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Originally posted by Guintu Maybe have the NPC be a sort of an instance when you click on him/her so its only talking to you and someone else clicks on the same NPC and its only talking to that person.
No. Instances are for losers devs that don't have the gumption to develop a real game (in my opinion).
Instancing is a way of treating a symptom rather than the illness. If one PC is talking to an NPC, and another PC also wants to, don't instance and put a bandaid on the problem! Fix the problem! Allow the second PC in-game ways to deal with the situation, such as: allow him to bribe the NPC to disregard the first PC and pay attention to him instead, or have NPCs deal with PCs preferentially based on their faction standing, or previous work done for the NPC, or whatever.
When it comes down to it though, I really think that instancing is just an indication that a game doesn't have enough content. Even the things above, bribing and stuff, are just workarounds to the real problem. In general, if there is a situation when someone thinks "Gee, maybe instancing would be good here", that is a situation where I would say "Gee, looks like we need some more content."
Sufficient content means the situation above rarely occurs. Not to mention the fact that players will be occupied (aka having fun) for longer in the game, because instead of doing the same quest on 3 different difficulties (DDO) or doing the same instance a dozen times (most every MMO), or whatever... they are doing something new. Let them repeat a quest/instance if they want, it's just a game and it's supposed to be fun and if they want to do that, let them. But don't force them to.
I honestly refuse, REFUSE to believe that it is so time-consuming to create and implement decent content that a game like WoW, for example, can't even put out more than 4 battlegrounds over the course of several years, or only puts in a handful of new instances per year, or only releases any significant additions (an expansion) every couple years. Refuse.
Originally posted by thorwood Actually, Everquest is one of the few games that does have NPC's that wander around. Most of them will not interact with you. Dark Age of Camelot had wandering NPC's too.Finding an NPC that wanders can be a real pain if you need to speak to them.Also, if the gameworld includes collision with objects, then wandering NPC's have a habit of getting stuck in tight spots or corners. Also the programmed movement has to be able to handle collisions with player toons moving in unpredictable ways.I do like the idea of player toons having some sort of persistent presence after they log off. I think this would be appropriate such as where you set up shop as a craftsperson.I dislike games that require that your toon stay logged on to sell stuff. Continuing to run your pc when you are not actually playing is a waste of resources and energy, particularly in an age where we are trying reduce energy consumption. It also adds nothing to the game, since you are not behind the keyboard.
Stuck NPCs is friggin simple to fix. Don't give them stupid routes to follow.
Finding a wandering NPC is a pain if you NEED to speak to them, but kind of in line with my post just above this one, if there is enough content in a game then a player won't be absolutely going insane just because he isn't able to turn in X quest... he'll have others to turn in/work on that he is just as happy spending time on.
Toons moving in unpredictable ways? NPC calls for the guards and the guards drag the PC, perhaps played by a psychotic 8-year old whose space bar is worn thin from constant jumping in circles, off to prison for disrupting the peace.
Offline PCs in shops is boring and annoying. If it must be implemented, fine, but I would not care to see another game in my lifetime that is full of PCs with "Rabbit sikns 4 sail. Bai hear from AZN1301934!!!11!" standing around in some god damned town square. A consignment NPC, auction house type deal is a much less bothersome way of dealing with this.
It would be easy enough to think of things for off-line PCs to do, like some of the things I mentioned above. Some form of off-line trading. Menial tasks like collecting resources much below your characters skill, maintaining a personally owned structure, resting to build rest exp/quicker skill ups, "crafting" complex, unique, interesting items, etc.
Edit - ah, thought of a fun off-line task for PCs. PCs can hire themselves out to perform tasks for others, such as some form of guard duty, a hit, etc. Naturally this would need refinement and balancing, but it would be awfully entertaining.
I see no need to penalise hardcore gamers for having no offline lives, they've done that to themselves (ha ha... dont get upset, its only a joke), instead we are simply helping the casual gamer and trying to maintain some degree of realism. Sure the Offline PC isn't putting their back into the job in hand, maybe they're day dreaming a little too much, but they will still get some work done and so have a reduced advancement potential. So full advance for hardcore, reduced while offline (which as previously stated even hardcores are offline sometimes).
I like the training facility idea, used that in tabletop RPGs, again to add a justification for suddenly learning a new skill. Always seems odd to suddenly learn a crafting skill having spent the last few weeks hitting goblins... unless its cooking/skinning goblins. I think the incorporation of PC trainers can prompt such facilities. We've all been to school to learn things, and most of us have seen (games/films) schools of magic for wizards, well why build one unless there's a point. Yep you can get more teachers (hence wider skill base) and its cheaper to pay several trainers to teach many pupils than just one on one. Again this is something you can do while offline, many PCs can share responsabilities to provide classes for a school, as long as some of them are avail for classes the school will run... perfect for casual gamers.
While I might agree that many games seem to solve content issues with instancing and other bandaids, I recognise that part of the issue with sandbox when drawing comparrisons with WOWclones (linear quests- yeah you can choose the order to some degree and you can choose to ignore some quests but it is 'globally linear') is the simple fact that we all want to be heroes and there just wont be enough baddies. The fix has been instancing, allowing you to kill the evil overlord as many times as you want or at least letting everyone have a crack at them.
A more 'sandbox' world would have the evil overlord being a PC (and his evil status being far more debatable) the prob is- if you kill them are they actually dead? Do we allow PCs to actually die or lose anything when they die. If not (WOW) then whats the point in killing them? but it means that others can kill them, again and again. Annoying if you are the evil overlord, but I guess you better get more security, and that would be other PCs tasked (quests) with protecting their fortress or even intercepting any would be assassins earlier.
When did my Post Editor develop a mind of its own... where's this black background come from???
Originally posted by ianonmmorpg I see no need to penalise hardcore gamersWhile I might agree that many games seem to solve content issues with instancing and other bandaids, I recognise that part of the issue with sandbox when drawing comparrisons with WOWclones [ ] is the simple fact that we all want to be heroes and there just wont be enough baddies.
You consider what I am doing as penalizing people for playing extra. Well I consider the current system in MMOs as penalizing people who do NOT play extra. I think a mechanic based on my suggestion is at least a middle ground, though I obviously haven't put so much thought into it that I would claim it is the perfect solution as is.
Yeah, we all want to be the hero (or villain). But to assume that we have to instance (or use any other "fix" that doesn't actually fix anything) is foolhardy. There are ways to generate enough content to keep the masses entertained without the need for instancing.
Originally posted by fischsemmel You consider what I am doing as penalizing people for playing extra. Well I consider the current system in MMOs as penalizing people who do NOT play extra. I think a mechanic based on my suggestion is at least a middle ground, though I obviously haven't put so much thought into it that I would claim it is the perfect solution as is.Yeah, we all want to be the hero (or villain). But to assume that we have to instance (or use any other "fix" that doesn't actually fix anything) is foolhardy. There are ways to generate enough content to keep the masses entertained without the need for instancing.
I dont consider it as a major penalty, I'm sure many hardcores would, and we're as you say "looking for the middle way". I just think that we should get rewarded for what we do, that way we keep a simple motivator, and no system exists in isolation and so will be compared to others. With so many people already familiar with systems that richly reward hardcores relative to casuals (eg WOW) then any middleway must be careful they dont distance people. Further I dont think there can be a perfect solution, and worse still due to the constant evolution of games, no system could remain 'perfect' for long, you either change and risk destroying your fan base, or accept that eventually someone will do it better.
So I think I'd push for as much internal realism as possible. The more logical an economy either resource or advancement the more likely people are of understanding why things happen and so allow them to extrapolate strategic goals for themsleves.
This leeds nicely to your second point, one that I cant agree more with, I wasn't supporting instancing in my previous post, instead I accepted that it is an 'easier' solution for developers and may well have its uses given the general mechanics of a individual game system. However I would much prefer a system where the economies (that word again) are well thought out and (given some room for nature) are reliant upon the denizens of the game world. I say denizens rather than PCs as NPCs have (as previously stated) a part to play.
I would imagine a system where PCs are generating quests will keep us all nicely occupied and will give the oportunity for us all to play the role of hero and villian. Even if its a very simple system, lets consider that distances are generally great (slow resource communications) and it takes time to build things (sounds reasonable), now we have a world where a single PC will find it difficult to collect all the resources and have the time to build a castle, instead they will need others to assist. This can be as simple as providing your manpower to a project (most likely working during your offline time), or perhaps going to remote locations to acquire certain resources/artifacts.
The building and maintenance of economic power will present far more issues than any single player could ever manage, hence a 'guild' co-op would be needed, yet always room for the occational free-lancer for those more specialist or dangerous tasks.
Yep, the future is looking good... when do we get this???