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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jockie View Post
    We tried another tactic in the PW I helped run in NWN2 (The setting was an untamed frontier, so we wanted players to 'build' a new community). We opened part of our forum for players to document their in-game projects and we basically gave them hints on how to progress and DM support. Say you want to build a temple for your god, we'd play the shipping contacts they'd need to bring in resources and they'd role-play the aspects of trying to put together the project and use the forums to document the bits that didn't require a DM. A slightly more engaging example is that we had a starter dungeon populated by kobolds and we had factions trying to wipe them out entirely, and others trying to make peace with them etc.

    But what I felt was that players would start to take on 'worthy' projects or what I call 'dull as fuck' projects concerning incredible mundanity. You'd get people who would roleplay digging a ditch for hours to try and get kudos and DM attention and no-one really wants to spend their time overseeing a fantasy construction site for hours on end. So we get people engaging with persistence but on a basically unimaginative level. Obviously it wasn't all like that and we got mage guilds,. trading outposts etc set up by the players. But we also got dozens of forum thread where players were basically talking in depth and detail about putting up a wooden shack, which required a pretty ridiculous time investment from the people running the server. Persistence on a large scale is hard even when you have sub-100 people who play regularly.
    Very interesting. Your point of view makes me wonder if people aren't secretly looking for something more akin to Second Life. Some of the people certainly played more than enough hours to make it their first life. And that might also explain why they act so... passive or even hostile towards actual change or consequences to their actions: It's simply a threat on their established life.

    Your attempts at persistence seem to have been a bit more succesful than ours. Your approach seems a bit more, passive (but not in a negative way), by offering a platform for these things outside of the game. Perhaps our direct approach within the game was already witnessed as an outright attack on their stable little corner of their world and even simply being online to see these things meant an intrusion in privacy. That'd fit if it's the whole alternate life thing.

    If even a bit of that translates onto larger communities, that might explain why persistence of actions got so unpopular. Fear of loss, fear of intrusion, lack of privacy in their own sheltered niche within online worlds. Yeah, persistence on a large scale must be a real nightmare to manage and probably requires a PR team or two to deal with. It's already a nightmare on a small scale.

  2. #42
    Lesser Hivemind Node Krathor's Avatar
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    Eh, no love for GW2? A game that has a new release every two weeks with not just story updates, but also changes to the world? Last year the major hub city in the game was destroyed over a series of events that any player could contribute to. That's lead to the awakening of a dragon which is indirectly influencing the world, including the interruption of the transport network players use to get around the world map?

    The OP talks about 'emergent' sorts of gaming too, like with WoW having World PvP at Southshore and Tarren Mill. Well GW2 has massive battles too and although they are in ringfenced maps, those maps are pretty huge and fights can break out between hundreds of players. There's even demand for sporadic PvE trips through the landscape, as I know from my own events.

    All of this is to say it's easy to make sweeping accusations that nothing is the same anymore and things have gone backwards, but without taking the effort to experiment in different games then you'll never know what things are really like. All of the above examples are just for one game - a game that is pretty frequently overlooked when it comes to MMO discussions, yet has hundreds of thousands of players.
    Last edited by Krathor; 28-07-2014 at 10:26 PM.
    Guild Wars 2:

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  3. #43
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    theForged - Speaking from zero experience of either running or playing on a persistent roleplaying game server, it sounds like your experiment may have failed due to being too established to start with.

    Jockie's group took the approach of giving them very little - if a player wanted to be king, he'd have to make something worth ruling first. There's an inherent appeal in the idea of creating/colonising a world. I'd be curious to find out if Minecraft would have been the success it was if the world came pre-populated with towns and castles.

  4. #44
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I used to play NWN Tactics servers with a triple badger build* (useless but funny as hell), if I managed to convince others to join me badger spam, the confusion when that central area opened was completely worth it. This was the diametric opposite to a persistence server, everyone was max level, and gold was only made from kills and only used to fortify towers/doors.

    *Druid shapeshifter as a badger, summoning a badger with a badger pet,
    Last edited by Heliocentric; 28-07-2014 at 11:29 PM.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  5. #45
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    eh, I accidently just wiped my own post. That's something. Nevermind, basically: We gave the players the option to be on their own completely at one point, setting up their own settlement. Their entire plan of action just made it a tent town. Their input "meh let's setup camp". Curiously enough, during quests, the players were appreciating influence. Just not normally.

