Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guild Wars 2: One step how about the other foot as well?

Some press release on guild wars 2 over here at mmocrunch

Taking a quote from it
Johanson spots another flaw in the basic quest design used in traditional MMO’s, “what the quest text tells you is happening in a quest is not actually what is happening in the world.” Johanson mentions that often times the events you are supposed to alter, say slaying a group of goblins that are attacking someone’s farmstead, actually don’t effect the game environment. By slaying your 20 goblins you are supposed to kill, you won’t actually save the farmer’s home, those same goblins will simply respawn, ready for the next adventurer to take the quest, thus, in the game world, perpetually putting the farmstead in danger. Johanson says that this is an unacceptable form of questing. With the new Dynamic Events System, if you don’t stop those 20 goblins, they will destroy the farmer’s house, or oppositely, if you defeat them, they will be gone and the farm will truly be saved.
However, look into this further information and you find things are actually cyclical

I wrote the following comment at mmocrunch and thought it'd make a good post here, starting with quotes from the press releases:

“if you don’t stop those 20 goblins, they will destroy the farmer’s house, or oppositely, if you defeat them, they will be gone and the farm will truly be saved.”

“These events change the world when they occur, but it isn’t a change that lasts forever in the persistent world”
So the farm is saved for twenty minutes, or half an hour, or something?

And their example of Skritt? It makes it sound like you have to go through Skritt, somehow, to get to the ending. Like it’s B in A, B, C and D, where D is the game end. In other words, the bigger picture is linear, no matter how many ways you can approach Skritt.

That said, even with that critique, they still seem to be taking a giant stride ahead of other mmorpgs!

And the non subscription plan seals it for me – I’ll buy it. But I really think this is just a giant stride ahead. In the end, that farm is still put back into danger.

If they could procedurally generate new farms, or have player built ones somehow, and after being saved X number of times that particular version of a farm is permanently saved, that’d be taking the next big step.

The step to actual world persistancy.

But beyond dismantling their missuse of the word 'persistancy', it sounds fun in itself and buying it will help fund actual development of mmo's into something new. Unlike a certain company who, from the millions they make each month after expenses, developed a...sparkle pony. And needed $25 from millions of customers to recoup the massive R&D involved, of course. The guild wars team seem slightly more ambitious than that...bless 'em!


  1. I think it's a matter of scope. As much as I've argued for real persistence and dynamic worlds, I know enough about game development to know that such would be a huge undertaking. Cyclical near-dynamism is a step in the right direction, to be sure, so I'm still liking what GW2 is angling for... but real dynamism and persistence is expensive. I think it's worth developing, but the moneywonks apparently disagree.

  2. Well, why is it expensive?

    There are a ton of web comics out there where one or two dudes put out a nice looking comic each week. How much different is it to click the dimensions of a new room, put some items around, maybe type some quick descriptors in ("the vase has a strange lustre") just once a week?

    Not to mention city of heroes has the whole mission architect thing and a ton of content made by users.

    Rapid in the moment dynamism? Sure, out the window - but something like players play and then at the end of a real life week you see a result? Seems eminently plausible.

    Indeed, given the number of people who apparently cheered when they heard a barber would be added to wow, even really ephemeral changes excite them.

    You could have stuff where players can chip in points to get the local church roof repaired (read roof skin change from 'roof_damaged' to 'roof'). At the end of the week, if they have enough, it changes forever!

    And I bet they'd go wild for that! And as if it's not hard to find more stuff like church roof (the bridge is broken, the rivers poisoned, etc)

    Of course I'd like bigger things than that, but currently not even small crap like this is being done - and for no apparent reason.

  3. Oh and I should say that while guildwars 2 isn't doing this, they are (if they deliver what they are talking about) doing a ton more than what certain other companies have done with hundreds of millions in profits and half a decade or more where they could have done something.