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PVE Enemies and their Role in MMORPGs

coretex666coretex666 Member EpicPosts: 3,462
edited April 2017 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM

It can be safely stated that not all players perceive the role, significance, and individual qualities of the PVE enemies in MMORPGs in the same manner. There are many factors influencing the way we look at the enemies lurking in the virtual worlds. These include the type of players we are, what we are looking for in the game and the reasons why we play MMORPGs in the first place.

A player who enjoys the heat of combat is probably more interested in how well the enemies fight back and how gruesome they look than in whether they drop realistic items or if the size of their sword matches the proportions of their body, while a player seeking immersion may have a completely opposite view. For an achiever, who is watching their experience or skill bar while playing, the only important characteristic of the enemies may be the amount by which they push them closer to achieving the next level when they die.

I am the type of player who likes to get immersed in the beauty and sometimes the darkness of the virtual world they inhabit and while I do like PC games from other genres as well and actively play them for fun, I have always had a special place for MMORPGs and considered them to be more than just games. This shapes my personal preferences when it comes to PVE enemies in the online role-playing games. 

Here are some specific examples of these preferences:

1) I like it when monsters' appearance matches with their strength and when their power is not revealed to the player before they test it for themselves. I enjoy it a lot when we are roaming an online world with my friends discovering the beings that live there. It has always been so much fun discussing whether we should attack that strong looking troll with a giant club having no idea whether we can defeat him or if he wipes us off the face of the earth...which they often have. It is not unnatural in the MMORPGs that there are boars or wolves which are many times stronger than a much more powerful looking dragon or giant due to their higher level. Also, it is quite common that a monster has its level and an eventual elite status displayed, so that the player can assume the outcome of the encounter.

2) I like it when monsters have realistic drops. This topic has been discussed many times on this forum, so I will just say it one more time. It feels weird when a wolf drops coins...here I did it. I could also say that I like it when the loot has some real use in the world, but this is supposed to be about monsters, so I will stop right here.

3) I like it when there is some background information about the monsters available in the game. It may be provided by various sources, such as quests and their narratives talking about the history of the particular race or kind of enemies and the role they have played in the story of the world or book and scrolls detailing their strengths and weaknesses, natural habitats, special skills and perks, how long they live, what weapons they like to use or what their armor is made of. If this information is not that simple to obtain and it then can be utilized in the gameplay, I find it even more interesting.

4) I like it when powerful looking creatures are less common in the world. It is not unlikely in current MMORPGs that you meet a knight with a large flaming sword, a dragonlike being or a huge ent early in the game and often you easily defeat them without even having to form a group.

These are my own likes and dislikes which you may disagree with and it is perfectly fine. What I am interested in is what is your take on monsters in MMORPGs. Are there any specific features, characteristics or qualities that you personally like or dislike about them?

Share it with us if you feel like it.

Post edited by coretex666 on

Comments

  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 18,877
    I just like to play a role of a genocidal maniac that wants to push all NPCs into extinction.

    Joking aside I'd love to play a real enclosed system simulator - with finite resources, including finite NPCs - this however is probably the most difficult game to make on a MMO scale - as it would be basically a virtual life simulator.

    Games based on endless respawns and endless resources (current MMOs) - are pretty hard to take seriously - which is why we all end up playing mass murderers in those games.
  • NycteliosNyctelios Member EpicPosts: 2,690
    I like the concepts you talk about. Yeah, games should follow a "feedback logic" in which the player can recognize, thus empathizing with the world, the monsters by their look (and behavior).

    Also, I would love if the monsters were more than placeholders for XP and loot.

    Like, the game tosses monsters designed with sole intention to kill you. How do they eat? Where they sleep? Who crafted their armor?

    I always pay attention to that and as much it is a nitpick for some it actually makes me stop playing something - - Even if I dislike WoW Blizzard places NPC fishing with a tent and a campfire there. He does not exist to give you quests, he lives there.

    I would like the same concept tied to monsters. Guild Wars 2 succeeds a little on that regards - - Still suffers from the level based games sin of "killing a powerful lvl 60 demon and going to next area to face lvl 80 pigs and chickens".

    “There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” ― Patrick RothfussThe Wise Man's Fear


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  • koboldfodderkoboldfodder Member UncommonPosts: 437
    You are making it too difficult.

    LOOT.

    That is the only reason they exists and the only reason they are killed.  Either they have some sort of loot or advancement associated with them, or they are a direct impediment to some sort of loot or advancement.

    That is why most of the player base ignore everything but the end game content, because the rewards associated with lesser areas are not worth the time.
  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 18,877
    edited April 2017




    You are making it too difficult.

    LOOT.

    That is the only reason they exists and the only reason they are killed.  Either they have some sort of loot or advancement associated with them, or they are a direct impediment to some sort of loot or advancement.

    That is why most of the player base ignore everything but the end game content, because the rewards associated with lesser areas are not worth the time.





    Because all MMOs so far are based on "infinite respawn, infinite resources" model - so as far as PvE goes nothing a player does has any impact on the game world in any meaningful way.

    Loot pinata aka NPCs.

    The other variant of this is 

    Crafting material pinatas - where NPCs dont drop loot but materials, still the same thing, you just have to craft everything, but its all still infinite.
    Post edited by DMKano on
  • anemoanemo Member UncommonPosts: 1,427
    You're starting down a very dangerous path in which the player is not constantly in combat, and fights could be an hour or more apart... 

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member RarePosts: 4,381
    edited April 2017
    coretex666 said:I am the type of player who likes to get immersed in the beauty and sometimes the darkness of the virtual world they inhabit and while I do like PC games from other genres as well and actively play them for fun, I have always had a special place for MMORPGs and considered them to be more than just games. This shapes my personal preferences when it comes to PVE enemies in the online role-playing games.

