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Space and Time in MMOs

DammamDammam Member UncommonPosts: 38
Our sense of place, of cause and effect, and of change and growth, is directly linked to how we experience space and time. This is true both in real life and in any imagined world. Yet we have a lot more control over space and time in our imagination than in the real world. As such, we exploit this control in story telling, whether in books, film, or even games, to great effect. We can slow things down to build up anticipation, jump from place to place to follow parallel events simultaneously, or even move backwards in time to see past events play out from various perspectives. Good writers can play with these elements without us even noticing, and just as easily we find ourselves journeying through an epic saga in the span of a few hours, or have an hour drag out as we absorb each plot twist in the smallest detail. But how does this play out with MMOs?

For an MMO world to feel rich, vibrant, and full of life, it needs to manipulate these elements of space and time. But unlike a movie or book, where you are simply along for the ride, a game is interactive in a way that links imagination to the real world. After all, your imaginary self may move as fast as lightning, but your keyboard reflexes remain (to varying degrees) human. Now single player games have some flexibility, as the rest of the game can slow down or even stop while you set up your next move, allowing you to engage the game world in a way less restricted by your physical limits. However, an MMO world brings many other people into the world, all of whom can only interact and engage with each other at a normal, human pace. But at a normal, human pace, an epic journey like the Lord of the Rings would take much too long for many people to realistically partake in, or for it to remain fun.

So how can we have that sense of grand adventure, in a massive world full of unknown wonders, and engage with others in that world, and yet have it all condensed to suitable lengths of time? Granted what is a suitable length of time one should dedicate to an online world is not defined and very subjective, but perhaps there have been ways in which some games managed to give you this feeling over one or more gaming sessions? I'm curious how well you feel MMOs have convinced you of the scale and history of their world through gameplay and storytelling elements, or how you think they could do better?
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Comments

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member RarePosts: 4,334
    Welcome to narrative 101 young padawan :wink:  Nah, just bugging you, sorry.

    Since you've mentioned LotRO, I'd suggest to sign up for the next online course - if there will be a new one I mean... There was one scheduled for the autumn but was cancelled, and the page shows no future dates either.
    It's great fun, and educational too. Plenty of good people, nice conversations on the forum, lore junkies all around :wink:  I posted about it here on the LotRO section couple of times two years ago I think...

    Anyways, week 4 is just about what you're analising in the OP, application and use of space and time in the three medium. https://www.coursera.org/course/onlinegames
  • AmatheAmathe Member EpicPosts: 3,552
    I would say The Secret World drew me into its story, and made real the connection between story and the rest of the World, the best. 

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,122
    For the length of time bit, this is all about the writers splitting up the story into bitesize pieces that can be completed in "the right amount of time", and for each of those bitesize pieces to have some meaning. 


    For example, in LotRO (when i used to play anyway, unsure about now), the developers split the story up into broadly 4 categories:

    1. Epic Quests - These were the main storyline, somewhat related to the story of the books. The epic quests were split into volumes, books and chapters. So, volume 1, book 1 was set in Breeland and had you vaguely helping Aragorn and the Hobbits escape Bree. Each book generally had 8-15 chapters which could take between 5 and 30 minutes. There was the occasional longer instance but they were few and far between. 
    2. Main Zone Quests - Each zone generally had a main storyline running through it, so you'd have to do a load of quests from a hub in order to open up the next hub. Not as linear as most MMOs but still linear-ish. 
    3. Side Quests - Plenty of side quests in each hub as well as found out and about. Usual fare. 
    4. Dungeon Quests - There would usually be a load of quests attached to a dungeon. 

    The epic quests were really where the main story would try to be delivered. Devs made reasonable use of instances and some occasional phasing in order to convey the importance of the quest and make it feel like a decent adventure. Most quests in the game were completable in a short period of time. For example, a typical quest hub might take 2 hours to complete all quests before moving off to the next one. 



    For me personally, I'm not a fan of questing and story-telling in MMORPGs. I don't feel it is a good medium to do it as whilst they can get the timing aspects correct and suitable for the masses, it is the effects on the world that fall flat. 

    If you want quests to have an effect on the world, it generally means phasing or instancing. Whilst this improves the storytelling aspects, it reduces the multiplayer aspects and thus the longevity. I'd much rather go the sandbox route and build an extremely interesting world in which to create your own adventures. I would still have stories and quests, just completely detached from XP so they're just about story telling. With much fewer quests, it would mean the devs could really devote the time to making the quests feel awesome. 

    For example, lets say you have a quest to defend a village from brigands. Quest is instanced, brigands attack, you win, job done. Being instanced it feels epic. However, have a counter on the quests. Lets say once the quest has been completed 500 times server wide, the quest becomes inactive. Static / roaming spawns near the village stop spawning and start spawning more densely near the brigand camp. That opens up a quest to raid that camp. Again, instanced and after another 500 completions, camp is wiped out on the server map. Perhaps next step is same brigands retreat further to a fort, opening up a raid there or something. Has the benefits of instanced quests for the story, but still having a server impact. 
  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member UncommonPosts: 3,068
    Quests that are repeated by the masses, all the same and everyone is "the hero" in the same story, pretty much defeat the whole "time and space" thing for me in an MMO where everyone is supposed to be in the same world.

    The best game for "time and space" story, in my mind (and that I played) was Ultima Online.
    The story and plot was world wide.
    -When Mondain's Relics were stolen, everyone had the same clues and everyone was out in the entire world looking for more info.
    -When Minax, "Mondain's lover", finally discovered the Black Necklace (later revealed to be called "Mondain's Embrace") after many events related to her search, and used it to raise Juo'Nar (the leader of the Trinsic Paladin's guild, an NPC), who was found out as a traitor and killed by players at an earlier event, raise him as a powerful Liche.
    -When Juo'Nar the Liche was finally defeated in the first Trinsic invasion and the Black Necklace taken "by the authorities".
    -When Odric (possible a play on Richard Garriott's name) showed up and took the Black Necklace, now known as "Mondain's Embrace", from what's his name (I forget, sorry), by some power of mind control, in front of players at the event, and disappeared. 
    -When all this was done in the midst of many, many events that were often related in a massive plot line and over years of game play.
    Events that included:
    Minax,
    what's his name (as above),
    Black Rock,
    Orcs,
    Lord British,
    Blackthorn,
    Blackthorn's mysterious shard (another plane)
    And many more stories

    ...THAT's "time and space". 

    Once upon a time....

  • kjempffkjempff Member RarePosts: 1,428
    edited February 2016
    I guess we are talking about "flow" ? and how games can create the environment that gets gamers into that "flow" state.

    There are the obvious things such as not breaking character and taking the player out of the environment of the game. Some of this is UI, and most is game mechanics.
    Building an environment for this requires that the player gets inspired to invest into the story, and the easiest way to do this is make the player have control. Forcing story on the player is a risky thing and needs to be really really well made, as the constant risk is that the player suddenly don't accept some reasoning or detail and therefore is taking out of his "flow" state.

    The goal is to take the players mind away from reality and make them accept the worlds premises, and that takes playing-time - speaking for myself I need around 30 mins of non interrupted play, and "non interrupted" means both real world distractions and game system things.
    Some examples of what can break flow in a game could be teamspeak voices, rmt shops, railroading, pop culture or other real world references, but also things that does not fit well into the particular game world (motorcycles in a high fantasy, magic in a realistic shooter), bad non logical behaviour and AI (themepark environment with small areas packed tightly together, snow next to jungle, or a npc standing in plain sight of a ferocious killer beast).
    Also in order to maintain flow, the player can not be forced into many complex situations at once, and things like combat mechanics should come somewhat natural.

    Those are the observations I have made on myself and games that has been able to provide me "flow".
    Post edited by kjempff on
  • ReallyNow10ReallyNow10 Member UncommonPosts: 2,222
    Dammam said:
    Our sense of place, of cause and effect, and of change and growth, is directly linked to how we experience space and time. This is true both in real life and in any imagined world. Yet we have a lot more control over space and time in our imagination than in the real world. As such, we exploit this control in story telling, whether in books, film, or even games, to great effect. We can slow things down to build up anticipation, jump from place to place to follow parallel events simultaneously, or even move backwards in time to see past events play out from various perspectives. Good writers can play with these elements without us even noticing, and just as easily we find ourselves journeying through an epic saga in the span of a few hours, or have an hour drag out as we absorb each plot twist in the smallest detail. But how does this play out with MMOs?

