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#77 Mar 01 2013 at 11:51 AM Rating: Decent
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Re: Gearswapping. Most cases of gearswapping were no different from using any other stat-altering ability. Think of Warrior abilities like Berserk and Defender. Ultimately, they're no different from gear-swapping. It was just that everyone finally figured out that they could have these "abilities" all the time by switching their gear.

When these are done responsively in combat they reflect skill of the player-- e.g., switching into a water resist set right before being blasted by a water attack. When they're done as part of a regular rotation, they're just more steps to these optimal face-roll rotations that players frequently fall into, FFXI being no exception. They also made certain configurations possible... I enjoyed playing as SAM/rng for a long time only because I could swap into a ranged accuracy gear set.

So at times they were a great way to enhance the gameplay and embodied skillful play in the game. Other times they were just an annoying, funny-looking chore.

So what's the difference between the former and the latter, and how can we keep the one without the other? That's the question we should be asking. The answer that strikes me is to simply keep those mechanics while separating that particular functionality from the equipment. Basically, move those stat bonuses from the equipment grid to another grid, e.g., a crystal grid. Now in addition to trying to obtain equipment -which cannot be switched mid-combat- you're also seeking upgrades and sidegrades for your crystal grid, which you can switch out mid-combat to change your statistics in the middle of the battle in response to the situation.

That's one way to capitalize on what many players liked about gearswapping while dropping what many players hated about it. I suggested it in the first alpha (though I used materia at the time since materia didn't already exist); if anyone wants to try presenting it again feel free to C&P away.

It doesn't solve all the gameplay problems associated with gearswapping--for example, gearswapping for DD's was more often a set rotation that required little skill, because DD's largely do not interact with other party members (unless you count holding back to not draw hate). As a result, they have no opportunity for responsive play, little need for skill of any kind, and as a result are often happy just to have some more things to do, even if it's just activating a thoughtless ability like Berserk.
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#78 Mar 01 2013 at 11:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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Louiscool wrote:
I

I don't think I'm missing the point at all. A simple game mechanic is at fault for everything you dislike about ffxi, right? Point gotten.


Don't get defensive, we're just discussing the pros and cons of the system. It's certainly part of a lot of things that were wrong with XI. Another problem was the utter lack of fatigue for melee classes, while mages always had to manage their resources carefully. It was unfair and unbalanced and XI is one of the few mmos where it's like that. Equipment being relevant from level 7 to 70? That's not good design, that horribly broken equipment that shouldn't have been available when it was.

But even those troubles didn't make the game unplayable or anything, just gave some folks a "wtf" feeling about the whole thing. It was a super fun game, and the fact that we can talk about it in such detail should be evidence enough that it was a game we loved. At some point, though, you have to look at the design and ask "is this something that attracted players or did it cost us community?"

Edited, Mar 1st 2013 12:53pm by Torrence
#79 Mar 01 2013 at 11:52 AM Rating: Decent
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Torrence wrote:
Thayos wrote:

I remember seeing an interview with a GW2 developer who was talking about the attractiveness of being able to play through the game on different characters.

Uh, no.

Having to play through the game multiple times just to experience the different jobs is a HORRIBLE feature of every MMO on the market except for FFXIV and FFXI.


Well, you do still have to play through the game on all those jobs. It's not like you level once and magically you have all the jobs at your disposal. So this comment is largely irrelevant.

That point aside, what the developer was referring to was experiencing the unique storylines (and this is ESPECIALLY true in GW2, which I take it you never played) and playing through the game to learn about the characters and their respective races. Each is unique, and there was nothing horrible about the feature. In fact, I did just what was suggested and tried out all the races and classes. Believe me, that was one aspect that was very well done. Each time it's like playing a new game, as opposed to... crab crab crab worm worm worm fly fly fly crab crab crab etc.


That's not to say I think it's a superior model - it's just a different one, and one that shouldn't be dismissed just because you don't understand it.

As an aside, achievements were made account wide in WoW. Just sayin.

Edited, Feb 27th 2013 10:12pm by Torrence


I like that idea..


