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  #16  
Old 01-04-2001, 08:24 AM
JeffCrook
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Quote:
Originally posted by SamW:
I'm lucky with HS because there are so many built in things to do that don't involve combat, and require teamwork to succeed at.
This is good, and you are right, Horizon Station does offer a lot of economic alternatives to just killing a newbie and taking his starting gold.

Of course, newbies in Qigung aren't going to have any starting gold. There's just been a cataclysm and resources are scarce.

One other thing that I've been thinking of, that might be a positive and countering result from PvP, is that because it does occur, it is safer if you have a lot of friends. The more powerful you become, the bigger a target you are for envy and retaliation, so the more you need followers and disciples to watch your back and guard the door while you sleep. Maybe the evolution of this player realization is the key - those who survive are those who build followings. When you are new, the way to survive is to join a following, attach yourself to a powerful teacher or guild master. You gain access to knowledge in your chosen skill area, you have a safe place to sleep, and people around you to fight for you should you be offline, or lose your connection, or suffer lag. This would also drive the PvP, as those who see their followers diminishing will work harder to build the reputation needed to attract followers, and they will actively recruit newbies.

Hey, this is feudalism! I think I can live with that.
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  #17  
Old 01-04-2001, 12:21 PM
Atama Atama is offline
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Quote:
My fear is that it will backfire, as experienced players come to see newbies not as allies but as treasure.
Newbie auctions! I love it! "I have here Dragonfire, he seems rather bright and doesn't use MUD slang very often. Do I hear 100 gold?"

One thing that I ran into on a graphical MUD that I played on was the idea of being a Mentor. A Mentor takes on a pupil, and guides him, and gains a small amount of experience as his student rises in experience, until he gets strong enough to venture on his own. At the higher levels, that's a far better way to gain XP than going out and killing monsters. So, a PC's career generally consisted of the newbie age, where your Mentor teaches you how to survive, your adventuring age, where you go out slaying monsters, getting treasure, and making a name for yourself, and finally your Mentor age, where you use the knowledge you have learned to help others as you were helped.

Since there were always more newbies than Mentors, a Mentor would typically have a few students at a time. The students would train together under their Mentor, and oftentimes gain level at the same time, forming bonds of friendship along the way. It was a great system that I thought worked well.
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  #18  
Old 01-10-2001, 12:52 PM
JeffCrook
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Quote:
originally posted in Metastatic #10
In games with visible progress indicators (like level and experience counters), this is magnified, because you can SEE that your friends are getting ahead of you.
I am playing with the idea of not using visual progress indicators. They are rather artificial ways of determining your skill level, after all. What if, to test your skill level, you have to challenge yourself to see how good you really are?

Just a thought I am playing with. What do you think?
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  #19  
Old 01-10-2001, 01:44 PM
SamW SamW is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by JeffCrook:
What if, to test your skill level, you have to challenge yourself to see how good you really are?
As long as players have some way to say to themselves "Okay, today my character advanced a bit" then they're usually happy. Some players don't need advancement cues at all, others need them regularly to reinforce their play patterns.

It's something that will probably need adjusting as your game matures, in order to impact players in the most positive manner possible. It really is an important aspect of play that most games don't address after release, but which can be very powerful.

Just my $.02,

SamW
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  #20  
Old 01-10-2001, 01:54 PM
Atama Atama is offline
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The Castle has something like this, as far as dueling. For example, I've been having Zero practice over and over for months, and now he can usually whoop on most newbies. He'd never know how good he is unless he challnged others. The interesting thing is, you can only measure your advancement as opposed to how you compare to others (who are also advancing...).
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  #21  
Old 01-10-2001, 02:02 PM
bj bj is offline
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[quote]I am playing with the idea of not using visual progress indicators. They are rather artificial ways of determining your skill level, after all. What if, to test your skill level, you have to challenge yourself to see how good you really are?

Just a thought I am playing with. What do you think?[quote]


I've seen skills displayed by numbers (something I've always hated in these types of games) and by adjectives (Superlative Strength). It seems that by the second month, someone has figured out the numerical equivalent to all the adjectives.

I would love to play in an environment where I wasn't too sure just how skilled I was - as long as I would be supplied with some method of getting an "approximate" chance of success for any given action.

