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Fly on the Wall: Harvesting - Official discussion thread

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2. Random/hiden nodes: As Corvax and Degan have put it - Exploration. Random spawns of good nodes to be tracked by the solo harvester should require wits, skills and equips to find, so the ones that do can expect the few select competition. A good idea would be some instanced mines/forests/breeding grounds with hiden entrances. The solo player can track and dig up the cave entrance, cloack the entrance to make it harder for others to find, harvest it himself or sell the info for big groups. The entrance should get increasingly easier to track as more people enter the instance (bigger, noisier operations are harder to hide).

Borrow another idea from EvE and use a similar exploration/scanning system.  In EvE you had probes that could scan for ships or for npc complexes.  A similar idea could be used here to allow "scanning" or tracking of players via discipline, or a discipline around exploration that allows a player to "scan" down rare nodes in the game.  When the rare node is finally tracked down by the player (some set of random algorithm that sets them on a small adventure) then the animation of a rock node appears right in front of the player.  The node is never part of the game world until the player successfully finds it through exploration.

 

The rarity of the resource node could be dependent on the type of equipment used.  This is good in a few ways; use some of the rarer resources from the inner bands as the materials for top tier exploration equipment.  Allow CWs and EKs to give a one grade up tier of resources if the best exploration equipment is used.  But also have an exploration "ammo" used in the equipment meaning now to get near mid tier resources in your EK you have to 1) train into the proper skills 2) have the best exploration equipment 3) have a supply of exploration "ammo" always being made for you.

 

This is an active exploration tool, with increased economic benefits.

Edited by Teufel

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Borrow another idea from EvE and use a similar exploration/scanning system.  In EvE you had probes that could scan for ships or for npc complexes.  A similar idea could be used here to allow "scanning" or tracking of players via discipline, or a discipline around exploration that allows a player to "scan" down rare nodes in the game.  When the rare node is finally tracked down by the player (some set of random algorithm that sets them on a small adventure) then the animation of a rock node appears right in front of the player.  The node is never part of the game world until the player successfully finds it through exploration.

 

The rarity of the resource node could be dependent on the type of equipment used.  This is good in a few ways; use some of the rarer resources from the inner bands as the materials for top tier exploration equipment.  Allow CWs and EKs to give a one grade up tier of resources if the best exploration equipment is used.  But also have an exploration "ammo" used in the equipment meaning now to get near mid tier resources in your EK you have to 1) train into the proper skills 2) have the best exploration equipment 3) have a supply of exploration "ammo" always being made for you.

 

This is an active exploration tool, with increased economic benefits.

That's the reason for the "not so original ideas" at the end of the post... Good ideas must be acknowledged, replicated and improved!

EVE players who actually enjoy medieval fantasy better than scy-fy unite!

 

Edit: Hunters could use the hawking discipline for this scaning/tracking, lumberjacks should get a discipline that introduces some form of mini game to folow certain bees and ants to the special trees and the miners cold track minerals through some sound based triangulation by sticking some diapasons in the ground and striking them... money sinks for all of those as you sugested.

Edited by Satirus

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Being taken out of the game experience to play a mini game does not interest me.  I would much rather be able to fully see my surrounds and be able to abandoned the node in case PVP breaks out.  Having a mini game take up a portion of the screen just for a "slight" advantage of better resources doesn't seem like a good concept for farming.  Also, having a rhythm mini-game will still stop players from being able to use the in-game chat since you will have to press a multitude of buttons to be able to complete the task.  I think going the normal route of pressing a key, or holding a key, and harvesting until it's completed will work perfectly fine.

 

This... this sentiment is the problem. With many folks, including, apparently, Artcraft's designers. Why does this always somehow come down to "piddly minigame vs. ultra-boring-and-pointlessly passive design"? Every time.

 

Why would you need a minigame to take up some portion of the screen? This game has a combat system, physics, and friggin' VOXEL DESTRUCTION for crying out loud. Oh man... how could we ever make a process more interesting than pressing the F key and advancing our passive numbers passively via passive skill training?

 

I'm sorry, but this is getting ridiculous. No one likes grinding, right? So let's take the activity out of it but leave the grinding?! Hey, fighting 10,000 mobs just to get a loot drop is dumb. So let's just have you press F to fight mobs, and you can wait until 10,000 of them die and you get the loot you want. Don't worry... there's a lot of passive number strategy to it, and lots of time to socialize. Why? Because you sure as hell won't be doing anything other than socializing. Maybe fleeing and dying some. Woohoo! NOW it's a party!

 

Someone please produce a well-conducted poll that shows that people who are actually interested in harvesting and crafting and the like ONLY want to socialize whilst some kind of Clicker Heroes mechanic transpires in the background and loot gradually bursts forth from a fountain. Please. I have yet to see such data. And, all I know is, I play games to PLAY GAMES. People can keep saying "Combat's not the same thing as crafting/harvesting," and that's great. Guess what... Tetris isn't the same thing as combat. But did someone make a Tetris game in which you just press a button and wait while lines get cleared on the screen? People who play Sid Meier's Civilization probably aren't very "twitchy" and combat oriented, right? They don't really go for fast action. So, hey, let's just make Civ 6 be "end turns until your empire eventually wins." That sounds great. *sigh*

 

Let's not "gamify" harvesting? How about let's not DE-gamify it! It's an element of a GAME. It's not a mini-game. It's not some weird alien thing that's nonsensical to human brains. It's a process in a game. It's literally NO DIFFERENT FROM COMBAT! In combat, the goal is to defeat enemies, and you have to actively achieve that goal. That's the only thing that makes it worth-while. Nothing about combat is INHERENTLY fun and spectacular. If you had to hold F to defeat enemies, would everyone play Crowfall? I'm sure I can find you a subset of gamers who enjoy socially chatting whilst they farm mobs. In what universe should I logically deduce from that that all-but-passive mob-farming is the way I should take combat in my game?

 

In the current harvesting system, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to actively stand around and harvest. You could use the same skill trees and passive harvesting stat bonuses and such, have them affect placed harvesting equipment, and have combat people around to guard them and/or load stuff onto pack animals. Then, the harvesting people could go on about their lives doing more constructive things with their precious real-life time, and you'd STILL have to wait the same amount of time to get your resources. That would still be mundane, but at least it wouldn't arbitrarily force an entire role in the game into a "stand around and wait-grind" box.

 

I'm not knocking anyone for enjoying the social/passive harvesting. There's nothing wrong with that. You can include that as an option in the game without restricting everything to it.

 

What if you actually used the voxel system and made harvesting a bit puzzley? Not "Solve this puzzle or you don't get resources," but more "Here's a huge vein of ore... someone with high enough surveying skill can reveal structural points in the vein/rock. Harvesting professions can actually have some sort of action bar for harvesting tools. Hey look! We already have all that via combat that we've built, so we're not building anything from scratch! 8D! Now, people can still work together as a group, but if they just zerg the vein, they're going to get a lot less of its potential yield. But if they intelligently work together and employ problem solving skills, they can voxelishly mine out key pieces of the vein, thereby increasing their yield quantity AND quality chances. People are out to kill them and/or steal their stuff and/or take over the POI, so the faster human players can emergently figure out how to make the most of a vein, the better off everything is. However, they get to actively be better or worse at it, as a group (or solo), and risk vs. reward dictates what's worth it and what isn't (if you're solo and you can only get 10 bits of copper out of a vein before some hostile group ganks you, you probably just want to go mine elsewhere in more relative safety)."

