Arctic Mud

ArcticMUD => General Discussion => Topic started by: Joe on September 17, 2013, 12:44:50 AM

Title: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Joe on September 17, 2013, 12:44:50 AM
     People will often cringe if we compare a game to WoW. The "hardcore" player base for oh so many reasons. However, to disabuse ourselves of strategies Blizzard used to create the most successful/profitable game ever is foolish. Figuring out what that magic recipe is isn't as easy as it looks either. As players we get so caught up in the shiny baubles of game expansion that we forget to look at what changes are taken to keep existing content fresh and relevant.
     One thing that WoW did to keep subscribers was to obsolete certain aspects of their own game at early levels but keep much of content relevant and expedite the path for new players. They set a pace that allowed brand new players to blitz through old content and join their friends in battling for the high level content. Multiple tactics were used to achieve this: Experience for PK arenas, Starting Dark Knights at level 55, and special leveling gear that grew with players were issued for a small price. With leveling gear grouping for zones at low levels became relatively obsolete since the exp boost was smaller as were stat boosts offered by dungeon gear. This was a brilliant move. The majority of the populace tended to stay at the end game so lower level groups grew scarce. Additionally, moving through quests at a faster rate felt like measured progress as opposed to dungeon spam for now irrelevant equipment.
     The grinding through old content was less monotonous and Guilds were continuously refreshed with new blood and continued to vie for top gear, new zones, and guild server pride. Blizzard also scaled accessibility of their game to an aging player base with careers and kids to think about. You could still be hardcore or you could still tread water and feel relevant as a casual.

     I believe what limits the populations in Arctic is the lack of desire for players of ages past (I first logged on ~'95) to relearn obscure paths and keywords to complete a zone. Fighting is different. Most of us are very willing to die relearning a fight because that's the "action" of the game. What I don't have is the energy behind learning keywords that are/should be very general in zones I've done dozens of times.
     There are multiple times over the years where I've been stumped at a specific place where I had to "shift" or "slide" an object. I've been frustrated when I gave a quest object to a mob but didn't "deliver" it to him and the quest just sputtered out. Why on earth would I spend the time to relearn Crytic forest when I can just go kill a billion pigmies and move on to the next tier of what I barely remember?
     Historically, the response from Arctic's staff has been "lower exp on pigmies, and they'll be forced to go to crytic", "make the exp to level higher and they'll get bored of killing pigmies for 7k exp","Make a new grind for another mechanic (ranks)". None of that resolves what makes me bored. 18 years and my poor memory coupled with a lack of desire to explore every nook and cranny... I really just can't give a damn about how to very specifically twist a tree branch.
     I know if I tried to move it in real life that I would pull it, push it, lift, rotate, twist, shift, slam or whatever to move the damn thing. When I finally moved the object (however it moved), I would see with my eyes. In game terms that motion would be captured in the description.
     I'm pouring what energy I have into my career these days, and in about 5 years I hope to be a director at a medical device company. I want to bring another new therapy to market in the US and Europe, and shake hands with more patients who didn't stand a chance before. I want to marry a girl (ok maybe not the current one...shh) and have a kid or two and watch them grow. Maybe I can take on a DJ gig at a local club again or spearfish regularly off Catalina...and I still want to enjoy my time on Arctic and I want to experience the variety that so many wonderful builders have spent to create this wonderful world.

     Yes, builders included keywords into the game. Those KW are as much their legacy as the rest of the zone. I agree implicitly. Yet who will see the 99.9% of their efforts now when only 6-10 people are on a night? Certainly not me. For all their labors spent on descriptions and mobs and cool events/stories I will not continue to enjoy them because of one lousy trigger that prevents me from finishing the main path of the zone.
     This is not to say there shouldn't be secrets. There should be a plethora of them. This game has lots of secrets, perhaps more that the waning player base can really take advantage of. Arctic's population has always celebrated those who could balance ability, charisma (allies), knowledge and intelligence as our most respected players. These days it feels like knowledge stifles our ability to feel measured and parceled success in the game.
     So, it is of my opinion that most of the low to mid-high zone's should be obvious to players old and new. New zones, revamped zones and places with really rare and wonderful items are loaded could stay rare. So long as they too continued to evolve I'd be quite happy for years to come. I would love to be able to find and move through a majority of the game with simplicity while looking over my shoulder for the PK sneaking up on me rather than getting bored at a wall with a gem in it.

     If this game were to take strides similar to Blizzard's philosophical approach about game maturity, it may re-energize returning players and may even recruit some new ones in the process. I know I would certainly enjoy roaming through the game with greater vigor than I have this current wipe.
     Sorry there is no tl:dr. people have made this argument before though less verbose and been shot down plenty of times. That's good actually. Making things simpler without a proper plan or a genuine understanding as to why could ruin Arctic just as well.

p.s.
I do believe this can be achieved through multiple methods, from wanderlusting kender drops of maps with hints, straight up keyword simplification with event enhancements or minor object/room description enhancement to better lead the player in the right direction.

