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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Sounds like you are talking about Power Creep. Extra Credits had a good episode on its pitfalls.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    That was a good video, thanks. I didn't know the phenomenon actually had a name.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by scurv View Post
    And your opinion of a game were travel time across the world would be maybe a few hours, provided the person knew what they were doing?
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    Imagine game where players mostly ran the quests, giving as well as receiving. Perhaps some initial quests to kickstart the economy, but in the end, players run the ship. Towns and centres would be built where the players build them, with resources gathered by players.
    It would be insane, but would it be fun?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    Imagine game where players mostly ran the quests, giving as well as receiving. Perhaps some initial quests to kickstart the economy, but in the end, players run the ship. Towns and centres would be built where the players build them, with resources gathered by players.
    It would be insane, but would it be fun?
    Doesn't Eve Online have a mechanic for that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrella View Post
    Doesn't Eve Online have a mechanic for that?
    That is true, I think, I don't know much about Eve Online. But this idea was for a more ground based game. Perhaps not fantasy, basing it on some outer space colony could work, but not a space flight game either.
    Last edited by Ravens_cry; 2012-10-17 at 12:42 AM.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    I think it's a bit presumptuous to say "Players want to be awesome, not spend all their time wandering around". MMORPG players aren't some big, uniform blob that you can make sweeping generalizations about.
    Except that when you focus on the M's, especially the first one, clear trends do emerge. Also, anyone with any degree of real game design under their belts learns to recognize the difference between what players say they want, and what they actually want.

    Not saying that there isn't room for games where traveling takes up a lot of time. Just that I doubt most of the people here would want to play this hypothetical dream game if it were produced, and that the real fanbase would in no way pay enough to support the level of development required.

    Ultimately, all these suggestions could work well for a turn-based, management MMO with minimal graphics. Rebuild, while single-player, has no problem with tying up individual units for extended periods of time because you'll have other units rotating in that you can work with. Changing the map is easier when it only involves trading one sprite/model out for another. In fact, my brother used to play a game built with that spirit, although I can't remember the name.

    Most players do prefer single-avatar games over management ones, though, and most would prefer 3d worlds to Catan-like resource tiles. Single-avatar games with long grind times tend to alienate players, and changing a detailed 3d world tends to require a lot of artist time. So you can get something like what Helio wants, just not in the form most people think of when they think of MMORPGs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    That is true, I think, I don't know much about Eve Online. But this idea was for a more ground based game. Perhaps not fantasy, basing it on some outer space colony could work, but not a space flight game either.
    Eve really is like that. Look around a bit on a search engine for things like "Eve heist" or "Eve exploit" to give you an idea for the kind of thing players pull in there. Players form corporations, which employ other players to do quests for them. If they earn enough money, they buy company ships, company real estate, company military...
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Eve really is like that. Look around a bit on a search engine for things like "Eve heist" or "Eve exploit" to give you an idea for the kind of thing players pull in there. Players form corporations, which employ other players to do quests for them. If they earn enough money, they buy company ships, company real estate, company military...
    But where does all that money come from?
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    You can, as far as I know, trade real currency for ingame currency.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Eve really is like that. Look around a bit on a search engine for things like "Eve heist" or "Eve exploit" to give you an idea for the kind of thing players pull in there. Players form corporations, which employ other players to do quests for them. If they earn enough money, they buy company ships, company real estate, company military...
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    But where does all that money come from?
    I didn't really play it (gave up half-way through the tutorial), but from what I can tell, Mining is a major industry players engage in. Players can learn various crafting skills, to build ships and weapons to sell to others. And there's trade between worlds, smuggling, piracy...
    Last edited by Eldan; 2012-10-17 at 04:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    Then that's something that would have to be taken into account. Something to do on the way would work, though I'm not sure what would be best.
    Horses could increase travel speed immensely. On the other end, mass transportation would exist. Having several horse pull a wagon would go slower than taking a horse, but having a level plane could give you time to perform mundane tasks - armor repair, fletching, whittling. Wagons would probably be expensive to buy, similar to build. A guy who owns horses and a wagon could create a market for them. The ability to brand horses, have them run between two pours and get dropped off (and punish thieves who never return rentals) would be cool. The ability to travel into the barren wastes, find a griffon egg, hatch an raise it, and have a griffon mount is pretty slick, so long as catching wild horses to tame was possible. It would be necessary to feed the griffons, actually.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    But where does all that money come from?
    While GolemsVoice is correct, the GTC to ingame currency mechanic wasn't introduced until a few years ago and the Eve Heist pre-dated that.

    A discussion of Eve economics would significantly derail the thread (not to mention very long), but suffice to say that while all money being injected into the system is from NPCs, it's relatively small potatoes to the amount of money being shuffled around from player to player via the player run market (nearly everything you see for sale on the market is from another player, with only NPCs stocking a few items).
    Even the real currency to ingame currency is an example of money shuffling, rather than fresh money creation, as it's done through the market.


    Back to the main topic, while it's true that players can build stations and offer courier missions to other players, the general paranoia and cut-throat nature of the game doesn't make it a very good model.

    For example, a common scam is to put up a courier missions to carry items from safe space to a station in the bad lands. Even if you do manage to evade all the roaming pirates and the hostile patrols, you may find yourself unable to dock at the station as the station owners (who are players) have set it to prevent any non-friendlies from docking.
    Three guesses which players set up the courier missions in the first place?

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    Read up on procedurally generated content.
    I have. Unless it will produce very diffrent content everytime the player will go through the area, it would only help with saving costs (which is good).

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    This is why I say the game should be built around it from the ground up. Thus there wouldn't be anything that required you to go back and forth between cities that are an hour away from each other. You'd start in one city, do everything there was to do there, and then later you'd move on and go somewhere else. In the real world in the middle ages, people didn't go back and forth travelling all the time. Journeys were things that you planned for, and were significant.
    If you would only travel the distance once or twice, it could work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    The entire point of the idea is to make it so that people don't just pop over to do something in the other city. That's not a bug, it's a feature. Going to a different city is a big choice, and means you can't just pop back home for dinner or whatever. It would make populations more insular, and I think it would give different cities actual different feels, as they'd be populated by different people that actually only have a limited amount of contact.
    I think there could be better ways to do it - only being able to travel between cities once every X time (I think this would work best), having to overcome a difficult obstacle everytime you want to pass between cities, etc.

    Just walking is boring if you already walked that path, especially when you are just intrested in the other city.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I could see meaningful distance working really well in MMOs, but the MMORPG is the wrong genre for it. Something like a turn based strategy game, where everyone can send in one turn a day, everything is resolved simultaneously, then another turn becomes open could work beautifully, particularly if turn length were managed properly, so that they only took 15-30 minutes even in the end game, and simply not taking turns provided at least some advantage (e.g. those not moving benefit from rest, or fortify, or whatever).
    I would play that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Y'know, an MMO where the servers regularly go down for a short while every week or so to generate new, different wilderness areas would be pretty awesome. The big cities could be the only stable areas in a land that is constantly shifting.
    That would make traveling much more intresting, but I still think such a game would benefit from a fast travel system.

    If I want to explore the wilderness, I won`t mind walking 30 minutes, becuse the path itself is the point. If I just want to go to a diffrent city, it would be the point, and I won`t be focussing on the road at all. No matter how exciting and beautifull the road will be, I just want to get to the other city.
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    EVE's economy is quite interesting, to the point where actual economists have studied it and the devs eventually hired some economists to work for them to try and help judge how changes they make to the game are going to affect the economy.

    As for where the money comes from, it actually all comes from NPCs, players can't actually create money on their own. There are NPC seeded buyers and sellers of many items in the game but the majority of buying and selling is done by players. The majority of the money comes from mission runners and NPC bounties. The money is spread out from there. And while you can (and many people do) mine for minerals to make a lot of products, the majority of those products are then sold for money and not traded for other products.


    As for the original topic travel times aren't fun. They just aren't, no one likes just traveling. A lot of people might like looking around and exploring areas they haven't seen. They might like random encounters. And traveling might make seeing stuff like that more common, but the people that like doing that will do that even if they aren't forced to long travel times.
    Besides, 30 minutes isn't anywhere near "meaningful" or "realistic" travel times compared to real life. Even contemporary travel with a vehicle, 30 minutes of driving can get me to one other city and from there it is another hour before we get to anything else. By horse or bike that would be much closer to an hour trip with other cities, especially any of any size, would be full day trips (getting to a big city takes about 2.5 hours going at 75mph most of the time).

    And while it is true that *now* you can go into some parts of the world and probably walk or ride a horse for a day or two and never leave urban areas, that is only actually possible because with cars we can move goods much farther and faster. You simply couldn't keep a city like Los Angels in a livable state if you couldn't move large amounts of goods hundreds or thousands of miles in a day or two.

    Any realistic pre-industrial travel is limited to people with a lot of free time or people with a very large need to go somewhere. Even farmers with produce to sell wouldn't be making the trip between towns every single day. If you "only" had 2 hours to play a day and were going with realistic travel times, you could easily spend 1-2 weeks of playing doing nothing but walking from one small farming town to the next only slightly different small farming town. And probably not running into much of anything along the way, because if you were wandering off the path that same trip might take 2-3 weeks instead.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Major cities would be way more than 20-30 minutes apart. On foot, that's only about 2 miles. Towns with any sort of facilities (such as inns) would have at least 20 miles between them, because there's no reason to have inns closer than a day's travel. And these would be small villages. Figure around a week between mid-sized/large towns, minimum of two weeks' travel between major cities (assuming you have a mount).

    I assume that reasonable population density would also be a part of this design, which means you wouldn't have the saturation of current MMOs. This means that encounters would be fairly rare. You might spend a month hunting through the forest to find the 20 brigands you need for a single quest, assuming that nobody else is also on that quest.

    I would also point out that the vast majority of people aren't particularly fond of the actual travel part of traveling. Most of us, when we're on the road, really want to be at the place we're heading toward. For example, someone in the US who "wants to travel to Paris" doesn't really want to travel to Paris so much as he/she wants to be in Paris, and is willing to put up with the flights there and back.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by mangosta71 View Post
    Major cities would be way more than 20-30 minutes apart. On foot, that's only about 2 miles. Towns with any sort of facilities (such as inns) would have at least 20 miles between them, because there's no reason to have inns closer than a day's travel. And these would be small villages. Figure around a week between mid-sized/large towns, minimum of two weeks' travel between major cities (assuming you have a mount).

    I assume that reasonable population density would also be a part of this design, which means you wouldn't have the saturation of current MMOs. This means that encounters would be fairly rare. You might spend a month hunting through the forest to find the 20 brigands you need for a single quest, assuming that nobody else is also on that quest.

    I would also point out that the vast majority of people aren't particularly fond of the actual travel part of traveling. Most of us, when we're on the road, really want to be at the place we're heading toward. For example, someone in the US who "wants to travel to Paris" doesn't really want to travel to Paris so much as he/she wants to be in Paris, and is willing to put up with the flights there and back.
    The point of a game such as this would be to make it about the journey, not the destination yes?
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

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    Quote Originally Posted by mangosta71 View Post
    Major cities would be way more than 20-30 minutes apart. On foot, that's only about 2 miles. Towns with any sort of facilities (such as inns) would have at least 20 miles between them, because there's no reason to have inns closer than a day's travel. And these would be small villages. Figure around a week between mid-sized/large towns, minimum of two weeks' travel between major cities (assuming you have a mount).

    I assume that reasonable population density would also be a part of this design, which means you wouldn't have the saturation of current MMOs. This means that encounters would be fairly rare. You might spend a month hunting through the forest to find the 20 brigands you need for a single quest, assuming that nobody else is also on that quest.

    I would also point out that the vast majority of people aren't particularly fond of the actual travel part of traveling. Most of us, when we're on the road, really want to be at the place we're heading toward. For example, someone in the US who "wants to travel to Paris" doesn't really want to travel to Paris so much as he/she wants to be in Paris, and is willing to put up with the flights there and back.
    You're assuming two things. First, that time in game corresponds 1:1 with time IRL. Second, that the people designing the game are incompetent.

    There's a lot of people going "this is a terrible idea because X, Y and Z". That's not helpful for discussion. Far more useful is "X, Y and Z could be problems, but here's some ideas that could maybe overcome that, what do you think?"
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    There's a lot of people going "this is a terrible idea because X, Y and Z". That's not helpful for discussion. Far more useful is "X, Y and Z could be problems, but here's some ideas that could maybe overcome that, what do you think?"
    Give them credit where it's due - it's better than the standard internet "This is a terrible idea and you are terrible for even thinking of it".

    Eldan's hit upon an interesting plot reason for travelling as part of a convoy, why not extend the idea and have the players as nomads, travelling between cities to peddle their wares? You have room for all sorts of gameplay types, from hunting down dangerous monsters to get raw materials; fighting to protect the convoy from attacks; crafting along the road or at city sites; exploring to find loot; and trading from city to city.

    You can enforce the moving mechanic by giving each player a reason to stay only a limited time at a particular city (they have nothing more to sell, or incremental rental prices on the crafting facilities).

    Players can form convoys to better travel between cities more safely (ie pickup groups), with better rewards for more of the group that actually make it to the next city in one piece.
    As for the setting, you could go historical/fantasy using the Silk Road (ignoring the SRO MMO).

    Alternately you could go sci-fi with a variant of Battlestar Galactica (other than the BSG Online game), with a very good reason for the convoy not to hang around. In this one, the players would have a 'mobile' base and deploy out in between jumps to get raw materials for repairs, fight off cylon patrols, etc.
    Possibly shard the server so that each shard has a single convoy ship that the human side are responsible for, with the opposing cylons just being a pure pvp mode?

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    And raiding less well-defended cities and villages. Nomads often do that too. Players certainly will try it.

    That would be an interesting trade-off mechanic. Trading with a city makes it richer, so it has more money if you attack it. But the also spend some of that money on fortifications and soldiers, so they'll be harder to attack. Plus, if you raze a village, chances are they aren't there anymore next time.

    Instead of clans or giulds, you'd have caravans. Your character is a member of a caravan. You have your wagons that contain all the NPCs that other games would have in a city. They move across the map at a set pace. Your character can leave the caravan, but to learn new skills, heal or buy/sell things, they would have to return to the caravan.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Ooh, that's actually an interesting idea. Completely not what I originally envisaged, but fascinating. Make it so that the distance isn't an obstacle, but a goal in and of itself - I like it.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    One of my early plans in WoW was to start a guild on an RP server that was entirely self sufficient. No city trading, they'd just move from zone to zone as a group herbing and mining and doing PvP.

    I think the problem is that WoW lacks decent pillaging mechanics. Back in vanilla, storming the Crossroads was great fun of an evening, plus the usual Southshore/Tarren Mill derby.

    There are a few MMOs that cater for your desires, Helio. Mortal Online is one, although I never got very far with it.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    You're assuming two things. First, that time in game corresponds 1:1 with time IRL. Second, that the people designing the game are incompetent.
    If time isn't close to 1:1, combat is going to be insane. Even 2:1 would make it extremely difficult for players to react. And then what happens if one group of players is fighting bandits on the road when a caravan passes? And even if there's nobody else near the combat, you still have different time compression in different spots on the server. The only way to not give the server crippling schizophrenia would be to instance everything (what DDO tried to do), and then force the party to stay together on top of that. But if you never interact with players outside your party, you may as well be playing Diablo 3.

    Of course, then you have to deal with mobile combat. Suppose the time compression goes to 1:1 when combat starts, and then returns to whatever you decide you want it to be during travel. Scenery that was passing by at a leisurely pace is suddenly whipping by in a blur.

    Another issue with high time compression ratios is that roads between cities/towns/villages aren't straight. You'll have people be cruising along the path, when suddenly it bends. Before they can react, they're past the bend and lost in the woods off by themselves. Even if they can stay on the road, they'll be on top on bandit ambushes before they see them.

    From the OP, I'm guessing you don't want to follow the route Baldur's Gate took with travel. I'm not sure how that would work in an MMO anyway, even if you were willing to consider it - other people would be online doing stuff during the 8+ hours (in game-time - as a player it's instantaneous) you spend traveling between areas.
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    There's a lot of people going "this is a terrible idea because X, Y and Z". That's not helpful for discussion. Far more useful is "X, Y and Z could be problems, but here's some ideas that could maybe overcome that, what do you think?"
    I'm not arguing for the sake of arguing. These are legitimate issues that need to be addressed to make your idea viable. If I knew how the problems could be solved, they wouldn't be problems worth bringing up for discussion.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Give me a few examples of games that feature time passing (a cycle of day and night, etc) that have it happen at the same rate as IRL. Pokemon's the only one I'm coming up with. Skyrim, for example, has a clear day and night cycle, along with things that only happen at certain tims of day, but that cycle is a lot faster than IRL. It's a well-established game design feature, and doesn't have any of the problems with time compression you mentioned.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Eve Online also operates strictly in real-time with regards to learning skills, etc. Certain aspects of WoW used to behave that way, especially with regards to fishing - certain fish could only be caught in summer/winter and day/night.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by The Succubus View Post
    Eve Online also operates strictly in real-time with regards to learning skills, etc.
    Eve is also the only game that I've seen a meta requirement for a global distribution of members in a corp (guild for non Eve players), since it allows for around the clock operations.

    However the mechanics also give a buffer to account for these issues (reinforced mode for POS towers), so while there's no time compression, it's inaccurate to say it's hasn't been a considered issue.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    This is an idea that occurred to me reading some fics online. What would be the consequences of having an MMO that included meaningful distances as part of gameplay?
    [...]
    What changes would have to be made? Could it still be fun?
    Hi, Helio!

    ...most pertinent in my mind is the word, "Navigation." Meaningful distance isn't very meaningful with-out some-thing to fill it. And this distance is made useless with automatic map functions in the graphical user interface.

    Exploration is about patience, consistency, and ( most importantly ) mystery. The not-knowing of what is or is not out there is one of the points which makes distance meaningful.

    ( As a side note, I wonder how many readers / gamers, know how to take an azimuth. )

    Having some game design experience I can tell you that such a game would have to be very nice to look at, but the number of players on a single server might have to be limited. In order to make the distance truly meaningful the game would have to reward the player for exploring. Puzzles, images, and riddles could be tied up in the virtual terrain. Players would have to make their own maps.

    One more thought: A game incorporating both permanent, stationary, land-marks and shifting geography.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Story Time View Post
    ( As a side note, I wonder how many readers / gamers, know how to take an azimuth. )
    I can't do that, but I do know how to make an astrolabe with a paper plate, a roll of duct tape, a yard stick, and an astrolabe.
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