 

That's just off the top of my head, and it's 73,000 times more enjoyable than what's currently proposed. You can still socialize. You can still take your time. Just, now you can actually DO something. It's not a minigame. It's absolutely no different from "there's a group of people what wants us dead. We has these abilities and stats at our disposal. How can we effectively make them dead (good thing for us) before we become dead? If we can't right now, we should probably just run and try something else." AKA, combat. Combat's not a minigame. It's a system. Please stop pre-emptively crippling MMO systems, then joining everyone in complaining about how lame and boring and tedious those systems are. I beg of you.

Edited by Lephys

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What if you actually used the voxel system and made harvesting a bit puzzley? Not "Solve this puzzle or you don't get resources," but more "Here's a huge vein of ore... someone with high enough surveying skill can reveal structural points in the vein/rock. Harvesting professions can actually have some sort of action bar for harvesting tools. Hey look! We already have all that via combat that we've built, so we're not building anything from scratch! 8D! Now, people can still work together as a group, but if they just zerg the vein, they're going to get a lot less of its potential yield. But if they intelligently work together and employ problem solving skills, they can voxelishly mine out key pieces of the vein, thereby increasing their yield quantity AND quality chances. People are out to kill them and/or steal their stuff and/or take over the POI, so the faster human players can emergently figure out how to make the most of a vein, the better off everything is. However, they get to actively be better or worse at it, as a group (or solo), and risk vs. reward dictates what's worth it and what isn't (if you're solo and you can only get 10 bits of copper out of a vein before some hostile group ganks you, you probably just want to go mine elsewhere in more relative safety)."

 

"Hit the Highlighted structural points" is a mini game... hell, that's whack-a-mole, or conect the dots, depending on how you envisioned it. The only diference is that you don't want it windowed, but integrated to the game's flow and landscape (which is a nice idea). If you change "mini game" for "puzzley harvesting" when reading our posts you'll realize most of us agree that passive harvesting vs active harvesting should be a player's choice, not the dev's. I do realize that's just us going nuts with our ideas and the devs aren't there yet. It's worth a shot though, right? Maybe your point is that if we didn't call it a mini game the devs would be more open to the idea... I'm all for it then.

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Why does this always somehow come down to "piddly minigame vs. ultra-boring-and-pointlessly passive design"? Every time.

 

Because, after doing the same mini-game for the gazillionth time it's very boring as well.

 

No matter what you come up with, once you have to repeat something over and over it becomes boring. It's better to push a button for 1 sec. to craft than to do a boring mini-game that lasts 5 mins.


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Yet zerging similar groups of people over and over again in a similar fashion is sooooo much fun :P

Or maybe it's fun because combat evolves by skills yet crafting / gathering just increases numbers / reduces interval time

 

Point of view etc, because reasons...

 

I understand this is a pvp game, I understand combat is important, if this means however crafting becomes an afterthought just to guide zergs, I'm out.


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Because, after doing the same mini-game for the gazillionth time it's very boring as well.

 

No matter what you come up with, once you have to repeat something over and over it becomes boring. It's better to push a button for 1 sec. to craft than to do a boring mini-game that lasts 5 mins.

Meh, I see his point.  You could say this exact argument for any aspect of a game, including combat.  Why is it more viable for crafting than combat, as an argument, then?  IMO because of the number of variables involved, and because crafting rarely involves more than one person (and therefore the potential for variable changes is dramatically lower).  I think he is right on thinking about the potential for a system that actually tries to embrace crafting as complex and hard, rather than a materials/skill grind.  I do not think ACE will attempt or accomplish this, though.  

 

I'm reminded of a Markee/Raph conversation I watched on Marcus' youtube channel, where Raph essentially argues that video games should learn from board games and real life, and make sure that every single aspect of the game (or at least something as big as crafting/harvesting) is fun on its own. That people would want to do it.  It's a good place to start; even if you don't fully accomplish it, you'll probably end up with something less soul-sucking.

 

As a thought-experiment, "If I was going to build a harvesting/crafting (only) game, I would..."

Edited by mctan

Mic MWH, Member of Mithril Warhammers since 2003,


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As a thought-experiment, "If I was going to build a harvesting/crafting (only) game, I would..."

