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  1. #1
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    Default DDO Rise of the Casuals

    Let me start by pointing out the obvious problem we are suffering. Massive power creep. The only way to keep players playing is to offer ever more powerful items for them to farm. That is obviously very very bad. So I present my proposal. The obvious solution.

    DDO is an MMO, and so we have more or less accepted that the gear grinding power treadmill is a necessary part of the experience. But it does not have to be.

    Problem #1: The Quest Shelf Life

    Quests spend a very short time as an income generating asset. People run the quest to grab the shiny, and then the content "dies". Newer quests come out and the old shiny is obsolete.

    But it doesn't die. It remains on the game. It thereafter becomes a money sucking liability. It becomes a haven for bugs. It becomes another consideration when making patches, overhauls, balance issues. Will it be compatible with Titan Awakes? Even though nobody ever runs it anymore, you still have to waste time and energy taking that raid into account for any kind of gameplay change.

    Problem #2: The Build Extinction

    Builds are dying as well. The power creep renders many builds, races, classes, and even roles obsolete. So now unused races and classes become liabilities as well. Will it be compatible with Elf Paladins? Nobody plays those, but you still need to spend the resources to make sure it doesn't crash the game whenever you create new content.


    You need to embrace your inner artist. Your job is not to create endless items to farm. Your job is to create an immersive entertainment that draws us away from our equally grindy daily work. Stop thinking quests and start thinking amusement park. Create content players will want to appreciate time and again. In other words, acquire assets that remain assets regardless of future uber leet gear.

    Lets start with some simple things.


    ***Lordsmarch Hide and Seek Challenge***

    The back of Lordsmarch plaza has been littered with petrified adventurers since the medusa attack. You have been tasked with locating and restoring 11 stone allies from among the wreckage.

    Rules:
    30 NPC statues are randomly placed throughout the area.
    Players 2-12 are given 1 use trinkets of Flesh to Stone.
    Players 2-12 are given 1 minute to find a good hiding spot and then stone themselves.
    Player 1 is given a wand with 16 charges of Stone to Flesh.
    Player 1 has to locate and restore all 11 stone allies before time runs out.
    Replicas of the players are placed at the front of the map to remind Player 1 of what the other players look like stoned.


    Costs: 1 Astral Shard per player or 1000 platinum and 1 hour timer per player or 100 Astral Shards for permanent unlock

    Implementation: The area can be done initially as a copy of Lordsmarch Plaza. Raid party enters a new instance with a countdown timer and one player talks to the Time Kobold and blinded for 1 minute. Yes, we are recycling as many resources as humanly possible for the Proof of Concept. Statues will be randomly generated player races and genders. That's pretty much it.

    Risk: Maybe 100 hours of work.

    Benefit: Giving something to do besides endless gear grind. Slowly recoup costs 1 Astral Shard at a time, may take a few years but will also help DDO live longer.

    ***Marketplace Connect Four Arena***

    A traveling circus from afar has brought with them a new game that has become very popular. The game is won when one player creates a line of 4 kobolds on the platform.

    Costs: 250 Plat per game or 100 Astral Shards for permanent unlock.


    ***Player Residences***

    Own a private residence accessable from any guild ship portal or teleporter. Anything from a small and functional base of operations to a full private castles. Fill it with decorative furniture or permanent guild shrines. Hire your own butler, or succubus, or kobolds. Invite your buddies over. Will yours have a moat? A place to store all your pets at the same time? A gallery of trophies?

    Costs: Turbine Points, or Shard Exchange, or Raid loot


    Notice what they all have in common? These are among the myriad of ways you can create content that keeps your players engaged without needing a +11 Widget of Game Breaking. Don't force yourself into a box where you MUST continually make tougher raids with endlessly more broken gear.

    Power creep is bad for the players, bad for the devs, and bad for Turbine's money grubbing overlords over at Warner Brothers.

    The answer is DDO Rise of the Casuals. Because even powergamers want to just goof off sometimes.
    Last edited by Reignbeaux; 05-02-2013 at 02:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reignbeaux View Post

    ***Player Residences***

    Own a private residence accessable from any guild ship portal or teleporter. Anything from a small and functional base of operations to a full private castles. Fill it with decorative furniture or permanent guild shrines. Hire your own butler, or succubus, or kobolds. Invite your buddies over. Will yours have a moat? A place to store all your pets at the same time? A gallery of trophies?

    Costs: Turbine Points, or Shard Exchange, or Raid loot
    I like this... very much ^^
    - Proud Officer of BATTLE CLERICS Kick Ass n Heal of Argonnessen -
    Dreamcleaver ( 7 bard / 2 ftr / 2 barb) - Dreamstealer ( 13 rog / 6 monk / 1 fvs / 5 epic) - Thevery (TR) (4 rng / 1 ftr) - Undeadsiren (20 wiz) - Untitled (TR) (15 rng / 2 monk / 3 wiz / 5 epic) - Intimidating (Thelanis & Sarlona) - And a number of others

  3. #3
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    After the fluff that pets are, this actually appeals far more.....own house, or room on guild ship, heh if it was on a guild ship, then if you left the guild you would have to buy it all again.......result for Turbine !
    Yes own room/house appeals very much.

  4. #4
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    I want my own room on my guildship with pictures that i will log on to look at for hours just to see my digital accomplishments . At the same time i want my own bathroom stall in my room so my character can take a nice long shhhhhh without contracting any std's some characters don't clean up well . Can we adopt a simms like platform to run ddo on ??

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HellCloud View Post
    I want my own room on my guildship with pictures that i will log on to look at for hours just to see my digital accomplishments . At the same time i want my own bathroom stall in my room so my character can take a nice long shhhhhh without contracting any std's some characters don't clean up well . Can we adopt a simms like platform to run ddo on ??
    Level 28 is coming this summer. What will be obsoleted next? What is the new ridiculously overpowered benchmark that we will set?

    HoX dead. Threnal dead. Titan Awakes dead. Three Barrel Cove never made it past infancy. Don't worry. We start at level 15 soon. The treadmill is getting pretty bad.

    Coding a sandbox art project doesn't solve the problem. But it's a step in a different direction and needs to be considered if for no other reason than that.
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  6. #6
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    I respect what you are trying to do but your ideas sound really really boring and don't offer a power increase.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reignbeaux View Post
    These are among the myriad of ways you can create content that keeps your players engaged without needing a +11 Widget of Game Breaking.
    Poor you... I've got a +13 Widget of Game Breaking, brand new from the DDO store. It only cost me 4995TPs! You needz to upgradez.

  8. #8
    Community Member Furare's Avatar
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    Player "housing" or similar could be fun, I guess.

    The other things... I can't think why I would ever want to do either of them. I get that you're trying to introduce fun into the game in a way that doesn't lead to power increase/creep, but it'd be better to do that by coming up with something new that's in keeping with what DDO is - a (loosely) D&D based action RPG - rather than unrelated minigames. I'm not sure what that could be - maybe randomised dungeons or something?

    Of course, the problem with any activity in an MMO is that, if it doesn't give "rewards" (XP, loot) - or doesn't give rewards deemed "worthwhile" - then hardly anyone will do it. And if it does give decent rewards, people will grind it to get those rewards. I think the reason power creep and grinding exists in MMOs is because it's a natural consequence of the mindset of most MMO players. People who don't care about grinding gear or levelling to 25/maxing out all EDs as fast as possible are having fun already in the game just by playing the quests. People who prioritise achievements above fun and end up grinding (or who find grinding/acquiring gear fun) aren't going to be interested in the proposed minigames anyway. So I'm not entirely sure who they'd really be catering to, I guess.
    Liseyda on Khyber: TR3 Elf Paladin (L18).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reignbeaux View Post
    Replicas of the players are placed at the front of the map to remind Player 1 of what the other players look like stoned.
    Pass.



    /signed
    Quote Originally Posted by Codog View Post
    [*]Small evolutionary change that can be completed in shorter stretches of time is more readily achieveable for us than large _revolutionary_ change. Revolutionary change can be rather destabilizing from an engineering and balance perspective.

  10. #10

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    When it comes to goofing off there's an elephant in the room, though the elephant often receives vitriolic hate from the close minded it's still a good option. No, I'm not talking about what you're thinking about, I'm talking about PVP, or in case you were thinking about it, good for you.
    Either way, more PVP features. Yes I am aware of balance issues, or at least the illusion of them. I've been PVPing for 4 years in DDO and the imbalance has been greatly exaggerated, it nearly always comes down to player skill and luck, even with uneven levels.

  11. #11
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustATempAccount View Post
    When it comes to goofing off there's an elephant in the room, though the elephant often receives vitriolic hate from the close minded it's still a good option. No, I'm not talking about what you're thinking about, I'm talking about PVP, or in case you were thinking about it, good for you.
    Either way, more PVP features. Yes I am aware of balance issues, or at least the illusion of them. I've been PVPing for 4 years in DDO and the imbalance has been greatly exaggerated, it nearly always comes down to player skill and luck, even with uneven levels.
    When a game starts putting in more pvp, they start trying to balance pvp and that would lead devs to nerf, well everything in sight. This game is not designed well for pvp and any push for it at this stage would really mess up every single other aspect of the game so badly that it would probably make the game unplayable.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustATempAccount View Post
    When it comes to goofing off there's an elephant in the room, though the elephant often receives vitriolic hate from the close minded it's still a good option. No, I'm not talking about what you're thinking about, I'm talking about PVP, or in case you were thinking about it, good for you.
    Either way, more PVP features. Yes I am aware of balance issues, or at least the illusion of them. I've been PVPing for 4 years in DDO and the imbalance has been greatly exaggerated, it nearly always comes down to player skill and luck, even with uneven levels.
    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    When a game starts putting in more pvp, they start trying to balance pvp and that would lead devs to nerf, well everything in sight. This game is not designed well for pvp and any push for it at this stage would really mess up every single other aspect of the game so badly that it would probably make the game unplayable.
    Well, yes. PvP is very much neglected. But technically, Hide and Seek minigames and such ARE Player Versus Player. It simply isn't Player Versus Player in a fighting sense.

    PvP combat consists of two glass cannons getting first blood. My character will get one-shot by your maximized-empowered spells or your multishot or your 2000 damage two-handed hit.

    Unless the PvP arena polymorphs us into kobolds with all our abilities balanced, PvP combat is insufficient. We are more or less forced into PvP noncombat activities.
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  13. #13
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    Most of those suggestions would require Turbine aka Time Warner to increase their bandwidth usage and invest in development... Do you honestly think they're going to do that? /lol

  14. #14
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    Default Great ideads

    Reignbeaux I really like your ideas. It would be nice to have my own pad to customized. Perhaps player residences could have access to the bank and have a manikin/dummy that I can display my helms/armor/loot on. Hang something nice over that mantle. Or perhaps we could gt a toy chest or something to store items in.

    I like the idea of making the game more additive and fun.

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    I like the rough idea expressed here, that there be some kind of non-quest activity to change things up for players. But really, this is what events are for. And the only reason that they get much participation is because they are limited time activities. Otherwise, there just aren't enough interested players to keep things going. And the level of participation drops greatly when new 'phat loots' are not involved, as was shown by the most recent round of Crystal Cove.

    Player housing with some kind of cosmetic display system is something that players have been wanting forever now! And should it ever come, I have no doubt that it will be extremely popular, no matter it's form.

    As for PvP, it is quite a joke. There is a skill threshold, in that if you are absolutely clueless you won't be hitting anyone no matter how awesome your character is. But it is extremely low, and the lack of balance around PvP in DDO makes it so that pretty much anyone can one-shot someone. Which is not a bad thing, not at all. DDO is a game that has no real need for PvP, so it doesn't really matter that it does not work.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphear View Post
    Most of those suggestions would require Turbine aka Time Warner to increase their bandwidth usage and invest in development... Do you honestly think they're going to do that? /lol
    Very likely. This is a 7 year old game. The dev team has put in who knows how many hours of their lives into this game. They are heavily invested into this.

    But we players aren't. Younger prettier RPGs are popping up all the time. And the power creep is getting out of hand. Not only is content dying and never run except for the odd bravery bonus and even then only by 3rd lifer TRs and only once, but we are seeing the death of builds. The power creep isn't distributed evenly and we find builds, options, paths, and even entire roles being completely useless.

    We are not only getting to the point where you "have to run these quests and only these quests", you also have to "farm these items and only these items", you also have to "run these builds and only these builds" because all the other content is obsolete. That is one foot in the grave for a 7 year investment. They see it. They know it. And if the overlords at Warner Brothers have an IQ that justifies their pay grade, they'll let Turbine do what Turbine needs to do.


    Quote Originally Posted by Livmo View Post
    Reignbeaux I really like your ideas. It would be nice to have my own pad to customized. Perhaps player residences could have access to the bank and have a manikin/dummy that I can display my helms/armor/loot on. Hang something nice over that mantle. Or perhaps we could gt a toy chest or something to store items in.

    I like the idea of making the game more additive and fun.
    Thanks. And yes. People do want to stop grinding gear and put their creative energies to making something elegant and beautiful. Something in game to show off to guildies.


    Quote Originally Posted by Furare View Post
    Player "housing" or similar could be fun, I guess.

    The other things... I can't think why I would ever want to do either of them. I get that you're trying to introduce fun into the game in a way that doesn't lead to power increase/creep, but it'd be better to do that by coming up with something new that's in keeping with what DDO is - a (loosely) D&D based action RPG - rather than unrelated minigames. I'm not sure what that could be - maybe randomised dungeons or something?

    Of course, the problem with any activity in an MMO is that, if it doesn't give "rewards" (XP, loot) - or doesn't give rewards deemed "worthwhile" - then hardly anyone will do it. And if it does give decent rewards, people will grind it to get those rewards. I think the reason power creep and grinding exists in MMOs is because it's a natural consequence of the mindset of most MMO players. People who don't care about grinding gear or levelling to 25/maxing out all EDs as fast as possible are having fun already in the game just by playing the quests. People who prioritise achievements above fun and end up grinding (or who find grinding/acquiring gear fun) aren't going to be interested in the proposed minigames anyway. So I'm not entirely sure who they'd really be catering to, I guess.
    The problem with giving out those kinds of rewards is the pointlessness. You acquired the item for utility. You beat the hardest boss for the strongest weapon, but then what? You have the strongest weapon but you just beat the hardest boss without it. What are you going to do with it now? In other words, you acquire no benefit from the weapon.

    DDO needs to get out of the business of selling imaginary items and back into the business of selling 45 minute vacations for $3 at a time. DDO needs to create content that allows players to enjoy the experience and not just mechanically grind through the same quests over and over again, using the same shortcuts and hiding spots every time.
    Last edited by Reignbeaux; 04-30-2013 at 03:17 PM.
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  17. #17
    Community Member Furare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reignbeaux View Post
    The problem with giving out those kinds of rewards is the pointlessness.
    You're actually preaching to the choir there. I don't like grinding quests just to get gear that I don't really need so I can thoroughly "optimise" my toons. It's just a sad fact that if you don't offer rewards for a side activity in an MMO, hardly anyone will do it. I'm not saying that's how it should be, and it's not even an attitude I relate to myself - it's just how it is. The game didn't get into its current state of gear grind, epic destiny farm, uberbuilds and dead levels/quests just because of design decisions made by Turbine. It got like that because that's what happens to MMOs - I think it's just human nature to want the shiniest of shinies, whether you actually need them or not.
    Liseyda on Khyber: TR3 Elf Paladin (L18).

  18. #18

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    I think the OP has really only touched on a small part of a very untapped area of development. Minigames and distractions like this aren't for everyone, but the people that do like these things, like them a lot. Enough to drop down big bucks on fluff that adds no real power to your characters directly. I think that in the past couple years or so, Turbine has been making a small effort to appeal to casual players with pets and cosmetic gear, but adding housing could be a huge moneymaker if it's done right.

    I'm not suggesting that Turbine drop everything and enable all these sort of suggestions, but adding some here and there every few updates will add some casual substance to a game that doesn't really appeal to that market as much as it could. The only real question is, can Turbine add elements like this properly and keep them up to date. The outdated relic known as Cannith crafting is a reminder that Turbine very much likes half finished game elements and is not against dropping elements into the game that are not effectively future-proofed.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by redspecter23-A View Post
    I think the OP has really only touched on a small part of a very untapped area of development. Minigames and distractions like this aren't for everyone, but the people that do like these things, like them a lot. Enough to drop down big bucks on fluff that adds no real power to your characters directly. I think that in the past couple years or so, Turbine has been making a small effort to appeal to casual players with pets and cosmetic gear, but adding housing could be a huge moneymaker if it's done right.

    I'm not suggesting that Turbine drop everything and enable all these sort of suggestions, but adding some here and there every few updates will add some casual substance to a game that doesn't really appeal to that market as much as it could. The only real question is, can Turbine add elements like this properly and keep them up to date. The outdated relic known as Cannith crafting is a reminder that Turbine very much likes half finished game elements and is not against dropping elements into the game that are not effectively future-proofed.
    The problem is that it isn't cost efficient. When you make half finished work, it is a massive waste if resources that doesn't add any player utility beyond being the flavor of the month. The content dies after a short run on the top seller list. Thereafter it spends eternity as a liability. It becomes a bug haven, a ever present complication in all future planning. It doesn't make business sense.

    Run the flagging quests once, and then the content starts dying immediately with the sole exception of the raid. Yes, casual content does not appeal to everyone all the time but it does appeal to everyone some of the time - which already gives it more replayability and utility.


    Quote Originally Posted by Furare View Post
    You're actually preaching to the choir there. I don't like grinding quests just to get gear that I don't really need so I can thoroughly "optimise" my toons. It's just a sad fact that if you don't offer rewards for a side activity in an MMO, hardly anyone will do it. I'm not saying that's how it should be, and it's not even an attitude I relate to myself - it's just how it is. The game didn't get into its current state of gear grind, epic destiny farm, uberbuilds and dead levels/quests just because of design decisions made by Turbine. It got like that because that's what happens to MMOs - I think it's just human nature to want the shiniest of shinies, whether you actually need them or not.
    The problem isn't inherent in players, nor developers, nor MMO. We aren't here for items, or tomes. We are here to enjoy the experience of DDO. It should register as deeply problematic that the quests are not inherently enjoyable such to warrant running it without a shiny prize. We have simply been blinded by the fact that gear grind is the industry standard.


    There is one problem that warrants mentioning. Here I sit on my high horse preaching but to me, it is just another game. To the developer it is a massive risk and a chance against his or her livelihood. It needs to be discussed thoroughly and planned and implemented cheaply. That was why I suggested what I did in the order I did. Lowest risk first. I got your back on this one, Turbine.
    Last edited by Reignbeaux; 04-30-2013 at 10:50 PM.
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    Reignbeau, Ghallanda's most squelched player

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