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Thread: Player influenced worlds ...

  1. #1
    Plane Touched Lepus_Iscariot's Avatar
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    Default Player influenced worlds ...

    I was reading some MMO descriptions on MMORPG.com today, and noticed a trend. Then, when I thought about it some more, I realized I had been hearing the same rhetoric since I migrated from EQ1 after playing it from release for five years.

    Here is a condensed snippet of what I mean:

    "...player influence will shape the world of (insert any MMO produced in the past X number of years)..."

    Now, although I haven't played every game to come out, I certainly played all the big ones, and I have never really been on a game where I would say that this is true. Yet, it always seems to be in the rhetoric of the game's design and advertising, something that 'marketing professionals' must have decided, I am sure from some type of focus group, that MMO fans wanted.

    There are a few games where it looked like it was going to work, but inevitable failed. SWG springs to mind, as I remember cresting hills and seeing vast player cities or huge mining operations where the day before there had been only endless deserts. However, in SWG's case, I believe this type of dynamic ended up destroying the game, along with a few other bad choices, in that it was the only content the game had for a very long time.

    I hear that EVE is different, and I supposed my statement above is slightly misleading since EVE is huge and I've never played it, but do players in EVE change the game world, or just the economy?

    It would seem that when MMO developer's use this rhetoric what they really mean is that PC's can kill raid bosses, maybe even wandering special mobs, or maybe they can harvest nodes of resources that spawn and dissipate, but I would have to say I've not played a game yet where this "feature" was executed well, and in most cases I would say it wasn't executed at all.

    The other 'feature' that I think is often included in these games is the idea that your player will 'play a part' in the development of the game world. I would say this falls into the same category. Now, I know WoW had the gate opening event, and other games have had something here and there, but at the end of the day, I think that these things are forgotten a month later, which I would point to as an argument that none of the players did have a significant role in these events.

    Thoughts ... ?
    Last edited by Lepus_Iscariot; 10-18-2010 at 07:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Ascendant Kula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lepus_Iscariot View Post
    I was reading some MMO descriptions on MMORPG.com today, and noticed a trend. Then, when I thought about it some more, I realized I had been hearing the same rhetoric since I migrated from EQ1 after playing it from release for five years.

    Here is a condensed snippet of what I mean:

    "...player influence will shape the world of (insert any MMO produced in the past X number of years)..."

    Now, although I haven't played every game to come out, I certainly played all the big ones, and I have never really been on a game where I would say that this is true. Yet, it always seems to be in the rhetoric of the game's design and advertising, something that 'marketing professionals' must have decided, I am sure from some type of focus group, that MMO fans wanted.

    There are a few games where it looked like it was going to work, but inevitable failed. SWG springs to mind, as I remember cresting hills and seeing vast player cities or huge mining operations where the day before there had been only endless deserts. However, in SWG's case, I believe this type of dynamic ended up destroying the game, along with a few other bad choices, in that it was the only content the game had for a very long time.

    I hear that EVE is different, and I supposed my statement above is slightly misleading since EVE is huge and I've never played it, but do players in EVE change the game world, or just the economy?

    It would seem that when MMO developer's use this rhetoric what they really mean is that PC's can kill raid bosses, maybe even wandering special mobs, or maybe they can harvest nodes of resources that spawn and dissipate, but I would have to say I've not played a game yet where this "feature" was executed well, and in most cases I would say it wasn't executed at all.

    The other 'feature' that I think is often included in these games is the idea that your player will 'play a part' in the development of the game world. I would say this fall into the same category. Now, I know WoW had the gate opening event, and other games have had something here and there, but at the end of the day, I think that these things are forgotten a month later, which I would point to as an argument that none of the players did have a significant role in these events.

    Thoughts ... ?
    I agree with everything you posted.

    I think it's just too risky for developers to allow actual/permanent change to their world. Perhaps, when Schilling's games come out there will be the opportunity for testing player mods to the RPG that would then be fully developed for the MMORPG? I can hope, anyway.

