Getting reeeeal tired of posting comments on peoples' blogs, The Goog tells me the comment is too long, and then the post just evaporates into nothing.

Yep. That's gettin' super old.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 12/23/2010 07:49:00 PM | 3 comments


I mentioned about Knowledges in an earlier post, but I thought I would go into detail about something I've cooked up for it.

Each Knowledge represents what a character knows about a particular academic or practical subject. How much a character knows will affect how successful they are in various tradeskills and can improve their various combat and other abilities as well. Metallurgy would improve a character's blacksmithing, engineering, and mechanic professions and might give the character a chance to identify weaknesses in a target's metal armor (in PvP, if the armor isn't fully repaired), allowing extra armor pen or crit or something.

Players can increase their Knowledges with practical experience. Anytime a player does something relating to a Knowledge, there is a chance they will learn something. A player can also read books in game to temporarily learn a piece of knowledge, which will greatly increase the chance of learning that piece of knowledge through practical experience (a player's intellect will determine how long, in game time, a piece of knowledge will stay remembered if they do not go and acquire it with practical experience).

In the game, players would have a Knowledge Compendium, representing the sum total of their character's knowledge. In it, each subject would have each of its topics denoted with each piece of information (such as "A Dragon has a weak point just under it's jaw where the scales are as soft as they are on the belly" in Anatomy). As more information is gathered, the connected bits will arrange themselves into a narrative almost like a wikipedia entry on the subject. Each bit will also list the particular bonus the piece of information gives the player.

The game would also have a Knowledge Helper. While playing, if your character knows something relevant about an enemy or something in the world, an icon would pop up next to it to alert the player. In the mentioned example when fighting a dragon, if the dragon were to lunge at you to try and bite you, an icon would come up indicating a weak point and glowing when you should strike.

I'm considering having a maximum level of knowledge which could be linked to a wisdom stat. Knowledge which is gained beyond that stat will be learned, but older piece of information will become depreciated, losing some of their bonus, and then eventually being forgotten. Perhaps any time the player uses that piece of knowledge to their advantage, that bit would gain a point of XP or two, and then after so many, the knowledge becomes ingrained and doesn't count against the maximum.

I think this would make the game much more enjoyable for players who enjoy learning everything they can about their favorite games while not being annoying to anyone who doesn't, and it would provide another method of character advancement beyond just class levels.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 12/11/2010 07:59:00 AM | 0 comments


I find myself constantly redesigning the class structure of my game. Originally, I had the classes able to multiclass into anything they wanted, granting a massive number of choices of secondary and tertiary classes.

To trim that down, I decided to change the design to one where each class could advance to their secondary form, or multiclass into one of two other for one of two other specializations. This resulted in 33 classes with a good deal of redundancy (3 flavors of paladins, 2 flavors of monks), it left out many classes I wanted to include, and forced me to introduce several I felt were craptastic just so each class would have enough that wanted to take it as a multiclass option.

I think my new design will be based on abilities. If you want to be an Assassin, you have to have a certain amount of skill in stealth, melee combat, and various forms of information gathering abilities. If you are skilled enough, you may even be able to pass these tests without much skill or even without learning any of the abilities at all (though the tests are specifically designed for these abilities and only the most crafty players will be able to do so).

This would provide a good balance between the two. Players would never feel limited by their character build because their class couldn't move into many specializations. It also gives me the freedom to include some of the redundancy if the feel of the classes is different enough.

If you want to be a Paladin, you only need knowledge of some Priest skills and melee medium or large size weapons. There can be several specializations of the class which would depend on what else you took, but you can do any of them if you wish.

This system also allows me to go with my other idea in which a player's tradeskills can be used to unlock additional classes. A Mage who is an enchanter can become a Sorcerer. A Specialist who is a mechanic can become a Machinist. And so on.

Ok, I feel like I'm rambling now. I'm going to go work on a talent system that makes sense in a classless context.

(I also feel like I've made this post before. >_> I need a better filing system.)

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 12/10/2010 11:08:00 PM | 0 comments

WoW Storylines

For the last 6 years, Azeroth has been basically the same. Same NPCs, same quests, same rewards, same instances, same progression towards endgame. Even the expansion areas follow this same pattern. Even though in lore, players have fought off the Burning Legion and defeated Kil'jaeden's plans at the Sunwell, when you go to Outland all of the storylines about helping defend Honor Hold and killing massive amounts of creatures for Nessingwary and assisting the nether dragons in defeating the Dragonmaw clan are still there. All of these stories have played out as far as the game is concerned, yet there they still are.

Now they are wiping the old world slate clean and starting it over with a fresh 1-60 batch of everything. This is only a temporary solution though. In two more years, all of the new questing experience is going to be old too, and the same inconsistencies are going to pop up.

They have all these neat phasing technologies which they use to great effect in the new race starting zones (and the new old race starting zones). Why didn't they do that with all of the other races' starting zones? Hell, why don't they do that with ALL of the zones?

Imagine it this way: each zone has six states. The first state is the default state for players at or below the appropriate level. I'm going to use Westfall as an example. In Westfall, the default state is that of first walking in at level 8-10. There's Old Blanchy and Farmer Mr. and Mrs Whatstheirfaces. There are Defias problems everywhere. The crops are in a perpetual state of total crap famine. Players can play through these quests all the way through to the end of the massive quest chains helping destroy broken Harvest Reapers, save peoples' farms, and foil the Defias plots. Players will stay in this game state until either they finish the quest chains or they level to a point that those quest chains no longer grant experience.

This puts the game into state 2 in which all of the major problems are solved. The local inhabitants are happy and getting back to their lives. There are repeatable or daily quests from almost all of them which don't give XP as a reward (to encourage players to GTFO and go level somewhere else), but do give money and possibly other items, such as mats needed to level crafting professions. Once a player has reached a certain level, say a bracket above the Stage 2 trigger point (this point would be level 30, and the next bracket would start at level 40), then the game advances to state 3.

State 3 is basically State 1, only with an entirely new set of problems that are updated for the new level range. Maybe after the Defias were driven out, Murlocs could swarm the shores. Players could then complete these quest chains to solve the new problems, or get to the next point (level 60 in this case) to take the game to State 4, which is State 2 for the higher level range.

State 5 begins at 85, and would probably be patched into the game zone by zone according to different tiers. Some would be available right at Cataclysm launch, others such as our Westfall example would become available at a later time (the release of Heroic Deadmines in this case, if that's not happening at launch) such as after a player completes a certain raid tier.

This updates those Zones to be relevant to the Deathwing destroying the world storyline. While the Cataclysm happens to the entire world for all players, player interaction with Deathwing starts out very low and ramps up as they advance through the zones culminating in these stage 5 zones where he is literally doing fly bys at 5 feet over your head trying to barbecue and/or eat you. Completing all of the quests in the stage 5 zones unlocks a large number of dailies similar to how Icecrown has tons of dailies all over after playing through the storylines.

There are a lot of other things which could play in here too, like reputation gear for lower level characters based on stages, but those are a different story. The main idea here is that as you go through the world, the story of the world actually changes around you as your character has his or her adventure. Things that happened are in the past where they belong. Players also get a much wider choice of where they can go for each level range to level in. Instead of having 3 or 4 level 40 appropriate zones, there become 8.

I guess I'm just kind of disappointed that they didn't take a golden opportunity to put some realism and immersion back into the game that doesn't affect game play ability.

(and before anyone says it, they haven't announced any CoT plans yet, so if players want to go back and do quests from old states they might have missed or get quest rewards they missed out on, perhaps our Bronze dragonpals could allow us to do that.)

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 12/03/2010 11:18:00 PM | 0 comments

Natural play

After playing for years now, it seems like players don't like to have adventures. Sure some do. I'm sure at least a few who read this post do. Most, from what I read on forums and blogs don't though. They skip quest text, go straight to the quest objectives, complete them and turn in, moving on to the next quest. You aren't an epic hero on a quest to save a little girl kidnapped by a gang of thieves (who are holding her for ransom from her rich parents). You are a guy with a sword in search of XP. Is the little girl NPC unharmed? Is she being treated well by her captors? How is she coping with the experience after you rescue her?

Who cares? As long as you get your XP, she can be missing an arm or scarred mentally for the rest of her life and it makes no difference. Although this is a legitimate way to play a character (my own main would likely take this particular view, though it may secretly tug at his heartstrings just a tiny bit), it's not really in character for all characters. A friend of mine plays the selfless and noble paladin who would be generally concerned about the girl and her eventual fate. However, the game rewards those who disregard all that wishy washy RP crap and go straight for the good stuff.

This is a bit off topic from what I want to talk about, but it is loosely related. I wanted to talk about experience and the way it is earned.

I really want to make a game where the story is the important part. When a player plays their character, they should want to actually play the role of that character. These are called Role Playing Games after all. Most game mechanics seem to incentivize the player to disregard any hint of story elements and just burn through as much questing and mobs as their sword can slice through. The story becomes irrelevant as it is just a tl;dr version of the objectives from which the real goal can be extracted from a quick skim.

What if the game mechanics for things like XP punish those who try to grind through everything and rewards those who play in the story mode? Alternative methods of achieving objectives could award more XP than the standard "Kill everything you see method". This especially applies to stealth classes who would get a bonus for not being seen or for having a minimum casualty rate.

However, this doesn't seem to apply to just regular killing mobs. Players grinding 4 million boars in Elwynn forest certainly doesn't seem heroic. I had an idea to discourage that with XP gains being on a diminishing returns cooldown timer. You kill one mob, you get full XP. You kill a second mob, you get full XP. You kill X number of X additional mobs (the number of which should be tuned to a proper amount) and get full XP. After this point, a very short cooldown hidden from the player starts. Maybe 10 or 15 seconds. Killing a mob once this cooldown is up will award full XP. Killing a mob before this timer is up will award reduced XP and restart the cooldown timer with a slightly increased time amount. This continues until about 4 or 5 mobs killed this way (before the timer ends) when no XP is gained at all. Each of these additional timers you wait out will return to the previous XP level.

The main idea is to slow down the grinding player to it is more efficient to actually complete quests. Mobs which are involved in the quests you must complete would of course be exempt from these timers. Killing rats as a grinding exercise is on the timer. Getting a quest to kill rats will not trigger the timer until the quest objectives are met (at which point they kick in).

This could also be incorporated into the profession system for professions that require killing mobs like skinning or butchering. Killing additional mobs grants the reduced XP, but if you perform the profession actions like skinning the corpse then a large portion of the lost XP is returned in the form of XP towards that profession.

I've also been considering the inn mechanic from WoW. Logging out at an inn wouldn't give you a bonus on its own. You'd need to actually rent a room, at which point you would automatically log out and your character would be sleeping. The longer you are logged out, the more bonus experience you get for a certain amount of time (up to a maximum). The idea here being that players who play all the time can play normally, and players who have limited play time can still keep up so that they can participate in group content as well. The bonuses would be balanced so that if a player plays for 15 hours straight (something I don't recommend) and another plays for two, goes to work for 8, spends three hours with his family upon coming home and eating, and then plays two more hours, the player who only played four hours would gain XP from his play time enough to equal him to the 15 hours straight player and they can continue to play on equal level group content together. I think this is a much better way to do what Square was trying to do at keeping players on the same level of play as it doesn't punish the player who wants to play for 15 hours straight with no XP walls.

To sum up, the XP system I have in mind would:

1. Discourage grinding and incentivize playing in a natural story based way
2. Not punish players who are trying to use or level their mob killing related professions
3. Allow players with less play time to stay on a competitive level of play with those who have time in abundance.

This is all subject to balancing of course so that players who play in a natural way would never be affected by any of the downsides.

Thoughts? Does this system seem like it would annoy players if it's balanced correctly? Is there a better way to accomplish these goals?

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 11/20/2010 12:02:00 AM | 1 comments

Set bonuses

In WoW, there are sets which provide bonuses depending on how many pieces of the set you are wearing. Sometimes, these sets are strong enough that gear outside the set isn't worth using. Sometimes they are weak enough that you don't want any of the set, or just a smaller part of the set. Then when you get new gear, which would otherwise be an upgrade, you don't want to use it as it would break those set bonuses which defeats the purpose of gear upgrades. As a rogue main, I used T8 until I had 2 piece T10, as T9 completely sucked (this also meant I was finished with T9 badge gear long before anyone else in my guild).

What if, instead of the bonuses for sets being on the gear itself, they were on an upgrade item like a gem or rune? Blacksmiths or the like could add special sockets or some kind of slot to certain pieces of gear ( a limit of one per piece of course to prevent stacking) which these items would be able to be placed. New gear which would otherwise be an upgrade could then be taken and used while keeping the set bonuses. I think this could solve the gear leaping problem where a majority of designed gear is skipped in favor of set pieces.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 10/25/2010 10:48:00 AM | 0 comments


Just a thought: Why does the initial game world have to be all there is? What I mean by that is the MMO so far has the player growing in power until they hit a cap, and there they are. Why not let it scale infinitely?

As players play through MMOs, they gradually get more powerful and defeat stronger and stronger foes. Eventually there has to come a point where they run out of enemies they aren't strong enough for (this begs the question of how those enemies got so powerful themselves with nothing to fight against. Did they grind 4 million boars?). This is already starting to be a problem in WoW. We've already defeated a good majority of the most powerful characters in lore, and will have most of them licked by the end of Cataclysm. An elemental Lord, two direct children of Deathwing, Illidan, a Dragon Aspect (soon to be two), the Lich King, Archimonde (even though it was a travel back in time deal), TWO Old Gods, and then.....not much else on the "still on Azeroth" scale. The other two old gods (or possibly three, depending on if they retcon The Master's Glaive to be a dead lieutenant or something) and possibly a second Algalon type entity arriving, and there is literally nothing else on the planet more powerful. You would have to step up to Actual Kil'Jaeden, then maybe find Sargeras out in the Nether, then maybe a few of the other Titans, and then you're done.

The entire time, the heroes remain as ordinary mortals. Mortals that can slay gods and Titans. Why does that have to be? Why can't the players eventually become gods, or at least half gods, along the way? You defeat all the evils of your world and the gods say "Grats. As a reward, you can be a god too." And you can then continue on to other worlds and fight greater evils, and maybe even make your own worlds.

I dunno. I just think it would be cool to take a character who was once a lowly farmhand (who lost his home when the farm was burned down by bandits) and turn them into an all powerful god of the cosmos.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 10/22/2010 11:26:00 AM | 0 comments


I've been playing Lord of the Rings Online since my WoW account expired and it's now free to play. They use a trait system instead of talents for customizing your character. These traits are earned by doing things in game as opposed to as you level. You get empathy for completing quests. you get justice for killing brigands. Etc.

What if these traits were more than just stat bonuses? What if they also affected how you speak to NPCs? There are already things like text options and dialogue wheels that let you choose (in a limited way) what you say to NPCs. Why not have these traits affect what options are available, allowing the dialogue to go in directions that others wouldn't see? This could open up entirely new quest paths, allow players to negotiate better quest rewards, or even open up new skills to be learned from trainers. There could also be "negative" traits as well, allowing a wider range of bonuses and even changing the way the game is played. Ruthless would grant pets and hirelings higher damage (because you push them harder), but causes them to be more willing to abandon you after taking enough damage. Evil would grant a bonus to shadow damage spells and abilities and give you greater control over undead minions. And so on.

The main thing here is that I'm trying to come up with ideas that bring an RP play style into the main part of the game. Playing on RP servers basically since I've started playing MMOs, it seems that most players regard RP as something that is done in town. When you are out questing or doing instances, RP becomes impractical. I want to bring about a game where a character's actions have impact on what happens to them and where players have to consider their actions' consequences before leaping into the fray. A paladin who is an upholder of all that is good and just running into the forest to slaughter squirrels and bears en mass doesn't really seem like it would be in character.

I know a lot of my ideas would make for a game that is extremely niche and not very widespread, but I think it would make for a game that is highly immersive and rich.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 10/01/2010 03:29:00 PM | 2 comments

Critical Failure

I've just had an idea for healers.

When someone takes enough damage, they die. I had the thought that if the attack did enough damage, maybe the player's head would get lopped off.

I already decided that in order to resurrect someone, their wounds would need to be healed before their soul could be reunited with their body. What if, in healing someone whose head was severed, their head is placed slightly off by mistake, which affects the healed player's controls slightly? Maybe just a temporary one that the player's character then adjusts to, or could be healed away. Would this be an interesting mechanic, or just annoying to everyone?

Eh, it'd probably be annoying to everyone, but I think it would be funny to include just to watch people stumble around randomly for a moment as if their keys had been remapped.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 9/27/2010 05:29:00 PM | 0 comments


I'm kind of boggled by Blizzard's decision to convert all badges/shards/whatever alternative currency into cash moneys, and the current content badges into the new points system. What exactly is the point of this? The currency is just kind of sitting there on the currency page, not doing anything and not bothering anyone. It doesn't take up bag space anymore, so it's not as though there is any issue to really be solved here.

In all previous expansions, they just reset the gear with new badges. The badges you earned previously would get you exactly squat in the next expansion. In Wrath, they even did this between tiers so all the badges you earned in tier 7 would be useless for tier 8. Why have they decided that players stockpiling points before the expansion so they can immediately buy all of their badge gear and start raiding is a good thing? Are there not many heroics and they need to compensate for that? Is the badge gear going to be absolutely necessary to clear just the trash in the first raid? Are all of the new recipes for professions going to be bought with points and players will need them just to level to 535 or whatever number they're raising that cap to?

This just seems like useless busy work for the Blizzard staff to me. Or maybe they are dangling shiny keys in front of the people who have expressed concern over how their class will be performing.

Not only this, but wiping out the other currencies like spirit shards and stone keeper's shards sort of defeats the point of the whole mechanic. You want the WG rewards, you go win WG. This allows you to get the shards to buy them. Now you can just buy them with honor without having to win? While these are going to be old hat come Cataclysm, what about Tol Barad? Are they going to introduce a new currency for that, or just allow people to farm BGs to get the rewards, or just not have rewards at all?

There are so many implications for changing these mechanics that I wonder what they are thinking.

I am also upset that they are not taking all of the old badges and converting them to a third currency called "Old Crap Points". They could have "Old BC Crap Points" and "Old Wrath Crap Points". Or maybe they could be called "Useless Bullshit Points". They need to make this happen.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 9/17/2010 01:31:00 AM | 0 comments


Elements have been a part of many games for a good long time, and are established well enough that many gamers don't even have to think about it. The systems are just intuitive.

That being said, coming up with a system that makes sense is proving to be difficult. I can make cases for one type of magic dealing extra damage to another in so many ways that it would have made more sense to just remove the element system all together. If you were playing as someone who had a fire elemental pet? Hoo boy. That pet is screwed. Water extinguishes fires. Wind extinguishes fires. Earth in the form of sand extinguishes fires. When Fire melts Ice, it becomes Water which extinguishes fires. Lightning was the only one that didn't really deal damage to Fire, and could start fires. There were also cases for Wind being able to spread Fire and for Fire being able to burn so hot that it vaporizes Water.

I expanded the system a few times with different aspects of the elements separated until it had officially reached the status of Pokemon Rigmarole. Then I said screw it and went back to the basic wheel system. If there are exceptions, then they can be baked into abilities themselves.

I think it requires a light touch to be done right. Something like FFXI's system where different hours of the day will influence the strength of your elemental attacks would likely be too much (which after looking into, looks practically identical to the flowchart I came up with for strengths and weaknesses). However, something like WoW's system where elemental properties only matter for if the boss is doing them, and if you have enough resistance (a stat which has proven to be largely useless in the last few years) would likely be not enough.

The real question is "Is an elemental strengths and weaknesses system really necessary, or is it just a relic of older games that doesn't have much relevance anymore?" I'm not entirely sure where the line is between "Strategically important" and "completely irritating" and "completely ignorable".

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 9/10/2010 11:22:00 AM | 0 comments


I know a lot of people have been posting on the subject lately, most of it negative. I'm going to throw my hat in the ring regardless. My opinion of the game, though there are a lot of bad things, a lot of them are simply "new to the game" feelings which have diminished thus far. Let's start with the good.

First off, the graphics are beautiful. Even on my not so high end machine, the textures and details are incredible. I started my first character out in Gridania, which is the woodland area. It actually feels like a massive forest and not just a bunch of trees stuck together.

The quests are done differently than other games. There are the traditional quests, which take the form of storylines. These story lines are not entirely based around combat. The kill ten rats quests are not present here, and they instead display some kind of creativity to them. Currently, I've only done the opening storyline quest and I haven't found any more of this kind though I've heard they have removed all of these quests until release. Likely because they don't want beta testers blowing through them and putting up walkthrough sites before the game is released. I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, though I hope they have internal people testing out the "yet to be released" material so it's not buggy when it comes out.

The other quests take the form of levequests. Basically, the way they explain it is that instead of having a bunch of people standing around with exclamation points over their heads, any of the NPC citizens that have jobs for people to do like hunting deer or killing pests goes to the Adventurer's Guild. They probably pay them a hefty fee, and the guild says "We'll get someone to take care of it for you." Then you come along and the guild pays you a bounty to do these jobs. This makes much more sense from a logical standpoint to me than having people just standing around because it makes the world feel more vibrant with the cities having citizens actually going about their business. It also avoids any potential legal entanglements with quest givers handing out dangerous "Go kill Billy the Guy who Got My Daughter Pregnant" like quests.

They also have seem to mixed things up and are now allowing people to be in multiple linkshells (the FF version of guilds) at once. I don't remember the exact number, but this is a great idea as it allows you to have several pools of people to play with, and maybe even a way to distribute message easily (as there doesn't seem to be any mail system that I could find).

Now let's talk about the bad.

This game is very clearly a console MMO with a keyboard/mouse interface tacked on hastily. The keyboard controls are a bit awkward, and though you can remap a few of the keys, most of the functions such as opening the menu and not remappable. The game comes with a utility that you must use to map all of the functions if you want to use a gamepad. And I highly recommend using a controller. Be prepared to remap these keys several times as you figure out what the functions do and get everything in comfortable positions. The control scheme becomes much more natural once you do and the game becomes more playable.

There are large floaty crystals called Aetherite scattered throughout the game. They act as hearthstone bind points (which need no physical hearthstone item), graveyards for the corpse run, and starting points for levequests. They allegedly also act as waypoints for fast travel, though having discovered two of them already I have yet to get it to perform this function and am starting to doubt it exists. (EDIT: Found this function. Unlike everything they tell you about this, the crystals are the endpoints. The command is in the command menu, apparently.)

Most of your storyline quests are done instanced. Other players who are on that part of the quests will share your instance, so this isn't the isolation effect. However, if you fail one of these quests and get teleported out, you end up back at the floating crystal you last used. This is a massive pain when the area you restart the quest in is another five minute walk on foot. On top of this, there are escort quests in this game. If you get more than 10 or 15 feet away from the NPC you are escorting, you automatically fail and get sent back to the crystal. Sometimes this occurs without warning. Is it really too much to ask that when you fail a story quest that it sends you back to a point near where you entered the instance so you can try again without having to run back for five minutes?

There are no tutorials anywhere. Well, there is one tutorial quest, but it's for using emotes and it doesn't even show you how to do it exactly. This seems to be the general design. Don't tell players "This is what these numbers and bars mean". Let them figure it out themselves. There is a small display in my upper left corner (it starts somewhere else). It has many numbers and fractions and a few icons on it. I have absolutely no idea what any of these are, and they seem to change at random. Two of them I though might be coordinates, but after running in a straight line north and seeing them change in all directions, I have determined that this is probably not the case. Some moves (and by that, I mean the only one I have) are available sometimes, and sometimes they aren't.

There are a few minor points which can mostly be ignored: The fact that there are spelling errors in a lot of the text is probably going to be ignored by most players. There are also several bits of quest text where some words haven't been translated from their original Japanese yet.

A lot of people have been talking about the surplus exp, but I just haven't seen it kick in yet. Or if it has, I haven't noticed it. Looking at how these skills work, it is probably beneficial to switch classes and level them anyways, as it looks like there are good and useful skills spread across all of the class trees. (I find it ironic that most of the resources can list all the skills, but can't tell me what those damn numbers in that little box do. >_>)

I don't think this is a bad game. I think it just needs a bit of work. Keep in mind that I say this after only having played it for a matter of maybe 10 hours total. It seems to be getting a little better now that the initial "I don't know what the hell is going on" feeling is starting to wear off. Hopefully when the game goes to release, they will add in that extra quest content they were talking about (which hopefully is not a lie) and add in some tutorials, or at least some freaking tooltips that explain things when you hover over them. Maybe add in a glossary or some diagrams to help console players that don't have a mouse.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 9/05/2010 11:35:00 AM | 2 comments


I won't pretend that I'm a very big fan of the HP system. I never liked the idea of a character being distilled down to simply a number. You get punched for 12 damage 10 times, and your 120 hp character dies. Punched to death, what a way to go. Sure, if you get hit hard enough that can happen in reality, but it's not exceptionally likely.

So instead of a health number and a magic number, I opted for 2 of each.

I'm still tweaking this system (and in MSpaint, I'm trying to conceptualize how it would look to keep it simple), so bear with me here.

There are 4 different meters, instead of the standard two.

Blood, Pain, Soul Power and Fatigue.

Blood is simply the amount of blood your character has, and starts at 100%. As you are hit, some attacks could cause the character to get cut, or stabbed, or impaled, or some other form of laceration. Characters of course bleed when these things happen. As you bleed, your blood meter goes down. Wounds will naturally clot themselves up to stop the bleeding, depending on the severity, the speed of which depending on the size of the wound. Once you have lost enough blood, your character will become disoriented from blood loss. This will cause them to miss more often, move more clumsily, and probably a few other specific things I haven't thought of yet. When it drops to a lower point than that, your character passes out and becomes unconscious (something to note about unconscious characters is that they are not dead, but are entirely vulnerable and unable to defend themselves from atack). If they continue bleeding after that, it will hit 0 and they will die. The amount of blood a character has doesn't change, but stats can make a character less likely to take wounds that bleed, make the wounds heal faster, or let a character continue on longer before becoming disoriented.

Pain is the amount of punishment your character can take and starts at 0%. Physical attacks and most kinds of magical attacks, instead of dealing damage, will deal pain. The pain meter goes up as you take it, and once it reaches a certain point, your character will be in extreme pain. This level of pain makes physical actions cost more than they normally do and may even cause more pain themselves. When pain reaches 100%, the character passes out and becomes Unconscious. The amount of pain a character can take can be increased by stats, the amount they take from attacks can be reduced, and the Extreme Pain threshold can be lowered or even ignored for some classes.

Soul Power is the amount of magical energy a character has. It is your basic MP that has been standard in games for a long time, with one exception. Once players spend enough Soul Power on spells to reach a certain point, it becomes harder to cast spells and cast time, as well as spell cost go up, and spell effectiveness goes down.

Fatigue is the amount of energy a character can expend. As characters use physical actions (some of which are combat actions like throwing a punch, some are defensive such as blocking, and some are non combat such as running through a field), they gain Fatigue. Fatigue fades when you don't take any actions. As a fight goes on, Fatigue builds up, and as it does, characters become less effective. When this effectiveness decline starts depends on the stats of the character, but each successive stage will reduce the speed, power, and defensive capabilities of a character by certain degrees until they reach 100% Fatigue. At this point, the character becomes Exhausted and only able to take a few actions (actions such as falling over, maybe rolling over once or twice, etc. Just small actions that may help them not die). The Fatigue will fade slowly and the character will stay Exhausted until enough of it fades and they can get up. If they take any of those minor actions, it will stop the fading for a moment but otherwise they are just slightly less helpless than Unconscious in the Exhausted state.

Like I said, this is still a work in progress, but I think a combat system in which you have to not only try to whittle down your opponent but also pay attention to yourself and make strategic decisions in combat is a good thing.

There are also several other things I'm planning on working in such as players getting hit enough times could start bleeding internally, or possibly what to do if you get your head sliced off or bitten off by a dragon. But those will come later. I think 4 separate numbers is more than enough to worry about right now.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 8/17/2010 05:48:00 PM | 0 comments

Classes and Professions

In most games, a player's class for combat purposes and their profession for crafting purposes are completely separate and have no bearing on each other.

