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szalkerous
07-27-2007, 11:26 AM
Game Improvement Points to Consider

Foreword: I am a "pre-order" player who has played very consistently throughout the live career of DDO. Throughout my adventures, I have noticed a few areas where enhancement or improvement could benefit the community, so I list them here for open consideration. Some of my constructive criticism comes from being a software developer in the community, and being exposed to the (occasional) usefulness of end user input, I only hope I can use this to benefit a game I enjoy immensely.

1. User Experience


A. First Person View

As previously discussed in another thread, this would provide a great feature to enhance immersion into the game experience.

A first person view could be implemented either via a key toggle or zooming the camera in fully, which would zoom in on your character until it hit the maximum of the camera range, then snapping into first person mode. Locating the camera at head level on the model would potentially provide the proper "feel" as sword swipes, casting motion, etc. may properly animate in front of the camera.

B. Player's Journal

A quick, clean interface in the UI to record personal notes regarding adventures, places, etc.

This could potentially be restricted to being stored client-side, to reduce server overhead. The obvious downside to this approach would be the inability of the data to roam between client machines.

The other option would be to enforce a quota of length on the server (i.e. 1-4k total), and perhaps use some client-side compression to reduce the transmitted size.

C. Editable Maps

Include the ability to draw or write text on the maps. Never forget where that locked door or shrine was!

This could be implemented as an overlay on the map itself. In fact, it could be limited to active quest instances, and be discarded upon the termination of an instance (similar to the map "fog").

Alternatively, for an even cooler implementation, sell blank maps at a vendor and allow those skilled enough (I see ranger/rogue being the class here, with others cross-class) to craft their own maps. Significantly extra work, but definitely a neat idea.

D. Miscellaneous

I've had some miscellaneous thoughts about the game as I run through it, and I know they have been brought up by others on occasion, so I will list them here quickly:

- The ability to customize your equipment appearance somewhat, either through use of NPC services, dyes, or magic, at a cost.
- A new city area for higher levels (i.e. 18+, with a required mission for access) in the game. I'd expect that to fall into the category of a major expansion, with a cost attached (i.e. $10-20) similar to other MMORPGs. Preferably seamless, so that if your account has an expansion key attached, the NPC responsible for entrance will talk to you, otherwise they're busy.
- An "AFK" animation emote with icon over the character
- (tying into the above item) Being AFK with a reason attached, and having a special overlay icon or color in the party list when AFK.
- The ability to delete all read mail in your mailbox.



2. Guild Experience


A. Guild Hierarchy Structure

As of the writing of this, there exists three titled positions within a guild: Leader, Officer, and Member. As I belong to a guild with an "open door" policy of recruiting, all Members are promoted to Officer to allow them the ability to include other interested players. Officers also do not have the ability to promote members -> officer status. Therefore, I'd like to see an addition title added, maybe to the tune of "Captain" or "Lieutenant" that allows some additional responsibilities.

B. Guild Features

I have many often times wished there was more to being in a guild. The guild social panel as it stands has merely a MOTD and a list of members. I would like to see some expanded features added to this point to make it feel like you actually are involved in something.

Currently to this point guilds have to create external guild sites to provide extra content like a schedule of guild events, etc. This requires you to ALT+TAB out of the game to look at the guild's site, or to run in windowed mode and swap back and forth, both of which causing you to ignore the game while you do it.

For starters, being able to add a button that says "Guild Portal" which simply brings up an embedded (feature restricted) IE browser in a nice window pane (very similar to the "Help" window) which would allow a guild to create a web site "extension" to the guild in the game. This would allow people to see their guild's events without having to leave the game experience. This also is the lowest overhead to the game, as it requires no resources from the game servers other than storage of a URL that was designated by the guild leader.

or....

Next up would be a game hosted guild schedule of events that was manageable by the guild leader (maybe that next-in-line title discussed in item A as well?), with some signup options.

For example...

- Event coordinator (leader or similar rank to create) clicks "New Event" button on the Guild social panel.
- Event coordinator selects quest from a list (let's say, "Vault of the Night", selects difficulty from a list, selects player level range from a list, picks date, time, and time zone (very similar to create party dialog, without class restriction)
-Guild player sees "Vault of the Night" in the events list
-Guild player clicks "Signup"
-Event now lists Guild player as in the roster for signup. (This should be understood as a ballot of interest, not a guaranteed spot in the group... maybe any player signed up after the 6th should read 'reserved'?)
-When the event comes due, the guild chat will report "Event (Vault of the Night) is scheduled to run now"
-Event coordinator will create the actual party and invites based on the event data.
-Event coordinator will close the event, or the event will automatically close within 1 hour (or whatever timeout is acceptable)

C. Guild Mailing List

A feature to allow the guild leader to easily mail all guild members, without cost (obviously no item or currency attachment allowed).

3. Technical Game Experience


A. Simple Macros

A point of contention, to be sure, but having the ability to automate some things would be very nice. Obviously restricting it to prevent exploitation, but small macros which can be docked to a toolbar, that do multiple simple actions (limit of 3 perhaps?). For example, cast spell A, then spell B (after global cooldown), then spell C (after global cooldown). Or, use a defensive feat, and drink a cure serious potion from a predetermined stack.

Limit each character to certain amount of macros.

B. Better High Resolution Texture Support

This is a very small item, but something I've had on my mind.

Again, this is probably something that I see that most others ignore, but the logical determination of loading the high resolution data can be very stepped at points in the game.

I've noticed one excellent spot is running up to the harbor gate from the marketplace. Huge render change, not seamless in the least.

Also, some of the high resolution textures do not match their low resolution counterparts... buildings will change structure before your very eyes.

A happy medium here may be to allow clients to adjust the distance of conversion. That way those with powerful high end machines would be able to produce a much smoother transition by rendering high resolution data sooner.

Thanks for reading.

-Sz

Mockduck
07-27-2007, 12:42 PM
I really like many of your ideas. I'll try to comment below (my comments Bolded):


Game Improvement Points to Consider


1. User Experience


A. First Person View

As previously discussed in another thread, this would provide a great feature to enhance immersion into the game experience.

A first person view could be implemented either via a key toggle or zooming the camera in fully, which would zoom in on your character until it hit the maximum of the camera range, then snapping into first person mode. Locating the camera at head level on the model would potentially provide the proper "feel" as sword swipes, casting motion, etc. may properly animate in front of the camera.

I think this is a great idea, not sure how easy it would be to do. Personally, I probably wouldn't use it much other than for screenshots, but it would be good to have for people interested in it.

B. Player's Journal

A quick, clean interface in the UI to record personal notes regarding adventures, places, etc.

This could potentially be restricted to being stored client-side, to reduce server overhead. The obvious downside to this approach would be the inability of the data to roam between client machines.

The other option would be to enforce a quota of length on the server (i.e. 1-4k total), and perhaps use some client-side compression to reduce the transmitted size.

YESS!!!! This would be awesome.

C. Editable Maps

Include the ability to draw or write text on the maps. Never forget where that locked door or shrine was!

This could be implemented as an overlay on the map itself. In fact, it could be limited to active quest instances, and be discarded upon the termination of an instance (similar to the map "fog").

Alternatively, for an even cooler implementation, sell blank maps at a vendor and allow those skilled enough (I see ranger/rogue being the class here, with others cross-class) to craft their own maps. Significantly extra work, but definitely a neat idea.

Probably hard to implement, but a good idea...

D. Miscellaneous

I've had some miscellaneous thoughts about the game as I run through it, and I know they have been brought up by others on occasion, so I will list them here quickly:

- The ability to customize your equipment appearance somewhat, either through use of NPC services, dyes, or magic, at a cost. YES!
- A new city area for higher levels (i.e. 18+, with a required mission for access) in the game. I'd expect that to fall into the category of a major expansion, with a cost attached (i.e. $10-20) similar to other MMORPGs. Preferably seamless, so that if your account has an expansion key attached, the NPC responsible for entrance will talk to you, otherwise they're busy. I bet this happens within the next year or so.
- An "AFK" animation emote with icon over the character YES!!!
- (tying into the above item) Being AFK with a reason attached, and having a special overlay icon or color in the party list when AFK.
- The ability to delete all read mail in your mailbox.



2. Guild Experience


A. Guild Hierarchy Structure

As of the writing of this, there exists three titled positions within a guild: Leader, Officer, and Member. As I belong to a guild with an "open door" policy of recruiting, all Members are promoted to Officer to allow them the ability to include other interested players. Officers also do not have the ability to promote members -> officer status. Therefore, I'd like to see an addition title added, maybe to the tune of "Captain" or "Lieutenant" that allows some additional responsibilities.

B. Guild Features

I have many often times wished there was more to being in a guild. The guild social panel as it stands has merely a MOTD and a list of members. I would like to see some expanded features added to this point to make it feel like you actually are involved in something.

Currently to this point guilds have to create external guild sites to provide extra content like a schedule of guild events, etc. This requires you to ALT+TAB out of the game to look at the guild's site, or to run in windowed mode and swap back and forth, both of which causing you to ignore the game while you do it.

For starters, being able to add a button that says "Guild Portal" which simply brings up an embedded (feature restricted) IE browser in a nice window pane (very similar to the "Help" window) which would allow a guild to create a web site "extension" to the guild in the game. This would allow people to see their guild's events without having to leave the game experience. This also is the lowest overhead to the game, as it requires no resources from the game servers other than storage of a URL that was designated by the guild leader.

Next up would be a game hosted guild schedule of events that was manageable by the guild leader (maybe that next-in-line title discussed in item A as well?), with some signup options.

For example...

- Event coordinator (leader or similar rank to create) clicks "New Event" button on the Guild social panel.
- Event coordinator selects quest from a list (let's say, "Vault of the Night", selects difficulty from a list, selects player level range from a list, picks date, time, and time zone (very similar to create party dialog, without class restriction)
-Guild player sees "Vault of the Night" in the events list
-Guild player clicks "Signup"
-Event now lists Guild player as in the roster for signup. (This should be understood as a ballot of interest, not a guaranteed spot in the group... maybe any player signed up after the 6th should read 'reserved'?)
-When the event comes due, the guild chat will report "Event (Vault of the Night) is scheduled to run now"
-Event coordinator will create the actual party and invites based on the event data.
-Event coordinator will close the event, or the event will automatically close within 1 hour (or whatever timeout is acceptable)

Personally, I think this is something that's better handled by guild web sites. It's pretty easy to set one up that would be useful for the player base, and can even be pretty close to free if you look for it. I'd rather have the devs implement guild housing, crests and guild banks, first.
C. Guild Mailing List

A feature to allow the guild leader to easily mail all guild members, without cost (obviously no item or currency attachment allowed).

3. Technical Game Experience


A. Simple Macros

A point of contention, to be sure, but having the ability to automate some things would be very nice. Obviously restricting it to prevent exploitation, but small macros which can be docked to a toolbar, that do multiple simple actions (limit of 3 perhaps?). For example, cast spell A, then spell B (after global cooldown), then spell C (after global cooldown). Or, use a defensive feat, and drink a cure serious potion from a predetermined stack.

Limit each character to certain amount of macros.

B. Better High Resolution Texture Support

This is a very small item, but something I've had on my mind.

Again, this is probably something that I see that most others ignore, but the logical determination of loading the high resolution data can be very stepped at points in the game.

I've noticed one excellent spot is running up to the harbor gate from the marketplace. Huge render change, not seamless in the least.

Also, some of the high resolution textures do not match their low resolution counterparts... buildings will change structure before your very eyes.

A happy medium here may be to allow clients to adjust the distance of conversion. That way those with powerful high end machines would be able to produce a much smoother transition by rendering high resolution data sooner.

Thanks for reading.

-Sz

sigtrent
07-27-2007, 01:02 PM
Nice post!

I totaly agree with almost all of your suggestions. Ok, all of them, although some are more exciting to me than others.

I'm guessin some of these are too ambitions to be realistic in the short term, but I sure would like to see a lot of them in this or other games.

I especialy like the idea of enhanced guild support. Heck, even just letting us pick a URL that comes up in the in game browser for our guild.

Lilith-Darkmoon
07-27-2007, 01:37 PM
Very nice ideas. I particularly like the idea of expanding the Guild tab to include event information.

bigal4458
07-27-2007, 02:23 PM
Game Improvement Points to Consider


2. Guild Experience

[INDENT]A. Guild Hierarchy Structure

As of the writing of this, there exists three titled positions within a guild: Leader, Officer, and Member. As I belong to a guild with an "open door" policy of recruiting, all Members are promoted to Officer to allow them the ability to include other interested players. Officers also do not have the ability to promote members -> officer status. Therefore, I'd like to see an addition title added, maybe to the tune of "Captain" or "Lieutenant" that allows some additional responsibilities.

*snip



Not to nit-pick, but there is also the "successor" role. But on the whole, I mostly agree that these would "nice", although not necissary.

Talyn328
08-02-2007, 01:06 PM
A. First Person View


Absolutely! Though I think I'd prefer that to be a toggleable option so if I'd rather my max scroll was as-is or first-person for screenshots. Also, changing the FOV (field of vision) like LOTRO does is a must. One of the reasons I always hated first-person in MMORPGs was they don't change the FOV and it just looks... wrong. I don't find it more immersive, though, but that's me. I learned to use first-person mostly in the early SWG days, and WoW running through busy sections of Ironforge -- switch to first-person camera and look down; the fewer polys that need rendering, the less hitching and rendering lag you get. Stormreach isn't exactly highly populated (though the server merges might change that) so that aspect isn't a factor in DDO.



B. Better High Resolution Texture Support


Not a small issue at all, it's extremely annoying. Doesn't seem to be *just* the hi-res textures either. It has something to do with how the engine loads textures. AC2, DDO, now LOTRO all have (or in AC2's case, had) the same problem. I don't think the engine is pre-caching any textures slightly outside your rendering range, it waits until the texture will be visible then loads it.

Along these lines, I'd like to see the DDO kept up-to-date with Turbine's engine overall. LOTRO has a few options that DDO does not, and the visibility/rendering range needs to be looked at. I have mine maxed yet things still pop up in front of me in DDO. In LOTRO I have it maxed and can see objects, players and NPCs from quite a great distance. At max range I should be able to stand on the harbor cliff by the aquaduct waterfall and see people at the marketplace gates and crossing the bridge. As it is, I don't see anyone until they're halfway across the bridge.