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  • Can a strongly group-focused MMO survive in today's market?

    Torval said:
    I mostly agree that would be better, but my point is that it will be a difficult sell to a huge portion of the hardcore grouping demographic. It has a lot of old school players in it and that sort of change is usually met with resistance.
    I agree. I think it's how you package it. Pantheon is literally the MMO right now for that niche market. 

    What I was proposing could be used for the old and new school mmo player who is looking to play a game that innovates the trinity game play model in a more strategic way without sacrificing every traditional attribute of the system.
  • Why WoW's Class Design is flawed and PVP will never be balanced

    I don't think in my entire tenure of playing MMORPG's have I ever been irate at how blatant and/or incompetent the core design that WoW's classes have become. I am strictly speaking on PVP balance. And yes this a rant post... but doesn't take away from the content of it.

    I am looking at this from a DESIGNER's perspective.

    Before I can go into what class balance is, we must define what a Class is.

    Class = An avatar of a role.

    What does that mean? A class is the character output of a role that is being produced via the player.

    *Many players have a severe case of massive misunderstanding what class balance actually is. Let me express WHAT it is NOT.

    Class Balance is not...

    "Class balance means all of the classes are the same which would make gameplay boring." 


    "There is no such thing as class balance or if there is class balance it can never be achieved."

    Rarely, I'll see this comment...

    "Class balance means when each class has an opportunity to compete." 

    The above comment is very close to what Class Balance really is but it's not complete. However, it should read like this...

    "Class balance means when each class has an opportunity to compete within their archetype role."

    How to achieve Class Balance?

    Class Balance is more or less a bottom up approach that is balanced within layers. Each layer of balance should complement the previous layer for consistency. Essentially, there are three layers of when you balance classes. Below I'll explain them a little further.


    Layer 1: Define the Roles (The foundation of class balance)

    This layer is the foundation for all of your classes. You determine what are the primary roles of classes you want to fit into gameplay. I'll keep it easy and say that Tanking, DPS, and Healing are primary roles. I won't go into secondary roles because this thread will turn into a novel. I want to try and keep this as simple as possible. 

    Once the archetype (roles) are defined then you establish the rule set for those roles. On as basic level we'll do damage to mitigation ratio. 

    Tank: Moderate Damage output and Moderate Mitigation

    Caster DPS: High Damage output and Low Mitigation

    Melee DPS: High Damage output (sliver below Caster DPS) and Medium Low Mitigation (Sliver above Caster DPS)

    Healers: Low Damage output and High Mitigation via Heals. 

    There are other things that go into defining the role and other rule sets that would compliment whatever design is being used. So once Layer 1 is defined and balanced you move onto Layer 2.

    **This is where WoW's classes will always be in perpetual imbalance. Simply because Layer 1 is broken. Blizzard doesn't take in account the rule set of each role and their basic damage/mitigation output should be. Hybrid and Tank classes can out perform in damage over most pure DPS classes which were simply designed to produce massive damage with low mitigation input. When you choose a role that a class can provide you're in agreement that you're class excels in one role over another. This does not constitute a Rock/Papers/Scissors Class Balance approach. 


    Layer 2A: Balance All Classes that share the same Role.

    This layer is only used if you have more than 1 class within the defined roles from Layer 1. 

    If there are 3 classes that share the same role,(tank, Caster DPS, Melee DPS, Healers), you then balance those classes within their respective archetype. Meaning that each tank has an equal opportunity to tank efficiently. This does not constitute all tanks will be the same. There should be different  path ways to tank for each class in a unique and fun way. Whatever those paths are should be up the creative mind of the class designer.

    **For WoW, this is where the same utility abilities are simply distributed to nearly every class. I have never seen it this bad in a long time. Nearly, every class has a gap closer, able to spell lock/silence which completely locks down a player, and able to cc/stun without a heal. I feel sorry for Mages in PVP right now because they literally have zero advantage to most classes because of the former.


    Layer 2B: Pure Classes vs. Hybrid Classes

    Also in Layer 2 you would determine what classes would be Pure and what classes would be Hybrid. Let me define those.

    Pure Class: A class in which can only perform 1 role 

    Hybrid Class: A class in which can perform more than 1 role. (usually 2 roles). 

    Most of the time you'll see more hybrid classes than pure classes to give the player more of a creative choice to choose from. 

