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Thread: The Rift Academy

  1. #1
    Champion of Telara Dereth's Avatar
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    Default The Rift Academy

    Xandaroth had a really great idea on the General Discussion forum, and it really caught my interest. You can see the original post here: http://forums.riftgame.com/showthrea...on-please-read.

    Last night I had a guild made confide in me that he liked to tank, but feared that he wasn't that good, so it was only with great trepidation that he queued as the tank for our AP run. I enjoy a great deal of solo play, but most modern MMO's (and Rift included) aren't based around a solo experience. A lot of content requires teamwork: Rifts, instances (regular / expert), and raids. There are a lot of quests that also encourage (and some require) a degree of teamwork.

    Here's the problem. Solo play is vastly different from group content. It's not just a matter of skill selection, but confidence and automaticity, both of which come with a great deal of practice.

    There are a lot of guilds out there that are wonderful. Players take the time to encourage others, help teach newcomers the tricks of their trade, and build a community that's not based on dps meters and "baddie" judgments. I could be wrong, but I don't think that's enough.

    Trion has a really unique ability to do something really innovative that I feel would help encourage player retention and brand loyalty; The Rift Academy. There are obviously a lot of skilled artists and programmers on board, and while it may take a bit of development time, I think that the potential rewards would be a worthwhile investment.

    It doesn't have to be elaborate. It could be an instanced room the size of a Gatekeeper Kaleida's arena, but with four NPC's that would offer a series of scenarios for adventurers to test their skills with. Ideally it would focus more on role than class, since Rift's soul system offers such a varied playstyle. Each scenario would become progressively more challenging, but matched relative to the character's level (similar to how the "soul" quests work).

    Anyway, I'd like to get some feedback from the community. I know Xandaroth is also pretty excited about it, and I bet he has a really great vision for what he'd like it to be. I think it's a great idea, and hopefully the development team will kick the idea around and see if it resonates with any of their production goals and available resources to do so.
    Last edited by Dereth; 06-10-2011 at 01:51 AM.
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  2. #2
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    As requested, here's a paste from my topic in General Discussion towards the end of the thread:

    <>"Also, allow me to put this into perspective for all of you, especially Trion and the Rift crowd who considers themselves those who wouldn't need or even benefit such a system.

    By taking it upon yourselves as developers to remove other players from the equation, even if only just briefly, gives you the power to completely control the flow of the teaching the system gives the player. You could give them temporary AI party members and have them do a few simply boss fights with some trash pulls, and throw in scripted events like "Oh no, the mage backed up into a pat, cast Transmogrify on their caster before the mage dies!". You can even make this a quest objective, with rewards upon completion. That's just one example.

    By doing this, you open up doors for all of the less-than-hardcore crowds who shy away from these things like what's been mentioned in this thread. Suddenly the game's accessibility skyrockets, and here is what this means:

    For the casuals, it means help with successfully experiencing and enjoying content in the game you previously were too discouraged to attempt.

    For the hardcores, this will mean much less stress when you need to pug, like when random guild tank #1 can't show up, or raid healer #2 gets called into work that night.

    For developers, this means freedom to let your imaginations go wild with future content, because if this system lifts off successfully, a vast majority of your player base will be versed and experienced in all of the roles their classes are capable of (and good at them too).

    For publishers, this will mean drastic revenue increase because I guarantee you, the very moment anybody who's quit MMOs before due to things like being boo'ed off the game for dungeon or PvP mistakes hears about this marvelous game that actually helps you get past that, they're going to run here like you're giving away free ham sandwiches made out of dollar bills. And then they're going to give you those dollar bills.

    For everybody involved, it will mean a globally less stressful game where, sure, people will still find things to come here and complain about... but the epidemic of offensive player behavior, as well as PvP and PvE failure both in and outside of guilds has the potential to drastically decrease.

    Lord of the Rings Online kinda started to go there... their newbie tutorial zone is actually an instance that the player has to solo. Not saying it should be exactly like this, but an academy system that uses the instanced zone technology in MMOs these days is a good start for suggestions."<>

    Giving it more thought, I almost wonder if it might be easier for Trion to create a "training soul" that a player can use for free in these said academy scenarios. For example, let's say you want to learn more about how to play a mage. If it were a scenario developed by me, one thing I may do is have the player begin as a placeholder character of, I don't know... let's say level 15. He could start out with 0 soul points available in a single, extremely linear soul tree that steadily grants him or her talents and abilities, just like the normal soul trees, that all do very basic, simplified versions of what all the key, primary abilities each of the mage's normal souls has. And as the player progresses through the academy course, completing objectives and learning how to utilize these abilities, soul points could be granted to him per objective complete, AKA Blizzard's method of giving Death Knights their talent points due for levels 55 and under.

