Tobold's Blog
Sunday, August 22, 2010
 
Tamagotchi in A Tale in the Desert

Technology in A Tale in the Desert is making good progress, having recently reached the metal age. So I'm busy playing the mining mini-game, the charcoal mini-game, and then smelting iron and copper ore into metal, to then transform into various metal tools. The tools then give access to new technologies, or make older technologies less work intensive. So for example I already built a hackling rake to replace my flax comb, and am working on a hand loom to replace my student's loom. With those tools I'll still make the same flax products, but I'll lose less twine in the process, and won't have to replace the tools so frequently.

So the part of the game where I discover new things to do, and new modes of gameplay open up to me, is still ongoing. In fact, it will still go on for a long time, we are still early in the tech tree. The amount of different activities and mini-games in A Tale in the Desert is huge, and only opens up slowly over time. Fortunately, because I have already difficulties to try out the new stuff as fast as it appears. And to try everything, I'm building more tools in my house than the strict minimum. So tools aren't used all that often, so you can get away with not building your own and using public ones. But although it is more work, sometimes I'd rather have my own version of a public tool, to explore all the requirements of the tech tree for myself.

But besides the "new stuff" part, A Tale in the Desert also has something which I would call the Tamagotchi mode: Some parts of the game require constant upkeep, day by day. Your beehives take about half a day to produce 10 honey and 10 beeswax, but then they are full and stop. So if you don't check them twice a day, you lose production. Worse, your sheep not only stop breeding once their pen is full, they also eat a lot of onions, and will starve when they run out. Camels need feeding too, but I haven't got any yet. So this Tamagotchi part of the game creates some daily chores to do. Not really a big workload, especially since you can set the growing of onions as offline chore. But enough to not make me want more than one sheep pen.

I think these feeding requirements are in to balance the game, so people don't build hundreds of sheep pens for example. But they also help to make the virtual world feel more real. And it creates a sense of having to take care of your virtual property. Lots of browser games work like this, making you think "oh, I need to log on and look after my stuff". And the original Tamagotchi also worked like that, and there wasn't even much "game" involved in that. MMORPGs with static worlds full of constantly respawning mobs are missing that. It doesn't matter if I don't log into World of Warcraft for a week, the world will remain unchanged whether I play or don't, and nothing bad happens if I stay away. Who said you couldn't possibly make these games more addictive?
Comments:
This is one thing I actually really hate in MMOs. While daily quests are fine and dandy during the holidays and when you're playing a lot, if you're stretched for time it suddenly becomes a huge hassle; likewise if you take a break for a month. It's always something like "damn, I've missed my frosties/token/spices today" and, especially in the case of frosties where they're used to provide the best emblem gear, it really gets quite annoying after a while.

tldr: I don't like dailies, especially frost emblem rewards
 
One thing to add on to that: I particularly despise it as well when they gate the amount of progress you can make (in terms of rep etc). If I have 5 hours which I want to devote to getting my Crusader title, why do I have to be prohibited by the amount of dailies I can do in that day?

That really annoys me.
 
What if you could hire help, to feed the sheep, and then you just have to feed him once a day, along with some sort of pay. That way, you could expand without having to do more of a time investment.
 
Interesting. You just made me totally uninterested in Tale in the Desert. MMOs are grindy enough and I have never played one where you didn't get "behind" when you take a break or don't play daily. Having a world set up where I not only get behind, but things I have earned/purchased deteriorate or die in real time when I get busy is enough to make me uninstall the game and move on.
 
"...your sheep not only stop breeding once their pen is full, they also eat a lot of onions..."

Perhaps the two factors are related? Keep the little buggers off the onions and I'm sure they'll reproduce faster. Works for me (I have two kids and rarely eat onions).
 
Somehow I don't get how you can still play this game. If it where a 'normal' MMORPG you would have quit over this kind of feature without second thought. At least as far as I know you according to your blog :)

Is it really just the "another.human.killed.me.outrageous!.quit!" thing that keeps you from playing 'normal' sandbox MMORPGs ?
 
it's totally true that WoW could befinit from some "offline" activity, but afaik what was mostly done so far in MMORPG is offline training. Doesn't apply to wow much. Perhaps a daily / crafting interface?

that said, the idea of planting crops and feeding your pets (vanity or other) in wow does have an appeal :)
 
Is it really just the "another.human.killed.me.outrageous!.quit!" thing that keeps you from playing 'normal' sandbox MMORPGs ?

It is really surprising how you can hang out here so much, and understand me so little. You didn't even understand my "I got shot when going into nullsec" post, which was NOT AT ALL about me getting killed (which was planned), but about how I wouldn't enjoy to gate-camp and kill others. And apparently you never read the hundreds of posts I did about crafting.

And it is somewhat worrying that you consider a game in which people kill each other as "normal", and a game in which people cooperate to build up things as not normal.

I would say that I enjoy ATitD a lot more than I enjoyed EVE because ATitD is *more* of a sandbox, and has far, far, far more different options of gameplay. Ultimately a game about killing is so much more limited than a game about building things.

And don't come with the old "carebear" myth. ATitD is even harsher in "PvP" than EVE, as in ATitD you can actually ban another player from the game, which is a lot worse than the worst you can to another player in EVE.
 
Is it really just the "another.human.killed.me.outrageous!.quit!" thing that keeps you from playing 'normal' sandbox MMORPGs?

I'd like to link onto Tobold's answer and ask: what makes you think ANY MMO currently on the market is a sandbox? DarkFall certainly isn't, despite what it's players say. In fact, all it really boils to down to (whenever I read about people who have been playing it for sometime) is "I had all this fun in a siege blah blah blah then I went and did some gold/skill grinding/I went to my house and sat there for a bit looking for more PvP" rinse and repeat. That's all it is, a PvP arena with bigger spaces and a few MMO features on the side. Similarly, while EVE has slightly more options, they're all related to crafting or playing the market, so, again, not much of a "sandbox" is it? The term has become so diluted that quite frankly when a real sandbox turns up people will fall over themselves proclaiming how bad it is.
 
I think I understood your EVE experiment better than you did. I think you redefined that experiment later and lied to yourself about it. So, yes, we have a different understanding here.
But it is long past, isn't it ? :)

I like to hear that you like sand box worlds now. Great! Wouldn't have exspected that. (.. sounds like irony. It is not! I thinkk that is great!)

I also agree that creation in Sandboxes has to be at least as important (if not more important) than destruction. That's where games like Darkfall fail.

I also read all your ATinD posts - even if I don't comment all of them. Hey: Don't tell me you want me to comment even more here !? :)

In my last comment I just wondered what is the deciding difference between "those sandbox MMOs" and ATinD and it seems that it is the possibility to be killed by another human being in fron of a keyboard.

Now, I guess that idea needs a bit more research. Perhaps you would want to write about it? I am honestly interested.
 
it seems that it is the possibility to be killed by another human being

Why do you always turn that phrase around the wrong way? I'm talking about the possibility to kill, NOT the possibility to be killed. Why is it so hard to understand that I would prefer a game of building things over a game of destroying things?

What kind of a sandbox is it in which everybody just destroys sandcastles, and nobody is building them?
 
"What kind of a sandbox is it in which everybody just destroys sandcastles, and nobody is building them?"

That is the reason why I can't play EVE. I don't mind another player killing me but I hate when people destroy things I put an effort into building.
 
Strawmen, once again. *sigh*

What kind of a sandbox is it in which everybody just destroys sandcastles, and nobody is building them?

A very bad sandbox. I'd never play it. You'd run out of things to destroy very fast.

Why is it so hard to understand that I would prefer a game of building things over a game of destroying things?

That's not hard to understand at all. Just that none of the other sand box games only offer destruction. They all offer a lot of ways to create things. If only, because there can hardly be destruction without creation.

If your answer to my question is: "Because in other sandbox worlds you can only destroy", then I got my answer I guess.

Just that it, obviously, cannot be true, even if you believe it to be.
 
I didn't say "only" destroy. Of course even in ATitD you can destroy things, and in EVE you can build things. But the *focus* in EVE and Darkfall and similar sandbox games is destruction. Your creations are weapons and structures of warfare. And there is no creativity involved: The weapons and structures have been pre-designed by the developers, and all the players do is gathering the resources.

In fact it beats me why you would consider EVE or Darkfall as any more immersive or realistic than World of Warcraft. The only difference is the reaction of AI-controlled opponents versus human-controlled opponents. As long as you play the PvE part, there is barely a difference between those so-called sandbox games and WoW. Especially the quest gameplay of EVE and Darkfall is rather similar to that of WoW.
 
I didn't say "only" destroy.

No. You said, quote:

What kind of a sandbox is it in which everybody just destroys sandcastles, and nobody is building them?

See the word "just" in there and you explicitly mentioning of nobody building things? That is logically equivalent to 'only'.

---

Especially the quest gameplay of EVE and Darkfall is rather similar to that of WoW.


I agree with that.
PvE part of EVE is rather WoW-like. This is certainly not the reason for why I consider EVE in some parts to be a good game.

---
But the *focus* in EVE and Darkfall and similar sandbox games is destruction. Your creations are weapons and structures of warfare.

With that I agree. But it is hard to believe that you suddenly turned into a "virtual pacifist". I would advise companies to have a look into housing and other things, but I do not consider it a priority.

---
Why do I consider EVE to be more immersive than WoW (-clones)? Here is an example:

EVE developers didn't want a world that consists of ganking at every step. So they decided to create a world with mechnisms that prevent it.

The Blizzard solution would have been to make players unable to attack other player in high-sec.
The EVE solution was to invent a police force.

Now, I could think of some improvements for this EVE system to make it even more immersive, but the important point is that they didn't just used the hand-of-god and forbid something, but created a credible, immersive solution.

When they want to teleport somebody they use jumpgates and wormholes.
WoW players would argue that this doesn't make a difference. More power to them. To me it makes a huge difference.

---
I don't want a sandbox to copy real life, by the way. That would be pointless even if it were possible. I already have a real life :)

I want a sandbox to allow me to take part in an alternative world that is credible, consistent and immersive within some limits. This alternative world should not focus on boring things, like watering flowers. It should focus on interesting things: Moral dilemma, existential risks, etc.

ATinD doesn't really seem to fit that description. But maybe I should check it out sometime.
 
Nils, you are so caught up in your own righteousness that you don't even read what I'm writing. A Tale in the Desert has *MORE* dilemma and existential risk than EVE has. The whole basic concept of ATitD is the social experiment of players being torn between a need to work together, and the natural desire for personal advancement.

I explicitely explained the dilemma and strife of the obelisk test, which still isn't resolved in my region. Actions of a few players there royally screwed all the other players in the region, to a degree much worse than anything you can do in EVE.

And it is *BECAUSE* griefers have much more powerful options to ruin many other players game that ATitD also has *MUCH* more existential risk: Players can literally be voted out of the game. There are also powerful tools for players to make laws against certain types of behavior, allowing players to change the rules of the game.

The anti-ganking methods of ATitD are to EVE what EVE is to WoW. Instead of having a "you can't gank" fixed rule, or a "I shoot you down if you gank" NPC police, we have tools for players to stop ganking. That is far, far more powerful. And would be exactly what you were always asking for, if you could just get over your stupid obsession with "if I can't kill things it is not a game".

With every action they take, ATitD players change their virtual world in a permanent way. And that creates a permanent conflict about who is allowed to build what and where, or how to deal with secondary effects like pollution affecting other players. The possibilities are endless, and make EVE look like a theme-park game in comparison.
 
"if I can't kill things it is not a game"

I never said that. I actually enjoyed SimCity back in the days. I just said that I don't think that it is a game to my liking.

---
And it is *BECAUSE* griefers have much more powerful options to ruin many other players game that ATitD also has *MUCH* more existential risk: Players can literally be voted out of the game.

Now here is indeed something you do not understand: Voting people out of the game may be a terrible existential risk, but

firstly, it is totally unimmersive, in contrast to the EVE solution (eg.)

secondly it is just not what I meant when I said "existential risk". What I meant is the risk to lose something in-game. Maybe even perma death, but not to lose my account.

In-game is important. The loss of my ATinD account is just not in-game. It is a loss in real life and I really don't need a game that makes me lose things in real life.

---

Nils, you are so caught up in your own righteousness that you don't even read what I'm writing. A Tale in the Desert has *MORE* dilemma and existential risk than EVE has. The whole basic concept of ATitD is the social experiment of players being torn between a need to work together, and the natural desire for personal advancement.

I explicitely explained the dilemma and strife of the obelisk test, which still isn't resolved in my region. Actions of a few players there royally screwed all the other players in the region, to a degree much worse than anything you can do in EVE.


Yeah, I got that :)
The moral dilemma sounds nice, but this one that you used for demonstration purposes seems terribly artificial. Not really immersive (for me!). Why would I even want to have the highest obelisk in the first place? It's like a WoW-achievement: I have a really hard time caring about it.

---
There are also powerful tools for players to make laws against certain types of behavior, allowing players to change the rules of the game.

That sounds very good, indeed.

---
The anti-ganking methods of ATitD are to EVE what EVE is to WoW. Instead of having a "you can't gank" fixed rule, or a "I shoot you down if you gank" NPC police, we have tools for players to stop ganking.

Could you describe these tools in more detail?

---
With every action they take, ATitD players change their virtual world in a permanent way. And that creates a permanent conflict about who is allowed to build what and where, or how to deal with secondary effects like pollution affecting other players. The possibilities are endless, and make EVE look like a theme-park game in comparison.

I agree.


---
Tobold, thanks for trying to convince me, really. It's not that I don't like ATinD. In fact, I think it is great that such sand box games exist!
I wish that game many, many subs, really! Certainly better than another WoW clone.


The point is:
I also wouldn't play a perfectly credible, consistent and immersive racing simulation. I just don't like the setting and the thing it is all about !

I am certainly conservative here, but what I love most in (MMO)RPG is to discover a dangerous dungeon or woodland.
Really: This is the best thing I can imagine in a RPG.

Why? I don't know!
Do I think that it makes sense or that other people should think alike? No. Although I wish they did.
 
Far more options in gameplay?

By the sounds of it, Every. Single. Person. does the EXACT same thing.
 
Could you describe these tools in more detail?

Players in ATitD get to draft their own laws, and vote on them. Developers have a veto, so people can't vote the game into being made easier. But for example if I grief you by placing a lot of beehives next to your compound, you could try to get a law into existence which allows the owner of a compound to destroy beehives in a certain range around his house. Or if somebody consistently griefs other players, get him banned temporarily or permanently by vote.

By the sounds of it, Every. Single. Person. does the EXACT same thing.

Oh, you're talking about EVE here, as you never even played ATitD. In ATitD the game *starts* the same for all players, just like the tutorial in EVE is the same for all players. But after building your house and doing the initiation tests, there are 49 major test, many of them requiring weeks of effort. It wouldn't even be remotely possible for every player to do them all, so everybody does something completely different.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool