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> Death.. The Ultimate Balance?
Alter demise
post Nov 4 2006, 06:18 PM
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I got in a long conversation with a few gamer friends at work yesterday. We came up with some interesting ideas on a few things. I figured I would start with this idea.


Dragons

Alot of people would play PW just to play a dragon. Dragons are one of those races that alot of gamers respect. It is also one of the many powerful races that players never get to be in MMO's. I have had several people already asking me about this game from word getting around at work and at EB. I have been asked almost uniformly about dragons, and if they are playable.

How do you allow a Dragon into the game as an avatar, and keep its abilities and attributes balanced? That is a tough question. I have no doubt that we can come up with a way to balance races such as dragons. But, what if we did not balance there attributes at all...

We could allow a player to create a hatchling dragon as his character. That hatchling would have a basic set of skills not unlike any newbie character. As time passes the dragon would spend his skill points as he feels and it would grow into a massive powerhouse, just as a dragon should be.

He could have all the powers that any dragon would have. Flight, fire breath, incredible strength. It would be exactly what all players want to have when they make there dragon avatar.

How do we make the non-dragon players want to bother logging in if they are up against dragons? How could a player that powerful possibly help the game?






Permadeath.

A dragon player character has permadeath. (not just dragons but any "uber" tier race) Permadeath would be the ultimate form of balance for a dragon. Any person playing as a dragon would have to carefully gain skill levels. Even the most powerful of dragons would think twice before taking on a city. They would be hunted constantly. There would be an entire culture of players that log in for no other reason than to add another dragon head to there mantle at home. Not to mention the loot that would come off of an adult dragon would be priceless on the market. For every dragon in the game that makes it to an adult age there would be 40 players hunting it down. This would create endless "self content" (theres that phrase Alter uses all the time again) Actually getting to adult would be a challenge in itself, something few would be able to manage.

I think this idea will work well for two reasons.

1) We are now giving the hardcore rp/pvp community something to do. (On top of other features of course)

2) Just the fact that dragons are a playable race will spawn massive interest from all realms of play style.



As with all of my posts, I wont bother getting into specific details..at this point in the process of things I feel my time is spent better elsewhere. I will keep an eye on this post and be happy to explain my thoughts on how to make it work.


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Timmmy
post Nov 4 2006, 10:07 PM
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The perma death is an option but another creature that would be perma death material would be a vampire and they are far weaker than a dragon.Hmmm dragons are a bit on the uber powerful side so heres some thoughts to lessen them somewhat.

Life cycle.
The player must 'grow' the dragon.When the dragon char is 'born' it has few of the dragons abilities.It cannot fly,can only spit fire and is relatively weak.So nest dragon up to mature dragon could have skills like:

Leap(jump a large distance)
Bound(leap and glide a short distance)
Flutter(fly but only as long as stamina lasts)
Fly(not limited by stamina)

Spit acrid(not yet able to ignite contents)
Spit fire(Spit,simialr to a fire bolt)
Blow fire(Blows fire causing damage for time based on stamina)
Breath fire(not limited by stamina)

Tail sting(stabs with tail(last defence action))
Tail snap(a short slashing motion)
Tail whip(a short slashing motion(tail now has spikes))
Thrash(dragon puts full weight behind tail,360 attack)

Snap(effects only limbs etc,no critical wounds)
Bite(Effects whole body,many lesser wounds)
Rend(attempts to bite in half,causes fewer major wounds)
Eat(instant kill,save vs for player)

Damages.
As Dwilfs suggestion with replacing health bars with biological stats and injuries.
-First damage is against wings.First ability to be hindered.
-Next against throat.Fire abilities.
-Next against tail.Area attacks.
-Next against mouth/head.

Choosing the damages like this ensures dragons wont simply go attacking and destroying all the time.Once flight ability is lost dragons lose alot of their ability(especially hinders escape to heal)thus they will never attack something they are not sure they cannot conquer.

Feasting.
Like other uber species they must eat constantly.Eating increases their size and is their only healing option other than slow natural healing.

Healing.
Dragons heal with time and feasting.A system simialr to Kabuto(giants citizen kabuto anyone?)were you can store animals on your horns to eat later would be cool.

Global Alert.
Some form of in town message board were players can report dragon sightings and dragon hunters can check.

