I am REALLY behind on this. Over the last few years, my ability to find time to really sit down and map with Campaign Cartographer has been very little. I was able to do the 2007 review and I liked it so much that I’ve been continuing to get the annual even though I haven’t any time or ability to really use them. More recently, I’ve decided to take some time to sit down and go through them, I do think these annuals in general are very good at helping you learn how to map and develop your own styles, if nothing else. Continue reading
I was playing a little bit of Ultima Online over the past few weeks. I downloaded and started playing on a free shard that tried to stick to the olden days of UO, meaning they had a lot of PvP. I was playing well by myself and I went into the Blood dungeon several times, when one day it seemed very busy. At first people were helping me out, but eventually the inevitable happened… someone PK’d me. And this got me to thinking about PvP.
This experience exemplified the continued issue with PvP. The guy didn’t even actually kill me, he demanded some trinket off me (my robe) and then let me go. That’s it, but it still did what he needed it to. It ruined my otherwise fine day, and actually I haven’t even returned since then.
You may think me as a carebear or what not, and I guess to a certain degree I am. However, I have played many PvP games in the past. I played Shadowbane, Dark Age of Camelot, and when AC2 came out I went to the RvR server. Truth be told, I really do enjoy PvP every now and then and think it offers and extremely fun dynamic to a game that the developers just cannot design if they wanted to.
So I want PvP around. But doing an all out PvP game, like Ultima Online, is just too off-putting to too many people. And so far there have been few games to implement the RvR system well. The best has been DAoC and everyone else seems to be a “meh” experience.
PvP needs to mean something first and foremost. Developers can’t just throw it in and hope it works. Or even throw it in with a couple minor prizes for those who partake. There needs to be real purpose in it. To me, the best PvP game thus far that I have played was Shadowbane and this was largely because it involved warfare and city building. When you fought someone, it was usually under the context of war with that country, honestly I don’t remember too many instances in that game where I was actually killed just to be killed. It always in the context of nation vs nation instead.
You need to give the player something to fight for. In my mind, I think that the best idea is to make the PvP aspect incorporate both city building and resource control. City building helps cover a secondary thing that players have wanted in an MMO since the inception of the genre, and resource control just makes sense.
People need to be able to have the control to build their own cities, and then turn around take control of other people’s cities via war. It shouldn’t be an easy thing or even something that every player and/or guild should be allowed to do. It should take great effort to build a new city, and then even more effort to turn that city into a nation of cities. This needs to be something that does’t happen often, and because of this might be something that works as an expansion as great wealth would be need to do it.
Once cities and nations are built, armies and guards are needed to defend it. This is where PvP comes in. Players should be able to choose to join these armies and guard units. The rulers of the nations would have the ability to reward these troops as they see fit, be it from salaries, lower dues, bonuses that the nation can buy into, or access to special smiths that can help the troops improve themselves.
Now the troops could only attack other nations armies they are at war with. So this isn’t full out PvP. Not only do you have to choose to be PvP orientated, but there is another level of control that says you have to choose to be at war. War doesn’t need to be consensual, there should always be the danger that you are going to be attacked if you are a nation, but I don’t think it is in the best interest of the game to let anyone declare war, I think just leaders should have that capability.
Of course there needs to be a prize still besides just building the city for countries and pvp to exist, and that is the resource control. The country would have control over various mines in its sphere of influence. They can do with those mines as they want, leave them open and free, charge a levy for any who enter, or shut them down to a select few people. Perhaps other countries might raid the mines promoting a need for a guard or two at the entrance, but by and large the leaders would have control over it. If resources are done right in the first place, this in itself is a big enough prize without the need to throw up arbitrary prizes to the player like a special suit of armor for any who PvPs enough…
Would this system even work? I don’t know. It isn’t perfect, far from it. For all its trying to leave non-pvp’ers alone while having a strong pvp end game, it still begs the question… If one nation takes over a lowly crafter’s nation over, and doesn’t want lowly crafter in that nation… How is that not affecting the crafter who wants nothing to do with PvP?
I’ve been the latest victim of the Minecraft bug of late. I must admit this game is pretty amazing in its simplicity. It’s so very basic yet very addictive. I could totally see modern gamers passing it up because of the graphics or the playstyle, as I almost did myself. But the reality is that it is worth a try. I’ve learned a lot from the game, here’s just a few things: Continue reading
When I started working on server emulation for Ultima Online, it took no time at all before I started yearning to start over with a completely new map. Creating a completely new map from scratch is actually quite a difficult thing, and to be honest, if I were to suggest server emulation to a newbie, I’d suggest against a new map. Yet here I am.
PvP is kind of a touchy subject in MMORPGs. Most MMOs have it in some format or another, but more often than not, it is left behind in the wayside. This is largely due to the mistakes that were made in early Ultima Online history where it was more profitable to kill other players than it was to kill creatures. This made it a prohibitive game to join if you were a newer player on your own. You would likely find yourself dead quite often and then just give up and go to a different game that didn’t have PvP. Continue reading
After well over a year, I finally decided to finish off this series, and yes I do plan on doing reviews on the next three annuals after this. For those needing a refresher course, ProFantasy makes a software sweet for cartographers to make their own maps, be it for video games, pen and paper RPGs, or just casual use. This software is called Campaign Cartographer 3. To support this suite, ProFantasy started releasing monthly issues of the Annual which gives new methods of using their software, general information, and new symbols and styles to use. This is the review of the last four issues of the first year of The Campaign Cartographer Annual. Continue reading
I have been thinking a lot of MMORPG design of late. A lot of this design thought has really made me thinking of the gaminess of online games. I personally have always been a fan of realism in my MMOs over gaminess. So personally, from a systems point of view, I prefer Ultima Online over World of Warcraft. Continue reading
I recently began the beta test of Champions Online, I will likely have my own preview before it goes live before September 1 when it launches. However, one of the things that they are touting with CO is the ability to purchase new costume outfits with real money. Supposedly this is a way to be able to keep more devs on the team at any given time and so through the micro-transaction sales they will be able to fund more content in the game itself that you don’t have to pay extra for. This coupled with a somewhat decent book called [amazonify]1401322905::text::::”Free”[/amazonify] and I’ve been thinking about micro-transactions in MMOs going forward.
I’ve been reading up a lot on Google of late. There have been many things of note that I have really taken from them as a company and some of the theories that they work off of. In particular, I have found it astonishing to see how well it seems that what Google does carries so well into Game Design theory and game development. Because of that, It hought it would be a good opportunity to bring in a new law of Raph Koster’s and take some of what I’ve learned from Google into the MMORPG realm.
I have been thinking about the races that I would allow players in my game a lot of late, and at the same time I have been reading a book based in the Eberron world. The thing that I really like about the Eberron world in general is that you go to a city and it seems just teaming with races of different kinds. What this really lends to is diversity which I love. I love that there is just a whole lot of different things going on. I think this is one of the qualities that I like about Star Wars as well is that you go into the cantina and there are dozens of races in the one little cantina, a quality I think SWG failed miserably with.