    For an MMO world to feel rich, vibrant, and full of life, it needs to manipulate these elements of space and time. But unlike a movie or book, where you are simply along for the ride, a game is interactive in a way that links imagination to the real world. After all, your imaginary self may move as fast as lightning, but your keyboard reflexes remain (to varying degrees) human. Now single player games have some flexibility, as the rest of the game can slow down or even stop while you set up your next move, allowing you to engage the game world in a way less restricted by your physical limits. However, an MMO world brings many other people into the world, all of whom can only interact and engage with each other at a normal, human pace. But at a normal, human pace, an epic journey like the Lord of the Rings would take much too long for many people to realistically partake in, or for it to remain fun.

    So how can we have that sense of grand adventure, in a massive world full of unknown wonders, and engage with others in that world, and yet have it all condensed to suitable lengths of time? Granted what is a suitable length of time one should dedicate to an online world is not defined and very subjective, but perhaps there have been ways in which some games managed to give you this feeling over one or more gaming sessions? I'm curious how well you feel MMOs have convinced you of the scale and history of their world through gameplay and storytelling elements, or how you think they could do better?
    None of what you say has any place in an MMO.  Those are canned, contrived, linear plotline tropes that give single player games their one-time-through characteristic.

    Writers should focus on lore, not on crafting a unwanted script that gets forced into a player's hand.  The BIGGEST thing wrong with MMO's today is devs' obsession with forcing player participation inside some pre-written story that no on really wants to be in.

    MMO players, real MMO players who know what an MMO can be, want worlds, lore, and events, but not scripts, cutscenes, and phasing nonsense.
  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member UncommonPosts: 3,068
    edited February 2016
    kjempff said:
    I guess we are talking about "flow" ? and how games can create the environment that gets gamers into that "flow" state.

    There are the obvious things such as not breaking character and taking the player out of the environment of the game. Some of this is UI, and most is game mechanics.
    Building an environment for this requires that the player gets inspired to invest into the story, and the easiest way to do this is make the player have control. Forcing story on the player is a risky thing and needs to be really really well made, as the constant risk is that the player suddenly don't accept some reasoning or detail and therefore is taking out of his "flow" state.

    The goal is to take the players mind away from reality and make them accept the worlds premises, and that takes playing-time - speaking for myself I need around 30 mins of non interrupted play, and "non interrupted" means both real world distractions and game system things.
    Some examples of what can break flow in a game could be teamspeak voices, rmt shops, railroading, pop culture or other real world references, but also things that does not fit well into the particular game world (motorcycles in a high fantasy, magic in a realistic shooter), bad non logical behaviour and AI (themepark environment with small areas packed tightly together, snow next to jungle, or a npc standing in plain sight of a ferocious killer beast).
    Also in order to maintain flow, the player can not be forced into many complex situations at once, and things like combat mechanics should come somewhat natural.

    That is the observations I have made on myself and games that has been able to provide me "flow".
    Building on this, which I agree with...

    I think the events of the story, as I was trying to outline earlier in this thread, need to be "one off" and world wide.
    But they also need to be designed that more than one events relates to the same point, such as many battles in the defeat of an enemy. And that then culminating in a grand final event with notice that it's going to happen.

    All players would not be able to make any one event, of course. This is important especially for those "final events", so even those need to be done as parts of an even bigger story. And they can be spread out over days, even as a "final event".

    In my mind, much of this needs to be done as a sort of "Players Vs. GMs" tactical war game.
    In other words, the GM's would have control over certain Boss MOBs, and a set number of assets (NPCs of various appropriate types). And then the GM's use such assets tactically and over time while the Players try to discover what's up and defeat those assets, and finally the Boss MOBs. Said Bosses could be enabled to attempt escapes from final defeat, with the aid of those assets. And the final victory comes unexpectedly, as a group of Players succeed against those GM's. No one would know for certain when that "final event" happens, as it's a game of strategy being played out between Players (world wide) and GMs.
    This would include also many mini-events against GM assets.
    Post edited by Amaranthar on

    Once upon a time....