Edited, Mar 1st 2013 12:54pm by Nashred
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#80 Mar 01 2013 at 12:03 PM Rating: Good
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I get the idea that in a vacuum the concept of a deviating story-line is one that would seem attractive.

But I'm going to put my confession bear face on and admit openly that I've never really desired that from a Final Fantasy game. It just does not scratch any itches I have to play a FF game with multiple endings. It breaks the comfort zone in that respect, as I'm used to having a wonderful story told to me as I aided my characters through it. (FFXIII-2 really didn't settle too well with their paradox endings.)

So if they do implement something like that, I'd advice them to be careful. Especially given the fact that the voice acting in GW2 wasn't very good in many of their plot paths.
#81 Mar 01 2013 at 1:06 PM Rating: Default
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Torrence wrote:
Louiscool wrote:
I

I don't think I'm missing the point at all. A simple game mechanic is at fault for everything you dislike about ffxi, right? Point gotten.


Don't get defensive, we're just discussing the pros and cons of the system. It's certainly part of a lot of things that were wrong with XI. Another problem was the utter lack of fatigue for melee classes, while mages always had to manage their resources carefully. It was unfair and unbalanced and XI is one of the few mmos where it's like that. Equipment being relevant from level 7 to 70? That's not good design, that horribly broken equipment that shouldn't have been available when it was.

But even those troubles didn't make the game unplayable or anything, just gave some folks a "wtf" feeling about the whole thing. It was a super fun game, and the fact that we can talk about it in such detail should be evidence enough that it was a game we loved. At some point, though, you have to look at the design and ask "is this something that attracted players or did it cost us community?"


Eh, it's just my opinions but I guess I'm in the minority.

To me, gearsets drove me to seek out that extra 1% haste on a belt, or a new ring with 2 more str, because they weren't replacing something else. It was an activity to seek out a great str gearset. In place of that system, what do you have?

1) Throwaway item system like WoW, where every new content makes your old gear useless.
2) Jack-Of-All gear, like Abysea and AF3, where one piece has all the stats you could ever dream of.
3) Weird and often failed mod system like FFXI, where stats are just randomly added.
4) Better, but still bad, materia system, where you spend millions upon millions of gil to try and triple meld your gear and have it blow up time after time, and then have a community that looks down on players who don't have the patience to throw away all their gil.

I like parts of the materia system, but the randomness of materia creation (your 150k item can turn into a 20 gil piece of npcable garbage) and tedium of socketting make me long for the days of gearswap.

Edited, Mar 1st 2013 2:07pm by Louiscool
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#82 Mar 01 2013 at 1:24 PM Rating: Excellent


I actually play GW2 quite a bit. Played last night, actually.

That said, the storyline of Guild Wars 2 is so effing boring, I don't see why anyone would subject themselves to it more than once.

In FFXIV, you can experience all of the different jobs on the same character without having to continually replay the game. With the way FFXIV and FFXI were designed, having this ability makes your character more versatile, and also allows players more access to endgame events.

GW2 sorely lacks this.
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#83 Mar 01 2013 at 1:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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Louiscool wrote:


1) Throwaway item system like WoW, where every new content makes your old gear useless.



It's super easy to be dismissive of WoW because with every expansion old stuff is obsoleted, but it's really not that bad. After you've completed the same raid ad nasuem for an entire two years worth of expansion, you are ready to move on and do something new. The challenge in WoW is in completing the content itself, and gear is just gravy. Throwaway is a strong word, but yea, getting attached to any one piece of gear is usually because it looks awesome and you want it for transmogrification\town wear and not because you waited in line 3 years to get it. Again - that kind of game design drove people away.

New gear will be coming with new content regardless, because that's the carrot on the stick that keeps people doing grindy stuff. The only difference is that instead of keeping everything you've ever gotten in your inventory, you get to upgrade.
#84 Mar 01 2013 at 1:32 PM Rating: Decent
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Torrence wrote:
Louiscool wrote:


1) Throwaway item system like WoW, where every new content makes your old gear useless.



