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Can We Ever Fix Empty Zones? a Columns at MMORPG.com

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  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,067
    EQ1 screwed up when they created "hotzones".....By doing that they removed any desire whatsoever to go to non hotzones.....Also with all the instant travel people didnt have to go through many of the other zones anymore...EQ1 went from a game of exploration and comraderie to a game of soloing with mercs and racing to end game.
  • NildenNilden Member EpicPosts: 2,909
    Kyleran mentioned EVE but I'll throw in Ultima Online both of which never had this problem because they don't have the typical level gated zones of a theme park MMO.

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  • Kaisen_DexxKaisen_Dexx Member UncommonPosts: 326
    It amazes me how many people propose "Mechanic Fixes" for issues like this, that stem from just plain bad or ill-thought out game (level) design. I shouldn't be surprised, its what MMOs have been doing for years. They take the same design and instead of reworking the design where it doesn't work as intended, they put more and more band-aids on it and call them "Features". Dungeons are too small in number/volume and getting too crowded? Make Instances, call it a feature. World is too big and empty that its encumbering to the player? Add fast-travel, call it a feature. World is too big to support the minimum designed server population? Make a megaserver, call it a feature. Level design is so linear that initial content has no population? Add a new mechanic (band-aid), call it a feature.

    Issues like this topic don't need some new mechanic, they need a new level design philosophy when making the world. Cyclical World Design was even described in the article itself with the Metroid example, and I reiterated with some of EQ's early designs. If you keep adding more and more mechanics, you remove more and more of the game world. At this point it feels like we keep putting band-aids on severed limbs.
  • AeliousAelious Member RarePosts: 3,521
    Yes! And much easier with One Tamriel. Just have events or quests in various zones per week or every few days. ZM already took the first big step in making this happen so they could do this, especially if these were more than solo affairs.
  • NomadMorlockNomadMorlock Member UncommonPosts: 814
    edited December 2016
    I came to the thread to comment, but found that Iselin had already said everything I wanted to say.

    I can tell you this.  Prior to One Tamriel, there were many zones deserted except for the new characters leveling up.  When you got to the Veteran or old "Silver and Gold" zones of the other factions, it was a ghost town.

    Now every zone has tons of players and they are always active.  I can scarcely find a empty place in game that doesn't have several players running through at all hours of the day and night.  All the towns and cities feel alive and active.  It really is amazing.
  • NobleNerdNobleNerd Member UncommonPosts: 759



    orbitxo said:

    yes- have em scale up to the appropriate players level. - if a lower level whos not grouped tags a mob higher level is playing-hthey get no xp or rewards. simple really.



    bring new lore quest lines into them= not dailies.


    - i must go back now to eat my burrito for lunch...


    And  what happens when the zone is filled with higher levels and the mobs proceed to wipe the floor with the lower levels?

    [mod edit]



    A look at what Blizzard did with the Legion expansion kinda remedies the issue of multiple levels in a zone questing. With their scaling system no matter your level the mobs, xp, loot and difficulty scales to each player. I give credit to Blizzard for taking the scaling mechanic and putting a much needed spin to it! Hopefully more MMOs take a hard look at the setup.


  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,764
    NobleNerd said:
    orbitxo said:
    yes- have em scale up to the appropriate players level. - if a lower level whos not grouped tags a mob higher level is playing-hthey get no xp or rewards. simple really.
    bring new lore quest lines into them= not dailies.
    - i must go back now to eat my burrito for lunch...
    And  what happens when the zone is filled with higher levels and the mobs proceed to wipe the floor with the lower levels?

    [mod edit]
    A look at what Blizzard did with the Legion expansion kinda remedies the issue of multiple levels in a zone questing. With their scaling system no matter your level the mobs, xp, loot and difficulty scales to each player. I give credit to Blizzard [Zenimax Online] for taking the scaling mechanic and putting a much needed spin to it [that Blizzard found useful enough to include in WoW]! Hopefully more MMOs take a hard look at the setup.
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  • KonfessKonfess Member RarePosts: 1,666
    edited December 2016
    Many if not most high level players feel the lower zones are, "Seen that, done that, don't want to go back."  Even the kind and generous higher level players don't want to be around low level players.  Being Higher Level is like being rich, you worked hard to live on an estate, and drive a luxury car.  You don't want to go down to the "Quicky Mart" on the poor side of town.

     We could go levelless and give everyone the same HP (say 100 + buffs/1 hour = 500).  But remember what I said about being rich and above everyone else.  When you take that away, you loss all the flavor your game may of had.  We can try mixing content across zones.  But this might result in lower favored content.  Imagine traveling from map 10 (out of 10 = Max Level) to map 4.  The going cross country to get to a level 10 dungeon on the far side of the zone map.  I've done this kind of thing in other games (SWG).  At the time I lived with it, I was there to do content with a group of people.

    Player will always want the never seen before zones of new content.  You can draw them back with what I call spawning content.  

