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Dungeons & Dragons Online: Q&A #2

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

David Eckelberry is the Lead Game Systems Designer for Turbine Entertainment's Dungeons & Dragons Online. Today, he answers five questions from Staff Writer David Souza about the upcoming MMORPG. This is the second in a bi-weekly series of Q&As with the development team.




image MMORPG.com: With the real time combat system you are implementing, how do you plan to include feats like Cleave and Power Attack?

David Eckelberry: Tackling some feats is easy, especially when the pen-and-paper implementation is directly transferable to our medium. Power Attack, for example, doesn’t need any real change. It’s a mode the player goes into; while in this mode, the character hits less often, but does more damage when he hits. No problem. A lot of feats meet this sort of direct application.

But some don’t. DD Online’s combat system doesn’t make use of some pen-and-paper elements, largely thanks to being an online role-playing game. We aren’t turn-based, we don’t have “rounds” of combat, and thus Cleave can’t give you an extra attack in a round that you down a foe. When examining feats such as these, my goal is to produce the intent of the original feat (or skill or effect), while making the necessary adaptation for good videogame play. In the specific example of Cleave, use of this feat allows the character to make an area effect melee attack in a small arc in front of the character.

Thank you David. Readers can check out all five questions here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

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Comments

  • webshooterwebshooter SAn Francisco, CAPosts: 2Member

    Maybe I'm missing something about the death system. It sounds like unless you are adventuring with at least one other player character, or you happen to die sufficiently close enough to a resurrection shrine or zone border (or 'city'), you are stuck as a ghost.

    This can't actually be the case, right? I know that a lot of the MMOs are pushing player toward grouping in an attempt to artificially inflate the sense of community within the game, but there are still a _lot_ of players that prefer to solo play a majority of their time. Surely DDO isn't going to leave a solo player stuck as a ghost for some indeterminate period of time?

    -webshooter

  • BrynnBrynn Albuquerque, NMPosts: 345Member
    I know experience loss is a D&D staple, but I think most of us dislike it and prefer other death penalties. I hope it isn't too aggravating. Will we lose a level if we are just new into it?
  • ToldinToldin Beaverton, ORPosts: 1Member

    "Will we lose a level if we are just new into it?"

    As per his answer in the questions;

    "The amount of XP lost is far less than a total level as it is in the pen-and-paper game."

    So while some might find it aggravating I think its alot better then say losing all your equipment, gold, etc. Personally I feel it should be like pen and paper dnd with great benefits to staying alive, and harsh penalties for dieing. That will stop people from charging ahead thinking they are, forgive the leet speak, the "uberest of them all".

  • BerndrBerndr LondonPosts: 185Member
    i am getting bord of this (ghost) evrquest or wow -like death penality its sucs and its just boring
  • netboyznetboyz Carlsbad, CAPosts: 46Member

    He answered the high level raid content question with merely a "Yes."

    Well, expand upon that!  Geez.  Somehow, since D&D Online is now only levels 1-10 instead of 1-20, the high level content won't be in for quite some time.

  • AnofalyeAnofalye Quebec, QCPosts: 7,433Member

    Raiding?  Yes.

    Okay, now if you want me to panic, to run around in circles, to scream that the end of the world is coming SOON, you could not have choosen a better answer.  Yes.  But yes what?  Will you screw non-raiders like they all do?  By default, I assume YES!  However, it may be exactly because they are doing a side game that focus on raiding only that dont affect non-raiders...who know?

    Maybe I should just freaking leave the online games for 10 years and come back AFTER they mature and understand what it mean to not screw their players.  I swear, some folks at SoE have no clue about how badly raiding screw all the rest of the game, then everyone else like to act just as cluelessly!

    Raiding dont have any link, in any form, to what D&D is.  A raid was wipe much more easier by dragons then a single hero, no matter if I think about DragonLance or Drizzt or Elminster, soloers always does better then raids...I have nothing against raiding, as long as it dont step on my grouping and soloing area!  If it does, I change product!

    Damn, shot me someone!

