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  • Pantheon will be at Twitch Con this weekend

  • "The Pantheon Difference" (from the official Pantheon website)

    This thread has really devolved into a sad display of mental gymnastics.

    If you can create a new character, but have nothing new to explore or achieve, its a huge stretch to call such a game alt-friendly. A game with a huge open world and unique content for every race is definitely alt-friendly.

    As such EQ and Vanguard were the pinnacle of alt-friendly, and it seems Pantheon is being created in a similar fashion.

    Let's also stop pretending that because some progression is "gated" that it somehow prevents you from enjoying a new experience, with new content. After all, every game is gated behind levels or some construct. Just because a level 1 can't go to that end game dungeon and slay monsters, doesn't mean there isn't something fun that character can partake in. This line of reasoning is intellectually dishonest and misinformation.
  • The many lessons of Agnarr

    Distopia said:
    Dullahan said:

    1. No, they do not need instances. You cannot even compare classic EQ or Pantheon to the abomination that is Agnarr. They have upwards of 20k characters (not players) crammed on a single server designed for roughly 2,000, permitted they are spread across all level ranges. More like 1,000 if everyone is around the same level (hence the reason why all content is so heavily contested with only 1k people online on p99).

    7. Instancing is cancer. Placing 10x the capacity of a server into one server is not at all representative of how things existed in EQ live, nor how it would work in Pantheon.


    This really depends on a lot of factors, like how instancing is handled, why it's implemented being most important. If it's to preserve the integrity of content, it is beneficial, not cancerous. It also greatly depends on how much actual content is available, the size of zones, as well as how many players are actively playing. 

    A good example of this is the Corvette in SWG, it was the only real challenging place to experience in SWG (at it's peak), because it was the only "dungeon" that wasn't open. Everything else was typically over run, so those places offered little in the way of challenge. The Corvette's existence didn't ruin anything in the open world either, it didn't hurt socialization, it didn't remove too many players from the world. 

    This is using instancing smartly, to preserve the integrity of the dungeon's challenges. 
    There are other ways to achieve that goal without splintering the population of the world. You have to weigh in the balance whether the goal is ultimately cooperative play, socialization, and the integrity of the virtual world/immersion, rather than the integrity of challenge. If challenge is more important, which in some games it obviously is, there are ways to address that long before instancing. I don't think this is the case with Pantheon, however.

    The player to content balance is something that should be address during design, and while managing server populations post-launch. Beyond that, if a single event or mob is that important, they can simply utilize encounter locking mechanics so it cannot be trivialized. If a single zone is too crowded, there should be alternatives or perhaps the alternatives need to be improved, ideally before launch.

    Distopia said:

    Your argument is also why a lot of people bring up the nostalgia word. Because most of it is centered around how EQ was at a time when MMORPGs were in their infancy, there was little progress in the way of trial and error at that point. So you're judging how players approached something before they experienced other ways, in some cases better ways.There's also the problem of taking a snapshot of a game at a certain point and saying it was best because of "this", when it could have been a number of other variables that had nothing to do with that. Like there not being many other options, so people dealt with the way things were then...

    The contested content idea can be very problematic for a number of reasons. Chief among them being keeping !everyone! entertained. Not just those in large active guilds or the top damage dealers. Ever played a game on the first day of open beta? Not so fun usually is it? Why? Because every where you go everything is dead. That's the ugly side of contested content in a nutshell.. 
    Nostalgia is the argument of the feeble-minded when someone likes something they do not. None of the things I've posted have anything to do with when games were made. I've played the new, and I've played the old. Games revolving around accommodating the player and making the experience convenient have all, outside of one outlier, been poor performers that people mostly abandon after a few months.

    People simply have to get over the fact that not everything in open world mmorpg is going to be accessible at all times. That instant gratification mindset has got to go. There should be plenty of viable alternatives for players to enjoy themselves and continue their progression, but in a virtual world, you should have no expectation of being able to do exactly what you want, exactly when you want. Otherwise it's just a game, and not a virtual world.

    Maybe I'm mistaken, but I believe Pantheon is supposed to be the latter.
  • The many lessons of Agnarr

    I disagree with almost everything you said aside from your remarks on boxing, and I'm confident Pantheon will utterly fail should they follow your advice. Why? Because it's exactly why mmos have been failing for over a decade. In a word, convenience and everything that entails, has trivialized your achievements.

    1. No, they do not need instances. You cannot even compare classic EQ or Pantheon to the abomination that is Agnarr. They have upwards of 20k characters (not players) crammed on a single server designed for roughly 2,000, permitted they are spread across all level ranges. More like 1,000 if everyone is around the same level (hence the reason why all content is so heavily contested with only 1k people online on p99).

    Pantheon, like all new MMOs, will be filled with all kinds of players. It will not be primarily hardcores. Those players historically make up a tiny fraction of less than 10% according to figures cited by SOE, Blizzard and other developers I've seen comment on the topic. This will be the case in Pantheon as well.

    Should Pantheon have adequate servers with a proper player to content balance, this will not be an issue. It will mean carefully designing each area with access to the necessary content to progress and itemization that encourages spreading out the population, but it can be done.

    2. Travel in EQ already allowed for almost instantaneous travel. It just didn't allow it organically in the early levels. One had to have access to other characters or an existing relationship with other players to access ports at will. Down the line, that was almost eliminated entirely, and today on EQ you can "dial-a-port" at almost any time of day. That should not be.

    If anything, Pantheon needs to back off on fast travel from EQ. The world must matter. If players are to have a unique experience on each character playing throughout the world, you must encourage them to utilize all the content, especially that which is convenient. Otherwise, you will end up with everyone following a similar path and crowding common areas. It's critical for the very reason discussed in point one (overcrowding/combating the need for instancing).

    Let's get down to brass tacks. Time was your greatest opponent and the factor that made all things feel worthwhile in EQ. Without the time factor, it would not have been EverCrack. Everything was a battle to maximize your gains and minimize time wasted. You had to strive for efficiency if you were to achieve greatness. Otherwise, EQ would have been Rift, WoW, TERA, DDO, Guild Wars, LOTRO, SWTOR and the rest of the games that were played and disposed of shortly thereafter by the vast majority of the people who played them (even if they return every expansion).

    You must respect the time factor.

    Beyond that, the world shrinks significantly when you can go anywhere on a whim. It's just the nature of the beast. From a realism or immersion perspective, every area must matter. To establish "the feel", players need to be, once again, given a reason to go off the beaten path.

    Lastly, boat rides were hardly that extreme. Yes, if you wanted to travel all the way from one side of the map to the other on foot and by boats, it took upwards of an hour - and so it should. Each time you log on, you should be faced with decisions like this. It's all about efficiency and learning to play smart.

    You're in a virtual world (Our World Now!), not a video game where you will always be instantly gratified. In such a place, it's partly up to the player to choose wisely to progress. That means planning. It means communication and coordination with others. Those are the things that made online games gratifying. Otherwise, your achievements are hollow and ultimately feel unimportant. No, that isn't just my opinion! It's bolstered by all the evidence from games that made concessions regarding those aspects of their design.

    3. I do think what we saw in the last stream made boxing look problematic to the point of almost worthless without third party programs. That said, it should be discouraged further. Allowing it as it existed in EQ will be a serious detriment to community health and the quality of interaction in Pantheon.

    Agnarr and virtually all other mmos today are cancerous for a reason. Lets think of the things which led to positive interaction and created an environment where reputation mattered.

    I. Players absolutely needed each other.
    The world was dangerous and punishing. If you died, you lost your body, your experience, and ultimately your time. To retrieve your items and experience, you often needed other people. Darting into a dungeon naked to recover your body was a death wish. You would end up compounding your loss without help.

    There was no boxing to save you in classic EQ. You could not even alt+tab. A tiny subset of players had the capability of multiboxing, let alone the additional computers and internet connection (the days of dial-up) to facilitate it.

    This meant people actually had to rely on each other. A player that offered to lend a helping hand meant the world, because without them you could lose your entire night of playtime. That is exactly how drastic it should be in Pantheon if we want that level of positive interaction and appreciation to exist between fellow players.

    4. The loot system in EQ was perfect in risk (time) versus reward. It should not even be touched. This goes back to time. Reduce the necessary time, you reduce the necessary reward, you reduce playtime, you ultimately reduce the longevity of your game.

    See comments under point 2. See the following threads:
    Discussion 1
    Discussion 2

    5. Again, Agnarr cannot be compared to Pantheon. The players on Agnarr make up a tiny fraction of the population on your average MMO server. As someone who was 50 on EQ live and most other mmos I've played before 95% of the people who played these games, I can tell you that this is not an issue.

    Beyond that, Agnarr is probably about 5% as hard as EQ. That is about how long it takes compared to how long it took during the classic era on live. Put aside the fact that player knowledge is 5000% higher. There is almost no contested content as it existed in EQ, the exp rate is dramatically higher, and the penalties reduced to almost nothing.

    As such, all of these factors funnel everyone into the same spots, looking for the same items and stuck in the same level ranges. The normal curve that would exist on a normal server, especially in a new game, would be entirely different.

    6. Agnarr is an abomination for all of the reasons stated in 6, and it's the antithesis of the design tenets of EQ, and everything that made it glorious. See above references to time and the danger of convenience above.

    7. Instancing is cancer. Placing 10x the capacity of a server into one server is not at all representative of how things existed in EQ live, nor how it would work in Pantheon.

    Furthermore, there are many, many viable solutions to counter the problems that exist both on Agnarr, as well as EQ historically. I would copy paste everything here, but this post is already running long.

    Exhibit A.
    Exhibit B.

    Instancing is lazy.

    XodicKyleranGdemamiDistopiadeniterNycteliosWellspringHawkaya399Scummholdenfiveand 3 others.
  • Mysteries, like the Children of Goldshire

    This was actually a topic covered to some degree in the update yesterday. They explained how they are fleshing out the lore and story by applying it to the npcs and the things they do in game. I expect we'll see very similar things in Pantheon.

    Another thing you may remember from the stream last December. Well, I might as well just link to the part of the stream so you can watch.

    Go to 2:37:09