Adventurers Game
4. The Do My Own Thing Game (wilderness, exceptions etc)
5. The Combat Game

PvP imo is the curve ball part of the game thrown in to disrupt and unsettle things. Eg werewolves are perfect example of this: Look at that full moon... Hmmm! One night of inconvenience.

Taking a panoramic view: If players see footage of the ecosystem of the above, settlements and adventurers and so on, it's like SimCity Pathfinder Online but with the Game Of Thrones battles of RTS thrown in... then we add loads of great monsters from the lore in the wilds for PvE and the SuperDungeon Emerald Spire and do it roguelike (small party chars)...

With the current game, it's all about PvP Sandboxes => Murder Sims and is the combat any good anyway? And it costs $15 per month in alpha...
*

Goblin Squad Member

Look at this question in 2 ways:-

1. Market
2. Gameplay

1. Market

With the 2m estimate for the sandbox mmorpg market and PFO needing 10k, it's a 1:200 ratio, but if you add more titles competing:-

Say 10 for argument's sake: it's down another factor/order to 1:20 which sounds an altogether taller order ie tighter competition in this space...

In a tight race it's the small differences that cumulatively add up that make or break the positive growth cycle (or boom in subs/acs if some games are lucky): I think that will hinge on:-

2. Gameplay

Looking at all the titles in those engines demo vids I posted, I think most of them are all actiony gameplay with big graphics stimulation and rapid attention-alternation feedback.

Imho, the sandbox mmorpgs from the above list all vie in this area with each other too and the ones that do the better combat will win the race.

This was the case with before WOW came out vs Warhammer (Climax, designer Tuomas Pirinen who attempted to design the warhammer PnP RPG - neither RvR nor Themepark) and there were other mmorpgs going for the title too.) I think the same battle will be fought with the same result just over 10 years later despite the stronger vision of PFO.

PnP => Trance
Book => Imagination
MUD => Simulation
MMORPG => Representation
MMO-VR/FPS => Participation

PKO (as it should be called!) needs to fit more between MUD->MMORPG. The other mmorpgs are going forwards to VR from Representation closer and closer to Participation (eg FPS). The vision of SWG and UO where players happily would become shop-keepers, entertainers, inn-keepers etc as well reigning in the powermongers (imho this should be via the building of Family Social Progression unlocking towards soldiers/battles of units of armies of lords between realms). What you want is inter-Family Conflict and jostling for position in realms (distanced from each other). IE Power is derived from Social progression web and depends on it's shaky/shifting and multiply erupting problems of loyalty!

In a realm you'd not get players running amok at the drop of a hat - so don't allow it.

You can apportion these behaviours via cost of Family members -> outcast if a player wants to experience playing this role. They have limited Family members per generation and secondly must secure the next generation to persist (ie gates).

Goblin Squad Member

Just to add to the above: A Marriage System could:-

* Secure next generation of characters "being generated".
* Can swap one player's one character m/f with another player's character f/m in an exchange of characters between families
* A social progression "weapon/path" for players via influence/allegiance system
* A method to ostracize players into being unable to "generate their next generation of characters"
* The mechanism with which "rolling new characters" with semi-random and semi-selected traits
* Creates Family Trees for stories and history and relatedness

etc.

Anyway the above 1st part = graphics ; 2nd part = Story with continuation (specific feature extension description) in this post added above.

What's the point?

I just peeked at Crowfall musing that the Archetypes they have have "character progression". Actually from the little I looked at you know what they have: Combat progression not Character progression. When you look at it in this way comparing to the above I think it helps hit home. I was just also looking at how enticing combat is when it is FPS Fantasy combat, an example: Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide | Pre-Alpha Sneak Peek Trailer | GDC 2015 . That combat looks awesome and in an IP I enjoy a lot.

I think there's 2 huge problems with PFO atm:-

1. Combat
2. PvP

I think the above makes the point about combat-avatars vs character-avatars. If using the marriage example above, this can be a form of competition (who gets to marry up) and conflict (which Family gets ostracized and can't marry). The Economy works in similar indirect way and that's good too. The Fielty System would again work this way. having a suite of characters again opens up possibilities for interactions and relations (eg: death and soul returning (rare), hostage and ransoming, murder and mortality, banishment, dishonour to the Family) and so forth.

Coming back to Combat:-

1. Quality: Is it fun?
2. Focus: Can I avoid it? Do other things?
3. How much of the game dev has spent on combat vs other gameplay?

Now onto PvP:-

1. PFO ticks all the boxes for a PvP mmorpg in perception (Open world, loot, combat focus, erasing of territory by big guilds etc)
2. It's considered content when PvE content is too pricey and not catered to such an extent as Themeparks normally do. And given the combat focus of conflict above... the writing is painted red on the wall.

Here's one of Ryan's previous comments on this:-

I'm increasingly worried that the messages coming out of the community don't match what will actually happen in game, and the disconnect between what people hear, and what they experience, will cause blowback. So I'm trying to be blunt when asked this question directly:

"Will I get killed regularly in Pathfinder Online by other players?"

The answer to this question is "yes you will".

American football is not a game about tackling, but tackling happens on almost every play. Pathfinder Online is not a game about killing other players, but your character will be killed by other players regularly.

Pathfinder Online is a game about conflict. One mode of conflict is combat. It will be the primary mode of conflict as Early Enrollment begins. Suggesting otherwise creates a false impression of what the game will be like that will potentially cause a huge problem as we launch.

Our goal, as developers, and our goal, as a community, needs to be to work to make those conflicts meaningful rather than random, and we need to work to identify, and remove, players who only want to inflict meaningless deaths on other players "just for the lulz". But we owe it to ourselves and to the game to be upfront and honest when people ask us if they're going to face character death at the hands of other players. Because they will.

I think it's already an argument on "how severe will PvP be" as it's already into the conversation due to combat focus of conflict. Edit: Coincidence or Serendipity: 2 minutes ago?

And then you're left with those who want to PvP and THAT to be good quality...

Cut to the chase: So on the one hand, PFO is drawing in the PvP crowd then on the other hand it has to convince players that it's not "PvP-focused" but combat focused "you will die (at the hands of other players" THEN it sells itself as Pathfinder Online to Pathfinder TT players...

Mbando called this "The Rhetorical Challenge" of PFO. Well here's where I think the answer to that challeng lies, in both name and in design:-

Pathfinder's Kingmaker Online (PKO)

You're actually telling players what this SCALE of game is tending towards and if you actually follow that scale faithfully, you de-emphasize singular avatar combat (and hence pvp) as just a important sub-set amongst a big group of such systems that combine together to produce the Vision: "Kingmaker" as per the Campaign from the TT (see above link: Is Kingmaker right for you? A (nearly) spoiler-free evaluation).

To test this theory, there was an article over at Massively OP: The Daily Grind: Would you play a Game of Thrones MMO?

Just read the comments, from I presume mmorpg players of various mmorpgs... you get the distinct impression of the sum total of their collective impressions and visions:-

1. GoT => WOW mmorpg aka Themepark IP
2. GoT => EVE mmorpg aka "Murder Simulator 101
3. GoT => BLANK!!!

If I'm not mistaken all the comments assume the EQ/WOW Avatar Engine of experiencing such a story/world. MMORPG = EQ/WOW mmorpg tropes of:-

* Combat avatar perspective
* Progression system derived
* Combat mechanics derived
* Rule-Sets that work around these...
* Fluff/World environment at this scale to experience for the player

I think the match I'm trying to make here is:-

Kingmaker and Game Of Thrones both match in SCALE OF STORY attempted? It also appears to me that to realize Fantasy (earthbound) at this scale and complexity successfully the graphics need to be simplified to approximate appropriately at this scale?

TL;DR Full apologies for the old record impersonation; think the discussion has finally connected full-circle ("the circle is complete" !). The Name, The Design, The Implementation... the harmony of components; just the market that remains a stickler!

Goblin Squad Member

True, it's "too late for PFO to change track" and as said too risky given the market info that's observable.

When you watch videos of Unity 5, CryEngine4 and Unreal Engine (latest v.)

Unity 5 Highlight Reel - GDC 2015


CRYENGINE Licensee Trailer – GDC 2015

Unreal Engine 4 - GDC 2015 Features Demo Trailer

it's easy to see why.

PFO if it works will be an MMO-Kingdom-Building sim. EVE pretty much a grand RTS strategy game but on the MMO scale successfully. One of the things that doesn't work for me with the avatar EQ/WOW system is the playing jogging all over the place; the pace of the game and density of player characters and model landscape all don't work for me in mmorpgs, they feel fake and it loses immersion. I also think the pace is wrong for a game that's intended to be played for a long time as well as of course looking graphically inferior to the above examples. Even Life Is Feudal or Gloria Victus let alone Kingdom Deliverance or Bless etc "look more real/immersive".

I even think the pricing structure is going to work better for PFO adopting the Family structure -

The Pyramid Social Structure of Peasant Families -> Minor Barons/Dukes -> Lords -> Overlord(s) in Kingdoms in maps as per the pattern expressed above ie for any major battle huge armies need to march and logistic to "pass the large gaps" between realms sub-systems with the peasant families micro-systems. Fielty via the above too ie Families locked into Loyalty to a particular "upper" above them.

The sub system in conjunction with the social progression system unlocking the higher career roles only eg Overlords gain taxes from peasants in their main city this cost is needed as well as title as well as infrastructure from city/castle for certain buildings, functions only those players can access ie rule.

I think working on these social systems is the key with appropriate grading of pricing structure. Rogues would only come from Peasant families for instance... and would spend time thieving in cities from buildings leading to city militia AI guard provision by rulers or not... eg alignment and rules.

The other thing: It helps with the population perception, each player being more of a manager of a team with their own social ladder to climb to power and lands and running estates if they get higher from peasants running profitable going concerns eg land rent from the peasants to pay for soldiers who are bound to their immediate upper lord only.

With the londer distances, The Inns/Taverns on the roads become major high-way refuelling centers and rest/overnight centers. With Clerics healing and disease etc are important as well as Temples for bringing back some souls rarely. Or on battlefields some of the fallen % may be injured minor or major and then check see final survivors %. Given caste of characters you can also have kidnapping and ransom...

I'm not sure how difficult getting bards to do music would be as small chars: http://floriandcp.itch.io/campfire-web

Playing a tune might boost a moral meter or such ,making more productive (in work) or effective (in combat)

Rangers might be scouts for armies and move normally over heavy terrain with other chars slowing to a snails pace...

These feel like characters "playing a role". Instead I think the multi-class skill-training system PFO has for x1 char and sub for alts again, is going to end up with having to fit into one enormous system and each needing to be effective for worth of investment from players paying 15$ a month.

For example, having small chars go to the inn get drunk and activate unarmed pvp where the little chars are beating each other senseless - some players might go too far and beat prone bodies that then die fuelling aggro in the community. The chars/workers go to the inn if worked too hard/too long to "cool off" and that's when the trouble begins.

The other big thing is food supplies and production and consumption. This should be a major initiative to running everything else and storing during Winter and so on as well as guarding from sheep rustlers trying steal sheep to sell elsewhere. Hopefully sheep will cost a fair bit. I like the idea of players creating a Farmer's Union for pricing their food in the markets. A poor harvest (rainy Summer) could affect prices too.

Goblin Squad Member

I'd be best going for a quick cycle ride letting the answer spin in my head before replying... but. To begin with: PFO's design is awesome in the majority, why I backed, why I'm writing all this (apologies if anyone read it and felt wearied!). Eg the contract system instead of quests, single server economic system, player-run factions & settlements etc.

Preamble:
But 2 areas stood out at the time as bothersome:

1. The EQ/WOW engine or "look" or indeed "scale" and TT combat is the standard in that.
2. The immortality of the characters - (1)"tis the way the mmorpg market went" as how Ryan put it once. Also the issue of connections over networks leading to loss of investment not good for players or business (2)

I think 9/10ths GW has got right. But I fear the 1/10th remaining from the old mmorpg above is going to sink the good ship Goblin Works. That's already many 10th's more than other mmorpgs were able to do.

Anyway to address 1. SCALE was suggested. What got me on this path was both feedback from EE and own impressions, also the fact it seems so much harder to get anything sandboxy that is a good idea to "breathe life into the world" implemented in these EQ/WOW Engine mmorpgs. There's many ideas to make it really compelling story experience that can't be done to due to cost of assets/art/graphics and complexity in the systems.

The design also smacks more of RTS...

2. The immortality trope of mmorpgs and skill-training works but the bloat of (3) "vets can never be caught" as well as the (4) flip-flopping of capstone vs multi-classing if you remember (squaring that circle)... it doesn't feel right. (5) It's also => Tab-Target Combat where like a deck of cards the players must evaluate what the other players have got etc to be tactical and fun... which again seems to me to be a helluva lot of work; I remember all the travails of WAR and GW2 over trying to get classes and combat right balance... oh dear.

However what got me onto families was the RTS SCALE naturally derives it. It fits. (6) Then it matches what George RR Martin's been doing and fits the scale of his stories... which reminds me also of (7) Crusader Kings II... here generation cycles come in, as well as marriages for connections between families, but also the subject of PvP and combat and serving what the types of players want; by having families it can de-emphasize this issue and introduce the (8) "Medieval Management Sim life" over the skill in competitive combat emphasis and appeal to more player types atst as allowing combat via: (9) RTS Armies for high status players (ie big and important families) and for (10) adventurers in the party system which can then have set context and hence complex puzzle combat added for these specialist classes from the PF TT game.

Finally we come back to the biggie (11) Mortality (it connects up lots of things: recycling of player power into economic assets and gameplay gains and hence choices and consequences of good and bad investments (Littlefinger!)) but also shedding the load on x1 toon and encouraging players during play sessions to experience different PAR/RP of different characters (12).

This can all be done via The Family System.

Start here!

randomwalker wrote:

I still don't understand the Family concept clearly:

Are you suggesting each player (or account) plays a family consisting of one/few adventurers and a cast of support characters? (Or do you mean players should form families and share resources/rep/etc?)

In RTS games they seem to go for a war game of armies. This scale is too specific and too pacey/large) for PFO per player it's too impersonal too. Whereas the EQ/WOW scale I feel is too demanding for fantasy (it seems FPS/Space can go in this direction but at cost): In between The Family System fits just about. You have personal connection/commitment and story (eg adventurers and more) but also spreading your class/career/ training into different characters to enjoy a wider gameplay experience and de-emphaze just combat. It also segues into Social Progression systems:-

* Fielty System of providing soldiers to Lords
* Marriage System in order to generate a new generation and hold "influence" in the family system itself "marrying up or among equals"
* Potentially some inherited Family attributes to the new chars generated (future dev)
* Fits a different Pricing model for GW small family to large (Time/Money) etc and potentially Family status changes access to different careers in the Realm/Kingdom system.
* Hopefully at this scale more players can experience running stuff for their family eg Holdings, Holdfasts, Strongholds (you could have the Strongholds with city below for those underling families not given titles and lands to squabble their way upwards from the city slums of ordinary merchants/farmers etc... at the lower sub level.

Answer Each Player runs a Family of a number of characters of the same Family Name (a suite of alts effectively). This allows players to play more rolls and specialize in skill-training to economically progress (leave cash for next gen and invest in assets) and social progression (see above) and ats Power Progression higher up (eg if Titles and Lands can produce Soldiers etc). Tbh the "how" is big to work out but according to the Sub system of pricing different levels of size of family and different access to skill-training going upwards ie cooler roles = bigger sub needed!! Basic roles all kingdoms need smaller families, lower sub price. The plex system could discount some of the above over time of course marginally but in the main a good pricing sytem).

The idea of different players running a family is cool, but if the Scale is RTS I think each player works at that foundation unit. If the Family Concept were taken for PFO as it presently stands... Idk... maybe it could work, the aesthetic unity is kinda wonky though^1 (see all the above connections eg combat)...

randomwalker wrote:
Are you suggesting this for PFO, or for "the ideal game" that may never be?

I would suggest as per spoiler above 9/10ths PFO is there, the remaining 1/10th I feel at least in design it's lacking in SCALE and hence in AVATAR representation ie Family unit instead of solo Character unit. But I fear it's too late to change this far into dev for PFO and indeed the market is so risky can well accept Ryan's response above.

randomwalker wrote:

There's certainly interesting ideas around. The permadeath/heir system in the old Pendragon RPG (and still-in-dev Salem) comes to mind, as does of course Sims and Crusader Kings. But those are very different types of games, and I don't quite see your vision for how families would work in an MMO.

Shared banking, rep and last name across all alts I can understand and see some merit in. Having alt slots be something you earn in-game could be an interesting idea.

Hopefully the above context (verbiage ahh, at least numbered) helps? It all derives and supports quite holistically I feel. One of things not listed above (13) automate some of the characters doing repetitive tasks via eg LUA scriping AI eg sending merchant caravans along long long roads could be automated - the distance is deliberately punishingly long and dangerous and vast. Or other such things - allowing players to manage atst as micro-manage ie sometimes actually play one character to high detail too. more stories and emotions and playstyles hopefully per player as well as variations eg bandit outlaw could be ostracized from Family and play solo or in other outlaw groups in the wilds with rules KOS (AI?) and so forth... well beyond the actual description here.