    1. A three story world boss, this could require a unlock quest that requires revisiting old maps for new spawning quests.  This is announced server wide or on the forums. 
    2. A door unlocks, a cave opens up, or a landmark becomes repurposed.  A new open or instanced dungeon appears.
    3. Temporary New resources (ie. Copper#2, Iron#8, Leather#31).  Base resources that produce enhanced stat base gear.  This is a tough one, it entails retooling the crafting system so that each new resources adds a new modifier to the crafted item.
    4. For the Explorers, make all the maps dynamic.  Every 6 months have the world re-procedurally generated, as in change the seed value.  Oh btw, use that six months to Q/A the new maps.
    I'm trying them out in my own game.  Just something to think about.

    PS.

    One thing I forgot to mention.  For example, if a game has 10 world shards (servers), and say 50 zones.  Well is say zone 27 is low population on all shards.  Then create a combined instanced (merged) zone 27, like they did with GW1.  So the zone population jumps from 2 per shard to 20 on a shingle zone shard.  This is less meaningful if you have 1 or less per single shard to merge, you end up with 10 or less in the merged zone.  I'm not going to explain how to handle keeping a group and going to a capital city and using the systems there.  But I have ideas.

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  • ArchlyteArchlyte Member RarePosts: 1,405

    centkin said:

    What is wrong with empty zones actually?  I mean an empty zone doesn't need to be loaded by the servers.  An empty zone offends no one.  It is the zones with 1-6 people in it that are more the problem. 



    I feel that this is what developers must really feel. They routinely waste their work by making a gorgeous land and, then relegate it to a super transient crowd of players from the levels 10-19 who will never set foot in it again once they hit level 20.
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  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,768
    Archlyte said:

    centkin said:

    What is wrong with empty zones actually?  I mean an empty zone doesn't need to be loaded by the servers.  An empty zone offends no one.  It is the zones with 1-6 people in it that are more the problem. 



    I feel that this is what developers must really feel. They routinely waste their work by making a gorgeous land and, then relegate it to a super transient crowd of players from the levels 10-19 who will never set foot in it again once they hit level 20.

    I am not hearing a problem.  How about saying  "I feel ________ about empty zones".  Personalize it to your experience.
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  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    Archlyte said:
    I feel that this is what developers must really feel. They routinely waste their work by making a gorgeous land and, then relegate it to a super transient crowd of players from the levels 10-19 who will never set foot in it again once they hit level 20.
    Since they put in more zones for lower levels and put in a really fast leveling speed it is their own fault.  Do we really need 4-6 starting zones when most players just spend a couple of hours in them anyways?

    I say that the first thing they should do is to lower the number of levels, most games today release with around 80 levels but makes higher number really the game more fun? 40 levels is more then enough and honestly have 20 levels worked fine in D&D since the early 70s.

    With 20 levels and a lvl range of 5 levels you just need 4 tier of zones which mean the players will spend longer time in each levelrange (as long as reaching max level takes the same amount of time) and it will leave you more options as you level up. Also, that will make it easier to find groups at your current level.
  • GhavriggGhavrigg Member RarePosts: 1,308
    edited December 2016
    waynejr2 said:
    Archlyte said:

    centkin said:

    What is wrong with empty zones actually?  I mean an empty zone doesn't need to be loaded by the servers.  An empty zone offends no one.  It is the zones with 1-6 people in it that are more the problem. 



    I feel that this is what developers must really feel. They routinely waste their work by making a gorgeous land and, then relegate it to a super transient crowd of players from the levels 10-19 who will never set foot in it again once they hit level 20.

    I am not hearing a problem.  How about saying  "I feel ________ about empty zones".  Personalize it to your experience.
    It's more for a new player than anyone else, imo. It's an issue when new players join an MMO, and only very rarely stumble across someone out in the world unless they're in a town. Especially if they come across enemies they need help with and no one is around to help.

    There's no sweeping argument that is gonna apply to everyone, obviously, but I know I've been turned off from games due to perceived population in the past.

    That being said, people these days are generally just in a rush to end-game anyway for the most part, so it's not a huge deal.


  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid Member EpicPosts: 10,057
    edited December 2016
    orbitxo said:
    yes- have em scale up to the appropriate players level. - if a lower level whos not grouped tags a mob higher level is playing-hthey get no xp or rewards. simple really.

    bring new lore quest lines into them= not dailies. - i must go back now to eat my burrito for lunch...
    And  what happens when the zone is filled with higher levels and the mobs proceed to wipe the floor with the lower levels?

    [mod edit]
    Very easily fixed. Give a passive behavior to regular mobs in low level areas, only keep bosses and elites hostile since they are supposed to be the dangerous ones which low level players can easily avoid unless someone is helping them.




  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,067
    How many zones does EQ1 even have anymore? I think they were well over 300 when I played and that was a few years ago......They probably have more zones than players online
  • free2playfree2play Member UncommonPosts: 2,019
    mistmaker said:
    Not in themeparks/ questhub games
    This touches in the core of the problem.
    There are no radiant quest mechanics and when they are, they adhere to the zone and not the player.

    Solution: Kill 10 boars but only in zone A. In zone B you kill 10 bears and they offer a different loot table, scaled to player. Integrate a dailies system that theme park cookie cutter games rest their soul on but have collect 5 bear claws today, 5 boar tails tomorrow. You send older players in to zones they left behind.

    My ideal solution, the SWG gathering and crafting solution. Naboo wooly was used in basic parts, the stats changed weekly and it was common to see high level characters killing lowly Naboo mobs for their wooly hides.
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