    In this layer you could already break the class design before you even get to Layer 3 because of Hybrid Classes. Hybrid Classes are very tricky because they can't be as powerful as a Pure Class and yet they must still be valuable to a group. 

    Usually Hybrid classes are the soloable classes if the gameplay is focused on group based content. 

    I think a good direction to balance hybrid classes with pure classes is to allow Hybrid classes to act as a support class in a way. What I mean is, if a Hybrid Class can perform 2 roles, DPS and Healing, then reduce those roles by 30%. Meaning that if a Pure DPS and a pure Healer class can DPS and Heal 100%, then a Hybrid class can DPS and Heal at 70%. This way a Hybrid class is still effective and valuable in a group. They act as support DPS and Healing. 

    A Hybrid class should NEVER EVER be on par with a Pure Class because of their multiple roles. If a Hybrid class is on par with a Pure class then more than likely those pure classes will become obsolete. They won't be as valuable. 

    Ask you self this question. If a Mage is a pure DPS class that can do on par damage as a Sorcerer that can also heal, which class do you think would have a better chance at being more effective? As you can see this is an imbalance. 


    *In this portion of the balance is what literally breaks WoW's Class Design. Within their spec system, Hybrids are more powerful and have more utility. Hybrids/Melees rule wow's PVP currently.

  • 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?

    Loke666 said:
    Arclan said:
    ste2000 said:
    It's Quest Hub that ruined exploration not Quest in general.

    I think that was the OP's position as well.   To the OP I would say yes I completely agree with you, having played years of EQ but never WoW; I did play Vanguard at launch, which had WoW's quest hubs.  Didn't like it; no one truly connected; all interactions were simply a means of completing the next "quest."
    I dunno, questhubs certainly is boring but overusing the quests doesn't help either. EQ had some awesome quests but they watered them out with plenty of really boring stupid quests as well.

    We don't need tons of silly pointless quests, a "Quest" should feel epic and interesting, not delivering a letter to someone standing 20 feet away. You could possibly call that a "task" but the rewards for such should be rather small.

    I don't really need a quest to go into the forest and kill 10 orcs, there certainly could be a bounty (Lineage handled that great by having most orcs drop totems you could sell to a bounty vendor). To kill the evil orc king is fine but lets get rid of anything not epic and just let the players roam the land and find small situations, band of mobs and similar they run into during their travels instead.

    Now, a good epic quest can be very fun, I loved EQ2s heritage quests for instance when you spent a rather lot of work to get an epic classic EQ item, they felt rewarding, often took teamwork and you were really happy when you got the reward.

    But then you have the quests you forgot as soon as you done them with some crap reward you really don't need, you grind a zillion of them just for XP. Those quests are as grindy as camping a spawning ground, a MMO should be about adventure and killing the inns rats feeding a peasants cows and similar is menial work, not adventuring.

    My general rule is "Would Conan have done this?". If not then I have to quote "Journeyquest" and say "sod the quest".
    I agree with you here Loke. Honestly, quests are not quests, but rather tasks. I like the idea of layering the 'quest' system into different categories. 

    Missive Board - Sort of like Vanguard but more indepth. Essentially Missives are soloable tasks, collection, bounty, harvest, escorting, stuff of that nature that reward in low to moderate coin and low to moderate exp.

    Quests - Sort of the Everquest Epic 1.0-2.0 (Never played EQ2), that often take a group to complete with some soloable parts as well. These should be static, like the example you give where you earn and work towards something that takes time and effort. This should take you all over the world. These reward on moderate to high experience and moderate coin based off the collection of things you have to do. Quests reward in obtaining a rare/epic item.

    Adventures - I think it would be interesting to have dynamic quests, which I will call Adventures. This is were you as a group or potentially solo can go out and adventure in the world. It would be something vague, like obtain the Moonstone, it was last scene being sold at an auction at the Gypsy Bazaar off the coast. You go there to investigate and learn by talking to NPC's that another NPC might have bought it or simply was stolen by a thief. Keep it vague so it caters to exploration in and having many different parts. Sort of like your 'choose your own adventure' books but encapsulated into an in game adventure. I think if done right, Adventures can go along way.
  • Are MOBAs and Other Match Based Games MMOs?

    No, they're not MMORPG's. They're MOBA's, simply categorized differently based off their core design. 

    *Pro-Tip* When doing a poll if you really want decent results, make all options black or white, don't involve unnecessary options like, "I like turtles" trolls will vote for that and you won't get the sample you're looking for. People won't take your poll seriously.