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Gordon Walton - are you the one who brought us Trammel?

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I would have thought my answer to this would already be clear from what I wrote.   We'd be better off building a new game for that audience, than trying to modify a game in midstream to accommodate a different audience.  It might work financially but it would make the game it less of what it was.  Believe it or not, people that make games are not strictly motivated by money.

 

P.S. I think I am the accountant for ArtCraft btw.

 

It is much clearer now.. Thanks I appreciate the response.. 

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Yup, indeed a good response. You can tailor the game for those who stay around, but you can't keep everyone in a MMO happy. Some left already for dinky things such as the graphics not having blue haired doe eyed looking avatars. Not much point making a game that suits everyone -- cause it doesn't exist nor could it.

Edited by headlight

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I would have thought my answer to this would already be clear from what I wrote.   We'd be better off building a new game for that audience, than trying to modify a game in midstream to accommodate a different audience.  It might work financially but it would make the game it less of what it was.  Believe it or not, people that make games are not strictly motivated by money.

 

P.S. I think I am the accountant for ArtCraft btw.

So what can you tell us about EK that hasn't already been said? ;)

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Best thread ever! im an old UO fan and when i saw the replies from the first devs i was like :o

Maybe we will get a reply :o

 

 

And we did :) thanks for the info, was fun to get some questions ive had for years get resolved :P

Edited by Exzear

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THIS.  Emergent behavior leads to relationships.  

 

I believe people need social interaction, on a deep level  -- like hunger, or thirst.   That's why a marathon amusement-park PvE session always leaves me with a hollow feeling, like I eating a 10 lb. bag of popcorn.

 

I'm full, but my body knows it isn't really sustenance, and I'm left feeling empty.

 

 

 

This last point is key.  In fact -- I want to flag this particular note, so that once we've revealed more, we can revisit it.  I'd love to get your opinion on where we are headed.

 

Todd

ACE

 

That last point is very important to me as a potential consumer as well.  I'm not very skilled at PVP.  I much prefer being a full time crafter/vendor type of player, although in my dream world I could play a political/crafter/merchant/tycoon role that would be just as PVP as the combat side of the guild vs. guild conflict.

 

This is one reason I loved Eve.  I very rarely engaged in the pew-pew between spaceships.  But I was one of the industrial guys that was essential to keeping the squads running.  I hope there are similar roles available for players in this game.  Let me build buildings/shops, let me build defensive emplacements, let me build siege engines, let me build pits/walls/spike traps, let me build harvesting facilities on resources, let me build guard towers along roads...  and of course let them all be capable of being destroyed by our enemies.

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While I understand a lot of players were angry with the Trammel change, I myself as a player at the time when it happened think that it was necessary. As Gordon said, UO was not attracting new players and usually that's quite bad for an MMO, as the current players would still leave one by one, no matter how slowly.

 

I've always been a fan of consensual or faction based PvP over FFA, mainly because I am not a "hardcore" enough player to enjoy the constant threat of being ganked by players more skilled and/or more numerous. I admit that. I enjoy PvP a lot, but I want to do it when I feel like it. I had a ton of fun doing guild-based PvP in Trammel, especially in the RP scene. Sure, it never gave the same adrenaline rush as running from PKs in the old "Felucca" did, but it also allowed me to relax in the game when I wanted to. Something you could not do before Trammel, unless you stuck in the cities and even there you were prey for the thieves if you were not on your toes.

 

After reading the concept for Crowfall, I backed it up immediately. A game which will allow me to choose what kind of PvP ruleset I take part on, and even lets me do consensual PvP between guilds? Yes please! With destructible and randomized environments in each campaign? Hell yeah! I feel like Crowfall will give each type of PvP player the choice to play the way they want, without being forced into a certain ruleset forever. Really the best of all worlds.

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This thread and the great dev responses within significantly increased my trust in the project, I hope we can have another one of these about SWG NGE.

Edited by Mookzen

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Wonderful answer from Mr. Walton.  One thing struck me in particular - that so many left but did not come back, even for Trammel.  

 

The particular nature "hard core FFA PVP" took in UO was, IMHO, the Original Sin that led the MMO industry to where it is now.

 

As one of those who piled into original UO on day one, the thing that struck me was the unbridled and relentless glee by which many players slaughtered anything that moved.  One news article probably exaggerated when they wrote that UO roleplay consisted of most people "role-playing" psychopathic serial killers, but not by much. UO launched with a design for an ecosystem, but everything was overrun as if by locusts.  It was like putting the Brady Bunch and Hannibal Lecter in the same house.  Something had to give, and in the end companies don't function well when they are bleeding customers.

 

The beauty of the sandbox design drew the roleplayers in.  But then their wonderfully imagined and carefully built characters were hunted like rabbits by people with names like xXGuessThatHurtXx who made clear they could care less how many subs UO lost.  As original UO was the first experience people had with online games, it left a bad taste for anything with the label "FFA PVP" attached to it.  

 

It is really too bad.  Original UO in many ways was an Eden, a dawn of innocence.  But in hindsight, especially given what we know well by now of Internet populations and how they behave in a FFA PVP setting, it was doomed.

 

I have my own ideas of how it might have worked.  But Mr. Walton noted how technology, business realities, time and resource issues all constrict what can and cannot be attempted.

Edited by cemya

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Wonderful answer from Mr. Walton.  One thing struck me in particular - that so many left but did not come back, even for Trammel.  

 

The particular nature "hard core FFA PVP" took in UO was, IMHO, the Original Sin that led the MMO industry to where it is now.

 

As one of those who piled into original UO on day one, the thing that struck me was the unbridled and relentless glee by which many players slaughtered anything that moved.  One news article probably exaggerated when they wrote that UO roleplay consisted of most people "role-playing" psychopathic serial killers, but not by much. UO launched with a design for an ecosystem, but everything was overrun as if by locusts.  It was like putting the Brady Bunch and Hannibal Lecter in the same house.  Something had to give, and in the end companies don't function well when they are bleeding customers.

 

The beauty of the sandbox design drew the roleplayers in.  But then their wonderfully imagined and carefully built characters were hunted like rabbits by people with names like xXGuessThatHurtXx who made clear they could care less how many subs UO lost.  As original UO was the first experience people had with online games, it left a bad taste for anything with the label "FFA PVP" attached to it.  

 

It is really too bad.  Original UO in many ways was an Eden, a dawn of innocence.  But in hindsight, especially given what we know well by now of Internet populations and how they behave in a FFA PVP setting, it was doomed.

 

I have my own ideas of how it might have worked.  But Mr. Walton noted how technology, business realities, time and resource issues all constrict what can and cannot be attempted.

 

That's a sentiment that I see echoed repeatedly by certain players when confronted with such rulesets, and it stems for a critical difference in virtual communities versus real ones.

 

In a real community, a certain human empathy exists. In a virtual one, we tend to disassociate ourselves from it. The decoupling of avatars from the people they are meant to represent leads to this being an inevitable consequence of granting players freedom.

 

Some players, seeing a field of avatars will invariably always see just that, a field of avatars. They're not people. It's not real murder. What you see on the screen has very little to distinguish it from the camp of goblins just down the road. The avatars just tend to drop better loot most of the time, or die in a more entertaining manner.

 

What UO discovered is that unlike reality those that do seek to build peaceful communities, to treat avatars like they're the people behind them lack a drive to take up arms in defense of those communities because it's simply easier to log out and go do something else. In a real environment these people might decide it's worth doing something they don't want to do or don't find fun in order to defend their ideals because in a real environment you don't always have the option of just leaving.

 

For as much fun as the ganker has ganking, the one being ganked isn't having fun. This eventually leads to a natural outcome. The gankers stick around and gank, and the ganked, not having fun, leave. Sure some will stick around because it's fun to play the hero fantasy, but their fun too is cut by the natural course of things. When there aren't any more helpless villagers and well-meaning traders to rescue, it just isn't fun to be the hero any more. When the gankers run out of easy prey they too begin to fall off.

 

What's left at the end of that cycle is those who see the system for what it is, not what it could or should be. You're left with a population made of somewhat sterner stuff because they realize that crafters might need to fund or even participate in police forces. You're left with tightly knit groups of players formed in to sovereign nation-states because the reality is that you need industry to back war, and you need war to back industry, and if you're not a part of that in some way you're left out in the cold with either no protection or no prey.

 

Those that choose to stay also choose to accept that reality. That there isn't any unspoken law except that which you can enforce, or is enforced for you. Cue the rise of the theme park, and the rise of the PvE-Only servers, and the rise of loss-free PvP. Cue the rise of myriad types of rules and regulations because players don't want to take responsibility for the worlds they inhabit. Players that want to murder without thought for risk, or players that don't want to face the possibility of being ganked are summarily spoon-fed worlds tailored just for them. They're having fun again because they aren't expected to take responsibility, they're just expected to have fun.

 

Games are an escape, and for most people that also means escaping responsibility. It's a good thing that the genre is so broad now, because it caters to what these various and often contradictory populations actually find fun.

 

That sandbox design, and its implications, are a commonly accepted reality now. The very words "PvP Sandbox" paint a very clear picture of a style of play designed to be attractive to those that embrace it for what it is, and find it fun. They are a marker that says "you are responsible for the world you inhabit" rather than "you can be anything you want"

 

Not every player WANTS to be responsible for the world. Not every player WANTS to form meaningful interactions with other players. Some people just want a space on a leaderboard, or a few honor tokens, or to run a scripted dungeon without interference and that's awesome. It's great that spaces exist to cater to just that.

 

The MMO experiment was never one that could sustain all possible types of players in a single environment, and the way UO and countless others played out have proven this.

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Too many who lust after unrestricted pvp hide in their hearts a desire to make another player stop playing. A few will admit it, and have done so on these forums. Most will not. The sad thing is that these 'internet-sociopaths' are outnumbered by the genuinely honorable PvP types who really do want a FAIR and fun fight. But as we all know, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the fun for all.

 

I hope Crowfall will enable some truly useful community-driven disincentives for bad behavior IN CERTAIN RULESETS. Things that really do ft into the commonly known category of griefing, which excludes simply dying to another player. Player bounties is a good one, with a ramp up time fast enough to encourage the community to hunt down the player soon into their anti-social behavior. And not cash as a reward unless the player they hunt is spectacularly bad! It should be a status thing. Titles, cosmetics for EK or gear, etc... The decay should be very slow too, so while the player can be a jerk for a couple days to a handful of players, the bounty only decays after they have been killed a multiple of times more than the behavior that led to their bounty. Plus a tracking system to reduce gaming the system.

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I have always loved Shadowbane.  During live, I was a part of a successful guild. It was full of ppl I called friends.  I had a blast, killing, banes, wars.  I was a killing fool.  Never thought of myself as a ganker, felt more like an honorable defender.

 

Then SB closed.  Sad times.  Moving from one game to another seeking what was lost.  SBEmu was a disappointment.  Magicbane made an appearance and all was right with the world.  But different.  Did the game change?  No, I did.

 

Due to time constraints and such, I no longer had the time to devote to a guild, so now I only solo.  Which I love to do.  I make and remake characters over and over seeking to tweak them to be the best they can be.  As such, I seldom max level a toon before I start on a new one.  So I spend 100% of my time as a low level.....in a world of max level gankers.  And I am having a blast.  Now, it is as much fun escaping and surviving a gank attack as it used to be when I was the one doing the killing.

 

Same game, different outlook, same pleasure.  

 

Can a carebear crafter have fun in a pvp world?  Absolutely, with the right attitude.  

 

And the number of pvpers that will gank a crafter are not all that high.  Most pvpers will recognize that they are dependent on crafters and will be more willing to trade than to kill.   You will always have your sociopathic sereal killers, bless their little hearts, but they just add a touch of spice to the game.

 

 

 After all is said and done, it is the adrenaline that makes gameplay memorable.

Edited by surbear

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Too many who lust after unrestricted pvp hide in their hearts a desire to make another player stop playing. A few will admit it, and have done so on these forums. Most will not. The sad thing is that these 'internet-sociopaths' are outnumbered by the genuinely honorable PvP types who really do want a FAIR and fun fight. But as we all know, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the fun for all.

 

That makes sense to me.  In original UO, although in retrospect Trammel may not (as Mr. Walton has himself observed) have been the right answer, something had to be done if only for business reasons.  I think most PVPers, especially the (now-older) ones who went through UO, understand the problem.  The challenge, as always, is how to maximize freedom without having the bad apples drive down your populations.

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Too many who lust after unrestricted pvp hide in their hearts a desire to make another player stop playing. A few will admit it, and have done so on these forums. Most will not. The sad thing is that these 'internet-sociopaths' are outnumbered by the genuinely honorable PvP types who really do want a FAIR and fun fight. But as we all know, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the fun for all.

 

I hope Crowfall will enable some truly useful community-driven disincentives for bad behavior IN CERTAIN RULESETS. Things that really do ft into the commonly known category of griefing, which excludes simply dying to another player. Player bounties is a good one, with a ramp up time fast enough to encourage the community to hunt down the player soon into their anti-social behavior. And not cash as a reward unless the player they hunt is spectacularly bad! It should be a status thing. Titles, cosmetics for EK or gear, etc... The decay should be very slow too, so while the player can be a jerk for a couple days to a handful of players, the bounty only decays after they have been killed a multiple of times more than the behavior that led to their bounty. Plus a tracking system to reduce gaming the system.

Well, I think it's pretty obvious that in a game like this you need the sociopath types to drive the player conflict that should be the ongoing center of your game mechanics.

 

Shadowbane consists of almost exclusively these types of players in my experience. Okay that's a slight exaggeration, but still. I believe those types of unreasonable, pure evil players are good for this type of game.