It's super easy to be dismissive of WoW because with every expansion old stuff is obsoleted, but it's really not that bad.


I don't mean it to be dismissive, just using an example of a system that made more than a few people disheartened. I've never gotten that far in WoW, but SWTOR had a similar system, and you never felt like gear had any meaning. Like, in FFXI, I say Hauby, and you know immediately what it is, versus "Oh I got a new chest piece, who cares what it's called, its got 1 more att on it.

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#85 Mar 01 2013 at 1:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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Thayos wrote:


That said, the storyline of Guild Wars 2 is so effing boring, I don't see why anyone would subject themselves to it more than once.

In FFXIV, you can experience all of the different jobs on the same character without having to continually replay the game. With the way FFXIV and FFXI were designed, having this ability makes your character more versatile, and also allows players more access to endgame events.

GW2 sorely lacks this.


Because it isn't all the same storyline for each race? http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Personal_storyline

And again, you do have to replay the game to experience all the jobs. You have to replay the same leveling content in the same zones in the same way, for every job. You are entitled to like one method better than the other, but don't paint it as if you play through the game once and never have to backtrack on anything again. Guild Wars 2 is an especially bad example because so much care was put into the individual stories. A better example might have been Rift. Talk about absolutely no individuality in the storyline or leveling process. Still, crab crab crab isn't much better.

As far as endgame - well GW2 is a PvP game. No one was really expecting them to nail PvE endgame.
#86 Mar 01 2013 at 2:03 PM Rating: Decent
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I agree with Archmage.. You say being a good player is about "Conquering encounters by capitalizing on a job's strengths and how it interacts with other jobs in the party." Well if that is a good player how MUCH MORE of a good player are you if you do THAT and capitalize on all the gear and the stats they bring that you worked hard to obtain?? ..I should be limited to one gear set?? If I took the time and effort to get pieces that are good for certain situations how does opting to use them make me a bad player? and gear swaping doesnt make you invicible lol... With regards to being a game bad design I dont know.. Thats a preference.. Some like it some whine about it..
#87 Mar 01 2013 at 2:04 PM Rating: Decent
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Torrence wrote:
Thayos wrote:


That said, the storyline of Guild Wars 2 is so effing boring, I don't see why anyone would subject themselves to it more than once.

In FFXIV, you can experience all of the different jobs on the same character without having to continually replay the game. With the way FFXIV and FFXI were designed, having this ability makes your character more versatile, and also allows players more access to endgame events.

GW2 sorely lacks this.


Because it isn't all the same storyline for each race? http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Personal_storyline

And again, you do have to replay the game to experience all the jobs. You have to replay the same leveling content in the same zones in the same way, for every job. You are entitled to like one method better than the other, but don't paint it as if you play through the game once and never have to backtrack on anything again. Guild Wars 2 is an especially bad example because so much care was put into the individual stories. A better example might have been Rift. Talk about absolutely no individuality in the storyline or leveling process. Still, crab crab crab isn't much better.

As far as endgame - well GW2 is a PvP game. No one was really expecting them to nail PvE endgame.


I think you're are confusing 14 with 11. Not saying it won't be similar, but it will have more variation (until everyone learns the best exp route and then only do that).

Still, the large difference is character diversity, not having to mail items to your alt, or refriend everyone, and have an identity in the world instead of many many unknowns.
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#88 Mar 01 2013 at 2:09 PM Rating: Default
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Torrence wrote:
Louiscool wrote:

Even without "all these weaknesses" Blue Mage and Pup were "lol'd" at, and LFG for days and days. You can bet that this was partially due to full AF blue mages showing up to party without gear swaps and getting 50% melee accuracy because they sacrificed it for extra str on their spells. Again, this is due to bad design.

You can't tell me that you would prefer a blue mage without an accuracy gearset, an ninja without an evasion gearset for uts recast, a sam without a str set, or a mage without a resting /refresh gearset over a players with these things.


