[MUD-Dev] RE:

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com
Thu Nov 22 11:38:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


From: marke at mac.com [mailto:marke at mac.com] 
> On Wednesday, November 21, 2001, at 05:13 AM, 
> Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com wrote:
>>> 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.
 
> It wasn't exciting for you, maybe. That doesn't make it
> uninteresting for others. Quests don't have to be boring.
 
> (And no, no NPC in Everquest acts the way I describe, joining my
> party and acting and reacting to situations in a convincing
> manner. Perhaps you should read the quoted paragraph again?)

Re-reading your paragraph, I quote ' fighting, casting spells,
healing, etc.', that is exactly what the npc does. Perhaps you
should re-read what you wrote and try the quest before launching off
a salvo?

>> 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_.
 
> 30 person events are dreadfully dull. A bunch of folks sitting
> around waiting for something to happen. Confusedly asking when
> something will happen, or if something has already happened. Then
> when something does happen you're just a cog in a machine,
> expendable in the worst sense of the word.

Perhaps they aren't exciting for you... Oh this is getting familiar
isn't it. This is a discussion list, if you are going to complain
about me making assertions, I'd prefer if you didn't then make your
own. This list is nothing but opinions, and generally we accept its
unnecessary to qualify everything with IMO.

Getting back to the point, the quest I'm talking about is the most
liked of any of them amongst the player base. You end up standing
outside the dwarf home city, defending against waves of charging
giants coming from differing directions. This whole invasion
mechanic is certainly a simple implementation, but sure beats
couriering item X to npc Y, or farming for a rare spawn.

>>>  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.

>> 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 ;)

> You are simply wrong. Structured Player-Player interaction is
> uninteresting in the current crop of mainstream MMORPGs because
> there is only 1 axis that the games are 'sensitive' to -
> healing/damage. The games aren't intelligent enough to reward or
> even register anything that isn't simple damage or healing. I'm
> generalizing here, I know.

Look, I replied to your original point about pvp being random, and
explained how that can be addressed by making it more deterministic
by adding sophistication. I then referred you to the thread on it a
month ago. As to this other axis you mention, you certainly didn't
mention that you were broadening the scope of your defintion of pvp
to include politics in your original post, in fact the implication
was that of a narrow definition as you suggest games already have
it, just that it is random and meaningless.  If you make your
arguments more clearly you might find people don't contradict you,
which obviously offends you and incites you to flame back.  Just a
suggestion.

> It isn't possible in e.g. Everquest or Dark Age of Camelot to have
> a non-combat class. What would be the purpose of a class that had
> no means of harming or healing another player? Players can be
> Merchants to the extent that they can craft and sell items, but
> there is no Merchant class. They have to start a combat
> class. What exactly would be the point of a Politician or Diplomat
> class in one of those games?

Exactly, what would be the point in these games? Sure you could
perhaps intertwine another game, but to complain that a combat
centric game lacks an emphasis on soft skills such as diplomacy is
no different to bemoaning a beat-em-up game for a similar lack. If
you have a better solution then explain it, we already know these
games are shallow.

Sorry if I sound irritated in this post. I am.

Dan
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