Cheers,
Joe (Hem, Locky)
Title: Re: The balance of obsolesance and maintaining relavence of existing content.
Post by: Jorquin on September 17, 2013, 07:25:35 AM
if you're gonna post walls of text, add a tl;dr.

i took one look at this after i opened the thread, and just thought to myself "no".
Title: Re: The balance of obsolesance and maintaining relavence of existing content.
Post by: sart on September 17, 2013, 11:00:16 AM
I thought that it was extremely well written.  I have often compared parts of Arctic to the other games.  I myself maxed out characters in Everquest, WoW, and many others.

However, when comparing to WoW you have to realize that the game will soon die.  Bliz did not invent that strategy of simplifying low level content and catering to the end game... SOE used it on EQ1 and 2.  However those games died as well.  Simply put the games low level content was vastly more fun than the end game content.  The newness of it.. the excitement.

I would almost argue for the opposite of your post, that blizzard should take a page from the Arctic playbook and wipe.  You see the wipe back to square 1 once a year is what negates your whole argument.

I will agree that obscure keywords suck.  If I am trying to turn in a hide I should be able to get it to work easily.... because if I was really there I would just say "hey man can you do something with this damn hide?". 

I like the hints on kender maps.. I think that is the golden nugget of your post.  I have touted notable npcs giving hints for a long time.  Theros should know something about this damn emerald hilt for sure!

SArT
Title: Re: The balance of obsolesance and maintaining relavence of existing content.
Post by: Hoss on September 17, 2013, 12:38:29 PM
* I had to edit this so I could read it * - Hoss

TL;DR version: Player would prefer Arctic get dumbed down a bit.

People will often cringe if we compare a game to WoW. The "hardcore" player base for oh so many reasons. However, to disabuse ourselves of strategies Blizzard used to create the most successful/profitable game ever is foolish. Figuring out what that magic recipe is isn't as easy as it looks either. As players we get so caught up in the shiny baubles of game expansion that we forget to look at what changes are taken to keep existing content fresh and relevant. One thing that WoW did to keep subscribers was to obsolete certain aspects of their own game at early levels but keep much of content relevant and expedite the path for new players. They set a pace that allowed brand new players to blitz through old content and join their friends in battling for the high level content. Multiple tactics were used to achieve this: Experience for PK arenas, Starting Dark Knights at level 55, and special leveling gear that grew with players were issued for a small price. With leveling gear grouping for zones at low levels became relatively obsolete since the exp boost was smaller as were stat boosts offered by dungeon gear. This was a brilliant move. The majority of the populace tended to stay at the end game so lower level groups grew scarce. Additionally, moving through quests at a faster rate felt like measured progress as opposed to dungeon spam for now irrelevant equipment. The grinding through old content was less monotonous and Guilds were continuously refreshed with new blood and continued to vie for top gear, new zones, and guild server pride. Blizzard also scaled accessibility of their game to an aging player base with careers and kids to think about. You could still be hardcore or you could still tread water and feel relevant as a casual.

I believe what limits the populations in Arctic is the lack of desire for players of ages past (I first logged on ~'95) to relearn obscure paths and keywords to complete a zone. Fighting is different. Most of us are very willing to die relearning a fight because that's the "action" of the game. What I don't have is the energy behind learning keywords that are/should be very general in zones I've done dozens of times. There are multiple times over the years where I've been stumped at a specific place where I had to "shift" or "slide" an object. I've been frustrated when I gave a quest object to a mob but didn't "deliver" it to him and the quest just sputtered out. Why on earth would I spend the time to relearn Crytic forest when I can just go kill a billion pigmies and move on to the next tier of what I barely remember? Historically, the response from Arctic's staff has been "lower exp on pigmies, and they'll be forced to go to crytic", "make the exp to level higher and they'll get bored of killing pigmies for 7k exp","Make a new grind for another mechanic (ranks)". None of that resolves what makes me bored. 18 years and my poor memory coupled with a lack of desire to explore every nook and cranny... I really just can't give a damn about how to very specifically twist a tree branch. I know if I tried to move it in real life that I would pull it, push it, lift, rotate, twist, shift, slam or whatever to move the damn thing. When I finally moved the object (however it moved), I would see with my eyes. In game terms that motion would be captured in the description. I'm pouring what energy I have into my career these days, and in about 5 years I hope to be a director at a medical device company. I want to bring another new therapy to market in the US and Europe, and shake hands with more patients who didn't stand a chance before. I want to marry a girl (ok maybe not the current one...shh) and have a kid or two and watch them grow. Maybe I can take on a DJ gig at a local club again or spearfish regularly off Catalina...and I still want to enjoy my time on Arctic and I want to experience the variety that so many wonderful builders have spent to create this wonderful world.