    - "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - Ren

  • wolphwolph Phx, AZPosts: 46Member



    Originally posted by webshooter

    Maybe I'm missing something about the death system. It sounds like unless you are adventuring with at least one other player character, or you happen to die sufficiently close enough to a resurrection shrine or zone border (or 'city'), you are stuck as a ghost.
    This can't actually be the case, right? I know that a lot of the MMOs are pushing player toward grouping in an attempt to artificially inflate the sense of community within the game, but there are still a _lot_ of players that prefer to solo play a majority of their time. Surely DDO isn't going to leave a solo player stuck as a ghost for some indeterminate period of time?
    -webshooter



    I was wondering the same thing.

    image

  • fansedefansede Raleigh, NCPosts: 960Member

    Raids in D&D?

    I vaguely remember AD&D campaign type games where you play either a field commander do battlefield stuff. However, I do not recall a game module that required 20+ players to camp a dragon for hours on end to get a random uber drop.

    There were always a means to figure out to win the mission without such measures. Leave the raiding to the Evercamps and the ilk.

    Make DDO a game that requires skill or intense information gathering to learn how to complete the adventure.

    If you want a massive multiplayer feel , set up a battlegrounds or war type mission where hundreds of players can strategize against each other (or the AI) to complete tasks. Raid a castle and its inhabitants, but throw in random traps and strategic defenses that thwart the braun approach. Once the castle is cleaned out, the guild keeps it for a prize (Dark Age of Camelot is a good model)

    I've always wondered why that endgame mob would sit there and allow itself to be pulverized by an army of players for hours on end to deplete its million hit poins.

    I was hoping DDO does not go this route..

  • darquenbladedarquenblade Anderson, INPosts: 1,015Member



    Originally posted by netboyz

    He answered the high level raid content question with merely a "Yes."
    Well, expand upon that!  Geez.  Somehow, since D&D Online is now only levels 1-10 instead of 1-20, the high level content won't be in for quite some time.



    Umm..where the heck have you read that DDO is now only levels 1-10? I think you're wrong on that one.
  • ArKaneArKane Brooklyn, NYPosts: 55Member Uncommon

    As of right now, their faq page still says the lvl limit is 20. So unless they've said something different in an interview/dev chat/forum post and havent updated it.....

  • MetalslaveMetalslave MalmoePosts: 4Member

    I never had much faith in D&D being treated right when the inevitable MMOG became a reality and these Q&A sessions makes for depressing reading. There will be no freedom to roam around and explore the world. The combat system is different. The magic system is different. Death, feats and racial abilities, different. I'm assuming the list will continue as the Q&A sessions do.

    Is there anything other than the logo to suggest that this is actually D&D?

  • RattrapRattrap ZagrebPosts: 1,599Member

    There are few things I really like(d) about D&D online

    First of instancing and small community build. Because it actually makes the game more social.
    And it does make it more D&D quest like.

    But then we get the tick based combat. It is great - but hey! Not in first D&D online game! Go experiment somewhere else!

    I want all my D&D classes , 20 levels + epic. Prestigue classes , all skills and feats!

    Why can they realise that D&D is great system - It works , it is playertested , and people adore it!
    ::::08::

    Ah well , or should we wait for NWN2 it will be much better anyway

    "Before this battle is over all the world will know that few...stood against many." - King Leonidas

  • BrynnBrynn Albuquerque, NMPosts: 345Member
    Gee, we are all being so negative here. Let's give DDO developers a chance to prove themselves. Remember, too, a paper and pencil game won't transfer to an MM0 without some tweaks. Most of us have played and enjoyed the Baldur's Gate series, but they were single player games and not viable for an MMO. Morrowind was well done as an MMO and many players loved it. Now these developers are trying to even improve on that game.
  • MetalslaveMetalslave MalmoePosts: 4Member

    I think there's a difference between tweaking something and ripping out everything that defined it in the first place. Don't get me wrong, if they can surprise with a good game and pull me in, then I will be very happy, but so far it doesn't sound very good at all. Currently, I'm not sure why this has to be subscription-based at all. The only point where it will be Massive Multiplayer is in the cities and villages where you actually get to interact with other players and form a party. That could have been solved without turning it into a MMOG, but there is big money in MMOG's and slapping the D&D logo on the box more or less guarantees success.

