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RPG Freeshards - What do you expect?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Valorian-Aeternum, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Valorian-Aeternum
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    Lately I was thinking about some general stuff while I was sitting around thinking about how to go on with my project.
    So I am in the buisness of RPG Freeshards, which means for mean strict RPG (not the one you know from famous MMORPGS) like the one you will find in Pen&Paper Rounds.
    So I know that opinions are wide spread about this and I really don't want to know if you like RPG shards or not, but what interestes me is what you would expect from a really good RPG freeshard.
    Please do not restrict yourself by thinking about UO but think about a world you would love to play you charakter in, a game that you would like to spent hours while talking to other people and so on.
    Also it would be interesting what you expect of
    1. Story (more of a novel or short or both?)
    2. Graphics (Basic or Detailes to the max)
    3. Communitcation (Forum, Discord, whatever or own pn System or strict in game communication)
    4. Scripts (Background/Basics, what would you love to see and use?)
    5. NPCs (Just some standart nonsense or detailed questlines)
    6. Influence of general events like war or pestilence
    7. minigames (just what comes to your mind)
    I am looking forward to your input. This could help me and maybe others to improve the projects that are currently in development. I just want to get a feeling what the community is on these days where most shards are about PvP and PvE and no skillcap and stuff. So give me your thoughts and ideas about unique systems that are not "out-of-the-box".

    Thanks you!

    Valorian
     
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  2. Lokai
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    IMO, a good RPG game will not feel "canned": don't bore me with the same content I have seen in every other game. At the same time, don't bring up something so way out in left field that it breaks the "feel" of the original story.

    Let me give a good example. One of my earliest memories from Ultima Online was a developing story regarding the town of Trinsic. It was overrun with undead. This was an interesting twist, and encouraged brave adventurers to band together to fight back the evil hordes. It did not break the original story line, nor was it such an obvious development that everyone saw it coming. Rather, it was new, fresh, exciting, and completely believable at the same time. I remember logging in and venturing over to Trinsic just to see how "we" were faring.
     
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  3. TAChuck
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    TAChuck New Member

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    I'm not use for that kind of discussion in english, but I'll do my best to express my opinion on the subject.

    1. Story (more of a novel or short or both?)
      I don’t know if you are speaking about the Lore of the World, or the story of the animations for the players, but here’s what I have to say on the subject. I don’t really like shards with a lite description about the world. As a player, I like to know the culture and the habits that my character shares with the others. People tend to think that having a limited quantity of information about the world gives more liberty to the players, but I don’t think that’s the case. The lore is like a foundation, it needs to be solid.

    2. Graphics (Basic or Detailes to the max)
      For that, I’m superficial, the more beautiful the world and his assets are, the more I like to play in it.

    3. Communitcation (Forum, Discord, whatever or own pn System or strict in game communication)
      Communication with the playerbase is a must, since you need some feedback from the community and a place to let people publish their stories. But I don’t think you need more than a forum for that.

    4. Scripts (Background/Basics, what would you love to see and use?)
      For a role-playing standpoint, an anonymous system is always interesting.

    5. NPCs (Just some standart nonsense or detailed questlines)
      As I said earlier, I think that you need both!

    6. Influence of general events like war or pestilence
      I think general events are a great thing, as long as the players feel like it’s really happening and it’s changing their day to day habits.

    7. minigames (just what comes to your mind)
      I never have time for minigames :p
     
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  4. Archaaz
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    Archaaz Member

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    I am a bit of a roleplayer, but lean a bit to a more casual, organic approach. I tend to have a good understanding of my character and his or her personality and place in the world. I prefer to roleplay around what actually happens in game (and to have as many systems as possible in place to encourage and facilitate that), and do not enjoy elaborate, player-crafted roleplaying scenarios. They come off as forced and artificial, and tend to break the fourth wall and shatter my sense of immersion. The exception to this would be forum roleplay, in which such elaboration is necessary. In my opinion, the two are different beasts, and require different approaches, at least for me.

    In general, I look for an immersive world, mostly governed by the action of the players, with minimal participation on the part of the staff (mostly just handling any major problems that come up). I enjoy a well developed lore, so I can get a feel for the world and create a relevant character. I like everything to run automatically, as much as possible, and do not wish to see the strings of the puppeteer(s), or as little as possible. To that end, I enjoy systems, of which the various communities have made many, that greatly enhance the experience. These need not be “useful”, but can rather just be nice little touches that enhance the sense of immersion. I am a bit of an explorer, so new areas, secret doors, etc.

    I likewise am not a fan of elaborate staff-lead events, for much the same reason, especially if they are announced. I had rather such content were introduced behind the scenes (relatively rarely), unannounced and unexplained, and have players discover it along the way and draw their own conclusions. I would not want the staff playing the villains, but had rather use preplaced NPCs. Or perhaps have players or staff play the leaders of various evil group, though only if it were done in an organic manner. Finding the right PvP/RP balance could facilitate this.

    I do not like quests, quest lines, or starting areas, and feel that they likewise break immersion and come off as contrived. No quests (except the escort "quests") was rule number one with the shard I am developing (and hopefully releasing soon). Larger quests, with named bosses, are particularly immersion breaking, as they can be replayed. On the other hand, I find a a nicely crafted dungeon with a “story” or theme (presented graphically rather than explained via text..well, maybe hints), with unnamed, or randomly named bosses much more satisfying. It keeps things more plausible, somewhat vague, and has more potential for replayability. As for starting areas, I do not see the need. The somewhat steep learning curve is a large part of what made UO interesting. By way of comparison, I played WoW for about five months a several years ago, and, while it was fun for a bit, ultimately it could not really hold my interest. I do think that the quest-based, theme park formula works, and is enjoyable, but it is not as deep an experience. I see it more as as multiple multiplayer RPGs encased in a larger MMO framework. Sandbox and theme park are two different approaches, and I do not think that they mix well. In short, for my tastes, UO would not benefit from anything that games such as WoW bring to the table.

    I think a sprinkling of unique, conversational NPCs is a good thing, but more for flavor than as quest givers. They could perhaps dispense general information on the location of certain new areas and such, but would not be integral.

    I tend to use only in-game communication (maybe short chat or email to coordinate now and again). I do think that a forum is essential.

    I am not a PvPer, but feel that PvP provides a necessary sense of danger and excitement. Some, maybe most, of my most interesting moments from UO involve PvP (i.e. me being killed in various, often humorous, sometimes epic ways). I likewise think that, if implemented correctly, it can add a lot of depth and possibilities to the game. I am not sure I would wish to play on a purely PvE server. At the same time, free for all PvP has potentially detrimental effects for roleplay, and would likewise not want to play on a server that was a constant hackfest. In my opinion, splitting the two via different facets was a terrible notion. I think this is one of the more difficult areas to balance. In short, I would want the possibility of conflict, but would wish it to be somewhat in the background. Finding that balance could facilitate many elements on a RP server.

    As far as aesthetics goes, I prefer a detailed approach. I think much of the charm is in the details, often the subtle touches. Certain art styles appeal to me, while others are off putting. The graphics need not be state of the art, but it has to speak to my aesthetic sense. The old school Ultima look of the 2D client perfect for my taste (and the more detailed and beautiful the better, of course). The garish, flashy look of AoS and later expansions clash severely with that aesthetic. I wish they had stayed with and expanded on that style instead of opting for ninjas, neon colors and an item-based approach. I also like the look of the enhanced client, but find it clunky to use. I don't like large, mostly empty areas that seem to have been thrown together for the sake of having something new, and geared mainly toward combat/competition.

    I would most definitely want to play on a shard that features stat and skill caps, preferably the same as the original, and somewhat slow skill gain. No prizes or extensive giving of gold and items, whether starting, or as a reward for something or other. I think the game needs to be somewhat difficult. I also like being forced to make choices, else it becomes rather nebulous and bland for me.
     
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  5. Lokai
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    @Archaaz , I wish you had posted several distinct posts, rather than one large post, so that I could emote on several points. Let me just say that I Agree, Like, and Thumbs Up many of the points you made.

    I have a couple differences of opinion, but that does not detract from the excellent way you laid out your preferences.

    Here are my subtle differences:

    I do like well made quests. I guess the problem is the sheer number of carbon-copy quests that have been made. Even the quest engine itself sometimes seems to encourage this pedantic mediocrity. A well made quest, on the other hand, can provide insight into the overall themes or story-lines of a shard. I do think a quest should not be repeatable unless it involves some kind of randomized puzzle or ever-changing maze or something.

    I prefer not having a skill-cap. My reason - if I am a seasoned veteran Warrior, I should not have to create a new character so that I can try out Tailoring or Fishing. "Oh, excuse me, I maxed out my Anatomy, Item Identification, Animal Lore, and Veterinary. How can I possibly learn to play a Musical instrument too!" I just don't get that.
     
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  6. Archaaz
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    Archaaz Member

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    Thank you, @Lokai, I likewise like and agree with your thoughts.

    As for the differences, I can see your point regarding quests. I think that they could be done in a more delicate and cohesive manner, one that caters to the overall theme/story. I like the notion of randomization, and try to use it as much as possible in spawning the world and other areas.

    The approach I have taken is to eschew quests in favor of a sort of overreaching arch involving a few different groups of one primary sect of villains, and to spread them over a number of dungeons and dungeon-esque ares. A few unique NPCs offer some vague information about the group, and other details are discovered in the dungeons themselves. I suppose this is somewhat quest-like, though the details do not offer anything other than insight into to the nature and goals of the villains, who will remain a constant presence in the game. Just some aha moments and bits of nostalgia for atmosphere and to cater to a sense of exploration and coherence. It is also something of a launch point for possibly inserting one time villains and such in the rest of the world, maybe spawning a tower somewhere from time to time with a head baddie and henchmen. I like the notion of players noticing that a particular area has an increased monster population, and then exploring the cause. When the baddie is killed, maybe the tower slowly turns into ruins and then vanishes.

    The other manner in which I am attempting to utilize organic "quests" is in enhancing certain crafting and gathering skills as well as magic systems to require hard to find reagents and ingredients (some themselves requiring other reagents to craft), and to not include instructions as to how and where to get them, hopefully prompting a sort of natural questing of sorts. These ingredients would be quite regional, limited to certain areas and creatures. This is the sort of thing I like, an underlying system that works organically, rather than blatantly giving a quest for six (insert thing here), and the like.

    I can also see your reasoning behind the lack of a skill cap, and have given it some thought as I was working on the shard. It makes sense, though I still tend to gravitate toward a stricter approach. I am still toying with raising the cap to 800...:)
     
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  7. Valorian-Aeternum
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    Wow, thanks for your outstanding comments. I am still going through all of it but I see some general stuff I also agree on.
    Quests seem to be a mayor thing and how to deal with them.
    I cannot say much about Skillcap since we trew away the original system for a system that lokai would like (I guess since you really have no skillcap^^), but it still defers from the original system since we have a lot more skills in a general tree with branches connected and many paths tat can be followed. Also every skill has some uniquie specialities and stuff you need to learn to enhance your skill and so on... It is quite complex...
    Anyway I agree on the world fits story problem. Often I see worlds that are more or less the same. I am always open for some known settings like high fantasy or dark fantasy, or whatever, or a simple mediveal setting. But it has to be well done. So I think a deep crwl into detail is needed. Does your map fit your story fit the NPCs you created and so on.
    But there is some mayor disadvantage in this: If you for example build a very detailed world then it is hard to let the players build something on their own. I saw tons of player houses and only a handful where nearly good enough to fit to a complex and detailed world. so to build some presets would be essential.

    I will think a bit about quests, I have no clear opinion on this topic right now. I like the approach from Archaaz.

     
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