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T - Philosophy on Death
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Trance
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Joined: 25 Apr 2005
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 6:33 am    Post subject: T - Philosophy on Death Reply with quote

In order to better understand conceptual quality death design consequences in MMORPG's, we need to look at the history of death consequences from the beginning of the RPG era back from the 1970's.

Most of us know that during that time, Dungeons & Dragons on pencil and paper started it all. It was like a digitaless MMORPG. You and your friends would get together and there would always be a DM (Dungeon Master). Usually, death consequence was up to the DM but in the core rules death was permanent. If you were campaigning with your friends and you died then you had to reroll those dice and create another character unless someone in the party could revive you on the spot. Sure, death sucked but permanent death is indeed a fair concept and it's fair to everyone who played because that was the fairest way to die (and still is to this day, but more on that soon).

Not too long after, we entered the digital "console" gaming era with RPG's and death consequence was easy. When you die, you reload the game where you last saved it (a la Final Fantasy, etc.) That seems to be a fair way to die also because it's 1 player (you vs. the game). It's a fair concept and it's fair to the player.

Soon after we enter the digital gaming era of MMORPG's. This is exactly the spot where death consequences becomes an extreme issue because the concept has to be fair and it always has to be fair to the players. The reason why MMORPG's struggle in this department is because millions of people around the world have something called an "opinion" so for the death concept to also be fair to the players, everyone needs to have the same opinion but since that will never happen in this world, it's a daunting task to try and make everyone satisfied.

Different MMORPG's all use slightly different ways for death consequences but their concept is all the SAME. It makes for a fair concept of death in most respects but some players are never satisfied because it's only 1 death consequence concept used for many different things in the MMORPG.......and this is the failing point. In other words, people play MMORPG's in different ways. They might want to play for fun, play it as a single player game and not care about the community, or play it as a gaming community.

So....what could be done? We need to change the CONCEPT and reverse the thought so that it is fair for everyone by splitting the concept of death into different concept instances. There's 2 ways of doing this...

1. Earlier I was talking about permanent death being a fair concept. I know, as much as it SUUUUCKKKS to die permanently, it's fair for everyone because everyone would get the same consequence all the time for anything. Permanent death could be used for everything in the game also. But of course, we don't want that. We want number 2.

2. We want split concept instances with their own death consequence results which is the only way to be fair to everyone because each consequence will have it's own same result. Ya follow me? Smile For example...

PlayerGroup1 wants to play Daria as a single player game. They simply ignore the rest of the community and play it like a Final Fantasy game. Anyone playing this way would have a death consequence of "you died and you'll be resurrected at the last point/time you saved it, minus whatever you had or the experience you gained during that inbetween period". It is totally fair for anyone who plays like this because that's the way it is on single player console RPG's.

PlayerGroup2 might want to play for fun so add in a cool PvP battle arena and the death consequence would be "nothing". If you die you are simply resurrected somewhere in this arena with everything you had. Again, a totally fair consequence for anyone who decides they want to stop hunting and go play for fun.

PlayerGroup3 might like the game for the guild wars, so here we need to add another death consequence concept instance. Maybe you decide you want to stop hunting or stop PvPing in an arena and go participate in a guild war. Consequence of a guild war death could be something like "when you die, you return to the last point in time from when you saved it, minus all the stuff you had and experience gained between save periods, and you're restricted from entering the guild war status until the guild war is over so that there's no cheating by running right back. It's kind of like a "temporary/permanent" death or simply a "guild war death". This makes guild wars call for more planning and tactical strategy to win. Again, this is a fair death concept with a fair consequence to everyone who likes to play this way.

So....to solve the death problem, we need to recognize how many different ways people like to play their MMORPG's and create different death concepts for each way with it's own result. Just now I simply named 3 different ways people can play (which is 3 death concepts) and each having their own result. I'm sure there are many other player groups but we just haven't found them yet.

Now of course implementing all this is done with zoning but if done correctly can make it fun for everyone. Oh, and MMORPG's can be played and saved just as if you were playing it like a single player game. It would probably be better that way anyway because instead of the server automatically saving hundreds of accounts/players every 2 minutes or so, the player can just go save occaisonally, which would cut down tremendously on server load. Of course the saved file would be stored server-side only Wink

As far as I'm concerned, this way of conceptual thinking solves the death consequence problems that all other MMORPG developers struggle so much with Cool
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Manifold
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Joined: 01 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Re: T - Philosophy on Death Reply with quote

Trance wrote:
Oh, and MMORPG's can be played and saved just as if you were playing it like a single player game. It would probably be better that way anyway because instead of the server automatically saving hundreds of accounts/players every 2 minutes or so, the player can just go save occaisonally, which would cut down tremendously on server load. Of course the saved file would be stored server-side only Wink

Wouldn't this split the community? Part of why an MMORPG is good is because everyone plays at once, is it not? Give people a choice and the community starts disintegrating..
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LookinToDie
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 7:21 am    Post subject: Re: T - Philosophy on Death Reply with quote

Nice post, Trance! Wink

Manifold wrote:
Trance wrote:
Oh, and MMORPG's can be played and saved just as if you were playing it like a single player game. It would probably be better that way anyway because instead of the server automatically saving hundreds of accounts/players every 2 minutes or so, the player can just go save occaisonally, which would cut down tremendously on server load. Of course the saved file would be stored server-side only Wink

Wouldn't this split the community? Part of why an MMORPG is good is because everyone plays at once, is it not? Give people a choice and the community starts disintegrating..


I don't think the community will start to desintegrate, there's no reason for that. Saving is just like visiting the obelisk (and I think Trance implied saving in a particular location).
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Origon
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*saves at obelisk and goes to an uber hard dungeon where he gets owned 8192734218 times, goes broke and looses all stuff*

*closes game, restarts and loads from the obelisk only to go in a different direction*
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Nanaki
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This would sorta divide everyone like Origon said and in ways such as people's games crashing and having to start over again because they didn't save. Much easier to have occasional everyone saves.
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Stant
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kinda echoing LookinToDie's post here. Think of the concept in these terms... In Akarra the server saved everyone's status every 2 minutes. That means every 2 minutes the server had very high activity causeing lag and slower frame rates. What Trance is saying is remove the auto save and make it a manual save. You still hang out and party up and bash heads and if you die, you revert back to your last saved character at the last save marker whatever it is... You may have gained 5 levels in that time and never saved, so you lose those 5 levels. OR, you save before you hit that crazy dungeon, get sliced in half like a hot knife through butter and decide to reload that save and not do that dungeon yet, and you're out only 2 minutes of actual game time.

So basically depending on the type of player you are, a death can have major consequences, or relatively none. There's nothing in there about splitting the community.
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This change isn't because of Kal's request to change it, it's to tell the community that I'm pissed at him because he fucked me over by not sticking up for me when he should have, instead he blasted me. I have no problem with Daria or any of it's other staff. It was changed in response to his lies about fixing it, which he did NOT do.
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Trance
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stant knows exactly what I'm talking about.

There is nothing in there about dividing anything. Although everyone is playing the same game with a shared theme, you can't change the way some people choose to play it. You might want to hunt and kill monsters/bosses for a few hours and then decide (on the fly) to go do something else in the game. The more the game offers, the easier it is to deal with "death penalties" on a broad level. This is because each different type of thing to do has its own penalty instead of just 1 penalty for everything. Having 1 penalty for everything is why people complain about ... TA DA...... "death penalties" Wink
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Manifold
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you propose a complete manual saving? There will be no enforced saving.. say.. every two hours or something?
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Once known as Novan Silverglow
'So can you name your demon?
Understand its scheming/
I raise my glass and say "here's to you".'


The DOD News - http://darianews.talonz.com (Lying Dormant)
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LookinToDie
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Manifold wrote:
So you propose a complete manual saving? There will be no enforced saving.. say.. every two hours or something?


The game I don't rememeber the name of had it this way: only positive changes had to be saved manually, negative changes were saved automatically (upon death usually).

Then again, inventory changes have to be saved all the way in any case.
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Origon
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*sells an item for 5gc and gives the cash to Stant to hold for a minute*

*closes the game and loads the save when he still has the item*

*gets the $ back from Stant*
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