    I'm like you, since I don't care about combat so never liked the "just here for the kill target" mob design, maybe that's why I don't play dumb action combat MMOs :lol:

    There was TSW (ok, technically still is kicking), one of its many boons was the storytelling through the world design, including the mobs. It was praised and discussed a lot after launch, resulted lots of lore threads.
    Loved when players sometimes rediscovered elements of it years later, for example about the zombies in Kingsmouth: https://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?97213-Kingsmouth-Cultist-Zombie-Mass-Graves-We-ve-overlooked-something-BIG-%28video-link%29
    (since nope, "We" have not overlooked it, just maybe him :wink:  Btw that mission also served as to give clues about the dark history of Kingsmouth, and the origin of those mass graves)

    Actually it is a great example of why I said "There was TSW", it was one of the missions Peon raged about in his video, and since apparently he is a measure for Legends, that was the first mission mentioned by Tilty, right on the first longer interview with BtV, as a mission that will get changed, since god forbid we force our new target audience to walk a bit between the killing sprees, right?

    And those zombies are not an exception, but the rule. From the draug breeding cycle through the cultist or the vampire hierarchy every mob and mob group had its definite purpose and role story-wise, and also a background and a history in relation to the overall lore. It was an amazing design, encouraged the exploration and the open mind to discover the details... since it applied to the mob's look, behaviour, sometimes even different attack patterns.

    In a sense the Museum was a "dumbing down" to this concept, since they've collected those info tidbits and put it in the game as the Bestiary lore collection (great writing from Josh's part, btw).
    So if you missed something with the mobs, you could read it in the Museum :wink:
    Post edited by Po_gg on
  • coretex666coretex666 Member EpicPosts: 3,462

    DMKano said:

    I just like to play a role of a genocidal maniac that wants to push all NPCs into extinction.

    Joking aside I'd love to play a real enclosed system simulator - with finite resources, including finite NPCs - this however is probably the most difficult game to make on a MMO scale - as it would be basically a virtual life simulator.

    Games based on endless respawns and endless resources (current MMOs) - are pretty hard to take seriously - which is why we all end up playing mass murderers in those games.


    You mean a system in which players would need to cooperate to sustain the resources needed for survival (e.g. plants, animals, or even NPCs)? So, for instance, you would have to always maintain at least some minimum number of monsters of a particular kind / species in order for them not to become extinct?


  • sunandshadowsunandshadow Member RarePosts: 1,869
    edited April 2017
    I like combat to be tactical, when possible, so I like enemies that come out in diverse groups and have different elemental weaknesses or damage-type weaknesses.

    As a crafter, I'm interested in hunting monsters for their drops, as a partial profession for my character within the game world.

    When playing a stealth class, I really like to be able to predict whether a particular enemy will be able to see through my invisibility or not; so that's one case where a predictable opponent is actually better than a surprising one.

    As far as humanoid opponents go, I'm not really enthusiastic about them; I can believe that a group of insane necromantic cultists are 100% bad guys who deserve to be killed, but I really don't like the idea that some races are just inherently evil or that anyone wearing a different color uniform than me should be slaughtered.


    Edit: And for me the infinite ability of monsters to respawn is important to the feel of a big world full of wild magic.  I am totally not interested in a world where I need to compete with other players or enter some kind of political relationship with other players.
    Post edited by sunandshadow on
    I want to help design and develop a PvE-focused, solo-friendly, sandpark MMO which combines crafting, monster hunting, and story.  So PM me if you are starting one.
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member RarePosts: 4,381
    edited April 2017
    sunandshadow said:

    And for me the infinite ability of monsters to respawn is important to the feel of a big world full of wild magic.

    Yep, even if it's hard to explain lore-wise, it is the better solution overall. What Kano suggested above would result a totally empty world pretty soon - just look at the IRL world, we can't even keep our real resources in check, with laws and international protocols, no way the few interested players in a game could keep the pace with the major crowd of "kill / farm everything on sight" players :wink:
    sunandshadow said:

    As a crafter, I'm interested in hunting monsters for their drops, as a partial profession for my character within the game world.

    For the generic materials I'm with you on this one as well (fellow crafter here :wawing: ), that's why I voted against the crafter separation in the other thread. But for the rare elements I think it can easily backfire...

    Taking LotRO as an example, you can get some mats as a drop, nothing unrealistic as coretex also mentioned under point 2), just hides from mobs which have one in the first place (no hides from insects for example) or gems and relics from humanoid adversaries. And, at the beginning the rares could drop trophies needed for crafting with crit success. Result, those rares were spawncamped 24/7...
    When they changed it - and I usually against changes I must say - it was great. As it is discussed in an another thread, "challenging" is not meaning "primitive time-sink" :wink:
    sunandshadow said:

    ...but I really don't like the idea that some races are just inherently evil or that anyone wearing a different color uniform than me should be slaughtered.

    Yep, evil is just a point of view based on which side you are on :wink: I liked the idea in Wildstar that your mobs are from the races of the opposite faction, and attacking you based on that notion (that's why I preferred the Exiles, beating up those chua bastards is fun...).

    In LotRO it is much clearer, it's in the lore... and while I don't like pvp, when they added the Ettenmoors I simply loved to play the PvE part of the creep side, they have really funny missions.
    (and at the start, when it was more tactical and not just the usual mmo pvp killfest, I liked the raids too. Moderately. Just for a short time. PvE rules! :awesome: )
    Post edited by Po_gg on
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