Yeah the conversion of player's spending skill-training on:-

* Characters (limited per lifetime and skills learn per char)
* Limited by social status
* limited by pricing model chosen (Time-Money investment balance)
* Converted into useful work done -> gains in game for the Family eg next and marriage and land/property got and bank balance(!) and heirlooms etc
* It ensures players can do teh social useful chars for their player communities and specialize chars for fun or personal profit (scheming) better than the solo char skill-training and buying heaps of alts.

I also hazard saying it breaks out of the shadow of WOW; read this earlier:-

What happens when a game accretes so much mass that it dominates a genre, though? Sometimes these super-massive projects manage to find their own stasis and live long and productive lives, as you can see from the continued success of World of Warcraft. Eventually something will come along to syphon off a bit of WoW’s energy, though. When that happens, the explosion will be much larger than with SWG, but not even an explosion that large will eject all the mass the monster has gathered over the years.

WoW will likely finish its life as a super-massive black hole, a singularity large enough to attract other games to circle in its gravity well. WoW will continue to define the shape and behavior of our industry long after it’s gone. Frankly, I’d call it a very noble finish to a very powerful game.

Lol.

TL;DR Sorry for the long reply and meandering (off to cycle now!) if you take one thing away take this: Family System should encourage (Lucky 14!) "Sim Medieval-Fantasy Management of caste of characters^2 (per player and per communities) small lives producing stories either idiosyncratically or socially and hopefully adding to the games's shared culture and history that player can share.

1: When your thinking hits a groove, the flow seems to come from the groove, and hence it does not feel right to leave the groove!

2: With the Family Scale, each character is born from marriage, is young and starts skill-training (stats could be rolled and some inherited) their bio could be filled in in part by players to hand-craft them, they experience stuff and could die horribly, they marry and raise new generation (possibly abstracted on a crop cycle for the game?! but meaningful length of life per generation (idk 6months to roll the ball) during that time the seasons change, crops grow, buildings are developed, disease may occur, the cycles of life and simulation of fantasy world ebbs and flows...

Goblin Squad Member

Tharak Venethorn wrote:
PFO needs to find it's reason for people to log in. That was originally PvP but if you're going to use PvP you really need to focus on it until it's amazing and if not pick something else. But right now your most unique aspect is that you are a sandbox (kind of) with a fantasy theme, and the number of "fantasy sandbox MMO" games that are out there is growing by the day.

This is the money-quote.

I think PvP is simply too divisive as well as proportionally too small to make PFO both marketable against the grain and immediately attractive to wider market drawing from several different player bases.
What's the DESIGN GOAL? IE what experience is PFO trying to create for players?

Strangely enough I cannot help but notice that George RR Martin's Game Of Thrones is partly so interesting compared to many other fantasy novels because at it's heart he's changed the SCALE of the narrative so successfully.

When I read these books I was over-awed in several ways:-

1. Characters do realistic and interesting things - and die.
2. Major identity of characters is their Family and Family-Family relations
3. These all SCALE up to regions, kings and courts, battles and across time and even further - all from the time of death of Jon Arryn, and maybe even before.

So at this scale, combat and PvP are merely components. The simulation of systems via many players' agencies combining is the DESIGN GOAL.

And this goes on about the different types of emotional experience/relationship players may find for example in Magic: The Gathering:-

So, let's start with the obvious. What or who are Timmy, Johnny, and Spike? To answer this question, let me begin by flashing back ten years. When I was hired into R&D, I was a bit of an oddity. The way I put it back then was I was the one R&D guy that studied words in college. Everyone else majored in something that involved a lot of numbers, be in mathematics, engineering, or a number of different sciences. I, on the other hand, had majored in communications. I was a writer.

This meant that I approached card design the same way I approached writing a story. After all, to me, they were both forms of creative expression. So this begs the question of how I function as a writer. I write from the heart. I write to create an emotional response in my readers. This is the same way I design Magic cards.

Here's where it gets interesting. In order to create an emotional response, I had to understand what emotions I was trying to evoke. In short, I had to ask a number of questions: What does a Magic player want when they play Magic? What are their reasons for playing? What makes them happy?

[...]

The Play's The Thing

Timmy, Johnny and Spike are psychographic profiles for Magic players. That's what the test was all about. It lets you know which profile (including all the various hybrids) you fall into. So what makes the psychographic profile so valuable to a Magic designer (or developer)? The simplest answer is that our job is to make you happy. If we know what makes you happy, our job gets a lot easier.

It took me many years to piece these three psychographic profiles together and many years after that to really understand how each worked. (I should point out that this is an ongoing learning experience which is one of the reasons, by the way, that this column is so much more advanced than the one four years ago.) I had a lot of help from the rest of R&D fine-tuning the details, both in how to interpret what each profile liked and then figuring out how to make cards that satisfied that group's desires.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks is that each group had a clear stereotype that pulled focus. That is, when we talked about the psychographic profiles, we had a tendency to err in talking about one particular subset at the expense of the rest of the profile.

It's a good basis if the information can be obtained. I think Ryan was able to capture a lot of useful marketing data in his former roles. :-)

Looking at the above, in summary:-

1. SCALE
2. STORY
3. PLAYERS
4. INVESTMENT (money, community, time)

It strikes me that The Kingmaker Campaign as PRO/CON 'd here is better realized via this approach:-

Family Unit -> adventurers
|
V
Buildings
|
V
Settlements/Land
|
V
Kingdoms

Quote:
[LIST]
  • Kingmaker allows many different characters to shine. The wilderness environment and wide range of challenges opens the door to many different character classes and concepts. Everyone from a beater to a skill monkey to a social butterfly will find interesting challenges and encounters.
  • The adventures hit many of the popular tropes of fantasy kingdoms – war, treachery, tournaments – missing from nearly every other D&D adventure.
  • The PCs actually increase in power and influence beyond their own collection of magic items: they all take leadership roles in a kingdom, projecting power on a much larger scale than most D&D adventures. If your players like to feel as though they make a difference in the wider world, Kingmaker may be ideal.
  • The “away party problem” leads to some major cognitive dissonance. The PCs rule a kingdom…but also adventure. By the rules, they can travel for three weeks out of each month without penalty, seeking their subjects’ lost children, eggs for dinner, and lost rings. It’s a little odd that the king and his most important advisors put themselves in danger for such trivial expeditions…but such is the nature of the game.
  • Kingdom-building can place stringent requirements on character types. This is not so much a mechanical problem as a conceptual one: the players must build characters with a reason to care about their nation and subjects. This is very different from many adventuring archetypes!
  • If you decide to tackle Kingmaker, there is one extremely important decision to make: should you use the kingdom-building and mass combat mini-games, or let that slide into the background? This is a difficult one, because the idea of ruling a kingdom is one of the two primary attractions of the campaign – but, at least in this reviewer’s eyes, the system itself is deeply flawed. Here are the problems we encountered.[/QUOTE

    I think the Family Concept of "avatar" resolves a lot of these problems as well as matching the PROS. It also aligns with Martin's method/scale of story telling. This aesthetically matches the visuals of RTS scale This requires slower pace, wider scope and more decision-making for more types of players to be happy to fit in. PvP should be ritualized at this scale to ensure different player types are enjoying the game as well as regulate the cycles of growth vs destruction skewed to growth in duration of execution. Some automation could be added via AI too over time with player created/sold scripts.

  • Goblin Squad Member

    Tharak Venethorn wrote:
    The encouraging part about ArcheAge for a sandbox developer is that it means ThemePark games and players are now moving closer to sandboxes. Not that it's 2 million players are all eager for a true sandbox title.

    Yes, the presumption is that Tab-Target + Sandbox features = a very decent market 2m of which 10,000 is needed to get cash positive for GW. This is the market approach and it's definitely correct according to the data/trends. I did some very rough investigation into the MMORTS market and it's tiny compared. People do seem to want Avatar-sized interaction with game worlds...

    Tharak Venethorn wrote:
    Where a sandbox developer should be drawing their inspiration is the tens of millions of dollars raised by Star Citizen which is a clarion call to developers "We want something different, and we'll spend lots of money on it."

    And this is the above direction of travel: This is why SC has so much cash and fanfare from players: You get realistic scale of characters with huge powerful spaceships. The experience ie the DESIGN GOAL is very clear:-

    >"You can only imagine what it's like to be a ""space-fighter"" as you imagine from films and sci-fi books and anime: Well now you can with the most vivid and physics feeling combination of avatar and spaceship and crew and planetside galaxy... ."

    It's going to tap people's emotionally very strongly as evidenced. Tbh I was harping on about combination of space driver + team + ship some years ago as the vision that needed to be done. Didn't realize it could be done to such high graphical standards; I was more thinking Artemis space-Bridge simulator but inter-connected world of other daring firefly esque players to battle.

    Tharak Venethorn wrote:
    The issue with Pathfinder Online is it looks, feels, and plays outdated. It's making improvements but what's considered to be an "up-to-date" game is a constantly moving goal line. While PFO makes its improvements so does every other MMO on the market. And newer, sleeker, more modern MMOs go into development, and get released.

    I think the big killer is going to be the fact the tech of eg EQ or Crowfall is going to out-do PFO and draw people away as per SC above it is a contest of raw power. IE more actiony combat, more voxel-changing "ooh!" impressions. PFO is more cerebral and more grand in it's scope. But the graphics have been chosen according to the above market data, as opposed to the best fit (I'd argue) of DESIGN GOAL which to my mind looking at the 4 pillars:-

    * Exploration = Create a huge world that looks fantastical and immense/daunting
    * Development = micro-macro systems of players teeeming around working together building infrastructure and developing system and opportunities
    * Domination = Battle Armies and campaigns

    * Adventure = the odd one out.

    Here's some eg's of the scale vision:-

    * DEVELOPMENT

    0 A.D. Tutorial 4 - Territories and Buildings

    This shows the concept at least of PFO's settlements -> buildings idea. It does not include the excellent extension of buildings -> skill-training but it does push the idea of services eg blacksmith for crafting weapons that players could resource collect, build, own finance etc. Here's Unity 5 using the same scale but imho updating the above with:-

    * EXPLORATION

    Take A Tour Of Avalon Lords

    It's worth watching from t=0 to t=1m40 where "exploration" is actually even sub-titled. What they've got right here is the SCALE of the fantasy LANDSCAPE. It looks right. They've admittedly overblown the pace and army emphasis and the settlement building is too random ie it needs choice but it needs underlying city planning logic rules also. From these my conclusion is: PFO can be developed to the vision of the Design Documents in the blog... via the above implementation

    Tharak Venethorn wrote:
    Here we are month 3 and they are already letting people with Open Enrollment accounts in. Open Enrollment accounts were supposed to be for... Open Enrollment. That combine with the state of the game when they went into EE and the fact it costs 15$ a month suggest one thing.

    Instead this is what we're seeing. I have an a/c with game time and other perks and it's value is related to the demand for the game of PFO.

    I'm happy to sub and play if I'm playing the above design document. But I'm not. Now I'm very keen and well-read on PFO's objectives, other players in the market will look at the above and decide it's too poor polish and combat and visceral sense is too dull, I am guessing.

    Tharak Venethorn wrote:
    On that note I believe there is one possible way for PFO to move beyond their current circumstances. Pick one or two features and make them so good people keep coming back for more.

    Mandbo (hopefully spelt his name correctly) came up with a summary of the big problem for PFO (rhetorical challenge):-

    1. PFO is seen as FFA PvP sandbox
    2. PF TT crowd have been hostile to PFO from beginning (PvP, non-OGL combat, not NN's party emphasis of story)
    3. Combat dev is going to have been super impressive to compete core game loop with other games
    4. Graphics and Tech is out-muscled by SC, EQN etc ie budget
    5. How successful has PFO drawn EVE crowd who want fantasy eve or avatars + big online strategy game?

    Goblin Squad Member

    To recap:-

    One of the key areas of evolution in game design has to be the merging of genres. Games like the Uncharted series combine shooting, puzzle, and adventure elements together.

    Besides expanding the gameplay, this serves another purpose; it opens up the game to more people.

    Two genres that have been working the hardest to do this would be action games and RPGs. The determining factor is the abstraction of skill and how each game handles it differently. This has lead to the term "skill abstraction." It's defined as:

    The degree of which player skill (or input) has an effect on the gameplay.

    In their infancy, both genres existed on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Slowly, over the years, games designed for both genres have been moving inward. Action games have been adding more RPG elements; RPGs have become more action oriented.

    On one hand, this has opened up the respective genres to more gamers. However, to quote Abraham Lincoln, "...you can't please all the people, all the time."

    From what I can make out over the last few years listening to player conversations and reactions, is that there's some Fantasy Games that have led to positive reactions from players; notably:-

    • Skyrim
    • Darksouls
    • Mount & Blade
    • Chivalry
    • The Witcher
    • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

    In these games you have visceral combat (ACTIONY) + RPG in fantasy genre.

    This accords with the above observation. And it puts imho huge huge stress on the MMO-RPG genre as realized by EQ/WOW -> And all it's derivatives.

    I think more actiony combat + sandbox is going to the "Middle Way" for future MMO-RPG that stick with the avatar perspective of EQ/WOW. AA (Archeage) may be doing well, but I think the engine and hobby features and lack of competition have helped it. As soon as a fantasy with more sandbox and better actiony-combat comes along... it might be a race of one.

    Both EQN and CF are going for this stronger emphasis on action combat I think.

    =

    The other big issue is the lack of appetite for PFO from the PF TT market. I would guess they're more of the higher abstraction of skill of combat in a digital game and more interested in the strategy/sim genre as well as the RPG-PvE sub-set of the MMO-RPG?

    I think simulating a lot of The River Kingdoms via the sim side would be attractive to these players (amongst others) within the kingdoms system of an RTS abstraction of formalities of issuing wars/battles/calling banners on a more lengthy cycle so it's proportionally large consequence rarer event - allowing sim life to carry out and again under that PvE of adventurers completely free of concern. That being small chars graphically, but individual character-focus much stronger here.

    Anyway that would be my suggestion for HYBRID of genres to go in the other direction (higher abstraction = larger canvass).

    Goblin Squad Member

    I actually didn't realize but Crowfall's designer Ralph Koster seems to have realized the same thing here:-

    "MMOs have been caught in the paradigm of leveling up and grinding for so long that I think it's going to be a real surprise to once again see an MMO based around this kind of freedom of action and conflict," says Koster. "Crowfall is a hybrid of strategy game and MMO. It also echoes back to the early days of MMOs with robust economies and rich player freedoms."

    Personally, my view is that the "permanent character progression" is a false step in both PFO and Crowfall though both have it right about strategy but both don't seem to know what is the right scale to go for. Also knowing that the above is HYBRID they seem to be going for instanced campaigns that can be re-rolled when they end (with the world hopefully wreaked/trashed/smashed by the players ie full entropy.

    This seems a safer bet if they're keeping the scale at the avatar level of combat actiony and more limited numbers. I'm not entirely sure it will work, but it's balance between the two.

    Whereas the full sweep and scope of PFO's extraordinary design document... imho the SCALE needs to widen:-

    * Map Scale
    * Graphics representation Scale
    * Time Scale/Movement Scale
    * Numbers/Armies Scale
    * Macro-Economics Scale
    * Generations and mortality of characters via Family Scale
    * Break up Settlements into Strongholds, Holdfasts, Holdings Scale per family
    * Automate some of the characters work-loads eg merchant caravans AI along roads that take a long time to transport goods.
    * Seasons and Cycles of harvest and war campaigns scale
    * Using the above for proportionality of characters (sexes, generations and experience, careers and classes choices/investments
    * Long time to build stuff - high investment in labour and materials and time ie slower pace of game.

    All the above will help with boom-bust cycles and player investments in their characters and assets and war for property -> money -> power.

    Goblin Squad Member

    To make the connection (at least the vestiges) and of course adventurers being in short supply due to:-

    1) Limits ratio per Family producing them.
    2) Mortality rates of being an adventurer
    3) Great experience/skills the greater testing the greater adventures!

    But here's the connection aside from the rarity of adventurers:-

    Such poor companies as Sweden and Denmark, for example, would probably have never sent a single ship to the East Indies, had not the trade been subjected to an exclusive company. The establishment of such a company necessarily encourages adventurers. Their monopoly secures them against all competitors in the home market, and they have the smae chance for foreign markets with traders of other nations... Without such extraordinary encouragement, the poor traders of such poor countries would probably never have thought of hazarding their small capitals in so very distant and uncertain an adventure as the trade to the East Indies must naturally have appeared to them.

    The seafaring equivalent might have been privateers (sounds like pirates!). The actual "dungeons" could be anything "hell planes, golarion's moon, the emerald spire, distant continents..." Harnessing players to make 'em and then the actual Devs choosing the means of finding them (a whole adventure involving much capital!) and so... Fame and fortune to the few...

    Ernest Shackleton wrote:
    Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success

    Tbh, PFO has the vision for this already albeit dungeons will "pop" in the well developed hexes - hence kinda rewards for well-run kingdoms for adventurers... I think the above is more interesting. Finding magical artefacts or such that might serve the Lord of the Realm wel etc. It's a part of Dwarf Fortress in a sense too. The "honors" system to grow Family influence would also tie in nicely with spending time and family characters on being adventurers too. Also the combat system party could be much more defined and more depth/detail too as per the TT.