Bad design, crappy player perception because some jobs were just TOO strong (yea, I'm looking at you SAM), I agree. But that doesn't mean that the gear swaps solved the problem or that it would be good design to keep it in XIV. For a min-maxer I see the attraction. For the rest of the world? An unnecessary level of complexity that will discourage players.

All that aside, haven't we had enough of inventory -999999 just for the sake of swapping in 1 pt of STR on a WS?


I lol'd hard about that.. I wont lie sam was crazy strong haha.. that was my main.. Sam was STR thirsty!
#89 Mar 01 2013 at 2:11 PM Rating: Default
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Well even though i do not have much experience with FF i used to play WoW (before i switch to other MMOs) quite a lot.If i remember it correctly the gear system wow had wasn't that bad. You see, you need that extra push in attributes only if you were doing end game raids etc. I don't want to get into too much details in that but if you weren't doing the end game raids and you were just exploring, doing quests etc or normal raids you didn't have to go for the best gear. But you can't expect to have lets say 3 expansions and your gear from day one to still be the best.

That way you don't have anything to look for when new sets come out. What i believe is if you have a good balance in the time between expansions (meaning you don't get a new one a few months after the previous) and players were able to get their hands in the new gear and use it, they would be ready to try and get their hands on the new gear from the next expansion.

With that been said wow had certain gear sets for each class so you would find the end game players of the same class having the exact same gear. I do not know if that was good or not to be honest.

I do hope i remember things correctly and haven't made a fool out of myself! >_<
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#90 Mar 01 2013 at 3:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Louiscool wrote:

Still, the large difference is character diversity, not having to mail items to your alt, or refriend everyone, and have an identity in the world instead of many many unknowns.


I wasn't arguing that the many characters model is superior, just that it isn't exactly a failure on the specific points we were discussing (leveling, storyline, etc.).

What started the discussion was this comment:
Quote:
I remember seeing an interview with a GW2 developer who was talking about the attractiveness of being able to play through the game on different characters.

Uh, no.

Having to play through the game multiple times just to experience the different jobs is a HORRIBLE feature of every MMO on the market except for FFXIV and FFXI.


Which kind of misrepresented the leveling experience and made it seem like you went through the grind in XI\XIV once and were done, while indicating that there's nothing attractive about leveling different jobs in other games - specifically GW2. Let's keep it in context.
#91 Mar 01 2013 at 5:10 PM Rating: Excellent
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And again, you do have to replay the game to experience all the jobs. You have to replay the same leveling content in the same zones in the same way, for every job.


I don't think we're talking about the same version of FFXIV.

In A Realm Reborn, people will be able to level through questing, dungeons, hunting logs, exp parties, etc. There will be low-level quests in each city that people can use for leveling different jobs, as well as different dungeons in different areas, and different FATES all over the place.

Unlike FFXI (or FFXIV 1.x), this version of FFXIV is being built so that players can play on the various jobs without having to spam the same content.

And, yes, the storytelling in Guild Wars 2 is really bad. Considering how awesomely polished the mechanics of that game are, it's really kind of shocking how lame the storylines and voice acting are. Of all the people I know who've played GW2, only one was impressed at all with his personal story, and even he said it was nothing to get too excited about. Everyone else I know who plays GW2 has no motivation to log in anymore... and not because of issues with endgame, but because they can't find any "epic meaning" in running around collecting vistas and heart quests.

I'm level 70, and I have yet to even glimpse this big dragon that is allegedly threatening all of existence.

My point stands. Guild Wars 2 is very polished mechanically, but just to play the basic content on one job requires playing through a subpar/average story. It's too early to speak to the mechanics of FFXIV, but at least you'll be able to try all the jobs on your character, and I can guarantee the story will be much more worthwhile than what GW2 produced.


EDIT: And if I DID decide to play through Guild Wars 2 on a different job, you know what I'd have to look forward to? The same heart quests, the same vista points, the same public quests. Grinding through all of that on one character should be enough.

SECOND EDIT: Just to be clear, I actually like playing GW2, when I build up the motivation to log in. However, I like it in the same way that I like single-player games. It just lacks the soul that makes good MMOs special.

Edited, Mar 1st 2013 3:16pm by Thayos
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#92 Mar 01 2013 at 9:57 PM Rating: Decent
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Torrence wrote:
Thayos wrote:


That said, the storyline of Guild Wars 2 is so effing boring, I don't see why anyone would subject themselves to it more than once.

In FFXIV, you can experience all of the different jobs on the same character without having to continually replay the game. With the way FFXIV and FFXI were designed, having this ability makes your character more versatile, and also allows players more access to endgame events.

GW2 sorely lacks this.


Because it isn't all the same storyline for each race? http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Personal_storyline

And again, you do have to replay the game to experience all the jobs. You have to replay the same leveling content in the same zones in the same way, for every job. You are entitled to like one method better than the other, but don't paint it as if you play through the game once and never have to backtrack on anything again. Guild Wars 2 is an especially bad example because so much care was put into the individual stories. A better example might have been Rift. Talk about absolutely no individuality in the storyline or leveling process. Still, crab crab crab isn't much better.

As far as endgame - well GW2 is a PvP game. No one was really expecting them to nail PvE endgame.


For a PvP game, the class balance is pretty awful.

But like others, I didn't have any interest in playing new characters. Started to, couldn't get into it. 95% of the game experience is the same on a new character, even with a new class, new race, and new missions. So what it boils down to is that they created a LOT of content that I could have enjoyed on my first character, but instead will never see. And that, to me, is a huge design flaw, at least insofar as the management of their developmental resources.

Quote:

EDIT: And if I DID decide to play through Guild Wars 2 on a different job, you know what I'd have to look forward to? The same heart quests, the same vista points, the same public quests. Grinding through all of that on one character should be enough.


Basically, what Thayos said.

Edited, Mar 1st 2013 9:57pm by Kachi
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#93 Mar 01 2013 at 11:43 PM Rating: Good
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On the topic of gear swapping/min-maxing...

I liked it, because at the time I had time to try to get the best gear and that added a weird sort of depth. I didn't level further because I was either farming gil, hunting NMs or doing BCNMs. And I was fine with that. I needed to have the best gear to play (and swap) with the JP groups at 4am especially as a tank. Leveling subs also factored into this just the same. Again this was excusable at the time for a myriad of reasons.

But I can understand (now that I can't play 'til 4am) why the gear swapping "mechanic" is more flaw than anything else.

Sure DDs and others now-a-days can more easily get by especially if they have a LOLWS or just by nature of a new game people are going to advance despite their gear and skill, but in the end people are going to min/max anyway. Gear swapping just magnifies that and adds a time sink where there shouldn't be one.

What should take precedence is skill, or at least a focus more on well timed abilities. It should be somewhere around (I really haven't put too much thought into this) 60-70% skill based, and 30-40% gear based.

Think of it like racing cars on a circuit. A Mazda Miata (low powered car) on a technical course could beat a Corvette (a high powered car) if the driver in the Miata was very good. On paper the Corvette should crush the Miata, but in some cases it doesn't. In this case the Corvette has the (high powered gear) but is nerfed by racing on a technical track.

In short we need to reward the skillful rather than ones who can throw money around and have awesome gear and are crappy players. To add even more depth if you have great gear and are a great player, you're going to have to alter your playing style anyway, as evidenced in FFXI where sometimes restraint was needed. Sure that DRK had a Hauberk +1 but always got the group killed by drawing too much hate. The "undergeared" player on the other hand would have to play super great; at a high clip to even think about drawing more hate, but this also should be more exciting, skillful and fun.

But I don't know, I love getting new gear, just as I'd love to have a new Corvette (and I think most people would) rather than driving around in a Miata just to prove a point...

EDIT: Apparently these are the things I think about on Friday nights...lol.

Edited, Mar 2nd 2013 12:44am by Kierk
#94 Mar 02 2013 at 12:07 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
in the end people are going to min/max anyway. Gear swapping just magnifies that and adds a time sink where there shouldn't be one.