Wealth.
PCs killed by dragons will be eaten reappearing were ever appropriate(depending on how Wish decides to go with death)with the equipment they were wearing.However their inventory equipment will go to dragon either belly or den(whichever more suitable.Thus a fully grown dragon could easily make a person if not even a small town wealthy.The dragonslayer(inflicted most damage vs time attacking etc)will be the one who can distribute goods.Note only a player who inflicts 75% or more damage on a mature dragon would get dragonslayer title.Such rewards would ensure large groups of players would come together to hunt dragons.

Lair.
Dragon must find appropriate lair/burrow etc.Also as dragon has extreme advantages including flight over other PCs when the player logs the char stays in game 10mins per level of dragon.So a nest dragon would have the same leave world as any other player.However from there add 10 minutes up to half an hour for mature dragon.While in world the dragon simply becomes NPC.This is because above this dragon is expected to be able to fly back to lair which they will guard until they leave world and lair becomes hidden.The reason for this is to stop a dragon raiding a town,flying over impassible terrain back to their lair.The towns folk spend ages getting there only to have it log out.

Experience.
Dragon is only good at what it does.As feeding is what grows the dragon(nest dragon,young dragon,dragon,mature dragon),it is very possible for two different mature dragons to have very different skills.For example one dragon may have wasted no time getting better at jump through to flight and instead by the time they reach mature dragon be a flightless powerhouse.Alternatively a flying dragon may have spent time training all their skills equally and thus not be a master of any.

Death.
A dragon permadeath is not a true death.Upon becoming a young dragon a dragon may lay eggs in their lair.Upon their death their conciousness passes onto one of those eggs.Effectively the dragon will be reborn at a percentage of their original skills on top of the nest dragons.This is cumulatative so as a player who has been playing a year will have done all of their work for nothing,retaining some of their skills,if not the body to use them yet(flying/clubbed tail etc).

Summary.
Dragons are the hardest species to play and quite rightly so.They take a lot of time and well eating to become true dragons.During their youth they are relatively
defenseless(vs 40 townsfolk and dragonhunters that is).They must constantly put themselves in danger to eat(cows,sheep,players,the usual).There numbers are also quite limited.However they can become the most powerful and feared in the game.They could eventually even assault towns and wreak havoc across a kingdom.Thus and for the reward their bodies hold they are hunted by all!

I sound like a nerd with that summary bit!Enjoy my book report! wink.gif
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Jaramar
post Nov 4 2006, 10:38 PM
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As much as I hate to admit it (as I once was a Dragon enthusiest back when Horizons was still planned as a PvP world), it is a BAD idea to have Dragons in a game as a playable race. There is no effective way to balance Dragons and there are several reasons for this.

Firstly I'll start with the basic problem that crosses both Alter's and Timmy's thread. This is simply known as "Jedi Syndrome". Yes, you will have a rush of people going to buy the game, however they will be buying it to be Dragons (Jedi). When they find out being Dragons (Jedi) is difficult they will begin getting up and leaving in ever increasing numbers while badmouthing the game because thier hopes were shattered. If we give them Dragons comparable to other races we still run into the problem of shattering thier image of what a Dragon is and should be with the same effect. We will also be simply overrun with Dragons in comparison with most other races.

Now, assuming we go with Alter's idea of Permadeath to frighten off people there will still be discontent. Look at Jedi in SWG... they had been permadeath at one point until the community complained to the point where they felt they had to change it. Whether or not this was a good decision is debatable as one thing most people neglect to mention is that after losing your Jedi (or Dragon) you have lost all your work for weeks or months. What this leads to is little "safe camps" to level up your guild's Jedi (or Dragons) until they are 'Ub3r 1337'. When they are inevitably killed a player is much more likely to leave as they've lost a HUGE connection with the game world. Most people will have a Dragon alt and for those that care about playing a Dragon there is a high risk of them leaving when they lose everything.

Going off of Timmmy's rebirth idea we will see some of the same effects. There will still be camps to powerlevel your Dragons, people will be more likely to stay... at first at least... that is true. Eventually everyone will have Dragon alts that are high enough that death is only a temporary setback due to the rebirth percentage and everyone else who plays will be second class citizens. For an example of what happens look at what happened to those few people in SWG (such as myself) that had no interest in being Jedi. We were slaughtered by the dozen at times by far smaller groups of Jedi... Jedi which shouldn't have existed in much the same way Dragons are meant to be rare.

Those are just the beginnings of the trouble bringing Dragons in will cause. I may or may not go on later in further depth and flesh out those ideas and introduce more but trust me when I say that player Dragons will not be a good thing.


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Jerky
post Nov 5 2006, 12:04 AM
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Unfortunately I am going to have to agree with Jaramar. As cool as it would be, we would end up having Dragon farms. In order to do an idea like this correctly, we would have to devote much of our time as a team to doing it, and I think that that is too much.

As much as I would like everyone's fantasies for an MMO to be fulfilled with PW, we cannot and will not be the end-all-be-all for MMO's. We do not have enough "fire-power" to do that. We will always continue considering all ideas, but I just have to throw this out there. If I didn't, Yellow would wink.gif. I don't want to help foster a community of people who think all their ideas will make it into the game. That would be a very bad move to make in the end, since they would all be building expectations and then it would be a let-down when they found out. We are not in the business of trying to trick people into liking PW for the wrong reasons.


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Hankellin
post Nov 5 2006, 12:41 AM
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As much as I would like to play a dragon, I would have to agree with the sentiment that they would require WAY too much work to balance at this point.

The best way I could see for making a game with dragons as a player race is to make them the only player race. (I ran a message board role playing game with this idea and it was difficult.)


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Dwilf
post Nov 5 2006, 03:36 AM
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I'm also against Dragons as a player race or even a normal mob/npc. To me they belong in the realm of GM controlled things used only in epic story arcs.


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Matlush
post Nov 5 2006, 04:18 AM
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/me loves to write his toughts again.

IMHO, if permadeath would be for all, with Karma system... then being a dragon would depend on that Karma system. Something to limit the numbers of dragons. Not just that i log in, select myself a dragon, and - wheee! Hack 'n' slash!

That would require a complex Karma system. Being a dragon in your second life shouldn't be something that is achieved very easy, or being totally a lottery (playing Entropia lately, soo...). To be a dragon in your next life you would have to have contacts with dragons (slaying, talking, whatever), be powerful, have some basic knownolage of magic. But that's to discuss.

Anyway, that would require balance. It's not that "We aren't planning to be unbalanced", but it's something to achieve with testing with gamers. Or having an army of sociologists.

This idea could work up with the growing idea (I've been recently on ToA forums... they have growing thingy). So, you're one of the 100 dragons on the server, but you're getting killed in your youth. So, back to be a dwarf form now.

Muh two centz.


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greendots
post Nov 5 2006, 04:01 PM
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I think it would be cool to allow certain "hero" races to be allowed to players like vampires, maybe a dragonkin. There would of course have to be a limit to the number on the server and a certain difficulty to achieve the lowest status of the race. Probably some type of karma system would be used to regulate. It would also have to be a temporary thing like it would last 1-3 days tops. The "hero" would have some advantages in that they would be much stronger in attacking then a normal character an also last longer in a battle. But, a hero would also have to have some major drawbacks. For example, A Vampire hero would not be able to go out in the day (day in game), he would have to feed on blood to stay alive during the night, (some of the normal things like garlic, wooden steak, silver dager sound dumb to be but O well.) A Dragonkin may be limited to stay in a area suited to dragons (probally not a good idea to restrict them all to the same area but its just an example). There should be little to no leveling in the temporary hero race either it sould be your levels transferred.

The reason why I say "I think it would be cool to..." is because I think it may be too much of an impact on other aspects of game play. While it would allow players who get the hero powers some awesome PvP playing and create a bounty hunter "class" (I know theres not going to be classes... smile.gif But It also could ruin normal PvP and some other areas of the game.

As for Permadeath... I don't think it has any place in MMOs and there are alternatives to using it in the game. I liked Dwilf's suggestion on the player being critically injured which would be equivalent to death in another game, and the player would have to wait a certain period of time to heal and be back at their full game.
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Honis
post Nov 6 2006, 12:49 AM
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Sorry, I felt it necessary to get off topic for a minute:

How about instead of killing an idea before it starts to walk, just node your head and move to the next thread. Even if you think it doesn't have potential for making the game. These forums are pretty much 3-5 community members and the 10 or so devs who actually post replies in the community forum. Developers degrading ideas scares people away from posting. I realize a dev started this thread, but I'm sick of seeing this happening. Jerky brags about his increasing page hits but until this forum has a sizable list of ACTIVE community members all ideas are good ideas.

