Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
 
Grouping without an invite

MMORPG.com has a description of the public quests of Warhammer Online. These are basically areas in which some event takes place, and everybody entering the area automatically gets the public quest to participate. The events can have multiple stages, and players can join and leave whenever they want. For example there could be an orc invasion, and when 100 orcs are killed, a big hill giant appears as the final assault. Players can participate first by killing orcs, then by all ganging up against the hill giant. Sounds interesting, and new for PvE, but if you look closer the system isn't so different from a PvP battleground in World of Warcraft. And that gives you a hint about what could be going wrong with this. Alterac Valley isn't exactly a shining example of player cooperation.

The fundamental problem is that it is very, very difficult, if not impossible, to exactly measure a players individual contribution to a large group effort. Software can't tell the difference between a player guarding a strategically valuable graveyard in AV, which just happens to be not under attack, and a slacker who parked his character at an out of the way graveyard and went for a coffee. In WoW both of these players would get the same reward, that is they receive reputation points for everything their faction does on the whole battleground, but no honor kills because they aren't close to any fighting. In the case of AV that reward structure leads to people rarely trying to defend anything, and both sides rushing past each other towards their target. Only if you are where the fighting is do you get honor kills, so doing something strategically more clever gets you less reward and thus isn't done.

In the public quests of WAR, how will rewards be distributed? If just being in the area when the 100 orcs are killed is enough to get credit for all kills, some people will always try to stand a bit behind and get full rewards for minimal effort. If rewards are proportional to damage dealt, damage dealing classes get more rewards than support classes. How much reward is a point of healing worth compared to a point of damage, and what about overhealing? How much is a taunt worth, or any other form of crowd control like sheeping? If you get credit for any kill where you just "participated", somebody doing AoE damage will get more rewards than a melee fighter. The list of problems goes on and on, there is simply no system where the reward is strictly equal to the effort put in, for all possible classes and actions.

This is why in current MMORPG you are only part of a PvE group if you got an invite to the group. So if somebody is a slacker and just trying to stand behind and still get a reward, the group leader can kick him out. That isn't the most logical thing from a story point of view: If Farmer Brown has a problem with wolves on his fields and wants 10 of them killed, and there are two players on that quest, why does it make a difference whether these two players are grouped or not? If they are grouped they just need to kill 10 wolves, each kill counting for both players, if they aren't grouped they need to kill 20 wolves. But from a point of playability this is necessary, because if each wolf killed would count for every player on the field, without needing a group invite, some players would just stand there doing nothing until other players did the quest for them.

If players were automatically grouped by just being in the same area, how would loot be distributed? Especially for big boss fights that is a big problem. The fact that every guild in World of Warcraft has a different system to distribute raid loot proves that there isn't one obvious fair system. Imagine in a WAR public quest the final event boss drops an epic item, everybody around is allowed to roll for it, and the guy who wins the epic is some low-level rogue who just stood close enough to the combat being stealthed and not contributing or being in danger at all. A guild can enforce loot distribution rules by kicking out ninja-looters. But if everybody who turns up is automatically part of the raid group and can't get kicked out, then how do you prevent abuse?

If somebody came up with a brilliant solution on how to prevent abuse, that could be very beneficial to the social cohesion of MMORPGs. Right now, if you are hunting some type of mob which isn't overly abundant, and you see another player in the vicinity, you inwardly moan and are unhappy about seeing him. Other player means competition in who gets the mobs tagged first, and an increased time to finish your quest. But few people are willing to group with a total stranger for just 5 minutes to kill 10 wolves. Wouldn't it be nice if any player on the same quest as you would automatically be an ally, and not a nuisance?
Comments:
Actually.. during the Netherwing questline I did quite a few ad-hoc groups, especially with the Aldor/Scryer group quest, the booterang quest and the poisoning quest. I even teamed up with some Alliance to kill the elite flayers.

