new content

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kiryan
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new content

Postby kiryan » Wed Apr 05, 2006 1:17 am

Our current model is to release new zones when they are done which is near monthly, and we seem to release about 12 new zones a year. I think that this is great and should continue.

Part 1... Multiple Zone Expansions

However, I think that we should also work on a major "release" of multiple zones and content. In everquest they started with 2 continents, then they added a 3rd, then a 4th, then they went to the moon, then they went to the planes. In each major release of content, they basically created a whole new world to explore and turned the players loose in it building on their existing game dynamics but essentially moving the majority of players who had "won" the existing content.

This creates competition on a scale that you see only at the beginning of a game, like at a pwipe. Additioanlly it may give all the content more absolute longevity. If you take 100 players and throw them at 1 zone, the zone is exhausted in a matter of weeks... if you throw 100 players at 10 zones it takes a lot longer, and the daily activities of the mud population is more diverse. Furthermore, it gives those not so "elite" / fortunate / dedicated people an opportunity to finally work on the content (quests/zones) that the "elite" had hoarded in the previous "release". Additionally, there is greater opportunity for the "elite" people to be rewarded for their hard work.

What I mean by more opportunity to be rewarded for their hard work is that if they find something new, like a quest, people don't know where it is from. For example, if you implement a new zone, basically you already know that any new equipment you see is from that new zone. If someone figures out a new quest, you know the quest is from the new zone. Something people have been complaining about for ages is that there is no more quest secrecy. Obviously a lot of this has to do with the lack of pride in figuring new quests out and keeping them secret, but some of it is born out of an inability to keep anything secret because its obvious where new stuff is from.

Another intersting concept that is usually easier to build into massive expansions is a tierd zone progression. The Planes in EverQuest are a great example. The 20 or so zones in the planes of power expansion were divided into 5 tiers. To enter one of the 3 or 4 zones in the first tier, you had to be a certain level. To enter one of the 3 or 4 second tier zones you had to have completed certain quests in the first tier zones. To enter 3rd tier you had to complete quests in the 2nd tier ect ect ect. The tiers got progressively more difficult and essentially you could not realistically progress to the next tier without getting equipped in the previous tier. So each new tier was a whole new challenge from the previous tier. It created competition for the "quests"/boss mobs to advance to the new tiers, it created a challenge/goal that was longer than finishing one zone or doing one zone 15 times to get the rare for the quest.


Part 2... New Non-zone content.

The latest monk thread had an interesting curve to it that struck me. New classes are a valid type of new content (and new races for that matter). If we imp'd monks, how many people would roll up new monks and level them to 50? At 100 hours to 50, that would be equivalent of doing a 2 hour zone 50 times... How many people do a new zone 50 times? Everquest implemented a couple of new races in different expansions and there were lots of "balance" problems, but those with characters that were obsoleted either remade theirs or simply continued to play their existing char without the few AC or abilities that "ruined" their existing char.

Now the big argument I always make is to not even think about disrupting the 12 year effort to balance melee. But, if the mud is starving for new content, new competition, new something, perhaps a new or an old class/race does more good than harm. Another view of balance, one that I think is very powerful, is that "balance" is a multitude of options with no one choice being consistently better than the rest in the majority of situations.

Another idea for new content that is not zone related is alternative advancement. Different kinds of alternative advancement include "Tradeskills" or stat "meta" systems, or even new skills to earn through spending "points". These type of new skills give all existing characters a new way to "level" and advance other than traditional levels/hps/spells.

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I think we could be well served by at least discussing how this type of expansion could bring benefits to the game that we are not currently seeing. Perhaps we shoudlnt release zones at all in the traditional way, one at a time... very few MMORPGS release zones outside of expansions, but that probably has more to do with their business model which involves "selling" content.

However, I maintain that we need something fresh, something more than the "status quo" if the downward direction of the mud is going to change. I think its fairly certain that no outside "miracle" is going to change the multiple year long trend.

Comments?
Brandobaris
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Re: new content

Postby Brandobaris » Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:41 am

kiryan wrote:I think that we should also work on a major "release" of multiple zones and content.

I like the concept.

I think you may have overestimated the number of people available to work on it though. For such a large project, someone would have to go on a recruiting campaign.
Disoputlip
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Postby Disoputlip » Wed Apr 05, 2006 1:46 pm

I didn't play homeland much, but I think a major expansion would more likely be possible with the already written zones from HL.

I am aware that the zones are lower quality that the kick-arse ansi you see in e.g. Bryn Shandar, but still.
Marthammor
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Postby Marthammor » Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:29 pm

We're working on getting more and more Homeland zones in, but with only a few people working on it trying to make the room descriptions up to your guys' expectations (we've tried straight conversions (Evermeet) and you guys voiced your dislike for that), its taking quite a bit longer then we were planning at first.

As for releasing a zone when its ready.. that kinda falls to the area writers wishes. If they want to do multiple zones and release them all at once, they are more then welcome to. Most writers however want to finish a zone, get it into the game so people can enjoy it and receive feedback on it so they might make their next zone better. Plus, it just feels good for an area writer to see people exploring something you've poured hundreds of hours into and acts as motivation to work on something new.
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Postby Lathander » Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:27 am

I’m going to echo what Marth said. We have learned some lessons from the earlier zone additions, and it is a process. I believe we have done a good job with some of the recent ones we have added such as Amenth'G'narr, Luskan Outpost and Dragonspear, but feel free to correct me. There are various projects being worked on, and I’ll give you a heads up on some.

I have been working on a big project with a number of other folks to add nine new zones to the mud. These zones will add roughly 1,900 rooms to the game, and open up an important area for future expansion. This project will feature six HL zones along with three completely new zones. One of the new zones is by Bane, and two more are by me. Sehanine has redeveloped a zone and will add one of her classic zones which if I do say so is really intriguing; I look forward to seeing what Toril players will do with it after some of the changes. Also, three of Vaprak’s zones are part of it as well as one of Shiallia’s. Once it is ready to go in, I do believe a lot of players will enjoy it.

Notice I did not say everyone, and that is because I’m sure some folks will not like it. As Marth said, this is why we are taking more time to make sure it is not just good enough, but the project will add a lot to the mud in terms of enjoyment and playability.

We have been working on the project for about a year now, and the tough thing about a major project is keeping the momentum. Real life intrudes and slows things down. Going back to a project with still a lot of work to do takes some time to get back to speed. This is one reason why I’m taking a bit of a diversion to add in a smaller zone that folks enjoyed, and I’ll actually let the cat out of the bag on this one. Shiallia and I are working on getting Crystal Caves in shape to be added. 75% of the room desc have been redeveloped, and the room count has increased by almost half. I expect to have this zone ready to go in this month.

That gives you an idea of just some of the work going on to move things over.

Lath
kiryan
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Postby kiryan » Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:16 am

i appreciate the extensive response from areas sphere; really, I'm not being sarcastic. unfortunately, i was really hoping to stir some discussion on approach upsides and downsides rather than get an areas update (even though its always appreciated) and rehash that there are never enough resources and real life does interfere (we all know this).

Regardless of how hard it would be or how many years it would take to do a "expansion" of the nature I described, I was hoping the ensuing comments would be discussing

1. whether it will bring about the 'effects' that I mentioned
2. what other 'effects' it may or may not cause
3. is it a good direction for toril
Thilindel
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Postby Thilindel » Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:56 am

Altho I always say this, I just wish there were more races and more 'fun' within the race. Like allowing ogres to 2h and wear shield. Same old hashing, a 2h for a human is barely a dagger for an ogre.

But I'm really glad for more zones. Always fun to have more areas to die..uh explore in!
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Re: new content

Postby Xisiqomelir » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:52 am

Awesome update. Is there anyone working on the Elemental Planes of Earth and Water? Ogremoch and Olhydra need smiting.
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Marthammor
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Postby Marthammor » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:08 pm

Xisi:
They're being worked on. There are final checks that need to be done on them as well as some code that needs to be converted for them. The person working on them however is quite busy irl so he gets bits done here and there when he can.
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Postby Gura » Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:12 pm

want a good suggestion? find a knowledgeable player who was successful on both muds to help the transition. someone who has a good idea of the balance of this mud and what was balance on homeland could offer quite a large amount of input and suggestions to help these zones come in balanced and not have to be tweaked over and over again. but that would just be sensible....shame on me :-P
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Postby Ambar » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:56 pm

One of the best players this mud AND Homeland has ever known is working on those changes:P

roll them vits!!!
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Thilindel
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Postby Thilindel » Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:03 am

for the title of the thread, I think it's a shame that Lilithelle offered to write the zone for a new race and was turned down. Considering her thread http://www.torilmud.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=17568 .. This mud definitely needs new avenues for players. What I'd LOVE more than anything is the redundent 'Bring back ogre mercenaries' except LET THEM BACKSTAB! Even if they are dual wielding..yeesh! :) I'm glad Kiryan is as eager to keep this mud going as most everybody else. It would be amazingly nice to get more new stuff (races or classes) to play too.

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