Yes, builders included keywords into the game. Those KW are as much their legacy as the rest of the zone. I agree implicitly. Yet who will see the 99.9% of their efforts now when only 6-10 people are on a night? Certainly not me. For all their labors spent on descriptions and mobs and cool events/stories I will not continue to enjoy them because of one lousy trigger that prevents me from finishing the main path of the zone. This is not to say there shouldn't be secrets. There should be a plethora of them. This game has lots of secrets, perhaps more that the waning player base can really take advantage of. Arctic's population has always celebrated those who could balance ability, charisma (allies), knowledge and intelligence as our most respected players. These days it feels like knowledge stifles our ability to feel measured and parceled success in the game. So, it is of my opinion that most of the low to mid-high zone's should be obvious to players old and new. New zones, revamped zones and places with really rare and wonderful items are loaded could stay rare. So long as they too continued to evolve I'd be quite happy for years to come. I would love to be able to find and move through a majority of the game with simplicity while looking over my shoulder for the PK sneaking up on me rather than getting bored at a wall with a gem in it.

If this game were to take strides similar to Blizzard's philosophical approach about game maturity, it may re-energize returning players and may even recruit some new ones in the process. I know I would certainly enjoy roaming through the game with greater vigor than I have this current wipe. Sorry there is no tl:dr. people have made this argument before though less verbose and been shot down plenty of times. That's good actually. Making things simpler without a proper plan or a genuine understanding as to why could ruin Arctic just as well.

p.s. I do believe this can be achieved through multiple methods, from wanderlusting kender drops of maps with hints, straight up keyword simplification with event enhancements or minor object/room description enhancement to better lead the player in the right direction.

Cheers, Joe (Hem, Locky)
Title: Re: The balance of obsolesance and maintaining relavence of existing content.
Post by: Joe on September 17, 2013, 03:30:03 PM
* I had to edit this so I could read it * - Hoss

TL;DR version: Player would prefer Arctic get dumbed down a bit.

It's about balancing the pace of the game at lower to mid-high levels for returning/new players. Particularly, on older zones.

I didn't add a TL:DR on purpose. I will however, change the title. :)
Title: Re: The balance of obsolesance and maintaining relavence of existing content.
Post by: Joe on September 17, 2013, 03:38:23 PM
I thought that it was extremely well written.  I have often compared parts of Arctic to the other games.  I myself maxed out characters in Everquest, WoW, and many others.

However, when comparing to WoW you have to realize that the game will soon die.  Bliz did not invent that strategy of simplifying low level content and catering to the end game... SOE used it on EQ1 and 2.  However those games died as well.  Simply put the games low level content was vastly more fun than the end game content.  The newness of it.. the excitement.

I would almost argue for the opposite of your post, that blizzard should take a page from the Arctic playbook and wipe.  You see the wipe back to square 1 once a year is what negates your whole argument.

I will agree that obscure keywords suck.  If I am trying to turn in a hide I should be able to get it to work easily.... because if I was really there I would just say "hey man can you do something with this damn hide?". 

I like the hints on kender maps.. I think that is the golden nugget of your post.  I have touted notable npcs giving hints for a long time.  Theros should know something about this damn emerald hilt for sure!

SArT

I think WoW should wipe and have a full loot PK system too. Just because Arctic has that right however, doesn't mean that Arctic can't learn from Blizzard.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jorquin on September 17, 2013, 06:57:42 PM
i skim read your post, and i cant really connect with it at all. i love exploring, it's the only reason i really play arctic anymore. the problem i have is i'm quickly running out of things to solve that i know exist, or that are practically possible (some of the quests remaining for me to solve are just so abstract that it's debatable whether they were intended to be solved by anyone other than those pushed in the right direction). if i could wipe my memory clean and start anew today i would do it in a heartbeat, because its what i enjoy the most.

you should learn to relish in figuring out how to twerlimerize that branch.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Joe on September 17, 2013, 07:37:52 PM
i skim read your post, and i cant really connect with it at all. i love exploring, it's the only reason i really play arctic anymore. the problem i have is i'm quickly running out of things to solve that i know exist, or that are practically possible (some of the quests remaining for me to solve are just so abstract that it's debatable whether they were intended to be solved by anyone other than those pushed in the right direction). if i could wipe my memory clean and start anew today i would do it in a heartbeat, because its what i enjoy the most.

you should learn to relish in figuring out how to twerlimerize that branch.

I still figure things out. I still explore. The difference is coming up on content I've hit numerous years before and the desire to re-figure out things that are old hat. Kudos to you for enjoying what you're doing. Even as a child I never enjoyed putting the same puzzle together over and over again. I sought out new puzzles to entertain me...and again, spamming synonyms on a stone you know will somehow rotate is hardly intellectual.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jorquin on September 18, 2013, 07:08:11 AM
neither is not writing down how you did it in the first place...
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Valenore on September 18, 2013, 11:00:24 AM
Like many, I have played off and on for 16+ years.

I agree that the keyword / obscure quest is a hindrance to me.   I never enjoyed that part of the game especially the vain search for synonyms as you have mentioned.  The easiest solution to that would be to either create a standard verb for common actions i.e. anything that involves lateral movement uses the keyword "move", anything that involves rotating an object uses "twist", anything that removes debris/covering is "clean", etc.  Another alternative would be to equate all synonyms so "twist", "rotate", "turn" and "clean", "clear", "scrape" all worked equally. 

Looking at what games like WoW have done is fitting.  One key difference between a game like Arctic and WoW as far as leveling is concerned is that in WoW all gear you get at non-max level is useless at max level while in Arctic a group of mid levels can load decent gear if it all was not already deep rented.  WoW avoids the need for pwipes by constantly releasing newer high end content, gear, and raising the max level.  This in effect wipes the player base because a level 85 might as well be level 1 if the max level is 90. 

What I feel could be learned from WoW is the way gear is handled.  Having limit gear is a key component of Arctic and you can't completely get away from that, but the biggest impediment to me playing is the fact that I can run through 20 zones and never see a decent item drop (meaningful +stat, +dam, 20+dmg weapon, etc).  Ranks augmented this for a while, but you easily reach a point of heavy diminishing returns on them.  So given my limited time I don't see the point in playing when most of my time zoning is with little hope of seeing any benefit. And if I do get a few pieces of gear I am less likely to take risks with it because I don't have the time to spam zones for several months collecting  other people's decays so a loss of this gear would lead to my quitting until the next wipe.  The best solution I see to this is keep max 3 and less gear limited but make the rest of gear no limit with low load percentages.  This would be somewhat similar to how WoW handles gearing.   I am willing to play and go zone if spamming a zone 10 times means I will likely get the item I want from there. 




Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Tajs on September 18, 2013, 12:12:54 PM
Just a note to the "no gear is loading".. There are so many zones in the game now, that if you pick one of the more uncommon ones, stuff will load or drop locates. Spamming for spells is how it is now and that sucks, it would be double up on sucking to spam for eq  to imo.

But I do agree that some of the kws of, say, Terk are pretty weird and creative stubboness to solve. But generally the older zones are pretty straight forward.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Hoss on September 18, 2013, 01:00:06 PM
I agree with a lot of you on the point of some keywords just being ridiculously difficult to figure out, no player wants to spam keywords with no clues to discover that they need to type "twiddle candle gently to the left while hopping on one foot". That kind of game play is not something I support, and I do agree that we have zones in game currently that fit that bill. I do however, very much like the puzzle solving aspect of Arctic and I think that is a huge draw for the majority of the players. Solving that difficult zone, and holding on to the secret combination gives you some power and is very rewarding.

I also would agree to some level that the way Arctic handles some of the equipment is a little archaic and does not lend it self to casual game play. When I look to see how much gear is actual in rent, it always makes me ask myself if Arctic just has too much gear. While it might be sad that some goon has rented Nightbringer, there are 10 other weapons that are not even rented. I do not want players to spam dko over and over and over again because it is the easiest zone to gear up on so it is a delicate balance and will take some serious sand-boxing to solve. Anyway, I'm offtrack...

Since WoW is a common item in this thread I will agree that puzzle solving is not something found in WoW and that most of the game play and content is spoon-fed to the player. While this might be attractive to some, it is a direction that I do not think Arctic would benefit from. Are there some lessons to be learned from other online games? Yes, of course. Are we going to implement them or try to copy these games? No, we really must find that unique fit for what works best for us and move forward with it.

Am I looking into keywords? No, I am not right now. They are on the docket, but a bit far down the list of priorities.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Zozen on September 18, 2013, 01:51:22 PM
The main reason to have areas that Terk creates and the creators that are in a similar vein as him is that it adds content for the few individuals that play that enjoy the challenge of actually reading through room descriptions and finding the keywords within that content that might take multiple areas intertwined to solve. What was brilliant *cough* about Terk was that yes, he made it so you have to read a lot and basically look at everything in a room but he gave you a reason to go there: great experience, coins, and useful items. Thus, an area like the mine that is deep--which has layers upon layers of content can be great for the casual player that just wants to kill things and get xp or the player that wants to spend hours (days) learning all the secrets for the gear. Both have their rewards and its win-win for all involved. Some of the older (especially low-mid) zones have no reason to go there (no xp/coins) except to solve their secrets, which in the end can be fairly worthless (newer content has added better items that are easier to get/learn/solve.)

Keywords: either commit them to memory or write them down once you solve them, it's easy to make a notepad document with all keywords for each zone you go to. some are a pain (is it combine or merge or join or assemble or...) but whatever, its all a time sink anyways.

Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Joe on September 18, 2013, 02:00:46 PM
neither is not writing down how you did it in the first place...

 I used to focus on the pk aspect of the game more than zones. If you forgot something it was easy to find a group and someone would know the kw and you could guess it from the description. These days its a lot more solo work.

 Back then the cloud didnt exist. What you're suggesting is keeping a journal for every game you played 20 years ago? There were a LOT of rpg single player games back then that required it and I did make a few arctic journals but if you think keeping those took priority in college or the great opportunities in life we have in our 20's any beyond then wow...i'm really sorry man.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: reed23 on September 18, 2013, 03:37:05 PM
The problem with the obscure zones is that if you currently don't lead them and know how to solve them to the fullest, you are at a huge disadvantage on the top-tier competing part of the game.  Ranks, EQ, and Spells.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: gulca on September 18, 2013, 04:02:03 PM
One main complain I have about the quests are incomplete quest items.

How many times does the creator want us to spam the zone to complete the quest? Imagine if you are new to the quest, and the needed clue/quest item didn't load. You can spend hours inside trying to figure out what the next step is. Is this fun?

The fun thing about mage tower tests is that you know they can be completed (a goal) and you know all the items are there. All you need is time to figure out. Can't say the same with a lot of the quests/keys in most zones outside the mage tests.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jorquin on September 18, 2013, 04:49:13 PM
i resent that statement a bit reed, "know how to solve them in the fullest", i've had very little help throughout my years and solved the vast majority of what i know through face planting into death like theres no challenge - but i've managed to solve a significant portion of the game content.

last wipe i had in excess of 160 deaths from exploring, most of which were in one zone.
 i think the reality is that if you want to solve obscure stuff that gives you a minor advantage (and yes, the advantage is minor) then you have to put in the time to do it.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Alecto on September 18, 2013, 05:45:13 PM
First, I think you SHOULD have to lead a zone 20+ or 50+ times to start appreciating the nuances...that's why those layers are there in the first place!  At first you run Sirrion Caverns just for the trog xp, then you start noticing some weird stuff the 5th or 6th time.  Why won't that door open? What's up with the lizard?  Eventually you figure out some of the answers to those questions, but it just leads to more.  Eventually you are talking to ghosts and finding out there is a whole level to that zone you never would have guessed was there when all you wanted was a dart or a star, or maybe a cuirboilli byrnie.

That's what makes arctic great - that's why I play 20 years later.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: gulca on September 18, 2013, 06:24:02 PM
Having to spam the same thing 20+ times to appreciate the game? Step back a minute and try to explain that to someone on the street.

The very thought of repetition (no guarantee of success) scares most of our players away. What would new players think?

Me: Here, this is an awesome game I log on every day. Make an account and join the fun.
Guy: Really? what do I need to do?
Me: Well, create level 1 character and start stomping spiders. Be careful though, they might bruise you to death. So get ready to flee when your hp goes low.
Guy: Sounds fun. What happens when the spider dies?
Me: Well, you have to kill at least 13 spiders to level up. Then you have more hp.
Guy: What do I kill after that? Can I kill dragons?
Me: Uhh, you'll need to kill spiders till you are level 3.
Guy: Really? Ok, sooooo, I need to kill 30+ spiders, then I can go hunt some badass dragon?
Me: My god, are you real? You are only level 3! Go kill goblins when you are done with spiders. Not any goblins though. Stay on the upper sewers.
Guy: Do I have to kill 1 goblin or 30 goblins?
Me: Nevermind. Go back to your FPS.

Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: reed23 on September 18, 2013, 08:08:01 PM
i disagree with you daniel.  the top tier zones that are very obscure and are very close to impossible to explore fully without immortal hints gives you a huge advantage in the game.  however, because legendary is so overpowered, it does bridge the gap slightly.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: sart on September 18, 2013, 08:58:14 PM
I love to explore as well... but don't kid yourself and lie to others that you don't need steered a bit for some of it. 

Back in the day some things were created to be so obscure that only that creator and his allies would know it.  I could give you several examples of things you would never know existed if not shown by someone.

For an example, I explore with over half of my time, on legend thieves... I have taught myself tons, and know some things that even the great Daniel doesn't.   However, there are things like Emil that I still have never done... now it doesn't really matter to me since the set was wrecked, but still.. I have spent so many hours on that quest.... days... the damn staff is fast decay.  I have tried some of the most obscure things on that.. like Astinus' sphere... still never solved it.  There is nothing obvious.  Or my earlier example.. the emerald hilt.. show me 5 people that even know where that thing loads and I bet 4 out of 5 were shown by someone else. (and I still dont know what to do with that either).  The only people I know that know those quests were shown by someone else..  who was probably shown by their creator.

And you all know that half the really smart top 10% have files passed to them from someone.

So it comes down to this... Do you want people to gain knowledge from others on Arctic.. or from exploring?  Have NPC's give obscure hints when asked correctly.  I seriously think that Theros or some of the guild masters may have heard something about some items or things... or atleast Tanis.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Alecto on September 18, 2013, 10:32:08 PM
I know how to load the hilt, and you are right, someone showed me, and I STILL have no idea what to do with it...is there a blade somewhere that goes with it?

