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Dec 04, 2005

Comments

1.

Double-death is nothing new in contemporary sci-fi and fantasy. In Dragonball Z, a "dead" person can fight and be "killed". Of course, if that happens, that's truly the last of him.

I have yet to hear of triple-death, though.

2.

Yeah, the dead, dead, undead is a fun one, the spirit healers that will resurrect a dead undead is another fun one, of course a resurrected, dead, undead is just undead again. Another is the fact that undead have 'health', ah, so I guess you can be a very healthy undead.

But there are tons of small inconsistencies in the game. For example, blacksmiths can build new armor, but are unable to repair them. Not even a master tailor can repair a newbie brown linen robe. Puts that can clearly kill the hunter when he tries to tame it, and kill all kinds of stuff after it's tamed can't 'feed' themselves... You'd think if your wolf hadn't had anything to eat for a few days, he'd be more than unhappy, and would be off snacking somewhere.

Guns that fire underwater, and arrows that go through trees, Kodo that cant carry luggage, glass containers that disappear when you drink whats inside, weapons that you were just getting hit with that are unlootable, items you can't trade, bank slots that hold any size of bag for the same price, vendors that don't have a clue what auction prices are, the ability to hear what people are saying at the other side of the barrens, or in a zone compleatly on the other side of the world, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Dead, dead, undead may not make any sense in a "useful metaphorical" way, but if you keep in mind that the game is very game-play centric in design, it makes all kind of sense.

-bruce

3.

I have never died while dead. Much less being an undead. Crazyness

4.

dead (dead (un-dead)) = Stupid game mechanics.

They did this because people were traveling over the oceans as the undead and rezing in a graveyard. This allowed you to adventure in lands that you were supposed to struggle to get to.

Basically they want you to play the game their way and if you don't then they will force you to.

5.

Even the core motivations on these games are off. I understand the notion of putting yourself in harm's way ... 1000s of times ... in order to gain that elusive rare item that helps you slay things even better (assuming you're playing a manical raving psychopath).

But slaying 1000s of deadly critters so you can gain some hitpoints?? What are hitpoints?

I honestly think that this whole brand of game is largely mislabeled. They aren't RPG (role-playing games), they are "toon building simulations" (TBS). Once that point hits home, then the rest of it makes perfect sense.

On a slight tangent, I would like to play (or help design) an actual massively multiplayer role-playing game, someday. One where I was a lot more aborbed with my character's role in his virtual world, rather than min-maxing his stats and equips, or being that essential cog in the party machine poised to roll over the boss, for no real reason other than that it's there.

6.

blackrazor> ...One where I was a lot more aborbed with my character's role in his virtual world, rather than min-maxing his stats and equips, or being that essential cog in the party machine poised to roll over the boss, for no real reason other than that it's there.

You're addressing the oft-debated core issue with todays MMOGs. But this is a very hard puzzle to solve, and I have yet to find a good suggestion on how to make the players have a severe and meaningful impact on the game world.

In traditional RL RPGs you are interacting with a world alone and thus could mutate that world to whatever you/the GM sees fit. BUT, by letting thousands of other players in to the same world, you have to recycle the content to infinity because each player must be able access to that content as much as the other players.

Sure, you could hire in armies of GMs that could hand-craft specific story lines and make some changes to the game world, but that's hardly realistic or profitable for a game company, IMHO.

So I challenge everyone that criticize the current state of MMOGs to suggest how you could change it to be a more dynamic experience :-)

7.

==
In traditional RL RPGs you are interacting with a world alone and thus could mutate that world to whatever you/the GM sees fit. BUT, by letting thousands of other players in to the same world, you have to recycle the content to infinity because each player must be able access to that content as much as the other players.
==
This is something that i think is the root of the problem. a "role-playing GAME" doesn't scale.

So long as people have the mindset that "quest a" has to be able to be done by every player, there we never be a MMORPG, just a "masively instanced RPG" (and here i am talking about an instance as a "instance of a generic thing", not necessarily as a dungeon instance ala warcraft.

while the MMOGs made are "games", the players will always to their best to beat the game, ala Min-Max. To get players to role-play the MMO has to become more world-y. Dont give them canned quests, give them goals to achieve, give them reasons and then let the actual method be up to the players.

8.

I'm more curious of the 'alternative' death elements in games- as well as alternatives to the "level up=more hit points." It seems that the "die and respawn" has become the standard flavor of most games. Looking at it from the eyes of new MMO'ers, it has to be a very immersion-breaking. Some just let you continue play at the spawn sites, some make you do a "corpse run" to get back. Permadeath seems to have become the rare exception.

City of Heroes has the "medical teleporter" so I guess there you never DIE, you're just whisked away to a hospital at near-death and instantly healed to your former self... wish they'd use that power for the general population of Paragon city, but universal health care is a debate for another forum...