  • ReallyNow10ReallyNow10 Member UncommonPosts: 2,222
    You want grand adventure, focus on factions, lore, countries, current goings on, mysteries, and a living-breathing game world.  Then toss players into it and they will carry the rest.

    But, please, please, please, do not get under the mass delusion that some story (chapters and all) needs to be written, and players forced through it.  That kind of gaming sucks and is the primary reason there are a 100 clones out there gasping for air.
  • AxehiltAxehilt Member RarePosts: 10,504
    Dammam said:
    So how can we have that sense of grand adventure, in a massive world full of unknown wonders, and engage with others in that world, and yet have it all condensed to suitable lengths of time? Granted what is a suitable length of time one should dedicate to an online world is not defined and very subjective, but perhaps there have been ways in which some games managed to give you this feeling over one or more gaming sessions? I'm curious how well you feel MMOs have convinced you of the scale and history of their world through gameplay and storytelling elements, or how you think they could do better?
    The Lord of the Rings movies (and books) don't cover every single second of the year-long journey.  They skip to the interesting bits.

    Good game design is just like any good narrative design: it skips to the interesting bits.

    One specific way games do this is fast travel, where instead of watching your character run for 10 minutes (which offers no interesting gameplay) you simply teleport to the destination (which often does have interesting gameplay.)

    Instant travel generally works (because it focuses on games' biggest strength: interaction and decision-making), but I think in some cases more cinematic games might learn something from movies/shows.  So instead of a lengthy 2-minute griffon flight an RPG might opt for a few seconds of cutscene of your character boarding the transport (bus/plane/griffon/etc), a brief 3-sec shot of the travel, and then a ~3 sec establishing shot at the new location.

    "What is truly revealing is his implication that believing something to be true is the same as it being true. [continue]" -John Oliver

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member RarePosts: 27,762
    I think they can make the game instanced. Essentially follow what the open world single player games have done. Fallout 4, Assassin Creed Syndicate .....

    Just add a MP component in a seamless manner (like Destiny or Division) and make the game less grindy, and more events/story focused. 

    In fact, to make the "world" vibrant and changing, make it like a single player world, but allows for inviting other players into it. 
  • DammamDammam Member UncommonPosts: 38
    @Po_gg That looks interesting, I'll check it out. Thanks!

    This is clearly a multifaceted issue. As developers have sought to tell their story, there's been a rise in instanced and phased content, essentially breaking these massive worlds up into smaller, "personal" experiences. This can, in some cases, break the "flow" of the game, as @kjempff put it, and I personally have been put off many times by the jarring effects of phasing in some games. So one question very well might be how to better implement these elements without breaking the flow of a player's session?

    But that isn't the only side of this. I am also not a fan of story-telling in an MMO, in the sense that the developer's impose my story on me. Yet I need a reason to be in the game world, even if the reason is something I made up. Having my own adventure is perfectly fine, but in a persistent online world, this "flow" can easily be broken by the way gameplay elements are implemented. Crafting can be a great example, as it often becomes a boring time sink instead of adding depth to the player's interaction with the game world. This is also a space and time issue, because the journey from novice to master blacksmith, for example, should also have an epic scope, but how this is handled can instead make it seem tedious. So another question is how can these types of "non-story" elements be implemented without breaking the "flow" of your character's journey?

    In both cases, the goal is to convey that promise of a massive world and epic adventure that MMOs bring with them, in a persistent environment full of other players.

    @Amaranthar Unfortunately I never experienced UO, though I've heard good things about it. I'm curious how these events, like killing an NPC, was experienced by players who were not online at the time? Was it a one time event that you had to log in to experience? Most modern MMOs do these things by instances and phasing, which I don't always enjoy.
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 29,357
    I think they can make the game instanced. Essentially follow what the open world single player games have done. Fallout 4, Assassin Creed Syndicate .....

