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Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 8 Season Dedicated Voter. 193 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

Goblin Squad Member

Warning! Wall of text can hit you for 560 words of damage!:
Alpha is near. Forums are even more lively than usual with influx of the people who want to play but not followed these boards for last two years. Some of our discussions became recurring debate based on assumptions which are wrong in my PoV. I may be wrong too. So here are some of my points fairly obvious, but with some less obvious consequences. If I put something wrong please correct me.
1. PFO is not a game. It is (as most of modern MMOs) virtual environment where we can do things via our virtual characters. Sandboxes have more tools to play with, themeparks have more pregenerated content. Even in hardcore sandbox you can gather 32 people and play with them chess instead of raids. You can play spy games and run scams with other people. You can move around and enjoy your sights. Whatever. Devs provide us with tools to interact with the world and each other. Anyone can play their own game. Only limiting – or enhancing – factor are other players who are playing their games – if your games contradict or support each other.
2. You can log out of PFO any time you want. This leads to ease of doing many things and getting away with that – literally. Most MMOs have various tools to nudge players into “proper gameplay”, but nobody can order you to play this way or that way. You can just leave and be done for a while or forever.
3. You can't play 24/7. You must eat, sleep, live your RL. At least you need to make money to pay for this game :D So there are times when you cannot affect what happens in this virtual world. Many meta-game PvP tactics revolved around this fact, from night attacks on your in-game assets to impersonating you in local chat when you're not here. Again, there are usually some built-in safety measures to alleviate said problem, but this problem is undeniable reality of MMO. Offense is easy to organize, defense is a hard thing.
4. You can't be ultimate winner in MMO and enjoy it. Oh yes, you can, but that means end of this MMO for you. Game over. Losers are leaving the game winners must wait for new batch of players whom they can overpower or must move themselves to the next game to win. When I've played Darkfall last fall I had clinging feeling that some people won this game already and moved on because there is nothing to do for them. Lots of efforts of devs, tons of interesting mechanics – and only several serious guilds left on the whole US server. Rare gank squads and solo gankers roaming countryside, rare gatherers, bots aplenty, some guilds still fighting each others – but no bustling activity as in EVE.
5. GW is the team of experienced game developers. When they implement something or don't implement that means 99% of the time they know what effect on the game this will have. So if they read your proposal and ignore it – they have their reasons. Don't bother them again, again and again, please. I'm guilty myself in laying out on IdeaScale one of my old ideas already proposed on PFO forums. I will not repeat it again I swear! :)
Maybe there are other points I've missed or I got something wrong – please post your thoughts too.

Goblin Squad Member

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This is another my idea to evaluate.
Most of the games have strictly uniform production installations. This is in tune with any industrial/sci-fi setting, but what if some touch of personality will be added to the structure? PFO is about fantasy and the legendary times of hand-made products.
What if at the end of construction server rolls some “quirk table” to slightly add or reduce productivity/production time/production quality value? Nothing global – 1-2-3% of the nominal value at best. Other effects can be: occasional help from brownies with animal handling, gremlin visits for occasional minor machinery breaks, etc. No additional work for artists, no new parameters. This will help with personalization of such structures and preserving sense of wonder. Watermill will be not standard “50 sacks of grain per day asset”, but “Ben's watermill where even worst grain can sometimes become decent flour”. Even better if such “quirk table” will be dependent on the place of construction, alignment and reputation of the owner or even the moon phase.
And yes, you can try to change quirks – by razing to the ground and rebuilding your structure :) That's your choice!
Damn, I'm starting to write such a table for my own TT setting. :)

Goblin Squad Member

OK. War is fought, sabotage, assassinations and direct assault brought victory to the winners. Opposition lies in ruins. So, what will this opposition do when their defeat will be near or just happened? Especially if they feel they were cheated. Not really cheated, but more like “our enemies broke some unwritten rules” (this article explains such situation).
First of all, if I will be in such position I'll start to burn all the buildings in my settlement. I worked hard to live here and now some ******* trying to steal the results of my efforts. Sorry, no way. You'll get some ash and cinder, couple of embers, maybe.
Second, I'll hurt my enemies whenever and wherever I can. They want my hexes? NP, I'll destroy their buildings on their hexes far away. Preferably on the most of them, but I am realist, so 3-4 buildings will do. My home is falling now – so why not to drive cost of victory for my enemies up a little?
For me this will be end, probably. But I know some people who are even more vindictive than I am :) So what about continuous hostile actions? This is EVE situation, where most of the corporations are in the state of perpetual war with all other players (NBSI – Not Blue – Shoot It!). In the EVE this will cost you security rating (reputation and alignment in PFO terms). But having mechanic for fast restoration of reputation most EVE PvP'ers aren't bothered much. This policy is applied for "just in case" reason. I hope PFO will have additional mechanic to restrain losers from going berserk This is not RL – where winners can kill and bury defeated side with all their anger, frustration and grief and sit victorious. People will be back for revenge.
I can see another EVE situation happening in PFO. If your small company want to hurt big boys – roll next set of characters and start occasional raids on the caravans and structures of the enemy. You are under NPC organization, you can “wait out” alignment and reputation hit, you will not be linked to your main chars. Pure fun for you and pure grief for your foes. Will be here some mechanic to prevent such griefing? And will be here some encouragement for the losers to continue play?

Goblin Squad Member

Now we have sketch of the system of improvement for our would-be heroes. Btw, esteemed developers, you have my deep gratitude for last blog. My only help for your work, it seems, may be proposition of a few fresh ideas, so let's begin.

Kill X monsters – as part of Favored Enemy feat, for there also should be something like “Scare X monsters”, “Track X monsters” or even “Talk your way out of X monsters” :) .

Blaze through X distance of X kinds of terrain – for Woodland Stride and the like.

Kill X players/mobs using mostly damage of your sneak attack – for your Sneak Attack feat

Search for X kinds of different herbs and use them in X concoctions – for the Herbalist feat.

Destroy some weapons of your opponents – for the Sunder feat. Yes, here people can exploit this achievement by some arranged duels. This exploit is called training in RL :).

On the side note: with all the immortality of our characters some “live exercises” can be not so lively, more akin to “bloody”. So PC will train faster than NPC in some areas.

For 14 paths x 20 levels x several different feats devs will need a lot of ideas, so let's help them at least here!
I'm writing here some of obvious ones, but what are your ideas about achievements? We can help the devs with our ideas of meaningful, interesting and tricky achievement.

Goblin Squad Member

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I'm concerned somewhat about difference between in-game mechanics and actions of player-controlled characters. In most MMO games (not only theme park ones) devs provide rich, colorful and distinct background – and then players came and start to do it their way. You know all these “our guild had Sauron on farm” (LotRO), “LFG BT palatank”, alliance assault on the guards at Crossroads in Barrens (WoW), amarr player camps at minmatar noob systems, camping would-be fighters of faction warfare (EVE). This not only breaks immersion – this defiles inner logic of the world, and players must separate two pictures – background and their own interaction with the world, just to be effective, to have fun, to keep opace with other players.
PFO (if it succeed) will set new standard for a MMO genre. Some of the features of new game will be working alignment system, rich player interaction and player-build in-game situation. In a couple of last months, when I heard about PFO, I got the feeling that devs will implement most good ideas similar to my thought about “better” MMO games for a last 3-4 years. That's good (IMNSHO). But I want to propose some details about intertwining game mechanics and actual gameplay.
Switching action bars.
Why not to implement several action bars and switch them automatically or manually? One bar for
combat, automatically active in open PvP zones (heroes with weapons in hands, crouching in battle stances). One for social interaction, automatically on in friendly cities (no weapons in hands, straight posture). One for recon/stealth (crouching, with weapon/devices from actual action bar slots). One for crafting/gathering. And one or two for custom-made activities. If devs will give us bunch of basic activities, people will invent useful combinations of them in no time. I have some ideas about scanning areas and socializing, but I don't know if they will be useful in conjunction with what the devs made already.
In-game description of real-world events.
River Kingdoms now suffers strange fate. Maybe it's Worlwound effect on nearby land, maybe something other – but weird things happens. Many people, wandering into this region suffers from so-called “mark of Pharasma”. They are changed. Now they returns from the dead, every time they were killed. This is immortality of sorts. But marked ones think about it as a curse. Because no one of these people can leave borders of tiny patch of land, called Crusader's Road. Watching all the other people, freely wandering back and forth may be torture.... Or new challenge for these branded souls.
Even their immortality is not absolute, some of them will be devoured after death by the demons of the Other World. This event is rare to the extreme and what are these soul-devouring demons is unknown, but wise scholars, at least, have divined name of one of these entities –
Banhammer. :)
Even time is distorted now in River Kingdoms. One of the days of the week is now called Darkday. For it's noted by the many, that part of this day is missed by all inhabitants of this land. Nobody know what happens to the land and people at this time. Worse yet, memory of the people falter after those days, for world sometimes seems somewhat different from the days before.
(patches are coming!)
Ugh, this is a wall of text already, so my other ideas will be in another thread.