What should take precedence is skill, or at least a focus more on well timed abilities. It should be somewhere around (I really haven't put too much thought into this) 60-70% skill based, and 30-40% gear based.


See, I think you're raising some good points that are leading you conclusions that are not necessarily wrong, but miss the mark a bit. The gear is an incentive--that's the purpose that gear serves in an MMO. You kill a monster, for example, and your reward is gear. The gear is the reason why you kill the monster. When you were playing, you set your goals around that. And that's the way MMOs are designed. It's one of the main elements that I'm referring to when I talk about the incentive structure of the game.

But you also noticed that your goals for obtaining gear were not necessarily leading you to have fun. You weren't pursuing the battles that were the most interesting, and getting the gear didn't necessarily enhance your gameplay experience in the way that say, a new ability might.

You're right about the importance of skill, too, but which kind of skill is the question. Should it be reflex-oriented, or it should be strategic... or both? Gear-swapping, or at least the mechanic of on-the-fly statistical changes that it represents, can play into either of these. It can be either type of skill. But it isn't innately skillful, if you're just working that gear into a faceroll rotation that requires no forethought.

So again, if you're looking at gear-swapping as a feature, then it tells you nothing about whether the game will be good or bad. It's how that mechanic functions in terms of skillful gameplay (re: challenge), and as an incentive to participate in the fun content. FFXI didn't do either of these things particularly well, or rather, it didn't do these things purposefully, intentionally, and thoughtfully. It did them well sometimes entirely by accident, and that's why it had a measure of success with many players, and not with others.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#95 Mar 02 2013 at 1:47 AM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
FFXI didn't do either of these things particularly well, or rather, it didn't do these things purposefully, intentionally, and thoughtfully. It did them well sometimes entirely by accident, and that's why it had a measure of success with many players, and not with others.


I agree with pretty much everything especially for this quoted part.

I don't think SE (quite humorously) really had any idea what they were doing with FFXI, and instead of realizing what worked for them in FFXI and what didn't, they haphazardly carried that same tradition with 1.0. And in one sense it's like trying to analyze an accidentally good poem without an intention. Sure some mechanics (in FFXI) turned out good, but it was either by virtue of the mechanic itself, or how the players interpreted it.

Without getting too far off track another example of not knowing what the heck they were doing: the Ninja's role as tank was IMO supposed to be an optimal puller/damage dealer, (which again I'm not sure groups were supposed to remain in a static camp, but whatever) but never flurished in that role, because it was broken. Players figured out ways to cancel shadows, chain Utsusemi and up their evasion, (which was worse than THF). They were supposed to throw things cause damage, but weren't really good at that either, but somehow turned out to be one of the most useful classes in the game; despite SE's intentions or lack thereof.

So I guess that brings me back to some sort of more general point of intention and what actually comes to fruition in a MMO... and if that really matters at all.
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To circle back around, these sorts of "meta-games" of min/maxing can probably be implemented more within the skill based system instead of being placed on mechanics like gear swapping.

My best moments in FFXI were playing solo, because I liked the challenge and in some cases, before FoV/GoV came out (in the early days) it beat out, waiting around/gambling on a group.

But, you're right in terms of motivation, my absolute best moments when I solo'ed my for things that mattered. Namely gear, more specifically AF gear. I don't know if they are psychologically separate entities, but AF represented coolness, nostalgia, good stats, and with completion of the set even better stats. Along with it was a story. It sent you on varied locales. And when doing these things solo; in an otherwise group biased game, it even added more motivation/skill level to complete. Add in the sense of community (When I almost died soloing the bomb and a stranger healed me) and I would assume you have a lot of the motivational factors covered; which made the game, at least in that respect, so addicting.

But (again) the skill part (in some ways), was added by me, even though I went in when I was a bit higher level. (I even soloed a lot of the rank missions; when it came to Maat, he was a piece of cake) These things, like leveling THF to try to get keys solo, and not relying on groups says more about me and how I found enjoyment of the game. I never made it to endgame, but I didn't care, because FFXI had an unintentional horizontal depth, that really only catered (now that I think about it) to the masochistic.
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ARR, and MMOs need to have that sort of depth to be successful. Without rehashing all of the old arguments, something needs to be done to add longevity that isn't endgame. GW2 kinda did that, it was fun (in a reflex type way) it made you explore, but in addition to a thin endgame once you went through the main areas (and discarded them) that was it. The goal was always to level regardless of the attempts to do otherwise.

If (to close a long and disjointed post) ARR can't bank on the FF name and WoW-like mechanics (over simplifying, I know) like I have stated in the past even though I think it will be initially popular, there needs to both be innovation and depth (non endgame) to really succeed.
#96 Mar 02 2013 at 2:22 AM Rating: Excellent
Agree about FFXI. There were a lot of things about that game that worked really well, but probably not intentionally.

One thing that I think was crucial was having benchmarks along the leveling path of each job that required help from others. Back in the day, players looked forward to getting their RSE around level 30, then limit break 1 items at level 50, followed by farming coffer keys and hunting coffers in dungeons from lvl 51-60, followed by the eventual Maat fight, etc.

Also, Square Enix had the guts to create gateways to certain zones of the game. Players had to earn their way to LuFaise Meadows, Sea, Sky, etc. Again, this created benchmarks and a sense of accomplishment for players as they worked toward endgame.

Other benchmarks included awesome weapons and armor dropped by NMs with very low drop rates or insanely long spawn windows. Many players considered getting items from these NMs to be a requirement for playing your job well... almost like a rite of passage, too. Again, this created a strong sense of progression, and also introduced competition and comraderie between players that had nothing to do with game design.

I'm not counting on FFXIV:ARR to have these kinds of elements in place; I don't think today's average gamer could have fun with that kind of stuff.
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#97 Mar 02 2013 at 2:27 AM Rating: Decent
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I'm just going to hone in on a couple of things here:

Quote:
To circle back around, these sorts of "meta-games" of min/maxing can probably be implemented more within the skill based system instead of being placed on mechanics like gear swapping.


The thing about gear-swapping mechanics, or lets say stat-swapping mechanics (what they really are) is that they're easy. Changing numbers around is the easiest thing for a game designer to do. An ability which raises or lowers a number requires very little thought or time. When development resources like time and manpower are considered, these can become a very -efficient- way of creating a large number of incentives (via pieces of gear). They are not particularly -interesting- incentives, however. They very seldom change the way a person plays the game, not in the way a skill like Sneak Attack or Trick Attack would-- cooperative or positional elements which present greater difficulty in development.

As an example, in the summoner thread, someone mentioned how cool it would be if they could go around fighting all of the old summons, and get them as a reward. What a cool idea! But requires a lot of resources to develop. Now, I actually don't think this is the reason it isn't done... the designers just don't really think of doing it more often.

Point being, in an ideal game, your incentives aren't just minor statistical differences, because those differences don't meaningfully change the way the game is played (part of what I refer to when I talk about the importance of novelty), which I think is what you're driving at. In the best case scenario, the incentives actually add to the skill of the game, creating a snowball effect where new incentives lead to new gameplay which lead to new incentives, etc. This is the ideal modulation of intrinsic motivation to extrinsic motivation, if you'll pardon the technical jargon.

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Now, considering your examples of FFXI, we can see that it very seldom awarded you with new gameplay opportunities, and often required you to even repeat content many times over just to get a minor statistical bonus. "Masochistic" is spot on. Then you have GW2, which absolutely THREW incentives like this at you in the early game, but left nothing for the end game. It it was easy to create your "ideal" configuration by mid-game, so the game literally ran out of incentives. It also limited how many you could viably use. Some were weak and useless; others didn't work well in conjunction, and you could only take a handful, so there weren't many viable combinations in reality. In theory, there were a lot of things you could play with, but they always required you to sacrifice things like your current setup, so you were rarely "gaining" from them.

I'm not disagreeing with anything you've said, you'll notice, but I could see that you were working out some of the important concepts of game design. That is basically why I come here-- to be able to better articulate and gain a deeper understanding of those concepts. I find bouncing these ideas around helpful.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#98 Mar 02 2013 at 2:33 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
I'm not counting on FFXIV:ARR to have these kinds of elements in place; I don't think today's average gamer could have fun with that kind of stuff.


Oh, I don't agree with that at all. Jesse Schell actually gave a good talk pretty recently about how important it was for players to find meaning in their games--to experience real accomplishment and connection. (Unfortunately all most people took from it was a few seconds where he noted that demos ended up causing games to be less successful.)

Overcoming difficult challenges is an important quality of a successful game. It's when the players perceive the challenge as unfair or unreasonable that they become frustrated. This would be a problem in games like FFXI because FFXI wasn't and didn't try to be fair--for example, certain classes had a much tougher time overcoming the content than others. Most of the players who stuck around in XI were those who were able to accept that the game was horrendously imbalanced and that there were very few efforts to change that.
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#99 Mar 02 2013 at 3:16 AM Rating: Decent
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An MMO game designer has a much harder time than any other game designer. You always work in a setting where systems are closely linked together and changing something as simple as a number can have and most of the time wil have a snowball effect.

If the designer doesn't have a tight grip over the gameplay (presenting only so many choices to players that the variables can be managed) then the effects of a simple change can have many unintended consequences that are hard if not impossible to predict. However the community WILL find them and take advantage ruthlessly.

Just saying since you seem to think that the numbers game is easy and effortless. if the game is not in designer's control it can be hard if not impossible to do right.
#100 Mar 02 2013 at 3:29 AM Rating: Decent
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Hyanmen wrote:
An MMO game designer has a much harder time than any other game designer. You always work in a setting where systems are closely linked together and changing something as simple as a number can have and most of the time wil have a snowball effect.

If the designer doesn't have a tight grip over the gameplay (presenting only so many choices to players that the variables can be managed) then the effects of a simple change can have many unintended consequences that are hard if not impossible to predict. However the community WILL find them and take advantage ruthlessly.

Just saying since you seem to think that the numbers game is easy and effortless. if the game is not in designer's control it can be hard if not impossible to do right.


I've said all of these things at some point or another; it's nothing I'm unaware of. I don't pretend that it's easy, and I'm pretty sure I said something to the effect of how impossible it was to grasp all of the systems and their interrelatedness simultaneously what, like, yesterday? I believe it was yesterday. It's not easy, but it's not THAT hard either. You do have to go in with the expectation that some things are going to be imbalanced, and plan to adjust them later. You just try not to make critical mistakes that will require major overhauls. Getting the numbers ballpark is good enough for the first draft. And that usually still means major revisions to the numbers across the board.

It's not like the game is entirely in the designer's control when it comes to large-scale projects like an MMO in the first place. It takes greater than grandmaster chess skills to predict all the ins, outs, ups and downs of an MMO's design. That's the purpose of the iterative design process. So it's foolish to maintain a "tight grip" over the gameplay if doing so reduces play possibilities. You really just have to be swift with the nerf bat. As long as you're prepared to adjust the numbers, it doesn't matter if players find some numbers that are too powerful.

Edit: In short, I guess I am saying that it's pretty easy and effortless. It's a trial and error approach. If something sucks and no one uses it, you raise the numbers. If it's too strong and everybody is using it, you lower the numbers. As long as you built the system on a solid foundation, those changes won't necessitate system-wide changes. It's hard to get it right on the first try relying on theory and estimation... it's really easy to fix problems in practice.

Edited, Mar 2nd 2013 1:32am by Kachi
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#101 Mar 02 2013 at 3:43 AM Rating: Decent
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If you don't have a tight grip over the gameplay then you can never be swift enough to deal with the community. They are always faster and more efficient.

If you can't predict exactly what your changes will do then you are the loser in the race. If you throw the ball to the community (let them choose more than can be chewed), you are already dead. At least from a balance perspective.

Its no wonder the number changing game is favored by every MMO.
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