Mission Based Questing

I am on a questing kick in my last few posts.  I believe that questing and how it is done is what is breaking the MMO experience for me.  If a company were to mix all of these elements together in some way, I believe that it would be the perfect MMO. Or I am just getting sick of the whole genre and I should go buy a Wii and play a bunch of shitty casual games.

Mission based questing is a quest system that uses personal or group instances a lot.  City of Heroes uses this in most of its quests as does Dungeons and Dragons online. Anarchy Online was the first to to do it and it was a big selling point for them and it would of worked had you been able to play AO in the first 3 months. The idea is simple go to a NPC and they give you this quest/mission to go here and find some thing or do some thing.  You then go somewhere on the map and zone into your own private questing area and complete the task.  The areas are usually full of mobs and a few bosses. When you are done you get a reward.

The benefits of this type of system is the ability to control the encounter. You can have scripted events and mobs that act a little smarter because they are in a controlled environment.  You can tell better stories and the experience is not hampered by other players.  You also do not run back and forth much for the quest, you get there and you spend 20 -30 minutes completing your task.  This is very good for casual players, it allows you to log on do a quest that you actually make some progress on your character on and log off.

A few recent games have dabbled in this and have had some success. Age of Conan does it pretty well in the first 20 levels after that it is back to the old fashioned run here and do this and run back type of questing.  DDO relies extensively on this and as a result does not have a very large world to explore.  LOTRO does this for its epic story line and a select few quest most of them are group based. WAR does not do this at all and it would be a very welcome addition.

I want this type of questing to be an option that you can do any time and do not need a quest to do.  I want to be able to grind these if I want. The questing zones must be very well done not random like a lot of the previous games have done. There needs to be mini missions inside that grant you extra experience or gear,  like killing all of the mobs, finding the rare chest, or finding the secret room.  The quest giver needs to be stationary so all quest to this particular mission area are given by one person. You could create story arcs.  Just the act of zoning in could start the quest.  They must be repeatable.

All of this must be mixed with other types of advancement to give the player the option to level how they want to.  This is all about choice, we play these games to have fun and we should be able to choose how we would like to play, and one person should not be penelized for doing something different.

"To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. " – Conan

As some of you may be able to tell by the quote this is a post about Age of Conan.  I find when I hear bad news about a game I want to go and play it and maybe try to save it. I know that my $15 is not much but it may help some.  I hate to see these games die.  I know the news about AoC is not that bad but it is pretty tough.  I reactivated my account awhile back just because I was curious.

I got on last night and started to play my old character from the beginning. He happened to be a 22 Tempest of Set. I was shocked at how much the game after tortage has changed. Before it was very difficult to find where your quest was and what you needed to do.  This time I got on and got right to questing.  I do not know exactly what they changed but it made a big difference in playability. The combat seemed smoother and easier, the game just felt more polished and complete. This is how it should of been released.

I believe that this game has made enough improvements that a lot of the people that try it out again will stick with it. I had a lot of fun last night. The quests were engaging and entertaining. I think it is defitnetly a game worth trying again if you are bored with other games.

I will defitnetly be playing it a bit.

WAR-O-Rama

I get tired of trying to think of titles for my post so you may notice a few random ones.

This weekend was a good playing weekend. As I said in a previous post I have been playing some Age of Conan but that does not mean that I stopped playing war. I got to level 28 on my Bright Wizard. Played a lot of ORVR and realized that if you have an equal size team defending no one wants to try to even take the keep. Every one gives up and wants to take the BOs and that is boring. Why do people not even want to try? It is possible and it is more fun then taking BOs. I don’t know about every one else, but I play games to have fun not to try to screw the opposing team. I don’t care if they make a butt load of RPs off of us, as long as I am having fun. At no time did we get rolled or did I think we were completely out numbered. The lack of trying is really pissing me off.

Leveling is becoming a chore and I do not know how to make it stop feeling that way.  Loot drops are pretty much non existent. So that is not a reason to kill things.  The only reason to kill things is to level. They need to give me more reason to want to level. Quest rewards are pretty much worthless. I get 4000xp for completing a quest. I get 800 xp from killing a mob. What kind of reward is that?  There is really no reason to even do quests.

I was not planning on this being a rant when I started but that is the way that it ended up.  I really do like this game it just needs a few adjustments to be great.  A few of the additions in the next patch look like they are going the right direction I just hope they continue. I need a reason to kill things.

Is Age of Conan the Antidote for Burnout?

Well as I have mentioned in previous post I am trying out Age of Conan to see how it has changed since release. I have also mentioned my feeling of burnout when it comes to WAR. I believe WAR is the better game but there is nothing wrong with playing other games when you get tired of it.

I started a new demonolagist in AoC, I did not really care for the pure melee class that I had started earlier. I must say how great the game looks and it runs smoother then WAR they have really optimized the engine. I hope WAR follows suit because WAR should run much better on the same hardware.  The beginning quest are absolutely exquisite. If they would of continued that kind story telling after the beginning area the game would of been HUGE.

I installed an add on UI the original UI is just huge and takes up way to much space and is not very useful. I find the key bindings a bit burdensome.

I will bounce between AoC and WAR until the new patch is released after that I am not sure what will happen.

Horizontal Progression

Source From the guy that inspired me to blog.

Note that adding raid dungeons and gear progression afterwards to a PvP game doesn’t work, and it was Mythic themselves with the Dark Age of Camelot expansion Trials of Atlantis who proved it doesn’t work. Mark Jacobs has been very explicit in expressing that he wouldn’t do that again. I get the impression that Mythic plans to expand the game horizontally, by adding more classes, and ultimately new race combos. I doubt we will see an expansion raising the level cap. But Mythic’s marketing has been sending out hints that soon the slayer and choppa classes would be added to Warhammer Online. It will be interesting to see how in the long term a game with horizontal expansions fares against the vertical expansion model of World of Warcraft. And personally I think that WoW could use a bit more horizontal expansion instead of just adding new raid dungeons and 10 more levels at the top.

The biggest problem with vertical progression is it makes your current content obsolete and useless. By expanding out you do not kill your high end raids. This makes it so they do not have to recreate a bunch of new raids for the new level cap. They can just change current raids a little to keep them fresh.  I do not know another company that has been able to successfully do this I wish WAR luck.

Return to Age Of Conan

After writing this it got me curious about the status of Age of Conan. So I reactivated my account and started fresh with a Dark Templar. I usually do not play tank classes so this will be new to me.

I had forgotten how engaging the combat system is. The combat is very fun and it keeps you thinking. I really enjoy it.  The game seemed to run smoother then it did before and it seemed a little more polished.  The voice acting is very good and the storyline quests are excellent. Of course I know this ends at level 20 but I will write about that when I get there.

The graphics are exceptional. The sound is equally great. Overall the first 2 hours have been very fun.

Age Of Conan: Is there any hope for this game?

The director for Age of Conan just released a letter.

Original Letter here

The latest Letter from Game Director Craig Morrison is here!

Now that the server merges are complete and the new communities start to come together, in some cases alongside new allies, in others against new foes, I wanted to take some time out and talk a little about what’s coming up in the immediate future.

This starts with the next major game update, and with it some great new game-play and a host of new game-play updates and new features. The update is currently available on the test servers and we’ve been making good progress on getting it polished up and ready for the live environment.

I have enjoyed playing through the new Xibaluku dungeon with the dev team over the last few weeks and I wanted to share a little more in terms of what you can expect to see coming your way when this dungeon hits the live servers. Xibaluku is a six person instance for level 80 players found in Thunder River. That much we have already said in previous information, so more importantly – what does it play like?

With Xibaluku we have challenged the developers to make the dungeon an even more dynamic, interactive and challenging encounter for players that will stand up well to replay. I think the game-play we introduced with Ymir’s Pass in the previous update cycle raised the bar in terms of the fun factor of the new content and we wanted to take it even further with this dungeon.

Xibaluku contains up to a dozen boss encounters, some are essential to progress, some are completely optional but all have been designed to try and provide a really dynamic and changing experience in the dungeon. Some of the bosses may even appear with different abilities or in different forms across different visits! I also say ‘up to’ a dozen because not all the bosses may appear on any given single play through, some are rotated in and out, and there are even two very different end encounters in the dungeon. Which end boss you get will depend on factors relating to your progress through the dungeon itself (and no, I’m not going to provide any spoilers here as to what those factors are!).

Many of the encounters take the game-play challenge up a notch and require you to not just consider the boss itself, but also to consider the environment around you, and even to perform other challenging, even platform style, actions during the boss fight. I think the team has done a fantastic job on focusing keenly on the fun factor in this dungeon and I am really looking forward to what you all make of it!

Another major change that’s on the horizon with the next update that I wanted to mention in this letter are the new PVP resources. This new game mechanic means that after this update PVP Battlekeeps must be made from special resources harvested in the Border Kingdoms themselves. Open world PVP is a game element that many of you have said you enjoy, but we wanted to introduce more reasons for you to take the fight to the open spaces of the Border Kingdoms and give you meaningful resources to fight over. Want to restrict an opposing guild from building up their resources, and head off a challenge? Now you have the ability to do so! We will be keeping a close eye on how this element plays out and are prepared to continue to tweak and adjust the resources and their locations as we continue testing. We firmly believe that continually looking to add more meaningful goals for PVP is very important and we will continue to work on this area of the game over future updates!

Open world PVP is also only one flavor of the PVP available and we are also taking steps to make sure that the instanced PVP battles are also more accessible. The next update will bring with it a better sign-up process that should allow people to find games much easier, and result in more frequent games.

That’s just a few of the new changes and features that will be introduced with the new update. Remember you can check out the test servers for full details of what’s coming up, including full provisional update notes on the test server forum.

Last, but by no means least, the Direct X10 version is also starting to shape up nicely. While we aren’t going to allow it hold back the deployment of the rest of the update we are hard at work ensuring that we concentrate on optimizing the DX10 features and making sure it’s ready to launch as soon as possible. A huge thanks to everyone who has given us excellent feedback from the test server, it really does make this stage of the process much easier.

In my next letter we start to cover the upcoming item and statistic changes in a lot more detail. As soon as the latest update is live the attention will move to introducing you to the nature of these changes and how they will affect the game. All the core work is now done internally and we are currently working on converting all the existing items to the new system. We hope to move the items and statistics update to the test servers as soon as possible after the upcoming update is released to live.

So that’s about it for this update. Thank you all again for continuing to make Hyboria an exciting and dynamic world!

It definitely looks like Funcom is still trying with this game. I think every one agrees if they made the whole game like the first 10 levels this game would be very popular. I played the first 10 levels then got out into the real world. It had no sense of direction and I quit.

I hope that they can put it together and make a great game. I know they have it in them. If you have not tried Anarchy Online it is a very fun and unique game. It is also free to play.

Only time will tell.