  • AnofalyeAnofalye Quebec, QCPosts: 7,433Member

    A chance to prove themselves?

     

    They are heading for a wall, and it is gonna hurt.  Ghetto example:

     

    Cleave:  They are going to make your next melee attack an AE melee strike in a little cute looking arc.  (This dont allow to stack an extra attack on 1 target, it is only good against weaks opponents that can be down in 1 blow)

     

    2 solutions that even tiny me think of:

     

    What they could have done with Cleave: 

    - Your character execute a kick (eh, you know the kick move that is lost for so long that we all remember a DM giving to a player here or there in our early game), you dont select an opponent, but at least it is immediate and you can attack whoever is damaged by your kick right after, it is almost as good as cleave is in PnP (and yes, for once the kick damage can be your full melee damage when it is a cleave kick).

    - Your next attack could automatically deal double damage if done in a fixed time limit(can be improved with a feat like sidestep).  Also, should you have been damage by a mob you kill with that attack, the blow was superficial and you regain the lost HPs.

     

    This talking about Cleave led us to think about...

     

    WTF will they do with multiples attacks, how bad will they mess that?  I dont want to even start thinking about it, but if I am to make an assumption based on what they displays so far, they are going to screw it completely!

     

    *shrug*  They may fast talk Atari & Wizard of the Coast easily and have the best selling team on earth, it dont help them on the Designers department!  Especially if Wizard of the Coast bump random request like:  ''You must include raiding in a form or another!''  And there you are, with a Design team who have no idea what to do.

     

    Oh well...I still WANT to believe in this product!

    - "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - Ren

  • KurayaminoKurayamino RosmalenPosts: 5Member

    Imo, your suggestions for Cleave aren't muchr better then how ddo handles them.

    As for changing dnd pen and paper to dnd online, ofcourse they had to change. They didn't want to implement spell points, but they found out after playtesting they HAD to. I'm pretty sure they want to make everything as much as pnp dnd as possible, since thats what their players (read: buyers) want as well. But when your converting dnd to online dnd, you have to make some sacrifices or it simply won't work.

    As far as I know, there has been no statements that there will be no non-instanced zones besides the city. Although I can't understand why you would really need that desperatly, in Guild Wars having just the city's as non-instanced works like a charm, and negates alot of typical MMO flaws. (kill stealing, mob camping, long walking times etc..)

    I say don't overreact on your fear that it won't be 'like real pnp dnd' but check it out with an open mind when the game comes out. (or open beta or whatever)

  • jus42jus42 texas, TNPosts: 2Member

    how u play these games

     

  • jus42jus42 texas, TNPosts: 2Member
    how u play these games
  • Tweedle42Tweedle42 massillon, OHPosts: 4Member

    i believe he says if you die your soul becomes attached to a soulstone on the ground there. and you can wait and be picked up by a player, who would have to be in the instance with you since its all instanced, and take it to a resurrection ::::30:: shrine within the dungeon, like a bind point in a dungeon that your party members have to deliver you to.

    also, he said you can travel from your soulstone a short distance as a ghost. with that it seems you could drag mobs back to near a shrine, and continue to resurrect yourself and throw yourself at a mob if you wanted to take some exp loss over and over.

    also, also... if you dont want to solo-zerg ::::01::5 a monster, you can "release" back to town. and find a friend.

    one other thing, if your limited range ghost-walk becomes linked to the carrying player. an intrepid adventurer could scout rooms ahead of the party with teamspeak or such. unless the mobs are triggered by someone walking in the room or something.

    so.. you dont get "stuck" as a ghost, no. ::::05::

  • CamyllibCamyllib Nashville, TNPosts: 57Member
    Remember that DDO is a game that requires grouping from the way I understand it.  Hopefully there will be a good system to find like minded adventurers and at the same time end the "solo" mentality.  Who plays D&D by themself?

    Why?

  • AnofalyeAnofalye Quebec, QCPosts: 7,433Member



    Originally posted by Kurayamino

    Imo, your suggestions for Cleave aren't muchr better then how ddo handles them.




