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  • The current state of combat in MMOs is pathetic, apparently it's based solely on PVP

    Lokero said:
    Eronakis said:

    So in essence the only way combat will change in this genre is if the AI also changes with it. I would love to see a group based PVE heavy mmo that doesn't rely on heavy class composition in most facets of content but for higher level areas it does. A game that focuses on player groups vs. NPC groups, with a new approach to the trinity gameplay model that provides tactical strategy of your group composition with adaptable AI.  
    Even without dipping heavily into complex AI, the simplest of changes could drastically improve current PVE combat.

    Take, for example, games like ESO and GW2:  Players have stamina/endurance for blocking/dodging and can "see" AoE attacks.
    Something as simple as supplying the NPCs limited stamina to use with the ability to dodge out of an AoE or put up a block when a player is charging up a big attack would drastically alter combat.

    Player casts a bonfire in the middle of a group, maybe they could have enough sense to try and spread out instead of all piling into the fire like lemmings.

    But, developers aren't often even using simple strategies like that -- the most basic of awareness.

    Sure you can ad in those combat elements like GW2 did to make things more twitched/action based. From my perspective that still wasn't enough to alter combat. Over time, the combat became super stale. The only really interesting part was your 2 dodges that you could use with your stamina bar. 

    There are 3 facets that go into developing combat. 

    1. Combat Mechanics
    2. NPC AI Combat Mechanics
    3. Class Design

    I think before we even consider specific mechanics for combat, the first thing that has to change is the approach to combat. Since I am a fan of tab targetting, not so much twitch, that is were I am coming from. The current approach to the trinity model has ran it's course and provided one dimensional/stale gameplay. I believe there needs to be a new approach to the trinity model without sacrificing the traditional elements. Instead of the 'tank & spank' by focusing on 1 NPC or mindlessly AoE a pack of NPCs, I think it would be more interesting if a Group of Players fought a Group of NPC's. Let me expand on that.

    You would still have your traditional roles, tank, dps, healer, with added secondary roles of cc, debuffing, buffing. The only way for the trinity model to change without sacrificing the classic roles is to simply reinvent the tank role. 

    The tank role is the crux to the trinity model as the tank is the focal point of it. So what if we reinvent what the tank role means. What if the tank role isn't necessarily a defensive role anymore but rather jumps to the melee archetype of classes. So that changes the strategem of melee class design. What if melee classes have unique ways to defend themselves against attacks? Of course there would be varying degrees of defensive abilities per class. What if melee class roles were not distinguished by tank or dps? But rather the type of fighter they are? Actually take in account parrying, countering, striking. 

    To go back to the overall picture, I think that if you treat a battle of a player group vs. npc group and discern the funniest way to implement that. For me, I think it makes sense that melee vs. melee and caster vs. caster. Essentially, there would be 1v1 fights in the encounter. Think of it like American Football.

    [i]The game of American Football is a team sport but with individual responsibilities. Your Quarter Back distributes the ball (Attacks) while your Offensive line blocks and protect (support) your Quarter Back. There are other different types of attackers that complement your QB such as your Running Back and Wide Receivers. Each player on the team performs individually but when executed correctly it's a team effort.[/i]

    Before a player group engages into an NPC group, the players discern the best strategy for victory based off their current class/role composition. This also creates community. If there are 3 melee players and 4 NPC melees, then 1 NPC melee is not accounted for. So then if you have ranged casters in your group, depending on other various such as, race, class and NPC AI rank, the caster classes could either cc the unaccounted for melee npc or kill it quickly, if there are no other caster npc's in the encounter. 

    To me, I think the strategy of the approach of how you fight a group of npc's would be very rewarding. It would provide depth for combat mechanics and class design. That is 3 layers of depth. Sure, this style may not be for the super casual, but I feel like there would be enough players that would at least try it to justify such a system.

  • Condition Based Abilities

    I always found it fun to have a creative discussion in regards to class design. As a class designer I typically am always conjuring up interesting ways for class mechanics for any class. (In a general sense, not typically for the sake of wow). I came up with an interesting approach for Conditioned Based Abilities. I'll give a very on the surface description of it and would like your feedback if you believe this could be fun for a potential sub mechanic or a primary mechanic for a class?

    The idea of Conditioned Based Abilities came to life from the idea to have a risk vs reward factor for combat. As we look at possible different roles of classes for this combat element, to me, it doesn't make sense for tanks or dps classes to have such a mechanic. In my opinion after pondering on this for quite sometime these Condition Based Abilities would work best for a Support Class. Personally, a class that could Heal and Buff respectively and efficiently. 

    What aspect of this "healer/buffer class" should the Conditioned Based Abilities be used for? I think this could make for an interesting approach their buffing role. That way, the entirety of the class isn't based off chance. 

    Let's get into the meat of what a Condition Ability might be like and how it would work mechanically. 

    Essentially, this class would place this buff on another player. If the player meets a certain condition in the allotted time then they gain access to a powerful buff. 

    Here is an example of some potential Conditioned Based Ability. Please note that I am expressing this idea and abilities a very simple form for comprehension and the numbers are simply placeholders.