    Just add a MP component in a seamless manner (like Destiny or Division) and make the game less grindy, and more events/story focused. 

    In fact, to make the "world" vibrant and changing, make it like a single player world, but allows for inviting other players into it. 
    Citadels of Sorcery has been promising this sort of experience, hopefully it will one day be realized

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  • DammamDammam Member UncommonPosts: 38
    @ReallyNow10 I'm sorry if I implied I wanted the devs to write the story. Rather, my entire question is based on the difficulty of experiencing a deep, persistent, non-instanced world full of many other players in a way that allows for you to have your own adventure without spending an unreasonable number of hours logged on.

    Single player games, by virtue of being self-contained in terms of your journey through them, can manage just fine. I don't want MMOs to become single player games played by many people on the same server. Instead, I wonder how MMOs can, by design, provide players with the tools needed to have their own adventure. These tools can be narrative ones or not.

    @Axehilt I agree, but it's a fine balance between allowing players to jump from action to action and losing a sense of flow for your character in the world. While there's definitely a place for games that focus on the action, the question is whether there's a place for games that focus on the world and your place in it, without becoming too tedious and impractical on the one end and too narrow in scope and freedom on the other.

  • DammamDammam Member UncommonPosts: 38
    I think they can make the game instanced. Essentially follow what the open world single player games have done. Fallout 4, Assassin Creed Syndicate .....

    Just add a MP component in a seamless manner (like Destiny or Division) and make the game less grindy, and more events/story focused. 

    In fact, to make the "world" vibrant and changing, make it like a single player world, but allows for inviting other players into it. 
    I also think there is a place for this type of game. I would love a multiplayer (just a few friends) RPG world to explore. Skyrim with my friends would have been fun.

    But does that mean that, in your opinion, a persistent massively populated world cannot be implemented without losing that sense of "world"?
  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member UncommonPosts: 3,068
    edited February 2016
    Dammam said:
    (snip)

    @Amaranthar Unfortunately I never experienced UO, though I've heard good things about it. I'm curious how these events, like killing an NPC, was experienced by players who were not online at the time? Was it a one time event that you had to log in to experience? Most modern MMOs do these things by instances and phasing, which I don't always enjoy.
    These events were much more than just the event itself. There was a very deep plot running behind everything. So the story of what happened at any one event was read about and talked about on forums, because it likely had elements that would become important later on.

    As far as any individual event that players missed, there was a range of reactions. There were some complaints by players more suited to Themepark Instanced gaming, and there were "Wow, I wish I were there" comments. But the idea that the plot continues was the driver.

    But grand events were often spread out over days so players had opportunities to at least have "been there" for part of it. A constant spawn, and random chances to get special items for either display in houses or special MATs for crafting. Some were fairly common, others more "rare".

    GM's playing important characters sometimes talked to players.
    As an example, one story came from a player, (and was put on the official site) was particularly interesting in following the overall plot.
    That came when a GM playing Juo'Nar (the traitor Paladin I mentioned) attacked and killed some NPC "sages" at a Shrine (the Shrines were an important part of UO lore), and took from them a necklace. How this necklace fit into the overall plot I don't recall, but it might have been the Black Necklace I also mentioned.
    A player was then stopped by Juo'Nar, and the GM playing Juo'Nar told him something to the effect that he should go back and tell everyone that "there's no stopping what's coming now" (paraphrased). That player wasn't at an event. He was just playing and running down a road.

    That sort of thing is truly "time and space", in my opinion. MMO's need a lot more of it.


    Post edited by Amaranthar on

    Once upon a time....

  • AxehiltAxehilt Member RarePosts: 10,504
    edited February 2016
    Dammam said:
    @Axehilt I agree, but it's a fine balance between allowing players to jump from action to action and losing a sense of flow for your character in the world. While there's definitely a place for games that focus on the action, the question is whether there's a place for games that focus on the world and your place in it, without becoming too tedious and impractical on the one end and too narrow in scope and freedom on the other.
    When we flit from scene to scene in Lord of the Rings we also lose some sense of where the characters are physically in Middle Earth.  Do you feel that's a negative that's worth solving though?

    I feel like in a story, characters' locations aren't the point.  It's fine for us to have a slightly worse sense of characters' locations if it means a greater focus on interesting events.

    Similarly, I feel like in a game the player's location isn't the point.  It's fine for us to have a slightly worse sense of our location if it means a greater focus on interesting gameplay.

    There are genres of games where location is the point.  We call them racing games.  The reason the best racing games are enjoyable is travel is interesting gameplay in them. (Though notably they don't make you drive the semi to haul your car to the next race location. They skip to the races.)

    In typical MMORPGs, travel is not interesting gameplay.  Puzzle Pirates is the only MMORPG I can think of where the act of traveling involved significant gameplay, and PP is very different from a typical MMORPG (and might more accurately be classified as a MMO-Puzzle game.)

    This is why travel isn't automatically bad (when it has gameplay), but it's also why time-consuming travel in most MMORPGs is awful (because it typically has very shallow gameplay.)
    Post edited by Axehilt on

    "What is truly revealing is his implication that believing something to be true is the same as it being true. [continue]" -John Oliver

  • kjempffkjempff Member RarePosts: 1,428
    edited February 2016
    About narrative and story..
    I am not speaking against mmorpgs having story, but it should be a kind that includes the player. In a hit-and-run kind of way, where story points are delivered but leaving it open to the player to pick it up.

    Leaving details so the player can build the story and background from many things in the game, from lore to visuals and other experiences in the game. It is triggering the players imagination and creating a unique interpretation of a story. By involving the player in this way and also giving the player the choice to opt in and out at any time on their own premises on what imaginative level they want, is creating a million stories for each narrative setup you lay out.

    So instead of creating story driven themeparks where the developer spends insane amounts of very specific stories that many players don't care about because they have no control - I will claim it makes much better games to create more open story elements. These can be the same stories that a railroaded story driven would do, they just need to be incorporated in a completely different way, intertwined with the game world, lore, locations, other stories, descriptions, npc chitchat or visual actions.

    This kind of more subtle story telling is totally possible, and it can be done with concrete stories - It has been done before to various degrees in mmorpgs and other game genres (my go to example is always eq). How you create narrative like that I will leave to experts, but my guess it is a question of not focusing on telling a concrete story but more building on the entire game and stick parts in that makes up the specific story.

    Oh and story elements can be so much more than npc dialogue. For example the good old, go find this in the world, is a smart way to include a multitude of elements and layers... what is this village, why are the yabbadabbas hostile to humans but not [other race], what are those children of the red sun the crazy npc on the road speak about, ohh the yabbadabbas dropped a scroll written in an unknown language wonder what that is for.. and any of these elements can be small bits adding to build this or other stories, not a necessary a required part but adding to the picture.
    Post edited by kjempff on
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member RarePosts: 27,762
    Dammam said:
    I think they can make the game instanced. Essentially follow what the open world single player games have done. Fallout 4, Assassin Creed Syndicate .....

    Just add a MP component in a seamless manner (like Destiny or Division) and make the game less grindy, and more events/story focused. 

    In fact, to make the "world" vibrant and changing, make it like a single player world, but allows for inviting other players into it. 
    I also think there is a place for this type of game. I would love a multiplayer (just a few friends) RPG world to explore. Skyrim with my friends would have been fun.

    But does that mean that, in your opinion, a persistent massively populated world cannot be implemented without losing that sense of "world"?
    The answer is apparently ... if you think about the structure of an open world game like Assassin's Creed Syndicate (or Fallout 4). In ACS, there is a series of missions which you can trigger, some in different orders, some not, that once completed, the world changed. For example, in one of the ACS mission, you kill a gangster boss on top of a train .. once done .. his train would be yours, and now you have an cool HQ of operations. There are, also, a bunch of side missions (never repeated, always with scripting and cut scenes) that does not change, or change little of hte world.

    A persistent (without instances or phasing) massively populated world can do this in two ways:

    1) Have ONLY side missions (in fact, all quests and missions in MMORPGs are side mission by ACS or FO4 standard, aside from those with phasing) that does not change the world.

    2) Or you can have world changing missions but once done, it is gone forever (because the world is not going to be reset and let players do it again).

    (1) essentially will take what is so good about stories and events in ACS type world games away. If I am only doing side mission, then the game is only about progression. I may as well be playing Diablo 3 (since it has better combat and gear progression).

    (2) will service a very few % of the players .. and it will never be cost-effective. ACS works because each mission, even the side ones, can be crafted meticulously by a team of specialists because millions of players are going to play them. You cannot have a world changing mission in a persistent world and have millions of players participate ... at least not the kind of intimate small or solo ones on ACS.

    So ... a persistent massively MP world is actually BAD for world games .. unless you want a static one. In fact, devs have find a solution in Destiny and Division and Borderland ... let each player has their own world, and let others be guests. That is a much better solution for fun ... than persistent worlds.




  • DeivosDeivos Member EpicPosts: 3,692
    Axehilt said:
    This is why travel isn't automatically bad (when it has gameplay), but it's also why time-consuming travel in most MMORPGs is awful (because it typically has very shallow gameplay.)
    You apparently don't care for any real-time complexity or depth to your world and economy.

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  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member UncommonPosts: 3,068
    edited March 2016
    Dammam said:
    I think they can make the game instanced. Essentially follow what the open world single player games have done. Fallout 4, Assassin Creed Syndicate .....

    Just add a MP component in a seamless manner (like Destiny or Division) and make the game less grindy, and more events/story focused. 

    In fact, to make the "world" vibrant and changing, make it like a single player world, but allows for inviting other players into it. 
    I also think there is a place for this type of game. I would love a multiplayer (just a few friends) RPG world to explore. Skyrim with my friends would have been fun.

    But does that mean that, in your opinion, a persistent massively populated world cannot be implemented without losing that sense of "world"?
    The answer is apparently ... if you think about the structure of an open world game like Assassin's Creed Syndicate (or Fallout 4). In ACS, there is a series of missions which you can trigger, some in different orders, some not, that once completed, the world changed. For example, in one of the ACS mission, you kill a gangster boss on top of a train .. once done .. his train would be yours, and now you have an cool HQ of operations. There are, also, a bunch of side missions (never repeated, always with scripting and cut scenes) that does not change, or change little of hte world.

    A persistent (without instances or phasing) massively populated world can do this in two ways:

    1) Have ONLY side missions (in fact, all quests and missions in MMORPGs are side mission by ACS or FO4 standard, aside from those with phasing) that does not change the world.

    2) Or you can have world changing missions but once done, it is gone forever (because the world is not going to be reset and let players do it again).

    (1) essentially will take what is so good about stories and events in ACS type world games away. If I am only doing side mission, then the game is only about progression. I may as well be playing Diablo 3 (since it has better combat and gear progression).

    (2) will service a very few % of the players .. and it will never be cost-effective. ACS works because each mission, even the side ones, can be crafted meticulously by a team of specialists because millions of players are going to play them. You cannot have a world changing mission in a persistent world and have millions of players participate ... at least not the kind of intimate small or solo ones on ACS.

    So ... a persistent massively MP world is actually BAD for world games .. unless you want a static one. In fact, devs have find a solution in Destiny and Division and Borderland ... let each player has their own world, and let others be guests. That is a much better solution for fun ... than persistent worlds.


    Replying to (2):
    That's not true. You can have changes to the world with the masses (MMO). It's just that you can only have one change to one outcome.
    That can actually be applied to competitive efforts between groups of players.

    -The community that "wins" the Artifact Of Rains And Clear Skies might be able to boost their local farming.
    -The guild that "wins" the Wild Hunt for a rare colored buck can display the deer head in their house.
    -There's all sorts of thins that can be done here in this regard.

    For world changes, players might defeat an ultra powerful MOB and thus make the forest safer (at least for the time being).
    A city attack by MOBs can be defeated by killing the source of power.
    A dungeon can be cleared of a disease ridden species, removing said disease from future adventures.

    There are all kinds of "one off" outcomes that can be done.
    And it would make the game world feel more "real".
    Post edited by Amaranthar on

    Once upon a time....

  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member UncommonPosts: 3,068
    Deivos said:
    Axehilt said:
    This is why travel isn't automatically bad (when it has gameplay), but it's also why time-consuming travel in most MMORPGs is awful (because it typically has very shallow gameplay.)
    You apparently don't care for any real-time complexity or depth to your world and economy.
    Well, he's right as far as that goes. He just prefers the wrong answer.
    The right answer is to make travel into interesting game play.

    But I still wouldn't remove a form of instant travel that feels like it's not just a cop out. I loved UO's "marked runes" for instant travel to a place someone has been to and "marked". But I also love to travel the world, and I want a better world system so that travel is fun, interesting, and offers discovery around every corner even if you've been there before. That means roaming MOBs that build forts, uncovered ruins, random events, etc.

    Once upon a time....

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member UncommonPosts: 6,656
    Wow didnit for me. Until Cata

    image

  • AxehiltAxehilt Member RarePosts: 10,504
    Deivos said:
    You apparently don't care for any real-time complexity or depth to your world and economy.
    Well, he's right as far as that goes. He just prefers the wrong answer.
    The right answer is to make travel into interesting game play.

    But I still wouldn't remove a form of instant travel that feels like it's not just a cop out. I loved UO's "marked runes" for instant travel to a place someone has been to and "marked". But I also love to travel the world, and I want a better world system so that travel is fun, interesting, and offers discovery around every corner even if you've been there before. That means roaming MOBs that build forts, uncovered ruins, random events, etc.
    Right, and fast travel doesn't prevent the game from having a world to explore.  You can always explore anywhere you want, but you only have to slow-travel the first time you travel some place.

    Also Deivos' idea that you can't have a deep economy without forced slow-travel is laughable. As though the player themselves must be forced to do nothing for long periods of shallow gameplay in order to achieve deep gameplay, haha!  That guy.  Such a habitually-wrong contrarian.

    "What is truly revealing is his implication that believing something to be true is the same as it being true. [continue]" -John Oliver

  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member UncommonPosts: 3,068
    edited March 2016
    Axehilt said:
    Deivos said:
    You apparently don't care for any real-time complexity or depth to your world and economy.
    Well, he's right as far as that goes. He just prefers the wrong answer.
    The right answer is to make travel into interesting game play.

    But I still wouldn't remove a form of instant travel that feels like it's not just a cop out. I loved UO's "marked runes" for instant travel to a place someone has been to and "marked". But I also love to travel the world, and I want a better world system so that travel is fun, interesting, and offers discovery around every corner even if you've been there before. That means roaming MOBs that build forts, uncovered ruins, random events, etc.
    Right, and fast travel doesn't prevent the game from having a world to explore.  You can always explore anywhere you want, but you only have to slow-travel the first time you travel some place.

    Also Deivos' idea that you can't have a deep economy without forced slow-travel is laughable. As though the player themselves must be forced to do nothing for long periods of shallow gameplay in order to achieve deep gameplay, haha!  That guy.  Such a habitually-wrong contrarian.
    I don't know what comment from Deivos you are referring to, but a solid and deep economy includes resource gathering. And you do need world travel for that to make it work to it's best.
    In UO players would just teleport using those marked items to rich resource centers. And they teleported back to drop off, then out again to another. That's not good game play, in my mind. There should be some world travel and danger in much of that to make it more exciting and competitive. And there should be better "search" design for it too. Unless the game has player owned resource centers that they PvP over for control, maybe, depending on the game.
    But I would agree with his sentiment at face value. You do need world travel to make the overall picture of the economy more fulfilling and rewarding.

    And world travel should never be shallow.
    Post edited by Amaranthar on

    Once upon a time....

  • WizardryWizardry Member EpicPosts: 14,312
    Well it would be nice if the games were more interactive.Looking for yellow markers and clicking npc's is not much interaction for me,so much for the developers imagination.
    These games are done in such a very easy cheap fashion,you almost wonder what takes them so long.Well it is the assets,as far as actual game development/imagination /creation not very much is happening.It is like the Producers are merely shift bosses making sure the assembly line keeps moving.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

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