My one frustration with arctic is that there are a pretty good number of disabled quests (crytic owl, the gem that loads on galazor, etc.) which can be time consuming until someone finally tells you that quest isn't around anymore.  I guess I should be idea/bugging more, but its hard to make a comment when the quest might be fully functional and I might just be too stupid to figure it out...hell, both the examples I gave might actual be active, maybe I should wander around fyzian underground more and stare at those coffins...
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jorquin on September 19, 2013, 07:35:22 AM
i'm not "great", i'm just some guy who explores a lot. i really haven't had much help over the years and the majority of the help i have had came from players, not immortals. where those players got the information i can not say.

generally it pays to have friends, and i don't mean friends in high places. since my days in outlaws i maintain strong ties with the danes and also the americans who played in outlaw with me. of those who do still play, we are split into different playing groups now - which has its advantages. danecrew and myself have worked in tandem to solve zones, sharing pieces of information that the others missed on numerous occasions.

in lieu of this alleged "immortal advantage", we took strides to create our own advantage - cooperation between friends regardless of current circumstance.


to reed: maybe knowing zones others don't and getting the hidden shinies does provide an big advantage, i'd argue it's minor but i could understand both sides of the arguement. the statement that obscure zones can only be solved by immortal hints i refute, i've solved a lot of random quests/zones by trying absolutely every possible thing i can think of... and it usually ends up being the ones you try when you're bordering on giving up and think "this is such a ridiculously stupid idea it'll never work", and then it does.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Vastra on September 19, 2013, 10:07:37 AM
I just started playing recently, so I'm sure my input doesn't have much weight, but I like the difficulty of the quests. Figuring out the sacrifice portion of the the temple in Balifor, as well as how to get to velda, and that zone in general, was a lot of fun. However, the brog item exchange quest would have NEVER occurred to me without tips from another player.

My only suggestion would be to use the "HINT" function that is part of the conclave test to give a hint as to what quests are in the zone/how to start/end them.
Title: Re:
Post by: Terk on September 20, 2013, 05:23:23 PM
Since people have pointed to me on a few occasions on this thread, I thought I'd reply quickly:

1) I actually don't like very difficult keywords that are not directly hinted. However, I think in saying when you move something in real life you will do a variety of verbs to it has very little relevance to Arctic. Arctic is not real life. It is a game. The parameters are clear for keywords: specificity of the action matters. Now yes I could make it so that when you do a poorly specified action like "fool around with" <object>it blows up in your face, but since what I want you to do is twist it, you will have to do that and just that to solve the puzzle. That's a fairly reasonable parameter given the entire world is constructed of text.

2) Since you need to know very few keywords to advance from low level to high level, I see no reason that old low/mid level content that has secrets now be opened for everyone to know. You deserve your knowledge in this game. That's truly what separates great and good players. Knowledge of the game is our primary point of stickiness with players. When you learn something, it is yours. You earn it. You keep it. And even when it wipes, you hold on to it.

3) I don't hate the hint idea from our very new player. It could be a nice middle ground, maybe we'd steal a million xp per hint.

FYI: my opinion is not necessarily inline with that of the staff.
Title: the newbie hint
Post by: snax on September 21, 2013, 01:03:35 PM
Bigby's Big Whiney Newbie Hint Spell:

 parameters:
Functions as room and object spec read [current room only]: penalty health -20 for 3 hours, can only reuse 1x / 24 hours playtime.  -1 level -2 rank.  No cast for 1 hour.

 duration: instantaneous
 guild for : red/white/black robe
Component casting:  Reduces Rank loss

Creates a magic mouth that echos specs in current room, and current room number.


Me likeys!
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jarrad on September 21, 2013, 01:51:00 PM
By hint, it should be cryptic not handing it to you... Your spell idea simply creates a trash char to gain info...

I remember listening to the wandering kenders stories and getting all excited about the story about the cat and thinking it was a clue to solve the diamond collar... If that was a clue, it didn't help me at all!

And then Emil's quest leading me to an oasis in a desert and then fizzle...

Traditionally the mystic combo would change each wipe, as would huma's but realistically, most people don't have the drive to refigure shit every wipe...

The truth is that most people "solve" stuff by asking those few who have solved it or designed it for either hints, or just a walk through...

And what keeps you playing the game once you have all these solutions?? There is a higher level of game knowledge in the playerbase than ever before, and a much diminished playerbase... Not a coincidence...
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: snax on September 23, 2013, 12:34:26 AM
not if it is a circle 9 spell and affects everyone in a clan! and the character must be clanned to do it...or with a group of a least 3 people to pull their life force and nerf them too

me adjust me still likey!
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jorquin on September 23, 2013, 09:54:06 AM
ppl will just level trash to get info
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Valenore on September 23, 2013, 01:31:34 PM
That's truly what separates great and good players.

It is also what separates players who have 30 hours a week to play from players who have 3 hours a week to play.  Couple that with the fact that there are 10x as many people with 3 hours a week to play as there are those with 30 hours a week to play and you get 10 people playing at peak times.

Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Nostramazos on September 24, 2013, 08:39:25 AM


 Hear me, Hear me!

 The main problem in solving keywords in zones is feedback. In many cases there is none and that "huh?" is consistently murdering and frustrating most explorers especially when common logic says that the keyword that you have just typed should work but it doesn't. The "huh" also kills the mood of exploring and makes you rethink the whole process that just brought you here and also the time that you have spend in a zone (and that thought is the biggest enemy of them all).