Has anyone else tried to mesh the fiction in ways so "defeated" did not mean "dead?" We tend to take the design element of "you're either fighting or dead."
Historically, men have lay with injuries on the battlefield unable to continue the fight.

... What about falling in battle, only to awaken, partially healed, in the tent of some backwoodsman or traveler... or in the cages of a orc tribe's prison. Perhaps, if your team continues the battle and wins, you can be revived and treated for your injuries... you're just unconscious.

Are there other games that tend to other mechanics in addressing defeat in battle? Have there been other attempts in the past that faild, and if they did, why?

(For that matter, to touch on blackrazor's comment, are there games that buck the standard Hit Point based damage system? I've played some decent pen-n-paper games that managed to buck the numeric damage scale- has anyone used alternate systems in MMO's?)

9.

And this has legal consequences!

http://www.gucomics.com/archives/view.php?cdate=20040127

10.

Blackrazor wrote:

On a slight tangent, I would like to play (or help design) an actual massively multiplayer role-playing game, someday. One where I was a lot more aborbed with my character's role in his virtual world,

If you want a hardcore roleplaying experience in an MMO, check out RPI text MUDs (roleplaying intensive). The definition of RPI is a bit fuzzy, but a couple well-respected ones are:
Armaggedon: http://www.armaggedon.org
Shadows of Isildur: http://www.middle-earth.us

Note that you will be required to fill out an application before being permitted to play in their worlds, so as to keep out the hack 'n slash riff raff.
--matt

11.

Armageddon: http://www.armageddon.org

Sorry about the misspelling.
--matt

12.

The problem here is that the miniatures warfare/roleplaying game that DnD is does not mix with the "cafe" or "social world" model of MMOs or MUDs. DnD means one person creates a world, invites his friends, and plays in said world, interacting with the players and changing aspects of the world as he sees fit. The entire experience cannot be transfered to the computer and hope to retain all of it's charm. At best, we see the early MUDs, where a very small group of people (though usually larger than a regular DnD game) get together in a text based adventure world which could be reasonably created by one person, or a small group of people. This world created for the adventure is very limited, but could be easily expanded (this was text, after all), or even used by a gamemaster other than the one who created it. However, these early MUDs ran into problems when they introduced persistance. By keeping some gameworlds always on and abolishing most of the function of the gamemaster as supervisor, content creator, narrarator, NPC, etc they created something totally different. Suddenly, players were killing each other, making economies, creating communities within the game-worlds etc etc etc. The point is, the current generation of MMOs share, at best, only the setting of DnD and none of the qualities that made it good in the first place. Of course, in doing so, the new MMO games created a new genre of game that has grown extremely popular lately, for reasons almost entirely unrelated to the reasons for DnD's success. So any talk of "roleplaying" and "realism" is really pointless at this point. Sure, the things you pointed out (like the bottle which dissapears when it's drunk) are cases of bad game design (obviously, the game didn't create it's fiction in such a way as to explain it's game mechanics). However, especially with the pet and the dissapearing bottle, you have to remember that this is an MMO, not a RPG. In MMOs (like Everquest) it is understood that pets will never act unless you tell them to. Otherwise, how frustrating would a dungeon instance be if you couldn't control your pet? And, by the way, healing potions dissapeared in DnD as surely as they dissapear in WoW. Did anyone in your DnD adventuring group ever pause to collect the bottles of your used healing potions, hoping to re-sell them? Of course not. You were slaying dragons and rescuing princesses, not starting a bottle collection. If starting a bottle collection is your idea of an immersive world, then don't play WoW. Play Animal Crossing.

13.

>>DnD means one person creates a world, invites his friends, and plays in said world, interacting with the players and changing aspects of the world as he sees fit. The entire experience cannot be transfered to the computer and hope to retain all of it's charm.<<

I think NWN did quite well in giving the player the tools to be a successful GM. The toolkit that shipped not only allowed people to create SP quests for download but also for a GM to create their world and then invite people to play in it. Of course, it might take a little longer to set up a new area but the world could more or less be built as you went on and changed by the players in conjunction with the GM.

14.

D&D Online hopes to take NWN to the new level. If successful, they may bring into popularity a new model for MMO RPGing.

For example, there are some DnD DM's that takes the effort to run the same game world for multiple parties. The said DM integrates the development of the two games into a dynamic world where you hear of another group of adventurers completed a quest that the DM dangled at you previously, but your party had decided to pursue another.

That sort of behind-the-scene craftsmanship is missing and instead of getting a Disney Magic Mountain, you can a generic built-at-the-factor rollercoaster.

Now back to death, death, undeath, death. In game death has nothing to do with RL death concepts. It a computer data that went from 1 to 0. The designers of WoW obviously make their in-game death as another journey in the game.

