Diku -> Everquest. LPMud -> ??

devoirdevoir Registered User
edited March 2007 in MMO Extravaganza
I used to play an LPMud for about five years. It was heavily skill based in that basically the whole game's character advancement was built around the trees of fighting, magic, faith, covert and other.

Every action in the game, whether it be a ritual (faith/priest spells), spell, special attack or covert action relied on skillchecks on a multitude of skills.

For example a special attack while you were in combat might use fighting.melee.sword to determine damage and landing, fighting.special.weapon to determine success rate to prepare, fighting.special.tactics to determine how much effort it took, and fighting.points to determine whether you had enough spare fighting 'effort'/'stamina' to execute the move.

Ambush would you covert.hiding.person, covert.items.weapons, covert.stealth.outside/inside, covert.points and fighting.melee.daggers, etc.

I'm a bit tired of MMOs where everything is simply based around your character level and the trained level of the spell/ability you are using. Apparently Ultima used to have a similar system to what I was familiar with, but I have not seen it in any mainstream MMO thus far. Everything in terms of skillchecks seems to be all very basic and one dimensional.

devoir on

Posts

  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I'm not entirely sure what you're asking; you're not really asking anything.

    If you're looking for a MMO out there with as many "skill checks" as what you're describing, you're really not going to find it. Not only does that sound as fun as stabbing your leg for hours on end, it's needlessly complex and totally inappropriate for a video game. Tabletop war games and MUD's is about all you're going to find that have what you want. Even the D&D MMO carries "checks" as something totally simplistic and identical to every other MMO out there; it just tells you what happened instead of a mysterious "miss" or "fail".

    Sorry.

    The only MMO I can think of that is nearly purely skill based is EVE Online, but it's a space sim, and it's pretty complex. Even with it's skill based system, it's nothing like what you're describing though. Anarchy Online used to be a skill based game, where you got points per level and could do nearly anything regardless of your level, but a long time ago they started putting level req's on everything and implemented OverEquiping which really screwed over the skill based aspect.

    Anyway, good luck.

    The Dude With Herpes on
    Steam: Galedrid - XBL: Galedrid - PSN: Galedrid
    Origin: Galedrid - Nintendo: Galedrid/3222-6858-1045
    Blizzard: Galedrid#1367 - FFXIV: Galedrid Kingshand

  • devoirdevoir Registered User
    edited March 2007
    What I meant was a game where the mechanics behind everything hadn't been simplified down to "Is my attack skill better than his defense skill", and where your development of your character could go in strange and weird ways to specific build towards the execution of a particular action.

    I mean you look at WoW. You know that every Warrior is going to have X level of Whirlwind, etc. You see his weapon, have a general idea of his armour and can take a fair crack at estimating what damage his whirlwind will do if you let him run into your healing group. You also have a fair idea of his defense, etc.

    Whereas if WoW was more built like a MUD, it's quite possible he's 2 days old, built himself entirely for whirlwind bombing, but if you manage to target and attack him before he gets into your healing group, you won't have any issue because his health is bugger all, his resistances, etc suck.

    I guess I'm interested in the kind of character development in MMOs that you see in games like Morrowind and Oblivion, but with a little bit more depth to their mechanics. Big skill tree, your abilities don't just rely on the level of spell that you bought from the dealer, etc.

    It's not like all of this has to be violently transparent to the player, either. Hell, you could even do away with the whole miss/fail thing, and just have increasing levels of strength. It's a matter of trade off - instead of just walking up to a vendor and buying an ability every two levels, you train the ability and then work on the skills you feel most benefit your playstyle and how you use that ability.

    devoir on
  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    UO is the only MMO that has anything similar to that, though I can't imagine anyone suggesting you play UO at this point.

    From a business standpoint what you're looking for isn't really in the cards for a MMO. For one, a system like that, like any of the Elder Scrolls games, would be completely unmanageable from a balance standpoint. Also, just from a subscription standpoint, having a linear level based system ensures that you have the player by the balls the entire grinding period; whereas a skill based system you're looking for isn't something that you could funnel players where you want and balance content to control achievements so that people don't get bored too quickly and quit. Third, are you asking for a classless game, just skill based? Because if you're thinking of a classless game; balance. There's a reason you don't see MMO's with characters like Elder Scrolls, Fable, Ultima (except UO but again...you'd have more fun playing 2 player pong by yourself) and the like. Paying players wouldn't have the patience for some 24/7 no life player with a character that was a master in everything and is more or less a god. SWG used to have a more skill based system, but that's gone and never coming back; and even then it was still primarily class based, with skill based subsets in each class.