    As the player acquires more and more soul points, he can strengthen his spells he unlocks, and then be tasked with new objectives that utilize those new enhancements he just bought, with the entire academy process playing out exactly like this until the mage's "training soul" is completely filled out and he's experienced everything from emergency CC, to in-combat resurrection, to blowing cooldowns properly to heal tanks through abnormally high damage, even to dispelling enemies or even themselves in escape artist scenarios that could prepare them for pvp.

    That's just one of many, many ways this can be done.

    When I bought Dragon Age 2 off of Steam, I noticed the very first thing you see in the game is a "mistelling of the Champion's story" by Varrick, which has you essentially playing a fictitious, higher level version of the character you created, with your primary abilities already selected and a hotbar even arranged for you to use them. I thought it was fun, but what it accomplished overall is as soon as the "real" game began, and my newly created level 1 self entered the game world, the first thing I did was go straight to my abilities screen and examine what I need to do to get back all those amazing abilities I had just experienced using. Before I had even truly killed my first enemy and earned a single point of exp at level 1, I had already seen a small glimpse of how my character, and the game itself, plays. This honestly prepared me so well, I honestly didn't even need to respec my character even once from stary to finish, because I knew exactly what I was doing.

    If we can accomplish this same thing for Rift players, you are practically removing any and all negative experiences players have had or may have in the future revolving around inexperience or lack of confidence and knowledge. The era of guilds calling off raids because so much as a single tank didn't show up will end - pug'ing will become perfectly reasonable and "safe". And all of you who have ever even so much as had a curiosity about what it may be like to do something other than DPS, you will now have a safe place to try it where you can make all of the mistakes you could possibly learn from without any of the harassment.
    Last edited by Xandaroth; 06-10-2011 at 02:29 AM.

  3. #3
    Ascendant Naronas's Avatar
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    This is an idea I have ALWAYS been for. NPCs helping to teach new players what healing or tanking is like is a major thing that has been missing from this genre.
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    Champion faye007's Avatar
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    This is a great idea and would hopefully ease new players into the genre with less intimidation. Hope this gets looked at with.
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  5. #5
    Shadowlander
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    I had posted in another thread about this they wanted solo dungeons and i said would be pretty neat if they made role and class specific dungeons so you could learn more without the issues of being in a group. For the role you spec say a healer build then they have easy medium hard and elite dungeons that you could do at different levels for healer gear titles and such. My favorite would be class specific dungeons though. Say you went rogue. They could make one fight where you need a tank build. The next fight you need to use the bard. After that its on to ranged dps. And finish with melee dps. Have different difficulty levels on these as well. Would really show off the soul system all while allowing players to learn their different roles. Making for a more rounded and hopefully tolerant player. Heres to hoping they make something out of these ideas.

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    Champion faye007's Avatar
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    The solo dungeon i am strongly in favour of - the only other real exerience i have of it is AoC, they had the villas (oh god the grind in the early days >.<) and other ones along the road to level cap and i loved them, they were a real test sometimes.

    If they implemented this along with a difficulty setting to go along with the academy i would be the happiest gamer alive.
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    Shadowlander AlluvialSin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faye007 View Post
    This is a great idea and would hopefully ease new players into the genre with less intimidation. Hope this gets looked at with.
    Very much agreed, it will also give a good way for players to test where they stand in each area. That way they know where they need to improve.

  8. #8
    General of Telara
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    Solo dungeons like they had in Aoc do not help tanks become tanks, or healers become healers.


    A dungeon to learn how to be a tank, healer, or a dps will work if the player was helping 4 npc's.
    So if you were a tank you would have a healer,a bard and 2 dps say where you had to fight group encounters, this way you could learn the best way to keep aggro (so the npc's would have to be trying to over aggro so to speak, the further in the dungeon you got)

    Make it a class line quest, where you have the OPTION of getting the help or not from npc's to make you better, whatever you do, do not force this on players.

    Plenty of players do not like being forced into something like this when they understand their class already.

    I like the idea of having npc's that can help players who are struggling with the game whatever their level, so having the dungeons change to the appropriate level of the player when they enter is a good idea, or always make them 1-2 levels harder, as ultimately that's they will be tanking/healing/dps'ing etc

  9. #9
    Champion Ayenn's Avatar
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    This would be wasted development dollars. I have seen features somewhat like this in construction (but not function) be created, used intently by a small number of people for a month, and then abandoned. There are numerous examples.

    I would rather see those development dollars be spent on something like a level matching/mentor system allowing higher level experienced players to run dungeons or groups with lower level inexperienced players to teach them directly how to group and serve as a safety net. I have done this in CoX, CO, STO, and EQ2.

    There would not be an increase in revenue as a result of this feature. This is not a feature that would have enough appeal to attract new players.

