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Sleep System To Limit Daily Playtime to 8-10 Hours?

seacow1gseacow1g Savannah, GAPosts: 254Member

Hey guys, here's a concept I've been thinking about for awhile now when I think about "better MMO design" :

Putting a cap on daily playtime

Now before you dismiss this concept at face-value, please consider some of my thoughts on the issue. 

I can see how such a system can look wildly unpopular. The mere notion of telling the player how much they can or cannot play seems absurd. But is it really in the players' best interests that we let them have the option to play day in and day out until they collapse from exhaustion? What are the benefits of this? Is the concept of total freedom so valuable to us that we ignore the potential game design as well as health benefits that we can extract from a capped experience? 

A game is seen as the players' "property" and as such we have been conditioned to design games with the notion that the player should be free to play it as much as they want/can. With most genres this works just fine because they have an "end" and/or are not designed to be played for extended amounts of time. But MMORPG's are a whole different beast. The MMO genre prides itself on how much of the players' time is can suck up. An MMO is designed to be played to the exclusion of almost everything else. Where most other types of games have an invisible"playtime cap" built into the game designs themselves, a great MMO is built by design to suck you in and keep you playing till you truly can't do so anymore due to real-life restraints. But allowing players to play unlimited hours in these kinds of games poses a number of design problems for the developer to deal with:

-Power creep

-Power leveling

-Gold farming

-Botting

-Players rushing through content too fast

-Players doing physical harm to themselves by playing too much

 

Is it really necessary to allow players to play 24 hours a day if they so chose? I don't think it is. If we examine the typical playtime of most "serious" gamers in MMO's, they typically play anywhere between 6-10 hours per day. This is even at most less than half of the full 24 hours per day that we allow players to play and yet by doing so we introduce so many problems for the developers to deal with. If we DID limit the amount of time players can play to 8-10 hours per day, most serious gamers would still get their fill of the game while we limit the potential for powergaming, gold farming, work-shift play and physical exhaustion that comes with games without a play-time cap. Not only would we substantially reduce these problems, but we'd also significantly lower the power gap between players with "skill" that play 3-4 hours per day and players that  just grind it out.

I think our next gen of MMO's should seriously consider implementing "sleep" type systems where your character can be logged in for 8-10 hours per day and then get fatigued/tired and be unable to participate in most character/progression related activities until they rest. The benefit of this system would be allowing hardcore players to still play hefty amounts of time per day while eliminating the encouragement of powergaming and limiting the powergaps between players that play moderate amounts of time and those few that choose to play all day. Additionally it will make gold farming and botting more complicated and provide more stability to the player economy. The reason I propose this kind of system rather than straight up forcing you to log off is the allow players the option to continue to engage in the social aspects of the game once they've played over the capped amount if they so choose to do so. Players may still opt to stay online to chat and interact with their guildies for unhealthy amounts of time but it is my opinion that they would feel much less incentivized to do so if that's all they can do and they wouldn't be potentially ruining game balance or burning through the content too fast if they chose to do so either.

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Comments

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    I am a fan of restrictions that limit how fast players can level.


    You may have gotten more "yes" votes if you worded it differently, rather than specifying 8-10 hours a day as the max. A player may not have been able to logon all week; and wants to pull an all nighter on the weekend.


    Diminishing returns is another option; or an xp curve:

    xp boost during the first 5 hours of the week.
    normal xp for 5 to 40 hours.
    diminished xp after 40 hours.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • TraugarTraugar Robbinsville, NCPosts: 183Member Uncommon

    Who are you to decide what is best for someone else?  Worry about yourself, and let people be. 

  • SkaioverrideSkaioverride miami, FLPosts: 53Member Uncommon
    wasn't this one of the reasons FF14 failed, it may sound good on paper but will be disastrous if implemented due to the behavioural randomness of players, I myself sometimes play casually for an hour or two during the week, but on my days off i can play all day or just leave the client online while i multi task. if its overpopulation you're worried about then just kick players that are afk for too long
  • SkaioverrideSkaioverride miami, FLPosts: 53Member Uncommon

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Traugar
    Who are you to decide what is best for someone else?  Worry about yourself, and let people be. 


    Where does it say I am deciding what's best for "someone else?" No, in fact, we are speculating on what is best for the server. The rate at which people level has a direct effect on the game world.



    Originally posted by Skaioverride
    wasn't this one of the reasons FF14 failed, it may sound good on paper but will be disastrous if implemented due to the behavioural randomness of players, I myself sometimes play casually for an hour or two during the week, but on my days off i can play all day or just leave the client online while i multi task.

    What was FF14's system? Certainly a poorly designed system could be disastrous.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • SkaioverrideSkaioverride miami, FLPosts: 53Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan

     

    What was FF14's system? Certainly a poorly designed system could be disastrous.

    they had a fatigue system where the more time you played the less exp you earned to the point where you could not progress any further

     

    http://kotaku.com/5621786/final-fantasy-xivs-play+limiting-fatigue-system-explained

  • Mr.KujoMr.Kujo SwinoujsciePosts: 383Member
    Originally posted by seacow1g

    Now before you dismiss this concept at face-value, please consider some of my thoughts on the issue. 

     

    Reminds me of gun control concept, guns don't kill people, people kill people. I thought it was already settled.

     

    As for this being the ultimate remedy. Well, sleep time does nothing more to botting, than cutting it's time in half, which makes very little to no difference in the long run. I can bot only half of the time? Let me make two bots then. And as for giving equal chances. Statistically there is very few people that play mmo's more than 8 hours a day, I don't know where you got that idea that serious gamers go 6-10 hours a day, do you have any numbers to back it up? Anyway, reading this forum alone it is always a discussion between, a family men with 2h of playtime, and school boys with up to 8 hours to grind, so your solution does nothing to help this issue, sorry.

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    No wonder. FF14's limit of 8 hours per week was stupidly low.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    I think putting up a hard wall that says "go away" is a mistake - even a relatively normal and sane gamer may have weeks where they just sit down for a Saturday off and do a week's worth of gaming in one sitting. 

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon

    "But is it really in the players' best interests that we let them have the option to play day in and day out until they collapse from exhaustion"

     

    Do you really want yet another person to tell you what is best for you and then limit you based on their assumptions?  Really?  Don't you think we get that enough in the real world?

    This takes the nanny state, that many say exists in games allready to a whole new level.

    Leave it out of my games please.

     

     

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • eldariseldaris LondonPosts: 349Member

    Already too many problems in society are caused by people insisting they want to help the rest of us by restricting what we do.You just want to impose restrictions on other players and on purpose or not hide that in a lot of words about how that is for the "greater good".
    And to the poster who wants slow leveling - how about make enough content so players get to max level in weeks or months instead of putting artificial barriers like grind and diminishing returns ?

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,908Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan

    I am a fan of restrictions that limit how fast players can level.


    You may have gotten more "yes" votes if you worded it differently, rather than specifying 8-10 hours a day as the max. A player may not have been able to logon all week; and wants to pull an all nighter on the weekend.


    Diminishing returns is another option; or an xp curve:

    xp boost during the first 5 hours of the week.
    normal xp for 5 to 40 hours.
    diminished xp after 40 hours.

    So you're essentially a fan of getting milked? That's what those "restrictions" were put in place for. The longer it took you to "cap" out, the longer your were paying a sub, as the level was the carrot in those days.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • MorrokMorrok MunichPosts: 130Member


    Originally posted by seacow1gBut allowing players to play unlimited hours in these kinds of games poses a number of design problems for the developer to deal with:

    -Power creep
    -Power leveling
    -Gold farming
    -Botting
    -Players rushing through content too fast
    -Players doing physical harm to themselves by playing too much


    None of the problems mentioned are solved, or even only diminished, by restricting online-times.

    If anything, limiting the online-time will *intensify* the usage of Bots or players rushing through content (everything listed really), simply because players will then (as some do now already) want to "make the most" of their online time.
    And while you now have perhaps a rather relaxed but extended online time (RL speaking, e.g. people being online (to chat for example) but doing housework at the same time

    The ONLY thing that an online-time-cap could be semi-effective against is online-addiction, but it's too easily circumvented to be effective even for that.

    The other mentioned measures, like bonus XP and diminishing returns are much better approaches, but with their own problems.
    (like in the above-mentioned case of the afk'ing player that is online mainly for the chat or to wait for friends to come one, why should that one "waste" his XP bonus when he's not actually doing anything in-game but sit and chat?)

  • rbialorbialo WarszawaPosts: 32Member Uncommon

    Concept is interesting, but details are crucial.

    If we assume a player that is playing every day limiting to 8h / day is way too much to make any difference. If a player is playing mostly on weekends or any other day, but not everyday 8h/day limit is too short.  

    AFKing is also and issue as someone pointed out. You would need auto-kick to teach players not to leave a game running and wast the limit.

    And what about alts? Would it be separate limit or common for all chars? Either you would limit alt lovers or provide a way around the limit.


    And then, when all is set up - what a player will do when a limit is off? I'm sure players who would want to still play would make another account. Would you forbid that? Monitor is it the same PC? We all know there are ways to pass around those filters and an addict will do everything to get a dose.
    But even if you make perfect filter that would magically sense if thats the same physical person - if they want to play a video game - they will just move to other game.


    All in all making an artificial limit that is only based on on-line time will not end well.


    P.S.
    Someone said to make it 40h/week instead, but thats just moving a limit to higher level. What if I have a sick leave or some kind of week vacation and thats the only time I will play in a month?

      
    B)
  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Distopia
    Originally posted by Arclan I am a fan of restrictions that limit how fast players can level. You may have gotten more "yes" votes if you worded it differently, rather than specifying 8-10 hours a day as the max. A player may not have been able to logon all week; and wants to pull an all nighter on the weekend. Diminishing returns is another option; or an xp curve: xp boost during the first 5 hours of the week. normal xp for 5 to 40 hours. diminished xp after 40 hours.
    So you're essentially a fan of getting milked? That's what those "restrictions" were put in place for. The longer it took you to "cap" out, the longer your were paying a sub, as the level was the carrot in those days.

    $15 a month for 240 hours of gameplay is about six cents an hour. My credit cards got paid off thanks to all that time I spent in EQ from 1999 to 2000. I had a blast every step of the way. The level was not the carrot; the world was.


    When SWTOR came out and someone got max level on day 1 (or 2?), you know a huge pool of potential players just tuned out (myself included). A longer leveling curve is in a game's best interest for many reasons.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    I know we've been discussing "hours" but it really makes sense to keep track of xp points (not time); for the reasons mentioned that some players like to just hang out in the game world without xp'ng.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • AntariousAntarious Greenville, SCPosts: 2,802Member

    What sense would that make?   If an actual person is staying awake 20 hours a day to play... yet their super duper virtual self that can cast fireballs, slay dragons or fly starships around etc... can only manage to stay away 8 to 10?

     

     

    If anything my toon should play its self for another 12 hours after I log off.. because its so powerful... <- not serious.

    Moderator's on this site allow certain posters to create endless troll threads. Yet "warn" people for giving recommendations... account *pending* deletion because.. why bother.

  • TraugarTraugar Robbinsville, NCPosts: 183Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan

     


    Originally posted by Traugar
    Who are you to decide what is best for someone else?  Worry about yourself, and let people be. 

     


    Where does it say I am deciding what's best for "someone else?" No, in fact, we are speculating on what is best for the server. The rate at which people level has a direct effect on the game world.

     


    So do you also propose not letting new people join the server, or making everyone stop leveling so someone can catch up?   Whats best for the server is to allow people to set and work towards goals.  Someone having accomplished more in a game doesn't hurt you at all.  It doesn't effect your fun unless you are simply jealous of others.  Your line of reasoning is the same as those who try to legislate the health of others because it's for the good of society.  It's a bs argument there and it's a bs argument here.  If I play 100+ hours a week that doesn't hurt the server.  The only person that hurts is me so yes it is you trying to decide what is best for others. 