Unfortunately there were plenty of collection quests which take longer to complete in a group, since every mob drops just one quest item which can be looted by only one member. The Skettis quests are notorious in this regard.
 
i strongly suggest to watch the may-podcast on warhammer-online. it is great fun and also explains more about the questing in WAR.

what i read is, yes you do get some xp when you are in the zone, but you get more XP when you actively helping with the quest.
so leeching can still be done, but isn't that the way of humankind?
heck, in reallife i see tons of people leeching and still getting the credit for excellent reports, work done (hello presidents ^^)
 
Its like Hunt for Red October, you dont have to work out how to do it, you just have to work out what their plan is. :)
 
Blame the developers for this, rather than the players.
Why should only one item drop off a mob that requires 20 people to kill? One item between 20 people means 19 people are going to be disappointed. Everyone should get a drop of some kind.

As for your example of some people not contributing, surely this is 'old school' WoW raiding, where there was always a number of hangers-on who didn't make much contribution, but still had a good chance of ending up with an epic?
Now that Blizzard have got rid of the slackers in raids, people are moaning that things are too hard.

What I like about WoW Heroics is this - you kill bosses, and everyone gets a Badge. Collect enough Badges and trade them in for a reward.
So much better than say a 5% chance of an item drop, with the possibility that you could go there 30 times and still not get it. At least with Badges you know that you WILL get your reward, once you have put the effort in.
 
Yes, watch the pod cast mate. I think it sounds a great system that will really engage people that I know who are very much casual players.

BTW, you say Software can't tell the difference between a player guarding a strategically valuable graveyard in AV - that maybe true in WoW, but not necessarily in other games. Software knows where you are, and it's entire possible that credit can be given for killing players near a landmark. That WoW doesn't do this shouldn't be held against WAR when as yet we don't know exactly how all your points will be addressed.

WATCH THE VIDEO ;)
 
Konnor from ORC

I think you need to see it as less of a WoW bg and more of a DaoC BG.

They have a good backbone to what they are trying to achieve in their bg system, healres get rps for healing, you get rps for contributing - and the more you or your group does on an enemy the more you get.

I can easily see them implementing a raid type system everyone joins automatically, and then letting groups be formed within so that those who try harder get the rewards easier.

WoW's AV bg is pretty poorly implemented and would learn a lot from DaoC wich in bg terms is a much better system.
 
I gotta say I like the idea of PvE area's that you described will be Warhammer Online. The reason I like the idea is based on the simple fact that WoW does not promote easily getting into a group for PvE. To get into any PvE action in your choices are:

-solo
-PUG
-Guild/Friends

Soloing is okay, but I can never do it that long before getting bored. Pug's are usually not worth the time devoted to getting the group going, and horrible LFG system doesn't help. I'm glad they brought back the LFG channel, but only allowing people using the LFG tool to use the LFG channel means it isn't much better then the old LFG tool. Guild/friends are a great way to group, provided you have enough on to do something, and you have a balance group. If not, you end up pugging anyways. The way my guild is, its basically a pug anyways because not many people are close.

With that being said I spend most of my WoW end game PvPing. The group might suck but atleast it is quick to form and quick to get going. My time is valuable and I don't want to sit around /lfg for ever. I'd much rather put up with some afkers and get going.
 
watch the podcast mate

http://www.warhammeronline.com/english/media/podcast/

in fact watch them all if you haven't already, they are really well done.
 
I don't think that you can compare WAR public quests to WoW battlegrounds that easy. These are two different types of gameplay if I understand them correctly.

The WAR public quests are progression quests, there are no "ghost towers" that may or may not be attacked to protecr, you can always be where you are needed most - in the heart of battle.

As for personal contribution during the big fight, those who participated in killing the final boss should be awarded equally. Because, honestly, if I want to do damage I play DPS class, and I don't care about how much damage other classes did. After all, these two games (WoW and WAR) are all about war, the conflict between sides, and not about the superheroes.
 
Yep the podcast is valuable on this topic. I must say that mystic really thought about some questing things that did bug me in WoW/LOTRo.

Buzz words: "Not eligible", "Already completed", "Haven't picked up the quest yet".

Basically it looks like they lower the quest-log management logistics. I think the "kill collector" idea is great because I definitely thought about how annoying it is that I just killed x worgs, just to be told to kill some more and I definitely found it tedious. And there is a quest chain your friends are on and you just can't join them for reward. These public quests sound like a neat idea to try to address this. Even if you are out of sync, you basically get rewards for joining in. It does sound like NPC scripting is taking care of difficulty scaling and the script only progresses as you contribute. I guess if you actually don't to anything towards the goal you get very little contribution so this should be fairly safe against exploitation, but actual implementation will show how this works.
 
The previous commenter touched on an issue that sometimes annoys me:
WoW quest management.
Last night we killed a named mob twice while farming for another quest, only to be eventually given a quest to go and summon and kill him yet again.

IMO, the quest interface should...
- Automatically track whether you've killed a specific mob (so that when you get the quest, you get a "complete" without having to kill him again)
- Automatically add a "kill" or "drop" quest when you kill the appropriate mob
Examples - I kill a Tiger, the quest log automatically adds the "Kill 10 Tigers" quest that I didn't find yet. Or I kill a Bat, and a Quest Item - Bat Wing drops and automatically adds the "Gather 8 Bat Wings" quest to my log
- Add an interface option to enable a gray exclamation mark for quests I'm too high level for, in case I want to go back and do them
- Allow repeating all quests, at a gray (or further reduced) level of reward
- Add mobs (perhaps call them sages) who would, for a price, tell you about quests in the zone that you've missed
- Add many more class and profession quests
- Add world PvP quests (Bring me the head of the mayor of Southshore...)
- Make drop quests more believable (I get tired of killing humans who don't have skulls, or bats without wings, or tigers without skins, etc.)

For starters... :)
At least the new areas, IMO, are just abundantly covered-over with quests, which is good.
 
Software can't tell the difference between a player guarding a strategically valuable graveyard in AV, which just happens to be not under attack, and a slacker who parked his character at an out of the way graveyard and went for a coffee.

I don't know about you, but I rarely find an unguarded GY in AV. Even those which appear unguarded have a stealthed Rogue or a Shadowmelded NElf somewhere nearby.

And the software can tell the difference between a character guarding an idle GY and someone getting a cup of coffee. That's what auto-AFK is for. If I need a break now I wait for the BG to be over before I leave my PC, even in AV. If you're grinding BG Rep the last thing you want is an AFK Deserter Debuff preventing you from rejoining the queue for 10 minutes.

Re: the quest drops, I think the programmers/designers need to be a little more realistic in their Drop Rates.

"Bring me 10 Spider Legs!"
"!0 Spider legs? Easy!"

Spiders have 8 legs, so kill 2 spiders and you should have 6 more legs than you need, right? No, for some reason you need to kill several spiders before you get even one leg. That's 32 unusable legs!

Then there's quests where you need 50 widgets, and you're thinking "Oh crap! That will take forever! I'll have to kill 500 Mobs!" but suddenly each Mob is dropping several widgets.

I can understand it if you need something like Murloc Eyes, where it's reasonable to not get a usable eye from the Murloc whose head you just caved in with your Mace, but when you need Wolves Teeth and after killing 3 wolves you've got just 1 tooth? Come on!
 
They should put it to the players to decide. Have a ranking for dimplomacy. The higher the rank the better decision making abilities you have the lower the rank the worse. The rank is givin out by other players and is directly relevent in comparison to their own rank.

Thusly someone with high Diplomacy giving kudo's to someone else would boost their diplomacy alil more then someone with very low diplomacy giving kudo's.

Of course there would be alot of room for abuse, however if players took this seriously they would essentially be relegating things themselves.

If someone with high diplomacy gave out to loot to someone people felt were unworthy that player would get negative kudo's reducing their diplomacy and essentially making it less likely they would be put in that position again.
 
I can understand it if you need something like Murloc Eyes, where it's reasonable to not get a usable eye from the Murloc whose head you just caved in with your Mace, but when you need Wolves Teeth and after killing 3 wolves you've got just 1 tooth? Come on!

I definitely remember having found 3 wings on a single bat once. :)

IMO, the quest interface should...
- Automatically track whether you've killed a specific mob (so that when you get the quest, you get a "complete" without having to kill him again)
- Automatically add a "kill" or "drop" quest when you kill the appropriate mob


I think it was Everquest where quest items dropped whether you had the quest or not. But that lead to doing quests in reverse, coming back to the city from the hunt and then starting to search where the quest givers were for the monster parts you had in your bag.

