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What are the requirements for RP in MMORPGs?

In another topic we had a discussion what made old games more RP than the new ones. Almost a year ago me and some around have decided to create the real world for RPing, and as we are proceeding ahead, we would like to gather the requirements for such an environment. So to be the first, I propose here our suggests.

- no character levels, but a lot of skills and stats, that can help to build a really special and unique character. Just like I saw it in Morrowind, the skill is upgraded by using it, not by distributing points

- a few built-in repeatable quests and having some Game Masters "playing" the few NPCs providing a free-text speech availability

- these GMs can manipulate the world to create a linear history, thats consistent between PCs, eg.: only one PC or group can finish a unique quest, though many can start it. With this we would like to get over that "single player" view of MMOs.

- also these GMs are responsible for moderating the world, the in-game chat and such.

I know that many of the players won't last there long. But we would like to create a small but strong RP game, where players can spend their free time having fun. What do you think of this? We're still in design phase, and would like to know if we're on the right path.

Another thing we would like to achieve, is to be multiplatform, and to have all kind of interfaces, eg: MUD-like, browser based, 2d, 3d, mobile, etc. why should we restrict players to play in a world they can reach only on a given platform and configuration?

 

And there YOU go. You don't have to tell which current game is the best, but why is it so? And if you can't find a game of your own, what are YOU looking for?

Comments

  • haratuharatu Member UncommonPosts: 409

    My expereince shows that RP is possible in every game, however the best RP games have the following characteristics:

    • Good lore / story background
    • A world that changes according to players
    • Events connected with the lore
    • GMs that maintain events and RP situations
    •  Instances that don't repeat the story over and over again (primary characters can't be killed more than once)
    • Moderate PvP
    • No levels

    All of these I found are the best combination for RP. While many will claim that a stable world is more conductive to RP, I have found the opposite. While stable worlds avoid conflict and allow players to work their characters out it also deters many from the exact same thing as people strive to experience the whole game or get best items. In a changing world however, characters do not strive to experience the whole game because they know most can not do such before it changes again, as a result I have observed more players stopping to experience RP. While changing worlds may encourage RP, not all do, I find this is often because of the evil of levels which once again divert attention to strive to advance rather than RP.

    That is what I have noticed, as well as difficulties I experienced. Others may notice other things.

     

  • Quasar451Quasar451 Member Posts: 18

    What's needed is a system where characters can behave in a way that not only progresses the game for the player, but also supports the storyline of the character. In my personal opinion, super-coordination specific group combat that requires voice chat completely ruins this premise.

     

    WoW is a good example of how NOT to do this: < Ulduar has been discovered. I don't fully understand why, but a group of people want to go there and I've been invited. Nevermind about fighting evil or whatever the story line is, my gear needs to be up to par to walk in the door. Ok? I made it in, and we're fighting a boss, but one of the tank's kid just threw up and he has to go clean it up, ok, everyone wait for a while. Is he back? No? Ok, it's too late now, the main healer has to go to bed and get up for work tomorow, we'll save the universe later. >

  • Peregrine2Peregrine2 Member Posts: 169

    I think RP is possible in any game, but the main issue is how to integrate roleplaying your character with the limitations and restrictions of the game system. How do you choose to do that? Many just choose to ignore the mechanics of the game and play their character, others try to work some of the mechanics into their roleplay. Obviously we're all going to be fighting, so dealing with the jargon and acronyms used in combat chat, as well as the blatantly OOC players, is all part of it - you have to figure out how to deal with it and be as consistent as possible. If you're in a group of roleplayers, of course it helps a lot.

    I also think that being able to tie into good lore and history in a game is a big plus. I've had roleplaying characters and been in RP guilds in many games, but the best ones give you a lot of opportunity to tie your character into the world, without limiting it. I personally don't believe that the lore of the game is all that exists, it's a big world out there and there's plenty of room to invent things if it helps your storyline - of course you can easily go too far and end up with all kinds of wackiness brought in from real world sources.