In other words, to test my acrobatic skill I am going to attempt to jump over a crevasse... but not first without ASSESSING my chances of success, something like "Assess jump crevasse". The output returned might be something like "It looks daunting..."

A pain to code, but a possibility.

BJ
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  #22  
Old 01-11-2001, 08:42 AM
JeffC JeffC is offline
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I don't know what happened to my user name and password.

But forging right ahead...

Quote:
Originally posted by Atama:
The interesting thing is, you can only measure your advancement as opposed to how you compare to others (who are also advancing...).
The thing I like about this is it creates a big fish in a small pond environment. You might end up being the most powerful character in an area, confident of your skills, arrogant and complacent. Then along comes someone with a skill level you've never faced. Suddenly you learn just how unskilled you really are.

I like this regionalism.

Still, Sam is right in that players need to have some way of knowing that their skill is improving. But there's got to be a way to do it without using a meter.

I wonder if it would be possible to not use levels at all. Use a continous progression instead. Then, all skilled action checks would work basically the same, except that the numbers would increase dramatically. Rather than having a skill check difficulty of 25, it might be 2500. You could really get some nuances of success with this, too, so that no two swords created by a swordsmith would be quite the same - each would have a slightly different durability and damage rating.
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  #23  
Old 01-11-2001, 08:47 AM
JeffC JeffC is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by bj:
something like "Assess jump crevasse". The output returned might be something like "It looks daunting..."[/b]
This would be killer. You could also factor in a confidence level. If you've failed a bunch of times jumping over crevasses, even if you had a good chance of making this leap, your confidence level might return a less glowing assessment.

Drunkeness would have the opposite affect on your confidence, so that even if you weren't skilled, being drunk might get you something like, "You could make this leap in the dark."

Christopher, Shannon, Zell? What do you think?
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  #24  
Old 01-11-2001, 11:22 PM
ChristopherA ChristopherA is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by JeffC:
Christopher, Shannon, Zell? What do you think?
It is certainly possible.

Implementation depends a lot on whether you are using an an existing skill system (we are in progress on design for one now that combines dueling and brawling for use in Marrach and in GEiD, and a seperate one for games in the second half of 2001), or creating your own private skill system. I'll try to make sure that you can do a skill check in our systems without actually peforming the skill so that you do things like this.

-- Christopher
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  #25  
Old 01-12-2001, 12:53 PM
murf murf is offline
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The more I think about visible progress levels, the more I can see I'm leaning towards invisible skill rankings, but many varied and visible social rankings. Qigung just seems to scream for this sort of thing. If, as the current talking-heads proclaim, players are most motivated by "leveling", linking the visual advancement to social climbing should eventual condition players towards building the in-game society and away from the XP treadmill. The key, of course, is making those first few levels fairly quick to climb. Give new players an obvious and not-too-taxing method for getting their foot on the first rung of the social ladder. Left to their own devices, I fear most players will view social climbing with a sour-grapes attitude until they are expressly invited to try.

Brian
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  #26  
Old 01-16-2001, 08:09 AM
JeffCrook
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Testing

Quote:
Originally posted by murf:
many varied and visible social rankings. Qigung just seems to scream for this sort of thing.
I'll deall with the social structure of Qigung in an article fairly soon. Briefly, social class is strictly defined and involves your rights and the rights of others as far as how you deal with each other. A celestial general can have a peasant flogged (provided he wants to) for refusing to bow, but not another peasant.
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  #27  
Old 01-16-2001, 10:42 AM
murf murf is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by JeffCrook:
A celestial general can have a peasant flogged (provided he wants to) for refusing to bow, but not another peasant.
Er, do you mean a celestial general can only flog certain peasants, or peasants can't have other peasants flogged?

Can't wait to hear more on this.

Brian

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  #28  
Old 01-16-2001, 10:44 AM
JeffCrook
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Quote:
Originally posted by murf:
peasants can't have other peasants flogged?
That's what I mean.
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  #29  
Old 01-16-2001, 06:44 PM
jwalton jwalton is offline
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Hey Jeff,

I've been kinda hesitant about your game setting so far, generally because I tend to avoid the whole "Oriental" genre (since it is often filled with only stereotypes of Asian cultures), but I have been reading your articles fairly regularly, hoping that there'd be something that would prove to me that you were being very conscious of that fact. I will admit that some of your ideas are intriguing and now that you've set out the races for your world, I thought I'd throw out a few comments.

First, I think you've set up a fairly strong balance here, with the warriors, the martial artists, and the magic users. The challenge, then, of course, is going to be making sure that each race and culture doesn't dissolve into a stereotype and that each society is equally vibrant, full of depth and history, and meaningful. One thing that I don't fully understand yet (I don't know if you've made it clear elsewhere) is whether these "races" of people are supposed to be "races" in the traditional-fantasy sense of the word or if they are merely different "peoples," of seperate ethnic origin, background, and culture. For me, looking at the setting, I think the "peoples" route would be more realistic and effective, but that may not be what you are trying to do here.

Secondly, are you going to come out with some kind of general pronounciation guide for the different peoples and languages of Chan-la? I think that would be extremely helpful. I'm having a little difficulty because you are weaving things like "qigung" that are real Chinese words, with things like "Xao," which aren't (is "Xao" pronounced "Shao" or "Zao"?).

Also, to throw in some compliments before I sound like I've been complaining for an entire post, I do like the way you've tried to incorperate bits of traditional Asian history into your background story. I like having the remains of a toppled dynasty around to stir up trouble. I like having the rulers overthrown by a warlike tribe that sweeps in out of nowhere. I like having the Xao flee south into the "uncivilized lands." As far as a general historical outline goes, I think you have some good things going and I'll be interested to see how you develop it.

Good luck, there.

Later.
Jonathan
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  #30  
Old 01-17-2001, 06:20 AM
JeffCrook
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Good questions, all.

Quote:
Originally posted by jwalton:
making sure that each race and culture doesn't dissolve into a stereotype and that each society is equally vibrant, full of depth and history, and meaningful.
One of the first things I set out to do was to create a triad of points of view represented by the three main groups of people, and to emphasize that no one point of view is considered 'right' within the game's design. Though the Fong conquered the Chan, the Chan were themselves conquerers of the Xao, who were themselves conquerers of an even more ancient people. So no one group could claim 'first' rights. There are good Fong and evil Fong, good Chan and evil Chan, good Xao and evil Xao. No one is the bad guy, but no one is really the good guy either.

Quote:
One thing that I don't fully understand yet is whether these "races" of people are supposed to be "races" in the traditional-fantasy sense of the word or if they are merely different "peoples," of seperate ethnic origin, background, and culture.
These are races in the sense of ethnic origin, rather than different species. All are human. There are non-human intelligent species, but these will not initially be available as characters.

Quote:
Secondly, are you going to come out with some kind of general pronounciation guide for the different peoples and languages of Chan-la? (is "Xao" pronounced "Shao" or "Zao"?)
More like Zhao. That's how I pronounce it, anyway. The problem with a pronunciation guide is that because it isn't English, everyone is going to have their opinions of how something should be pronouced. Should 'shi' be pronouced 'shi' or 'sher' or 'sir'? If I define a pronunciation, then for someone it will be wrong, which will make the game feel wrong to them.

For the same reason, I basically recreated the boxing styles. First, I don't call them kung-fu, because for some people, the word kung-fu is a misnomer. The empty-hand martial arts are called boxing. In many cases, I used the same names of the more well-known styles, especially the various animal styles. But as the animal styles are only the surface of Chinese martial arts, so they are only part of the martial arts systems of my game. And I've left plenty of room for players to create their own styles. I didn't want to try to define everything.

Lastly, concerning languages. Chan is the 'common' language of the game. I hope to be able to implement a system whereby characters will only be able to speak and understand the languages that they know. And there will be such things as the language of dragons.

Quote:
I do like the way you've tried to incorperate bits of traditional Asian history into your background story.
Thanks. I didn't want to try to recreate history with all the names changed. If you do that, you might as well just create a historical game. I took the parts that I thought would make for good background. I really wanted to use the Warring States period, because that is a hell of a good adventure setting, but I just couldn't figure out a way to make it fit. At least not at this point.
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