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