    Apocalypse - If the player critically hits within 7 seconds, then they gain access to "End of Days (increases damage dealt by 35% for 15 seconds)."

    Divine Blessing - If the player takes 10% total damage within 7 seconds they gain access too "Divine Hope (for the next 15 seconds the player will mitigate 25% total damage done). 

    Rumination - If the player exhausts 10% of their total mana within 7 seconds they gain access to "Mana Well (heals 10% of their mana and then for the next 15 seconds, the mana cost is reduced by 50% on all abilities). 

    Let's create more depth for this. 

    Let's say this healer/buffer class has access to Prediction Points that can only be used on these Condition Based Abilities. The player can use a Prediction Point to increase the risk vs. reward factor for any Condition Based Ability. Every time this class casts a Condition Based Ability then they use 1 Prediction Point. 3 Prediction Points total. After the player uses all 3 Prediction Points then all Condition Based Abilities go on cooldown. Example Below. 

    Apocalypse - If the player critically hits within 7 seconds, then they gain access to "End of Days (increases damage dealt by 35% for 15 seconds)."
    1 Prediction Point = Baseline (Above modifiers)
    2 Prediction Points = Player has to critically hit twice within 7 seconds to gain a 45% damage buff for 15 seconds
    3 Prediction Points = Player has to critically hit three times within 7 seconds to gain a 55% damage buff for 15 seconds.

    The same flow would work the same for the other two abilities. The idea is that this class can choose to put all of their Prediction Points in 1 Condition Based Ability, spread each Prediction Point to each Ability or even put 2 Prediction Points in one ability and the last Prediction point in another. Players can freely choose what buffs may be needed on 1 player or several players given situational gameplay.

    This potential mechanic could have synergy with other classes that have self buffs to increase their chance to meet a certain condition for a nice buff. 

    Thoughts? Do you like the idea of Condition Based Abilities for a sub set for thematic core mechanics for a class?
  • Why are so many MMO games filled with toxic players ?

    I would conclude that most MMORPG players are not passionate about the genre nor understand the community aspect of it. In other words, they're "not true mmorpg gamers". This was partly due to the influx of players that WoW brought into the genre and the accessible game that WoW is. 

    Sure, there were asshats and elitist in old school mmorpgs but as a WHOLE the communities of MMORPG's to my knowledge were not as toxic as communities we see today. Not saying all new school mmo players are toxic but a good portion of them are unfortunately.

    We have to remember that the genre was founded on D&D and single RPG players who were looking for an innovative approach to gameplay which involved a massive world with a massive community, hence the acronym, MMORPG. 

    I think players who have a passion for the RPG elements and gameplay respect the genre more and thus have a better understanding of community. I am not touting that old school mmo players are saints, far from it, but with my personal experience, the communities now and then are different.

    My conclusion is lack of respect for the community aspect of the genre. One can argue solo gameplay is another deterrent for a toxic community or at least promotes it. I personally feel that a 60/40 ratio of group to solo gameplay would help wean out the toxic players. Having a server reputation is a means of negation for that. It helped in Everquest.
  • Has Questing Eliminated the Exploring Aspect of Gameplay?

    It seems like questing is the primary means of gameplay for PVE content in most MMORPGS. Frequently as players we experience the super themepark approach where the zone is littered with quest hubs and quest markers for NPC's. Content becomes this linear experience where players bounce around to quest hubs. The lack of initiative to explore wanes away from the player to be motivated to explore further in the world. 

    The two contrasting examples I can give are Everquest and World of Warcraft.

    Everquest - Had a more sandpark approach, where players predominantly explored the zones and finding new named mobs or found a small cave or a dungeon. Players can pick and choose what zones they wanted to explore and level in, there were no specific path. There is no linear approach to questing, simply Everquest didn't have the model we have today. 

    World of Warcraft - There were some zone choice of where a player can choose to level in but typically when they enter a zone they're directed to follow a path form quest hub to quest hub. A very contrasting approach to Everquest.

    For me as a player, I feel like the quest hub does eliminate the need to explore the world as you're directed to go here and there on your own accord. Questing should be something that you stumble upon and find hidden away that could lead to interesting rare treasure. I think quest hubs omit the sense of danger in the world because it creates an expectation already. 

    I do know that there are players who do explore no matter what, but the thread is merely about, do quest hubs eliminate your desire to explore and does it give the perception of a smaller world?

  • Zone Music - Which MMO had the best overall?

    So I found a hidden gem on youtube, from all of the classic Everquest music. It brought back a ton of nostalgia. I have to say that overall Everquest's score was the best. I found it really fitting the game and the tone of the game. What made Everquest's music immersive for me was the ambient wildlife. You could hear the bugs, the birds, the howls ect. I think the only thing it was missing was wind. 

    I have to say that I would rather prefer ambient music over zone music most of the time because to me it helps with immersion. However, I think if you're deep in the wilderness ambient music is most warranted or if you're near a settlement or a town perhaps music would be warranted. 

    Post your favorite zone music/soundtrack that relaxes you, helps your immersion and/or brings back nostalgia so others can enjoy. 

    Also tell us do you prefer zone music or ambient or a little bit of both?

    Here is my video, for your Everquest Vets, enjoy: