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Keeping starting cities fresh

AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 7,332
I like when companies find ways to keep the major cities where a player's race or faction are centered, or ones where the players started out, fresh and relevant.

Places like Qeynos, Kelethin, Ironforge, Stormwind.

It's nice to have a location that feels like home to come back to, where there are lots of other players congregating. 

What do you guys think?

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

Comments

  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 17,829
    Yep can't agree more.

    Then put yourself in the shoes of the developer and you begin to understand why we get so many crap expansions/updates.

    When a developer looks to continue making money,they know almost definitely ,reviving old content areas will not make anymore money.The funny thing is,all they do is the exact same thing that could be done in old areas,but give it a new map/face because silly people buy into that.

    This is why after a game releases,it is a race to end game,then every single update afterwards is end game related.So the entire Lore ,story,design is tossed out the window after day 1.After that we get expansions with 5 new levels,possibly a race/class or two and a selling point gimmick like some flying mount or pack pony or some OP gear/item.

    It is VERY tough to get a passionate game designer now a days because money is tight,devs need to keep pushing where the money is,the passionate part of the games take a distant back seat.

    Long story short,don't hold your breathe,i'm not holding mine,i expect the same stereotypes/trends to continue as they have been.

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

  • g0m0rrahg0m0rrah Member UncommonPosts: 325
    When I see the words,  starter city,  I think linear.  I hate the concept of area progression.  I want to pick a city and make it a home.  I'm tired of throw away content and geography.  You would think devs would love to not have to constantly create new continents,  leaving the old ones behind and unused. 
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,894
    The best zone I've found that meets your criteria is : EQ1's  The Plane of Knowledge.  Characters of all levels congregate there.  People chat, exchange buffs and form groups.  It's not a starting zone, but a great number of characters end up bound there.

    But, as I understand it, some of the reasons why PoK is a home that draws players are the same things many players are against.
    • First, it is a transportation hub with myriads of fast travel portals to various areas of the game.  The convenience of all the portals in a single hub makes PoK a stop on almost any trip from zone-to-zone in EQ1.
    • Second, it is adjacent to the other major locations where players might gather -- the guild house and bazaar.  The guild house contains the guild bank and guild portal that ease travel to places that aren't directly serviced by the portals in PoK.  Plus, it's a good place for 35+ characters to meet for a raid.  The bazaar is stocked with players (mostly alts) in an automated state, buying and selling items.
    • Third, many quests originate from NPCs in PoK that will take the player around the world.  Franklin Teek alone qualifies PoK as a multi-level quest hub.
    • Finally, the crafting vendors, the library vendors and personal bank provide almost all the items and services a character is likely to need.
    The problem is: there are frequently posts on these forums where people don't want fast travel or want that East Commons old-school trading center.  The convenient travel portals and a fire-and-forget style bazaar aren't going to appeal to those posters.  If the developers accommodate either group, those wanting these conveniences and those that don't, they inadvertently set these groups at cross purposes, potentially building a tightrope between these opposing populations which the developers then have to traverse.  If the developers stray too far in either direction, they risk losing the other population.  Fewer customers will result in smaller revenues.  Eventually, that kind of trend is going to impact someone's lunch.

    (PoK does have it's problems -- the game has outgrown the number of portal locations, and the number of NPCs offering tasks, quests, items, services, travel, etc. is overwhelming.  It's in danger of becoming wall-to-wall NPCs.)

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • TyranusPrimeTyranusPrime Member UncommonPosts: 306
    edited February 2017
    I am going to agree heartily on this one with one stipulation.. It applies not only to starting cities, but to all of them.. I think developers have to keep all of their cities and towns updated and relevant.. While this can take the form of city "growth" in some cases, it can also be just as effective to tinker with its evolution through world events and crisis..

    At the same time, the players have a duty to develop their own interactions within those cities and towns.. Commerce, socialization, sense of community, and creating one's home can all be excellent motivators for a player choosing a specific town or city to live in.. Just as in the real world, some people choose to live in big cities.. Some choose small towns.. Some need to be by the ocean.. In expectation of this, devs need to make every settlement attractive in some form to a great variety of people..

    One of the issues I have in some established games is the all too frequent human instinct to cluster into one or two cities.. This leaves other places completely devoid of life and feeling irrelevant.. It also sends a strong message to some devs that central hubs are good, and extra cities were a waste of time and money to create.. This idea is, to me at least, horrendous.. Its impossible to have an immersive world if everyone flocks to a single city or two and leaves the other ones as ghost towns with lonely NPCs..

    But how do you fight that human nature? As a someday-dev-to-be, I'm trying to work on that solution right now.. Luckily I have a few ideas I am tinkering with..

    ..because we're gamers, damn it!! - William Massachusetts (Log Horizon)

  • DullahanDullahan Member EpicPosts: 4,534
    Not only should starting cities perpetually matter, the entire experience of players from particular regions should be distinctly unique. They could have backstories and events in every area that unfold (as mentioned above), that players with positive faction or of a particular race can engage in. Long term quests that are time locked based on things happening in the world and regional politics.

    I'd love to see reasons to return to my city and find information, lore or quests become available, perhaps only for a limited time. I do know that these are the kind of endeavors that require greater resources, but we can dream can't we?


  • LokeroLokero Member RarePosts: 1,514
    Wizardry said:
    Yep can't agree more.

    Then put yourself in the shoes of the developer and you begin to understand why we get so many crap expansions/updates.

    When a developer looks to continue making money,they know almost definitely ,reviving old content areas will not make anymore money.The funny thing is,all they do is the exact same thing that could be done in old areas,but give it a new map/face because silly people buy into that.
    I agree that we see this mainly because expansions are where the money is.

    However, in a game with a monthly subscription fee, this is really a poor excuse.  If there's already a steady income stream, then they really have no excuse to not spend development time changing/improving the world, instead of merely expanding it.

    This should be one of the big selling points for P2P, honestly.  They shouldn't have to focus on rushing from one new land expansion to another, when they can simply expand upon already existing content.
  • ThebeastttThebeasttt Member RarePosts: 1,130
    This is why I hate the idea of regional auction houses. You would think it helps cities stay relevant but it does just the opposite. Even the majority of hardcore players aren't willing to search three continents for an item they "might" find.

    When Vanguard tried to introduce this every auction house was barren except Khal, as the players simply congregated in the most convenient area, EC style. Ironically this caused starting cities to be even more barren, unless they were in close proximity of Khal. The lesson here is either have a global auction system or leave out the middleman and have players choose how to trade.
  • HrimnirHrimnir Member RarePosts: 2,413
    Dullahan said:
    Not only should starting cities perpetually matter, the entire experience of players from particular regions should be distinctly unique. They could have backstories and events in every area that unfold (as mentioned above), that players with positive faction or of a particular race can engage in. Long term quests that are time locked based on things happening in the world and regional politics.

    I'd love to see reasons to return to my city and find information, lore or quests become available, perhaps only for a limited time. I do know that these are the kind of endeavors that require greater resources, but we can dream can't we?


    The lack of per race, or mostly per race starting cities is one of the things that absolutely destroyed the immersion factor for me in "modern" mmos. Why would a bunch of different races that have literally no genetic relation to each other all start in the same city.  I mean, yes, you can design the story around it, such as in Rift, but it still comes across lazy.

    Yes, I know developers don't like to produce content that will ultimately be "wasted" to some extent, but IMO that's their fault for not making the individual starting cities relevant in later levels.  I liked that EQ had things like having to go to a trainer that may not be in every city, if you were a dark elf necromancer, you might only be able to go to one city to train.

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • SavageHorizonSavageHorizon Member RarePosts: 3,432
    Mendel said:
    The best zone I've found that meets your criteria is : EQ1's  The Plane of Knowledge.  Characters of all levels congregate there.  People chat, exchange buffs and form groups.  It's not a starting zone, but a great number of characters end up bound there.

    But, as I understand it, some of the reasons why PoK is a home that draws players are the same things many players are against.
    • First, it is a transportation hub with myriads of fast travel portals to various areas of the game.  The convenience of all the portals in a single hub makes PoK a stop on almost any trip from zone-to-zone in EQ1.
    • Second, it is adjacent to the other major locations where players might gather -- the guild house and bazaar.  The guild house contains the guild bank and guild portal that ease travel to places that aren't directly serviced by the portals in PoK.  Plus, it's a good place for 35+ characters to meet for a raid.  The bazaar is stocked with players (mostly alts) in an automated state, buying and selling items.
    • Third, many quests originate from NPCs in PoK that will take the player around the world.  Franklin Teek alone qualifies PoK as a multi-level quest hub.
    • Finally, the crafting vendors, the library vendors and personal bank provide almost all the items and services a character is likely to need.
    The problem is: there are frequently posts on these forums where people don't want fast travel or want that East Commons old-school trading center.  The convenient travel portals and a fire-and-forget style bazaar aren't going to appeal to those posters.  If the developers accommodate either group, those wanting these conveniences and those that don't, they inadvertently set these groups at cross purposes, potentially building a tightrope between these opposing populations which the developers then have to traverse.  If the developers stray too far in either direction, they risk losing the other population.  Fewer customers will result in smaller revenues.  Eventually, that kind of trend is going to impact someone's lunch.

    (PoK does have it's problems -- the game has outgrown the number of portal locations, and the number of NPCs offering tasks, quests, items, services, travel, etc. is overwhelming.  It's in danger of becoming wall-to-wall NPCs.)
    I agree, say what you want about that expansion it did give a great base for buffs and trade. OK I loved meeting in East Commons but POK was great for community building as was East Common. 




  • Raidan_EQRaidan_EQ Member UncommonPosts: 247
    DMKano said:

    This is why Plane of Knowledge happened, as EQ1 grew bigger and bigger getting from one place to another and being able to find players easily became more of a chore.

    This did occur; however, EQ's expansions typically always expanded outward.  New zones, continents, etc.  which spread the playerbase thin.  I would like to see inward expansions with Pantheon, expand on already existing zones.  Using Estate or Unrest for example from EQ - create zones behind the locked doors similar to a Guktop/Gukbottom versus sending someone to a completey new continent.

    Would it keep starting cities more relevant?  Maybe not, but I know in EQ while obtaining coin mattered, I always sold in my starting city for the best prices while equipping a crude stein.  I'd probably continue to do the same if it wasn't a hassle to return.
  • Scott23Scott23 Member UncommonPosts: 293
    Raidan_EQ said:
    DMKano said:

    This is why Plane of Knowledge happened, as EQ1 grew bigger and bigger getting from one place to another and being able to find players easily became more of a chore.

    This did occur; however, EQ's expansions typically always expanded outward.  New zones, continents, etc.  which spread the playerbase thin.  I would like to see inward expansions with Pantheon, expand on already existing zones.  Using Estate or Unrest for example from EQ - create zones behind the locked doors similar to a Guktop/Gukbottom versus sending someone to a completey new continent.

    Would it keep starting cities more relevant?  Maybe not, but I know in EQ while obtaining coin mattered, I always sold in my starting city for the best prices while equipping a crude stein.  I'd probably continue to do the same if it wasn't a hassle to return.
    That is a good point.  As the expansions er, expanded the world the bulk of the playerbase was almost always in the newer content.  After 3 or 4 the original continent was very sparse.  It would have been interesting to find more stuff to do - like a newly discovered dungeon or something. 

    Although I can see the perils of that without porting or fast access - "Let's go check out the Crypt Keep in Western Karana." "Man, that will take 45 minutes to get to from here.  I only have another hour or two online..."
  • AdamantineAdamantine Member RarePosts: 4,430
    I fail to see how this is even a desireable goal. Starter cities are in the middle of starter areas. Highlevel players will thus not go there. There is nothing to do for them around the starter city.
    Please set a sig so I can read your posting even if somebody "agreed" etc with it. Thanks.
  • Tiamat64Tiamat64 Member RarePosts: 1,537
    I fail to see how this is even a desireable goal. Starter cities are in the middle of starter areas. Highlevel players will thus not go there. There is nothing to do for them around the starter city.
    Well, from a developer perspective, if they could find a way to get players to stick to the starter cities, they won't have to spend time and resources developing new cities.  .....that doesn't really have much to do with the quality of the gameplay from a player perspective though.

    I guess it helps ensure that the newbies can see/interact with veterans more often?
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