    Weird, the comment about minecraft made me wonder if this isn't a clash between genres, really.
    Between players expecting a Baldurs Gate but with real people and instead getting that but occasionaly mixed with Simcity but with real people. Maybe that was the issue? Meh, perhaps it was also the slew of other issues with the server at the time. Reading back up on an old post of mine and thinking back, maybe I'm not really a good voice to talk about this. Maybe it's just one on the long list of mistakes I made in handling it, I appreciated things like burning down the house affecting the world but maybe others didn't and it was my arrogance to assume otherwise.

    Concerning Badgers:
    I've got nightmares about the NWN Badgers. We had a little scripting incident with them and I've seen more than enough of them -> http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...l=1#post372136
    Just search for Badgers. *shudder*

    /late edit:
    Also for context: I'm strictly talking pre-minecraft boom here. This is all years ago. So it might also have been that the concept of building a world had become too alien at the time. Something lost with the old MMOs like Ultima Online.
    Last edited by theForged; 29-07-2014 at 12:00 AM.

  6. #46
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegooseking View Post

    And yet, as soon as we get to computers, we have all this arguing about whether or not something 'qualifies' as an RPG. I just don't get it.
    There's no PC equivalent of the non-stat-based pen and paper RPG. It's unfortunate, but the limitations of technology are what they are. Choose Your Own Adventure books are not RPG's, be they in real life or on computer, and no one sensible would argue they were.

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by CMaster View Post
    I've said for years that big minecraft servers deliver more on the promise of MMOs than any recent MMO has.
    100+ players in one place, persistent shared, ongoing, changing world, driven by underlying systems.
    *chuckle



    -----
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcsxLG8KNQI <(skip to 12:45 or 37:55 if you cant wait for the massive)


    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...l=1#post447895

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5WjrvpVdOc

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...l=1#post464085
    (shadowbane may not be "recent", but the emulator is, and it has revived both the game and the community dramatically. and for the massive- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU7t018zgdE [at 4:00+ you can get a glimpse of the hundreds of people in that 1 battle])


    i prophesize a day will come when i will no longer have to make these posts any more...

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    There's no PC equivalent of the non-stat-based pen and paper RPG. It's unfortunate, but the limitations of technology are what they are.
    uo and darkfall come close, and some adventure games might qualify, but i know what you mean.
    although, playing through roll20 certainly makes tabletop games feel like video games.

    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    Choose Your Own Adventure books are not RPG's, be they in real life or on computer, and no one sensible would argue they were.
    the lone wolf books come pretty close.

    http://www.projectaon.org/en/Main/FlightFromTheDark
    http://www.projectaon.org/en/statskeeper/

  9. #49
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    You're obviously a fan of the game, so please don't take this as an insult, but Darkfall and Shadowbane were both great concepts that turned into poor games.

    I was in love with the concept of Darkfall pre-release, and I know people found a lot to enjoy in the game, but the barriers around the 'fun' were just too high. Between the rate of skill progression and the high speed twitchy combat, the amount of time investment required was insane.

    I felt Mortal Online did a far better job of making an accessible game, with fast basic progression and slow specialisation, along with more Mount and Blade-style combat. But that ran into the perennial problem of niche MMOs - it simply did not have enough players to deliver on its promises. You could be fairly certain of finding a fight, but you'd struggle to buy any worthwhile items or resources on the open market. With so few people gathering and crafting, nearly all of it went straight to their own clan only.

  10. #50
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cardinaldirection View Post
    the lone wolf books come pretty close.
    Yes, they do, but they still aren't of course. I had been playing through Lone Wolf stuff right before I discovered real PnP RPGing, the abrupt shift in possibilities and freedom was frankly revelatory. You just can't get that in a PC game, especially not without gumming it up with other people (I'd never PnP with people that weren't already friends, the same goes for online RPG's).

