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Make Alts mean something...

Has anyone considered setting up the character slots in such a way as they all interact with the game; like a family, team, etc. You play each and particular one, and while you are not playing the others, they’d be assigned certain tasks. Or randomly, create offspring that may excel in certain areas (based on your current family strengths and accomplishments), traits – which you’d then ‘use’ as an alt. As usual, money would be required to sustain the 'family'.

Each ‘alt’ would have ‘offline’ abilities such as resource collecting, assign to certain studies to accelerate the team’s overall advancement/skill training rate, routing material crafting, assigned to guard something you own. If they are magically trained alts, allow for certain spells/abilities that actively enhance the player that character is focusing on, while another is generating the resources to make this possible. I don’t know…seems like the possibilities are endless…and that, perhaps, is why it is not done. But anyway.

It just surprises me that no one has released a mmorpg that not only encourages creating alt’s, but actually give alts a greater purpose.

I dont know for certain, but this probably something that has been done in Sim-type game. But I think it would be interesting in a eq/wow/AO/COH/etc. format.

 

MM

Comments

  • SanvigianSanvigian Member Posts: 8

    Bad Idea?

  • retrospecticretrospectic Member UncommonPosts: 1,466
    Originally posted by Sanvigian


    Has anyone considered setting up the character slots in such a way as they all interact with the game; like a family, team, etc. You play each and particular one, and while you are not playing the others, they’d be assigned certain tasks. Or randomly, create offspring that may excel in certain areas (based on your current family strengths and accomplishments), traits – which you’d then ‘use’ as an alt. As usual, money would be required to sustain the 'family'.
    Each ‘alt’ would have ‘offline’ abilities such as resource collecting, assign to certain studies to accelerate the team’s overall advancement/skill training rate, routing material crafting, assigned to guard something you own. If they are magically trained alts, allow for certain spells/abilities that actively enhance the player that character is focusing on, while another is generating the resources to make this possible. I don’t know…seems like the possibilities are endless…and that, perhaps, is why it is not done. But anyway.
    It just surprises me that no one has released a mmorpg that not only encourages creating alt’s, but actually give alts a greater purpose.
    I dont know for certain, but this probably something that has been done in Sim-type game. But I think it would be interesting in a eq/wow/AO/COH/etc. format.
     
    MM

     

    A lot of the things you mention as offline abilities would ruin the multiplayer experience.  Instead of finding real players to fulfill those tasks, you'd just create an alt.  I also think having to micro-manage alts is one of my least favorite things to do in an MMORPG.  I focus on one character and really enjoy exploring what that one character is capable of.  I think a system of alt creation would just bog down players who, instead of playing the end-game, would be stuck creating a character of each type to make their main strong through crafting and buffing.

  • SanvigianSanvigian Member Posts: 8
    Originally posted by retrospectic

    Originally posted by Sanvigian


    Has anyone considered setting up the character slots in such a way as they all interact with the game; like a family, team, etc. You play each and particular one, and while you are not playing the others, they’d be assigned certain tasks. Or randomly, create offspring that may excel in certain areas (based on your current family strengths and accomplishments), traits – which you’d then ‘use’ as an alt. As usual, money would be required to sustain the 'family'.
    Each ‘alt’ would have ‘offline’ abilities such as resource collecting, assign to certain studies to accelerate the team’s overall advancement/skill training rate, routing material crafting, assigned to guard something you own. If they are magically trained alts, allow for certain spells/abilities that actively enhance the player that character is focusing on, while another is generating the resources to make this possible. I don’t know…seems like the possibilities are endless…and that, perhaps, is why it is not done. But anyway.
    It just surprises me that no one has released a mmorpg that not only encourages creating alt’s, but actually give alts a greater purpose.
    I dont know for certain, but this probably something that has been done in Sim-type game. But I think it would be interesting in a eq/wow/AO/COH/etc. format.
     
    MM

     

    A lot of the things you mention as offline abilities would ruin the multiplayer experience.  Instead of finding real players to fulfill those tasks, you'd just create an alt.  I also think having to micro-manage alts is one of my least favorite things to do in an MMORPG.  I focus on one character and really enjoy exploring what that one character is capable of.  I think a system of alt creation would just bog down players who, instead of playing the end-game, would be stuck creating a character of each type to make their main strong through crafting and buffing.

     

    I suppose it would be a bit of micro management, but that has its own appeal to some. It just seems to me that creating a family/team concept within your own account could be interesting. And, by your own admission, something that might make the journey to end game more fun.

     

    This thought occurred to me after reading a thread on permadeath. I wouldnt mind permadeath so much if I was able to utilize more powerful emerging 'family' traits to create a new character. Those 'traits' are unlocked as your family grows and progresses.

     

    It seems like a idea worth pursuing. I'm writing my general plan now and will be submitting a proposal to EA within the next few weeks.

     

    MM

  • AxehiltAxehilt Member RarePosts: 10,504

    Seems like a pretty cool idea if done correctly.