What if they did?

Most professions are suited to one class or another because of the inherent bonuses they provide or sometimes merely because they provide the ability to craft things that are more useful to them. In WoW, blacksmithing is more useful to Warriors and Paladins because it crafts plate armor they can use (and gives a health bonus useful to tanks when paired with Mining). Tailoring is more useful to Mages, Warlocks, and Priests because it crafts cloth armor, and Enchanting is better suited because of the synergies with Tailoring's cheap disenchantables (as well as being more suited flavorwise, being a magical art).

What if these professions not only gave players the ability to craft and modify items, but also gave bonuses and extra abilities to specific classes? What if players who leveled a tradeskill up enough could gain access to unique classes?

This is just an idea I've been considering. Enchanting is a magical school, and thus would be useful to Mages. Or at the very least being a Mage would allow enchanting to be leveled more easily. At higher levels the Mage could become an Enchanter, allowing them to cast helpful and harmful status spells on friends and enemies.

These wouldn't be straight bonuses in the traditional sense in that they must be taken for min/maxing purposes, but they would be bonuses which change the dynamics of the class that takes them. And Enchanter would be just as powerful as a Mage, they just have a slightly different toolset and a different amount of utility.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 7/22/2010 01:35:00 PM | 0 comments

41 points

Seems the new Cataclysm Beta build is up. This means the new 31 point talent trees, in their earliest forms, are now up! Let's take a look at.......the.....

What is this?

This is terrible!

I thought Blizzard said they wanted us to make interesting choices with our talents?

With these trees, there's no choice at all. They simply cut out all the talents from the old tree that no one ever took. For example, let's look at the Ret Paladin tree. I've already gone through and filled out the points for a PvE DPS build.

There are only two talents I didn't take in the Ret tree. Improved Judgment wasn't a compelling talent since Ret Paladins are normally GCD locked as it is. There is never a time where you aren't pushing a button. This would be the only talent I would consider an "interesting choice". Is it a DPS upgrade to reduce the CD on Judgment by 2 seconds? If so, which talent do you not take (Probably Pursuit of Justice)? The other talent I didn't take: Eye for an Eye. They've changed it so that instead of being reflective damage, it auto casts Judgment on the enemy. However, in a PvE situation you shouldn't be taking damage ideally. Maybe they changed it so that even AoE attacks will trigger it. I don't know.

The other two trees only had two talents even worth consideration, and what a coincidence that I had exactly enough points to put in them.

This is not exactly what I would call "Simple but deep", as Blizzard described how they want the trees to work. I would call it "Brainless and shallow." Unless there are going to be massive changes in the raiding scene in Cataclysm which require DPS players to take non damage talents to be successful, I'm not seeing any benefit to this scheme.

This is the way I had envisioned the talent tree design:

You've got the three trees. Each tree has four columns of talents. Each of these talents takes 5 points. You have enough talent points to get to the bottom of the tree and have 10 points left over. There are now many extra talents in your tree which are untaken. Some of them are PvE viable. Some are PvP viable. Do you put your remaining 10 points in one of these untaken talents, or do you put them in another tree? Which talents do you put them in?

What I mean is this: Blizzard has stated that the current trees have become bloated beyond being tenable. It's all good and well to remove talents that no one ever takes under any circumstances (Looking at you, Turn the Tables). However, I think it would be best if you replaced those with talents that people actually want to take. This way, people actually have to make a choice as to what they want to put their points into. The choices should both be equally valid as well.

As a closer to this post, I realize this is all Beta and subject to change. Many people have been quick to point this out on the official boards when people state their dislike of these new trees. These people seem to be completely forgetting that these statements of dislike are the feedback that Blizzard will use to gauge whether or not they should look things over again. They are beta trees. But without feedback, Blizzard will make them release trees.

Don't Nobody Want That.

As this is Beta, I'm still holding out hope that they will improve things. Adding more "fun" talents would be a start, and by that I mean talents which are obviously gear to not not improve damage of abilities but do other things such as add complexity to rotations, improve run speed, change animations for abilities, and so on. Possibly include more talent points near the end of the leveling experience such as 81-85 or maybe just grant a small bonus like 1 or 2 extra points at 60, 70, 80, 85 or something like that to allow for taking these talents.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 7/14/2010 11:13:00 AM | 0 comments


Been a while. Let's jump right in!

Recently, the Cataclysm talents have been released, critiqued, and slated for complete overhaul, as they felt it was a bad idea to just tack on a few extra talents to the current trees. Their new talent tree model will be 41 points total at 85. 1 point every two levels. When you place your first point, you are locked into placing points only in that tree until you have reached the end 31 point talent, after which you can put your remaining ten points in the other two trees. Each tree gets its own passive and signature abilities to make that tree feel like it is that spec (as it "feels" at 80 now) right off the bat at level 10. Ret Paladins get Divine Storm immediately. Sub Rogues get Shadowstep immediately. I'm not too big a fan of removing choices from the game (the choice to spec 30/31/10 for example), but the choice that's being removed here is one that no one even remotely successful ever makes. So in the "let everyone, including the facerolling 400dps in heroics retards, be successful" model that Blizzard is trying to adapt, this is a good choice.

The true subject of this post is on how something like Talents would work in an open system like the one I've been discussing. Players choose what spells and abilities they learn by questing, learning from instructors, and can even learn them by watching other players or NPCs. Classes are merely an abstraction for the purpose of providing a unified feel for how a character plays, and can be switched freely at any time to suit the situation needed.

In this kind of game, Talents wouldn't exactly work too well. So why have them? Well, I think it's a good idea for every player character to be entirely unique. Even if players go and learn the same spells and abilities, train their spells and classes up to the same levels, or even wearing the same gear, they need some way to differentiate from each other. I feel like talents would be the way to do this. However, under a system with no levels or classes, talents that are attached to the character would need to be the exact opposite of the Blizzard design: Talents which are entirely bland and boring to appeal to as many different classes as possible. Want to crit more often? Put points in the +crit talent. Want to be able to fire free shots when a proc goes up? The talent for that is pretty specific for a certain class and would require major bloat in the tree to add talents for all the possible classes.

So I thought.

Why not have the spells automatically talent themselves?

I'd had an idea that all characters would have a set of "stances". Each stance would represent what a character was trying to do. One stance would be the Accuracy Stance which improves your aim with abilities. One would be the Speed Stance which would reduce casting times, swing speed, etc. One would be the Power Stance which would cause you to hit harder or put more oomph into spells. (All of these are just examples, by the way. There could be other stances such as Range, or Special, or whatever.)

Originally, every ability would have its experience bar, that as players used it would grow and make the abilities more powerful. Instead, each ability would have several balanced stats. Let's say 50 Accuracy, 50 Speed, and 50 Power. When a player gains experience after a battle, they also gain some for whatever stance they were in when they used the ability. As each of the stats goes up, it affects the others. For example, Accuracy improving might reduce speed. Speed improving might reduce power. And so on. At different levels of each stats, the abilities may change. Improving the speed stat on an arrow shot might give it armor penetrating abilities. Improving the Power stat might give it multishot. Improving Accuracy might give it homing capabilities.

The idea is something similar to the original Glyph system WoW originally planned to implement where there would be multiple glyphs for each spell, each of which changed the spell in some way such as Frostbolt having greater range or doing shadow damage in addition or freezing enemies (a system which was nixed, likely for complexity reasons). The only difference is that instead of needing an item to change the spell, you just change it by playing your character.

That spell is now "talented". Your character is now more skilled with that particular spell in a specific way. A gunman who tries to be more accurate with a rifle becomes more a more talented sniper. A monk who tries to be faster becomes more talented at dodging incoming attacks.

The idea needs a LOT of polishing and development, but I think it's a good start.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 7/08/2010 09:59:00 PM | 0 comments

Inconvenient Mechanics

Any time new patch notes come up on MMO-Champion or WoW.com or wherever, there is always discussion in my guild circle about which features they like. And there are always discussions going on while playing discussing which features are annoying and they want to go away. These are always things like "There should be a graveyard right outside the instance portal" or "We shouldn't have to repair armor ever" or "I wish you could just teleport wherever you want". The features they like and want to be implemented are almost always the ones I hate because of one reason: They remove complexity from the game.

Dual spec means you never have to respec again. The random dungeon queue teleports you straight to the dungeon, eliminating the need to actually go find the portal. They redo half of the daily quests so you don't have to leave the area you pick them up in.

While these things can be annoyances, they also add depth to the game. They bind the world together as an actual world, and not just a random couple of cities bound to quest hubs with tons of empty space that can be safely ignored. They give you the feeling that you are playing an actual character, an actual person which inhabits the world and not just some person looking shell housing raw power that no mere mortal should possess. They give a sense of immersion. They make you feel like you are actually in another world, and not just some guy at the keyboard mashing buttons. These games are supposed to be played to let you get away from the real world. They aren't meant to be games that are to be played for 20 minutes at a time on your lunch break at work or while watching TV or cooking dinner for the kids.

I understand why the business side of the games industry has completely taken over and pushed out the creative world building types of game developers. The majority of players aren't looking for immersive gaming experiences. They are looking for something to kill 20 minutes with. They want to blow things up, stab things to death, set them on fire, or just stand around looking pretty.

This doesn't mean I have to like it though. I like my games to be complex sandbox type worlds where things are not spoon fed to me. I like to explore and find things on my own.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 6/17/2010 11:08:00 PM | 0 comments


Yesterday, Blizzard released the Celestial Mount and Lil' XT in their store. I won't lie here. I did buy a Lil' XT. I wasn't originally planning on it, but when I saw that it blows up those god damned train sets.....I don't think my credit card has ever flown out of my wallet faster (really. Unlike the regular train wrecker, this one has no cooldown, so even those jackasses that have three or four train sets can go to hell).