 Providing feedback would most definitely be a better success than a HINT and it would still be within the spirit of exploration, a HINT that comes from the system is not. So you just tried to "PUSH a wall" but that is not working. "The wall does not even budge" would be a good que for the player to try "SLIDE wall". For more sophisticated keywords more feedback would be necessary. So again the player pushes wall but the wall does not budge "You put your hands in the center of the wall and push with all your might but nothing moves. Yet you feel that your right hand met with less resistance". Maybe that is a good que to ROTATE wall.

 Many zones have that kind of interaction with the player but others don't. When you know the riddle is in this room and on this object but huh is the answer for your efforts then you are losing heart (especially if you have spent some time or days in a zone).

 It may be another thankless job for creators but with so much innovation and talent we have seen in many of the new zones maybe it is worth looking into that more thoroughly.

 nostramazos



 
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jorquin on September 24, 2013, 01:42:59 PM
my honest opinion  -  this is just a whining thread.

this game has always been the same in terms of keywords/solving. its in fact easier now to solve since it can be done on less people since characters are overall stronger. why now are individuals whining about zones being "difficult" to solve?

its the "i want it easy" mentality and a bunch of crying.

wahhh i don't have the time or patience. wahhh this other guy worked out stuff i can't. wahhhh this sucks i can't enjoy random quests without having to invest some time/effort to solve them. wahhh this keyword is too hard, i know what i need to do but i don't have the patience/mental fortitude to sit and figure it out.

if any of the junk in this thread were implemented i'd probably never play again. all i see is cop-out shortcuts being suggested that would ruin the game from my perspective. i HAVE invested the time and effort to solve the things i know, why should whiners get it free purely because they whine?



tl;dr: squeaky wheel should not get the grease in this instance. lazy players hoping for shortcuts which would undermine the efforts others have already invested. stop whining, drink a cup of concrete and harden the bapt up you little babies.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: gulca on September 25, 2013, 09:29:37 AM
Seriously who figured out the 1st keyword to temple of takhisis (ToT) without help?

Till today I have no idea where the clue or hint is. And the 2nd keyword I just realized this past month where it was from. But to tie that place to ToT? No chance in the abyss.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Joe on September 29, 2013, 10:23:39 AM
my honest opinion  -  this is just a whining thread.



By your account then, any negative feedback is whining. Most people who run successful games, businesses etc. seek out constructive feedback both positive and negative. Let me clarify, that "constructive" doesn't mean "everyone likes it".

We've heard your opinion on this topic and we respect it. Threatening to rage quit  over some minor low level zone changes however, is hardly mature. Daniel, you should probably just stay away from this thread if you don't like it. Right now you just look like and adult  throwing a tantrum every time his candy gets taken away by mommy.

At some point the Imps are going to ask what kind of player they want to cater to. the guy who resorts to ragequitting, threats and/or insults, or the other guys. Hopefully, they don't pick you.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Saint_Ronin on September 29, 2013, 01:41:58 PM
I'll follow suit with Vastra, because I'm very new as well. I have very little experience with MUD games and I only recently got back into them. I can only say that in my experience with this game alone, I had to type in about five synonyms for one word before I stormed off to the inn to rest and quit the game. I was in no mood to play after trying to figure out "Retreat", through various commands like, "Run Away", "Escape", "Flee", "GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE", "GTFO" and so on.

I'll also say that I was a bit taken aback by the vastness of the world, though I've decided to stick around Solace until I get into a party (or this wipe day that people speak so highly of). It was something that I really wanted to explore, but only after I figure out the commands. If there was one solid list of commands that pertained to this game specifically, that would help out a lot. I refer a lot to the newbie pages, but there are things that are not covered. I spent about 10 minutes trying to speak to an NPC only to realize that I had to just "Listen" to get the mission. So much for my RP experience.

But I'd like to finish this on a high note. This is a good game, and it does offer some level of forgiveness to an inexperienced player. I still haven't figured out the first quest, but it doesn't mean I have to. I can just wander around and hunt for food, gaining experience and training my skills. I enjoy that. I can find players and randomly chat with them. I enjoy doing that in character. I enjoy the world, and how much it has to do with the series it is modeled after. If there was some thing I would change about this game, I might suggest some way of bringing the active members (as Joe said, the 6-10 active players a night) together for some kind of 'adventurer pow-wow' that could build up a stronger fan base, and then help bring players in. I've got friends that would enjoy the game immensly, but they are even less experienced than I am at MUD but a good community could fix that. Hint hint.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Dyl on September 29, 2013, 04:50:31 PM
Gulca - I did.  Zones plus Google and having read the books.  Just because we are 30+ and don't give a crap about bad fantasy novels....
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Saint_Ronin on September 29, 2013, 06:22:01 PM
To be fair, I'm not quite 30+ yet.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Neal on September 29, 2013, 11:00:45 PM
We all should take the time to listen to Saint and Vastra. We might learn something.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: sart on September 30, 2013, 10:09:43 AM
Site ban everyone who played prior to 2000.  This would be good for the game.. and for us. 

Let the newbies have the fun we once did.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Saint_Ronin on September 30, 2013, 10:39:42 AM
I wouldn't like the idea of banning anyone. Us new guys could learn a lot from the experienced players.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jorquin on September 30, 2013, 07:11:43 PM
dear joe:

it won't happen anyway so i'm not worried, and it wasn't a threat to ragequit it was a statement of fact.
i'm under no illusion that the powers that be couldn't give two shits whether i play or not, so it's not like i'm trying to hold anyone to ransom by saying it. i think it would do you well to realise there are lots more people that play arctic on and off than just you or i, and that one person's opinion will never really be important - its just one of the voices in the choir. i'm entitled to my opinion, you're entitled to yours.

you are just trying to twist my perspective to be so negative as to discredit my post and use it as ammunition to fuel your own agenda, although ironically your post contains borderline personal insults and overall reflects more poorly on your character than mine.

negative feedback isn't always whining, but saying the game is too hard because you can't solve riddles that others can IS whining.

Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: reed23 on September 30, 2013, 11:00:39 PM
Daniel - I think what a lot of people are trying to get at is there are a lot of zones and quests in the game that are so obscure, that unless you have insider information, a bot army, or 50 hours a week to dedicate to arctic, it is not possible to figure them out or even know that they exist.  Even you told me to give up on Blood Shoal unless i had 40 hours a week for 52 weeks to dedicate to the zone.  I am told that Sanjuro was even watched how far we progressed into Blood Shoal and then laughed/mocked our efforts to dele members.

If I made a zone the size of Sanjuro's Blood Shoal (which honestly took 1500+ hours to make), I would want more than 1-2 people be capable of doing most of the zone.  Why make a zone and have no one ever be able to solve the riddles without the help of someone else.  Does that make any sense?  That is only one example, and several other exist on arctic.  I agree that it is fun to know how to lead zones that not many people know how to lead, or have knowledge of quests/etc. that few people know.  It is rewarding solving KWs, etc. in a zone.  But it is a fine line that is probably hard to balance.  Especially when these extremely obscure quests are made by immortals and then they tip off their friends, and they are part of the few that have access to the benefits.  But such is life, so everyone can have their opinion and some will be happy and some will bitch and moan.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Joe on September 30, 2013, 11:03:22 PM
Solving a "riddle" by mashing random keywords after reading every description, looking at every object in every description, looking and examining every item and every mob and still not having a hint is not satisfying.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Saint_Ronin on October 01, 2013, 06:40:00 AM
Just out of curiosity, would that be a good reason to have a large party of mixed players (veterans and newbies) to run through an obscure zone and work together to get through them?
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Jorquin on October 01, 2013, 07:33:31 AM
that's not what i said, what i said was you won't solve the deeper parts of the zone any time soon unless you invest a lot of time

and to the above post funnily enough yes, i've been stuck on things in zones before that newer players have helped me solve. my fundamental flaw in exploring which many share is that i will continue to overlook things i have previously missed, often newer players have different perspectives and notice the things others missed

Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Joe on October 01, 2013, 07:58:38 AM
I don't think this thread was meant as a discussion about high level/high group zones. It was meant as low to mid game elements reducing the pacing of the game.

At a low level, there is less grouping and smaller groups. Statistically, KW of the same difficulty will (per time spent in zone) take longer at low levels than it will at high levels for the group to proceed.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Chisul on October 01, 2013, 08:34:36 AM
I think the whole keywords are hard argument stems, at least a little, from a sense of entitlement among players who feel the game's "fun" is directly connected to the ability to run certain zones with minimal risk/time invested.

Arctic is HUGE! Just yesterday I learned about several item loads I have never seen before (and this is after running the zones in question literally hundreds of times over the years), Another player taught me a new equipment set (that's not posted on the current set list), and we ran through a zone I have never set foot in before.

The point? I logged off yesterday thinking "Wow, that was awesome!" I really don't need to spam the same cycle of high level zones over and over again to win the game. There will always be secrets, obscure tricks and tips, and a multitude of other things waiting to be explored. Sure, it's not easy...and at times completely unrelated. (So I find this hidden room in the literal middle of knowwhere, kill the mob and take the X, travel halfway across the world to a completely obscure mob, type in the keyword, and he will give me a HINT, as to how to proceed in the quest?)

But to me, the obscurity and rarity of information makes this game worthwhile. If every keyword was push, pull, tug, or snatch things would lose flavor very quickly.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: Zozen on October 01, 2013, 08:59:53 AM
my fundamental flaw in exploring which many share is that i will continue to overlook things i have previously missed, often newer players have different perspectives and notice the things others missed

This.
Title: Re: Balancing the pace of the game at low - high levels.
Post by: sart on October 01, 2013, 11:24:20 AM
Chisul's getting his wolverine on?