    Regardless, if seeing the backend isn't important to you then why does it even matter if it's there? Hell, in WoW it might be there for all I know. And focusing on the skills you want? There are talent trees in WoW to customize your character; and you don't have to train all your skills if you don't want. Obviously the trees are limited, but again, there's no feasible way of making an open ended skill tree for a game that has thousands and thousands of players. DAoC has a skill point system for leveling, but in the long run it's not fundamentally different than other MMO's in the regard of character customization, it just hands you your "talent tree" in a different manner.

    There's various smaller scale games out there like Diablo and it's offspring (titans quest, silverfall, whatever) or NWN (1/2) that offer possibly more customization for characters, but they're not MMOs.

    EDIT: Even if someone did make a totally skill based MMORPG with development similar to Oblivion, they would have to cap a players abilities; there's no way it could be open ended. And if that were the case and even though you could pick and choose whatever skills you wanted and focused on them, but were limited to a set amount; very very quickly it'd just turn into a cookie cutter game where every single player has the FOTM skills because they happen to be what is powerful; and with a limited pool of powers you would only choose those that were most beneficial and the rest would just gather dust from disuse. So that's another reason it's not really viable.

    The Dude With Herpes on
    Steam: Galedrid - XBL: Galedrid - PSN: Galedrid
    Origin: Galedrid - Nintendo: Galedrid/3222-6858-1045
    Blizzard: Galedrid#1367 - FFXIV: Galedrid Kingshand

  • devoirdevoir Registered User
    edited March 2007
    KingsHand wrote: »
    Third, are you asking for a classless game, just skill based? Because if you're thinking of a classless game; balance.

    In the MUD I used to play, all skills were up for grabs. There were class-limited abilities, however, so some of the skills were utterly useless for a Warrior for example. That said, a Warrior could dabble in faith for healing himself, etc. although it cost him far, far more than it would have a Priest.
    There's a reason you don't see MMO's with characters like Elder Scrolls, Fable, Ultima (except UO but again...you'd have more fun playing 2 player pong by yourself) and the like. Paying players wouldn't have the patience for some 24/7 no life player with a character that was a master in everything and is more or less a god.

    The levelling scale in the MUD I played created an exponential (I believe) increase in advancement cost that made it far more viable to work on a variety of skills than one particular one. While it's not a skill cap, it worked very much like that in effect because players would diversify their skills to better support what they wanted to do in the game.

    i.e. You could create portals by yourself if you really wanted to. There was no need, but it saved on money spent. You could of course put that xp into fighting skills, but the tradeoff was a no brainer for most people.

    I definitely see the point you're raising about balance, and it was kicking around in the back of my head. However, look at Eve. Rapidly increasing skill costs, a classless system, because of the specific seperation of applied abilities. In Eve this takes the form of ships. In my previous post I used the example of ambush.

    If you made ambush a dagger only skill, then implemented weapon cooldown timers like you have in WoW, there's your separation of abilities. Things like that could serve to essentially remove the power of additional skills to add to your core, rather than your options.
    Regardless, if seeing the backend isn't important to you then why does it even matter if it's there? Hell, in WoW it might be there for all I know.

    I guess the difference is at the end of the day, talents are pretty finite combinations that have a hard set limit due to the way Blizzard has gone about balancing. You end up with generally three to five builds with minor variations on each for the character classes with very little performance change in any of those.

    I suppose I'd like to see the ability to differentiate yourself a bit and be a bit more granular in character progression.
    And focusing on the skills you want? There are talent trees in WoW to customize your character; and you don't have to train all your skills if you don't want.

    Training skills is limited by money, which'd be moronic to bypass if it can contribute to you in any way. There's no bonus to not buying a skill from a vendor, there's just a downside in terms of character advancement. Whereas in something like Eve (and Eve isn't a perfect example of what I'm interested in because the advancement is so monolithic, plus it's an MMO where you're basically a spaceship) you have to choose between skills to advance. You pick one, that benefits it, but means you don't get the others, which you cannot compare to plonking down 1g in WoW for a skill or not.
    Obviously the trees are limited, but again, there's no feasible way of making an open ended skill tree for a game that has thousands and thousands of players.

    I guess the evolution has been that what I would have called a skill system and a command system has basically turned into buying skills from a vendor and a very basic talent tree system which at the end of the day does not give you any real granular character definition.
    DAoC has a skill point system for leveling, but in the long run it's not fundamentally different than other MMO's in the regard of character customization, it just hands you your "talent tree" in a different manner.

    As above, I guess it's the 'mainstream' evolution of how the MUD example handled things.
    There's various smaller scale games out there like Diablo and it's offspring (titans quest, silverfall, whatever) or NWN (1/2) that offer possibly more customization for characters, but they're not MMOs.