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by cardinaldirection View Post
    *chuckle



    -----
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcsxLG8KNQI <(skip to 12:45 or 37:55 if you cant wait for the massive)


    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...l=1#post447895

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5WjrvpVdOc

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...l=1#post464085
    (shadowbane may not be "recent", but the emulator is, and it has revived both the game and the community dramatically. and for the massive- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU7t018zgdE [at 4:00+ you can get a glimpse of the hundreds of people in that 1 battle])


    i prophesize a day will come when i will no longer have to make these posts any more...
    Was going to say I'm not sure I'd call Darkfall recent - but apparently it's "only" 5 years old, which is fairly recent in MMO terms I guess.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    And here I've never thought of character progression as the heart of RPGs.
    I think it's broadly an accident that computer RPGs have become inextricably linked with character progression, but it's an accident that works very well. If you don't feature significant character progression then the most likely outcomes are a) the player isn't given sufficient tools to define their character or b) the player is given all the tools to define their character way before they're capable of using them adequately.

    If you wanted to avoid those pitfalls in a computer game you will probably have to come up with a rich initial character definition phase and an artful respec mechanic.
    Last edited by NathanH; 30-07-2014 at 10:32 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  13. #53
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    I think it's broadly an accident that computer RPGs have become inextricably linked with character progression, but it's an accident that works very well. If you don't feature significant character progression then the most likely outcomes are a) the player isn't given sufficient tools to define their character or b) the player is given all the tools to define their character way before they're capable of using them adequately.

    If you wanted to avoid those pitfalls in a computer game you will probably have to come up with a rich initial character definition phase and an artful respec mechanic.
    I've played a number of games that let you respec pretty much on demand. It's usually fantastic. Guildwars did this to great effect. Made playing with your build genuinely interesting which in turn made the click-fest combat more interesting in the same way that being able to tweak your deck makes even relatively dull games like MTG way more fun than they would be otherwise. You still had meaningful decisions to make during creation--which dual class to run--but beyond that you were free to flit about. It was a nice balance.
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

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  14. #54
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    I've been hoping for a solid MMO with a persistant world for many years now... but the few attempts I've seen have left me disappointed.

    EVE online is probably the shining example of a persistant MMO, but it takes a certain patience I don't have to play it. It's the kind of game where you spend 99% of your time preparing, grinding, and waiting for that moment when the crap hits the fan. When that moment happens though, it is amazing and no other game can provide an experience on that level. Those few moments create stories that show up as news articles on gaming websites and live on in legend. I really tried to get into the game... but I just lost interest with that 99% of the game.

    Minecraft has given me a glimpse of the kind of game I'd like.... or more precisely, certain modded variants. My favorite minecraft experience was a 'Skyland Pirates' server a played on, which combined several mods into one cohesive experience. World generation was modded to be a floating islands in a void type world. There was a factions mod that gave land protection based on the PVP standing of it's members. There was an airship mod which allowed you to turn a cludge of specific block types into an actual mobile airship, which allows transport between the floating islands. There was an RPG mod of sorts that added tons of trainable skills with various effects. There was an economy and shop mod to facilitate trade.

    Playing on Skyland Pirates goes like this... you start in the only safe area, a central town on the server, with a couple hundred credits, which is exactly enough to buy the materials required to make a tiny airship. Now, unless you're joing up with a friend who is already established... you're a worthless pushover runt with a few bucks and no value to the world. As factions gain and lose power based on the PVP standing of it's members, no faction wants a new fish with no standing. For now, you're on your own! You build your boat and frantically fly out to a far away island, hoping to gather resources and arm yourself... of course, you have sneak past the ring of newbie hunters that circle the starting town. If you die, you lose your ship and are left with nothing... the only way to get another then would be to punch skeletons to death at night or try to hack it on one of the couple nearby islands connected to the main town by bridges. You would have to do that until you got enough credits to buy parts for a new ship. Ships require wool... of course there won't be sheep on any area nearby.

    Assuming you make it away from town with your small ship, as I did on my first attempt, you need to hide out and find resources. As sky pirates are always looking for prey, you have to make sure you hide your base well... no topside farms, lights, or anything that doesn't look natural.... no half chopped trees! Replanting trees with saplings will give away your base as well until the saplings grow... best to venture out to another island to cut trees. You really need to find sheep... but sheep are rare in the skylands. You can sell stuff at town and buy wool, but town trips are dangerous. I did alright with my first base for about an hour... but then they found me! A few pirates had noticed me leaving town and spent that hour hunting in the direction I went. I had an iron sword at that point and managed to put up a fight. One of the pirates even fell to their death during the battle that ensued (no kill credit to me sadly)... and so I lost it all.

    If you are stuck at town with nothing, the best way to earn credits is killing monsters. Punch a few to death until you can buy materials for a stone sword. Then kill more until you can afford a ship. It isn't easy and food is expensive making it a struggle to even survive at that rate. The bridges leading to newbie islands are a trap of course... you'll be hunted on those islands. Town is safe... and night will bring opportunity.

    My next attempt at starting out went a lot better. I waited until night to leave and flew low, keeping under the islands. I escaped unnoticed and went much farther out to start my second base. Once decked in iron armor, wielding an iron axe with knockback power from skills, I was somebody. Pirates would have to risk a lot going after me then! I learned the patterns of other players. I was able to make return runs to town to sell off resources and stockpile credits (of which you only lose a portion on death). Eventually I was even able to acquire sheep and breed up a wool farm. Wool is the primary resource in the Skylands. Wool keeps you moving, keeps you alive.

    With resources to back me, RPG stats up to useful levels, and experience with the way people behave, I was able to start racking up kills myself... become the hunter instead of the hunted. Sure there are bigger fish in the sea and I lost some battles, but I was winning more. With a decent PVP standing, I got faction invites. I joined up with a group of good people I recognized from the PVE server...small at the time. We grew to become a formidable faction with a massive docking ring of ships, half stolen from others to keep as trophies.

    I will say I generally prefer PVE as a player. I realize now it is because in most games, PVP has no real risk. It becomes a worthless hassle then. With proper motivation though, PVP can become the most fun and interesting aspect of a game. I've had more fun with PVP in modded Minecraft than any other game... that is a truly sad testament to the state of persistance in MMOs. Minecraft isn't really an MMO even. The Skylands server generally had 20-80 players on at a time. I always wish for a proper AAA approach to something like that...

  15. #55
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    Sounds like DayZ for Minecraft, plus airships.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I've played a number of games that let you respec pretty much on demand. It's usually fantastic. Guildwars did this to great effect. Made playing with your build genuinely interesting which in turn made the click-fest combat more interesting in the same way that being able to tweak your deck makes even relatively dull games like MTG way more fun than they would be otherwise. You still had meaningful decisions to make during creation--which dual class to run--but beyond that you were free to flit about. It was a nice balance.
    Despite this, Guild Wars still had some significant progression. You could respec as desired, but gaining levels gave you more points to respec with, so there was still a feeling of character evolution.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squiz View Post
    Sounds like DayZ for Minecraft, plus airships.
    That is actually a good way to put it...

    I should, perhaps, mention that it takes a very dedicated staff to maintain that kind of grand arrangement, so such minecraft servers are rare and only exist for a year or so before falling apart. You'll usually have to wade through dozens of badly run servers or donation grabs to reach something special like that.

  18. #58
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FriendlyFire View Post
    Despite this, Guild Wars still had some significant progression. You could respec as desired, but gaining levels gave you more points to respec with, so there was still a feeling of character evolution.
    Indeed. And that progression was one-way--it expanded your possibilities without restricting them. Not that there's anything wrong with restriction, but some games restrict players almost out of a feeling of necessity just as some games throw in meaningless progression in the same way. Not every game needs progression, not every game needs freedom, not every game needs an open world ... it all needs to cohere properly. That's what matters. Genre is just a collective average of things that have cohered properly and/or been done very often before.
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

    You ruined his point by putting it in context thatís cheating -bull0

  19. #59
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    What annoys me about TESO is TES was pretty much an MMO waiting to happen. They had the big open sandbox world where you could go anywhere and do anything you wanted, for TESO they took all the good points out and stuck the bad points about modern MMOs in...

    Just a linear path through the whole game and no world PVP and no ability to even seen the enemy faction.

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelron View Post
    You're obviously a fan of the game, so please don't take this as an insult, but Darkfall and Shadowbane were both great concepts that turned into poor games.
    i havent played darkfall in years, in fact i havent played unholy wars at all (health, family, and work taking precedence in life atm, so i only have time for more casual game-play experiences), but i am a fan of all phenomenal games. some of my best friends are playing right now however, one of them recorded that "massive", second video in my previous post, and they are constantly sharing amazing stories with me. i have heard many times that the new "unholy wars" revamp of the game is even better than the original, especially now that theyre "fixing" the character development system. having played during the the launch of the initial darkfall, when everyone was on the same footing, was simply awesome.
    the devs did make some bad decisions for a couple years there, but supposedly that was because the majority of the team was busy packaging their revolutionary engine for sale to an asian studio. and revolutionary it is, what is going on in that video is nothing short of astounding; even more so when you consider that elsewhere on the map people are building boats, and houses, and delving dungeons, and hunting for buried treasure, and so on.. all in one, huge, hand-crafted world.
    i have single-handedly incited a war involving hundreds of unique individuals, taking place in simultaneous battles all across one of the most exquisite and massive online worlds ever created. although it was unintentional (warning: when planning for war, dont say the right thing at the right time but in the wrong chat channel), it was epic, and a memory that i will have for life. there are too few games that allow one to create real memories like this, not just artificial achievements, but they are out there. for some reason i feel obligated to inform people about them when they complain that there are no games really pushing the boundaries of a massively multiplayer experience.

    these games are more like mmo grand strategy games than rpg's, akin to eve online but with the spreadsheet feel replaced by player skill. that they are played from an rpg perspective is a testament to the brilliant scope with which they are engineered. these are in fact much more than games, they are truly persistent online worlds, that one can jump in and out of; social experiments that push technology to its limits. the darkfall engine was in development for almost a decade before being revealed to the public; and now that the devs are back onto the western release in full force the game is progressing by leaps and bounds: this is deducible from their forums and dev logs alone.

    dont worry about insulting me, while i may have a high self-esteem my ego isnt big enough to bruise, and i treasure the growth bred from opposition. intelligent debates with intelligent people are fun.

    shadowbane is another story, one that i have played much more recently, but given the time period in which it was in its heyday, the only complaint i could possibly imagine would be some minor engine inadequacies; which the advances in server technology between then and the emulator now have solved.
    that thousands of players can design, build, and demolish over a hundred of each others cities in one giant rpg world is amazing.
    hell, the sheer variety permitted in shadowbane, and yet how balanced it is, is an astonishing feat of design.
    i would be extremely curious to hear your faults with this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelron View Post
    I was in love with the concept of Darkfall pre-release, and I know people found a lot to enjoy in the game, but the barriers around the 'fun' were just too high. Between the rate of skill progression and the high speed twitchy combat, the amount of time investment required was insane.
    just like mastering chess: another game meant to be explored over half a lifetime; as opposed to the casual entertainment found in checkers. there is plenty of viability for both types of games. a lot of people appreciate a challenging level of depth and opportunity for personal growth. not all games need to be easy. the ones we are currently discussing are not checkers.. most of the people who enjoy them fell in love with them back in uo, or asherons call, or shadowbane: each basically an updated version of the competitive sandbox, where decisions can have dire consequences and lasting effects; and they have been playing them for years... they are chess.

    however it seems like you also havent checked out darkfall in quite some time, from what ive heard the barrier to entry has been drastically reduced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelron View Post
    I felt Mortal Online did a far better job of making an accessible game, with fast basic progression and slow specialisation, along with more Mount and Blade-style combat. But that ran into the perennial problem of niche MMOs - it simply did not have enough players to deliver on its promises. You could be fairly certain of finding a fight, but you'd struggle to buy any worthwhile items or resources on the open market. With so few people gathering and crafting, nearly all of it went straight to their own clan only.
    i actually agree with you on all points here, mo's only problem was being developed on the unreal engine, so characters started rubber-banding around if you got more than 20 on screen, and animals and mobs would just pop in out of thin air. the fact that darkfall and shadowbane do not suffer from these issues is again a testament to how brilliantly they are engineered.


    ultimately i couldnt agree with you more that accessibility is key. i am a user experience architect. however given the capabilities of these games, a bit of a barrier to entry and a steep learning curve are understandable, and acceptable.
    they really arent much different than both tabletop and video strategy games in this regard.

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