    Lastly, this kind of thing actually goes against Trion's vision of Rift. It prescribes game play and institutes a lack of freedom in choice.

    Nice effort and good out of the box thinking. I commend you. The problem is you are still acknowledging the box...
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarr View Post
    Solo dungeons like they had in Aoc do not help tanks become tanks, or healers become healers.


    A dungeon to learn how to be a tank, healer, or a dps will work if the player was helping 4 npc's.
    So if you were a tank you would have a healer,a bard and 2 dps say where you had to fight group encounters, this way you could learn the best way to keep aggro (so the npc's would have to be trying to over aggro so to speak, the further in the dungeon you got)
    For a healer something like this would help...

    http://www.wowhead.com/npc=36789#drops:mode=normal25

    GC asked WoW healers what type of raid encounter they'd enjoy doing and that fight was developed. For a healer it was the best fight in ICC.

    Get in a nice raid and have a whopping 125k HPS in that fight. It measured a healer's HPS/HPM/Efficiency and sustained thoroughput, inbetween doing other mechanics (like getting orbs).

    It's the "training dummy" healers need, and v-e-r-y good to train tank healers.

  11. #11
    Champion faye007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarr View Post
    Solo dungeons like they had in Aoc do not help tanks become tanks, or healers become healers.


    A dungeon to learn how to be a tank, healer, or a dps will work if the player was helping 4 npc's.
    So if you were a tank you would have a healer,a bard and 2 dps say where you had to fight group encounters, this way you could learn the best way to keep aggro (so the npc's would have to be trying to over aggro so to speak, the further in the dungeon you got)

    Make it a class line quest, where you have the OPTION of getting the help or not from npc's to make you better, whatever you do, do not force this on players.

    Plenty of players do not like being forced into something like this when they understand their class already.

    I like the idea of having npc's that can help players who are struggling with the game whatever their level, so having the dungeons change to the appropriate level of the player when they enter is a good idea, or always make them 1-2 levels harder, as ultimately that's they will be tanking/healing/dps'ing etc
    Dont get me wrong, i didnt mean to only have solo dungeons - i meant to ellaborate and say that they were not integral to the leveling process therefore, they were purely optional. This would give solo players like myself the ease of doing harder content but if there were the option of having an npc party (like GW if you like) and incorporating this for training purposes they could bypass the boredom this may put on players who wish to skip it.

    I have played MMOs for years but i would see value in this academy, for example: I have never played a tank and i would love to but fear of not doing it correctly has kept me from trying it out.

    Im sure there are many fors and against in way of debate but if trion made it not compulsary i see no reason as to not implement something like this.
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  12. #12
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    So I was sleepy, threw on some music, and took a nap. I had this amazing vision.

    We are all ascended beings, souls of powerful beings resurrected and brought to Telara to battle Regulos and prevent what is basically the destruction of life. When we create our characters, as a Guardian, you're resurrected, and greeted inside this small temple where you are briefly welcomed, explained why you're there, and given your first set of quests. As a Defiant, you are resurrected using their taboo science magic, briefly welcomed, explained why you're there, and given your first set of quests.

    So here's the idea I offer to you, Trion... to be resurrected, our souls had to come from somewhere, right?

    I bring you all back to games such as Capcom's Devil May Cry series, where locales such as a "spirit world" of some sort made their appearance. These were opportunities for Capcom's graphical designers to really rub out some nerdgasms, and I think we all can agree, even for just a PS2, some of those Devil May Cry 3 locales were stunningly beautiful. A little chaotic, but none of it lacking artistic flair.

    Anyway. Imagine this. (I'm going to use a mage as an example).

    Upon creating a mage character, the player is thrust into a chaotic, ethereal, even heavenly realm. This game is all about alternate planes and dimensions, I'm sure someone among you guys at Trion is just dying to spill all sorts of beans about where souls of power and valor go before being resurrected. You have no character level. No exp bar, no soul window, no inventory. You have your UI elements such as your minimap, navigation buttons on the left, action bars etc, and a silvery, ghost-like silhouette of your character bearing equipment that simply looks for too epic to actually drop anywhere in the actual game.

    In my vision, the experience was completely chaotic. The player has absolutely no idea what the heck is going on, much like Tidus after being sucked up by Sin and thrown a thousand years in the past. However, there are quests, which the game's tutorial tips advise the player to take, like normal. The dialogue is vague, cryptic even. Here's an opportunity for your more poetic story writers to get their grooves going. The quest objectives will be things like using your spells in specific ways, spells which you will start out possessing only one of them (Probably a basic direct damage spell). When you complete the quest, you get no Exp, silver, rep, or gear - what you get is a new spell unlocked and placed automatically onto your actionbar alongside your first. This next spell should be something different that resembles something one of the mage souls can do, like... Lifegiving Veil, for example, and the next quest would be to heal three NPCs to full health using it. Next would be a pet spell, with a quest to kill NPCs while they have aggro on your pet. A neat idea would be to have a quest objective like "Target all of the enemies in a group and use your pet's abilities to establish threat on each target".

    The list goes on, but the point is you would unlock all these key features that represent the primary mechanics of the various mage souls in the game, maybe incredibly powerful versions, all unlocked onto the same action bar. As you unlock more and more abilities, the quests can get more difficult, until it gets to the point where your character's spirit has access to a ridiculous amount of mage powers such as chloromancer healing, pyromancer damage, elementalist pets, dominator control, etc.

    Then, at the peak of your power, your final quest is against some ridiculous foe that manages to encompass a large majority of all the things a mage could be expected to do, a grand battle where victory will depend on proper distribution of heals, CC, pet/aggro management, damage, and even escape tactics (None of it being too overbearing, so the player still has reasonable ease and comfort doing all of it in the same fight) and the player has the power to do all of it with the same action bar. I would probably advise giving the player AI controlled allies present in the fight that represent the other roles in a typical group, like rogues, warriors, and clerics. And right before the enemy falls, your screen flashes white - And you awaken. Welcome to Telara, Guardian/Defiant. And so begins the tutorial zone that the game already has, and what you just experienced was your spirit at it's height of power... yanked from that realm and placed into a mortal body to fight Regulos.

    Except this time... it's not just a quest to fight Regulos, but to restore your power within your new mortal body so that you can beat him to begin with (Cue the leveling process).

    /rant off.
    Last edited by Xandaroth; 06-10-2011 at 05:17 AM.

  13. #13
    Telaran Scizor's Avatar
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    I'm all for this. The Academy should be optional when you start the game, then Made into a button in the login screen, like the intro (which I hate, why did they make a new one when the old explained it all better?) and create, delete and shard.
    Since there's so much variety on how to tank, heal, dps or support there should be Select Calling -> Select Role (Since, how to learn to chloroheal if there was a standard heal, like the cleric?)
    Xan and Dereth, Amazing idea. If this gets implemented, expect some platinum from me

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  14. #14
    Telaran Scizor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xandaroth View Post
    So I was sleepy, threw on some music, and took a nap. I had this amazing vision.

    Wall of text: Summary: Make an area that teaches you the basics of the Callings abilities and roles.

    /rant off.
    The area that the souls comes from is The River of Souls. There the souls go after death, and will just do whatever for all eternity (I'm thinking more Fields of Aphodel from greek mythology, kind of a place of boredom, but ability to communicate with the other souls).
    Also, all Guardians are soldiers from the war that happened 20 years ago. Regulos killed all the armies, but The Vigil intercepted and resurrected you, then you ended the war. I see no way the Vigil couldn't create Ascended in present.
    Defiants: Actually, for roleplay purposes, it's possible you come from another timeline, or even be resurrected in year 169 after something (I think thats the year of Telara now. Or is it 189?) The formulas you brought back made it possible to create ascended in present.

    Just a lore information.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scizor View Post
    The area that the souls comes from is The River of Souls. There the souls go after death, and will just do whatever for all eternity (I'm thinking more Fields of Aphodel from greek mythology, kind of a place of boredom, but ability to communicate with the other souls).
    Also, all Guardians are soldiers from the war that happened 20 years ago. Regulos killed all the armies, but The Vigil intercepted and resurrected you, then you ended the war. I see no way the Vigil couldn't create Ascended in present.
    Defiants: Actually, for roleplay purposes, it's possible you come from another timeline, or even be resurrected in year 169 after something (I think thats the year of Telara now. Or is it 189?) The formulas you brought back made it possible to create ascended in present.

    Just a lore information.
    Way to spoil it!! :P

    Just kidding. Yeah, Defiants were basically "engineered" in the future, and actually, the point in which you leave the tutorial zone and enter the "main" world is when Regulos basically shows up, and the end of the world happens just as you barely dive into a time machine to go back and prevent that future from ever happening. At least that's what I gathered from the quest texts.

    I really should probably molest google.com until it gives me something, like... a Rift lore wiki or something. Lol. I actually do like mild roleplaying. At least, just the kind where a player gets involved with the lore and plays around it. It's one of the reasons I joined a PvP server (/shakefist @ you fanatic Guardians. The end of the world is your fault!).

    But yeah, I like the idea of it being an optional thing. I recall there was some MMO that had an optional thing where you could press a button, and instead of zoning in as a character, you zone in as some random mob or something. If I recall correctly, it was very short, there wasn't really anything like progression or lore, it was just a button to press and then 15 minutes of fun. That 15 minutes could serve as a great role training session.

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