King: "Valiant warrior! I want you to go forth, slay the red dragon, and bring me his head for proof!"
Hero: "Red dragon head you say? I happen to have 3 of those in my bag. Please give me three rewards!"
 
What I really like is quests where players of all skill/level can do together. If that means that a level5 player does very little contribution compared to a level20, then so be it. Everyone should have a shot at getting a reward.

I'll admit that in some group quests its so nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the show once in a while rather than frantically working the keyboard and mouse.

I think a key to getting everyone to participate in those Warhammer area quests you mentioned is to reduce the risks for those participating. (ie. less penalty for death, reduced equipment damage, quicker recovery from death, ... etc). Also, make the loot rewards very small. The reward for participating should be taking part in the 'spectacle'.
 
"I think it was Everquest where quest items dropped whether you had the quest or not. But that lead to doing quests in reverse, coming back to the city from the hunt and then starting to search where the quest givers were for the monster parts you had in your bag.

King: "Valiant warrior! I want you to go forth, slay the red dragon, and bring me his head for proof!"
Hero: "Red dragon head you say? I happen to have 3 of those in my bag. Please give me three rewards!" "


LOL, true enough!

However, I think that it could work if the 'common' mobs like tigers, bats, rank-and-file humanoids, etc, did work this way.
But one could treat special / named mobs like the ghosts of the Outlands are treated; invisible until summoned or the quest is actually active.
Or maybe you or someone else has a better idea -- it would just be nice if I didn't kill the named mob only to be told to go and do it again...

On a side note, ISTM that Outland is haunted. The more I quest the more ghosts become visible. It's kind of eerie.
 
Gunn - "They should put it to the players to decide. Have a ranking for dimplomacy."

I love the sound of this. However, to keep abuse from happening, make it on a point base system similar to experience. Specific rank points earn you specific ranks. Only persons one rank lower than you or one higher can "rate" you, one time only, during a group. This ensures that it's the people who worked to lead groups better get credit from those who they lead. Only group leaders are allowed to discredit individuals, however. This system is still abusable, but it's an idea.

Doeg - "But one could treat special / named mobs like the ghosts of the Outlands are treated; invisible until summoned or the quest is actually active."

The problem with this is, if when this mob becomes active, it is taggable by everyone... meaning, it may have spawned because you accepted the quest, however, once you get there the mob is dead because someone got there before you. This happened alot in Western Plaguelands of WoW. An elite mob would spawn at the farm cauldrons as soon as the quest was accepted. To your dismay, someone was beating it up when you got there. So, you had to wait till the next person accepted the quest and tag their mob effectivly making you the bad guy like the last guy.

Now, if the mob wouldn't spawn until you were at the location and "summoned" it, that would work much better. This is how it is now in Outland. "Read from the tablet to call forth...", "Place this stone on the alter to summon...", etc. This however should auto-tag the mob for you, not letting someone kill-steal.

Doeg - "On a side note, ISTM that Outland is haunted. The more I quest the more ghosts become visible. It's kind of eerie."

They become visible after a specific quest in Blades Edge.
 
The problem with this is, if when this mob becomes active, it is taggable by everyone... meaning, it may have spawned because you accepted the quest, however, once you get there the mob is dead because someone got there before you.

One possibility to circumvent that problem would be to run them like the shammy horde-side fire totem quest, where the only toon that can see the quest mob is the shammy who used the quest item to see/summon. I went to help a shammy with that one, and it was kind of funny to watch the shammy "air box". I just threw heals, since I couldn't see or target the enemy. Think of it kind of like 'instancing your quest'.

RE: Outland ghosts...
So far, horde-side, I've 'seen ghosts' following quests in Terokkar (I love the spoof of the guy on the stack of bones -- *Sigh*, "Just what I need, more bones..."), Shadowmoon, and Nagrand. The 'eerie' thing is when I switch toons between one who sees them and one who doesn't...
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool