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DonCarnage



Joined: May 1, 2003
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Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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There's always, in a game such as this, a hard decission for game designers in finding a balance point, i think at least, in what is considered 'too easy' to get from point A to point B, and what is too difficult. Obviously this was a cause for concern, as the new release has allowed for hopping on npp ships which were already on their journey, and being able to 'whisk away' to your home island with the click of the button (and on a smaller scale, being able to disembark from any point in the vessel instead of finding the rowboat).

This brings up the age-old question of playability versus real-life representability. I think most would agree that playability supercedes real life representation (unless you WANT your pirate to actually die every time you lose a swordfight :-P), but to what extent do you think this should be taken.

In addition, there are questions of features added with opportunities for exploitation. What is your opinion here, as well?
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Not everything I think is something I should say...
[May 23, 2003 11:47:02 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Meghaford



Joined: Jul 1, 2002
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Re: Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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as for being whisked away to your home island... it's much nicer having abutton to do it rather than logging off and on again... which is how we were doing it previously.

I also know that there are plans on "the list" which have been hinted about before about not being able to jump to any ship in transit, as well as some others...
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--Ursela, Captain of the Dastards
... and a few others ...
[May 24, 2003 3:19:28 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.rjmlb.com [Link]  Go to top 
stevoid



Joined: Apr 8, 2003
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shortcuts are good Reply to this Post
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This can be a very time-consuming game to play (speaks the person who has done several 20 hr + stints!), so I think that anything which can speed up some of the slower bits is a good plan. The balance between gameplay & real life has to take into account that it should be the interesting parts of real life that are replicated, not the boring, 'waiting for a bus' parts, which is why I really like being able to board a trader ship mid-journey now. And now that there are larger ships about, without the disembark button it would mean that the ship would have to wait at port longer so that people could find their way off.
[May 24, 2003 3:49:39 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
DonCarnage



Joined: May 1, 2003
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Re: Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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im not knocking anything, i love the help-out-edness of a lot of the shortcuts as well :)
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Not everything I think is something I should say...
[May 24, 2003 4:21:49 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
stevoid



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Re: Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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DC, didn't think you were knocking anything - just putting in my 2 cents worth as always!
[May 24, 2003 8:35:01 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Cleaver
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Fun over Realism Reply to this Post
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One of our design philosophies is to try to remove pointless rigours to get players to the fun more quickly. This was nicely illustrated recently when the Star Wars guys were kindly showing me their spectacular game at E3. They showed me a feature where you could pull up a (transparent, over-the-3D-display) map, click on a building, and a 3D yellow path of arrows would show you how to get there in the main view. 'Great!' I said, 'Why not just zip them straight there?' 'Oh, well we want to have a realistic looking world without people disappearing.' they said. 'Okay, why not do what we do, and *show* your character walking off for anyone who happens to be nearby, until nobody's looking, when you can safely blip them.' was my cocky reply. 'Oh, well, we want people to bump into each other and have chats.' they said, to which I asked, 'Do you think anyone is ever going to do that, or just run past each other on their own yellow-arrowed-roads?'

Of course this is not a trivial question -- if people were to bump into each other and have chats, that might be a good thing. I don't think they do, much. But, in any case, I think we can have a few public spaces used for such purpose - the Inn, the Port, etc. and streamline out wandering out.

On the 'whisking' front, one thing that is important to the game is that gold should always be shipped by Sea, and not zipped between islands. That means that in the future you will auto-bank your cash when you are teleported anywhere. If you're at sea, it will bank it at the last island the boat put into port. If that island has no bank, your treasure will be buried, for you... harrr!
[May 24, 2003 10:14:04 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.puzzlepirates.com/ [Link]  Go to top 
Penndalla

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Re: Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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Aye, realism be good, but fun be better.

I have heard many players saying sadly that the /who is going to be removed. I understand that it could be a server burden and visually daunting when there are thousands of players on at once, but surely the dev team can come up with a solution that will leave much of the functionality the players are seem to like in this command.
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Pennsuedo

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[May 24, 2003 11:33:06 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://s6.photobucket.com/albums/y245/Pennsuedo/?start=all [Link]  Go to top 
Meghaford



Joined: Jul 1, 2002
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Re: Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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another idea... have teleporting stations set around the island, in shops and on the docks. This would also be nice so pirates don't just dissappear in the middle of the conversation. (although I've definitely wanted to do this a few times... :o)
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--Ursela, Captain of the Dastards
... and a few others ...
[May 24, 2003 11:47:51 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.rjmlb.com [Link]  Go to top 
Ely



Joined: May 9, 2002
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Re: Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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'Oh, well, we want people to bump into each other and have chats.'

Man, who do they think they are kidding? I sure don't consider a panhandler spamming me or people asking me to group "chatting", and that (assuming they talk at all) is all the chat that goes on for the most part.

There seems to be a real lack of MMO developers who are willing to sacrifice tradition for smoother gameplay.

I so have some gameplay issues with the whisking from vessel to island, but since you guys are making sure gold isn't a factor, I think I'd rather wait it out and see how it plays before voicing unsubstantiated criticism.
[May 24, 2003 11:53:58 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    Ely114 [Link]  Go to top 
slipster216



Joined: Oct 30, 2002
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ah, the realism debate.. Reply to this Post
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Your right cleaver, people will just run past each other. It's what I call the "mall mentality", which grows proportional worse to how many players are in the community. Thats one reason I tend to like beta tests a lot more, as smaller communities are usually much more friendly. I'm also a big believer that many small localized communities are better than one mega, non-localized one.

However, I think a lot of this speaks to two things (at least in thier case). Number one is the licence and the expectations which it brings, and number two being a running phillosophy in some MMP developers that making everything slow extends the subscriber time. While for the hardcore, that may be somewhat true, it's not the path to good game design in my mind. (neither is giving everything away without time investment, though)

Personally, I like being able to zip myself from island to island (as long as I have a boat ancored there), and return quickly to alpha. It saves me a lot of time. However, that obviously cannot be allowed for things which provide profit; and instead must be replaced with some form of time/risk mix. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how things change as the community grows, and people begin to have reasons to have a different home island from each other. When I log on, I want to feel as if I'm coming into "cheers" - my little neck of a much bigger world.
[May 25, 2003 8:06:56 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Cleaver
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Cheers! Reply to this Post
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One of the interesting things next up is allowing folks to set their home island, followed shortly by starting players at these other islands.

We are also considering a 'Ferry' that will essentially whisk you between islands in the same archipelago (providing they have a port, anyway). Again, you won't be able to carry gold on the ferry long-term, although you will have to pay a small fee. This should allow folks to distribute themselves a lot more elegantly to places where everyone knows their name, whilst still exploiting the scale of an archipelago.

One question that we'll probably only answer over time is how many players will an archipelago comfortably hold?

All this whisking could come back to bite us, but as alluded to above, it's worth a shot at avoiding the forced 'downtime' of schlepping around the mall. Time investment is all well and good, but at least the time investment could be in doing something actually fun.
[May 25, 2003 12:07:52 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.puzzlepirates.com/ [Link]  Go to top 
stevoid



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Re: Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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Maybe the /who could be retained but limited to people that have the same home island as you? You can already see if your crew are on, but I have a lot of friends in other crews, & I would be sad to see it go.
[May 25, 2003 11:56:43 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Ithaqua



Joined: Oct 29, 2002
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Re: Cheers! Reply to this Post
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Cleaver wrote: 

All this whisking could come back to bite us, but as alluded to above, it's worth a shot at avoiding the forced 'downtime' of schlepping around the mall. Time investment is all well and good, but at least the time investment could be in doing something actually fun.


Will you go and explain this to Sony, et al?
[May 26, 2003 12:55:37 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Cleaver
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/who Reply to this Post
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BTW there are no plans to completely remove /who -- we'll just have to change it as time goes on to keep it useful -- showing the names of all the pirates online when there's 1,000 would not be very helpful. We'll probably keep it as detailed as possible for the local archipelago and then numbers from there out. Something like that.

Ithaqua; already tried. Perhaps they'd like to retain Cleaver on consultancy. Me rates in doubloons and fine rum are very reasonable.
[May 26, 2003 1:46:27 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.puzzlepirates.com/ [Link]  Go to top 
slipster216



Joined: Oct 30, 2002
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transport.. Reply to this Post
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Personally, I think what I'd like is something along these lines:


- Crews have home docs for thier crews ships in an archapelego
- A member (or jobber) of a crew can jump onto the ship where ever it is in the archapelego
- Crews must return ships to thier home docs when not online, or suffer some penilty/damage/etc for leaving them long-term at a strange island
- no insta teleport between islands (except maybe your to your home island, without a ship)

This way, a given crew must sail to a neighboring island, but if someone comes online who's a friend (or in the crew) they can still quickly meet up with them to join the frey.

Personally, I fear unrestricted, instant travel between islands will erode the stickness of islands in relivance to a community. However, I find it extremely useful when meeting up with friends to fight skellies, etc - which is why joining the crew (or friendly crews) at thier current location should be still allowed..

Then again, a lot of this depends on how many archepeligos are in the world. If there's 40, I would want insta travel between areas within an archepeligo because the world would be huge. I'm betting it'll be a lot less though..
[Aug 9, 2005 4:00:00 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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Re: Playability, Real life representation, and Exploitation Reply to this Post
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Actually the original plan was to have 64 (because we bit twiddlers came up with that plan and we like powers of two), but it remains to be seen whether this will be at all sensible given the large number of people needed to "populate" a single archipelago.

If it takes 500 players to populate an archipelago (bearing in mind that there have been about 600 active players on Alpha so far this month, 300ish in the past week), 32,000 players in an "ocean" is large, but not insane. If it takes 2000 players to populate an archipelago, we'd need 128,000 players to populate an ocean, which in addition to being more people than we think could reasonably interact, is also rather ambitious in terms of expectations for the popularity of our game.

In either case, you can be sure that there will be in the tens of archipelagos at least. We've got to have at least 24 so that we can get through the Greek alphabet. :)

A number of factors have yet to come into play, not least being the ability for players (and crews) to permanently move to other islands and the very existence of some other archipelagos, which will give everyone a better feel for how "far away" those archipelagos will feel.

If the primary distinction between islands in one archipelago and islands in another is that you can't warp between them but must take the time to sail, that will put a certain "social distance" between the players that live in those respective archipelagos. This is not necessarily bad as it will encourage some friendly rivalry when there are enough players to populate numerous archipelagos and they can compete for (or cooperatively trade, hah!) the resources which will be unevenly distributed among them.

None the less, we want to make sure that the existing intra-archipelago gameplay is not overly negatively impacted, by say, having too few players per archipelago or by eliminating the intra-archipelago conflict of pillaging local traders and vying for control of resources in a single archipelago.

Hopefully we can balance these elements in such a way as to provide a tiered set of challenges that scale up from intra-archipelago action through inter-archipelago action all the way up to bold attempts at control over vast swathes of the Azure ocean.
[May 26, 2003 5:33:07 PM] Show Printable Version of Post   [Link]  Go to top 
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