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    UO used to have a "Power Hour" kind of like rested XP - you'd get much improved chance of skills gains during that first hour of play time each day or whatever.

    On the Siege Perilous shard that didn't feature Trammel and had slower skill gains, after a certain point you could really only gain during your Power Hour.

    What did that accomplish?

    I'd spend that first hour with guild mates grinding for skill gains, then we'd go and do other stuff like PvP, RP, training...

    Worked out really well.

    However, that being said, to the "modern" day game - I'd probably just switch toons or log off after that first hour if it was so restrictive.

    8 hours is a lot though, would only ever affect me on a weekend...

    I don't think you'd want to limit play time, and any limitations would make people feel forced to play every day for the maximum amount of time... instead of playing a bit here and there and a big chunk on the weekend etc.

    The only way to stop / slow down the big power levelers who blow through all the level/skill up content in a week WITHOUT punishing the more casual player is....

    Nothing.

    Let them play their way. If they burn out - their fault.

    Provide end game content that is challenging, and let them beat their heads against that while everyone else is still leveling.

  • Crazy_StickCrazy_Stick Privacy Preferred, NCPosts: 1,059Member
    It's just a game not a life accomplishment. I am sorry but if I am paying or buying into a game and I want to play all day and night through a holiday weekend then I should be able to, regardless of if Joey Too Much Job wants to whine about how unfair it is that he doesn't have enough time in his pretty little mind to play and "catch up" to "compete" with what ever edge I supposedly get out of having more fun time. And frankly if you have a problem with that then F you.
  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,908Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan

     


    Originally posted by Distopia


    So you're essentially a fan of getting milked? That's what those "restrictions" were put in place for. The longer it took you to "cap" out, the longer your were paying a sub, as the level was the carrot in those days.

     

    $15 a month for 240 hours of gameplay is about six cents an hour. My credit cards got paid off thanks to all that time I spent in EQ from 1999 to 2000. I had a blast every step of the way. The level was not the carrot; the world was.


    When SWTOR came out and someone got max level on day 1 (or 2?), you know a huge pool of potential players just tuned out (myself included). A longer leveling curve is in a game's best interest for many reasons.

    I completely disagree, A longer leveling curve is only essential in a game that doesn't offer much more than time sinks and dungeons. End game content and player synergy is what's needed, not long grinds. SWG, EVE, DAOC and UO are prime examples of this. It took little time to reach skill cap in SWG, which left years and years worth of play devoted to just doing that, playing. DAOC was all but killed due to trying to add too much vertical progression through gear grinds. Same could be said for SWG.

    Oh and I am not a fan of what the op is suggesting.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • spankybusspankybus Orlando, FLPosts: 1,154Member Uncommon

    Sorry, I dismissed your idea at face value.

     

    i believe in Darwinism. 

    Frank 'Spankybus' Mignone
    www.spankybus.com
    -3d Artist & Compositor
    -Writer
    -Professional Amature

  • YizleYizle Atlanta, GAPosts: 517Member
    Originally posted by Traugar

    Who are you to decide what is best for someone else?  Worry about yourself, and let people be. 

    +1 This and Latronus had it correct. I do not need someone to dictate my life with their BS restrictions that are not needed. Tell me how long I can do something. I am grown man. I own my house and have a job. My free time I get to choose to use how I want.

     

    [mod edit]

  • ComafComaf Chicago, ILPosts: 1,154Member Common
    Originally posted by seacow1g

    Hey guys, here's a concept I've been thinking about for awhile now when I think about "better MMO design" :

    Putting a cap on daily playtime

    Now before you dismiss this concept at face-value, please consider some of my thoughts on the issue. 