What I'm trying to say is:

If you don't have anything good or constructive to write about an idea DON'T write it down.


On topic:

This is a good collection of ideas Alter. I wonder if there can't be 2 sets of playable characters. The legendary set like dragons, spirits, sea serpents, etc. that are really hard to get and maintain. As well as the common set like humans, dwarves, gnomes, etc.

This could setup a very unique PvP system never seen before in an MMO since everyone will need to be a powerful common character before they can attain a legendary playable character. Forcing "highly skilled only" races could encourage more informed players to stay longer.

If the PvP end is opened and the permadeath enacted for the legendary PCs, the actual numbers of these legendary creatures (LC) would stay smaller because they would need to be careful of other LCs hunting and of common hunting parties.

City Raids:
The only thing I would really like forced is to have raids be a "do it until its done or not at all." What I mean by this is that if a dragon chooses to raid a city, he goes until every fighter of that town runs or is dead or the dragon itself is dead. PCs don't "respawn" until the dragon is done or dead. More fighters can't join the fight since the definition of a raid is a search without warning, make a sudden surprise attack on (wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn). If a party of dragon slayers is there, the dragon is most likely dead, if not the dragon is fatter, richer, and possibly wounded.

This possibility of being wounded for a time or death would also discourage constant raids on helpless towns. This would also make a smart dragon stay way from repeated raids on the same city (obviously as a dragon slayer I would want to go to that city and wait for the next attack).

Some other random restriction on the LC character set would be the inability to form parties. Never have I read a story about gold seeking dragons teaming together. Once you die as an LC you can't be that LC again. This will also help control population.


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Hankellin
post Nov 6 2006, 01:14 AM
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The legenadry character idea has merit.

How can we limit the guild farm areas? Making it necessary, for say the Dragon, to hold raids on caravans; towns or such to gain sature or advancement as a dragon or other legenadry character? If they are not allowed to group for said raid then I can see it working and limiting the uber guild.


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Matlush
post Nov 6 2006, 10:00 AM
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After the little discussion with Jaramar about that thing that I've posted here, I think I'll have to write it more... complex. I'll start away with describing the system. Dragon will be here just as an example. Please put any questions or thoughts on it.

Few things needed to make it work: One character per account, permadeath of the superior race character, karma system.

Few things to make it work well: Permadeath for all, one character per account, karma system, growth of the superior race character.

Player can gain one time "ticket" after achiving something/permadying, manipulated by karma system. Those "tickets" can stack. These "tickects" allow you to chose the superior race, which is included in this "ticket".

Chosing can be only done, when the one and only slot is free. If permadeath... It shouldn't be a problem, but without, you'd have to delete that character. When the superior race character is created, (Here's a large recommendation to have growth here) we start in one of the many spawn points on the world.

Getting the "tickets"... (Note: It'll work best when permadeath for all. Without... well, then those chances of getting "tickets" should be lowered) You'd have to do some things in order to get them, manipulated by the karma system. So, if you've killed a dragon hatchling, you get a 10% chance that you'll get the dragon "ticket" when you die. Some more things:

5% chance to get the ticket while dying in the battle with superior creature

75% chance while defeating a master superior creature

50% chance while killing a mature superior creature.

0.1% chance for contacts with superior race - talking, trading, teaming up.

(THIS IS YET TO BALANCE)

How would you count it ? Let's say, you killed two master superior creatures. So, your chance to be this superior creature after death isn't 75% + 75%, but it's:

75%/100% + (100% - 75%)75% = 93.75% (high, but it'll never reach 100% totally)

(Sorry, I can't think of a good algorithm now...)

and for someone who has 100 x talked to a superior creature, the chance of being one after death is... uh oh, someone get me a calculator, lol. Well, anyway for someone who talked to a dragon two times, the chance to be one is 0,100999%. So there's no way how someone could grind efficiently a "ticket", as it would be rather pure luck. The one who talked three times to a dragon gets: 0.100999999%.

(That's the lottery part I was talking about yesterday, sorry about not being clear)

Growth... just to make it harder. So, you're not jumping into uber powered character after death, but you've got to develop it. And it should be hard... but not that uber hard to make people not trying out superior characters. It shouldn't be also somehow impossible to kill a superior character. Superior character has got a lot better stats, but it's not impossible to get the same as the superior character one, tho it'll require some work. ( Tho it HAS to be also balanced - something to discuss)

(gee, i ran out of my idea... I think i'll just leave it as it is)

--------------------------------------F-A-Q-----(lol)----------------------

Q: Won't this lead to players grind for superior character "tickets" ?
A: Well, imagine yourself... You're grinding your character to defeat a few master dragons, only to be one. Then, you just suicide, but it's not 100% sure that you'll be it. Then, even if you are the dragon, it's not sure that you'll reach the master growth stadium. Also, I'd like to state that getting a superior character "ticket" is just a bonus... Something that can be wasted easily.

Q: Won't people whine about that superior races are stronger ?
A: As I stated, It would work best with permadeath. If they wouldn't whine about permadeath, then they wont rather whine about some races being stronger... But, true, people would whine about that. It's up to people to like it or not. I'm just aiming for something more like MMOPnP than MMOcRPG*

Uhh... can't come up with any more. Just post them in this topic.


____________


*MMOPnP than MMOcRPG -> I'd like to notice, that in RPGs "saving" the game was not to get back after your character to life, but to contiune the game after a break. cRPG had saves for that, but they were used to restore last saved game when your character was alife... MMORPG comes from cRPG, not RPG directly. So, I think i won't have you to explain why there isn't permadeath in most of the games. But that's also because that people are placing great importance to their characters, making it a second life.

This is still a suggestion... Which will be probably edited a few more times =P


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Alter demise
post Nov 6 2006, 11:24 AM
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I dont think permadeath for all players would work well, It limits the total player bases that we would bring into the game, however I am all for perma death on the 'LC'


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Jerky
post Nov 6 2006, 11:31 AM
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QUOTE(Honis @ Nov 6 2006, 12:49 AM)
How about instead of killing an idea before it starts to walk, just node your head and move to the next thread.  Even if you think it doesn't have potential for making the game.  These forums are pretty much 3-5 community members and the 10 or so devs who actually post replies in the community forum.  Developers degrading ideas scares people away from posting.  I realize a dev started this thread, but I'm sick of seeing this happening. Jerky brags about his increasing page hits but until this forum has a sizable list of ACTIVE community members all ideas are good ideas.

What I'm trying to say is:

If you don't have anything good or constructive to write about an idea DON'T write it down.
*


Im gonna have to respond to this. It would be unfair of me and irresponsible, not to mention extremely unwise, to just nod my head at every idea. We have been doing it for almost 2 years now. There has to be a point at which the ideas stop, otherwise we cannot make any game at all, let alone the uber-game people seem to think we can make. Its called "feature-creep." You guys can continue on, and I like that, but I have to respond in such a way to ideas that may not make it.

It has to be clear to the community that not all ideas are going to make it. If not, the commiunity members are going to be angry and disappointed when it comes time to actually tell them no to an idea that they spent a long time working on isn't going to cut it. It is more important to be clear than just mislead people, which is exactly what I would be doing if I was to just "nod."

I'd say one thing that we do well here is community. I would also say for those that visit often and contribute ideas, that after almost 2 years, there is a trust in the project leadership to do what is right for the project. All I can say is, trust our judgement if you do not like it. Seeing things from the "big-picture" point of view is what we are doing, and it is better to be clear now, even if it hurts some feelings. The alternative is far worse.

Now, to the topic at hand, I never said to not continue discussing it. If I had, the topic would have been locked already. I am curious to see how far we can take the refinement of this idea, but my comments are as a disclaimer. IF we were to do an idea like this, it would be WAY down on the list and may never happen. So, carry on, but be aware that this is not going to happen any time soon, if ever.


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vedomec
post Nov 19 2006, 12:43 PM
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good idea

This post has been edited by vedomec: Nov 22 2006, 04:52 AM
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goatboy
post Nov 30 2006, 05:06 AM
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How about a pool of available 'super characters'? Let's say, for example, that the world can support ten dragons, a hundred vampires, and a hundred werewolves at any one time (probably better worked out as a small percentage of the total population).

If I undertake some highly difficult quest (stealing a dragon egg from some dark cave, carrying it all the way to a remote altar, then cooking it up into a king-sized omelette), I can become a Dragon or half-dragon, assuming that the world has room for another.

Once I'm a Dragon, I retain the status until either I am hunted down and killed by other players (perhaps wanting to become dragons themselves) or some fairly long period of time (such as a fortnight) has elapsed, after which I would be ineligible for dragonhood for a few days. This would help prevent a complete monopoly of the 'supercharacters', as well as helping to give an incentive to players to hunt them down. Limiting the number of available supercharacters, as well as preventing them from forming groups (or perhaps in the case of vampires and werewolves, limiting the group size to 3 or so) would maintain the 'value' of the supercharacters without causing a large imbalance to the game.

Or perhaps once a week there could be a server-wide challenge, where players compete in a quest to achieve Vampirism, Dragonhood etc?

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Void
post Nov 30 2006, 10:52 AM
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I like goatboy's direction on this. There should be a limited amount of these uber characters in the game. So each of these races has a limited in-game amount. And by in-game, i mean at all, not just logged in. To get such a status, you should have to reach almost maximum skills in some sort of way (no clue how to really do it, just essentially have to have played for a long time), and then do a quest in relation to the character you want to become. So a player who would want to be a dragon would have to steal a dragon egg, a vampire would have to do some vampire task, etc. Once you achieve the skills required and do the task, you are put on a waiting list for that creature. You can only be on one waiting list at a time, and can only be an uber character about once a year... or once per account/character.

Once your turn on the waiting list comes, you have a week or two to accept it, then you can play the dragon for 1-2 weeks, or until you are killed. You still have to level up the dragon/vampire/other-uber-char, so you can't just own everyone from the start.

This would get rid of the massive raiding and owning everyone, and still had alters "self-content".


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RicoSuave
post Nov 30 2006, 04:19 PM
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In response to Timmmy, Instead of the one doing the most damage to the dragon getting to distribute the loot, why not make it the City Mayor (or whatever politician)... maybe a regional elected authority. That way if a large group of people feel very slighted by a raw deal in distribution, there goes that player's character that they spent all that time building and campaining for.

I think people will get a MUCH fairer shake if the quality and fairness is directly linked to someone's base character class.

Just my 2
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Timmmy
post Nov 30 2006, 08:23 PM
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Thats a possible route also RicoSuave.The problem is simply the situation.For example,John and his party of dragon hunters have wandered for the last few days trying to find the dragons lair.Upon finding it they immediately begin a mighty battle lasting many minutes.Then within the last minute or two of its life,the local farmers of a small town nearby run in with their pitchforks,throw in a stab or two but mainly stay out of harms way.The fact the towns area of influence covers the lair means the farmers get all the reward.The mayor is quite happy to keep all the rewards for the town and thus unless the dragon hunters want to try to take down a town they are totally robbed and left with no recourse having wasted days of gameplay!

Another possible option:

*Hunt has to be sanctioned by areas ruler,that is ruler agrees to dragon being slain but says that it is most likely the dragon got its wealth form its area dragon slayers cannot keep all wealth thus agree on a percentage to be sent to town inventory(think tax).

*Dragon slayers can hunt individually or in parties but must agree a slayer master.Master is char who will access lair and distribute wealth amongst the others.

*When combat is met,the players on slayer masters list are the only ones who will gain xp from the battle or access to the lair,possibly with a time limit.The slayer master can add other players to list during combat but as xp is relative to number and skill of fighters it may be best to keep numbers low.

*If it is an unsanctioned hunt players would be automatically placed on KOS of that town but able to claim full reward of lair.

*A sanctioned completed hunt would result in player accessing lair and agreed percentage being pinged to towns treasurey.The rest would be distributed as slayer master deemed fit.Note here is to make sure you trust your slayer master.
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Xoshua
post Jan 28 2007, 11:48 PM
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My 2 cents... I have a read a couple of the posts and I was wondering... What if the dragon had to be unlocked? Like maybe to become a dragon you must first be a dragon tamer or something? Like maybe someone may not be able to "be" a dragon, but control one... I don't mean as a pet, but actualy control one, for example. On the screen, the player would tame the dragon and use as a pet or they could channel into the dragon and actually see what the dragon sees, and use its abilities... Just a thought... Also it probably wouldn't be a good idea to have the dragons that are able to be tamed be to big... Just a thought, ok smile.gif
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