 

I do think that is a useful thought experiment, but I also think that it is unrealistic to expect ACE to design each component of the game so that it could stand on its own without the rest.

 

The harvesting "game" is driven by other components. Exploring to find nodes is "harvesting." Avoiding other players, or killing them, to get access to a node is "harvesting." Deciding which resources to target, factoring in what other players are doing. deciding whether you need to bring help, figuring out how you will caravan the product, that is all part of "harvesting." The list goes on.

 

Whether or not harvesting is a fun activity will have to do with a lot more than what kind of clicking is involved with picking up logs and rocks.


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Because, after doing the same mini-game for the gazillionth time it's very boring as well.

No matter what you come up with, once you have to repeat something over and over it becomes boring.

Congratulations... You've justified the elimination of anything repeatable in the game. Your combat abilities better be randomly generated every fight or combat's just gonna get boring.

 

It's better to push a button for 1 sec. to craft than to do a boring mini-game that lasts 5 mins.

It's better to get tased in the eyeball for one second than for 5 minutes. But it's even better to simply avoid it all together and find a better activity to spend that time on. This is precisely how design works. Hey, it'd be kinda neat if combat were 100% realistic. But, in many ways, that wouldn't be very fun. "I've been realistically redressing my infected wolf bite for a month of gameplay now, 8D!". That would obviously get very lame. Is the logical conclusion to minimize the time the player spends engaged with the combat system, or to re-iterate on combat design until you have something more fun?


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Congratulations... You've justified the elimination of anything repeatable in the game. Your combat abilities better be randomly generated every fight or combat's just gonna get boring.

 

You can't compare dynamic combat with interacting with crafting stations. At least PvP combat will always be different. It's not the skills or abilities that makes combat engaging, it's the opponents. PvE combat will also get stale over time, and that is because your opponents are always acting the same.


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"Hit the Highlighted structural points" is a mini game... hell, that's whack-a-mole, or conect the dots, depending on how you envisioned it. The only diference is that you don't want it windowed, but integrated to the game's flow and landscape (which is a nice idea). If you change "mini game" for "puzzley harvesting" when reading our posts you'll realize most of us agree that passive harvesting vs active harvesting should be a player's choice, not the dev's. I do realize that's just us going nuts with our ideas and the devs aren't there yet. It's worth a shot though, right? Maybe your point is that if we didn't call it a mini game the devs would be more open to the idea... I'm all for it then.

Yeah, sorry... There's this overly specific mold of what a minigame entails that I've seen floating around SO much lately, mostly in game development discussions. So, I'm trying to point out that active engagement does not mean a traditional minigame.

 

You make a great point, but to use your opening semantic argument to better illustrate my point: "hit the enemy combatant with the most damage while his guard has been temporarily lowered" is a minigame by that definition, yet you never hear people talking about combat being just some repetitious minigame.

 

And yes, I'm not against the existence of passive harvesting. I'm against the existence of no other form of harvesting, and the paradox that is "active"-passive harvesting (technically you're manually stepping through an otherwise comoletely passive process.)


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You can't compare dynamic combat with interacting with crafting stations. At least PvP combat will always be different. It's not the skills or abilities that makes combat engaging, it's the opponents. PvE combat will also get stale over time, and that is because your opponents are always acting the same.

And yet, human opponents are always using the same set of tools at their disposal. So does it really matter if humans are the ones shuffling the factors around instead of some code doing it? Don't get me wrong... I realize the human element brings something to the table, but:

 

A] so does the inhuman element (it can, at least), and

B] even human-generated dynamicism has its limits and gets old.

 

You have yet to justify anything other than trying to ensure harvesting and crafting are as close to the engagement level of combat as we can get themb or require no engagement whatsoever (if you don't have to do anything, then you can't repeat it and it can't get old.)


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you never hear people talking about combat being just some repetitious minigame.

 

Yes you do. I've seen that complaint many times about PvE grinds in games, even when they involve combat.

 

In Shadowbane, especially, the repetitive "mini-game" of combat against mobs was widely hated.

 

Other players are going to be the element that makes Harvesting and Crafting challenging.


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Because, after doing the same mini-game for the gazillionth time it's very boring as well.

 

No matter what you come up with, once you have to repeat something over and over it becomes boring. It's better to push a button for 1 sec. to craft than to do a boring mini-game that lasts 5 mins.

I don't want mini-games for harvesting, but it would be nice to have forested areas that don't grow back if harvested too much.  Meaning you can work the forest for a couple of days, but after that you have to give it a week for the trees to grow back.  Make the whole resource nodes as random as possible while still maintaining them in specific node zones.  For example forest A gets harvested so now players have to try and find a new forest, or cave B is completely mined out of ore and either a new cave needs to be found, or it's time to explore surface level smaller nodes.

 

Allowing for random spawns gives the player different environments hopefully keeping the staleness away while harvesting x resource time and time again.


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I do think that is a useful thought experiment, but I also think that it is unrealistic to expect ACE to design each component of the game so that it could stand on its own without the rest.

 

I said essentially this twice in my post, so I totally agree with you.  The idea still stands given that you have other components influencing, however, you just have more tools and interactions to play with.  Add in the threat of risk to your harvesting design, but if nothing happens was it fun or does the exhilaration get masked by boredom?  Besides harvesting, crafting usually happening in a safe(ish) spot, where threat is minimized.

 

To truly take up your ideas on harvesting is pretty difficult, really.  First, exploration is almost never fun for long in an MMO: if you make things too common, it's not really exploration, and too rare it becomes a frustration.  Second, if harvesters are rewarded for avoiding fights (as opposed to winning, which I'd argue they are in CF since it is a separate skill line from combat, and will likely be dominated by archetypes who stealth), then the system does not play nicely with a PvP design.

 

The idea that harvesting/crafting/combatants will be played by three different 'types' of players, is IMO, unsustainable.  There just are not many games that can simultaneously separate its population, especially if one of those populations wants to kill the others, but not necessarily vice-versa.  If (and that may be a big if for some of us) we take the separation to be unsustainable, it seems more important that ACE creates harvesting in a way that PvPers enjoy (good luck). I can actually see dying/new worlds being really important here.  

 

Anyway, just rambling on what I see as a really tough thing to design.


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  Add in the threat of risk to your harvesting design, but if nothing happens was it fun or does the exhilaration get masked by boredom?  Besides harvesting, crafting usually happening in a safe(ish) spot, where threat is minimized.

 

To truly take up your ideas on harvesting is pretty difficult, really. 

I'm sorry, but wasn't that the entire bloody point of this entire endeavor to begin with?

 

That crowd funding the game was a way to get AWAY from publishers and investors who would not allow for developers to push the envelope and attempt what is perceived as 'risky' design?

But now that the game is actually under way and you have a say in it, you want to them to turn around and cower, to run away from risk?

 

So why not just make another WoW clone then and stop all this pretense BS that got them crowd funded in the first place.  As if copying the same mechanics of many MMO's that have failed over the years is somehow 'less' risky.

 

 

I for one gave them money, and am willing to do so again when they show a willingness to take on risk to make a better game.

And combat alone is not enough.  The one area of MMO design that never really gets any development time or money is non combat activities, Harvesting and Crafting chief among them.

For this genre to grow, it needs to do more then just be another in a long ass line of combat simulators.

 

And I am more then happy to throw money at that, so long as the developers grow some balls to dig deep and attempt it.

I don't dislike failure, but I despise the cowardice to not even attempt it.

Edited by yoh

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I'm sorry, but wasn't that the entire bloody point of this entire endeavor to begin with?

 

That crowd funding the game was a way to get AWAY from publishers and investors who would not allow for developers to push the envelope and attempt what is perceived as 'risky' design?

But now that the game is actually under way and you have a say in it, you want to them to turn around and cower, to run away from risk?

 

So why not just make another WoW clone then and stop all this pretense BS that got them crowd funded in the first place.  As if copying the same mechanics of many MMO's that have failed over the years is somehow 'less' risky.

 

I have no idea what you are talking about.  I do not think you understood, or read completely, my post (I don't blame you, it was probably pretty boring).  I absolutely want the devs to take all the risks they want, and I really want them to understand their community (PvPers) and what drives them away/cannot be done together and sustain a split population (I suggest devs take a good hard look at Albion Online, and all its potential and flaws).

 

Edit: Re-reading your post, I am pretty sure we agree on innovation in crafting & harvesting.

Edited by mctan

Mic MWH, Member of Mithril Warhammers since 2003,


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Yes you do. I've seen that complaint many times about PvE grinds in games, even when they involve combat.

 

In Shadowbane, especially, the repetitive "mini-game" of combat against mobs was widely hated.

My apologies... I thought the full extent of my statement was implied, and I guess it was not. You don't see people talking about combat being a minigame, then deciding it's a great idea to turn it into a passive waitfest as a result of that complaint.. Or, from a different perspective, people don't hate combat. They hate how it is implemented, specifically. Then they want it to be better, not as unengaging as possible.

Other players are going to be the element that makes Harvesting and Crafting challenging.

Combat and harvesting/crafting are not the same animal. You wish that orc -- who's functioning within the combat system by utilizing the same input commands you are -- was controlled by a human rather than the game's AI code, simply because the AI code isn't as robust as the thing it's trying to simulate. You don't wish that ore residing within the ground or that forge fire was controlled by a human so that you'd have to react to it with cat-like reflexes and cleverness. The game code is not inherently being inadequate at simulating factors that would normally be created/controlled by a sentient entity. Furthermore, human opponents are going to throw fun wrenche into harvesting plans no matter what the harvesting system is. The only question is: will we be standing around picking our noses when we get attacked, or will we actually be engaged in something that requires focus and effort when we get attacked?

 

So, you're not wrong in anything you've said, but you've not countered the point at hand.

 

*EDIT* I just realized a better example of the problem. You said other players will be the thing that makes harvesting interesting. Yet, that's not true of combat (despite everyone claiming such.) If players were all you needed, there wouldn't be a class system or abilities. Everyone would just have a sword and an F key to "interact."

Edited by Lephys

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I have no idea what you are talking about.  I do not think you understood, or read completely, my post (I don't blame you, it was probably pretty boring).  I absolutely want the devs to take all the risks they want, and I really want them to understand their community (PvPers) and what drives them away/cannot be done together and sustain a split population (I suggest devs take a good hard look at Albion Online, and all its potential and flaws).

 

Edit: Re-reading your post, I am pretty sure we agree on innovation in crafting & harvesting.

We are agreed on Artcraft taking more risk, as it is risk adversity that tends to make modern sandbox mmos what they are.  Lifeless.

Mile wide, inch thick combat simulators in big empty worlds with little to nothing to do.  And from what I've seen over the last 20 years, they don't tend to do that well.  Mediocre combat by itself doesn't get you very far, even if you can do it with a bunch of people. (Abion Online included)

 

And I wish they would understand their community.  Personally I would fall under the 'logistics guy', somebody who does enjoy combat a little, but would prefer to help from behind the scenes.  Arming and preparing people, getting people to combat and able to do their job.

That is, I want to be able to do that and not be bored to absolute freaken tears because the developers didn't spend a single iota of effort or time developing the non combat yet essential for combat activities like Harvesting and Crafting.

 

And there are more then a few of us who have been asking for something more then absolutely nothing since day one.  I don't know what it takes for developers to get it through their thick heads.  

People generally speaking don't like standing around doing nothing.

 

I see it less as a risk and more of an investment.

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