[MUD-Dev] RE:

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com
Wed Nov 21 13:13:29 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


> From: Mark Eaton [mailto:marke at mac.com]

>   3) NPCs are completely artificial. The NPC interaction in the
>   current crop of MMORPGs makes Zork look like true AI. I'd love
>   to see an NPC that asks for your help in killing a monster, and
>   then joins your party and accompanies you, acting like any
>   player would.. fighting, casting spells, healing, etc. On the
>   flip side, the NPC monsters are just as bad. They're so
>   completely predictable that players use slang phrases like 'agro
>   management'. Does 'managing' a monster sound just.. wrong to
>   anyone else? What, other than the simple arithmetic of bigger
>   stats, is qualitatively different from the biggest dragon and
>   the smallest drake in your typical MMORPG? In all the fantasy
>   I've read and table-top games I've played Dragons are supposed
>   to be super intelligent. You wouldn't know it from any of the
>   current crop of games.

There are a few quests where npcs accompany in Everquest (See
'Qeynos Badge Quest'). Its not as exciting as you might think I'm
afraid. I'm beginning to think that quests might just be boring full
stop. As Kwon eludes to in another post, the most interesting
content is other players. The most fun quests in EQ are the ones
where you have to bring along 30 guild mates and repell a giant
invasion - I think the key elements here are scale and
_other_people_.

>   4) Player-Player conflict (aka PvP, RvR, etc.) is held up by
>   many as the holy grail, the savior of MMORPGs. The sad reality
>   is that its so random, so without meaning, that most players
>   avoid it in the games that feature it. I would like to see an
>   upside here, rather than just all negatives. Give players the
>   tools to set up quests - including scripted NPCs - and reward
>   other players (and give the players that go to the trouble to do
>   so rewards also). Build positive feedback into structured
>   player-player interaction. (I say structured because
>   un-structured interaction is already fairly well served by the
>   chat and trade interfaces of most MMORPGs)

> The game is supposedly taking the place of the DM in the
> traditional pen and paper RPG. Unfortunately none are coming even
> close to this. The two routes I see are to make the game engines
> better at storytelling or to give players the tools to tell
> stories. To come around (by the long way) to answering the
> original question, these games aren't good at letting players
> 'project their values and morals' into the game because even when
> they do it goes unobserved by the game. In a table top game the DM
> would see and reward or punish every player action. MMORPGs today
> only 'observe' and react to 1 thing: who you kill.

For fear of rehashing the same old ground for the millionth time,
I'll just mention Neverwinter Nights is trying the player content
card. Hope it works as its a brave and interesting move.

As for pvp being bad, thats because combat in these games is
completely unsophisticated. If the balance is moved towards player
skill as opposed to level then things may start to evolve. We
covered this a bit a month ago too ;)

Dan
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