    Only thing I'd worry about is the gap between casual/hardcore player at that point. In normal games the gap is already very large. In a game where my six level 80 alts is providing me constant benefits, the gap would be huge. So you'd want some kind of limitations to prevent things from getting out of hand.

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

  • retrospecticretrospectic Member UncommonPosts: 1,466
    Originally posted by Sanvigian

    Originally posted by retrospectic

    Originally posted by Sanvigian


    Has anyone considered setting up the character slots in such a way as they all interact with the game; like a family, team, etc. You play each and particular one, and while you are not playing the others, they’d be assigned certain tasks. Or randomly, create offspring that may excel in certain areas (based on your current family strengths and accomplishments), traits – which you’d then ‘use’ as an alt. As usual, money would be required to sustain the 'family'.
    Each ‘alt’ would have ‘offline’ abilities such as resource collecting, assign to certain studies to accelerate the team’s overall advancement/skill training rate, routing material crafting, assigned to guard something you own. If they are magically trained alts, allow for certain spells/abilities that actively enhance the player that character is focusing on, while another is generating the resources to make this possible. I don’t know…seems like the possibilities are endless…and that, perhaps, is why it is not done. But anyway.
    It just surprises me that no one has released a mmorpg that not only encourages creating alt’s, but actually give alts a greater purpose.
    I dont know for certain, but this probably something that has been done in Sim-type game. But I think it would be interesting in a eq/wow/AO/COH/etc. format.
     
    MM

     

    A lot of the things you mention as offline abilities would ruin the multiplayer experience.  Instead of finding real players to fulfill those tasks, you'd just create an alt.  I also think having to micro-manage alts is one of my least favorite things to do in an MMORPG.  I focus on one character and really enjoy exploring what that one character is capable of.  I think a system of alt creation would just bog down players who, instead of playing the end-game, would be stuck creating a character of each type to make their main strong through crafting and buffing.

     

    I suppose it would be a bit of micro management, but that has its own appeal to some. It just seems to me that creating a family/team concept within your own account could be interesting. And, by your own admission, something that might make the journey to end game more fun.

    I think what I was going for was that I thought it would make the end game non-existent.  People would spend all of their time leveling alts to do the tasks that MMORPGs use to create player interaction.  What I mean is, if you have one of everything in you "family" you don't need other players.  You are basically derailing some of the best part of the MMORPG experience by making other players meaningless.

     

    This thought occurred to me after reading a thread on permadeath. I wouldnt mind permadeath so much if I was able to utilize more powerful emerging 'family' traits to create a new character. Those 'traits' are unlocked as your family grows and progresses.

     Permanent death is such a horrible idea for a game "mechanic".  It does not take into consideration all of the events that can occur out of a player's control.  Things like disconnects and bugs, for example.  Anyway, I think trying to rationalize this as a game mechanic by saying "Oh, but you can just use your alts babies!"  would just be cheap development.

    It seems like a idea worth pursuing. I'm writing my general plan now and will be submitting a proposal to EA within the next few weeks.

    I would suggest fleshing out the proposal with a lot more research than you are currently showing in this post.  What you're trying to sell in this post just doesn't seem very fun.

     

    MM

     Let me also make this suggestion.  Think about how much a players time spent leveling impacts their overall ability, wealth, and power.  Make sure you take into consideration that online games are becoming more and more fast paced and are moving away from the whole concept of grinds.  Would your game be playable if characters only spent a few hours a week playing?   Could they compete with people who sat around all day leveling their alts? 

  • MMO_DoubterMMO_Doubter Member Posts: 5,056

    I had an idea a while back about how to encourage alts in order to populate lower level zones.

    For each level milestone (L10, L20, etc.) reached by a character, it would receive an altstone - a single use permanent stat boost usable by another character on the same account. Alt addicts could use them to buff beginning characters so they could level faster (or even use them for an XP bonus), while end game fans could use them to make their main just a little more UBER. I would enjoy leveling alts as a means to buff my main.

     

    "" Voice acting isn't an RPG element....it's just a production value." - grumpymel2

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,215

    It's an interesting idea but it has enough pitfalls that the MMOs that do offer passive offline gains code against it.

     

    Puzzle Pirates allows your characters to work at shops while you are offline. They work for real players and help to craft real items that get sold in the player shops. You have a total of 30 or so labor hours a week that are divided across the characters you have created. The reason it is divided is because offline or passive gains doesn't encourage playing alts, rather encourages dummy characters for the sake of inflated gains. It prevents a person with one actual character from having 3 times the gains.

    EVE Online has a passive skill system where your character continually gains skill points whether ingame or offline. You can only train on one character at a time because, as above, allowing gains on unused characters doesn't add value to alts, instead it only created the need for dummy characters. I say need because once it is used as an artificial way to inflate available resources and power (a progressing character that the player never even acknowledges falls into that category as well) it becomes perceived as a necessity.

    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • AxehiltAxehilt Member RarePosts: 10,504

    Lynx in both cases it sounds like the benefits aren't affected by how strong the characters are. (ie in EVE you always progress skills at a constant rate.)

    So your examples are poor implementations of this idea.

    A better example (done with WOW levels in mind) would be:

    Training Bonus
    Level 1 chars increase your XP gain across all characters by 0.0%
    Level 10 chars increase it by 0.1%
    Level 60 chars increase it by 1%
    Level 80 chars increase it by 4%
    Max bonus is +16%.

    So low level chars are almost worthless and the majority of value doesn't appear until you have a character maxed (or near max.)

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

  • SanvigianSanvigian Member Posts: 8

    Exactly. There is strength in numbers. Certainly there would have to be limitations. But just think of Eve for a moment, although not exactly what im talking about - each alt would have passive training as well as actively trained skills. Simple example...

     

    Skill Level 1 - Housing Defense.

    When the alt is offline and set to guard the homestead - this is what their ability is based on.

    Skill Level 1 - Resource Gathering.

    Assume for a moment that the actual character has to at least locate and secure an area for say - stone gathering. Once that has been done - when offline, the character can essentially go to that spot - on auto and gather - albeit at a far slower rate than an actively managed session. [flame away]

    Skill Level 1 - Remote Arcane Telepathic Assistance

    Assume a magic based character obtains a level and acquires the appropriate spell and skill to support a family member through some type of telepathy.

    Just a few ideas...

    ....

    Also, As your 'family' grows and your reach certain points in the game, skill lvls, achievements, your offspring (alts), when created are created with additional strength, abilities, etc.

     

  • DeserttFoxxDeserttFoxx Member UncommonPosts: 2,401
    Originally posted by Sanvigian


    Bad Idea?

     

    Pretty much.

     

    Why should you get rewarded for making more characters, besides they obivious bonuses of just having more personally knowledge of the classes, and maybe more combined money and resourses the point of MMOs is to focus on 1 character.

     

    To me, alts are a byproduct of a lack of content.

    Quotations Those Who make peaceful resolutions impossible, make violent resolutions inevitable. John F. Kennedy

    Life... is the shit that happens while you wait for moments that never come - Lester Freeman

    Lie to no one. If there 's somebody close to you, you'll ruin it with a lie. If they're a stranger, who the fuck are they you gotta lie to them? - Willy Nelson

  • SanvigianSanvigian Member Posts: 8
    Originally posted by DeserttFoxx

    Originally posted by Sanvigian


    Bad Idea?

     

    Pretty much.

     

    Why should you get rewarded for making more characters, besides they obivious bonuses of just having more personally knowledge of the classes, and maybe more combined money and resourses the point of MMOs is to focus on 1 character.

     

    To me, alts are a byproduct of a lack of content.

     

    You are going to have alts anyway. I'm just thinking of giving that aspect of play a little more dimension. Who said the point of MMOs is to focus on one character? Why does it need to be that way?

    I can see many things that might be exploitable issues - but that isnt a reason not to explore the idea. And I can say for certain that if one thinks that something should be done because its not supposed to be done - many of the best games wouldnt even exist. With all due respect...open your mind a little.

    MM

  • MMO_DoubterMMO_Doubter Member Posts: 5,056

    A game needs people leveling alts for new players to group with.

    "" Voice acting isn't an RPG element....it's just a production value." - grumpymel2

  • tupodawg999tupodawg999 Member UncommonPosts: 724

    One of the game ideas I like involves a kind of colonization version of MMORPG based on the old D&D thing of being able to build a stronghold at level 20 (or whatever it was). The starting area of the game would be one small coastal town on the edge of the continent and after a certain level players would be able to claim plots of land, cut down some trees, make a log cabin and then gradually upgrade.

    I was thinking originally you'd eventually hire NPCs for certain jobs in your stonghold e.g you'd clear some farmland and hire an NPC to farm it, but alts would be an interesting alternative. Other things i was thinking could be in your stronghold as you upgraded it would be some kind of shrine for buffs and a herbalist shop that made a few potions every day. You could have it so you needed to make a herbalist alt to run your potion shop and a priest alt to run your shrine etc.

    The other aspect would be that as well as needing to clear mobs off your plot of land initially they'd counter-attack regularly so your NPCs / alts would be guards as well, otherwise you could come back from a quest and find your stronghold burned down.

    So your main would level a bit and then claim some land. You'd then click the "go back to character screen" button but if you had a stronghold then instead of logging out straight away you'd get an option list and you could set him to be in NPC mode as a "Lumberjack".

    You'd then log out to the create screen and make your first alt and  run up to your stronghold and see your main char acting like an NPC cutting down trees on your plot and dragging them into a big logpile for building your house. You go level the alt's woodcutting skill and when it's high enough for him to take over as lumberjack you'd swap them over and go level your main's "construction" skill so they can turn all the logs into a cabin.

  • MMO_DoubterMMO_Doubter Member Posts: 5,056

    I would have no objection to adding Harvest Moon gameplay to MMOs (could be a fun way to acquire crafting mats), but I suspect it would not be feasible due to performance demands.

    "" Voice acting isn't an RPG element....it's just a production value." - grumpymel2

  • haratuharatu Member UncommonPosts: 409

    Granada Espada is an MMO with a family system for alts.

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