    Goblin Squad Member

    The map of eve reminds me of something:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe#/media/File:Large-scale_st ructure_of_light_distribution_in_the_universe.jpg

    There's a similarity with the pattern between galaxies in the universe.

    This is echoed/reflected (perhaps more accurately) in our night-time cities:-

    http://spy-drones.com/files/2012/12/The-city-lights-of-Europe-North-Africa- and-the-Middle-East-at-night.-Photo-NASA.jpg

    I think a map that might work might produce similar patterns. What is quite nice, the maps in Game Of Thrones seem to follow this pattern a little bit, in Westeros.

    You'd want if it were more RTS Scale, real strongholds with some important holdfasts dotted around again then again smaller associations of lesser family's holdings. You'd want it around such features as produce the above pattern - with large gaps between clusters of shared assocation(s).

    Obviously the water/mountain geographical boundaries are part of those gaps as river systems and fertile lands and near the sea are usually parts of the clusters of density. And of course at higher level continents between great seas for extreme distances.

    This would moderate trade and war (armies marching/battlefields)

    With RTS scale movement needs to be slower and distances longer. Roads would be useful to "automate" characters moving. Guards would be automated to escort but only if using roads.

    I think the generation cycle of characters young->old needs to be of a decent length. Asymmetric in some sense to get some young'uns mixing with a few oldies but with population dip and rise a very important cycle in the game.

    Goblin Squad Member

    @Wrath -

    0) Concerning PvP, I think the basis for it's focus is about right: Human interaction between players > content creation: All the pieces come together in this approach (ie player-content, replayability/longevity, depth of skill and if it can be hooked to a larger context then meaningful/purposeful and with integration to economy consequential change to world.

    But I think the key is to provide this direct PvP but ensure it's a subset controlled within a wider set of human interactions that include more PAR/RP activities what we can categorize as "Sim Life" operations eg Diplomatic, Crafter, Adventurer, Builder, Farmer, Merchant and much much more.

    1) I think then we move onto what you accurately hit the nail on the head with: "TO CREATE MY OWN STORIES OR PLAY IN OTHERS" . On the one hand you have the soldiers at war (PvP) and on the other you have in general the non-war many different roles engaged economically with each other bar exceptions:-

    i) Adventurers - These need the party system of combat which TT fits very well but not so well perhaps with larger numbers of participants eg moba 5v5 seems to indicate the scale fit here. Also Adventurer characters could be a special category within families system I suggested above who are not part of the PvP system but go on PvE dungeon jaunts and some dungeons can be PvPvE also with several parties.

    ii) Bandits and other "beyond the law characters" you'd have to chism them from Families as independent solo actors who may band together again with Adventurers you're allowing different rule sets for them but limiting their capacity but ensuring such roles exist.

    One of the keys with above with the Family System is you have a suite of characters but proportionality rules limit how many of a type you can "house" and control per Family per living members!

    2) Hence you get your cooperative play/scale and agree every mmo should have this.

    3) Single Player RPGs can do a lot of simulation or at least appearance of via Open World. Dwarf Fortress shows the huge amount of sim behind the graphics needed. What I suggest is PFO is trying to do this - so great going - but I was thinking (perhaps it's still not possible) with simpler RTS graphics we could get there sooner with the world bits represented on smaller scale but looks more epic and then as per current plan iteratively add more and more. But base it on information collection in the world of things - the graphics are representing. It would coordinate lots of small size characters moving around a large world requiring numbers for safety and also for scale of collective action eg resource capture (pvp) then extraction (set up buildings) then transport (haulage eg caravans/beasts of burden perhaps ships on coast) and then processing at settlements. Around that economic ecosystem you build the simulation - PFO is trying this which is awesome awesome - I just think the macro- SCALE is better represented via RTS style presentation and possibly more do-able via dev? You probably want the pace of the game hence slower and the good thing about the RTS Scale implement different PvP rule-sets for armies in units to engage, to march and to declare war. Underneath have skirmish scale rule-set and numbers limits or something for PvP of scouts then armies soliders characters levied from families and potentially even delegated to PvP focused players :-)

    4) PFO has some windows to help here, but as above I think putting our eggs into different character baskets of a Family helps avoid the problem. The Great PvP Generals and their Captains on the battlefield, the lonesome vulnerable but daring bandit solo chars and the party adventurers immune from the above.

    It carves up characters to allow players to follow their own stories.

    You'd have to have a clever system of carving up fielty between families and influence as a progression metric as important as power and money. So the map has to continually home Families with their fiefdoms but constant internal politics to climb socially higher and break up the blob effect. It might be that small areas prevent full scale invasions (and distance) eg water boundaries, mountain boundaries, forests/valleys etc...

    I think the worry is valid for sandbox mmorpgs that your stuff will be taken/destroyed by the evil blob and then the other big fear, ppl believe they're not that skillful at the combat itself of controls and builds vs those who are highly motivated at such. Then finally those produce those group colony collapse syndrone which is lethal.

    tl;dr: Warfare Ruleset could even up the mass combat pvp that then changes territory control. Under that you want small scale pvp easily controlled in settlement lands, but a thorn in the wilds/travels of caravans.

    ==

    Family Structure dividends:-

    * Focus/pressure off combat - >2 eg 5:1 of chars non-combat to combat ratio raised per player ie focus on Sim Life - but heavy repercussions of battles/wars
    * Managing chars operating different works in settlements own Families or as underlings to lords to rise up...
    * adventurers ratios allows PvE party system
    * Mortality cycle to regulate power both violence and inflation. Size of family modulated by territory, resources somewhat but also account pricing option
    * Fits RTS scale and macro-economic scale and vision of PFO's 4 pillars.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Some interesting info on networking/rendering challenge + massive battles/numbers of participants from Mark Jacobs on Camelot Unchained:-

    1) As you correctly point out, the problem with large-scale battles in MMORPG is definitely a hydra-headed monster. In our case, the two biggest issues are rendering time and networking. As to the former, Andrew is quite skilled in this area as his resume/experience shows. In most cases so far, the engine has handled hundreds of people on the screen without turning into a slideshow specifically due to rendering issues. Now, the landscape is pretty barren so far, there is no living/breathing sky, the effects are toned down, etc. so it is way too early to say "Mission Accomplished" but, OTOH, we have also put more than 1K Backers in Bots in so it's a pretty good start.

    2) As to the networking, yep, that is one of the other heads. All I can say is that we have been focused on this as well and like building a renderer, you can't just take a game and then say you are going to add awesome networking code for a game like this, you have to design the networking code first and then add the gameplay elements/traffic/info/etc. in a way that won't degrade the code's performance to the point where you are screwed. That is one of the reasons we haven't gone all out in terms of building the world/gameplay until we knew we had a great working core. as per above, 1.1K is a good start.

    One of the other things we are doing differently than WAR or many other games is that we are building the initial game not to be the first version of the game but in ways to build and test the core tech. So rather than focusing on getting class builds out as early as possible, we've been building tech and testing it. For example, our next evolution of our bots will be to act as projectile throwers. There's nothing like 1K bots all throwing fire, water and earth balls that can intersect/interact/stress a system like that will. Now, this has caused some people to worry (When are we going to see classes!!!!) but this is the right way to do things. Yeah, we could design and deploy some classes and then hope the tech can support it but that would be the wrong thing to do. We need to make sure the tech works first. I'd rather have to deal with the average upset Backer (or refund) now rather than to go back to our Backers in a year and say, "Sorry, I know we showed you this awesome class design, concept art, etc. but due to technical issues, it's now a bit of a pig. But don't worry, it has pretty lipstick!" It certainly would be easier just to trot out some fancies and look to garner more and more donations but we're not going down that path. Heck, even the upcoming Stretch Goal had to make sense and we had to be confident we could deploy it on time or we wouldn't even be talking about it now.

    Goblin Squad Member

    That's very interesting information, thanks for the reply.

    I was aware the UI would be a challenge. My guess though this scale you can simplify combat and the scale of the world fits the scope of the story attempted to be told. For example the Family structure: Land claimed by a family could convert to number of soldiers that can be raised for the armies ie direct correlation particularly fertile land and expense of and of course the size of the family itself (dependent on the account).

    I was thinking AI might be deployed for soldiers sent to "muster arms" and then be controlled by captains (ie players of senior title in the fielty system) to form up as units. Of course players could have the option of directly controlling some soldiers in different formations eg as skirmishers or such...

    The idea I quite like from this is that in a talk on the future of mmorpgs, Ryan said about AI that runs the characters more autonomously and players in part "manage these virtual characters". I think the Family system sort of matches that description albeit using players to manage and direct as opposed to put on the clothes, wield the sword of the characters so to speak! I think that happily evokes the right shift of scale I'm describing in the story-telling and it's relation to the graphics scale.

    @GripGuiness -

    Would that I could. I'm not criticizing PFO/GW, I'm just saying something very simple one of many voices:-

    >"As a customer, what I would like to see is lots of other players' stories (thousands of different and individual and group) (as well as my own) in these virtual worlds. Whatever aids that result (I believe will) I support. Whatever detracts from that result - I should question."

    What Ryan says is right, it's too big an unknown for what result? It just concerns me that many mmorpgs have believed they've found "next gen" with this "mmorpg standard". Koster goes on elsewhere about how facebook or other genres have innovated where WOW has defined what an MMORPG is with it's long shadow over the market.

    ==

    Just to cap this off, and sustain perspective atst as delivering this particular input:-

    GW design doc for PFO is one of the best imo that I've seen: There's so much that's good about it.

    I posit an alternative to the scale which I think fits the implementation of the above design as a more natural fit: More of a medieval sims model than a "learn to be a combat hero" model.

    /popped out and saw a fox: I usually take that as a lucky sign!

    Goblin Squad Member

    Ryan Dancey wrote:

    @AvenaOats - sorry, still can't process that much stuff.

    Is your core point "over-the-shoulder 3D worlds are dead"? Because if that's your core point, I just don't know what to tell you. You're wrong.

    Are you wondering how big we think the market for a for a fantasy sandbox MMO is?

    ArcheAge, which is a beautiful game that sells itself as a sandbox (but has only a very small bit of sandbox gameplay) generated two million signups in the west. It's Free to Play so that's a reasonable sizing function for "how big is the North American and European Market for a sandbox fantasy MMO" (the addressable part of that market for a Pay to Play game will be smaller, of course.)

    Are you wondering why we don't have more players yet?

    We have not turned on the marketing. We are spending effectively nothing on marketing yet. Awareness that this game exists within that 2 million person audience is close to 0%.

    I can't obviously compete with your expertise and experience in making the strategic choices. It just seems to me that the market says "graphics" whereas the customer says "story" and this engine is a big hindrance to that?

    With an RTS Engine, I feel the whole dev would be closer to the metal, family structure of accounts/alts per player would have their own management of estate and functions at this level as a by-product of the change in SCALE; mortality; seasons, the grandeur would pop-out as a natural product it seems to me for the EPIC story telling involving thousands+ interacting positively with each other ie willingly in the same story space. I think pushing this further, each player's chronology could have in-game functionality for recording their families many different characters rises and falls and so on. The idea of social capital between families and growing influence as a 3rd axis to power + money + social again seems to derive nicely too and of course fielty to the Lords declaring wars and their pitched battles.

    I've reached the limits of my understanding I think finally. This is all, it's not a case to base big money decisions on! ^_^

    Goblin Squad Member

    Hardin Steele wrote:
    I can't imagine being enamored by the Elder Scrolls werewolf meme. It is so overdone it is a total bore. Every single player was running around as a werewolf. Not interesting to me.

    That's why I said "glimmer". And even that tiny little sparkle had disproportionate "stickiness": That quality of enjoyment where players enjoy the activity for the sake of the activity ie the internal narrative they're actually playing in their brains by performing that action repeatedly for no necessarily external output reward.

    The Werewolf is well known and well-liked. Why do you think that is? I think there's part of an answer in understanding the essence of the Werewolf is this:-

    It inverts "a character" with "the monster" but it does it on a periodically predictable but preciously small duration of transformation.

    There's even a successful board-game: "One Night Ultimate Werewolf". Now to connect the dots, a successful story is able to be adapted into the game systems and emerge from it via the players' actions ie the sandbox concept as PFO applies it (not terra-forming or rule-changing for example). In the implementation I suggested, that's exactly the intended result. ES has merely "bolted-on" the superficial aspects but at least int that restricted implementation quite successfully.

    Hardin Steele wrote:

    I can't see the loss of focus. This game is not targeting the WoWheads, or the F2P crowd. That is a totally different market and will not have an interest in PFO anyway, so not attracting them here is not unexpected.

    Ryan and Lisa are targeting a small niche market (I am one of those players) that prefers interaction with other players, graphics are not the be-all-end-all of he game, depth is more important than sparkle. So far PFO has those things even if they have not made it into the game yet. The rollout of new content is on the schedule they have projected, and the design seems solid.

    I hope so too, but I fear the EQ/WOW model as per countless other conceptions of mmorpgs is the problem; Bartle even points this problem out directly/explicitly as well. The reactions we're seeing from EE also appear to lean that way too. And even future mmorpgs CU/Crowfall, EQ all seem to erring this way too (that engine again).

    PFO might end up being a profitable and serviceable game, I'm just estimating that the underlying mechanism of what players want from these online games is possibly in the long-run a better guide forwards?

    Hardin Steele wrote:
    I do agree with the last part about the strict naming conventions. Having crazy numbers and x's in names is immersion breaking. It would be nice for players to have to have a certain name structure (personally I would prefer an area for a character backstory or biography like in LotRO), a home area, and some Golarion style connection in the character creation process to give players a nudge in that direction. The niche market Ryan and Lisa are looking might appreciate that layer of depth in the creation process.

    Yeah, as the Family Structure automatically derives:-

    Family Surname Convention Rule-System per locality/area of origin: Players could try to input their own version of this and see if the progam accepts or it randomly churns out a suitable Surname for them to finally select.

    Then the first name system could be randomly churned out with no player choice. IE the player gets to OWN the Family Name, but the character is more autonomous and randomly created from suitable elements as per further elaboration below:-

    Name could be the beginning, with a bunch of other Family -identifier factors also created at Family Creation, these fields need to be function in some respect. The characters themselves could be "auto-rolled" with randomness for some of their stats too ie fittedness :-)

    Goblin Squad Member

    Bluddwolf wrote:

    I'm glad this is the more concise version. Bottom line is, Ryan will never get passed the part where you suggest that the focus or vision has been blurred or lost. There will be no acknowledgement of any missteps, regardless of the lack of interest or outcome for this project.

    They could be forced to scrap this project due to lack of viable numbers to support it, and the blame will be placed on the general gamer population not being sophisticated enough to take that "next step" towards believing his vision will save MMOs.

    I think the way Ryan/GW see the approach:-

    * Market estimate of fantasy mmorpg. Remember ex-players > current-players and "pipe" themepark mmorpg fantasy -> sandbox mmorpg fantasy (done right) then EE adopters are some of sandbox mmorpg already.
    * This means assuming the EQ/WOW Engine and TT combat are expected staple of this genre for this market.
    * Finally with Middleware and leaner dev and crowdfunding, the cost to get to "decent" quality for the above staple before then adding in the gradual sandbox "pipes".

    From this pov, it is boiled down to a gamble proposition on investment to expected returns and the risk according to the market numbers. If you abstract the case to this financial proposition, then it's far from a bad gamble.

    =

    My concern is the basic assumption of taking EQ/WOW Engine. Looking at the data Ryan researched some time ago:-

    Here are my estimates for the top* MMORPGs in the Western MMO market

    Clearly there's people willing to splash the cash on mmorpgs of this type. And the real growth and opportunity for themepark->sandbox could be China, too. However, I wonder if the EQ/WOW engine is simply going to end up with a game that gamers first:-

    1. Compare quality of graphics and combat to the bigger budget mmorpgs and dislike it?
    2. Compare to the latest mmorpgs on the market and move onto those.
    3. A mmorpg that manages to produce much better graphics and visceral FPS combat is going to suck a lot of the oxygen out of the above "EW/WOW Engine".
    4. MMO-ification of other genres doing what they do better but with more online elements.

    I think the player investment idea and a small uptake of new players is a good way to make the game more sticky for retention, but if the growth reaches a tiny point due to all the above, we're left with the familiar feeling from all the other indie mmorpg sandboxes of slow updates, lack of polish, small population.

    =

    So the approach is a sound gamble, but what is the "mechanism" actually operating that makes players find a game addictive and replayable? I wonder if with WOW we saw the rise of the online phenomena for a lot of people who have aged and moved on or who's tastes have changed and with the younger generation, they're more into the latest demanding tech for combat or the latest online phenomena Minecraft?

    In both WOW and Minecraft, the Social aspects of a "whole new world" and with Minecraft the creative aspects too of user input and finding servers that are interesting, these are the mechanisms it seems to me, broadly. I think for PFO, the board-gamer, the TT RPG gamer, the strategy sim and simulation and sandbox market is the way to go for sticky retention so long as the game PFO can generate story for them.

    TL;DR

    • The EQ/WOW Engine looks immediately attractive to the design and development of PFO, but as we're witnessing, it's going to lead to "bloat requirement" for graphics and combat to be able to compete and pull in more players beyond a certain point which then becomes a drain on the actual growth aspect of PFO's design document all those systems that will gradually grow the game over years.

    • The RTS Engine (I'll call it in comparison) appears much less favorable as per graphics, much smaller market of players but I think using this would have gotten PFO to the growth part of the design document faster and possibly founded it's own niche in the market (First Mover Advantage) reconciling these markets and forging it's own online community in a shared story space. Once you get that story buy and investment...

    Problems are a whole re-evaluation of the busines model if you don't adopt the EVE skill-training like-for-like^& and the EQ/WOW Engine - it's uncharted territory.

    I'm personally a bit biased as I love "small characters" (god sim perspective) but you combine small elements and those turn into "big elements" = The holy grail of all mmorpg players I've ever heard on many forums and many many occasions repeatedly:-

    A Living, breathing world

    Which I think you see the visual/graphical vestiges of already in RTS games without the agency of MMO- players populating it/operating it.

    &:The Family structure of accounts with multi-alts there's a lot of work to work out a lot of the functionality...

    Goblin Squad Member

    There's the suggestion of an interesting story again from massivelyop:-

    Wurm Online player deified, founds a religion

    I think it's important to make a telling point (pun intended) here:-

    When devs create in-game lore, the retcon or "a wizard did it!" type of fluff is really not good enough for players. What we can learn from Dwarf Fortresses' endless alpha is that the simulation must churn out a result to feed the story generation. It's why PvE is often so finite. I don't know much about PFO's pantheon of gods and goddesses, but it's far from challenging to think up using the above "mortality" system that a particular temple with enough worship manna could persuade whichever gods to free up a soul lost in war to come back again - with limited capacity to do so for a community. Or some other divine intervention system rarely relaying between planes of existence. One thing Bartle said is that anything unusual needs a full explanation, hence magic should be used economically to avoid having to come up with huge amount of explanations.

    Magic Needs To Be Mysterious and Unpredictable In Games still a cashed copy.

    Here's a genuine/bona fide spell of the most powerful magic from the author's lips, for reals...

    Quote:
    The best games are those wherein the mechanics and the narrative (and all the various other elements) work together in harmony to construct a coherent and consistent whole.

    We call this potent of spells "Unity of Aesthetic" and only a true master magician can hope to cast it.

    You can I think still have "high" fantasy but you need to start reigning it in a bit if you are trying to simulate, as well as keep it magic! Either way souls could be a resource for blood magic/sacrifices to dark deities for simulation.

    Another point about the Family system above and naturally deriving, there was an old topic of the problem of name conventions in mmorpgs. Well using the Family System, approved Surnames/Family/Proper Names could be enforced.

    The first name, I think again could be randomly generated out of the players control. In some ways this is good, the characters have their own lives the players are guiding them and managing the family.

    And this I think has a strong immersion factor: Tolkien was right about naming conventions and the power of language in these fantasy worlds. also said you have to be somewhat in some areas "fascist" in running these worlds, afterall.

    A roleplay-mandated world is essentially going to have to be a fascist state. Whether or not this accords with your goals in making such a world is a decision you yourself will have to make.

    I think another thing Bartle pointed out concerning breaking "The Golden Circle" with external payments into a game breaking immersion etc. The Family System it seems to me naturally helps provide variable sub options which are proportional to time investment in the game which in any case would lead to influence/power investment. It seems to me so long as smaller families have meaningful things to do at that level (stories to lead, fielty to their liege lord etc) it makes no difference?

    Goblin Squad Member

    Here's a glimmer of what players are actually wanting from mmorpgs:-

    Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online sucked me in with werewolves

    A convenient example given I've realized that the Story > Action is what is so compelling and combining that with Social Systems it would be a huge selling point/talking point:-

    Player Cooperative: The Shadow of the Beast (a lycanthrope initiative)

    Now don't make the mistake of thinking this is blowing a personal vanity project trumpet. All it is is a worked through example of the sorts of stories players could be generating (with a little aid and stewardship from GW).

    Werewolves merely happened to be a well known trope, an opportunity after WOD ceased ie market, and a solution that could be naturally deduced ie not forced through with inevitable incompatibility issues.

    I know from reading the PFO forums that many have their own stories to imprint upon PFO. MMORPGs fail because they take too long to reach working on the fun product of the systems being built. That's the focus. It does not need Zenimax's budget to achieve it: Merely the imagination and social collaboration of the players with the devs.

    Goblin Squad Member

    I've stolen that title from an expert (it references George RR Martin's titles style series from A Game Of Thrones).

    I will try and fail to keep this short and pithy.

    Background:
    Ryan explains a huge leap in understanding in mmorpg development in this, one of the best summaries of mmorpg dev I've come across:-

    PaizoConPathfinderOnlinePresentation

    In a recent EVE presentation the language is distilled succinctly:-

    • USERS = players interact with game
    • PARTICIPANTS = players interact with each other

    When you design the former it costs a lot of Art Assets and Combat programming (EQ-Diku model).

    When you design the latter it costs a lot less for broader systems

    EVE is the model of this (see summary EVE vs WOD

    Let's start with EVE. It has a huge advantage:-

    1. Space (art overhead low)
    2. Combat (overhead low due to spaceship pew-pew!)
    3. Early 00's (market not saturated, stand out in space niche)
    4. Sandbox dev = low cost and iterative with players etc

    As Ryan says in the vid:-

    EQ/WOW model:-

    1. Won profits war (EQ vs UO, WOW vs EVE)
    2. Spiralling cost due to graphics and assets and content (and combat!!!)

    How have Sandbox mmorpgs faired? They've all been scratchy combat (bar DF which tried to be more actiony).

    Expected trend of Fantasy combat => Has to outcompete the latest eg WOW tab-target. Expectation imho is for:-

    1. More Visceral, more actiony eg Chivalry, Mount & Blade
    2. Life Is Feudal or Gloria Victus try to go here and be sandbox.

    So if you are not going FPS, you are going 3rdPP aka Over-The-Shoulder EQ/WOW Engine modelling of fantasy world.

    (1) EQ/WOW Engine => Graphics demand ==> Complex Combat

    EQ/WOW Engine => Graphics demand ==> Complex Combat demand for gameplay interaction/controls by the player.

    INSIGHT Trend towards ACTION in-built into this engine away from DECISION.

    (2) Decision-making vs Action Gameplay

    EVE Space => graphics incidental to information => DECISION-MAKING gameplay expected by the player ie it markets this itself (expectation-setting/signaling)

    INSIGHT This is a stronger fit for story generation in games

    (3) Future Projections of Games Market

    Star Citizen in space and using FPS perspective engine fits the action trend of MMO-ification of EQ/WOW engine trend. My young newphews are cock-a-hoop over spaceships and... Minecraft. Other kids like Clash of Clans. One involves major creativity and social space and the other is built on social dynamics to hook players into spending to keep up with peers. Both raised millions. SOCIAL + CREATIVITY (either assets or story or both).

    (4) Simulation Space -> Story Generation -> Online Community

    EVE/Game Of Thrones show strong egs of story creation. One is books the other is space. Parsimony is required eg Bartle and MUDs. WOD is an neg of converting from space to fantasy being challenging/expensive

    [B](5) Evidence PFO is failing at this test: Action > Decision-Making

    EE, youtube, comments in forums (see previous posts). Why? Imho, Ryan has taken the assumption that: EQ/WOW model built to bring that market in THEN add sandbox around that gameplay. However what's observable in EE is the bloat of graphics demand by mmorpg players and then the combat because of the graphics. THEN we might see the design doc (summary here). This has created a loss of focus and fallen into the Themepark Trap and loss of parsimony to create a system to create a story for a community online.

    (6) Nature Of Solutions

    if deducted rigorously have a habit of deriving natural products that synergize with the full vision - almost magically. The solution to extend Ryan's MMORPG Business Development Model imho is via Parsimony which derives graphics constraints in service of story. This leads to cheaper dev (as Ryan knows) and the way to re-do the Engine is SCALE change towards RTS which fits hundreds of agents interacting simultaneously on a screen better than the EQ/WOW model does think EVE and dots in combat of thousands. This aligns with philosophy of Bartle and Shokrizade

    (7) Changing Direction: Decisions, Simulations, Story & Scale

    From now on I'm going to assume (rightly or wrongly) PFO in present EE is going to fail due to the above reasoning, projection/expectation of trends and present evidence of the EQ/WOW engine demands. As said EE/alpha/beta has disproportionate bearing on future shape of game.

    (8) We see with SC Hybridization trend will lead to innovation

    of MMO via instances via FPS shooter + Space Flight Sim + MMO-ification (persistent economy, space = better graphics). Apply the same to Fantasy and RTS SCALE engine eg (0AD, Kingdoms 2, Total War Arenas etc). This fits PFO's design:-

    * Exploration = HUGE WORLD (ie scale)
    * Development = Settlements, buildings, territory, resource gathering, social simulation
    * Domination = RTS Battles scale formations and tactics

    The Scale is already intrinsic, and it would aid the networking as well as reduce the graphics overhead where staff salary is 80% and the combat overhead and apallingly high standards required for TT EQ/WOW combat. It means broader systems being built all at once even if shallow as per EVE's history of development. Avoiding the current EE trap PFO is experiencing.

    (9) Capturing All The Markets That Fit This Focus

    This aligns with what the customers who invested in PFO already have stated they want, there's a challenge of markets: The Once and Future Game: "Theatre of the Mind" or Crunchy System?. Ryan's identified another divide in the market: PvP vs Life Sim sandbox emphasis. The other market divide as per theatre vs crunchy explicitly = Pathfinder TT market vs MMO market. Here SCALE works to derive the solution naturally again:-

    * Adventure module:-

    It's important to get this right to merge the origins of PF with the digital incarnation for good publicity and good design. Here I suggest you keep the class system of PF TT and predominantly for this aspect of the game to build after the other 3 above. It needs to be on the RTS Scale and the combat can be elaborated for parties here in dungeons using Torchbearer style rules. Probably keep these chars immune from PvP in the Open World. It fits Ryan's vision of bringing these adventureres into a living world context. The other careers expanding eg merchant, soldier, diplomat they are part of the above pillars. I'm running out of space... but the design needs to create a system that is OGL inspired create your own dungeons/modules for the game world and adventurers. One day integrate this more with other pillars. You resolve the PF TT market in this. It also provides more dynamic dungeons than any MMORPG to date. The game within the game concept is powerful.

    (10) Family Avatar Scale Derived (pricing, skill-training, story, gameplay, simulation)

    The coupe de grace: Again deriving from this naturally at the heart of PFO's business model is the assumption of stored value in the game via skill-training x1 char as per EVE. The innovation that derives is FAMILY system of alt avatars of mortality cycles and births. Size of family is sub option with marginal plex economic discount system: It matches Players who spend more, need to play more, will influence the game world more, could open up higher levels of character development more. Value invested can be recycled via generation cycles, violent chars die sooner, eg wars, value is locked into family holdings and also via feudal loyalty systems between families and marriages to balance influence of connections. Limited skill-training per character, though as above any skill-training dependent on family size and opportunity. This I think simulates the social simulation of chars/sim life as well as political foundations for the meta-story of groups. It also naturally regulates ratio of male-female; cross-breeding perhaps, proportion of experienced vet chars in the game to newbies needing training up next cohorts, violent players as mentioned, allows players to manage their alts more naturally, not put all eggs in one basket of one char, end of stories allows players to write up their chars life stories - some supernatural stunts could be conceived, time travel too and so on... temples/religion has a stronger place and much more derived.

    [B]TL;DR: But I think with all the above the sub price, the investing of players to influence the game world, the social systems focus, the creation of broad many systems interacting and visually available faster and away from gameplay components that are boring, stressful or alienate certain markets... SCALE I believe resolves these things and improves the business model, the game design implementation, focuses on the right market and avoids competition with the trend of the market.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Savage Grace wrote:
    Just another agreement with Ryan. Earlier posts were unreadable due to length of posts and breadth of topics discussed, yet interesting enough when scanning through that I wonder what I'm missing.

    * I employed repetition of the key criticism in constant form (EQ/WOW model -> Graphics Engine -> Combat complexity

    * I employed numerous references and quotations in blocks which if investigated ie scanned should convey ideas non-verbally or heuristically
    * A lot of the posts were naturally developed hence their undue length and order teasing out different components of the key criticism and indeed even deriving innovations that emerge naturally from applying that criticism at different levels automatically linking up.

    It's interesting that solutions do tend towards parsimony, and that is the criticism of my criticism too!
    Next, opening a new thread with the above hopefully synthesized; it's my last day of doing so for a while new work starting tomorrow (I did the above while house-sitting!).

    Goblin Squad Member

    "..."(!)

    The ideas they did the talking - not me. Many coffees had to be drunk so that these posts could be said.

    I prefer sketches and graphs and doodles and lists and flow-charts... I could give that a go.

    To boil it all down: The community interacting in a shared space which generates stories from the inputs of those players into the system: That's the focus, are the graphics and the combat system conducive to creating that? Many mmorpgs have tried and it seems the problem is more intrinsic directly to the way each of those has built it's engine (themepark or sandbox fantasy mmorpg) which then determines the system which then determines the quality of the shared story space which then either works or does not work for a large online community building.

    Still the advice, it was worth it. Much coal has to be shovelled for a tiny gleaming rock to be unearthed. TU.

    @ <Kabal> Daeglin - Well thank you for the suggestion, I think the real utility of the posts may be as a record to the present stage of development to compare what we were thinking now with what we achieve later.

    The one thing I have little knowledge of, not being a professional mmorpg dev is the full requirements of making mmorpgs in the EQ/WOW conception and the networking limitations of our time.

    If someone says: We can do these things now. I have to take their word. But after seeing EE and thinking on this, I have to suggest more parsimony^2 is required and that's what I suggest to the OP's question, is missing.

    2. Adoption of the simplest assumption in the formulation of a theory or in the interpretation of data, especially in accordance with the rule of Ockham's razor. You see why short posts are very difficult...

    What is so good about Ryan's Business Model for MMORPG Development = Parsimony. But has he applied it fully enough to PFO? And could graphic engine => combat system complexity be a fatal flaw in this essential rule?

    Goblin Squad Member

    @Gaskon: That's my understanding too Gaskon. I think they have finance for up to OE from private backers. I think the funding during EE is supplementary/expected in tandem with the improvement of the game and with the EE whales investing into their characters. At a sketchy guess.

    @Gol Phyllain: If CCP were looking to invest, then I'm not sure the current situation would work out; EQ as ppl suggest and others already have the 3D avatar mmorpg market sown up.

    =

    For recap, on EVE's model of success:-

    CCP had been developing the WoD mmorpg for about 8 years. It had employed nearly around 100 developers. It had the outstanding experience and success of CCP and apparently the right approach to sandbox design... See:

    Quote:

    The content-based blockbuster MMO model excludes the vast majority of aspiring developers both due to its extraordinary capital requirements and the near-suicidal business risk. Yet there is an alternative model of MMO design, one which doesn't require the budget of a Hollywood film or the risk-taking of a lemming on meth.

    CCP began as a tiny group of former Ultima Online buddies who decided that they wanted to create their own game. They didn't have a tremendous amount of startup capital; by modern standards, the game was developed on a shoestring budget.

    When it was released, EVE could barely be called a game at all. It was a pure sandbox design, with only a smattering of content. The learning curve was vertical, the tutorials a disaster, and sales and the subscriber curve abysmal.

    Yet with a bare-bones game, CCP managed to eventually grow and prosper. Why? It wasn't a matter of pure random luck. EVE as it was released was a mostly-empty sandbox, where the focus of the endgame was on player conflicts not presided over by the devs.

    And another one:-

    Quote:

    Too many developers with great ideas are intimidated away from creating intriguing MMO titles by the daunting startup costs of following the dominant blockbuster model. It doesn't have to be this way; just use a different business model! CCP began with a bare $2.6 million in funding. eGenesis, creators of A Tale In the Desert, have followed a similar model with a focus on an organically-grown sandbox.

    There are many unexplored niches in the MMO market in which excellent games could thrive, and the capital barrier to entry is lower than you might think.

    I think we can conclude:-

    1. Sandbox MMORPG = Do-able.
    2. EVE Model can be replicated hence if applied correctly...

    So, "Question: What went wrong with World Of Darkness (WOD)?"

    “We overreached with World of Darkness in its initial concept, wanting to achieve too much in the first go,” a CCP spokesperson told [GamesBeat](http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/14/world-of-darkness-mmo-an-unfortunate-cas ualty-of-latest-round-of-ccp-layoffs/). “While we have adjusted scope numerous times along the way, the outcome is neither true to the original concept nor to a concept that would have been much more focused from the start. We wanted to create a sweeping, immersive experience, and we didn’t get there. In our assessment, it’s best to put an end to the project over retrofitting it more.”

    The company's full financial presentation notes a drop in profit of $4.3 million from the year before, while revenues saw a rise of $76.7 million from $56.3 million.

    It is believed that the primary reason for a drop in profit is an increase in research and development costs which jumped from $16.5 million in 2012 to $56.5 million in the next financial year. This is likely to do with costs related to the development of Eve Valkyrie and Dust 514, as well as the now-canceled World of Darkness.

    "During the year the company assessed its capitalized development assets and determined that a portion of those assets would likely not have future economic benefits," reads a statement accompanying the report. "IAS 38 requires that such assets should be derecognized and removed from the balance sheet. The expense related to the derecognized assets are presented as part of research and development expense in the statement of comprehensive income."

    This report might be the most insightful:-

    The story begins 25 years earlier at the peak of the tabletop roleplaying games industry. Back in the 1990s, a company named White Wolf loomed over this arcane landscape with a hugely successful series of games about vampires, werewolves, and wizards lurking behind our mundane reality.

    “On many different occasions throughout the years I was there, CCP would often ‘poach’ WoD staff for expansion projects,” recalls Nick Blood, a former developer and game master at CCP.

    “There were plenty of developers who would get redirected to create Eve content for three to six month cycles… During these times, World of Darkness development was significantly slowed down. I remember the upper management often exasperatedly trying to figure out what to do with the remaining staff for a six-month period while their artists and programmers were busy elsewhere.”

    This constant yo-yo effect contributed to a development cycle in which planned features were partially completed and then dumped numerous times over. There seemed to be no clear vision on how the various parts would create a cohesive end product.

    Sources report that, over the nine-year period, the game effectively reached alpha – the stage at which all the major features have been implemented - three times, only for each version to be scrapped.

    “I tested it myself, on two different occasions out of those three,” says Blood. “With the first playtest, I was amazed at how little of the core game was there – at this point the game had been in development for over half a decade. I mean, there was just nothing, literally nothing, for someone like me, a complete outsider to the WoD IP, to appreciate.

    "Other testers who were familiar with it thought it was great that they could finally see their avatars ‘diablerise’ – or consume – other player’s corpses, for health, or something. I just kind of shook my head and wondered how this would ever draw in anything other than die-hard fans.

    “On the second play test, quite some time later, I was struck by how much had changed – and yet remained unfinished. The flagship achievement was a new movement system, made after scrapping the old one, which was similar to the Assassin’s Creed gameplay – with mantling walls, etc. But it was very basic in comparison. CCP was quite self-congratulatory on achieving this much, and the internal propaganda was that this kind of movement system would revolutionise MMO gaming.”

    For the coders there was a constant state of flux. “Almost every system in the game was designed, built and tested at least once, most of them multiple times,” says one gameplay programmer. “Some of the systems were reportedly pretty cool; they had never been seen in MMOs before. The problem was that, without a cogent vision, none of it gelled. There was no clear path towards ‘done’.

    "So the team just ended up building stuff and throwing it away, over and over again. It's something I saw on Eve and Dust as well - the teams would build a feature, then be told by management to make ‘small changes’ which necessitated a full, back-to-square-one rewrite.”

    One manager couldn't answer questions on gameplay or focus. I remember him standing over the shoulder of a programmer putting his finger to his lips and saying 'No - make it more... psssshhhh’

    Design meetings were decidedly robust affairs. Lead designers piled into what was known as “The Sweaty Room” and yelled at one another. “It was very alpha-male, whoever shouted longest and hardest would dominate the meetings,” recalls one developer. “This didn't seem to spill out into the rest of the project until later.”

    That wasn’t how things turned out. Spurred by Eve’s status as a unique brand in the MMO space, CCP developed an odd internal corporate culture which insisted on what CCP refers to as a "War on the Impossible", an idea that the company should do more and expect more than its peers in the industry. This mission became tangled up with what Nick Blood calls CCP’s “lusts for relevance” - its constant attempts to recreate the buzz that followed a favourable article in the New York Times. There was a growing sense of hubris.

    Shockingly, given the turmoil, a flythrough video for WoD was released at Fanfest 2012, CCP’s annual fan convention. At barely over one minute long, it showed an impressive grasp of the World of Darkness universe – but it also displayed no moving NPCs or collision, the hallmarks of a developed product.

    Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun during the annual Eve Fanfest in May, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, showed some acknowledgement of the company’s mistakes over the past few years. “I would say we’re re-focusing on simpler strategies and smaller teams,” he said. “I think that helped make us successful: EVE was made like that. And maybe we scaled up our teams and our ambitions too rapidly.”

    Imho,

    The killer with WOD:-

    1. The EVE Model was not applied correctly:-

    • Starting small team
    • Gradually growing up
    • Tight management and focus
    • Singular focus (not spread on other projects eg Valkyrie, combining tech, chaning pricing, WOD, EVE, Dust all atst

    2. The Design Model for WOD is much more challenging vision to implement:-

    • 3D Avatars (eg walking in stations!)
    • Combat mechanics of avatars is huge system
    • Coding a huge world with tons of assets (eg cities in WOD)
    • Converting the core game vision of night-time/day-time, drinking blood, masquerade turning that imagination into gameplay was very challenging to create "fun".

    Strategically and tactically it was badly selected battle to fight and badly fought.

    Should CCP invest in PFO? I think after WOD it would be unwise with 3D avatars and the competition. However I think creating a new genre hybrid as I suggested, cutting costs and increasing chance to create emergent gameplay via rule-sets and then expanding on that ie

    * Exploration = Huge SCALE world = for players that like the tourist holiday
    * Development = The Social model of building stuff that players crave with their peers
    * Domination = The other half to the economic engine that gives the world consequence and meaning to story as well as cater to strategy and huge armies that would be USP.

    For the

    * Adventure

    Ok, since we are the content. Would not it be awesome if we could create our own dungeons or encounters. Not sure how it worked, but something like:
    1 - cave entrance in game - You tie your entrance to it, the cave can have more than 1 player made dungeon. Player selects which one they want to go in.

    2 - player uses an ingame dungeon maker, CoH had something like this. You get a certain amount of gold or something that you can use to make your dungeon. Based on the dungeon level you select and amount of gold, you get a choice of monsters to put in it.

    I do not know, just kinda thinking out loud :)

    I just discovered pathfinder online and as an avid tabletop gamer and roleplaying MMO player, I'm literally drooling at the concepts discussed on the blog.

    One of the earlier blog entries mentioned the possibility of player created modules even an App Store type concept for sharing adventures.

    As a member of a role playing guild in wow ( the Gnomish rescue squad http://gnomishrescuesquad.org ) I'm always trying to run adventures for others that involve some storyline and pvp and pve content. However it's an uphill battle as despite some addons I've written and a lot creativity it's very difficult as the game really provides no assistance for this sort of thing.

    I love game lore but when it's left to the game developers there's never enough of it, for instance wow has very little gnome lore so I like to flesh that out with my storylines and adventures.

    What I'd love is something like the content creator they have in Star Trek online for a fantasy setting. I'd love to be able to script npc's speech and spawn monsters and have a whole paleatte of actions to design an adventure for my friends.

    Has there been any further thoughts or design on this since that older blog entry.

    You'd have to code the classes from Pathfinder as adventurers immune to PvP who go to dungeons to gain riches and other stuff for their settlements (this could be integrated more sophistated outside current discussion). This whole system could do more intricate combat, more intricate dungeon party system PvE and PvPxmulti and then allow player-created dungeons and modules at this scale, GW would provide tools for players to do this as per OGL experience of TT players... again at this scale graphics should be easier to achieve this.

    You square the circle of PF TT and PFO MMO this way.

    DO this and CCP should invest: Smaller investment needed; but whole new approach and models CCP and extends into innovation of a whole huge world just as CCP made a huge galaxy/universe New Eden.

    Their marketing could do wonders when ready which Ryan pointed out was the 3rd key thing needed.

    I think this is all food for thought. I think both markets need synergy and integration that works for them both and good marketing/publicity in both. You'd have to do the Adventure after the other 3, and promote that line with the PF TT crowd - start getting invested in this.

    I know Ryan said UCC is cr*p often, but with the simpler graphics and the Torchbearer system or other this is the area to really allow player creativity input and story-bespoke creation for a few friends ie PvE within the setting and context of the MMO which is the original plan anyway.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Hardin Steele has a ton of things that I would again suggest could be implemented more adequately at this RTS Scale:-

    http://paizo.com/people/HardinSteele/threads

    Honestly some truly great suggestions in here. They are of course ambitious but then so is PFO...

    Goblin Squad Member

    Wrath wrote:

    I was reading some pre release stuff about the next Everquest that's coming out. It sounds very much like PFO, but with the backing of a major company that isn't charging you to test their game.

    Might be worth checking for some of you who are disgruntled. If my impression of the next Everquest is right, it also means "the race of one" concept just became the race of the one legged blind man vs the Ferrari.

    It would be a very tough gig for an indi company like GW to go up against SOE.

    I actually hope I'm wrong. I have no interest in PvP games like this, but I wouldn't want to see people's time, effort and money destroyed by big game competition.

    I can't remember but Landmark asks for a fee. Atm that put a lot of players off because it was more terra-forming the game than actual EQ of old.

    That said I think PFO is going to struggle in comparison simply because the engine tech that SOE or whatever they're called now after the sell off, have: Forgelight Engine, Storybricks already implemented, VoxelFarm.

    Players will conform to type and see the above shiny and go for it. What they'll compare is that to PFO's visuals and combat.

    What I think PFO needs to do is minimize these issues and maximize it's design document to match it's customers stated wants, which we can dig up a few of these from old posts to illustrate:-

    Fairly straight-forward subject.. Which Class at release (or possibly beta) are you looking forward to trying the most, and why? Assuming, that is, all of the base classes from the core rule book make it, including prestige classes, and that they are as true to the pen and paper version classes as possible in this game.

    What do you think will be fun/difficult about playing this class in what is very similar to an expanded Kingmaker Campaign (i.e, exploration, mining, etc)?

    What kind of non-class specific skills would you look into?

    Basically, I'm curious as to what everyone's looking forward to trying first, and get a discussion going about their hopes on the class specifics.

    ---------------

    I personally am primarily looking forward to a Wizard (Dwarf, of course), as not only am I currently playing one in a campaign with friends, but they've always been a favorite. Though, a close second would be either a cleric or ranger.

    I think what would be difficult for a wizard is their general lack of solo-ness. I could see Conjurers and possibly Enchanters being good soloists (For summons and Charms, respectively). What would be fun about them? Being a hoarder of spells and know-it-all of magic. >:D

    And

    As for the non-class specific skills I'd look into.. probably magic-item creation (Especially golems, if its possible.. and man do I hope it is) for the most part. Though food preparation and brewing would be close seconds if they're available.

    No

    What is currently sanctioned PVP, besides a few things like Territory War, is meaningless.

    Faction warfare is meaningless. It as far as I know of is the only sanctioned PVP that is not involved in territory wars.

    I do consider SAD's as part of territory wars. "This is my turf, you want to pass through then there is a cost."

    Everything that happens around territory conflicts is what makes holding territory fun. Small gangs that pass through your territory and cause a little mischief is fun.

    "Unsanctioned PVP" (I really do hate that term) is the type of pvp that makes sandbox games great.

    I will be honest, after playing darkfall for a while, the territory fighting and pvp in that game is boring and meaningless. I dont really consider that game much of a real sandbox. It seams to be lacking a lot of sand in the box.

    What Makes Pathfinder Online Different?

    Where Pathfinder Online Went Wrong IMO

    I was wondering if anyone else has have been day dreaming about stories you will help tell via game play. What sorts of things to you want your character to be known for? What sort of stories do you want to build? What sort of drama do you want to be in the center of?

    Feature Request: Complex Voting Methods

    The 'settlement' screenshot in the blog set thoughts in motion.

    Core question:
    Will settlements be constructed strategy-game style?
    I mean like bases in C&C/starcraft/etc, placing one building at a time and having to consider logistics and defensibility. (Actually the best example would be SimCity Societies since that has 'development indices').

    Background:
    -settlements grow one building at a time
    -some buildings may raise development indices (DI), other will require certain DI. The order or building therefore matters
    -wares must be hauled between buildings (mine->smelter->smith->market), markets and storages should be easy to access, but buildings can also be attacked and destroyed. Travel paths and location of buildings matters.
    -space may be limited, at least space inside palisade/wall.

    IF we can design our own bases, then layout is a big part of the strategy. A single gate to make it defensible, or multiple gates shorten the travel routes? Compact build for effectiveness or open build to make it harder for assassins (and save space for future additions)?

    I'd also love to see buildings placed on the map directly relate to develop indices.[/QUOTES]

    I really wanted to hold out as long as possible to start this thread, afraid it's too far out to make an impact but anyways...

    The inspiration for this is the movie Red Cliff. It's a fantasy war strategy movie and in it they pull off all kinds of fantastical battle formations (the turtle is particularly funny) both on land and sea. I point this out because if PFO is going to use battle formations it's important that they don't be traditional formations that we know in modern or even historical warfare because A.) it's boring and B.) those formations would not actually work or be ideal with the capabilities of 20th level magic users and arcane archers.

    So this thread is designed for a brainstorming on the formations and tactics that would actually work in an MMO large scale battle using the talents of the D&D classes. Some will be robbed from games like Warhammer, some will be based on the tragically bad siege tactics of games like AoC.

    Time's yours.

    First I can’t believe that that no one made this thread yet. So what do you guys wish to see?
    My wish list is as follows:
    1-Have the ability to make any of our classic characters we are used to. All our oracles, inquisitors, monks of the 4 winds, ect. All the core and base classes with all the archetypes.
    2-Lots of content for low levels, and with each update to have some more for low levels, this is key to keep the game fresh for everyone
    3-Quick travel, at all levels, nothing kills the enjoyment of the game than having to spend 3 hours running from place A to B.
    4-Ability to play with any alignment, I’d like to see as player options clerics of Asmodeus and Zon-Kuthon, play anti-paladins and so on.
    5-Have the ability to gain some templates after hard and higher level quests, things live vampire, werewolf, skeleton champion and lich all come to mind
    Well that’s my wish list, what are yours?

    While I appreciate all the general insights and first impressions, I'm most interested in how PFO is meaningfully distinct from prior MMOs. A lot of us have run around in EQ2/WOW/RIFT/Warhammer, etc.

    What stands out to you as a genuinely distinct about PFO's approach?

    Ryan's made a pretty interesting offer: for us to crowdforge truly immersive, innovative RP support. I buy his claim that we've been playing impoverished, "Kill x" games--deserts where a chairsit animation seemed meaningful for helping us play our roles.

    The point isn't so much that sitting in a chair is wrong or bad, but rather given all the resources dedicated to a /chairsit, why not shoot higher? Why not cast off the shackles of EQ/EQ2/WOW/Whatever and really explore the space?

    So if the devs are going to devote resources to making this really a role playing game, what would it be? We'll have to bear in mind that there are technical limits, also the "wouldn't it be cool" principle (i.e. would it still be cool if everyone does it?), but we can think big now, brainstorm, and than do work paring back to what's doable and presents the bet bang for the buck.

    GW has a serious rhetorical challenge facing it: to general gaming public, this game is a murder simulator, and most of the people this game would appeal to don't want a murder simulator. It's a miscommunication, compounded by some rhetorical mistakes GW is making (understandable ones, and ones that can be fixed), and the ongoing discourse at gaming sites.

    I had an intuitive sense of this problem, and so I conducted a corpus linguistics analysis of editorial and user comments at sites like Massively and MMORPG.com. What I found was that people are extremely negative about the game, are very certain about their arguments, and express uncertainty about the future success of the game, specifically:

    -Statistically significant levels of emotional "negativity" language (words and phrases English speakers use to refer to very negative outcomes, e.g. rape, murder, suicide, mistreatment) along with an absence of positive emotion language.

    -Significantly lower levels of positive values langauge

    -High levels of combined oppositional reasoning, confidence and intensity (e.g. commenters arguing back about how bad PFO will be, and using high levels of certainty/modals w/ intensifiers as they argue)

    -High levels of uncertainty and future projection (e..g expressing a lot of doubt about the future of the game).

    What makes for effective, durable online social structures? How do we create guilds, settlements, and larger structures that don’t fall apart? While most of us long-time gamers likely have some ideas from experience, there may be value in extrapolating from the scientific literature on military resilience and readiness, at the unit level. Real life military social structures are different in some very important ways from online social structures (life-threat being the most obvious), but thinking through what coordinated, cohesive groups handle adversity and grow, and what supports their readiness and effectiveness may help us think through and implement best practices for our guilds and settlements.

    My review of the literature shows the following unit level factors:

    Resilience:

    · Pro-social behavior and teamwork

    · Communication and problem-solving skills and habits

    · Cohesion [both affective cohesion (high levels of mutual social support, comradeship love), and instrumental cohesion (committed to the group's goals and tasks]

    · Unit leadership and positive command climate (leader competency,

    Readiness:

    · Personal/Family well-being (gives you space to commit to and focus on unit tasks)

    · Cohesion

    · Confidence (both self-confidence and confidence in each other)

    · Unit leadership and positive command climate

    · Shared ethos (group agreement on values and ethics)

    ... Just a quick sample, much more...

    But it is trying to provide some material for:-

    Q: WHAT DOES THE CUSTOMER WANT?

    Q: HOW CAN GW FOCUS ON THAT AND PROVIDE THAT?

    Q: IS EE DOING THIS?

    As said, if you change the approach from graphics/combat-complexity-needed you can directly provide more of this more quickly and it actually looks like it more too - imo.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Bluddwolf wrote:

    @ AvenaOats

    You keep on bringing up Tab-targeting as a major negative, but perhaps I have missed your alternative.

    To be specific, my only gripe with Tab-Targeting is that resource nodes fall within the tabbing cycle for an unexplained reason (By the Devs). I find that this interferes more with combat targeting than it enhances targeting for gatherers.

    I can see an argument made for point-and-click targeting only. I write "only" because it already exists, but it is not as finely tuned as it needs to be. I think that mouse cursor clicking in general is not working very well, including clicking on abilities in the action tray.

    But, what is your solution?

    Thanks for taking the time to read and posing a question. I'm really sorry if I have not been clear in my posts; partly it's thoughts that are forming more solidly as typed and partly banging out a post to then get on with other things, ie posting actually helps the thinking process (hence the verbiage - sorry!). :-0

    Ok, I agree it was not clear.

    PFO with the EQ/WOW 3rd person over the shoulder view effectively that aesthetic informs the game experience of the player and hence the gamplay. That game play is Tab-Target (for network reasons). However at this scale: The combat must be really intricate and complex to actually be much fun - I think. One of the major design decisions is as per the devs that combat must last a certain time or else the player who runs in and gets killed quickly does not like it; or else they are stunned to oblivion and again that is a killer for player retention. So the combat involves the DANCE you always end up seeing in these games of tab-target. Eg kiting, tanking and all the rest of it...

    This seems to require exquisite level of animation as people always say about WOW's animations being amazing and so on.

    So here's the problem in a nut-shell: This aesthetic it seems to me (I could be wrong) necessitates a huge FOCUS on high quality design, programming logic and art assets for this gameplay to be any good; as well as match the high demands of the players who are used to this gameplay.

    It's an intrinsic problem that I don't think for GW is winnable ie they're falling to exactly the trap of the themepark mmorpgs or sandbox mmorpgs before: That is the themepark mmorpgs spend millions to be polished but could not afford to then make the game sandboxy sytems, the sandbox games could not afford to get the polish of the systems.

    And it's related imho to The graphics aesthetic dictating the gameplay.

    So, finally setting the scene to address your question: "If not tab-target are you suggesting point-and-click"; I'm not, keep tab-target, but as with the other systems keep it simple but keep working on the breadth and range of systems.

    The combat should be at a different graphical SCALE be very simplified (eg the 0AD scale or RTS characters) but more based on players forming formations when engaging in combat together in numbers. There could be ways to develop "set-piece battles" here or otherwise but the general idea is that the cooperation of the players playing together is the REAL FUN which accords with the aesthetic scale choice of say a board game. Here the characters are simply a cadre of soldiers of each of the players family (perhaps have as many as 10< at the smallest sub level). Each one has small margins to improve their survivability and some optional skills but flanking and 2:1 units is more the gameplay of combat in battles. For skirmish adventurers and archers of course simple tab-target really straightforward chipping the health meter down and picking targets for a killing field (focus fire) etc.

    The reason for this is the scale, the alt proposition of the family structure and hence survivability in combats and battle experience -> boost to xp-skill training integrating all these systems. But also it reduces the scope of developing combat complexity: What you always see in tab-target is the MESS of characters all over the screen with effects going off like fireworks. Look at 0AD and emulate that but in MMO form each character a player.

    Also again, combat/battle should be one part of the sandbox simulation, the combat taking up too much gameplay ie the actual mechanics, the context and decisions should be the fun of battle (and strategy external ie drama and tactics ie units and commmunication during).

    Here's an old post from Ryan about sandboxes:-

    I don't believe that to be true. I have played a lot of them (at least the ones that are still playable) and for the most part I found one of three things:

    They are either

    1: Hardcore PvP games where the real "game" is just PvP combat. These games will not succeed because FPS games are a better play experience for this kind of style and it's almost impossible to become successful unless you were an early adopter or have friends willing to help you power level and gear up via metagaming.

    2: Life Simulators where the emphasis is on "living" in a "realistic" world. Instead of being a place where there is an emphasis on being a hero, the emphasis is on being a farmer, or a woodsman, or some other lifestyle choice while your character develops skills via repetition and tedium until they can kill a wolf or two, and dare to go into the wilderness beyond the range of the firelight. These games do not succeed because most people want to be heroes to begin with, not "work up" to it by leading a mundane life in a simulated world first.

    I think you square this circle with the Family concept of avatars instead where the player manages lots of alts as their family. One real key to this is the generation vs full life to senescence and mortality rate via homicide which analytics of in game of players could modify via play testing to reach equilibrium: Not too long but not too short with violence reducing a family's size until another generation grows up... etc.

    IE with the above the violent players in 1. get killed more often ie their xp spent on soldier characters with the cream rising to the top as vet soldiers alive and very valuable. 2. it means having to manage your family members xp-training in the "life simulator" skill-training eg builders, merchants, administrators, politicians etc etc...

    You see, combat needs to be important for territory as it was in feudal times and today even (sadly) but also a part of the rest of the simulation as some comments on reddit attest to concerning EVE:-

    Q: Are they the same game? If not, is one better than the other and why?

    ^A1: EVE Online. It is like a tabletop rpg session. Everything is there just as an excuse to drink beer and have a good time with friends.

    ^^A2-A1: Agreed. The best in-game lore is what happens between player groups and all the history of the various organisations. A lot of the better parts of the game is inaccessible if you're not part of a corporation.

    Now this also imho allows players to actually RP different characters in their families more too ie each character has a finite life and finite time with which to skill-train also. This I think opens opportunity for some family members to not only do different PAR (Playing A Role) ie actually needed but also RP eg one family member the player sends to the local tavern to become the belligerent drunk beating people up or some other "fallibility of free will" drama! etc.

    So it goes way beyond just combat development. Of course at this scale I've already mentioned my own intentions for "deviant drama" eg lycanthropes per month. This goes way off on a tangent so to boomerang back:-

    The current problem is very precisely summed up by Rob Lashley at mmorpg.com in his review of EE atm:-

    Initially I was very excited about the prospects of Pathfinder Online. To an extent I’m still excited about what the game can be. I’m just not excited about what it currently is or what I expect it to be in 2015. I also don’t see that changing much for 2016. The game is just now entering year 2 of Goblinworks’ 5 year plan. Maybe in year 3 or 4 I’ll be turned back on by what the game has become but for now it is too crude for me to get excited about (or pay for). Let me know what you think in the comments below.

    He goes on about the movement/jumping animations feeling not right too. In the other feature, plenty of the comments also hover on the problems of the combat and the animation also.

    Now I don't see how GW is able to attract players during the next 2 years and at the end of those 2 years also have an amazing combat system and solid graphics and have lots of systems working together satisfactory.

    It comes back to what do customers want?

    I'd argue they want the social community network thing as per the above quote about EVE, you want to provide open world pvp but contain it as a subset within the larger simulation PAR/RP picture which provides more stories for more players.

    I think the 2 biggest innovations are:-

    * Avatar => Family of Alts ie player ownership on The Name/Clan and hence physical assets they own eg land, money, influence (ie connections marriages etc) and mortality ie soldiers die in battles cycles of investment (Crusader Kings II and Dwarf Fortress inspiration here)
    * SCALE = Epic for graphics to remove the problem of complex combat of avatars EQ/WOW scale ie small characters as per 0AD and faster development of the larger world and it's systems ie trending back towards MUDs emphasis of simulation and not being hampered by graphics. (The RTS god-sim inspiration here as well as comparing SC hybrid direction of FPS/Space Sim -> Visceral direction of combat in instances)

    You see the SCALE I think we can bifurcate the market between the 2 away from the EQ/WOW idea where the fantasy has to go more epic scale due to the demands of the land and the sheer number of things you have to show eg terrain - settlements - buildings - characters doing jobs compared to space.

    So, to reiterate on the combat, I think little characters biffing each other in formations as per 0AD working together would be the MMO innovation that suits the Kingmaker PFO concept of PFO. The EQ/WOW concept is I fear a dead-end road to travel down once again (either themepark or sandbox as per previous attempts). I think you can still have interesting small group skirmishes too, it might be a case of locking an area as a combat area so that it can be seen but those combatants are effectively locked in unless they hold up a white flag or are slaughtered/routed! Again some MORE degree of abstraction would be required.

    Unfortunately with 4m$ spent I do not think GW are able to move in this direction and nor do I understand the financial/marketing rationale - PFO may suck up a large part of the market but from the DESIGN pov I think I'm right about the SCALE being the way to innovate using dwarf fortress in the same way as infiniminer was inspiration for Minecraft.

    TL;DR It's very challenging trying to convey what seems like a simple switch in concept in writing, I hope the above cumulatively helps.

    Another key idea is that with the WOW/EQ combat many players I suspect feel very bad at this. With the simpler battle system of the epic scale, they can send soldiers to be commanded by captain characters in formations ie cannon-fodder or partake more directly in these with simpler actual mechanics but coordinating with their own side being the actual gameplay and again having other characters if those die. It takes both the sting and stress out of combat I hope, you see a little character die and think "dang my investment fell short of returns on the battle field!"

    I think what a lot of players would enjoy: The grand simulation of the settlements, living the sim life brought to life with other players and stories running a family and the annals of their chronicles being recorded and shared. Then this social interaction I think is going to sell a game much more than complex combat (see previous posts on this). That's the market to go for imho. In fact there's an idea on this from Ramin Shokrizade and his break-down of the problem as reward chemicals, it's useful even if it's perhaps additional rather than definitive evidence (though I think he's definitely another one in the mmo space to listen to, another sharp cookie so to speak!) eg think of what makes board-games so fun (the bonding aspect of the social sharing of story):-

    So how can this technology be used to help consumers? By making products give them the rewards they are seeking. Remove all of the painful/boring parts of games that we keep repeating decade after decade. Make video games less predictable and more social. Any company that does this honestly and transparently with their customers is going to quickly build a loyal following, and their products will render today's games non-competitive.

    You know I fear the combat tab-target complexity is too complex and too boring and too painful for most customers. Now the sim stuff and helping the hawks via the sim life and social sharing of groups... there I think we have huge market potential. I mean ppl want to log in look after and find out next the story of their characters lives and help them along as well as cause mischief.

    But you have to change the graphics as per Bartle has said to get the rule-systems and simulations for story generation going, another gamasutra article or at least schema on this:-

    Story within System

    What's going to get people lingering when they log in is looking at this teeeming drama of small lives being led and the grand sweep of narratives taking place before their eyes (seasons come and go, markets rise and fall, and wars rage across continents when politics breaks down and monsters team in the wildernesses).

    My problem to contrast is PFO's combat is supposed to be the hook for me atm in EE. Also the character is immortal and bloats in power is not very RP/PFO'y, the decision making is subbing to grow value and power, whereas the family way is to grow stories and rp and power and stored value in the assets owned/conquered/influenced into control against other scheming families (players).

    Length was unintentional. Enough of my theory-crafting. I think Pathfinder and Game Of Thrones are good IP's for this vision. Drawing in the RTS/Strategy/Sim/RPG markets and some from MMO market I think could work.

    Visceral combat leave that to other genres eg BF, SC, Chivalry etc. And also simplify tab-target to the correct scale.

    At this new scale, RTS, the economy is also emphasized too, that needs the most work: It's the beating heart of the story, not the combat complexity. You could add some complex combat with assassin characters eg Arya water dance stance and so on... easy at this graphic scale (!!).

    Goblin Squad Member

    You know, one of the best bits of advice I ever came across and can quote: "If you want to learn something, learn from those who can/do."

    It's served me well, though I am still very much a neophyte in just about everything, alas!

    I think it's not too much to say some of the best design quotes I've heard in game design (I've read a lot) have come from Ryan. Listening to some conversations here on the forums it's almost painful considering how much experience Ryan has in games (you can trawl the web for evidence-finding/fishing!) and the comments said when they've been less than well-thought out and articulated. On the other hand there's been th e rare but valuable stellar suggestions from time to time too.

    I've quoted some recently, but to move along to the game design, an old summary I created:-

    • Player-Player Contracts - replace quests
    • Player formed factions - all/any eg as per EVE
    • Skill-Training Progression -> 2.5yrs to max level earliest in x1 role only; horizontal progress
    • Player created settlements -> Each Hex (256) can be conquered and controlled
    • Player formed Armies -> Real formations
    • Virtual Economy -> full-blown autonomous economy (not simulated)
    • Player Crafting item production and PvE Resource Cycle (maj. item creation by players)
    • Career Skills as well as Combat Skills (bounty-hunter, bandit, diplomat, tavern owner, soldier, trader...)
    • Alignment, Reputation, Politics & Open-World PvP (EVE style again)
    • NPC Alliances (changes which mobs are friend/foe)
    • Single-server World map - all emergent game story is shared by all players

    This is imho what makes PFO such an amazing design. All or as much of the above as possible!

    But I have x2 problem with the above vs current: The above imho does not need the high degree of graphics that the EQ/WOW model requires, that perhaps the market data suggests is required to be profitable?

    All the above could be done with a change of scale and simpler assets for representation as per RTS games and faster leaner development. Also I suspect it would help performance of the Single-Server world map.

    The other problem I also have is this:-

    Ryan: "Not much at all. Rather than mirroring the mechanics, we're going to mirror the style of the game. The Pathfinder tabletop game is built around small parties of specialized adventurers and extremely detailed tactical combat that is broken into 6 second intervals, but allows an infinite amount of real-time to determine each action."

    At this current EQ/WOW scale the demand for the combat to be good and fun so that players will actually play during the full 18 months+ of EE this major system is going to ensure the above systems are simply not deployed either as fast or as sufficiently. What's been prioritized is the combat and the graphics atm. Not the full design scope.

    =

    Coming back to the idea above, some of the dividends that derive from it that are natural products without "designing deliberately for them":-

    * Violent characters will die faster and the generation/skill-training of the next generation (ie replacement rate) will ensure that modulates the violent characters
    * You can insert controls on the proportions of wizards ie proportion per family and hence their effect in battles can be maintained due to lower numbers than soldiers. This reminds me of the old argument we had about how in a magical world would things settle down to balance? It also resolves the issue of the OP high-level wizards!
    * You can also regulate gender ratio to 50:50 by natural birth. It also adds marriage strategy and hence possible take-over of influence or stake of influence between families via this = "Family arguments!"
    * Alts are natural part of the sub package of family members
    * Death ain't so stressful for the players with their characters life-choices in part dictating their life of danger vs life of domestic bliss!
    * Ability to build on the next generation the successes and failures of the previous characters' efforts and so forth.

    And these are all above and beyond the above design goals such as political and settlement management options etc.

    =

    Well, it's too late to propose new design ideas, but given how much is good with PFO, and I suspect it will reach EE and be a good game, I'm attempting to provide context to the path of travel of the game's emergence as a particular end product emphasizing a particular game play experience for players.

    I've enjoyed being a traveller on this journey, but my concern for my own selfish reasons is that the game is going to be more of the typical mmorpg to hit the right market and be successful than the fully revolutionary revisioning that I'm searching for eg combat-focus + graphics aesthetic/market marker has to me too much emphasis. IE that emphasis needs to be realized before any of the above are really added to the game. And even then I think it's gone too far down the themepark or normal mmorpg experience... instead of revolutionizing via de-emphasis of graphics and ramping up the systems.

    http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2nble?Bias-towards-long-time-players#2

    I suspect I may be in the "Trailblazer" camp and hence:-

    >"Inevitably, you lose some trailblazers and early adopters, but that's normal since they're going to go on to the next New New Thing and repeat the process."

    Really I like to see more of:-

    http://paizo.com/products/btpy8dqh?Pathfinder-Adventure-Path-Kingmaker-Play ers-Guide

    that grand sweep of narrative. For the party adventurer system I think Pathfinder RP-TT, Darkest Dungeon, Torchbearer or Mordheim nail that idea better.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Rynnik wrote:
    AvenaOats wrote:
    Anyway, I'm not a game-designer
    That is readily apparent in every post you make.

    Forum drama is not interesting: It would be more interesting if your posting account had a longer history; but only a little bit and I'd suspect with such a longer history you'd have more of value to offer the forum too?

    However, to be polite via the above, then to actually post something of use here's something to consider:-

    1. PFO as per Ryan's plans are for a very intricate combat system of multi-classing per character via tab-target

    Bludd suggested in another post that whatever the case may be, it's important that the core gameplay is itself intrinsically fun.

    2. Here's my observations:

    (1) Tab-Target is serviceable for mmos due to networking
    (2) It will take years of development to make it fun (see GW2 etc)
    (3) This sandbox to reach breadth of systems (albeit shallow per component) on a budget has simplify or streamline the combat or revision it to cater to the other systems in dev in a good timescale for current players.
    (4) Part of the problem is the business model relies on characters growing value with skill-training and hence you have to also allow multi-classing; which again I think is aesthetically not congruent between gameplay mechanics vs story setting.
    (5) The combat has to work on the idea that players are going to end up enjoying learning a deep system of multiclasses and different contexts.
    (6) It throws up issues such as threading for some items but loss of items the major risk to combat without dampening players' appetite for it.IE the major gameplay is going to be combat in PFO it has to be high quality. See (2).
    (7) You're going to already make some players fearful they're just not very good at this sort of min-maxing and indeed the stress of PvP is already high enough and doubly when the ppl who tend to be good at min-max tend to practice PvP a lot more also given their proclivity.

    So here's my suggestion, it's a different way of looking at what customers want:-

    The assumption is the gameplay of combat and then that having meaning ie you win settlement and territory stuff.

    Actually as I pointed out above a much bigger demand is with:-

    * Input -> Output = Investment of player 1. Time 2. Money 3. Attention into Results/Rewards/Feedback that self-empowers the player eg Minecraft players can create "what they want... with others if they want".
    * Social Network management of digital relationships ie virtual family
    * Social Network management of real relationships online in the game ie between "Families" via online friends and contacts.

    Now coming back to the combat, it's one system drawing on the above. OR you can suggest it's a stronger driver of gameplay fun than the above for players. I'd argue it's a subset. I'd argue it gives meaning if there's mortality of the characters involved in fighting as part of their story and as part of the machinations and management of the player running a family. The emotional results are the area where monetization is strongest in players (this statement is worth extrapolating for your self).

    I think also with such a structure, the in-between war times where intra-competition between families within player group blocks could be just as interesting as the actual between player group blocks during war/disputes. Idk enough about EVE, but it sounds very hierarchical and not enough jostling between players but mainly between groups getting bigger and bigger? Some speculation here?

    Coming back to skill-training therefore being the business model:-

    If it runs as a family structure, and members/character within aka alts are limited to what they can skill-train during their life-time as well as needing to fulfill certain positions within the family structure, then I think you really can square the circle - as well as invest economic activity into family holdings/access to training and equip builidngs and settlements and incomes from lands etc.

    But more importantly it takes the emphasis away from combat skill of the player. Some of the family will be trained up as soldiers in the armies. Some will be trained as adventurers to go down dungeons and such like for the glory of their family and the legends of like sung by the bards. Some will be married and administrators in the settlements.

    You could have an army formation system that you allocate soldiers to in charge of by another player at the rank of captain or something or even switch in and out of these eg break ranks and run for safety!

    But using the above Scale, it matches the RTS-strategy scale better as well as I think hybridizing genres to innovate (draw in the genre/niche players) and again faster assets to make more systems and de-emphasize combat gameplay per player or otherwise if they choose. It resolves the issue of the vet characters bloat and having to multiclass too which again aesthetically does not seem to fit to me nor the immortality Pharasma explanation:-

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AWizardDidIt

    It's also the slower cadence of the board-game strategy genre and simulation type of players than the combat competition stuff of the current per character account skill-training. Atm big groups will get bigger and little groups will evaporate. With the family network system it seems to me that families will try to keep their economic assets which may lead to betrayal/switching sides... what you'd want is more opportunity for families to have their own castle-settlement and feudal lands as well as the larger metropolis cities.

    This may even allow more skirmishes too as well as grand battles/war campaigns.

    Finally with the adventurers off underneath this, those stories could be developed as part of the massive world building far away from the power centers or under their noses.

    I think the biggest dividend is the generation of stories by many many players of their own and also overlapping a lot at different scales with other players and groups.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Kyutaru wrote:
    AvenaOats wrote:
    If we look at SC, it's possible it will merge Space Sim + FPS in space/planets + MMO modules eg persistence, economy etc.

    Anything's possible I suppose. But I have a longstanding history of accurately predicting MMO success and I've done so by boiling down gameplay and promises into their least viable components.

    Currently Star Citizen promises much and fans are taking those dreams and expanding them infinitely as far as their imagination lets them. That's great if you're MAKING a game, not looking forward to one. I've done the reverse, compressing the promises into the smallest, cheapest module one can possibly imagine while still having all those promises effectively fulfilled.

    The end result is that I firmly believe Star Citizen will merely be an arena dogfighter lobby game as it currently is. Players will launch into "open world" or battle arenas, do their gathering/fighting, then return with resources to continue the process. Star Trek Online already works similarly to this, as does Neverwinter, and to a lesser extent EVE because it actually can make good on its promises due to a low requirement client exchange service.

    The developers even support this claim with their discussion on how battle instancing will work. There is no need to have players fight in an open world setting when you can shift them into a pocket dimension until another player approaches their battleground and "Joins the server". The game is being built to work as an old fashioned CounterStrike, Call of Duty, or Battlefield server hosting platform with interconnected transitions, a resource-based economy, and a lobby chat room shaped like a space station.

    To like this type of model, you'd have to REALLY enjoy the current version of Arena Commander.

    That's what I surmise of SC: But you're getting those different modules in the same game community, the same overall story space and I think it only get better too.

    So as said, it's not a "Open World vs Instance" problem at all: The different pockets of game-play are intended to be more visceral and high quality and that will sell, doubly so linked up with components from mmo eg persistence, levelling, and economy and community factions and so forth.

    Goblin Squad Member

    I think the key is to find out what the customers want and what it is they want; ie break it down to understand it more.

    Lots of players in a shared space are going to be very tricky to cater for. But there's opportunity there.

    * The ongoing persistence of input -> output = investment
    * The interaction with others socially = social value
    * Simulation of complex systems = replay of many stories in a shared space

    In the first case:-

    The game world undergoes inflation as more of people's Money + Time + Achievement is outputted into in-game economic and power returns which are in-game change/influence ability on credit. With change there's actualization of the self via these rewards.

    With the social value, this is about networks to get others to do things you want and what they want to multiply the above.

    Equally if these effects are powerful via the above 2 then you get stories that have affected other people and the culture and the game.

    THe idea in PFO's character xp-training is locking up value in characters. The inflation of the characters of the game as per EVE. In our own societies there is growing debt. In Game Of Thrones this is amusingly reflected with the debts to The Iron Bank Of Bravos. Ie the sinks need to manage the inflation atst as help players perceive output of return of input of their time/money.

    There's 2 ideas to discuss here:-

    * GW runs an in-game Central Bank on all money as debt owed to it. It has the equivalent of the faceless men or other agents to sow fear into players who's debts are called-in according to the machinations of the devs. This arbitrates the meta- of the below systems as the devs use analytics info to make correctives as needed.
    * (1) The Family system locks the players value and their sub is proportional to how big their family grows/can grow and hence how much they can hold physically - each character being mortal either in violent death or natural (in-built) senescence with limited life-time cycle capacity for skill-training. This works on the player investing in the in-family networks management and running and playing ie they care for their own family network virtually
    * (2) Perpetuating of Family is in generations and in marriage of alliances of other families and in fielty system to overlord families. This aspect works on the social networks value which the player cares for realistically with other players.

    This complexity of social simulation by players I think would generate a lot of story output/value as well as the gameplay of eg wars/fighting itself (both internal per player managing their own family) but also for the communities across families.

    It would also help simulate histories too.

    And it's this output of story material that I think (as well as social sharing of stories people know and share the details of) that I think customers really may want from these games.

    The input of value and trapping in game as per EVE skill-training... yes it has value, but I think it's dependent on the growth of the game population (some cynically suggest a ponzi scheme) but also the story generation - with Family you can have the rise and fall and rise again of Families as well as charge players who want to spread more in game (with subsidy marginal options of plex economics ie % who are producers vs destroyers (consumers) (soldiers) vs networkers/maintainers and managing more hence. It can balance the vets vs newbs problem. Also the mortality seems special for story for people somehow.

    Anyway, I'm not a game-designer but I think working out what the customers want and hence why they buy it is the key to making a game that fulfills a need usefully in our societies.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Coming back to graphics... we're going to see jaw-dropping graphics from Star Citizen. It will look great, it will play viscerally (the FPS-shooter component will I think take on a growth of it's own and feed the star ships side).

    The are fortunate that the engines are all good for this and it seems suitable the FPS physics, the Space just rendering the spaceship etc all help I am guessing.

    PFO would have to do tremendous heavy lifting to compare - ie the Themepark budgets spiralling higher every year >250m$.

    If we look at SC, it's possible it will merge Space Sim + FPS in space/planets + MMO modules eg persistence, economy etc.

    They've got tons of money from their payment for ships scheme so even if it's not great it can keep on improving I'd guess again.

    But I think the hybrid of genres is what is going to make this game pull away.

    TL;DRThe observation I have for PFO or any other fantasy mmorpg is to do likewise: Hybrid Strategy/Sim RTS with MMO-RPG. It works with the graphics and it works with the scale necessary to abstract so many working parts that go with creating a world (instead of space + physical instance islands as it were ie planetside).

    Goblin Squad Member

    Sure the foundations need to be laid. But what are those?

    What I think they are is the foundations to a budget MMO that looks not dissimilar to a Themepark MMO built during the EE phase. I think this must be the case due to:-

    1. The graphics choice matching the market expectation of GW finance plan
    2. The draw of these graphics and a bit more freedom and polish over the next x months before OE will likely attract the target figure of 10,000 if GW are financed for the foreseeable months.
    3. Added benefit of money invested in xp by a core of players when the game really begins in OE and hence will stick around.
    4. More feedback during this extended testing/adding phase.

    However, there is a danger in 2 areas:-

    1. This is not worth subbing to; I'd prefer to let others sub at this time.
    2. This emphasis on matching a market expectation via graphics emphasis I fear is going to heavily restrict and reduce the simulation potential of this game. I wonder how long it will hence take to get to Armies?

    And it's point 2. that concerns me more, tbh. What worries me is we're getting just another mmo that feels the same with some incremental quality and freedom improvements but the same mmorpg mores apply as ever.

    Here's Total War: Arena Wars showing that they're working on Armies and Battles already:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/12/15/hands-on-total-war-arena/

    http://wiki.totalwar.com/images/d/db/Arena_Screenshot_06.png

    I think with a simpler graphical approach, this sort of result could have been achieved faster and differentiated PFO sooner from the mmorpg market. Instead the above approach may end up being financially sound & safe, but it seems to me it's going to be very very slow and the end result will not be the full scope as per the visionary but hugely ambitious design document; because the graphics expectations for market penetration have been dictated. I think a lot of stuff will not only be slower in delivery, but shaved off or if implemented in restricted form.

    For example, with a simpler graphics seasons and their gameplay effects could have been implemented I believe with less challenge/overhead on development resources? This is the multiple stuff that makes the sandbox tick as per:-

    http://gamasutra.com/view/news/200149/Do_you_want_your_game_to_do_everythin g_or_do_one_thing_very_well.php

    Quote:

    By contrast, broad games have a broad player base as well, and all of them want more and more interesting things to do when they consume their favorite kind of gameplay. In Ultima Online, crafters and tamers demanded as much design attention as combatants, and I'm sure the same can be said in Free Realms for fans of the soccer and mail delivery games. It is harder to improve the game on multiple tracks, and keep all fan bases happy while still maintaining the game's core balance integrity. Adding new features and game systems to increase the breadth of the game is always an option, and is typically popular, but it also risks increasing the complexity of the game -- increasing the number of unexpected interactions that need to be considered, balanced for, and tested.

    3. Accept that your features will be simpler. Complexity in multiple systems is hard to support, hard to test, hard to balance, hard to expand, but perhaps most of all, hard for most players to actually follow and understand. In a broad game, the game systems need to be simple -- the complexity will come from how those systems interact.

    I'm thinking that's what Ryan means when said: "PFO is to WOW what EVE is to UO."

    I'm not sure I'm that audience that wishes to do tab-target with these graphics; the complexity of systems interacting and generating story on a large scale is more interesting to me. You can see some of this in various games that involve single-player or multiplayer and often strategy or simulation; I'm hoping mmo can combine these things.

    You know another great concept from this would be to be able to pause the live-server-game, roll back a year or two "to the past" as it were and let players (re-)play (this saved game-state for a short period) to a particular narrative in the past as some sort of magical time-reversal to then use results from that to implement changes when you re-open the server of the "present".

    Stuff like this is kinda more realization of fantasy and magic - and it just needs simpler graphics but more interesting interacting systems.

    Again the graphics and combat are not so interesting to me. The other area that I never took to: The idea of individual characters never dying and increasing in power as per EVE. I think the dynasty system of family Name => Account and size of family = Payment Sub Price (with Plex of course) is the way to go at this scale of gameplay. Also meaning each family member is limited to a few class specialization ie you distribute your skill-training across numerous avatars to log in/out and manage and play their stories - of course they're all mortal! You'd need to extra thinking on the rules of new born generations timings, marriage alliances and fielty to lords systems of families as well as if Family decimated what/who is the refuge ie a part of the game map for refugees to grow up their family in safety for a time again to then migrate back into the world.

    =

    Anyway I think I "get" where GW is going and their solid reasons (it's a lot of money and their experience of the market is superior). I just have to question the implications of that decision on the simulation of the game systems and the time it takes to work on these and the elastic potential for these in the future.

    In a nutshell, "a mmorpg dwarf fortress" with 3d graphics is the sort of vision that I think is more conducive to the concept of "maximizing meaningful human interaction".

    Goblin Squad Member

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I think a reminder is a good thing given the OP Q:-

    Dissenting voices are more valuable than those of yes-men. Better to identify issues than to stay silent and hope it all works out for the best. :)
    My major issue with the "game" part is that if we are to be expected to pay for early enrollment, it needs to be exceptionally good for a pre-release game . . . and I'm not seeing that right now. I don't see the path by which PFO will be worth paying as much as WoW, Rift, or EVE, even with the carrot of supposedly being MORE interactive with players than other teams have been. (And I have seen some pretty substantial interactions in the past, so that's a high bar.)

    They have nine employees and an entire, fully functional base sandbox which is stable to complete. In 25 months.

    That's not an easy deadline to meet. If they make a million, we see some more people get hired, and the dev timeline drop by six months. Again, we have no measure of how "likely" that is to happen. Even GW says it's a projection. Having worked in and played in the MMO space I can say that MORE OFTEN THAN NOT in my experience, deadlines slip. (As in, I can say it is unlikely they will actually hit Jun/Dec 2014.)

    Well, there's no end to an MMO's story, and unfortunately the success of that beta/early release/pay us to test period will have a pretty sizable impact. Particularly if they're trying to count on money supposedly expected to roll in when people start to pay, and the impact of the loss of "think tank" capital when people choose to drop out of the process because they're being asked to pay to test.

    I remember this conversation from 2012. I think the points raised by this poster are still highly pertinent. I don't remember them posting again after making these useful points.

    Atm, we're in a critical stage before the game reaches that Tipping Point, if it's ever to make that point. The Design gives the potential to do so, which I don't think other mmorpg designs have been able to achieve, so that differentiates in theory PFO. But it still has to reach that point.

    We're assessing now the above in 2015:-

    • The Testing Phase Retention success rate
    • If PFO is on time/on budget
    • How much of a boon or not "Crowdforging" really has been
    • How much the value proposition of subbing during this stage is matched to the pricing ie the quality of gameplay to cost tolerance.

    The only observation I've been making reviewing here is:-

    1. Ryan and GW have been very successful with their Design Document and Kickstarter campaign in order to raise required Money and convince people the design will create a great game.
    2. Ryan and GW have been much less successful with the Graphics and Gameplay Implementation as components of the above full vision so far. This is partly a factor of time but also it pertains to the above factors listed above; it's not isolated from those conditions that will impact the future growth of the game.

    My point is simply that the game design needs to be pushed faster and implemented more simply than trying to wrestle with the graphics/animation and combat depth per individual character. That's going to (I worry) get everything bogged down at this critical stage.

    What PFO NEEDS is what such as different players WANT asap:-

    • Bludd wants real bandits
    • Avena wants a cooperative with a werewolf monthly player-run event
    • Guild Leaders want their settlements from the Land Rush to be viable and drawing in the players with lots of buildings and functions to perform in game
    • TT PF fans want some adventure in a digital information-rich world, don't want to have to work out an arcane and opaque control and combat system and get ganked

    IE PFO's design needs to try to match as many of it's customers WANTS sooner via a faster development delivery ability.

    If the plan is to grow the PFO tree from various seeds ie a small sapling is the combat system to grow huge, I worry that sapling is going to need too many resources when you have about 100 other different saplings to attend to too. To use an analogy.

    What's going to draw outside players is seeing players playing/paying getting what they want and things like armies and diverse settlements with loads of building functions in a huge huge world. Flags/Symbols/Names also really help as per GoT's as people are drawn by the social group thing and immediately start thinking: "Gotta choose my group carefully" even before buying the game!

    Edit: Much vexing on my mind is the likes of Kingdom Come eg: Kingdom Come: Deliverance - introducing the Alchemy quest in Early Alpha

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk2nHG9XsLQ

    The graphics they can deliver much stronger on due to single-player game and the current graphics of PFO by implication has to compete with this as well as MMOs.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Duffy wrote:

    @Avena

    I'm trying to form a cohesive response, but I honestly am having a hard time narrowing down what you are really trying to say. Change the game to an RTS? That would be a different game with a lot of different problems. Change the graphics scale to an RTS? Doesn't solve communication throughput (the real limiter for mass combat) and just shifts graphics complaining and immersion complaints to a different area.

    I really don't understand your argument, do you just want them to scale things differently for aesthetic reasons? Cause I suppose that falls into subjective prettiness, but it won't do anything for performance or play-ability unless they throw out the entire combat system for something a lot simpler. Which kinda defeats the purpose of this style of game...

    Here's CU's 1000 chars demo during their ks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eurh6HlARdE

    It lacks detail and animation and art etc.

    Go to 2015:-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdLRYy3o-Qw#t=00h07m00s

    I think PFO is going to have to be too ambitious and "spread too thin" given CU is simply RvRvR with forts. PFO has many more layers in the game design.

    I posted how much Ryan's emphazied the art and animation work and the result is the current comments and reactions.

    I think the RTS scale would:-

    1. Reduce Art/Animation challenge / increase output
    2. Match the design challenge ie lots of chars on screen with siege weapons and huge formations more visible for tactics...
    3. Improve networking given the less information and framerates etc ie simpler info. Eg Bludd's eg of killing a goblin with hands by side!
    4. Aesthetically I think it matches too

    All faster dev of art assets and world actually looks more epic too and better fit (at least I think subjectively).

    5. I think it would differentiate from the competition too. Atm all these fantasy mmos (CU, AA, CF, EQN etc) all look samey and hence PFO compares perhaps unfortunately to some of these others in animations etc.

    And here's a pic of 0AD with an army formation:-

    http://play0ad.com/wp-content/gallery/screenshots/alpha-8-persianheavyinfan try.jpg

    The graphics are simple, but we already see from an open-source mod project on peanuts the type of result PFO needs at some stage of it's development.

    Imagine if each of those in the pic were a soldier player for a settlement in PFO and we could start playing that in game in idk 6 months?!

    Goblin Squad Member

    Rynnik wrote:

    AvenaOats wrote:
    However seeing where PFO is

    Where exactly? I am daily playing a very much alive and growing game.

    You are trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

    Yes, that's your opinion. Mine is that I have EE access but the game is from viewing judgement of it far from what I want to play atm. I've watched the youtube, I've viewed the forums and I've seen comments elsewhere to make a judgement (a conclusive opinion if you will).

    Now I think all the above has been comprehensive enough to consider that PFO for a lot of people (incl. myself) is currently not a very attractive gameplay proposition. There's too many criticisms of it's graphics, it's combat, it's empty landscape, not enough for players to do, not the opposite where the landrush is bursting with kingdom-makers and the sub queues per month are going to unleash the next cohort of players.

    So, it is very measured imho why I'm making a strong suggestion to resolve the above observation that may blow up into a big problem. It may simply be too late to change direction and the direction may simple be slow pace before the game clicks and starts being fun...

    But I was concerned with the Unity announcement during the 2nd ks due to the fact every mmorpg has promised "massive battles" then seemed to find it beyond possible to deliver (using this perspective) ie the networking tech is so strenuous a challenge. Add to that now, the above comments about graphics and combat the core loop of the gameplay: You've got immediate problem + intrinsic problem, and that is a concern.

    The only observation I've made is that I'm seeing RTS games which have a different scale of graphics and show large battles and huge landscape and buildable settlements and buildings and armies and it makes me wonder if this is not a perfect scale fit for the SCALE that PFO's design shouts out as it's USP in the mmorpg market?!

    That choice just smacks of Bartle going on about de-emphasizing graphics to improve dev time on gameplay and systems interactions and player interactions. It grates to think how much GW have to spend working on stuff that people will dismiss in the comments as "that's rubbish!" when that is such a contextual thing to say and hence quite unfair.

    /fyi, I am actually stroking a (b&)white cat as we speak, which is coincidental.

    Goblin Squad Member

    It's a bit like when you try two things too much at once: To pat your head and rub your tummy (that old game) atst, (said with concern)!

    To come back to the OP's concern: The rate of development to reach the game design I'd make a guess needs to be faster and create more fun for the players faster hence to keep them subbing and enthusiastic and hence positive vibes of the game to gain new players.

    That rate question is the key. If it can be done with the current graphics then all good - stick with that, if not I suspect the game needs to change the scale so the overhead for the devs to focus work on MORE stuff (eg more buildings, monsters) more integration of systems and addition of (rep affects on pvp, soldier-ing, building defences etc and all the concepts in the blogs) and then more WIP of these testing and improving as well as scaling up the networking to handle more and more!

    Now going on a completely different path: Sub-time it could be a change in game design of holding a family name and a single character being a small sub, a larger family being a higher sub and so on; ie the players who create huge dynasties that influence the game world are paying more. With mortality/perma-death being a natural part of the game but being able to keep the family name going. Of course the assets of the family retain their value in the game itself ie the work converted (until destroyed!).

    I know people bang on about the price of a sub these days.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Bluddwolf wrote:
    AvenaOats wrote:
    That's what is going to sell PFO and lead to a spike in the player base. Not the graphics or combat acceptableness.

    I disagree totally with the last part. You are basically saying that both graphics and game play don't count.

    People can have that social experience in a vast number of F2P games, that have years of fine tuning and up to date graphics.

    The offset to mediocre graphics has alway been exceptional game play. Mediocre in both is a loser in the marketplace flooded with better alternatives, especially free ones.

    No, saying that the best fantasy mmos with EQ/WOW perspective can achieve and be "massively" is "acceptable". The combat being tab-target is acceptable due to the networking issies (N^2 problem etc). The graphics have to be a compromise with working on a wide range of computers, budget and performance.

    It's all about acceptable and therefore at this scale I don't think it's "a race anyone can win"! Though you can lose it as you said when the latest shiny comes out and as Bartle points out "players are trained to want what looks good quickly - not what may not be so good but gets better slowly" quote-unquote.

    I also think the other big problem is that this perspective creates an expectation problem: Your character is big in your eyes and this demands more life-like reactions instead of symbolic animations (which suits tab-target better anyway!).

    In terms of "EXCEPTIONAL" gameplay - to be accurate yes perfect description: It means unlike what else there is is hence exception-al. And that is equally what I've been proposing PFO's design is. It does not need the current graphics demands: To create a truly-massive tMMORPG that is what it needs to FOCUS on and that is exceptional.

    When you're a small part of a vast army coordinating in a huge battle with bodies falling like flies... wonderful! And of course if you can recreate the EVE politics before these marquee events.

    A lot of players say about EVE: They love to hear/watch it but not to play it. Some other games fall into that category ie you get to watch the summary episodes instead of creating them.

    I think such a HUGE world will itself actually create enjoyable immersion to pad around in exploring it at a new scale. Atm it just looks like every other mmo landscape that is in scale compromised to look more like a model than emulate the grandeur of the Grand Canyon or the towering foothills upon which Mt. Everest sits or the endless tracks of the Northern Taiga and so on. True exploration.

    If you are going to create a fantasy world: Create it, don't do it in half-measures as most mmorpgs do.

    @Rynnik

    I apologies for sounding like an old-record. However seeing where PFO is, and seeing where that mostly derives from, ask some quesions:-

    1. Is it from the design?
    2. Is it from the budget constraints?
    3. Is it from the quality comparison with the market of mmos?
    4. Is it form the tech requirements?

    ALL the above are huge questions. To unify them: Is the answer and that I believe is what I've been suggesting. Perhaps it's too late to which I am disappointed when we first talked about the visuals back in iirc 2011 early Feb-> I could not have said all this, but I've learnt a lot since watching PFO dev...

    Other current indie mmorpgs are not going for nearly the same scale as PFO is. Hence it comes back to that question-answer which rules the rest I feel. Perhaps that is the wrong answer too?

    Goblin Squad Member

    Got to remember EVE in space has a mahusive advantage over fantasy which has to create a huge world-land-sea-river-weather-seasons dynamic.

    This is a problem with current graphics: They are not just limited (budget atm) but limiting (interaction, dynamic change).

    I would like less emphasis on graphics and more variety for Weather and Seasons to affect the crops and travel and even critters etc and tactics of players according to these cycles and provisions etc.

    The other issue, PFO I think can grow really large when word gets out - not on how acceptable the graphics are - but on how compelling the politics of the playerbase in the game as an emergent story is. For example I was really enjoying on youtube some of the fan theories (amazingly convoluted but compelling!) involving the Game Of Thrones and the "players" machinations for the Iron Throne / Influence.

    That's what is going to sell PFO and lead to a spike in the player base. Not the graphics or combat acceptableness.

    Goblin Squad Member

    I'm enjoying a couple of books atm including a return to George RR Martin's Clash Of Kings. Browsing came along with:-

    http://io9.com/10-authors-who-wrote-gritty-realistic-fantasy-before-g-16950 63524

    Here we see a small sample of fantasy stories. There's a great deal of potential for PFO to be simulation that generates it's own stories for the different visions that players bring to the game.

    This is the emphasis: Story generation > Graphics; talking about the Scale change is really a way of saying de-emphasize Graphics so that Story Interaction combinations can be fast-tracked into gameplay opportunities for players.

    In the previous posts demonstrating the focus on graphics and combat issues and suggesting they're not problems to go away as well as they're the wrong focus for PFO's design to now finally saying that focus is Story.

    I have hopes of producing some story for PFO already as per here:-

    http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2r9t0?Player-Cooperative-The-Shadow-of-the-Beas t#1

    Really, this could be possible in shorter time with a different approach to the graphics of the game world. In fact Bartle often points out that without graphics, MUD's had much stronger physical systems that were logical and allowed what Koster talks about here:-

    http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2rlvm?Raph-Koster-What-makes-a-game-last-a-gene ration#1

    • a decently large permutation space. We have an enormous ability to prune possibility space in our mental models. Tic-Tac-Toe is small enough we solve it pretty readily. In contrast, there are a lot of possible games of go.
    • a human opponent. Humans add in a whole new set of problems that are also inherently hard, problems of psychology and status.
    • procedurality in problem set generation. Every game of Tetris is different. The weather adds random elements to every sporting event. And so on.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Savage Grace wrote:
    Smaller characters as in Diablo 2?

    Smaller, look at some RTS egs 0AD , Kingdom Wars 2. This is in order to change the scale of everything:-

    * Mountains bigger
    * Topology more variable
    * Trees larger
    * Buildings and sites of larger to characters (see the old post about this eg door sizes and bridges and settlements being more like models - darn that feels along time ago now)
    * Get more characters on screen and in formations sooner
    * Scale of monsters more impressive eg dragons
    * Time to travel the hexes therefore longer too

    A vid here of where PFO should be now imho.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_xDEJrf6q4

    The building scale would be better if it was larger proportionally than in this 0AD eg. Ie more impressive. The characters could be perhaps slightly larger with a zoom choice too.

    This is the vision I see for PFO - actually getting the whole thing off paper and working. Atm you look at vids and it's too ghost-town and the landscape is too empty. The combat is too clunky.

    I believe this is not the fault of the devs quality, but the scale problems that you're going to see in all these EQ/WOW scale mmos - all of them.

    To imagine my settlement with it's walls and armies as per above, that replicated with the enemies and theirs, that's PFO's vision and growth imho.

    Here's combat:-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOlJDc7JxSk#t=00h12m00s

    That looks absolutely fine to me. Imagine that is all the players coordinating and with the actual combat system the devs intend... It works at this scale and the human coordination is the real (fun) gameplay. The EVE trailer exemplifies this iyrc.

    Goblin Squad Member

    The pillars are:-

    Adventure
    Exploration
    Development
    Dominion

    I'd argue as Ryan said: The Adventure = TT RP and PFO is adding the other 3.

    Now, taking that as the given, I would as I am unfortunately harping on now, change the scale and grow the 3 that combine ie:-

    Exploration = World : Make it epic with new scale ; add tons of nasty beasties and resource finding being very tricky out-back. Ie hex system get this going and add variety and lushousness at this new scale. Impassable rivers and so on... mountain gorges... dark woods.

    Development = Buildings system: Churn this out and make the scale truly a maze of development.

    Dominion = faster iteration on the rules of engagement so they're controlled but players are having PvP and that is informing the devs what to shape up next. Get formations going sooner.

    ================

    So, I think prioritize these 3. Then try to woo the PF TT players and develop th Adventure stuff after securing the MMO market. This needs to be based on the success of the kingdoms to offer the adventures for the new players as reward. These adventure specialists could be very separate from the above but the Dungeons need to be really worthy of the PF TT at the smaller roguelike scale as it were. Full of incident and daring and swift death.

    TL;DR: This comment comments on the ORDER of what to do via the previous change of scale. I think get the mmo market via the previous, then get the PF TT players who want the world context to their adventure parties and don't care for the domination game... AT FIRST!

    Goblin Squad Member

    Al Smithy wrote:

    You're well spoken and thought out about your idea for what sounds like making PFO a RTS/MMO -

    - but it isn't going to happen.

    GW is having enough trouble trying to make it a standard perspective MMO.

    Well I realize it may be too late, not considered "kosher" for GW's (even if I believe as Bartle "revolutionary" is the requirement) as attractive enough for modern markets. But imho the scale atm makes everything look like a model and breaks immersion. The closer the characters the more demanding the attention to detail too (see above).

    It is outspoken to repeat this point too many times, I'm usually more mild mannered, but as a kickstarter "shareholder" it is to offer my input and support the success of PFO as I see it.

    To again keep turning the idea over via rephrasing it to deliver a new emphasis of the same meaning:-

    "Information growth in the game world > Graphics"

    = Slow & Satisfying Gameplay for PFO.

    To begin with win over a dedicated player base of MMOs; many won't like the scale of smaller characters but the few who do will stick with it as the speed and integration of systems allows them to tell THEIR stories. I even think combat tab-target will work a lot more with more players and more position information of all the above visible on screen. But the real dividends are the formations and larger creatures/walls/hills to fall off/size of the land and number of landscape changes crawling with mythical Pathfinder beasts and creatures packed with information.

    Goblin Squad Member

    @Black Moria - Although an interesting theory (one of many) it needs to be tested and hence it may apply to a sample of people, but I don't think it applies to all. To test for Sepherum:

    * War of Towers
    * Cap on Monthly intake vs observation
    * MVP vs Value For Money status

    Imho, that and suggestion for direction for improvement is not a good fit for the above framework. The above framework is quite effective for a full mmorpg's population, but a random x1 sample it's not.

    =

    Let's talk business:-

    1. I invest in the vision via kickstarter as part of my cash's value
    2. Next, I want to see some returns on the investment via personal fun
    3. I want to see an actual profit in my investment: I mean the game is a huge success and I was canny enough to see that invest and "double-my-money" so to speak.

    I'm using the above formula instead. I'm at 2. and not there yet because I've held off playing.

    What's held me off playing, I can and have answered and I think it ""MAY"" be highly applicable to others hence my suggestion being constructed to wider application ie not just random specifics to add to a huge list with others' contributions randomly heaped up.

    I just don't think people are going to find EQ-Next, Crowfall, Camelot Unchained or PFO that significant. There may be some players for all these games and the existing ones (EVE, MO, DF etc) and others not mentioned (Gloria Victus, Life Is Feudal...).

    If you want fantasy immersion, you get it in TT RP, in FPS Chivalry for visceral combat.

    What you don't get anywhere which is what PFO is offering is the sheer scale of Kingdoms as per Kingmaker. THAT = PFO's FOCUS.

    I think again change scale of the graphics to achieve that. My character could be about 1cm tall onscreen amid the huge world, big buildings and scores of other players and do all the tab-target in the game atm and it would be more fun and faster dev with all the systems in place and bigger world than any other mmorpg.

    Looking back at one of Ryan's comments:-

    http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ns90?Goblinworks-Blog-Time-is-the-Fire-in-whic h-We#35

    On map scale: This imho needs to be bigger world and longer time to traverse it. Smaller map ~ Population and grow it.

    On Crowdforging Animations priority:

    http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qc0j&page=2?Goblinworks-Blog-Jigsaw-Fallin g-into-Place#98

    On animation and graphics work the engine needs to do to look good:-

    http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qpy0&page=3?The-Decline-of-MMOs-by-Richard -Bartle#124

    http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2r83a?What-to-expect-visually-from-PFO#33

    This one is very structured and shows how much scope is involved.

    There's a blog too on explaining how the animators/artists make the models and all the moving parts in this - tons!!

    That's as well as major networking work + combat == fun immediately necessity + scope of the game design doc itself + saturated mmorpg market full of comp. plus going EQ/WOW perspective requiring all the above work to look like the comp. on less money...

    So 2. is my current investment decision. I hang on atm, but if the above does not change I make the calculation to get a return on my cash instead of gameplay.

    On 3. I've already explained: I want to use the game as a system for a meta-system of human interaction using fantasy guise for that aim "To plant some quaker oats!"

    Goblin Squad Member

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    I don't think the tab-target core gameplay is going to be very successful going forwards with these graphics.

    I think turning the game into a RTS-MMO-RP (note: not a MMORTS!) is the key and then tab-target fits fine.

    As Bludd said in another post/thread:-

    http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2s3ic?Imagine-a-hypothetical-collaboration#27

    >"Animations are not just a matter of visuals, they produce the perception that the mechanics of combat are "clunky"."

    I was looking at the comments at:-

    http://massivelyop.net/2015/03/30/pathfinder-online-opens-up-head-start-acc ess-on-april-1st/

    And that is the prevailing impression. It's the LOSS OF FOCUS that is the problem because of this imho. With smaller scale, it fits the hybrid genre and expectation setting as well as by now people in that forum should be talking about the grandeur of the world of The River Kingdoms, a tiny but huge portion of the World of Golarion and full of Pathfinder brought to life.

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