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Smedley's been lurking Ryan's Blogs!


Pathfinder Online

151 to 169 of 169 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
WoW is the 800 pound gorilla.

Very accurate assessment of the beast.

Now good sir, I would like to hear your personal (not professional, but personal) opinion on the subjects I brought up in my last post, regarding both the challenge level and sense of accomplishment (or lack/removal thereof) and cash shops (and other factors) relegating compelling gameplay to the status of worthless. Specifically I would love to hear your reply to my final sentence.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Ryan Dancey wrote:

WoW is a unique case of the disease all theme park games have. WoW just survives due to inertia of its social network.

[...]

Before the first expansion, the content in WoW was 80% "leveling", 20% "level-cap" (i.e. raids). If you played a character to the max level, you saw 80% of the game. The percentage has been changing with each expansion. With Pandaria, it's about 50/50. In other words, the "leveling" part of the game is now just half the content.

To keep those end-game raiding guilds alive as players attrit, WoW has to keep feeding them a constant supply of newbie raiders. And to make that happen, the game has to get you through to the level cap faster and faster because the cap keeps getting higher and higher.

In the tabletop RPG business, I called this "the treadmill", and it killed a lot of game lines in the 1990s. You have to keep running faster and faster just to stay in the same place and you can't ever stop or you fall off and can't get back on.

This is so very true. WoW has experienced a perfect storm. It was in the right place at the right time, and did mostly the right things at every turn for a very long time, even when its fans proclaimed how wrong they were. Anyone remember the hue and cry about the "gear reset" at the start of Burning Crusade?

There have been so many stabs at WoW over the following years that improved at one sector or another. More powerful backing IP? Done with LotRO (and WaR, SW:ToR, STO). Less kiddie-pool? Done with Age of Conan. Better looks? Done with Rift (and Tera, ...). Despite what many claim, Blizzard started WoW off in a state not so much better than many of these "failed" games. But none of these games had so many uncommitted potential players, iterated the right systems enough, and none had the stamina to get past the initial spike-and-slump (I don't know how strong it was with WoW, honestly. I had a feeling it was there, but couldn't put out numbers). I think after the spectacular failure of SW:ToR, it is pretty safe to assume it wasn't lack of developer talent, marketing or technical reasons - WoW was just a perfect storm, something that can't be planned or forced and likely not repeated either.

They all followed this pattern of content production and consumption to a T. Some try to alleviate it by incorporating some homeopathic dose of freedom (Rifts dynamic events, WaR's keep warfare), but the optimal path lies the almost adversarial "progress raiding" in all these games - and they all suffered immensely.

CEO, Goblinworks

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gambit wrote:


Now good sir, I would like to hear your personal (not professional, but personal) opinion on the subjects I brought up in my last post, regarding both the challenge level and sense of accomplishment (or lack/removal thereof) and cash shops (and other factors) relegating compelling gameplay to the status of worthless. Specifically I would love to hear your reply to my final sentence.

We're not focused on writing long quest chains that require players to commit exceptionally large amounts of time to complete. In the case of the Warlock steed, that's all you're being rewarded for; there was no real creative problem solving required, or social engineering, or resource planning, or anything else other than being willing to sit in front of your computer and mash buttons repetitively in a Skinner Box for hours. You may have felt a sense of accomplishment from that but I think it's a really hollow achievement.

In a sandbox MMO, the epic nature of what you accomplish isn't framed by what the developers author into the game world, it's defined by the challenges created by other players that you overcome.

Doing 1 each of all the PvE content we author into Pathfinder Online seems like a fairly easy bar to clear - because there won't be that much of it. But there's an infinite amount of content being created by your fellow players, so you can never "complete" it all.

The kind of status you imbued the symbol of the Warlock's mount with comes from collective, not individual successes in Pathfinder Online. Having a really large and well developed Settlement is the prestige metric we think most players will pursue. Characters affiliated with those Settlements will enjoy access to the best gear, best training, and widest variety of interplayer interactions in the game.

The "serious challenge" is all the other players competing with your community for scarce resources and territory.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Gambit wrote:


Now good sir, I would like to hear your personal (not professional, but personal) opinion on the subjects I brought up in my last post, regarding both the challenge level and sense of accomplishment (or lack/removal thereof) and cash shops (and other factors) relegating compelling gameplay to the status of worthless. Specifically I would love to hear your reply to my final sentence.

We're not focused on writing long quest chains that require players to commit exceptionally large amounts of time to complete. In the case of the Warlock steed, that's all you're being rewarded for; there was no real creative problem solving required, or social engineering, or resource planning, or anything else other than being willing to sit in front of your computer and mash buttons repetitively in a Skinner Box for hours. You may have felt a sense of accomplishment from that but I think it's a really hollow achievement.

In a sandbox MMO, the epic nature of what you accomplish isn't framed by what the developers author into the game world, it's defined by the challenges created by other players that you overcome.

Doing 1 each of all the PvE content we author into Pathfinder Online seems like a fairly easy bar to clear - because there won't be that much of it. But there's an infinite amount of content being created by your fellow players, so you can never "complete" it all.

The kind of status you imbued the symbol of the Warlock's mount with comes from collective, not individual successes in Pathfinder Online. Having a really large and well developed Settlement is the prestige metric we think most players will pursue. Characters affiliated with those Settlements will enjoy access to the best gear, best training, and widest variety of interplayer interactions in the game.

The "serious challenge" is all the other players competing with your community for scarce resources and territory.

Fair enough, thanks for the reply.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

About the Marketing vs Development civial war:
I think there is no better example where this can cause a game to falter than Warhammer Online.
There we had the (till then unique) situation that the Marketing was actually very strong. Games Workshop send in a Marketing Hitman who hyped the game in a way not seen before.
Alas the game he hyped somehow wasn't the game that was developed...
So WHO goes down into history as one giant leadership fail, as almost noone seemed to know what anyone else did - choking the game in false assumptions, bad last minute panic measures and, consequently, a lot of bugs, glitches and utterly horrible balancing.

About theme-parks in general:
Right now they all feel shallow to me and I stopped playing them and will likely never play one again. I had my "high times" with DAoC and WoW was a disappointment for me for lack of RvR (realm vs realm combat). Really, the people who thought it was a good idea to introduce elo-like rankings for the early bettlegrounds should still be flogged. I stopped playing WoW between this and the endless raiding that was the only alternative.
I followed and played Shadowbane which was a great concept but a bad game.
Tried Aion a while later and like it but this game made all the same "mistakes" than every other game out there (including WoW).

So now being pumped for something new.

I think that PFO will be me last MMO in one way or the other. I believe that I like the "up to yourself" playstyle, that the same things I liked in DAoC will be present there (in spirit) and that the most important thing is a great community. Which I think PFO will have (and, yes, that will mitigrate many problems with griefers without the need of stupid and unfun rules to shackle all the players because of very few idiots).

Goblin Squad Member

@micman: Agree with everything you say: Mr. Barnett pulling analogies out of his b-side. WAR had a problem of conflicting with DAOC2 early in development, then EA buying Mythic and WAR taking precedence (which had previously been an IP involved with Climax along the lines of WHFRP) warped some of DAOC2's siege stuff and lack of racial cities and so on... = a complete mess of direction that tried to get closer to wow the further dev went and using the Gamebryo engine which seemed really buggy at launch and the marketing of 00's vs 00's the biggest marketing point of the game actually was not in a satisfactory state which I don't think they ever fully resolved?

Also agree, I think themepark is summarised by Ryan above well: Ultimately the more you level the less & less game there is to experience, instead of the more your character progresses the more options expand for you.

Goblin Squad Member

While I consider myself much more of a sandbox fan, I have enjoyed playing a few themeparks in the past and I could see myself enjoying one again at some point in the future (right now they've been so done to death, that I don't have any interest whatsoever). People do actualy have tastes for different things.

A Themepark game is probably something that I would play casualy for 6 months then drop and not ever touch again. It's not like I wouldn't neccesarly enjoy/appreciate my time there, but it's not something I'd want to endlessly repeat. While a good sandbox, I could see playing for many, many years.

I think it's a bit like the difference between PnP Role-Playing and reading a novel. PnP Role-Playing is one of my favorate activities and I'll happly play every week for years if I have the opportunity but there are times when I do enjoy just sitting back and reading a good novel (a much more passive experience) but it's not like I'd be reading the same novel over and over again every weekend for years.

The way MMO's are built, structured, budgeted and priced it seems like they depend on that long term recurring revenue. Perhaps a better medium for Themepark RPG's would be CORPG's....something a little bit more like the model NWN had where the game was designed to be hosted/run privately (leased server space like FPS or even on someones client going Peer to Peer) on small individual shards maybe meant for a dozen or so players to play on and be done with? Although I understand NWN had huge sandbox potential as well due to the editor/construction kit that shipped with which allowed players to create and host thier own content. Unfortunately I never tried it myself.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:

@Gambit - I will say that the actual performance in the market is that you are incorrect. There is much more money to be made from microtransactions than from subscriptions.

It's certainly true that some games with MTX allow you to pay to win. And what that means differs from person to person - it's not a binary function. There are some folks who feel that "anything but bling" is pay-to-win, and others who think that unless the best items in the game are are MTX-only it's not pay-to-win. Each developer, and each community, has to evolve their own opinion on where that line lies.

At the end of the day the publishers will do what makes the most money. Rigid "one price fits all" subscriptions do not make the most money. So don't expect to see many games that continue to operate with that model, and other than maybe World of Warcraft for legacy business reasons, none of the major games will be doing so in the long term.

By the way, the Koreans and the Chinese kind of laugh at western developers and their concerns about this issue. Pay-to-win is VASTLY more commonplace, at nearly any definition, in their markets than in the west, and they make much more revenue per player on average than the west does, if you factor in purchasing power parity.

With the two biggest non-WoW MMO games firmly rooted in MTX (League of Legends and World of Tanks) and both succeeding spectacularly, I doubt there will be anything BUT MTX games from here on out.

I'm not going to try and fight the tide on this concept, it is what it is. What I would ask though, is that you do this by the GW2/EVE route. Make it so items are paid for in a 'currency' that is purchaseable by either real cash or in game effort. This way the people who prefer the cash shortcut can take it and the people who would rather not spend extra but rather earn the item by actually playing the game have their option to as well.

It avoids the "pay now" immersion breaker that these things can create, while still giving everyone what they want.

Goblin Squad Member

Here is what I am personally ok with in a cash shop, non combat pets, appearance only outfits and costumes, and if the game has personal housing, appearance only additions to your house. None of these should provide any sort of in game benefit, not even a simple +5 tailoring for an outfit, or a lockbox with a slightly bigger inventory space for housing accessories. No mounts, no exclusive spells or abilities, and definitely no gear. Everything that gives a tangible bonus should be earned in the game.

Goblin Squad Member

I really hope Golbin works doesn't get involved with SOE. There track record isn't great...

They ruined star wars galaxies and Planetside 2 is just a Battlefield clone. Also all the other fail games they have made ie EQ2, Vanguard.

Bad things happen when SOE are behind a game. Its like there cursed.

CEO, Goblinworks

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Gambit - our MTX store will have items with in-game mechanical effects.

Our commitment to the player community is that none of those things will be the best in the game - a player crafted item will always be at least as good, if not better, than anything you can buy in the store. And we do not intend to put items into the store that are more than "convenience" items; things that are primarily consumables and that simply help reduce some of the minor irritations of playing.

There will be lots of bling, lots of mounts, lots of flashy sparkly bits.

The place where we draw the line between "pay-to-win" and "convenience" will almost certainly change over time as the game and the market develops. But I cannot imagine a time when the people who play the game would feel compelled to make MTX purchases for gear.

RyanD

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
There will be lots of bling, lots of mounts, lots of flashy sparkly bits.

That reminds me.

While I know it's still really early in the development process, I really wanted to raise an objection to something that I read in the Pathfinder Online section of the Thornkeeper book. In that section of the book, and I forget who was the narrator of that section, Dragon mounts were mentioned.

I'm not sure how comfortable I am turning an incredibly powerful, long-lived dragon into a pack-mule. I suppose I could understand it if you and the dragon are working towards a common goal, but why would a dragon care to be your mount when all is said and done? At best, they'd probably say "no" and leave (ie. Gold dragon). At worst, they'd probably just eat you for thinking they'd stoop low enough to be your mount (ie. Red dragon).

Mounts should stick to the things that generally aren't sentient and capable of free will, like horses.

Goblin Squad Member

Dragon mounts would be something that takes years, for people who have taken years to develop fully mastered characters.

If you have a dragon on your side, you deserve it. And whomever is attacking you wouldn't stand a chance anyway. I see a dragon as more of a 'don't bother trying' entity, that allows a group to ignore all but the most serious threats to their territory.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

The "most serious threat" to the territory of someone who kept "tame" dragons is that there are several dragons in the area.

Humanoids are not the most dangerous creature in Galorian... and if the dragons are willing to play with the ants before burning their pitiful little hives to the ground, there's very little we can do to stop them.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Except that the game will go for years. Meaning eventually, there would be hundreds or thousands of "tame" dragons flying around. Makes no sense whatsoever in the game world. Griffins, magical horses, whatever, but not dragons. Please, not a dragon...

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Are you assuming that there won't be ways to remove creatures from circulation (kill them, deny their maintenance costs, incite them to rebel...)

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:

@Gambit - our MTX store will have items with in-game mechanical effects.

Our commitment to the player community is that none of those things will be the best in the game - a player crafted item will always be at least as good, if not better, than anything you can buy in the store. And we do not intend to put items into the store that are more than "convenience" items; things that are primarily consumables and that simply help reduce some of the minor irritations of playing.

There will be lots of bling, lots of mounts, lots of flashy sparkly bits.

The place where we draw the line between "pay-to-win" and "convenience" will almost certainly change over time as the game and the market develops. But I cannot imagine a time when the people who play the game would feel compelled to make MTX purchases for gear.

RyanD

Ryan, I hope you guys also take into consideration how the cash shop presents itself within the UI to the player. That's another big place where I think many MMO's stumble...with implimentations that cross over the line from accessable to intrusive and end up disrupting the players immersion and experience of the game.

Goblin Squad Member

^Well said GrumpyMel: No "exit through the giftshop" UI shiny lights, plz!

Goblinworks Founder

If a player could get a dragon mount, I really hope it is a temporary thing. For one thing, there is the free will aspect, the other is that something so powerful should be killable (permanently) the social status of Dragon Rider should be of epic proportion, and in the same light, the player that kills said Dragon and his rider should be forever known as a Dragon Slayer and written into the game as such. It should be something as rare if not more rare than a Jedi was in Pre-CU SWG.

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