What confuses me is all of the people, both on the blogosphere and the publication type websites who are just aghast at the concept of buying things with real money. There are a variety of reasons why people are up in arms, each one just as confusing as the last.

1. "I don't like that they're selling this mount because then everyone can buy it and it won't be cool since everyone has it!"

The mount is cool because of its graphics. If you don't like the way it looks, why would you buy one? Blizzard releases something for money. In order to make as much of that money as possible (as is the goal of most businesses, which Blizzard is), they must sell it to as many people as they can. This includes anyone who happens to have 25 dollars laying around that can be spared. While 25 dollars may be a bit of change for a digital item, it's not a ton of money in the grand scheme of things and a lot of people have it laying around. If you had any illusions about this somehow being a unique mount that would add 500 points to your Equivalence Potency Number, then you are simply an idiot.

2. "25 dollars is too much for a mount!"

Ok? I agree that it is too much money for a mount, but then I suppose that's why I DIDN'T BUY ONE. I know that's a difficult concept for many people to understand. "Luxury items" or in plain English "Crap you don't need to survive or achieve your goals" cost money. If you don't buy it, you will not be any worse off.

3. "This is a travesty! Allods and Champions Online and other games release items in their cash shop and the fanbase revolts! Blizzard releases items in their cash shop and players line up around the block to get one even though they are already paying subscription fees! There is such a double standard going on here!"

No, you are comparing apples to oranges. The Free to play games with their cash shops are releasing items which, if you choose to buy them, give you a competitive edge over other players. You buy a bigger bag upgrade, you can hold more stuff to carry to town to sell and make more money. You sell potions and scrolls of Experience and self resurrection, you can keep playing while other players have to wait out the rez sickness or other penalties these items get around. The players revolt against these items because they make the game almost unplayable without them. Blizzard is only releasing COSMETIC items which look cool and have absolutely no impact on the game play. I can assure you that if they were to release Epic Gear for sale in the cash shop, there would be just as big an uproar (or bigger on account of the much larger player base) as the free to play games.

4. (This one is my favorite, seen in a comment on the Massively article, and quoted): "The intresting part about this new mount is that you actually will (I assume the word "not" was omitted here based on the context of the complaint) need to buy ingame mounts at all. So... Blizzard is not only selling a mount - they are also selling ingame gold that you will save if you had to buy a "real" ingame mount."


Ok, so you're saying that if people spend 25 dollars to buy this mount, then you won't have to buy any more mounts? Let's think about this. The first level mount costs 4 gold. The epic land mount costs 10. The regular flying costs 50. The epic flying costs 100. You still have to buy all of the training required to actually use these mounts, which amounts to 5304 gold (+1000 for Cold Weather flying). So while it is technically true that Blizzard saves people 164 gold on mount costs, it's not as though this is a massive amount of money. One day of dailies will get you that much, and that's an hour or so of play time. Not to mention the fact that there are mounts at all levels of riding which don't cost any money at all anyways. PvP rewards, Argent tournament mounts, Rare drops, Death Knights get theirs built in through a quest, some cost badges, achievements, or even some quest rewards offer mounts which cost absolutely nothing. Nothing is being offered here that couldn't be had already. Not to mention the fact that if I was going to spend 25 dollars on gold, I think I could get a lot more than just 164. Gold spammers regularly advertise prices which could get you between 4 and 6 thousand gold for the same price as this mount (and these prices seem to drop daily).

In summary: I'm not entirely sure what the big deal is here. It all seems like a bunch of whining over absolutely nothing.

(I had a post I was going to write about something else, but I still need to collect my thoughts on that. It'll be up soon.)

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 4/16/2010 01:40:00 PM | 0 comments


I've been thinking about tanking mechanics. As I'd want this game of mine to be more realistic, tanking would have to be vastly different than it is in most others. In WoW, the guy with highest threat has aggro. Doesn't matter that other people are doing things which logically would be much more threatening like stabbing the mob repeatedly or riddling them with arrows or worse....healing the guy they are attacking so that he NEVER DIES. As a player, if another mob is healing the guy I'm trying to kill, I immediately change targets and kill that damned healer.

Ideally, I'd want a game that feels like you are fighting opponents with real AI. If you were fighting something like a dragon or a giant serpent or bear or something without much intelligence, sure the standard tanking model works great. The tank stands there and waves their arms loudly and does all kinds of flashy things to hold the mob's attention. But when you are fighting something like the warlord of a keep (or a Lich King), then you would assume that an intelligent being would say to themselves "It's kind of futile to attack this guy while that person over there in the dress is wiggling their fingers and casting healy magic on them" and go kill the one in the dress.

So what if different actions had different threat values assigned to them based on the situation? Healers would likely have spells like illusion magic which prevents enemies from seeing them casting healing magic on different people but casting heals on the target the mob is currently focusing on would have vastly greater threat than casting it on someone else. As fights go on, the threat that damage causes would go up relative to threat of people in the raid. A rogue dealing 10K dps vs. a tank dealing 3.5 for example would quickly anger a mob. 10K dps would cause 10k threat per second, and for every second they do more DPS than the tank, the amount of threat that causes would go up by .1K. Pulling aggro would be an eventuality. Maybe the DPS would have abilities which suppresses pain in the target (such as a rogue poison or a warlock curse), meaning it won't feel the damage as much and cause less threat. Or maybe the tanks would have to have high DPS to maintain threat.

It's possible that with this model that tanks would need several abilities which cause massive amounts of damage (and therefore threat) on a cooldown. It's possible that any given fight would need several tanks to taunt off each other with these cooldowns so that they could be healed effectively (healing the mob's current target will cause the healer to be instantly targeted). It's even possible that all of the tanks will need to be DPS at the same time or DPS will need some kind of tanking survivability, even if just temporarily.

The whole idea is that for a game that makes some kind of logical sense, the "tank and spank" fight needs to go away. It's unrealistic. It's boring. To be honest, I think it breeds thinking in players that they don't have to pay attention to what's going on around them as long as their threat meter says "Hey, you're good." Raids don't really feel like a bunch of players working together, it feels like tanks and healers working together with a bunch of other guys just running around doing whatever, and I think that needs to change.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 4/12/2010 12:55:00 PM | 0 comments

On a break?

I haven't been doing much work in the design area. I've been working more on the lore side of things recently. I'm not entirely sure if lore is super important in an MMO, but I figure it's like design. If it's done correctly, then all is right with the world. If it's done poorly, then people will notice and call bullshit on it. Even the most hardcore of gamers who cares for nothing more than getting frags would agree that if the atmosphere in a world just feels dumb and tacked on instead of adding to the feel of a game, then it detracts from the game experience. It would be better to just have no story at all than to have a poorly written one that makes no sense (or worse...tries to make sense and fails miserably).

I'll likely still post on design when something strikes my fancy, but for now I'm just trying to get the story aspects done. It's fairly important to do this before doing things mechanically, since I want the story elements to affect that actual mechanics. For example, Warlocks draw their magic directly from Demon lords whom they have made pacts with. If those demon lords are killed by players, then Warlocks will lose those abilities. I'd try and provide them some way of regaining them, but it would still make the actual story of the world matter.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 4/11/2010 01:26:00 AM | 0 comments


So I'm sitting here in MSPaint, drawing out some basic UIs which might be good for a default. I'm currently working on the character page, and I don't know what sort of slots I would need for this game.

After thinking it out, and coming up with a short list, it occurred to me that the whole paperdoll slot system should be entirely tossed out the window. I could conceivably come up with enough item types that the character equipment sheet would be fullscreen at 1600x1050 resolution. Head, Eyes, Midface, Mouth, Neck, Shoulders, Chest, Abdomen, Upper Arm (left and right), Elbow (left and right), Forearms (left and right), Wrists, Hands, Waist, Upper Legs, Knee (left and right), Shin (left and right), Feet, Back, and then the accessories such as rings for your fingers, necklaces, earrings, headbands...

You've also got weapons which must be sheathed, backpacks for inventory, what you hold in your hands, and so on.

That's not to mention the fact that I'd like to have a system where you can wear TWO shirts if you want to. In fact, I'd like the option to do like Joey in that one Friends episode where he puts on every single article of clothing Chandler owns. There would be large combat penalties to doing such a thing, but it should still be an option.

Also is the fact that I'd like to tie the player's inventory to their gear on RP servers and the like.

You can see that the paperdoll system quickly becomes incredibly cumbersome and hard to manage. So let's chuck it out the window.

I think it would be best to just have the player's equipment be a large bag like current game inventories are. Anything you put in the bag goes on your character. Each piece of equipment would have a specific tag which indicates what kind of equipment it is. A helmet, gloves, boots, etc. If you put on extra pieces of an equipment you are already wearing, you take a penalty. These penalties could vary from piece to piece, armor type to armor type, and even based on specific combinations. Plate wearers wouldn't be able to put on multiple pieces of the same type of plate armor unless one set was much larger than the layer underneath, and even then it would be like walking around with a wagonload of bricks on your shoulders. Cloth wearers would be able to stack multiple pieces on top of each other with little weight restriction, though there would be other penalties such as movement restrictions. Putting plate on top of mail might cause the mail armor to chafe the skin a bit and cause pain if the player doesn't have enough Constitution.

A system like this would also be flexible enough that if new armor slot pieces needed to be invented, say nipples for example (though I'm fairly sure I would never have a need or desire to implement that D: ), then it could easily be done in the future.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 3/01/2010 05:45:00 PM | 0 comments

A small bit of writing.

The universe is vast. Much more vast than any mortal mind could possibly comprehend. If the single most advanced mortal mind were to actually comprehend just an infinitesimal fraction of the universe's true scope, they would go completely, horribly, gibberingly and most importantly violently insane. I feel that I should add that this is the best case scenario.

Throughout this incomprehensibly vast universe is a swath of worlds, their numbers as mind boggling as the scale of the medium they dwell in. Each of these worlds has their own histories. Each of these worlds has their own cultures of mortals and beasts, or gods and demons. Each has their own rules of operation including laws of physics, magic, nature, and cohesion. Most importantly though, each of these worlds is encased in their own pocket universe, completely isolated from all the others with a few exceptions.

I am called Glyph. I am, at this time, unaware of my own origins. I suspect that most are. Over time, it has become apparent to me that I have lived many lives. I would be born into one of these worlds. I would live my life as the natives would. I have no idea how long this cosmic cycle of reincarnation has been going on, or how many others this occurs to. The past dozen or so incarnations however, I have become increasingly aware of this cycle which is normally completely imperceptible to most. I would live my life for quite some time as a mortal with none of my prior memories until one day when things start to trickle in from the edge of my perception. Visions of other places which could not possibly exist in our own world. Fantastic technology, awe inspiring feats of the arcane, monstrosities of the zoologically dubious, and so on.

Eventually, I would return to a state I like to call Blended. I am my mortal incarnation, but I am also the immortal spirit which has travelled the roads of the Astral and defeated demons and monsters alike on countless planes. I get the urge to set out and explore this new world to its fullest. I take ships across the seas or the skies. I travel the vast ocean of the galaxy. I try the foreign cuisine of those places. I seek out wrongs and right them. I make friends and enemies among the locals. I undertake vast tasks of heroism and importance.

And when I feel that my time has reached an end on that world, I simply leave it. I am then reborn into a new one and the cycle begins anew.

This time feels different however. I have left my most recent inhabitance, yet I do not feel the pressing need to find a new one. Instead I feel the urge to create. I recently met a goddess. I use the term loosely as it is so ill defined considering the things I have seen, but to most mortals it is the appropriate term. She told me that she had met me long ago in the time I cannot recall. It was then that my creator set me on my task. I was placed on this path of rebirth for one purpose: to learn. I was meant to learn all I could about as many worlds as I could find. There would then come a day when I felt the urges I feel now and I would know it was time for my work to begin.

My creator long since perished during my long apprenticeship, though he or she is not strictly necessary for me to begin. My creator was a creator of worlds, and so shall I be with my knowledge. I do not feel that I know all I need to know to perform this task competently. The Goddess has given me an offer. I will reshape one of her own dying worlds as a sort of Journeyman's trial. If I can mold into a successful plane of existence which serves its purpose well, then I shall be granted what I was created to have.


So I shall undertake this task. The Goddess has told me that there are many who walk the same road as I. If they should come to my world in their travels, then I shall shelter them as they gather the knowledge they seek and I shall guide those who seek my counsel on such matters. It is my calling, after all.

I am the Architect.

(( Just thought I'd create a little background character information for a character I would play in my own game. This would the the Master GM admin character for the game world with a backstory geared at an RP realm. ))

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 2/24/2010 01:41:00 AM | 0 comments

Free for All World PvP

I've seen several articles cropping up on various sites recently from people bemoaning the fact that today's MMOs are lacking what Ultima Online had. I.E. You could kill other players and take their stuff.

Of course, the responses are very accurate. It's not fun to get ganked and have your things taken. As there are many more players who do not like this sort of gameplay, the developers of games cater to them and are creating games where PvP is strictly opt-in and limited in some cases to battlegrounds and other forms of competition. I remember the first character I rolled on a PvP realm in WoW. I reached level 25 or so, and couldn't go anywhere near a contested territory because there was always three or so level 60 rogues stealthed at the border, waiting to kill me all at the same time. All I wanted to do was go and see some new scenery (and later would discover that most of these horde areas had very little to see anyways). So I went and rolled on a PvE server.

It's gotten me on the thought train though. Would it be possible to create a game where free for all PvP was possible, and not a niche game by default?

Imagine: You can kill any player or NPC you can see. If the player is of an enemy faction, you gain infamy with that player's faction. You also gain a slightly lesser amount with that faction's allies, depending on how friendly those factions are. If the player is of your own faction, you gain a large amount of infamy with your own faction. The more infamy you have, the more likely you are to be attacked by NPC guards, soldiers, and police of the maligned faction. When you reach a certain amount of infamy, a large reward bounty could go up where any player who belongs to a faction different than yours (or to factions you belong to if you killed one of your own factionmates) could kill or capture you and gain a large reward.

The basic idea that I like for a game is that everything is allowed. However, actions such as ninja looting, ganking, spamming chat channels, acting out of character on an RP realm, speeding through quest text completely ignoring any and all instructions, and other actions which could be seen as undesirable (depending on the particular game and the atmosphere desired by Developers) should have in game consequences to discourage them actively. There would always be other alternatives for these players to continue playing. For example, players who are hated with officials could be able to obtain the same services as others through back door and black market sellers (at a slight premium of course). Players could also earn their way back up through the ranks to good standing if so desired, or they could go as far down as they wanted and eventually meet terrible punishments from getting caught (possibly even permanent death?).

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 2/23/2010 08:01:00 PM | 2 comments

Allods: Day 2

I was turned off a little bit by the lack of an Assassin class on day 1. I then rolled an Arisen Mage and decided to try the other side of the fence. The newbie experience over there is much better, and though the events are all triggered, there isn't the feeling of being rushed through the entire affair. You can stop and take your time to look over the menus, read the stats and talents, and so on.

I'm liking the play experience on the mage. As you go, you automatically learn new spells. The is a Mage trainer NPC in the capital city who offers talent respecs and sells specialty gear, so I'm not sure if the automatic spell learning continues forever, or just for a limited amount of time after which this guy takes over the teaching.

There are two mechanics that the mages have that I haven't seen before in other games. The first is that several spells can be pre-cast. You can cast them the normal way by targeting an enemy, starting the cast, and then firing it, or you can just cast the spell and it saves it for later use. When you see an enemy you want to use the spell on, casting the spell is then instant. It's nice, and likely serves some pvp functionality for having an instant retaliation when being attacked.

The other mechanic is Entropy. There are three spell schools the mage has access to (and I'm not sure if other classes have their own schools or mechanics). Each time you cast a spell of one school, you gain an entropy point of that school. When you cast a spell of one school, you also lose an entropy point of a specific opposite school. Ice removes Fire, Lightning removes Ice, and Fire removes Lightning (I think). If any of the three entropy counters reach 5 points, then a random effect occurs. You could gain or lose mana, health, cause your next spells to be instant, or cause all your spells of a school to go on cooldown (or a few other effects I don't remember right now. You also have a set of three spells (one for each school) which triggers this random effect early. These spells offer a greatly increased chance of getting a positive effect, and scale the effect for the number of points you have. It's a fairly nice mechanic, though I think it would be better if the regular 6th point trigger had a much higher chance for a negative effect. It would cause players to actively pay attention to how many points they have and use that expending spell to get as much positive benefit as possible. As it is now, I haven't even paid attention since most of the negative effects have been largely ignorable.

I'd also like to bring to everyone (or anyone)'s attention something I saw just a few minutes ago:

Yes. That's right. They gave me a quest where I have to go kill guys and take their elf porn. I can bet you 100 bucks that there isn't really any investigation and that cop is just trying to get some free porn.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 2/23/2010 01:07:00 AM | 0 comments


Tobold has been writing about Allods Online for a little while now. As my WoW subscription has ended (the reason I didn't renew it means I probably shouldn't be trying to jump right into another game, but that's another story), I decided to try it out for a second. I've only played one character through the very first tutorial area, but I thought I'd post my first impressions of it anyways. I'll likely post more about the game as I go.

Although he is right that it seems to be a WoW clone, there are just as many things done differently as there are done the same. There is a "two factions" choice when you roll your first character. Your choices appear to be the League or the Empire. These appear to be analogous to Alliance and Horde just based off the races available. Both sides have humans available, distinguished only by what I assume is nationality (and appearance slightly). The League has Elves which look like Blood Elves taken to their most emo extreme complete with fairy wings. The other races is the equivalent of gnomes, called Gibberlings. A Gibberling player controls three of these little guys who work together as one unit. They are small, furry, and look like Moogles from Final Fantasy with sharp teeth. On the Empire side are the Arisen and Orcs, along with humans. The Arisen are undead, apparently. No idea where they came from, as the game's history on their website makes no mention of them. They appear to have come from sort of cyberpunk planet as they all have a mechanical appearance with implants and tech looking armor like some sort of weird fantasy Borg. They may not even be undead, but simply robots that look undead. The Orcs look like Buzz from Home Alone with large tusks.

I'd like to point out that character creation is fairly limited. I understand that there are programming limitations such as packet size that keep the number of options limited. There isn't much point in having options though when most of the options look exactly the same. Want to roll an Imperial human? Hope you like hair styles that look like this:

Really. That's it. All short hair, with slight variations such as where it's parted, which way it's combed, and so on. The Orcs all have white or pale blue skin, and they are all just very slightly changed shades of each other. You would have to be standing right up close to someone to be able to tell the difference (although I'm sure this was intentional since at a distance, they could just use a generic texture to save server load).