    I can see how such a system can look wildly unpopular. The mere notion of telling the player how much they can or cannot play seems absurd. But is it really in the players' best interests that we let them have the option to play day in and day out until they collapse from exhaustion? What are the benefits of this? Is the concept of total freedom so valuable to us that we ignore the potential game design as well as health benefits that we can extract from a capped experience? 

    A game is seen as the players' "property" and as such we have been conditioned to design games with the notion that the player should be free to play it as much as they want/can. With most genres this works just fine because they have an "end" and/or are not designed to be played for extended amounts of time. But MMORPG's are a whole different beast. The MMO genre prides itself on how much of the players' time is can suck up. An MMO is designed to be played to the exclusion of almost everything else. Where most other types of games have an invisible"playtime cap" built into the game designs themselves, a great MMO is built by design to suck you in and keep you playing till you truly can't do so anymore due to real-life restraints. But allowing players to play unlimited hours in these kinds of games poses a number of design problems for the developer to deal with:

    -Power creep

    -Power leveling

    -Gold farming

    -Botting

    -Players rushing through content too fast

    -Players doing physical harm to themselves by playing too much

     

    Is it really necessary to allow players to play 24 hours a day if they so chose? I don't think it is. If we examine the typical playtime of most "serious" gamers in MMO's, they typically play anywhere between 6-10 hours per day. This is even at most less than half of the full 24 hours per day that we allow players to play and yet by doing so we introduce so many problems for the developers to deal with. If we DID limit the amount of time players can play to 8-10 hours per day, most serious gamers would still get their fill of the game while we limit the potential for powergaming, gold farming, work-shift play and physical exhaustion that comes with games without a play-time cap. Not only would we substantially reduce these problems, but we'd also significantly lower the power gap between players with "skill" that play 3-4 hours per day and players that  just grind it out.

    I think our next gen of MMO's should seriously consider implementing "sleep" type systems where your character can be logged in for 8-10 hours per day and then get fatigued/tired and be unable to participate in most character/progression related activities until they rest. The benefit of this system would be allowing hardcore players to still play hefty amounts of time per day while eliminating the encouragement of powergaming and limiting the powergaps between players that play moderate amounts of time and those few that choose to play all day. Additionally it will make gold farming and botting more complicated and provide more stability to the player economy. The reason I propose this kind of system rather than straight up forcing you to log off is the allow players the option to continue to engage in the social aspects of the game once they've played over the capped amount if they so choose to do so. Players may still opt to stay online to chat and interact with their guildies for unhealthy amounts of time but it is my opinion that they would feel much less incentivized to do so if that's all they can do and they wouldn't be potentially ruining game balance or burning through the content too fast if they chose to do so either.

    It frightens me to think that there was a time when I played an average of 4-5 hours per night (not 8-10).  I wasn't married, didn't have children living with me, and had just enough spending money to get the $15.00 to Mythic each month.  The population that you are referring to must be the unemployed.  I honestly cannot fathom this kind of play time unless we are talking about someone who is literally rotting away behind a keyboard.

     

    I get the concept of fun escape - but unless you are suffering from a physical disability (and then I say GO FOR IT!), there is something more deeply set at issue here if people feel that 8-10 hours a day is limiting them.

    image
  • rutaqrutaq somerville, MAPosts: 428Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan

    I am a fan of restrictions that limit how fast players can level.


    You may have gotten more "yes" votes if you worded it differently, rather than specifying 8-10 hours a day as the max. A player may not have been able to logon all week; and wants to pull an all nighter on the weekend.


    Diminishing returns is another option; or an xp curve:

    xp boost during the first 5 hours of the week.
    normal xp for 5 to 40 hours.
    diminished xp after 40 hours.

    ^^ This.   this curve would allow you to set the sweet spot on the outer edge of casual play and then have XP drop off a cliff quickly to help control the progression.

     

    Maybe a Hybrid of a very limited amount of  playing XP you can earn ( steep curve / cliff based on time played in day)  then add to it a Study system like EvE.  So you consistent predictable advancement that can be slightly supplemented by focused play.

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