  3. #3
    Rift Disciple Knives's Avatar
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    I think EverQuest 2 may be the closest I've experienced. EverQuest 2 puts a new "world event" out every couple months in which players have to work together (crafting, doing various killing/gathering quests, etc.) to build teleporters, new druid rings, raise awareness of the gods, etc. Although the end result is pre-determined by the developers before the event even starts, it actually feels like we're affecting the world in a way and we receive a unique title or appearance item at the end to distinguish our efforts.

    I've suggested it countless times on these forums, I hope Rift does something on the lines of this - maybe even a step further. Trion could implement a "world event" once every 4-6 months in which players interact with major figures from the story, learn the lore of the world, and do something that changes the game very slightly. My generic example is a city being invaded by rift creatures. We would attempt to fight off the invaders for one update, the next update the city would either be saved if we completed the quest as a server a pre-determined amount of times or burnt to the ground if we didn't, and during the final update the place would be undergoing re-consruction either way - to rebuild what was lost in one scenario, and rebuild the entire town in the other. Even though there may be some differences in scenarios between servers, every server would still gain new quests in the end.

  4. #4
    Ascendant Warbs's Avatar
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    Well from what you have said there it is very true although i have noticed this among alot of Free to Play MMorpgs where it dpes actually work in a big way.One game that springs to mind is Zentia in which players must unlock the level caps and expansions for the game by completing raid dungeons thus unlocking new content for the whole game and new contients etc... i must add this zentia game if you give it chance does have a large scale amount of innovation from being able to create your own animations to players being able to join konga lines through the city while afk...just the very cartoony graphics and low budget on which it was made is a turn off.

    Another that springs to mind is AikA which actually allows guilds to fight for control over there nation ad the conquering guild can set the tax rates and dictate there nation.

    And have not seen it yet in a p2p but what rift and GW2 are bringing to the table sounds promising.With rift it doesnt sound to much like players actually have a affect on the world or that they change the world...but the presece of rifts randomly appearing does sound promising.

    With guild wars 2 actually not responding to events can mean a entire town that was held by friendly Npc's such as quest givers and merchants can be taken over if players to not heed the call for help ( same ca be said with rifts opening in towns on rift i think ? )...i like that..but thats as far as it seems to go which to me at least seems like repetition will set in after a certain amount of these events have trigger.

    Taking into consideration that the producer on Rift actually worked on everquest 2 i do believe they will succesfully pull of a great game regardless of whether they deliver on the 'players changing the world' thing or not.


    ~Warbs
    Last edited by Warbs; 10-19-2010 at 07:58 AM.

  5. #5
    Rift Disciple forestwhitakereye's Avatar
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    WoW has changing the world of a sort with Phasing.

    If you're unfamiliar with the concept, it's that what the game server lets you see changes depending on different things, particularly where you are in a quest line. The first I noticed it was the Shadow Vault. At first, it's an enemy stronghold, and you get a series of missions to mind control a few undead minions, to assassinate a leader, and finally to attack this giant Sauron eye while on a flying mount. Afterwards, you fly away and come back and the Shadow Vault is now a quest hub. The previously hostile but now mind controlled minions are questgivers.

    The downside is that what the server is showing each player is different depending on what they've accomplished. You could be standing right next to your friend and they'll be invisible to you if you've done the quest but they haven't.

    I know it's not exactly what you're talking about, but it is a way to give a permanence to the landscape of an MMO. Rift and GW2 both have what someone else has referred to on these boards I believe as "static random". In Rift, a rift might spawn somewhere and branch out into an invasion, but an area is either toggled as rift controlled or not. In GW2, there will be an event that has multiple outcomes, possibly leading to other events, possibly a large number of events, but the number of events or states that area could be in is limited and will eventually cycle among all of them.

    That isn't to say that I don't think Rift and GW2 have very intriguing, potentially groundbreaking systems, they just don't have the personal permanence of phasing or a real permanence of some other system.

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