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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:19 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:33 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:11 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:30 pm 
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Getting back to story -- Uru isn't the only MMO trying to address the problem. From what I've read, and from my personal experience, players want two things

-- something that works, just for them, a story that they uncover, actions that affect them. Something they can leave and come back to, and the story, the mystery, the actions, the gameplay, if you will, is still there. It's the equivalent of a solo player game experience, except you can invite your friends into your private world. Nothing interferes with your discoveries, and you discover them yourself.
-- being part of of something bigger, the whole world. Things happen, things change in the public spaces, and actions you do there have consequences. It's a living world where the players, as a whole, change things. Note that players directly experience changes, in the big world, it's not all second hand.

So we have the conflict between a "whole world" thing, a world populated by players and it changes, and having an experience just for you. MMO Uru had some great design feature to address this problem:
-- the private story, the story just for you, is in the private ages. Solve the puzzles in your own time. Everything is exactly like you left it. Nothing interferes with your experience, and it's not second hand. Everything happens to you. This worked well, though your experience was exactly like the experience of anyone else who played a private age.
-- things that happen in the public space, the city, perhaps the neighborhoods. The failed "lighting the lake" experiment, though you drop pellets in your private age, is an example of this, something that would have change the world. You've also got pellet scores in general, and heek scores, when we could play heek. The events (parties, readings) are another example of things happening in the public space, though nothing changes in the world. The Cyan sponsored events are still another example, though -- in my opinion, bad examples.

This is a known issue in the industry -- how to you make a living world and still ensure that everyone has a great time. Many people like to experience something at their own pace, and they also don't like to experience things second hand.

There are games in development that address the problem.

In Guild Wars 2, you will have a personal story, a story you experience in instanced setting (like temporary ages), and a home area ("age") that looks different, depending on how you make your way through the personal story. Similar to the way we invite people into our private ages, we can invite people into our instanced play. There will also be events in the public space (dynamic content) that anyone can participate in, events that change the world. Rift Planes of Telara has something similar - I'm still unclear exactly how that works. Star Wars the Old Republic has a rich personal story (from Bioware, the story kings, would you expect anything different?) -- but I'm not sure how they are going to address what happens in the public space, the areas that aren't instanced.

What's interesting is that this is similar to the way Cyan did it for Uru, which makes sense. You see the same ideas and structure, cropping up in different MMOs, such as the concept of instancing, getting your own copy of an area. One of the special challenges with Uru is that puzzles are solved quickly, also that they are, by their nature, spoilable. If you go into a public space, you will get solutions to the puzzles. There was also the problem with events in the public ages -- charitably, one could say that was a "work in progress" -- Cyan never got it right.

Going forward, I'd say, keep private ages -- ages where you can invite your friends, and keep story in those ages. I think that works really well. When (if?) we get that new group of fan ages linked to Uru -- I'm hoping we can have private instances of them, so people can go through them at their own pace, make them their own.

On how to change the public ages -- I don't know. I'd like a better way to have events such as parties -- maybe you can make changes to the public space that degrade over time. On the activities that people do to change the world -- I guess some sort of crafting, like the pellet drop. But I think that's a moot point. With the way Uru is today -- I don't see any changes to the public ages happening anytime soon.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:43 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:23 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:35 pm 
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IMO, things like that are more acceptable in a game like MagiQuest simply because magic is involved, but Uru is supposed to be closer to reality and real time.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:04 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:38 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:59 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:09 pm 
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Race, the reasons for starting in Cleft or Relto has to do with retaining new players. In 2004 MMO games were still new to many gamers. Also, returning Myst players were used to solo play. So, the cleft entry and its solo play were not the problem it is now. More people have experience with MMO’s and from numerous game design studies they expect to quickly meet players and be able to ask for help.

Much of the debate has been about how to change the entrance to the game and keep the story and experience while meeting the needs of new players. Retaining new players and increasing player time in Cavern are considered important to the survival/success of Uru by several of us. In another thread people have discussed what success looks like for Uru.

Many of the changes we (various fans) want to make MAY require Cyan’s permission. Until we see a license we can only speculate about that. For instance, can we put a shell around the Cyan content or not? That would let us make a town or some small area outside the Cleft and provide a multiplayer area where new players can meet ‘Greeters’ and get help. Of will Cyan disallow that with their content?

Also, we are not even sure what rights and limits bind Cyan in relation to Myst V content.
----

Marten’s points on Phasing are interesting. Other than some personal opinions I don’t think we really know how its use would go over in Uru. I’m doubtful it would be that popular. If it is working in other worlds, it may work in Uru. I know there are a number of things in SL that render differently on everyone’s computer and most people never know, until they exchange photos. So, most might not even notice. Unless people are walking through a door or wall that others can’t get through. So, with some creative design it could work and not damage immersion that much.

Mszv outlines the problems with private/public instancing. People do seem to want to have it both ways. We don’t mind dealing with the changes we make to the world. Having to deal with changes other make however is not so fun. This is especially true when solving puzzles. I think Cyan came up with a good way to handle the problem.

I think MOULa has the ability to render ages as both private and public. Cyan did it with Ae’gura. That suggests the infrastructure is likely in place. So, it might not be that hard to have a public instance of any if not all private ages.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:31 pm 
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I tried to spark a similar discussion over in under a topic called MSPOG (massive single player online game). I was seeing blogs and articles (links are in that thread) trying to reconcile the MMO "living world" with the RPG immersive game style of play, and wondered whether there would ever be a solution. All I see are compromises, when a single platform tries to be both, especially without building explicit tools to make it easier to switch between styles of play. Changing the new player entry mode will only change expectations, and is still just locking someone into one mode of experience at the beginning. If Uru is both "play alone [and] together", then the "tutorial" of the Cleft could be optional. Does that ruin the illusion that this isn't a game? I have no answers, I just see this topic cropping up everywhere. Some of us still enjoy a good single-player immersive RPG experience, and are perhaps trying too hard to make MMOs work for that.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:55 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:16 pm 
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