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PVE needs a complete rethink

calranthecalranthe stoke on trentPosts: 356Member

When I play eve the most fun I have had involves player versus player conflict, it never really gets old for me because you are fighting an enemy who will adapt or do really stupid things but it has never become samey or boring.

If I look back at most of the pve mmo games that I have played everything seems dumbed down and stale, now do not get me wrong EVE is pretty much the only game I ever pvp in most other games restrict pvp too much but that is not what this post is about.

Let me make a statement

PVE as in player versus enviroment should be the greatest adventure any player can get involved in.

Now let me qualify that statement.

When the best of the counter strike bots came out they had to be toned down because as computer oponents they never missed and reaction times were pretty much instant so they were dumbed down.

For the longest time developers have been dumbing down computer oponents because they believe rightly so most of us can not handle what they could give us.

Would you like the following

An npc that learns, that can simulate a grudge or vengeance against you, that could track you down, train himself up and adapt its play style to beat you, an npc who could break into your house, steal your items and set you challenges "You find a note, while you were sleeping I took all your money from your bank, want it back meet me in the eldran forest at 3pm", stalk you while you chat with your friends, interrupt your party even find out the  people you usually group with and begin taking them on and an ability to respawn in exactly the same way you do.

Impossible ?

2001 a mud called EoM we created pfiles for npcs (a Pfile is the file a player has on the server it is your save file) the scripts were simple and never matched the length or process time used by a player file, no real load was put on the server.

Only a very few npc in the game world were tested with the code but it was interesting to see the result, you hadto actually perform an act against the npc to begin its memory and grudge routine, we are not talking the simplified and shallow nemesis of CO, it would begin to track you, keep a list of your friends, your haunts, favoured weapons and ability, checks were made to see if it had the ability to learn counter moves.

After testing sadly we decided not to impliment the system but the best example was this email from a tester, edited and sumerized to protect the scared

"Remove from test please!, I logged back on this morning and roger (npc name) had defaced my entire house do you %^££ realize how many months it took for me to create that place, my bank account is empty and the town guards have me on -10, seems because I ignored that bastard for two nights it had me framed for murder!!!!!!, my friends won't group with me tired of being backstabbed while in talos hills and the traps and notes are wrong"

When we reviewed the logs between fits of laughter and various "wth" statements the npc had followed the sabotage/hunter script set, knew where the guy leveled with his group so with the methodical nature of a machine script it trapped an entire area of the game and using disguise it commited crimes in his name all while he was sleeping away from game it even followed the merc optional and hired roving gangs of normal npc to attack him on sight.

Can you imagine having an mmo with just a few npc mobs like this maybe retired generals or iconic bounty hunters.

Am I wrong to still believe your average pve player could not handle this chance of real risk and danger, maybe pvp players would be able to adapt and fight this kind of threat easier.

Comments

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,638Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by calranthe

    Am I wrong to still believe your average pve player could not handle this chance of real risk and danger, maybe pvp players would be able to adapt and fight this kind of threat easier.

    It's not that they can't handle it, it's that it doesn't fit with why they are PvEing. PvE is a means to an end in most games. Players are killing mobs to get loot, to level their characters or to complete a dungeons. Killing the mob isn't the goal.

    To change how PvE (specifically, PvM) is designed, the goal must first be shifted to completion of the individual encounter being the goal.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    PvE does need a complete and total rethink - but it's not really the systems it's the philosophy that needs work.

    The systems are just a manifestation of the philosophy set to code and hard numbers.

    The philosophy of modern PvE in MMOs is completely and totally outdated.

     

    The philosophy of modern PvE is all about player retention through artificial gating and grind-based reward over time systems.

    Where is the sense of scale? The global conflict? The reason to fight not just what you get when the fight's over.

     

    A lot of PvP games are having this problem too - PvP is pointless time sink as well. Only a few games does PvP actually matter for anything.

     

    PvE needs to be updated with Risk / Reward that is tangible not just punitive punishment for failure - death penalties are NOT the answer.

    The closest glimmer of hope I have seen was with Tabula Rasa and the actual cooperative player WARFARE against a united NPC faction (the Bane) for territorial control and capture of game resources.

    But they didn't take it far enough and instead focused on more throw away quests and the game failed hard.

    I believe EvE tried something similar with PvE Incursions but they once again didn't take it far enough - still 100% focused on the PvP front.

    Why not apply the territorial and resource control of EvE's PvP in null sec to PvE?

    That is the next step.

    Not story, not "dynamic" events - but truly dynamic warfare against a semi-intelligent united PvE faction.

    Pushing the front lines should open up or lose access to stuff like instanced dungeons and/or raids. But entirely open world territorial control/capture against an foe that will actually whoop the players and take control of entire regions if they are not opposed.

    Kid gloves need to come off of PvE folks.

    No quests and quest hubs. No "dynamic events" that are really just repeatable scripts.

    This is the PvE I imagined we'd see when 10 years ago I was looking forward towards the future of this genre.

    I don't want to tell more stories about "that one time in raid X where Bob pulled too soon."

    I want to tell stories about the Battle for Trinsic... the last stand at Stormwind... the Sacking of Lion's Arch...

    It doesn't MATTER if you aren't online for every major battle - these aren't one time events... these are conflicts in an ever changing world...

    That is what MMO PvE should be.

  • MaephistoMaephisto somewhere, DCPosts: 632Member

    Nice work fellas, this is some good reading.

    I agree with spock, the kids gloves needs to come off for PvE.  I agree with everything he said actually. 

    The scenario OP describe also seemed really cool as well.  Although, I dont know how they could implement this in a modern MMO though.

    image

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by Maephisto

    Nice work fellas, this is some good reading.

    I agree with spock, the kids gloves needs to come off for PvE.  I agree with everything he said actually. 

    The scenario OP describe also seemed really cool as well.  Although, I dont know how they could implement this in a modern MMO though.

    OP's thing sounds like AI scripted griefing - not cool. No one will ever go for that.

    Being forced to be online for a ridiculous portion of your RL time in order to protect yourself and assets from players griefers was terrible enough of an idea, but NPC griefers is an ever worse idea.

    I have no idea if what I wrote it even technologically possible.

    Can that kind of game even be coded?

     

  • calranthecalranthe stoke on trentPosts: 356Member
    Originally posted by Maephisto

    Nice work fellas, this is some good reading.

    I agree with spock, the kids gloves needs to come off for PvE.  I agree with everything he said actually. 

    The scenario OP describe also seemed really cool as well.  Although, I dont know how they could implement this in a modern MMO though.

    Most modern mmo evolved from muds, the main difference being the client side gui in the back end it is mostly the same, how we did it was a library of routines npcs could call upon.

    I think we can all agree we need a change, it has become way too much about the loot and nolonger about the achievement.

    I crave the feeling of achievement, to face off against an adaptable enemy, to log on to the mmo wondering what challenges are ahead.

    Very early on in games these days it just becomes a raid grind for better equipment, I want a pve enemy that scares me and forces me to adapt and improve, that challenges me even when I am not ready, fair is for church.

    Coders learnt early on that card games presented the best challenge if the computer player was allowed to cheat and know atleast some of your cards.

    I want an mmo where 4 years after I first logged on the code base can still kick my ass if I do not have my eyes open.

  • MaephistoMaephisto somewhere, DCPosts: 632Member

    Just like Loktofeit said, PvE is a means to an end for me.  For me, I have to grind through PvE content so that I can participate in massive PvP.   This is why I am an advocate for OWPvP.  It makes the leveling process more enjoyable when your questing purposefully sends you towards the enemy.

    What Spock described sounded really fun from a PvE standpoint.  Something like that would make an entire MMO enjoyable for me.  Maybe it will be technologically possible 5 years from now.  Wasnt GW2's DE system kinda a precursor to what Spock described, just on a much larger scale? 

    There really isnt much I can add to this conversation, just saying I enjoyed reading your posts.  Those ideas sounded like a lot of fun.

    image

  • dave6660dave6660 New York, NYPosts: 2,543Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    PvE needs to be updated with Risk / Reward that is tangible not just punitive punishment for failure - death penalties are NOT the answer.

    The closest glimmer of hope I have seen was with Tabula Rasa and the actual cooperative player WARFARE against a united NPC faction (the Bane) for territorial control and capture of game resources.

    But they didn't take it far enough and instead focused on more throw away quests and the game failed hard.

    How do you create risk if you're taking punishment off the table?  The nature of taking a risk or gamble is that there is something to lose if things don't go your way.  It can't just be not getting a reward.  The temporary debuffs and fixable durability losses that are used today are trivial risks.  If that's all the risk being taken then the rewards should be equally temporary / trivial.

    I never tried Tabula Rasa so I can't relate to your example.

    Trying to do something similar to Eve but with an NPC faction as the "bad guy" would be really tough.  We all know every game has a small group of players who will blow through the game in the first week.  If they annhilate the NPC faction within a week then what does everybody else do?

     

    “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
    -- Herman Melville

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    I think you underestimate just how bad the avg player really is....and how unwilling they are to admit it. Games getting dumned down are for the people playing them..no other reason.

    It's always frustrating to be good at something and have it made too easy because you're told " people can't handle that"  You sit back and think...but this is mindless any idiot can do it....until you watch some idiot not able to do it.

    I learned some very ugly lesson about people, playing world of tanks. A game that should be very simple to learn the basics. Thousands of games in you still watch people doing the same dumb things and complaining about the game being broken.

    The larger the market gets the worse this type of thing will be. If you're good at games, you'll always have to suffer that feeling that the game was designed for a 5 year old because more than 50% of the people playing probably struggle with the dificulty it's at now.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by dave6660
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    PvE needs to be updated with Risk / Reward that is tangible not just punitive punishment for failure - death penalties are NOT the answer.

    The closest glimmer of hope I have seen was with Tabula Rasa and the actual cooperative player WARFARE against a united NPC faction (the Bane) for territorial control and capture of game resources.

    But they didn't take it far enough and instead focused on more throw away quests and the game failed hard.

    How do you create risk if you're taking punishment off the table?  The nature of taking a risk or gamble is that there is something to lose if things don't go your way.  It can't just be not getting a reward.  The temporary debuffs and fixable durability losses that are used today are trivial risks.  If that's all the risk being taken then the rewards should be equally temporary / trivial.

    I never tried Tabula Rasa so I can't relate to your example.

    Trying to do something similar to Eve but with an NPC faction as the "bad guy" would be really tough.  We all know every game has a small group of players who will blow through the game in the first week.  If they annhilate the NPC faction within a week then what does everybody else do?

    Well you have to make the NPC faction actually a threat - not just mindless / dumb NPCs you can easily grind down into extinction or zerg rush and blow up their bases.

    I'm talking a different kind of punishment than harsh death penalties. Harsh death penalties were used to artificially lengthen the play experience so the devs could get more money out of you - and because the games of old had so little content they had to make everything take forever or people would be done in a week (which is still a problem now that things are too easy!)

    I'm talking punishment like... because you and your buddies were late to the battle and played poorly - the kingdoms of all the players on the server lost control of and now access to one of the most resource rich regions in the world...

    And because of that, the enemy is now better armed and equipped and has begun marching on your holdings and now a friendly guild just lost their player-built keep to the onslaught of the newly invigorated enemy hordes...

    You know, snowballing effect or "butterfly effect" which does indeed happen in some Sandbox games (EvE) but never in PvE.

    PvE is a 10+ year old joke in MMOs.

    You either grind mobs or grind dungeons/raids - all for gear or looks or both - the same thing we've been doing since UO/EQ.

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