MMO Mechanics: Three non-combat mechanics to love

The wheels in my head have been turning over non-combat mechanics in MMOs for a while now, perhaps because of the buzz surrounding Wander, the latest MMO to ditch combat entirely in favour of less violent interactive mechanics. I have to confess that I’m not a massive fan of thoughtless violence in my MMOs, so I tend to favour those with strong supportive mechanics that affect what I do outside of my usual mix of PvE combat. Characters in MMOs, for me at least, are an in-game reflection of the player, and I’d much rather rid the world of threats than kill other players in a frenzy without a plausible in-game reason.

I don’t believe than an MMO absolutely requires combat, and I certainly feel that other game genres have much stronger combat mechanics than ours if that’s what you’re looking for. Titles that allow players to choose another path if they wish are ultimately much more rewarding, filling my time with various pursuits and labours that use excellent mechanics. The virtual world I inhabit feels much richer when I have a hand in its economic or socio-political development through these mechanics, which is exactly what keeps me enthralled with the genre. In this issue of MMO Mechanics, I’m going to unpack three ways in which MMOs employ non-combat mechanics to enrich the game’s virtual world.

Wander tribe1. The mechanisation of language

The Massively Overpowered team recently got together to discuss the impact of the diverse range of native languages in a playerbase and whether we would play MMOs that are not available in our mother tongue in an installment of Massively Overthinking. The responses from both the team and the commenters were fantastic to read, with plenty of wonderful anecdotes about the power of gaming as a learning tool. Several people gained a real-life skill – a new language proficiency – out of their playtime, and that can’t be said for some other less social game genres.

Language forms some sort of natural mechanic that enhances the realism of the virtual world in MMOs, creating a realistic diversity between players that both challenges the relationships between players and also makes them mutually beneficial as the linguistic information exchange happens during interactions. Still, the language barrier can also cause fractures in the playerbase and could potentially harm the uptake of MMOs made in less widely spoken languages.

The upcoming explorative MMO Wander formally mechanises the power of linguistics: Rozhda, the in-game language that all players communicate with by drawing glyphs, is the only method of communication in the game. The knowledge exchange I outlined above is hence kept in-character, and each explorer can retell the essence of his or her journey through these glyphs. The glyph drawing system is undoubtedly rough in its early conception, but I really like where it’s heading. Real-world language barriers are broken down and conversations are articulated in a way that is in keeping with the immersive qualities of the title. Chat spam, gold sellers, and griefers of all kinds are greatly limited, making Wander stand out from its more traditional MMO cousins.

ever, jane painting2. Diplomatic and social mechanics

In the real world, we usually try a myriad of social techniques to quell disputes or settle differences before we start swinging our fists or other heavy implements. Those who don’t are most often rejected from society and the law sides with the victim, so why do we go all guns a-blazin’ into delicate situations in MMOs? Several games have within them unique social mechanics to allow players to interact with each other and the virtual environment they share without initiating combat straight off the bat.

Vanguard had a diplomacy system that was the envy of most MMOs out there, so much so that Daybreak programmer Timothy Lochner thought so highly of the mechanics that he mused aloud on Twitter about whether or not there would be hypothetical interest in a Vanguard diplomacy mobile game. There was no green-light given, and this was purely a wistfully meandering thought on Lochner’s part, but the response to the idea highlighted how well-liked the mechanics were.

Roleplay-heavy creation Ever, Jane is still quite early in its development, but I’m intrigued about the social mechanics it plans on bringing to the genre. Gossip and emotes will flow between characters, each player creating a character who finds his or her place in the Regency era world through social manipulation, reputation, and status. The game ditches the usual roleplaying traits such as strength, dexterity, and wisdom and instead replaces them with gentility, wit, and grace. These traits are developed through practice: Every lie, boast, or slight can potentially be overheard by the wrong ears, which will have an affect on your active and passive traits. Your in-game behaviour matters and is reflected in your traits, which could be a fantastic system when it becomes more fully realised.

FFXIV Chocobo3. Farming and animal husbandry

If you’ve been watching Larry Everett’s new video series Massively Opinionated, you may have noticed that I quite like to be put to work in my MMOs since I keep suggesting chore-like systems for the design-an-MMO question! Often, farming and animal husbandry isn’t a priority for the grand adventurer characters MMOs tend to feature and the mechanics that drive such features can suffer as a result. Just as we’ve seen with the other mechanics I’ve mentioned, such systems have the capacity to enhance the realism of the virtual worlds we enjoy, especially if the fruits of our labour enhance other game features.

ArcheAge has a well-developed faming and husbandry system in which players can cultivate fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and grains. Both flora and fauna must be maintained in order to prove bountiful: Players must water crops, feed and cure livestock, and gather their produce. I like that each crop or livestock cycle takes a different length of time, so players need to carefully balance their workload to maximise profit just as a real farmer would.

Final Fantasy XIV feature the IP’s most desirable long-legged creatures, chocobo, which serve as both mounts and combative companions. Chocobo raising has been a wonderful addition to the game as it allows the player to enhance chocobo with a little bit of effort. Those wee scamps require tempting during training, so the player must bring some tasty treats to each training session. Chocobo aren’t just accessories, and stable maintenance is crucial to raising chocobo effectively; mucking out becomes a part of your in-game routine.

I appreciate that mounts and companions aren’t just a means to an end in FFXIV: It makes much more sense to me that you would have to care for the creatures you depend on in your adventures. Many MMOs don’t have a system in place to hold the player responsible for his or her cohorts, leading to a detachment between them. It’s very difficult to care about the mount or NPCs that accompany you if they are made disposable and bland by the game mechanics.

Wrapping it up

Whether or not an MMO features combat, it’s clear that the non-combat mechanics on offer have an enormous capacity to elevate each title to become something unique in the genre. Several of the titles I mentioned above are still in development, and I’m certainly keeping track of how well their mechanics are realised over the next few months. There is a definite movement towards more engaging non-combat gameplay in the recent wave of MMOs, and I hope this continues.

I can hear you guys already: I know my shortlist is far from definitive and I’m expecting to see some great additions to the list I’ve begun. Think of this as a starting point and let me know which non-combat mechanics really enhance your favourite MMOs in the comments below.

MMOs are composed of many moving parts, but Massively’s Tina Lauro is willing to risk industrial injury so that you can enjoy her mechanical musings. MMO Mechanics explores the various workings behind our beloved MMOs. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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34 Comments on "MMO Mechanics: Three non-combat mechanics to love"

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Tina Lauro
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Tina Lauro

Mark Jacobs  Thanks so very much for your kind words, Mark! It means so much when a veteran talent takes the time to look at what Brendan and I are working on.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

The same system that provides one player with gameplay content can be another player’s inconvenience, if that system isn’t optional. Pile up enough inconveniences and players will leave for something that is less of a hassle to play.

This is the issue with trying to add different systems. While they are optional — and truly optional at that, as in choosing to ignore it won’t penalize the player — there is no harm in having those systems, but from the moment they are not optional then the devs are basically pushing away everyone that doesn’t enjoy that system. And a system that is truly optional, in a game where players somehow compete with each other, is one that is going to be ignored by most players and will leave those that do like it feeling like they aren’t part of the intended audience.

Single player games have this easier. When the players aren’t in direct competition and the character is meant to last just a few (or a few dozen) hours, the devs can more easily allow players to choose which content they want to do without issues. Part of why so many offline games have difficulty settings (which can be used to plough through unwanted content without paying attention), dev-supplied cheat codes, or even menu options that turn on or off part of the gameplay.
And, for the record, I do feel like this about many of the older game systems. For example, while I love crafting myself, few things have me packing and leaving a game faster than having to locate a player crafter in order to create or customize a piece of gear.

mbbrazen
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mbbrazen

Vexia mbbrazen Yeah I’m not sure why the developers chose not to mark it early access. This is one of the games I  funded and follow, but imo, it is not ready to be considered complete. Perhaps it was a funding issue, I’m not sure. It may also be the developers underestimated how ready they and the product were. Truthfully, I don’t remember what level of experience the development team has. Anyway, I just hope the game won’t be permanently scarred from the release problems as it does have great potential.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

I never saw Vanguard’s diplomacy system. It is sad that more games haven’t made an effort to develop engaging and viable non-combat methods of getting things done (other than the ubiquitous and overdone “stealth” mechanic in all its many forms). Star Trek Online has a whole reputation track devoted just to diplomacy, but sadly it amounts to little more in practice than “click click click until someone likes you.”

Even Morrowind’s “persuasion” interface seems interesting next to what most more recent games offer in terms of “diplomacy.” Taunting someone into attacking you can be useful if you need to kill an NPC and don’t want to be flagged as a criminal (though, to be fair, it can mean just click spamming until the target gets sick of you and attacks, at low skill). The system does at least have one relevant skill and an attribute you can raise or buff (or even specialize in) to get better at it. And you can either “admire” for positive disposition, “taunt” to try and make someone attack, or just straight up bribe them with gold. It at least offers a real alternative to just blindly murdering people in many situations, which is more than most games can say.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

An MMO where you can’t text chat in any IRL language sounds . . . different. I’m not sure whether to call it mad genius, or simply mad. It may turn out to be just an annoying gimmick, but it could be something wonderful as well.

Kaaz
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Kaaz

A_Dad Supreme Robert80 loved Vanguard crafting, so complex and awesome

Craywulf
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Craywulf

I too dislike PvP or PvE combat without cause. I would prefer to have a plausible reasons and resolutions to combat. I definitely think creating a fictional language barrier and advance diplomatic mechanics would really raise the depth of any MMO, and I don’t think it would cause as much of accessibility problem as developers like to claim. I think the latter is just lame excuse for not increasing the amount of labor involved in the development of such a game. 

I hate the term “farming” in MMOs, the correct term is pillaging. I was quite intrigued by ArcheAge created legimate farming and I hope to see more advancement of this mechanic in the future of MMOs.

Radfist
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Radfist

Rustybladez The system adds to the games charm for its core audience.  As you said, you will only play the game casually. Appealing to the mass market for an hour or two is probably less important to the developers than building an immersive world where the core players will live for a long period of time.

Rustybladez
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Rustybladez

I stopped playing Wanderer at the first language bit. The reason was this – I will only play the game casually. I don’t predict myself living and breathing the game so why in the world would I want to learn a now annoying language just to play the game? Although cool sounding the language seemingly a requirement is a play blocker for me.
Yes a game of exploration and no combat sounds fun, but just don’t imbed stuff that can possibly deter folks from playing. Don’t make user interaction overly complicated, don’t make chunks of the game obscure, and keep K.I.S.S. in mind when designing the core systems Don’t make the game a chore.

Robert80
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Robert80

Werewolf Finds Dragon  On ESO:
1.  The most racism, canonically, is actually in AD.  For reference, they have the only book actively promoting a culture of discrimination (found in Alik’r Desert where they are invading.)  The queen does deal well with races in her faction, but we do not get much from her about other races (in fact, the only races ‘elevated’ to be equal are the faction member races for AD… the others are not mentioned in the lore of her decree.  She claims at one point that she does not support discrimination against non-Aldmeri, but also offers lines that show such discrimination… such as a statement that she would accept any mer on the Ruby Throne, rather than any human, regardless of character.)  She does tend to be a little more liberal than the others, and that does shape some of her choices and dialogue, but it isn’t to a point where it would offend a reasonable person who was not of socialist bent.  Much like the other leaders of the other factions would not offend a reasonable person of socialist bent.
2.  Not everyone bases their faction choice solely upon the leaders.  In fact, it was the background of slavery and discrimination being overcome that drew my guild to EP.  Beyond that, however, each faction has both strong and weak points in both culture and leaders.  They all have high points, and lows that are exposed mostly when playing one of the other factions zones.  That was, most likely, a strong consideration in the design of the game.  EP has issues, sure, but their story is all about overcoming the past to work together… not simply to sit around and grumble about how they hate each other.
3.  Perhaps the best evidence about how you are not correct about the nature of the players in EP, at least, is how they act when mention of discrimination is made.  Even in game discrimination (for example, zone chat talking down about one of the non-faction races) is met with requests to go away, and notices that it is not tolerated and will result in blacklisting if continued.  Out of game mention (seen once) resulted in immediate backlash that filled zone chat with so many ‘reported’  posts that we started making jokes about it filling a whole newspaper.  *Of note, people immediately note that things like werewolf scratch and vampire bite are/should be free on EP, and even offer things like recipes around for free at times.*
On the options for completion, that is indeed an excellent part of the game.  You get choices to harm people, or not, and sometimes to try to allow them redemption.  I hope that some of those choices come back into play as they work toward new content… it would be fun to see what happened to many of those NPCs!