    D2 and its offspring are basically what WoW is in terms of character customisation, just a little less balance focused. NWN is based on D&D, which is still rigorously based on level-based progression.
    EDIT: Even if someone did make a totally skill based MMORPG with development similar to Oblivion, they would have to cap a players abilities; there's no way it could be open ended.

    I'd beg to differ, if you made the advancement costs significant enough. And I'm not just talking about timesink, perhaps you could induce a certain amount of skill decay, etc. I just see the current MMO environment very stagnant in terms of how they deal with character development and progression. I know that things need to be balanced, but there have to be mechanics which allow you a little bit of freedom in realising a game or else everything will homogenize into being essentially a different skin for the same engine. I mean, look at the reception of LOTRO versus WoW.
    And if that were the case and even though you could pick and choose whatever skills you wanted and focused on them, but were limited to a set amount; very very quickly it'd just turn into a cookie cutter game where every single player has the FOTM skills because they happen to be what is powerful; and with a limited pool of powers you would only choose those that were most beneficial and the rest would just gather dust from disuse. So that's another reason it's not really viable.

    That's what everyone used to say about the MUD I played on. Maybe it was because of the mentality of the players or whatever, but you saw in that small game far more builds than you will ever see in WoW. Maybe something can be said for the finality of character choices and having a decision actually having to mean something instead of endlessly respeccing as changes come down the pipeline.

    All the arguments you have brought up are valid, but I just feel some disappointment that there appears to be no movement to try and break from the overarching character advancement model aside from a few exceptions which are so radical in both mechanics, execution and game environment (looking at Eve) that they do not appeal to formerly hardcore players who like fantasy but are sick to death of the holy trinity/talent tree style of advancement.

    Actually, on a final note, didn't Everquest have something called Alternate Advancement? I remember hearing about that and thinking at least there was something you could use to carve out the identity and ability of your character some more than WoW at least.

    devoir on
  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Well, whatever. I'm not saying it can't be done; from a design standpoint it can be done. From a business standpoint of attracting and maintaining subscribers, it won't.

    What you're describing doesn't sound in the slightest bit interesting or fun to me. Its not overly complicated, it's just needlessly complicated. There's a reason WoW is so popular; it's simple and appeals to all levels of gamers. Obviously there's room for niche games, even in the MMO market; and I'm sure eventually something like what you want will be made; but likely no time soon given WoW's popularity (few companies are going to buck the trend and go against the grain; they're going to copy as much of WoW's success as they can).

    For what you're looking for either stick to MUDs or stick to PnP games.

    The Dude With Herpes on
    Steam: Galedrid - XBL: Galedrid - PSN: Galedrid
    Origin: Galedrid - Nintendo: Galedrid/3222-6858-1045
    Blizzard: Galedrid#1367 - FFXIV: Galedrid Kingshand

  • devoirdevoir Registered User
    edited March 2007
    It's actually strange, I cannot get into D&D.

    It's an idealistic fantasy, I guess. The fact that you are so ready to accept, as a consumer, that it's not worth a designer seeking to develop games which consumers may not even know they want, would indicate that there will never be mainstream support for a change in direction. MMOs are -ing fated to repeat the same crap over and over again in terms of gameplay.

    It's not personal, it's just frustration at the lack of interest in new avenues to branch the market into. Just because something is the 'norm' does not mean it is the best way to do things, and that it isn't possible to improve on it and be successful to a mainstream market, not just a niche.

    Thanks for the discussion in any case.

    devoir on
  • joeraujoerau Registered User
    edited March 2007
    for a good mud, with a recently lacking pbase hit up Illusions of the Mind, you can log in at tibernas.genesismuds.com port 9100 it's cool

    joerau on
  • envy0envy0 Registered User
    edited March 2007
    I completely disagree with KingsHand. It's fine if you think a skillbased MMO would not be fun for you but to say it could not be financially viable is silly. Big publishers don't want to take risks on something different so they all copy eachother. Eventually someone will do something different that will be successful.

    WoW is a good MMO but it's not very innovative it still uses the same formula as all the other MMO's the main difference is Blizzard is very good at making very polished games that appeal to a wide audience. I played it for a year and I've played almost all of the other MMO's. I'm so bored of the classbased level based fantasy mmo rehash over and over again. I'm looking forward to an MMO that brings something new to the genre.

    Darkfall Online is a fully skill based pvp based MMO. It is not out yet but the original poster might want to look into when it comes out.

    envy0 on
  • devoirdevoir Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Thanks. I've kept an eye on Darkfall, but I have serious doubts it'll be out before 2010.

    devoir on
Sign In or Register to comment.