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Exploration Zones: an alternative to Raiding?

OrtwigOrtwig Cambridge, MAPosts: 1,159Member Uncommon

So, I saw the thread on end game content here, and it reminded me of a post I saw over on the TSW forums that got a lot of interest.  So an idea about what SPECIFIC kinds of things could be designed instead of, in addition to, or encompassing raids, that would be more interesting (and possibly more story based, and aimed at factions, groups and PvP) than simple gear grinding.  Posted below -- I though there was a lot of opportunity with the idea, and got many more ideas going...  thoughts?  flames?  nukes?  ;)

Posted by: ravnicor

Ok, so a lot of flak has been flying around about raids lately. Most of it has been along the lines of "herp derp raids are dumb/awesome". But the nay sayers don't really give a lot in the way of an alternative to raids other than "more missions please". Which is fine, but it isn't the time sink required to keep an mmo running for end game content.

So, here is a time sink option for the non raiding community. I lay no claim to this idea, funcom may user or ignore this as they please.

Exploration Zones. Throw together a zone with a crap ton of hidden lore and places to explore. We'll start with an artic zone as the first example:

Three small camps, one for each faction. Camps have a small number of repeatable quests that give you tokens. Spend tokens on exploration gear. Like flashlights, batteries, explosives to clear blocked tunnels, flares and markers. Don't allow maps or coordinates in the zone. Have a stacking timed debuff (like the wind gave you in Hell Fallen, but takes a good 10 minutes to kill you). Slow the debuff with winter gear, clear it with thermal packs. Have PBAOE items to encourage group exploration. Now, imagine investigation or archeology quests in this place. Exploring tunnels in the frozen mountains, finding ruins and broken cities in the deep places of the earth. Finding shards of lore that can be assembled with special crafting kits to learn unspeakable knowledge. Maybe a rare spawn mob or two. 

Think about it. Near infinite progression.

Explore the Hell Dimensions.
Agartha.
The Dream Scape.
The Artic Tundra (ala Mountains of Madness)
Maybe even explore Astral Space (like the animanaught last boss in Facility)

The possibilities are quite literally endless.

So, does anyone want to go exploring with me?

«13

Comments

  • moosecatlolmoosecatlol Boring, TXPosts: 1,171Member Uncommon

    I'd like to believe that in the future someone will be able to pull of an openworld content generator. Think minecraft sized exploration combined with an amazing visual engine.

     

    The early days of SWG were much like this, where many people did not have the experience/gear/combat experience to handle themselves on harder planets like Dathomir or Endor. So instead they would travel in groups, exploring caves and underground facilities, sometimes even finding a chest or two. CoH also had such a system with their hazard zones.

     

    The problem with these early forms of exploration is that time was the ultimate destroyer of this content. As more people explored every inch of a map, the wonderment of exploring things for yourself was lost.

    However if anyone were to be able to add something like a world generator to their triple A game, well the thought alone will leave one with lofty imagination full of glee.

     

    Of course Ravnicor has no idea the amount of work that he asking to be done with the words "Throw together a zone."

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    Hidden content systems I've seen run into two problems:

    1. google spoils any pre-scripted mystery

    2. player-created add-ons datamining any information the server gives the client to cut through the mystery and highlighting any points of interest.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ortwig

    So, I saw the thread on end game content here, and it reminded me of a post I saw over on the TSW forums that got a lot of interest.  So an idea about what SPECIFIC kinds of things could be designed instead of, in addition to, or encompassing raids, that would be more interesting (and possibly more story based, and aimed at factions, groups and PvP) than simple gear grinding.  Posted below -- I though there was a lot of opportunity with the idea, and got many more ideas going...  thoughts?  flames?  nukes?  ;)

    Posted by: ravnicor

    Ok, so a lot of flak has been flying around about raids lately. Most of it has been along the lines of "herp derp raids are dumb/awesome". But the nay sayers don't really give a lot in the way of an alternative to raids other than "more missions please". Which is fine, but it isn't the time sink required to keep an mmo running for end game content.

    So, here is a time sink option for the non raiding community. I lay no claim to this idea, funcom may user or ignore this as they please.