 

I remember in the early days of shadow main the feeling of danger when you were out leveling was so intense that it's hard to describe here. If Crowfall doesn't capture that sort of fear that it will fail in my opinion. You would literally have an entire group of players kind of huddled together half ass attacking mobs at a camp because they knew a thief was on track. Guilds and groups of players rose up in response who were, in their eyes and eventually and everyone else's eyes, the forces of good to combat this type of evil. I've played both roles and they are equally fun. They are also equally necessary.

 

It's about real, organic conflict and I don't think you get that unless you have a healthy number of pure evil asshats running around doing bad things for no reason.

Edited by coolwaters

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It's about real, organic conflict and I don't think you get that unless you have a healthy number of pure evil asshats running around doing bad things for no reason.

 

Griefing as a service. GAAS? :D

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Thanks for your answer on this realy emotional topic, Gordon.

 

I played UO since late T2A, in 1999 I believe. For my part, I enjoyed it massively for like 7 years. No matter how Trammel changed things, for my part, I had the most intensive and best time of my 'mmo - live'.

 

So, it was a pleasure reading some insides and reminded me of realy good old days. Since then I was looking for something similar, but couiln't find it. Guess thats why I am here and pledged first time, even though I never thaught I ever would. :)

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Well, I think it's pretty obvious that in a game like this you need the sociopath types to drive the player conflict that should be the ongoing center of your game mechanics.

 

You are right in a sense.  A PVP game needs conflict.  Conflict needs adversaries, and usually that means one is an aggressor.

 

Where it gets complicated is how to do that while ensuring people join, rather than leave, the game.  

Edited by cemya

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After all these years, I've finally seen an explanation on why trammel was implemented. Like it was previously said in this thread, the kid in me from so long ago would have a few words to say as I was deeply passionate about Ultima Online (and I won't hide it, I still play on UO free servers) but now that I'm older and have an understanding of business I definitely understand why it had to happen and it makes sense. I definitely appreciate the honest answer.

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^this. I would love to see an actual SURVIVAL MMO, persistent universe, not a per server thing.

This is kind of what I have been working on, by myself, in Unity. Though, I am only one man, with a full time job ... so it isn't progressing very quickly, rofl. Many of the concepts for Crowfall are concepts I have had for my game. And when I saw this Kickstarter begin and heard about this game ... I was pretty blown away at many of the similarities.

 

Overall, I am loving the developer posts here, I think this is going to be my game. Time to try harder at getting the word out!

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I didn't have a problem with non PVP shards..........the way trammel was implemented caused horrible inflation.

Gold was much easier to get in trammel.....with no PVP there never breaks in farming cycles.....on Chesapeake pre trammel I had friends who

Didn't even have 20k in there bank.....fast forward 2 weeks after trammel they had 300k+ and houses.

 

I always looked at it laziness at the player base to those who didn't adapt and learn to survive in pre-trammel UO. Even simply working hiding could have saved thousands of crafters/miners lives. I started as an aNti-pk.......then went dark side for a bit. Learning to survive, fight back and win was a rewarding challenge.

 

I sure technical limitations prevented character migration. The fact each server had too sides created economic problems.

 

UO also launched at a time when most people pc were under powered at the time.....dial-up was the stanArd, if you had ISDN your ping was God like.

 

If you played Ultima 7 and 7 part II you were pretty familiar with UO user interface.

 

Remember when UO launched most people made guilds by dressing/dying clothes the same. guilds/guild stone functions didn't exist.

 

The lack of a noob training area (not counting training dummies) for players to learn the basics didn't help. New players were tossed in a fresh world, and UO being the first big MMO out there (meridian 59 numbers were small) was uncharted territory for many players. The fact a player could kill you and loot you turned off a lot of players who wanted to treat MMOs like co-op single player games.

 

UO not being able to hold players at its start was based on a lot of factors. Lack of broadband....UO on dial up wasn't a fun experience. It took the pc. Market about a year or 2 more for pcs to get more affordable for the average joe. I was using a pentium 200 Pro....the tower alone was 1400+ dollars .....once pentium MMX and PIIs came out pc prices dropped a lot. I knew people playing UO at launch on 486 dx 100/133 ....which were under powered for newer games at the time. It was a transition period for the net, and the gaming landscape

 

Blaming pks seemed to be the easiest thing to blame. Playing from launch till Age of Shadows I think I went to trammel like 10-15 times (a few times to sell power scrolls). I was always amazed the few conversations I had with players in trammel on their perception of what it was like pre-Trammel and what happened on a daily basis in felucca. Many players thought they get pked in seconds going to felucca......

 

I was one of the first millionaires on Chesapeake ..... Did it pre-trammel....never saw the problem making money. You live you fight, you die, you re arm...they die...they re arm....it. Was a beautiful system with danger around every corner.

 

Still Gordon's response is appreciated ..... It's hard to know the calls behind closed doors at EA and the decisions being made.

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