|Caladyn Goblin Squad Member|
I think you'd be more interested in a product like the Neverwinter Nights series, the Diablo series, or the upcoming Torchlight II. I wouldn't be surprised if the NVN communities have unofficially modded the games to include elements/lore from the Pathfinder universe.
Some MMOs do allow people to create their own dungeons (i.e. Star Trek Online, Everquest II, City of Heroes, and the upcoming Neverwinter Nights Online, etc.) that may be used with friends, I believe. But this represents only a fraction of their respective game worlds.
I think it'd be difficult to capture the sandbox, one-world concept that seems to be the crux of what GW is trying to accomplish, while also providing this instance-heavy feature.
This is really exciting! Glad to see things falling into place for you folks, and can't wait to see things move along.
One question I've been wondering about is what the increased funding from the Kickstarter (stretch goals) will allow you to do. I know the dungeons listed in the demo will be added, but I'm assuming that it might have helped you add staff positions, and other such things.
I know money is a hard thing to talk about openly, but are there any cool things you could mention that were made possible by the increased funding?
I agree with what I think you're suggesting. I'm not very familiar with tabletop, so I admit to knowing very little about the humans in the Pathfinder world.
I can say that as someone who tries to stick with the lore, when I'm able to do my research, I definitely appreciate any information (or character/cultural suggestions) that the game provides for me while creating my character.
With that said, and I know you acknowledge this in your post, I think such efforts rarely homogenize the RP community in an MMO as much as some of us might like. But for those of who try to keep fairly in line with the game world, it'd only help to improve the integrity of the lore.
One suggestion I might make is that these skill-locked objectives could be better implemented as bonuses.
I think it'd be frustrating to stumble upon one of the randomly-generated dungeons, work halfway through it, and find that you can't complete the dungeon without <X> skill. Or perhaps if the traps are single-attempt situations, to miss it on the first try.
But bonuses could be hidden away for detailed explorers, folks who are good at puzzles, or characters who possess certain skills.
I'm not sure if the randomly generated dungeons will have a main objective besides exploration, but this way, you don't end up wasting an hour on something that was impossible for you to complete (for one reason or another) from the start. I don't want to reward mediocrity, but at the same time, I'd hate to see folks who try something new get punished for doing so.
Alternatively, as some folks have touched upon, you can make the 'main objective' of a dungeon accessible via dozens of paths. I think this would be harder to randomly generate though. Also, if it doesn't matter what skills you use to get to the end, chances are folks will use the skill that's fastest or easiest to level up, making the alternatives obsolete.
This becomes less a problem when there are some objectives included as bonuses (perhaps, with better rewards than the 'main' objective), because as long as all the skills are used in /some/ dungeons on a fairly equal basis, you need not design (or randomly generate) every dungeon to make use of every skill.
And a kudos to DDO from me as well. I haven't played as much of it as I should, but I think they've done a great job mixing up the formula you see in dungeon design these days.
From my experience, most roleplaying communities moderate themselves. Many guilds exclude children/teens, and include more adult themes. It's better for the game to be more middle-ground, in terms of maturity, and allow guilds to fulfill roles that satisfy groups on either side of the spectrum.
And I'd disagree about teenagers being the problem. Most of the teenagers I've interacted with in the roleplaying community are mature - the ones that tend to be interested in RP aren't the ones that seem to be described here. Full disclosure, I was one myself three years ago, RPing from 13-19 in Anarchy Online, SWG, EQ2, and LotRO. Outside of the RP community - sure, it's questionable - but I'd still argue that the teens aren't much worse than the tweens, threens, forteens, etc. From personal experience (of the people whose age was known to me) my guild has had more problems with adults than kids.
And regardless of age, there's always /ignore. It may be a more complicated issue in a PVP environment, but it sounds like GW is building systems into the game to limit griefing. I'm going to put my trust in these systems before I ask for any premature discrimination.
PFO is a niche game. It's going to attract roleplayers. The fact that this game is mostly going to attract the folks interested in community-building and storytelling will hopefully keep the game's maturity bar pretty high.
As for how the game could handle mature issues, I agree with Andius. I'd prefer to see drug/alcohol use and complicated social issues be the 'mature content', as opposed to rando-boob. I'm not a prude, but I guess I've never felt that my game experience would be significantly enhanced by pixelated parts. If PFO becomes the social/RP experience it's shaping up in concept to be, these social issues could play pivotal roles in determining how certain companies function, and interact with one another.
I still hum the West Freeport theme from Classic Kunark era Everquest from time to time. The music from games tends to stick with me longer than anything else, if the soundtrack is good.
I'm not sure how the industry works...if composers tend to work with certain publishers/developers exclusively. It'd be cool to see one of these folks do it, but I'm consistently finding new composers who really impress me with their soundtracks.
Hope to see this as an important part of the to-do list as the game goes into development!
In terms of the problems with escrow...
Would it be possible to set up a caveat where a player can deliver an item to an NPC banker [or some other always-available character/structure] of some sort instead? This item/coin would then be transferred to the intended recipient when they log on next and visit the banker.
I know contracts are designed to encourage human interaction, but this caveat may help to protect folks from the scam that's described in the blog entry (i.e. task is unattainable, and the player loses what's in escrow). I realize the 'scam' could be an in-character action, and thus, could be considered a viable ploy to obtain wealth; however, if that's the case, I'm not sure which in-game system (i.e. reputation, alignment, etc.) will be there to provide a consequence for the scammer. There's always word-of-mouth, but it seems like this system is being designed to penalize all forms of 'bad' behavior.
Seems like the reputation mechanic is best suited in this case. Maybe that will be enough of a protection. However, if these tasks are time-locked, having the banker delivery option would still be helpful, simply because folks may not always be logged in for every second of the contract (i.e. real life, internet outages, etc.)
Again, don't want to discourage the human interaction element. Folks should still be able to deliver the goods to their intended recipient directly. However, if the task becomes practically too difficult, no one's going to use this particular form of contract. Adding the 'banker' option, or something similar, may improve its use, which in turn encourages interaction.
Wally could have a spell of invisibility that gets him out of trouble for 5 fatigue points. Different solution, but same result.
You make a good point though - this sort of universal system requires GW to look at a lot of 'what-ifs' to make certain everyone is balanced. Or perhaps everyone won't be completely balanced, by design?
I had a very similar experience crossing from Freeport to Qeynos! I still remember that journey well.
I think exploration is an extremely important aspect for my enjoyment in an MMO. But I don't think it always has to be a new landmass or content. Revitalizing old content is a great way to freshen up areas, and make them candidates for exploration once again.
I definitely want to continually get new places to explore, but I'm always a little sad when developers forget about early-release zones. Turbine has done a good job of going back to old content in Lord of the Rings Online, but only in terms of quests and what not...I'd be interested to see areas change a bit with time, to reflect changes in the lore/story of the game.
I definitely understand the 'flee-from-combat' argument, and like how this universal fatigue system could address that problem.
My question would be, do you think this universal fatigue system would make all the classes operate in more or less the same fashion (i.e. all classes use 'mana/fatigue' for skills, no rage/energy mechanics ala WoW, or possibly new mechanics that GW could develop)?
Having different archetypes operate in slightly different ways may help to keep things interesting for alts, but I'm sure it complicates the mechanics of how a multiclassing character would work.
Yup! You have my full support!
I guess my point was to emphasize that while it's important to keep animations reasonable in scope (i.e. no world-destroying limit breaks), that it's also important to give a sense of development as you describe.
Or in other words, in terms of spell animations, more is more, until you have too much.
I like some flashiness myself.
I played Everquest (Kunark era) when I was really young (i.e. 9), and I remember that one of my primary motivations for getting my enchanter to Level 24 was so that my spell animations would change. My shield spells, which had formerly been a simple green sparkle animation, started to cast in a few different colors. I believe the animations evolved again at a later level.
Now, I don't remember exactly if the spells themselves were what changed, or if my character level was the deciding factor (i.e. if I cast the level 1 shield spell, would it look less awesome?). But I think a system that scales the flashiness of the spell animations themselves could work either way.
I think it'd be disappointing to spend 2.5 years working toward Level 20 as a magic-user, only to find that your spells look more or less the same as they did at Level 1. MMOs are graphical for a reason - if we don't take advantage of that, we might as well be playing a MUD of PnP game instead.
As folks have pointed out though, some games have a few too many sparkles. I'm a fan of EQClassic's effects, but would be interested to see them updated and a little less particle dense
In Anarchy Online, the devs would occasionally chronicle the server's history by incorporating player events into the game's lore.
For instance, I was a part of a heavy RP Omni-tek Corporation that sold advanced robotic technologies. The guild was fairly well known within the RP community, so eventually, the developers created an item in-game that would occasionally drop from certain robotic NPCs. If you read the item description, you would see that it supposedly came from our guild, and explained what we did briefly.
This is a pretty small thing for the developers to do, but I remember feeling pretty awesome about it. We had become a part of the lore.
Chronicling bigger events poses some challenges. First, there's a lot going on in the game world. Which events are worthy of recognition? Having a small, single server will be beneficial in this respect. Second, how do you maintain player expectations/jealousy? If shaping the lore/world is a core part of the game, how do you prevent folks from feeling like they're being ignored if their contributions aren't incorporated - because realistically, the developers can't chronicle everything that every character does.
For me, I think as long as the RP community maintains a (loose) continuity of server lore, I'm going to be satisfied. I don't necessarily need the developers to recognize everything that occurs in game changing ways, as long as they give us the tools to do it ourselves (i.e. town building, guild wars, resource management, etc.) and don't overwrite the community lore. If that were the case, I'd be totally satisfied with 'fluff' recognition from time to time, like the example I gave above.
So I guess to summarize, my vision of co-creation is to allow the players to create a community lore with the tools given to us by GW, with occasional recognition of that lore by the devs in manageable ways.
I understand your point, but we might as well RP in an ICQ chatroom if they aren't going to support any RP-friendly features. I agree completely that an RPer must abandon the structure of the RP medium at time (in this case, the MMO) to have a more effective RP experience, but that shouldn't excuse a lack of development support for features that are purely for RP purposes. I want to use my imagination to complement the game world and its features...not completely overwrite it.
Do I want pretty clothes and hundreds of furniture options before they have a solid combat system? No. But I won't play a game that refuses to support my RP playstyle, and that begins with stuff like this.
I'm not exactly sure what the developers here think of RPers, but just /once/ I'd like to see a game that's exclusively developed for the RP community. At the very least, I hope that we're always kept in mind during the development process. I don't mean to summon the tiny violin, but I think there are plenty of games on the market that more or less ignore the RP folks - might as well try making us a part of that 'niche' the devs are hoping to secure.
I'll concede that if the developers were to try and implement every whim from the RP community, very little gameplay content would ever get added - but PO sounds like an MMO that's attempting to set forth in a new direction. We are the content, and we need to be given the tools to make that content enjoyable.
MMOs are my only medium for roleplaying. I've never done any tabletop, and my forays in forum RP have been unsatisfying. So I'd absolutely love to see RP friendly systems given serious time and attention.
My suggestions are as follows, and many have already been touched upon:
Cosmetic Appearance - I'm definitely in favor of this, though I wonder how this will be taken into account with the heavy emphasis on PVP. In LotRO, cosmetic outfits are disabled in the Pv(M)P zones, so that classes may be recognized easily from a distance. If something similar is put into place, then I would highly encourage that time is spent to diversify the look of characters within a particular archetype. This means unique styles, colors, and material types for each armor type - not just recolors of the same armor over and over (*cough* Everquest 2 *cough*). Dyes are an absolute must - preferably with a system that can dye separate parts of a piece of armor (i.e. if a hat is mostly blue with yellow trim, both colors should be eligible for dying).
One possible suggestion to the PVP problem is to have a cosmetic item filter. If you turn the filter on, you get to see what folks are /actually/ wearing. I'm not sure how technically challenging this would be.
Equipment Display - This is somewhat of an extension of my first request, but I feel it deserves special attention. If I've equipped rings, I want to see them. Belts, earrings, necklaces - all of these accessories we wear ought to be visible. This may help add some diversity in appearance.
Player Housing - Pretty much covered. I want full control over my furniture placement, which I hope will be interactive (i.e. sit in chairs, open drawers, open/close windows, etc.). It'd be nice to get some building block pieces so we can try and create furniture of our own - this was how I made a lot of the things in my EQ2/SWG home.
Meaningful Reasons to Congregate - I see folks have mentioned entertainers from SWG. I'd love to see a similar system in place. I loved playing a doctor in SWG because people had to come back and visit me in town. It encouraged socializing with non-combat characters, and other more adventurous types who were also back in town to heal up.
My ultimate goal is to run a relatively small town with an inn. I want that inn to serve a gameplay purpose - and not just be a center for social RP. Give me buffs from musicians/dancers/storytellers, food/drink buffs, etc.
In Game Biography - Don't need much, just easily accessible space to put details about my character that I can't show on my avatar. I'm not looking for a space to put a character history - 500 words or less is sufficient for my purposes.
Two Person Emotes - I have always thought emotes were, for the most part, useless. They are hyperbolic representations of things normal people might do. and never require a reaction from another player. I think it'd be far more interesting to have more moderate, two-person emotes. Imagine two characters slow dancing, high-fiving, arm-wrestling, or play-fighting - I think these would be more useful than having characters get solo /dance or /flex or /flip emotes.
As far as how they could be implemented, if someone wanted to initiate a two-person emote with you, a dialog box could pop up asking for your consent. Folks who are afraid of being griefed with it could only allow people on their friends list to send them requests, or completely ignore all emote requests. It's a little clumsy, but I think it'd be a neat feature.
Fluff Magic/Skills - In Everquest, I used to turn my enchanter into a piece of copper, and watch people walk by and try and pick me up off the ground. No other class could do that - and that was okay. Fluff shouldn't be balanced evenly from class to class (like EQ2 weakly tried to do) - fluff should only be implemented in classes where it makes sense for them to have it.
I realize that resources are often better spent elsewhere, but no where have I seen as many cool RP-potential fluff skills as in the original Everquest. Definitely something to keep in mind.
I think GrumpyMel is right. The assumption here is that what you have on you is going to be painful to replace. It may be that most of the things we'd typically carry are fairly replaceable. This isn't to say that these items are worthless, but that they are readily accessible.
I didn't play EVE much, but I'm told that you didn't carry anything that you couldn't afford to replace. I believe this applied to both PVE and PVP, since my understanding was that ships were completely destroyed in both cases. The penalty is even less in PFO - we're only replacing whatever harvestables/loot we've picked up.
In an MMO today, there's often a repair fee when you die. What if the cost of replacing the loot/components you typically carry on you was no worse than paying that fee? I realize this is an oversimplification, but I suppose I'm just trying to suggest that this might sound worse on paper than it will be in practice.
Yes, there's risk. But the things we risk losing will probably be the product of minutes or hours worth of time, and not weeks/months/years.
I think this will encourage frequent trips to secure our items in safe areas, keeping cities and towns populated.
I'd personally like to see loot being more rare than in your average MMO. Make crafters build the bread and butter equipment, and have loot show up at the end of dungeons or particularly long questlines. Some loot is equipment in it of itself, and some are components for crafters. I hate getting a bunch of trash loot in SWTOR and LotRO that only serves to bog me down. But this is a somewhat separate issue.
I tend to agree with you here. I loved Anarchy Online, but the game (pre-Shadowlands) was essentially one randomly generated dungeon after another. SWG and CoX were similar with their randomly generated missions. AO had a pretty cool world to explore...but no one ever did it. It was a real shame.
However, as someone also pointed out, because this game will put a lot of emphasis on the persistent world and player versus player action, there ought to be a safer environment to acquire some skills. Perhaps an instancing system that is capped at a certain reward level (for the substantially lower risk) would be appropriate.
I love instancing in themepark settings. They help to reduce a lot of the frustration that used to be a part of the Everquest dungeon experience. However, I sincerely hope they wouldn't become the best means of growing our characters, if they're included at all.
I think with your business model, this is absolutely the route you need to take. You're planning to cater to the niche. Many sandboxes I've read about seem to shoot for large crowds, and try to enforce these 'old school'/strict rules. Most folks probably don't want to play this way, but I bet you'll be able to find 4,500 who will.
Personally, I'm terrified! But I'm willing to try it out!
I don't remember much of the content in Everquest. I was nine when I played it. But I remember the fear. It was exciting, and few games have recreated that. It was also frustrated at times, but I think retaining your equipped armor/weapons is a major compromise, and will go a long way in keeping the frustration from becoming overwhelming.
In fact, it seems like it should be possible to give players the raw materials directly (planks of wood, poles, sheets of glass, fabric, etc.) and let us go wild building stuff that is simply those raw materials combined in creative ways. Of course, the polygons would wreak havoc if there were a lot of these visible at one time, but limiting them to the insides of player housing should be sufficient to keep that from being a problem. It'd be great to be able to build unique pieces for display outside your home too, but I'm not sure if it's technically feasible yet to allow players to place decidedly un-optimized objects out in the wild...
That's a really cool idea. It's basically what folks tried to do in EQ2 and SWG...find plain looking objects that will serve as building blocks, and stack them into ways to create new forms of furniture...but this would allow for a much cleaner design (i.e. no table legs sticking out of the ceiling of the 'loft' I created).
It also reminds me a lot of how technical CAD programs work. Generally, you model a lot of individual components, and 'assemble' them into a fixed structure that can be saved and used again later. Whether it's on a house-wide, or individual 'assembly'-wide scale, I certainly hope they implement a way for us to save our creations, in the event our homes are destroyed. If that's, for whatever reason, too technically challenging to implement, than I would hope that some folks can choose to 'play it safe', and build in areas that are equivalent to high-sec security space in EVE.
If world space is a concern with PVP-immune homes, these homes could be restricted to instanced areas - ala EQ2. It's not exactly what I would hope for, but then the uninstanced game world could be reserved for the folks who want to create larger structures (i.e. forts, walls, etc.), or be forced to defend their smaller homes. I bet there's a better solution than instancing though, and perhaps I'm overestimating the potential problem of aggravated PVP.
I like the offline roles idea a lot too! I hope that non-combative roles like this would also be extended to online gameplay!
I would love to have as much flexibility with the housing system as possible. I spent so much time in SWG and EQ2 playing with the housing options, and to have more control over the actual room layouts would be ideal. However, I imagine this sort of system may be pretty intense to design. I could also settle for having a wide amount of pre-fab options, with varying layers of customization (i.e. building materials, number of rooms, room layouts, types of rooms, etc.).
I have mixed feelings about housing that you can attack. I love the idea of complete freedom and real risk, but the prospect for trolling gives me pauses.
One idea I've sort of pieced together is a separation of PVP and PVE housing. Make PVE towns relatively safe areas that give folks a place to RP. These may need to be kept to certain areas of the map, since they'll be relatively static.
PVP 'housing', on the other hand, would be more strategic. Guilds could build forts, castles, or resource gathering structures in certain areas that must be defended. The risk/benefit for maintaining and defending these structures would, of course, have to be tweaked to ensure it's worth the hassle.
If housing can be attacked, I'd love to see some sort of system in place where you can either repair or rebuild your house in such a way, that it automatically restores the interior layout. I spent a lot of time building things in EQ2 out of furniture 'building blocks' (i.e. Used short legged tables and shelves to create a loft in my 'one-room' apartment), and I would hate to see that time destroyed along with the building. I could definitely support repair costs, time, etc. - just not a loss of the work that goes into decorating. Though maybe I have strange priorities for an MMOer...