Werewolf Finds Dragon
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Werewolf Finds Dragon

I feel that jumping puzzles, puzzles, research, and riddles are also hugely overlooked. I got it into my head the other day that a Knightmare MMO might be truly amazing. I’m a weird old British geek, so most of you won’t even know what that is. Look it up. Very much worth your time, it is.
Anyway, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst and The Secret World proved that you could make a game with some of those elements. However, The Secret World — as much as I love it — also proved that horror and thriller elements are a barrier to entry. There are few, few people who I care about above all others in this world — as it should be — and they were all put off by it. Now, me beau actually gave it a try, but gave up around the time the 666 door made an appearance.
To me, the 666 door was hilarious, not scary. Why? It looked like a Second Life-ish placement glitch, and it’s not the first game or MMO I’ve seen having glitches like that, so I thought it was more of a tongue-in-cheek reference than an actual scary thing. Still, it did have 666 on it, so there’s that. I think that the imagery is just too much for a lot of people, and that’s not going to work in its favour.
If TSW had had a far less scary science-fantasy setting, with diverse races and cultures, and that level of writing? It would’ve done better. Now, ESO has those things, but it doesn’t quite have enough of the other elements I like. I was in Stros M’kai the other day as a khajiiti werewolf, and I got caught up in a riddle with me beau. It was, perhaps, the most fun we’ve had in ESO.
That’s saying something, because we had so much fun with the Aldmeri Dominion due to the storyline. I’ve met some nice people on the AD, too. I wonder if it’s the setting? A strong, left wing, independent, intelligent woman leading a faction devoted to very progressive, new world ideas and hunting down old, violent right wing traditionalists who tend to be fascist and racist. That would make those people uncomfortable. It’s also funny because I met some very mercurial and mercantile werewolves on the Covenant, too.
I … actually got chewed out for harming the economy and not charging for bites. This has never happened on AD. But again, I think the undesirables ended up splitting themselves between DC and EB due to… well, Queen Ayrenn and her very futurist ideas. I don’t usually like royalty, but there was some royalty I’d follow. And the aforementioned undesirables didn’t even have a boob window to look at, either. You know, I’ve actually seen them complain on the ESO forums about that. Not joking. Never joke about these things.
But yes, being a Socialist Werewolf on the Dominion amuses me far, far too much and appeals to me on more levels than I could convey in a simple forum post. It is very relevant to whom I am. And it’s amusing just how much the story influences and informs the kind of person who plays each faction. The EB people seem generally grumpy and enjoy the fact that all the races hate each other, there; The DC seem soullessly mercantile, in that everything they do is about money; And the AD are just this weird progressive, Socialist nation that don’t fit in at all. I love it.
Where was I? Oh, yes. ESO has kept me hooked with a really good story, and how it doesn’t force me to kill everything. I’ve smiled many a time when they could have just said ‘kill the things’ but instead they said ‘kill the things, or steal the thing, or snoop and listen in’ and that made me so happy. I like snooping! I am also very okay with stealing thins from bad people, as that seems like a khajiiti thing to do.
Anyway, point is, as much as I love and have fondness for ESO, it could’ve been stronger in the aforementioned departments. If you’re going to do a non-combat MMO, then you could look at something like ESO as a basis, and then meld in some TSW, and just remove the combat. From there, just base everything around the four elements, and it would actually be a proper game. You could have jumping puzzles, puzzles, research, and riddles. Throw in some diplomacy, maybe a card game, some minigames, and you have a workable thing.
It’s doable is the thing. It’s doable in a way that could be accessible and successful. My worry with Wander (even though I did enjoy it) is that the focus on communication is just not going to be enough for a lot of people, there’s nothing there to really do beyond that. And I’ve heard a lot of people complain that they don’t find the communication compelling enough.
TSW came closest to being a non-combat MMO, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst already is a non-combat MMO. There are touchstones. There are ways to do this right.
Furthermore, such an MMO could — instead of giving you weapons — provide you with tools to manipulate your environment. So, that cliff you can’t get to early on because it’s impossible to jump up there? Now you can manipulate the environment in such a way that allows you to, and there’s a jumping puzzle up there which leads to a chamber puzzle which leads to more story.
This is my dream game.
Somewhere between Uru and TSW, with a setting much closer to ESO. The thing about ESO is that the strength of its lore and the diversity of the races and cultures on offer would make it work. I mean, you couldn’t just have humans as the only option with the one culture, that’d get boring and would make you rely on crutches (like TSW’s horror crutch, which feels more than a little unnecessary most of the time).
You know, there are days where I lament my species and my world more than a little. And I just wish that I and my closest could just slip through some kind of portal to an alternate earth where people are more open minded, intelligent, and less violent. Basically? More like me. Sorry, but that’s true, and we both know it. Here, I’m miserable, I’m miserable because everyone is violent and lacks perspective and perspicacity. Here, I exist in a world where I can teach a person how to fix a problem, but I don’t really, I teach them how to mimic the solution and then to wave that solution like a magic wand at every problem, believing it would fix all of the things (which has been my experience as ‘the tech guy’ with every extrovert I’ve ever met).
It’s hard, sometimes. In a better world, none of the games would be about combat.

DaemonHardrod
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DaemonHardrod

zyrusticae Rumm Chocopi? Or for those who know about Korean junk food snacks…Chocopie ;)

zyrusticae
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zyrusticae

Rumm The plural of ‘chocobo’ is ‘chocobos’. Tina just got it wrong, unfortunately.

KenAddeh
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KenAddeh

I’d even say that diplomatic falls under language. Often diplomatic traits need the use of understanding, language and wit if the game allows it.

Also, no Trading/bartering/crafting combo?

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

I’m not sure if language counts as a mechanic, it’s just something that player knowingly do. As for languages in a game that players can’t read… well I’m pretty neutral in regards to that.

Remember DayZ? All the sign posts are in Russian. Naturally anybody knowing Russian will have a much easier time navigating the game world.

As for diplomacy, Vanguard has a slightly interesting concept of it. But at the end of the day, it’s just a card game. Players already engage in alot of diplomacy when it comes to sandbox PVP games. But those kinds of diplomacy are just war of words, nothing actually game-play mechanic heavy. 

But what if there was a game where diplomacy/pacts/oaths/etc. have an actual tangible gameplay mechanic? Two player factions form a pact to not attack each other, and the pact is a force of nature that is automatically enforced as if it were laws of physics, and the two factions agree on a penalty of a million gold pieces. for breaking said pact.  If one faction breaches the contract, they automatically lose a million gold pieces.

Now of course it doesn’t have to be a gold penalty, it could be anything else, like instant death for the entire faction (for very serious pacts). And the pact doesn’t have to be just alliances, it could be as something as simple as not allowing players to kill giant rats.

Now of course this is pretty damn complex for a video game, but as a concept, it’s pretty interesting.

Vexia
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Vexia

There’s obviously a market for non-combat oriented games, but I think that violence is such a standard in MMOs that neither developers nor players often know what to do aside from killing things. Horizontal combat progression is pretty “easy” to make, or it has become that way since it’s practically an expectation of the genre. Sometimes when presented with multiple activities and broad, branching paths the game loses stickiness for a great deal of players. So in other words, I think that many peaceful MMOs are/will start out as very niche pursuits, but maybe they could gain traction over time.
One of my favorite games with non-combat mechanics is Puzzle Pirates. There are lots of options to play your own way, whether it be duty on board a ship or participation in the game’s robust economy which includes distilling rum, forging swords and cannonballs, tailoring clothing, building boats, and more. Eventually a player could work their way up to be governor of an island. Of course, one of the most basic ways to make money involves pillaging other ships which entails puzzle-based combat. But you could also slowly gain money by working for the navy, or you could gamble your way to fortune with one of the many parlor games, if you’re lucky. So basically, combat is one of the core features of Puzzle Pirates, but you could play it so you never pick up a sword or… uh, punch another pirate in the face…

Rumm
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Rumm

Is the plural of chocobo really chocobo? Chocoboses? Mooses? Meece.