It may be an requirement in a future quest....to die and then go fight in the spirit realm.....and then be reborn stronger.


15.

how about the fact that the dead can drown? How does that work?

16.

Anyone here ever read the book "Killobyte" by Piers Anthony? Now there's an MMORPG system I'd love to see implimented. The book is about a virtual reality game by the name of "Killobyte" Rather than a particular leveling treadmill world the Killobyte players step into a hub world from which they can then access any number of alternative scenarios each run in an instance of sorts. There's a castle scenario, and a Beirut scenario, a hansel-and-gretel scenario and several others in a long list of options. Each instance has slots for a number of roles that the players get to choose between and each role carries with it a personalized goal to complete. For example, in the castle scenario there's a good knight role, where you must rescue the princess from the tower, an evil wizard role who must hold onto the princess captive in the tower, and supporting casts on both sides who each have their own goals or desires- an aide to the knight might work to rescue the princess, while the princess herself might have a goal different from either the knight or the wizard entirely. When the roles are full you let the instance go, and watch the magic start.

Can you see the possibilities behind this sort of gameplay mechanic? At its best it could be like GTA:multiplayer, where one wants to complete the main quest, but doesnt have to.

17.

Chas> Are there other games that tend to other mechanics in addressing defeat in battle?

I'd like to see more innovation (there's that word again! ;-) in death mechanics. Here are a couple more ideas:

1. The pen-and-paper RPG Paranoia implemented "clones" who had all your knowledge who got transported to your location (usually) when you bought it... but you were limited to six clones. After that, it's reroll time.

Having six clones gave you most of the positive effects of permadeath without being so brutal about it.

2. In a fantasy milieu, what about the notion of the Valkyrie, who carries the spirits of deceased warriors to the afterlife? Just tweak it to allow the spirits of dead warriors to be reunited with their bodies after some suitable cooldown period in your world's equivalent of Valhalla.

There still seems to be plenty of room for new ways to deal wtih in-game death that satisfy both game-y and world-y concerns.

espie> I challenge everyone that criticize the current state of MMOGs to suggest how you could change it to be a more dynamic experience :-)

It seems to me that a lot of the problems with allowing players to have a meaningful impact on the game world stems from the design decision to make the universe a small, zero-sum place.

Instead, why not design the universe to support Explorer/Hacker gameplay? Rather than building a very limited space and then filling up that space with content to be experienced repetitively, create a huge universe (either "physical" or abstract), start your game with players controlling only a tiny fraction of that universe, and then let your players explore it.

For example, instead of creating five/ten planets and tacking on quest after quest to those planets, create a galaxy of 100,000,000 star systems, populate ten of them with your players, and set the highest possible travel speed so that a vessel with infinite fuel and god-mode defenses would need something like two real-time years to circumnavigate the game galaxy. Then let your players colonize worlds. Through exploration and colonization (including battling over contested worlds), your players can change their game world without necessarily damaging someone else's part in that world.

(Note that even EVE Online doesn't work this way; traveling to certain parts of its galaxy is denied.)

(Just to address the two most obvious objections while I'm here: you could reduce your database size by only fully generating a star system when the first player gets within N units of its known primary star. And if your game becomes so insanely popular that the whole galaxy eventually is explored and colonized, nothing prevents you from introducing some way to send players to or let new players start in a new unexplored galaxy.)

This concept could be applied to a fantasy or other setting as well by a judicious use of hard-to-travel-through areas (due either to geography or hostile NPCs). It could also work in a more abstract Hacker-type setting where what's being explored isn't physical space but knowledge space. In all these cases, the key is to design the game universe so that most of it is unmapped but all of it is mappable.

By designing to support exploration of a non-zero-sum game universe, you allow your players to truly "change the game world" through their actions without getting the kind of Hobbesian behavior seen in zero-sum universes.

So it seems to me, at any rate. Has this approach been taken in any modern graphical MMOG? I'd like to hear about any that have tried it.

--Bart

18.

I fould Ultima Online had a much better immersion feel to it years ago. Over time, they took away this feeling and replaced it with cold hard facts.

A potion keg stores 100 bottles, before, if you took 10 away, it would say "almost full" now it says 90/100.

And when you drank a health bottle, you would actually just have the yellow contents emptied and be left with a empty bottle.

I preferred those days, when you had no guild chat, if you wanted to see if someone was online. You'd go to the guild house where people would congregate and roleplay. You'd ask around and say you were looking for so and so.

But of course, the real world conveninces of ICQ popping up saying "meet me at brit graveyard" was just too tempting for developers.

Some would argue a guild chat would bring people together, but i'm not sold. If you want to chat while you fight monsters, open up IRC. Do you really need that instaneous communication in game.

*shrug*

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