    I would say the keys overall are:

    Cooperative Players - either other RPers or at least people who don't mind what you're doing.

    Strong History/Lore - as mentioned above

    In-game tools - Things to help your character feel more like an individual - player housing, choices of clothing, etc

    supportive GMs - always helps

  • TalamurTalamur Member Posts: 12

    To me, the most important part of every mmo is The Setting.

    I need to really enjoy the world and the lore to even consider trying Roleplaying in the first place. That's why i have a very limited choice of games. Including WHFB, WH40K, DnD - and occasionally WoW. But only because WoW has such a relaxed and progressive story ( retcons counts, to an extent ).

    And with the recent failure of WAR, and my slow withdrawal from WoW, i'm left quite alone. Either i'm just bad at finding games, or i become a little to fanatical about the lore. " Squats? I dont even kno - "

    Everything else in a game comes afterwards. Mechanics, graphics etc.

    An "ultimate" Roleplaying game for me, would be situated in the Warhammer world.

    • Only races playable would be humans, with different backgrounds / Birthplaces.
    • Non-classbased system. Instead, skills and stats would lead to titles / professions.
    • Playerdriven world. None of this " team up and kill badguy " story.
    • "GM" controlled events, a la Matrix Online.
    •  Stay true to the lore

    And so forth, just a dream scenario. Warhammer is just so *sigh* gritty.

  • MidareMidare Member Posts: 46

    Like the prior poster, I have to say that setting is very important to me. I have odd tastes, though, and if I find a visually appealing game (with it's setting) it always seems to be focused entirely on things that have absolutely no use or interest to me. They're nothing more than pretty and ornate dousche bottles... and I have no need of those.

    I agree that "no levels" is something I want to see more of. Something I bat around in my notebook of my ideal RP. I do think that the skills should be divided into at least 2 sections, one of which has a limit how many 'stat points' can be assigned to it. This would be the basic physical stat section: health, mana and energy pool size, mana and energy regen speed... strength and probably some stat bars for caster abilities. The reason I'd say these should have a max point cap (which is less than the highest possible points for all these stats combined) is to:

    a) Keep people from maxing out ALL their base traits out to be melee super-caster just because they've played longer... they ought to be able to learn a tonne of professions, but not be able to be a tank-mage, it would make them ubermen in PvP and the newer players would get pissed/discouraged (especially if the player was a PKing dick)

    b) Set a physical limit on the basic character... like in reality, a veteran can still be taken out by a younger person, they will not be growing indefinately.  Yes, they've had time to train up their other skills and have a wider pool of tricks to use against the newer person, but just like a vet boxer versus the rookie... they're still comprable.

     

    Another major element would be a class-less game. Rather than starting with a "mage" or a "priest" or a "warrior"... you assign your stats as you go and that determines what you ultimately are playing. You put most of your stats into mana-pool and mana-regen? You're lining up to be a caster. You go to train mostly in healing magics... that made the caster a "priest" or "shaman" or whatever other options for healing spells they went to for training. That caster alternatively went on to learn damaging spells? Then they're a "mage"... or whatever title makes sense in the game's setting.

    Focusing on melee instead, and more stats on physical traits like strength, hit points, and stamina... you'll make your fighter-style character.

    Yes, people will have to get to know their fellow players to build reliable groups... but you ought to be trying to do that anyway. PUGging it is almost never very reliable... and having longer-term adventuring buddies tends to build more RP as inter-personal relationships build between one another's companions.

     

    Games also need more ways to grow out to the sides. No max limit on how many types of weapons one cna weild or how many professions one can have (although you may have requirements like "min strength" to become a blacksmith or to swing one handed weapons, etc as a scrawny mage with a 2-handed battle ax... would be cracked out)

    Crafting should be a way to earn XP, not just for the trade they're in the midst of, but perhaps "general xp" (although, if you're a master taylor I should hope you're not getting any decent xp making tons of really basic gear) so that crafting isn't seen as "missing out" or stalling your development. I mean, hell, you can't say a blacksmith apprentice isn't gaining "experience" that applies to his adventuring life. Being able to swing a hammer like that has to count for something.

     

    Also, NO FACTIONS. To clarify, non of this good/evil, light/dark, alliance/horde bullshit that takes over the game from the onset. Later game factions, or alliances to differing in-game religions/guilds/countries which the players can choose is fine. Even some inter-racial barriers that stops some players going into certain cities (like a monster-race trying to enter a human city) but it should not stop players from grouping or interacting. If language barriers are in place, players should be able to commit time into learning the other languages and make grouping with a friend that plays another race easier. This in-built division of the player population makes no sense to me and I found it the thing that really killed WoW for me early on. I tried to play around it as much as possible... but it is very pervasive.

     

    So basically: interesting setting, a sandbox style class-less development, no hard-line factions, no levels but an invisible "cap" on the max points put toward internal stats... while continued play earns stat-points you can apply to: professions, frighting styles, spell upgrades, etc

    Also, don't make pigs drop fucking money! Why do pigs need money? Unless they're anthropomorphic pigs in pants, which have pockets, don't stuff woodland critters full of money. LOL

  • TalamurTalamur Member Posts: 12

    I just thought about something, and i can't understand why i haven't thought of it before. Seeing how i've been playing the game since launch.

    WoW is really shallow is it not? I mean, the only things that separate you from that other warrior, is what kind of enchants / gems you've got. Upon realizing this, i dont even know if WoW deserves to be called an mmorpg? - Really, if by role you mean:

    Tank, Healer or Dps, then it's just sad. So *ahem* i just really have a problem with this. But enough with the rant.

    I'll be keeping my eyes on Mortal Online for awhile, too see if it keeps all the promises. Hopefully it will, but seeing how it's a small company - and that it's not a short list of features, i'll cross my fingers.

  • MidareMidare Member Posts: 46

    You know, I heard something once, that a game had player-run monsters. I can't help but think that events like that are FAR more interesting and entertaining than any "end game content" that developers could crank out by themselves.

    Randomly a player logging in can accept an invite to play a monster... and run around slaughtering other players until some others can kill him/her. Far less predictable than other bosses.

  • TalamurTalamur Member Posts: 12
    Originally posted by Midare


    You know, I heard something once, that a game had player-run monsters. I can't help but think that events like that are FAR more interesting and entertaining than any "end game content" that developers could crank out by themselves.
    Randomly a player logging in can accept an invite to play a monster... and run around slaughtering other players until some others can kill him/her. Far less predictable than other bosses.



     

    While i do agree, i just see too many flaws with that system. Sure, a mature person gets turned into a kobold - But what if twelve year old Billy turns into a hydra?

    I'd rather have GMs and trusted members of the community to play out events and such. Sure, it removes some of the danger. But noone really enjoys getting killed for standing in the path of a bully on a powertrip.

    And just to clarify. No, not every twelve year old needs to be an ass, but i'd rather want to be on the safe side.

     

    *Edit* Some motives wouldnt hurt. Since i have a hard time imagining every creature in the game to be some kind of bloodcrazed berserker.

  • ShojuShoju Member UncommonPosts: 776

    Places to cyber and some good cybering emotes.

  • TalamurTalamur Member Posts: 12
    Originally posted by Shoju


    Places to cyber and some good cybering emotes.



     

     / Rape

    / Soothe

    / Cackle?

  • MidareMidare Member Posts: 46
    Originally posted by Talamur

    Originally posted by Midare


    You know, I heard something once, that a game had player-run monsters. I can't help but think that events like that are FAR more interesting and entertaining than any "end game content" that developers could crank out by themselves.
    Randomly a player logging in can accept an invite to play a monster... and run around slaughtering other players until some others can kill him/her. Far less predictable than other bosses.



     

    While i do agree, i just see too many flaws with that system. Sure, a mature person gets turned into a kobold - But what if twelve year old Billy turns into a hydra?

    I'd rather have GMs and trusted members of the community to play out events and such. Sure, it removes some of the danger. But noone really enjoys getting killed for standing in the path of a bully on a powertrip.

    And just to clarify. No, not every twelve year old needs to be an ass, but i'd rather want to be on the safe side.

     

    *Edit* Some motives wouldnt hurt. Since i have a hard time imagining every creature in the game to be some kind of bloodcrazed berserker.

     

    Oh, for sure. I think zone-restrictions could take care of Billy, though, leaving him in a zone where a hydra makes sense so he can hunt down and eat people. A hydra being aggressive and rampaging around like godzilla isn't a bad thing once and awhile. On the other hand... having a group of players rezz in as kobolds (and only able to talk to other kobolds) they can choose from several goals that an undergound kobold NPC could give them before running off in a skittering pack to do kobold things. Raiding farms, way-laying and looting from travellers. 

    Seeing how long it sometimes takes GMs to get to even basic issues... I guess I hesitate to saddle them with paying the boss on top of all the other work they have to do. Although, getting to be the boss dragon once a month would be a more savory reward for employee of the month than a damn placard on the wall and a voucher for some free Starbucks.

    I don't think every mob would be player-run, or am I mis-reading your edit? Merely that at odd times certain crazed critters or the like would be manned by players in order to add an element of chaos into the game. If you're talking more about the general animal-mob AI... I agree, I think wolves and such should flee from fights more often than engage in them, but then I also think there should be a ratio of predator/prey that makes sense. Like 1 wolf to 15 deer, and 1 deer to 2 rabbits or something. That's just the farmkid in me speaking, though.

  • TalamurTalamur Member Posts: 12
    Originally posted by Midare


     
    Oh, for sure. I think zone-restrictions could take care of Billy, though, leaving him in a zone where a hydra makes sense so he can hunt down and eat people. A hydra being aggressive and rampaging around like godzilla isn't a bad thing once and awhile. On the other hand... having a group of players rezz in as kobolds (and only able to talk to other kobolds) they can choose from several goals that an undergound kobold NPC could give them before running off in a skittering pack to do kobold things. Raiding farms, way-laying and looting from travellers. 
    Seeing how long it sometimes takes GMs to get to even basic issues... I guess I hesitate to saddle them with paying the boss on top of all the other work they have to do. Although, getting to be the boss dragon once a month would be a more savory reward for employee of the month than a damn placard on the wall and a voucher for some free Starbucks.
    I don't think every mob would be player-run, or am I mis-reading your edit? Merely that at odd times certain crazed critters or the like would be manned by players in order to add an element of chaos into the game. If you're talking more about the general animal-mob AI... I agree, I think wolves and such should flee from fights more often than engage in them, but then I also think there should be a ratio of predator/prey that makes sense. Like 1 wolf to 15 deer, and 1 deer to 2 rabbits or something. That's just the farmkid in me speaking, though.

     Applying logic? Good luck with that!

     

    You're right, of course. I did not imply that GMs should be controlling the regular AI controlled mobs. I just imagined that if someone should be turned into a monster, it should be someone who will be able to handle the situation. However, i did not mean that this should happen on a regular basis. These things should be special, or atleast the occasions when several players gets turned into monsters. Since i can clearly see how these things could quickly lose their  value, should they be applied too often.

    And regarding Billy, good point there. I never really wanted to exclude any part of the playerbase. Though it should stay fun for every party involved. But thats really just simple. As you said, putting a hydra in a swamp, or a dragon up in the mountains would make sense. Making the world feel less static.

    That could on the other hand cause a problem with zones. Is the world open, or instanced? What would happen if the dragon decided to fly to that idyllic little roleplaying town, in that lovely secure valley? But i doubt an ideal roleplaying mmorpg would be instanced.

     *Edit* And rabid animals does make sense, though getting killed by a deer would really hurt my ego.

  • MidareMidare Member Posts: 46

    LOL Yes, getting killed by a deer isn't a very flattering way to go. I lost a family member that way, actually, he was chasing it on a snow machine. It panicked and tried to leap over or pass in front of him instead of away. Crashed into him and snapped his neck. It was very 'what the fuck', that was yeas ago... your comment just reminded me of the 'wtf' of hte whole thing.

    Anyway.

    The whole instanced/not instanced thing I'm torn about. I don't mind instancing zones if it allows me to shift realms after character creation, so people can freely seek PvP or PvE without re-rolling or seperating from guildmates. Yet, I know some people hate needing to load between zones. That's off topic of the question though... I'll refer to WoW, since almost everyone has played it - so it's usually good common ground. They had areas like inside buildings or inside particular areas of towns that wouldn't allows mounts and such. Also, when you changed areas there was obviously an element to the game mechanics that said "you're in X zone" .... and I think a good programmer could extend that to apply to the player-mobs. Restricting them to PvP zones, or to a particular area of the map. Heck, even nailing them with a hefty DoT if they exited their permitted area.

    Sort of like those shock collars people put on their poor dogs... the ones that you set up an 'invisible fence' and the dog gets a zap if it crosses the line. Give the dragon enough lead that he may be able to leave the zone for a strike outward, but not enough leash that he can reach any near by towns that are catering to newer players. If they try, the DoT will sap their health and perhaps allow them the embarrassment of being killed by inexperienced players. Billy the gimpy rage dragon fails.

     

  • TalamurTalamur Member Posts: 12
    Originally posted by Midare


    LOL Yes, getting killed by a deer isn't a very flattering way to go. I lost a family member that way, actually, he was chasing it on a snow machine. It panicked and tried to leap over or pass in front of him instead of away. Crashed into him and snapped his neck. It was very 'what the fuck', that was yeas ago... your comment just reminded me of the 'wtf' of hte whole thing.
    Anyway.
    The whole instanced/not instanced thing I'm torn about. I don't mind instancing zones if it allows me to shift realms after character creation, so people can freely seek PvP or PvE without re-rolling or seperating from guildmates. Yet, I know some people hate needing to load between zones. That's off topic of the question though... I'll refer to WoW, since almost everyone has played it - so it's usually good common ground. They had areas like inside buildings or inside particular areas of towns that wouldn't allows mounts and such. Also, when you changed areas there was obviously an element to the game mechanics that said "you're in X zone" .... and I think a good programmer could extend that to apply to the player-mobs. Restricting them to PvP zones, or to a particular area of the map. Heck, even nailing them with a hefty DoT if they exited their permitted area.
    Sort of like those shock collars people put on their poor dogs... the ones that you set up an 'invisible fence' and the dog gets a zap if it crosses the line. Give the dragon enough lead that he may be able to leave the zone for a strike outward, but not enough leash that he can reach any near by towns that are catering to newer players. If they try, the DoT will sap their health and perhaps allow them the embarrassment of being killed by inexperienced players. Billy the gimpy rage dragon fails.
     



     

    Sorry to hear that.

    Restricting seems like a nice solution to the problem, even though i'd like it to be a little smoother. Say, a dragon walks over the border of a zone, and gets a "Battlefield-esque" countdown. Should he fail to return to the zone, he will get morphed into a creature that would be more in line with the area in question. For example, he enters a forest, and gets turned into a bear.

    Invisible walls are the bane of immersion.

     

  • TalamurTalamur Member Posts: 12

    Another thing i dislike is magical items.

    Not as in "Epic Broadsword", But more along the likes of " That regular dagger that just makes you feel a little smarter ". Magical items should be rare and special. I'm going to take an example from *Sigh* Runescape. Items there were made from different materials, and that seems fine - and logical.

    Some believeable scenarios would be good. You might find some magical items by robbing a trader, or searching for some kind of stash, in a hard to reach place. Or just by killing special and / or Unique mobs, and taking whatever they had. I'm just tired of everyone and their mothers running around with some kind of "awesome" item.

    And by saying this, it's quite obvious that i think weapons / armor should play a big role in how a person fights. Simply because you're 40 ( whatever ) higher than your opponent, you should not be able to punch through plate armor. Same things go with weapons.

    I'm just scarred by the whole WoW experience. Punching golems to death, while being naked? - No thanks!

  • Cephus404Cephus404 Member CommonPosts: 3,675
    Originally posted by Shoju


    Places to cyber and some good cybering emotes.

    That's really what's killed serious RPing.  I'd really love to play somewhere where none of that exists at all, where people are interested in playing a role, not in one-handed typing.  That's really what killed online RPing for me in the text-based world, fewer and fewer people could get online and RP, everyone just wanted to masturbate online.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • anthyonanthyon Member Posts: 22

    Hi there,

    We were watching this thread trying not to interfere with the thouths coming up, and we are glad that so many of you think about games like we do.

    What we would like to ask of you now, is that we want to share thoughts you wrote here on our own forums, and would like to ask anyone who is interested in development of such a game to drop a pm, or email. We are looking for partners around the world, because we think that creating a fun game cannot be made in a studio without the players themselves. If you think this way to don't hasitate to contact us.

  • Cephus404Cephus404 Member CommonPosts: 3,675

    The problem is, if you've been reading the comments, that you cannot make the games that most RPers want to make and have it be financially viable.  It's just not possible.  There aren't enough real RPers out there, the overwhelming majority of the marketplace wants things that make real RPing inherently impossible and, at least IMO, running an RP-centric MMO is going to be tremendously expensive with virtually no return.

    It just can't be done.  Nice dream, not possible in reality.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • anthyonanthyon Member Posts: 22

    Maybe you're right, and every topic and column here and on other sites on the web says so...

    But believe me, we have a plan, a clear path on which we can do it... and as we have done the financial plans, it can be profitable...we welcome anyone, who wants to follow us on this experiment as a partner or as a guest...

    Regarding the chances that you're right, we must take the risk, and if we fail, we can say, we tried it... :)

  • McklezMcklez Member Posts: 6

    At the risk of sounding like a quick to assume, easily excited trend follower. Aion looks like it will be the role players dream come true. But at the same time it could easily result in seizures if too many people get into it as i predict.

    My ideals are much different though. If I am ever to become a real rp fanatic they'll need to make a very graphic intense mmo action game with a stat and abillity system in the planescape totment style with a unique pvpv system( for instance having many options, like sanctioned pvp,safety zones for those who wish to avoid pvp with anti-exploit tactics(a timer on how soon you can attack and be damaged upon exciting a saftey zone seems to be vital) instances for the combined servers of standard pve maps(if a server has a setup with areas which can force faction pvp while maintaining pve, there should be instances for those who are trying to level but avoid pvp at the time. Cause one of the most annoying things in mmos is if you have a large social circle or go into a game with a few friends with opposing interests the lack of options for the oddball in the group kinda makes the game suck for them. Some like pvp,some prefer to explore and so on so options are a MUST.) Themed events and world changes(I don't mean instanced rubbish, sure it's nice to have that option too though for people who want to blow crap up and have it actually visually appear for their friends, but say, when an objective is given to unlock something,have the dev team compiling dramatic graphic changes to the environment so it doesn't feel so hollow when you work your tail off to unlock the center of a stronghold of a demons god or something just to have it appear as a portal and a poorly designed mini dungeon with differant shades and sizes of the same monsters you fought to unlock it.

     

    Guess I am very picky, main thing i say is attention to detail and a powerhouse development team who actually listen to their player base is the only way to get anywhere near perfect in an mmo.

  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 19,499

    Can you explain the roleplay tools that Aion has that make it a good game for Roleplayers? For that matter can you point out one thing that Aion has that is better in RP terms over WoW?

    I picked WoW as I consider it to be the poorly designed for rp game that all the others are based on.

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