The classes that are available are not all the standard classes. There is the warrior, the paladin, the healer (which they couldn't be bothered to think up a name for like Priest or Cleric), and the Mage. Then you have the other classes. There is the Psionicist which is supposed to be some sort of psychic caster? They do lots of mind control and mana draining, and the like. Basically a shadow priest with other things mixed in. There's the Scout which is some Ranger class with a few rogue abilities mixed in. The Warden is the pet class, and is either Druid or Shaman depending on which faction you pick (also to note: The bear pet is 10x more adorable that the WoW bear pet, and the Gibberlings get a friggin giant squirrel pet). There's a Necromancer class called the Summoner. There's probably a few others but I don't remember what they were.

It's nice that they didn't just go with the standard same classes as every game and mixed it up a little bit, but it's also a detriment as I cannot play the stealthy assassin class like I always do. It is very noticeably absent. I just rolled a human Scout, being the closest there was, and went on ahead with the game. I should note that I rolled the League human Scout, as they were the only side with hair they didn't look like ass, but they have forearms like Popeye for some reason, despite being the same race as the guys on the other side of the fence. I digress: On with gameplay.

The first thing that happens on the League side is you start in a little room in a building. There's a quest giver there who wants you to follow him. Apparently, everyone in the building is there to hear the Archmage guy give a speech. I guess he's in charge of the place or something, so I go with this NPC. We walk in the room, and there are lots of emo fairy elves and little furry guys. I'm already regretting rolling on the League side as, even though I am used to some of this as an Alliance player, this is just too much sugary wuss stuff for my stomach to handle. Regardless, you stand there for a second and listen to the guy start to talk, and then everything goes to hell.

There is an attack by some bad guys, the mage is killed, and everyone has to evacuate to building. Apparently, the mage was keeping the little floating island the building was on from falling into the black void of nothing, and this is now an imminent danger. Thus begins the tutorial sequence where you learn about combat, interacting with NPCs, looting, and all that jazz.

Let me say that if I was a new player to the MMO genre, I would have turned the game off and went to play something else. The entire building is shaking, debris is falling (and occasionally killing NPCs), and you have to fight your way through several packs of enemies. The actual instructions for how to do the things you need to do pop up on screen in a large window that blocks much of the action. It's all great for guys like me who are MMO vets and can pick everything up without blinking. The atmosphere is right and you get a feeling of "We're in some danger". This is not the way to do a newbie tutorial. There is barely any time to get acclimated to the game systems before the NPCs are directing you to do this or do that. I didn't get to spend any of the points I got for levelling until after I'd finished.

All that being said, the graphics are very beautiful. I've yet to encounter anything that has made my computer crawl to a standstill like WoW does, and the actual design of everything is gorgeous.

I'll post a bit more after some more play time.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 2/21/2010 06:48:00 PM | 0 comments

Trade Skills. The possibilities!

I've been developing my trade skill system a bit today. As the game has no classes for players, only abilities which fall under certain class categories, I thought it would be a good idea to have the trade skills do the same. Instead of "Tailoring", players have the "Weaving", "Sewing", and "Dying" skills, which fall under the Tailoring skills (Actually, I lumped them in with Leatherworking skills and called it Needleworking, just as I lumped mail and scale armor in with Blacksmithing).

It's getting a bit unwieldy though. At the moment I have 15 different professions, which consist of 7 crafting professions, 3 service professions, 4 artistic professions, and the general Gathering profession. Each of these has their own subskills (some of which overlap), of which there are 52 or so total. Each of these subskills are intended to be their own minigame of sorts.

That seems.........like a puzzle game maker's absolute worst nightmare. 52 minigames for crafting and other skills which must somehow be fun and entertaining. Like playing Peggle, only in a way that is related to that skill, and also doesn't get you sued by one of the dozens of puzzle game companies.

I might have to try and cut this down a little, except I have absolutely no clue what to cut out. Maybe some of them could be added in expansions like Architecture. (That's right. Player housing. Built and financed by players. Wait till you see my plans for Engineering. :O )

Also, each player has a set of Knowledges. These represent the sum of everything the character knows, and grant bonuses or prevent catastrophic failure to each of the subskills. Geology gives bonuses to Masonry, Sculpting, and Gemcutting. Anatomy gives bonuses to Butchering, Skinning, and Surgery. And so on. Each of them gives different bonuses to different actions and gives hints in the minigame on how to be more successful. In order for me to pare it down, I'm going to have to condense these as well.

Game design can be a pain.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 2/11/2010 09:04:00 PM | 0 comments

The Eye of Benediction

Tonight, my guild and I went to ROFLSTOMP though Molten Core for fun. One of the bosses dropped the Eye of Benediction. One of our priests got it, and then went and farmed for the other pieces to do their epic priest quest. They now have a shiny new epic priest staff, which while once a symbol that someone knew exactly how to play their class, is now just a trophy that looks nice and has no additional meaning (as the encounter has already been nerfed several times, and a level 80 can run roughshod over it).

It got me thinking though: Are class specific quests a good thing? I honestly think they are. They teach players how to play their class in endgame situations, which are normally quite different than situations encountered while leveling. In addition, they do provide those epic trophies which show everyone around you "Hey. If you bring me to a raid, I won't be a nub and stand in fire/not heal/not kite/not whatever. You can depend on me to do my job." The class specific quests provided a measuring stick with which people could tell that someone knew what they were doing. "That hunter has the epic quest bow. They know how to kite mobs and would be useful on Saurfang for handling blood beasts."

I think it was a bad idea for Blizzard to remove all class specific quests and content. Sure, it was a good business move. But like many of Blizzard's recent decisions, I believe it was a bad game move (and bad game moves made when listening to forum whining are often the start of a game's decline).

I think that the class specific quests are an amazing concept though, and should have not only been left in the game, but expanded to include all the roles for each class.

It gave me an idea for them for my own game. The class specific quests would be quests which define the flavor of the classes. This is only a rough idea at the moment, but what if in addition to some trophy showing you completed the quest, you also got some new ability or bonuses which cover your weaknesses? What if you could extend a bonus to others of your own class? I had the idea of player alignment as a defining factor in how NPCs interact with characters, maybe they could also define the bonuses for those who complete the quests? The players who complete the Barbarian quest only get bonuses when their alignment is chaotic neutral. Paladins only get bonuses when Lawful Good. Or maybe the bonuses would be different when under a different alignment.

Or are these extras strictly not necessary and the prestige of completing the difficult tasks enough?

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 2/06/2010 02:35:00 AM | 0 comments


Most games have pointers built in. A player starts the game and immediately there are several quest givers. Those quest givers will sent them on tasks, and when you finish those, they will point you to the next series of quest givers. This continues on all the way up until max level (well, in Wow this continues until about level 20, takes a break, then picks back up in Outland).

In a game like mine, I was planning on doing generated starting experiences. The player can either fill out background information about their character, or just have some random bullshit filled in for them if they can't be bothered to do it themselves, and then the game generates a starting experience for them which covers all the basic points from controls to interface and its parts, and other game systems like combat. After this, the character decides to go out into the world and their pointer NPC, which could be family or a friend or a lifelong teacher (whatever the generated scenario comes up with) would maybe give them a map to the nearby town or major city (depending on where the player chose or the game chose to start them off at) and tell them that their dreams could be realized there.

However, after that the game becomes freeform and sandbox-y. Players can go wherever they wish to once they leave the beginner area. If they want to become a druid, where do they go? How do they get there? How would they even find out this information (assuming you couldn't just go look it up on a website)? These are daunting problems that could be game breakers if not dealt with carefully.

I had two ideas to dealing with the problem, both of which would be explained by NPCs before leaving the starting area. If a player wanted to know something about the game, there could maybe be a menu where the player could construct a question.

Option 1: Where can I find/Where can I learn / What is / Who is / some other question starters.
Option 2: (Name of a person from quests you are on) or (Game feature such as Auction House) or (Specific place mentioned in a quest text) / (Person, Thing, or Concept mentioned in quest texts) / (Person from Quests) / (Other question endings)

This way, players could construct a question (either during conversation with an NPC or save a question ahead of time to be asked later) to find out information. This could also be used as a quest mechanic for quests which require investigation or interrogation. But by doing this, every NPC becomes a potential pointer towards whatever the player needs to know. Granted, not every NPC is going to know what the player asks them, but a lot of them would at least have a general idea of who to go and talk to that would know the answer.

The other idea I had was a Fortune Teller mechanic. For a small fee, players could step into the fortune teller's shop and have their fortunes told by expert psychics. They will be told to focus on a crystal ball and think about that which they want most (or some other relevant text). The game would then directly ask them what they want, and the player could input what they needed to know. If they need help with a quest, or if they want to learn a new ability, or whatever, then the game would tell them exactly where to go and what to do, but leave it a slight bit cryptic. This would of course, be recorded in any quest text (or as a new quest if the thing asked didn't apply to a current quest) so that the player could reference it later.

The fortune teller could also be used to select people for specific quests important to advancing the overall world plot if they meet the necessary criteria.

I'm still trying to think of other ways that can be used to point people towards quests and other places, because since I was planning on having quests be one time use only, I can't very well have chains which point players around and lead them on a tour across the globe.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 1/29/2010 10:49:00 PM | 0 comments

Enchanting and metal

Just a random thought that's been running through my head:

One of the things about WoW that constantly disappoints me is the professions. Nothing below max level is remotely useful to anyone. You get better equipment and items through quest rewards than you can craft at the same skill level. You can power level your skill up to the max and craft things which are sort of useful, but by the time you are high enough level to use the equipment, the quest rewards and drops are once again better. They merely exist for raising your skill in the profession.