    Exploration Zones. Throw together a zone with a crap ton of hidden lore and places to explore. We'll start with an artic zone as the first example:

    Three small camps, one for each faction. Camps have a small number of repeatable quests that give you tokens. Spend tokens on exploration gear. Like flashlights, batteries, explosives to clear blocked tunnels, flares and markers. Don't allow maps or coordinates in the zone. Have a stacking timed debuff (like the wind gave you in Hell Fallen, but takes a good 10 minutes to kill you). Slow the debuff with winter gear, clear it with thermal packs. Have PBAOE items to encourage group exploration. Now, imagine investigation or archeology quests in this place. Exploring tunnels in the frozen mountains, finding ruins and broken cities in the deep places of the earth. Finding shards of lore that can be assembled with special crafting kits to learn unspeakable knowledge. Maybe a rare spawn mob or two. 

    Think about it. Near infinite progression.

    Explore the Hell Dimensions.
    Agartha.
    The Dream Scape.
    The Artic Tundra (ala Mountains of Madness)
    Maybe even explore Astral Space (like the animanaught last boss in Facility)

    The possibilities are quite literally endless.

    So, does anyone want to go exploring with me?

    I'll go exploring with you as long as we're the first ones through, otherwise it's a waste of time.

     

    When you come up with these ideas, don't walk through them in your head as the first person there. Walk through them as the 50,000th person who is also cognzanto of two things

    • - what the 50k before him did
    • - what the 50k after him will be able to experience
     
    You didn't think your cleared paths and discovered ruins through.

     

    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

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by moosecatlol

    I'd like to believe that in the future someone will be able to pull of an openworld content generator. Think minecraft sized exploration combined with an amazing visual engine.

    Looking forward to that day, as well.

    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

  • OrtwigOrtwig Cambridge, MAPosts: 1,159Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by maplestone

    Hidden content systems I've seen run into two problems:

    1. google spoils any pre-scripted mystery

    2. player-created add-ons datamining any information the server gives the client to cut through the mystery and highlighting any points of interest.

    But isn't that a problem with every game?  If Google destroys any fun or challenge the game might have,  would it not be an incentive to try figuring things out before Googling?  Part of the onus here would seem to be with the player, especially if he or she is looking for fun and challenge.  I hate higher level dudes "walking me through" dungeons, too.

    Not sure if randomness might help in this situation as well -- perhaps the event or discovery doesn't happen in the same place every time?

  • OrtwigOrtwig Cambridge, MAPosts: 1,159Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Ortwig

    So, I saw the thread on end game content here, and it reminded me of a post I saw over on the TSW forums that got a lot of interest.  So an idea about what SPECIFIC kinds of things could be designed instead of, in addition to, or encompassing raids, that would be more interesting (and possibly more story based, and aimed at factions, groups and PvP) than simple gear grinding.  Posted below -- I though there was a lot of opportunity with the idea, and got many more ideas going...  thoughts?  flames?  nukes?  ;)

    Posted by: ravnicor

    Ok, so a lot of flak has been flying around about raids lately. Most of it has been along the lines of "herp derp raids are dumb/awesome". But the nay sayers don't really give a lot in the way of an alternative to raids other than "more missions please". Which is fine, but it isn't the time sink required to keep an mmo running for end game content.

    So, here is a time sink option for the non raiding community. I lay no claim to this idea, funcom may user or ignore this as they please.

    Exploration Zones. Throw together a zone with a crap ton of hidden lore and places to explore. We'll start with an artic zone as the first example:

    Three small camps, one for each faction. Camps have a small number of repeatable quests that give you tokens. Spend tokens on exploration gear. Like flashlights, batteries, explosives to clear blocked tunnels, flares and markers. Don't allow maps or coordinates in the zone. Have a stacking timed debuff (like the wind gave you in Hell Fallen, but takes a good 10 minutes to kill you). Slow the debuff with winter gear, clear it with thermal packs. Have PBAOE items to encourage group exploration. Now, imagine investigation or archeology quests in this place. Exploring tunnels in the frozen mountains, finding ruins and broken cities in the deep places of the earth. Finding shards of lore that can be assembled with special crafting kits to learn unspeakable knowledge. Maybe a rare spawn mob or two. 

    Think about it. Near infinite progression.

    Explore the Hell Dimensions.
    Agartha.
    The Dream Scape.
    The Artic Tundra (ala Mountains of Madness)
    Maybe even explore Astral Space (like the animanaught last boss in Facility)

    The possibilities are quite literally endless.

    So, does anyone want to go exploring with me?

    I'll go exploring with you as long as we're the first ones through, otherwise it's a waste of time.

     

    When you come up with these ideas, don't walk through them in your head as the first person there. Walk through them as the 50,000th person who is also cognzanto of two things

    • - what the 50k before him did
    • - what the 50k after him will be able to experience
     
    You didn't think your cleared paths and discovered ruins through.

    Exactly.  So instead of building a static map with set locations and events, you build a POOL of locations and mobs and events that can appear in any particular instance or time.  That will reside there for a particular team as they travel through, and will be "sticky" with that team.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    Exploration should just be built into the game, rather than regulating certain zones for it.

    You make me like charity

  • OrtwigOrtwig Cambridge, MAPosts: 1,159Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by asmkm22
    Exploration should just be built into the game, rather than regulating certain zones for it.

    Absolutely, and I think every game should have an exploration element.  I think the suggestion here is that at higher difficulties, there might be an especially challenging zone that would require teamwork (and possibly competition) to explore.  I can certainly explore my neighborhood pretty easily by myself.  But exploring Antarctica, or the Moon or Atlantis would require a group effort.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ortwig
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Ortwig

    So, I saw the thread on end game content here, and it reminded me of a post I saw over on the TSW forums that got a lot of interest.  So an idea about what SPECIFIC kinds of things could be designed instead of, in addition to, or encompassing raids, that would be more interesting (and possibly more story based, and aimed at factions, groups and PvP) than simple gear grinding.  Posted below -- I though there was a lot of opportunity with the idea, and got many more ideas going...  thoughts?  flames?  nukes?  ;)

    Posted by: ravnicor

    Ok, so a lot of flak has been flying around about raids lately. Most of it has been along the lines of "herp derp raids are dumb/awesome". But the nay sayers don't really give a lot in the way of an alternative to raids other than "more missions please". Which is fine, but it isn't the time sink required to keep an mmo running for end game content.

    So, here is a time sink option for the non raiding community. I lay no claim to this idea, funcom may user or ignore this as they please.

    Exploration Zones. Throw together a zone with a crap ton of hidden lore and places to explore. We'll start with an artic zone as the first example:

    Three small camps, one for each faction. Camps have a small number of repeatable quests that give you tokens. Spend tokens on exploration gear. Like flashlights, batteries, explosives to clear blocked tunnels, flares and markers. Don't allow maps or coordinates in the zone. Have a stacking timed debuff (like the wind gave you in Hell Fallen, but takes a good 10 minutes to kill you). Slow the debuff with winter gear, clear it with thermal packs. Have PBAOE items to encourage group exploration. Now, imagine investigation or archeology quests in this place. Exploring tunnels in the frozen mountains, finding ruins and broken cities in the deep places of the earth. Finding shards of lore that can be assembled with special crafting kits to learn unspeakable knowledge. Maybe a rare spawn mob or two. 

    Think about it. Near infinite progression.

    Explore the Hell Dimensions.
    Agartha.
    The Dream Scape.
    The Artic Tundra (ala Mountains of Madness)
    Maybe even explore Astral Space (like the animanaught last boss in Facility)

    The possibilities are quite literally endless.

    So, does anyone want to go exploring with me?

    I'll go exploring with you as long as we're the first ones through, otherwise it's a waste of time.

     

    When you come up with these ideas, don't walk through them in your head as the first person there. Walk through them as the 50,000th person who is also cognzanto of two things

    • - what the 50k before him did
    • - what the 50k after him will be able to experience
     
    You didn't think your cleared paths and discovered ruins through.

    Exactly.  So instead of building a static map with set locations and events, you build a POOL of locations and mobs and events that can appear in any particular instance or time.  That will reside there for a particular team as they travel through, and will be "sticky" with that team.

    So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?

    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

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by Ortwig

    If Google destroys any fun or challenge the game might have,  would it not be an incentive to try figuring things out before Googling?

    Sure, and I've sometimes argued that people seeking harder game experiences should be handicapping themselves rather than waiting for developers to do it for them.  But let's face it, willingly ignoring information does make a qualitative difference.

    ( er .. that came out sounding a little more negative than I intended; I actually do like your idea )

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by moosecatlol

    I'd like to believe that in the future someone will be able to pull of an openworld content generator. Think minecraft sized exploration combined with an amazing visual engine.

    Randomly generated content that is as good as hand-generated content, or at least not all that much worse than hand-generated content, is the holy grail of MMORPG game design.

    It's actually a rather stupid thing for an AAA game to even try, as if you try and fail, your whole game is garbage.  An indie game could try it on a smaller budget as a way to avoid having to hand-design massive amounts of content.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ortwig

    Exactly.  So instead of building a static map with set locations and events, you build a POOL of locations and mobs and events that can appear in any particular instance or time.  That will reside there for a particular team as they travel through, and will be "sticky" with that team.

    A lot of levels in Spiral Knights are like that.  While they do get a fair bit of mileage out of it, once you've seen the same map chunk several times, it doesn't seem very random anymore.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,783Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?

    Not necessarily.

    If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore.

    Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion.

    Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close.

    The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.

  • laokokolaokoko TaipeiPosts: 2,003Member

    Sounds very good on paper.  In reality it don't work.  Explore means going place you never been before.  If you alerady been there once there's probably not many reason to go back.

    Only way it works is for random generated or player generated content which change everytime you go.

    And the grind for token thing before you can explore and do things you want is just a way to annoy the hell out of player.  You meant to tell me you have to grind content you don't want just to do content you want to do?  Ya that will be the players answer.

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by moosecatlol

    I'd like to believe that in the future someone will be able to pull of an openworld content generator. Think minecraft sized exploration combined with an amazing visual engine.

    Randomly generated content that is as good as hand-generated content, or at least not all that much worse than hand-generated content, is the holy grail of MMORPG game design.

    It's actually a rather stupid thing for an AAA game to even try, as if you try and fail, your whole game is garbage.  An indie game could try it on a smaller budget as a way to avoid having to hand-design massive amounts of content.

    Generally that is not how major innovations are created. The random generated content engin would be developed without a game attached to it and then after it was made to work well a AAA game would be built on top of the new technology.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,917Member Uncommon

    I'm a huge fan of exploration in general and I like it as an alternative to endgame questing.  It sure beats doing dailies over and over.

     

    However I would see it best applied in addition to raiding as an endgame activity.  I think endgames get dull because of lack of variety.  The more options, the better.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,762Member Uncommon
    Random 'zone' generation can be done well, look at Elite. But I am not sure how easy it would be to apply those principles to a MMO.
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?

    Not necessarily.

    If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore.

    Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion.

    Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close.

    The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.

    Ya think?  ;) 

     

    So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others.

     

    Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.

     

     

     

    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

  • laokokolaokoko TaipeiPosts: 2,003Member

    I definately think it'll work. 

    The way it work is the map isn't a "fixed" map.  when people wonder around they will see blizzard or fog or something like that, and they move around and voila new zone. 

    So for example if you keep moving in one direction from a camp you won't always go to the same area.  Make sense?  Since there is fog and blizzard everywhere, you are kind of lost in a sense, and you stumple to another area. 

     

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Quizzical Originally posted by Loktofeit So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?
    Not necessarily. If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore. Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion. Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close. The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.
    Ya think?  ;) 

    So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others.

    Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.

     




    Seeds are how Minecraft generates worlds. If you have a world's seed, you can generate the exact same world on your own computer or any other computer. The issue with Minecraft's world storage is the same issue that any game using that system would have; storing the modifications to the default generated environment.

    Even there, the OP was not talking Minecraft levels of terrain modification. Not too much area in each zone would be modified, so if you have a seed, and the list of things the players have changed (paths cleared, rubble removed, bridges built, etc.) then the storage could be reasonable. The hard part is taking a seed and generating a coherent zone on the fly. Even harder would be stitching zones together.

    The zones could be instanced zones, or they could be stitched together in an open world.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • OrtwigOrtwig Cambridge, MAPosts: 1,159Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?

    Not necessarily.

    If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore.

    Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion.

    Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close.

    The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.

    Ya think?  ;) 

    So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others.

    Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.

    It might be difficult, but I think the payoff could be huge.  If you think of sections of the zones as modules that can be placed randomly, and then each module made up of elements that make up a logical location, encounter or event, I think it could be done with a minimum of instancing.  You'll also need to somehow pair teams with those elements as they are generated, but those modules and elements would be fairly small, and only need to be saved as long as the group is exploring that module.  The question becomes, do those explored areas stay saved from that point on, or do the elements keep changing as you travel through the zone?

    Stuff that could go into a module:

    • mobs
    • location
    • weather event
    • boss
    • lair
    • raid entrance
    • dungeon entrance
    • safe area
    • relics (to be fought over oin PvP)
    • treacherous landscape (jumping, movement puzzle)
    • investigations/research
    • resource nodes
    The benefit of overcoming the challenge includes:
    • rare gear
    • rare resources
    • rare crafting recipes
    • adventure/questing seeds
     
  • KalestonKaleston TrinecPosts: 173Member

    Hmmm idea is good, but I'm afraid it's in realm of Utopia. Of course you can get random worlds and explore them... Anyone ever heard about Diablo? On a bit more serious note, this is what rogue games did. Problem is, this is fine setup for single player game. In MMO you want more... you don't want generic world with generic events. Most interesting things about the world are very special and interesting things somebody thought and implemented. It's usually piece of interesting story or piece of interesting puzzle. Even interesting boss goes in this category. But common ground here is "unique" experience. Exploring in world, where nothing is unique and everything is generated would be ... well Diablo like experience.

    I don't hink we will ever be able to teach computers to "think", to "create" in real means of these words. And for a person to create quality content, it will ALWAYS mean, players will consume the content faster than anybody can create it.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Originally posted by Loktofeit So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?
    Not necessarily. If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore. Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion. Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close. The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.
    Ya think?  ;) 

     

    So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others.

    Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.

     



    Seeds are how Minecraft generates worlds. If you have a world's seed, you can generate the exact same world on your own computer or any other computer. The issue with Minecraft's world storage is the same issue that any game using that system would have; storing the modifications to the default generated environment.

    Even there, the OP was not talking Minecraft levels of terrain modification. Not too much area in each zone would be modified, so if you have a seed, and the list of things the players have changed (paths cleared, rubble removed, bridges built, etc.) then the storage could be reasonable. The hard part is taking a seed and generating a coherent zone on the fly. Even harder would be stitching zones together.

    The zones could be instanced zones, or they could be stitched together in an open world.

     

    I know how Minecraft works. You're completely dismissing what the OP wants, as that is what adds the rather sizable hurdles and extensive work to the system:

    • hidden lore
    • places to explore
    • archaeology quests
    • finding ruins
    • clearing blocked tunnels
    Yes, you can type in four numbers and have some massive mystic wonderland appear. No one says you can't. Now that has to be populated, and the devs have to make it so that clearing the logs from the road delivers something beyond logs that just respawn five minutes later (GW2) or a singleplayer/small group repeatable instance (LOTRO storyline).The devs have to create this hidden content that is still 'hidden' after the first month of release. Or have new archaeological finds in the same zone after 100,000 people have already excavated/analyzed/explored the same exact area that month. While i enjoy the exploration content of scannign systems in EVE, it seems the OP is asking for more than that, preferrably on land.
     
    Creating the zone is the easy part. Creating the mechanics for exploration content is pretty difficult because discovery/exploration content in an MMO either violates the persistence or is reduced in impact/appeal for the second (and thrid, fourth, fifth, etc) wave of players.
     
    That is why I say to walk through it, not as the first guy wandering in wide-eyed and new to the realm, but as the umpteen thousandth guy to walk into that zone. The difficult part is creating a zone of exploration content that is just as fun and meaningful as the exploration content the first guy who set foot there had.
     
    The consensus here is more than likely that the devs don't do because they're lazy, non-gamers. The truth is it is a massive headache trying put ongoing discovery content in a persistent state world where every day there are new people arriving to do the content that millions before them have done.

    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

  • EnerzealEnerzeal WarringtonPosts: 326Member
    Stop approaching MMOs as having an end game, suddenly the issue evaporates. No game should be supported by raiding instances, it's proven to fail in most cases. WoW is one of the few games that supports a large end game only because it gave birth to the idea of end game due to its incredibly quick pace of leveling.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by lizardbones   Originally posted by Loktofeit Originally posted by Quizzical Originally posted by Loktofeit So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?
    Not necessarily. If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore. Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion. Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close. The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.
    Ya think?  ;)    So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others. Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.  
    Seeds are how Minecraft generates worlds. If you have a world's seed, you can generate the exact same world on your own computer or any other computer. The issue with Minecraft's world storage is the same issue that any game using that system would have; storing the modifications to the default generated environment. Even there, the OP was not talking Minecraft levels of terrain modification. Not too much area in each zone would be modified, so if you have a seed, and the list of things the players have changed (paths cleared, rubble removed, bridges built, etc.) then the storage could be reasonable. The hard part is taking a seed and generating a coherent zone on the fly. Even harder would be stitching zones together. The zones could be instanced zones, or they could be stitched together in an open world.  
    I know how Minecraft works. You're completely dismissing what the OP wants, as that is what adds the rather sizable hurdles and extensive work to the system:
    • hidden lore
    • places to explore
    • archaeology quests finding ruins clearing blocked tunnels
    Yes, you can type in four numbers and have some massive mystic wonderland appear. No one says you can't. Now that has to be populated, and the devs have to make it so that clearing the logs from the road delivers something beyond logs that just respawn five minutes later (GW2) or a singleplayer/small group repeatable instance (LOTRO storyline).The devs have to create this hidden content that is still 'hidden' after the first month of release. Or have new archaeological finds in the same zone after 100,000 people have already excavated/analyzed/explored the same exact area that month. While i enjoy the exploration content of scannign systems in EVE, it seems the OP is asking for more than that, preferrably on land.   Creating the zone is the easy part. Creating the mechanics for exploration content is pretty difficult because discovery/exploration content in an MMO either violates the persistence or is reduced in impact/appeal for the second (and thrid, fourth, fifth, etc) wave of players.   That is why I say to walk through it, not as the first guy wandering in wide-eyed and new to the realm, but as the umpteen thousandth guy to walk into that zone. The difficult part is creating a zone of exploration content that is just as fun and meaningful as the exploration content the first guy who set foot there had.   The consensus here is more than likely that the devs don't do because they're lazy, non-gamers. The truth is it is a massive headache trying put ongoing discovery content in a persistent state world where every day there are new people arriving to do the content that millions before them have done.


    Dang, you seem kind of cranky today.

    I get the idea of walking through something, but there has to be a starting point. You have to at least have an idea to start with so that you have something to walk through.

    Instanced or Open? If Open, are zones laid out in a Checkerboard Pattern or using Hexagons? Designed, Procedurally Generated or a Mix? If Designed, does an Open Zone system make sense at all? For that matter, how big will the zones be?

    None of this ignores what the OP wants. It is possible to procedurally generate a zone with ruins, fortresses, hidden tunnels, underground rivers and secret caches of stuff for rewards. It's perfectly reasonable to think that later additions can be made so the future content created procedurally will be new. It's also reasonable to think that you could have a main puzzle, that once solved locks the zone for any future changes and builds a fast travel system through that zone. Even better, you could have the player own that zone, perhaps leading to some sort of PvP system for keeping or taking land.

    You would run into issues with repetition in the exploration. This is a big issue with Minecraft. Yes, it generates new stuff, but all the new stuff looks like all the old stuff, just in a slightly different layout. You don't want the same fortress popping up in two or three different zones. Something needs to be done to procedurally modify the fortresses in each zone. Some of the traps in the fortress might be the same, but the layouts need to vary somewhat. The developer is still going to be doing work generating new puzzles to add to the system. It's not going to be a build it once and forget it kind of thing.

    It may or may not be reasonable to expect that this type of thing would fulfill the needs to players who constantly want new content, but it's not unreasonable to think that a certain kind of content can be generated procedurally. It would be unreasonable to think the developer could start it running and then never update it. Players would just as quickly exhaust the available content, just as they do now. It might be reasonable to think a developer could add new types of content to a system that generates zones procedurally.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

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