    The point is that in 5 minutes, I think of 2 suggestions that would work better for cleave then what they do, maybe not MUCH better, but still better...in a mere 5 minutes...and it is only me, not a team.  I aint paid for this (the kick is challenging for the Graphic department(like the AE melee they dar epropose), and the other solution mean more programming work).  Yet, my suggestion at least respect the spirit of Cleave and the impact rulewise a LOT better then their messy way of handling cleave!

     

    And I could just keep going on with others choices they made.

     

    I still WANT DDO to be nice...and well, I dont think I overeact...I have been quieting folks, telling them ''DIE HERETICS" for like 6 months every time they mess up something badly and folks here say they dont like DDO...but eventually, there is a limit to the blind faith I can have in a team.

     

    - Real time...*sigh*  fine...

    - No XP for killing mobs...*shrug*, if you must.

    - Soloers wont find this game fun...ok, can deal with that even if computers D&D products where always solo friendly.

    - The death system dont feel or ressemble D&D in any form... Oh well, to bad.

    - Eberron...I would pick at least 6 others world before this setting, but sure, why not.

    - Cleave and other silly examples...are we even talking about the same game?

    - Rogue as massive melee damage...did the Designers fall on their heads?

    - Raiding!  But no explanation, no clarification, which mean they will just do what every setting with raiding does, shaft non-raiders!  Ok, now this is to much!  To arms fellow fans!  CRY HAVOC!   image

    - "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - Ren

  • IstivanIstivan Hudsonville, MIPosts: 5Member

    Although a great interview, he politicianed a couple of questions.

    How are they going to deal with Cleave?  He never really answered.  As he never really answered darkvision.

    I am sure I will soon enough find out when I begin playing, just do not like it when a good question gets skirted.

  • Jade6Jade6 HelsinkiPosts: 429Member

    Death penalty is a huge mistake. This is not like PnP in the sense that you automatically start out with a group of friends you can trust - in online games you start off with total strangers, hoping they prove to be reliable enough to group with again. We already saw in Everquest2 how much friction things like this can cause, I know a good dozen people who quit it mainly because of the exp debt system and its effects on game play and community. I don't know what keeps some people playing it, but everyone I have told about the exp debt system thinks it's the "most gay" thing in the online gaming universe.

    Other than that, I'm with the DnD development team 100%. Screw PvP and solo players, they already have like a gazillion games available to them while I can count good group play games with the fingers of one hand. DnD ever only existed for cooperative group play, so that's what this game should be.

     

  • AnofalyeAnofalye Quebec, QCPosts: 7,433Member

    Cleave, as they deal with it, bring another new problem in itself.

     

    Why would someone take Whirlwind attack?  You attack everyone around you (once) and lose your multiples attacks.  Or you can use that new cleave feat which make you do an AE melee attack in front of you and dont remove your multiples attacks (if cleave remove your multiples attacks, it is a serious nerf, instead of adding 1 attack here and there, it is now removing tons of attacks).

     

    And we dont even start to consider the improve(s) to Cleave (Great Cleave or supreme cleave).

     

    Whirlwind attack require you to take a heavy list of prime requisite feats as well...Cleave ask you for Power Attack, this is it, you can get cleave at level 1(any warrior or any human with a power base attack of +1 at level 1).  A level 1 feat making a level 12 feat useless? 

     

    I dont say they cant work around this, but their are walking MUCH farther away from PnP everytime they do such silly choices, because now Whirlwind will not feel like PnP either if they find a way to make it nice and a "end feat" as it is supposed to be.

    - "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - Ren

  • DoomReaperDoomReaper InvernessPosts: 143Member


    Originally posted by Tweedle42
    i believe he says if you die your soul becomes attached to a soulstone on the ground there. and you can wait and be picked up by a player, who would have to be in the instance with you since its all instanced, and take it to a resurrection ::::30:: shrine within the dungeon, like a bind point in a dungeon that your party members have to deliver you to.

    I'm glad you gave that explanation. When I read the Q&A (I've not been following DDO much), one of the first things that crossed my mind was "what if a total stranger picks up my soulstone ?". If everything is instanced then that alleviates the concern of someone gathering up soulstones to annoy players.

    Is it the case that every aspect of the game where there is a chance of dying is instanced ? I can see I'll need to do a bit of homework and figure this all out, time to interrogate the FAQ I think ::::19::

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