Since I'm planning out a level-less system, obviously the level of the equipment is of no consequence. As crafters become able to make stronger weapons and armor, the old weapons and armor become obsolete very quickly. I would prefer to have a system where all items that can be made have use to people.

What if, as materials get better for crafting, the amount of enhancements one can put on them shrink? A bronze shortsword could have the capacity to hold maybe three enchantments, but an iron shortsword could only hold two. Perhaps the more powerful materials could hold more powerful magics, but the lesser materials could hold more weaker magics which offer more total benefit? The iron short sword could hold two +5 damage enchantments. The bronze short sword could only hold +3 damage enchantments, but it can hold three of them for a total of +9 damage. The iron short sword could have other benefits such as more durability and then the player would have to choose "Do I go with the Bronze Sword which could do more damage after it is fully enchanted, or do I go with the Iron Sword which doesn't have to be repaired as often (making it cheaper in the long run)?"

There could be other benefits to different materials as well. Maybe some materials can't hold some kinds of magics. Iron could hold +holy damage enchantments, while Bronze could hold +nature damage enchantments. A Paladin would prefer the iron sword over the bronze if they have talents which depend on holy damage dealt, while an Assassin would favor the bronze if they had abilities which amplified nature damage.

Both swords are useful to someone and neither becomes obsolete.

Just a thought.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 1/29/2010 02:33:00 PM | 0 comments

Dynamic Worlds

The term gets tossed around a lot in discussions of MMOs. Persistent Worlds. A lot have taken that to mean that the worlds are Static and don't change at all over time. The term doesn't mean that at all, but instead is meant to mean that the game world continues to exist while the player is logged out as opposed to single player games such as Diablo 2 where when a player logs out of their game (when playing on Battle.net), the world stops existing entirely and a new instance of it is created when the player logs back on. The world is fresh and reset, ready for the player to go and kill all of the boss characters again and again.

I'm wondering about Dynamic Persistent worlds as opposed to the Static model most games follow now. They would be worlds where players can change almost everything about them. A world like that would have several qualities to it.

A. Content is not repeatable. Once something dies, it's dead. This only applies to content like dungeons and raids where things must die to beat them. This can be gotten around in several ways depending on how the content is implemented. For example, Virtual and magical recreations can be made in worlds where technology or magic are sufficiently advanced enough. Things like PvP and other forms of competition can be re-staged over and over again.

B. Quests change depending on the nature of the world around them. To take WoW for example, When you do quests in Icecrown, the game often phases to a different state. When you complete the quest line to take the Shadow Vault for the Ebon Blade, the area phases and the Shadow Vault becomes populated with friendly NPCs. In a world where players change the landscape of things, this means that any quests which would have taken players to kill enemies inside the Shadow Vault would become unavailable.

C. Which player factions control different resources has a vast effect on the economies of the game.

D. Almost every action which players take has some meaning and has impact on what other players can do.

E. The amount of content necessary to make all of this into a believable grows exponentially as time goes on.

A monumental task, surely. But I think a world like this is the future of MMOs. This themepark stuff is getting old where you run through the content, and then poof. You hit a wall and are done.

This also allows roleplaying to have some actual meaning. When you show up to play a character, you know that your paladin can actually get revenge on the monsters that killed his family, destroyed his home and country, and then went on to try and rampage the rest of the world and not just stand idly by while some NPCs do it in canon.

On a side note, The post over at That's a Terrible Idea is what got me talking about this particular aspect because meaning is something that is necessary for games in my opinion. The post is an excellent read.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 1/26/2010 12:56:00 AM | 2 comments

On Deadly Consequences (Part 2)

A few of the other bloggers have been discussing how many feel WoW is too easy, and some of them are saying that one way to toughen it up is to make the penalties stiffer. Let me be clear before I start talking about this: Whether or not changing death penalties would actually be of benefit to the gameplay of WoW is completely irrelevant. A good portion of the WoW player base plays because they had friends who played who got them into the game. They have no real interest in playing to "beat the challenges", they only care about getting new shiny purple text to put in their equipment slot so they can show it off to said friends and say "My pixels are better than yours!" I used to be of this kind of mind, but this was back when having the purple text meant "I'm better at this game than you." Now it just means "I got my pixels before you did even though it required little effort on my part." If Blizzard was to go and change the difficulty of the game by adding new penalties, a good portion of those socially inclined players would quit playing as the game would no longer be roflstompable and Blizzard would then lose half of their profits. Players can whine and complain and moan all they want about how the game is too easy, but they are the minority of players now. Blizzard made the conscious decision to make the game easier and make raiding content more accessible because it keeps a much larger percentage of the player base playing than if they'd left it how it was, and if the minority of nostalgic players quit, then they would lose a much smaller portion of their income.

All of that is neither here nor there though, as I'm not in the business of what would make someone else's game better. I'm in the business of talking about my own, and all of this other talk has gotten me thinking about death penalties again. I'd considered having permanent death be an option. That would make sense, as when an NPC dies, an unnamed one anyways, they are dead forever. They are replaced by another NPC who is just as replaceable and disposable as the first, but the first one is dead. This wouldn't be such an incredibly awesome idea though for players. Even if you went through the entire game completing a good portion of content, as soon as you stepped into a dungeon, which is supposed to be harder than normal content by default, you run the risk of death. After playing through that much of the game, having your character die and having to start over would make people quit out of frustration.

I was considering the lore of the world I've mostly created and realized that when someone dies, their soul is sent to be united with the supreme goddess of the world. That is the overall purpose of the world, after all. Mortals die, their souls go and join with the goddess, and she is then replenished. After enough of this, she is completely rejuvenated and able to go about her business. However, there are now threats in the Goddess' world which would interfere with and possibly stop that from happening. When a person dies they are taken to the Otherworld, which is a specific section of the Astral Plane where the Goddess resides sleeping and all of her minions are scurrying about collecting souls of the departed and doing their job.

What if, when a player dies, they could be taken to the head of the minions and he could say "Hey, I've gotten several messages from the lesser gods about you. They say you've been doing a lot of good work lately, and you could be useful in the fight against these threats to our world. Go through this door. It will lead you to a series of hallways. Through each hallway is a portal that will lead you to a temple for one of those lesser gods, where you will be instantly resurrected. Talk to the priests and ask for an audience with the God of that temple. If they agree, they can make you one of their champions. This will allow you to resurrect from death as long as you are under their protection, and if you do work for them, you can be granted blessings to help you in your battles. If you go through the door at the end of the hall though, you can meet your final fate if you feel your work here is done."

There would be hallways that each lead to a temple, and the last door would lead to the Goddess where the character would join with her, and the player could then make a new character. Of course, after going into the portal and arriving at a temple, a player could just leave without speaking to the resident deity. Players who do this would have their next death be permanent, no questions or exceptions. Players who do go would gain the ability to resurrect from death, provided certain conditions which I haven't decided yet. Perhaps they would have to perform quests for the deity once in a while. Maybe it would require them to visit once in a while. Maybe the quests would be a death penalty. You die, and you have to go do some task for me within a certain time frame. (This also would tie into my other idea about how players could choose a god to worship and gain benefits such as increased stats, changed or completely new abilities, and so on. Losing reputation could be a death penalty.)

This would allow players to have a hardcore option if they so desired. They could just leave the temple once they take the portal. This could also allow for certain NPCs to gain these benefits as well. Generals of armies, and other warriors who fight against the threats to the world could come back to life if they so desired and it would lend a bit of credibility to them respawning after being killed.

I also like the idea that when a player dies, there should be other penalties. Armor durability seems to be a well regarded penalty, though I'm planning to have players be able to repair their own armor. The cost would be in the materials required to do so. Cloth armor would be fairly cheap to repair since you just need a bit of cloth and thread. Leather, Mail, and Plate would work in similar ways in that the higher an armor class is, the more expensive the materials become to repair it. There will be vendor NPCs who can repair armor as well, but I'm thinking of having the price of a repair be based on the player controlled market prices of the required materials.

There were some ideas that I didn't like as well. The experience loss idea didn't seem like it was incredibly great. In a game like Everquest or WoW, the main point is to advance your characters through the levels through quests, dungeons, whatever. Losing experience would be a fair penalty under this kind of system (though it wouldn't have to be as large as what is being suggested by many of the other bloggers. Maybe 2% or just the value of the last 10 mobs killed or something). In a system like mine where there are no levels and experience is spread out over different abilities, that becomes much more complicated. Which abilities would lose experience? How much would they lose? How long would the experience be lost for if it's not a permanent loss? I think this would be much better handled by simply changing the mobs.

In a system like this where there aren't any character levels, there naturally aren't any mob levels either. As players become stronger, learn new abilities, and get better stats, the mobs learn new abilities. Each mob would have a set of abilities that it could have at maximum potential, and the higher up a player gets, the more the mobs can use their ability sets. For example, an enemy NPC mage could have an array of different spells similar to a players, and the higher a player's stats and ability levels, the more of these spells a Mage could use, or the Mage could get specific spells to counter different player abilities. Each mob would have a strategy to defeat it and the more the player rises in power, the more they have to start strategizing kills and the less they can just run into combat and burn the enemy down. There wouldn't be a need for a penalty in this case. There would be the option of grouping to defeat the mobs, but the mobs would adjust to any new players in a group and balance that out, but if the player doesn't grow in skill then they hit a wall and must become better players to continue to advance.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 1/22/2010 03:34:00 PM | 0 comments