Vexia
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Vexia

mbbrazen I do wonder why they released already when it clearly needed some more TLC time. Maybe they were nearly at the end of their rope, money-wise, and wanted to inject some more money into the project? But even then, it’s curious that they didn’t mark themselves as an early access title. Of course, early access is getting a greater and greater stigma attached to it — for a good reason!

DPandaren
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DPandaren

I’m surprised you didn’t mentioned FFXI’s chocobo game.

MatthewYetter
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MatthewYetter

I’m shocked that you left out LotRO’s music system.  No character advancement purpose whatsoever, yet it has a huge following… from the spontaneous bardic groups playing outside the Prancing Pony to full on events like Weatherstock.

Knight of Hearts
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Knight of Hearts

Whether its combat or exploration so many games fail at the idea of Fun. They get tripped up by the trees and fail to create the forest, meaningful experiences regardless of any other factor. If its exploration give me ancient civilizations, places I want to go to and see. If its crafting let me change details down to the very stitches themselves. If its lore make a history that’s worth reading about. But don’t give me some half baked bread and tell me its mana from heaven.

Line with more hugs
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Line with more hugs

mbbrazen
Do note that it is not in early access, and sold as a complete game.
It clearly isn’t right now, those few months of bug fixing and polishing would have served it well… now it has a really negative press that is not going away for quite a while.

Line with more hugs
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Line with more hugs

I always ask for more side activities in MMOs… but actually, I didn’t like any of those.
The language bit in Wander is, in my mind, plain awful. Since now you don’t have an ingame notebook or a dedicated UI… it’s just a gigantic pain, and it’s clunky to draw those little runes. I don’t think that fake language options should not be explored, but just to talk with others…? Not so convinced. In the language barrier article we talked about that, how great auto translators and an user friendly UI are for players to come together with minimal effort.
With this option… you negate every good thing about MMOs, and force people to do some complicated stuff (and keep IRL notes of them all the time) just to say hello. Hmm. Doubt that can be anything else than a funny minigame to talk with some NPC faction or the like of it.

Diplomacy was a much better tentative to non-combat gameplay, but I found it boring very fast. After all, it had less to do with dialogue and far more with cardgames. TCG and CCG are allt he rage right now, so that certainyl would be a good addition to MMOs.
But In Vanguard… eeeh. It didn’t look good, and while I loved that you could resolve quests with it… the minigame in itself quickly became tedious. Maybe it should be a bit more like RPG dialogues instead. Those I love, but a poker-like sequence between each talk, meh.

FFXIV chocobo breeding is a bit problematic for the same reason: it’s great to make your mount/battle pets like you want (even though it is of dubious use in FFXIV) but… it’s just click one button every hour, it looks and feels like a mobile game.
Gardening is a classic, but too many MMOs don’t really make it interactive, and just another click once every X timer that you have to take care of… that’s one of those big “incentives” for people to play regularly, and keep up their subs (and F2P has the same thing with log in bonuses). I like to farm my games, but typically, you need a bit more than just a field and seeds.

Lots of cool ideas are jsut never really exploited, and get thrown on the pile of to-do lists for the day, with the concept of fun as a distant afterthought… I just want more activities as real gameplay options, instead of filler to optimize your character for raids/PvP.
It still is better than nothing… and at least housing is quite popular; that’s a nice one for people to have fun without being “forced” to do so, RP is a great way to keep (some) people occupied without predatory and/or constantly demanding attention models.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

JesLyck More so with mods adding things like new types of plants, food, trees, creatures, etc.  At the moment I’m using a mod named Ancient Warfare to make a NPC village.  This mod gives the NPCs jobs like farming, couriering items, guarding, mining, etc.  So there’s always a mob of NPCs running around.  It’s nice and I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Robert80
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Robert80

A_Dad Supreme Robert80  Yeah, I am so thankful that so many of the indie games coming out are trying to bring back some sort of depth to crafting!

JesLyck
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JesLyck

Nreff JesLyck  There are millions who have done this

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

The one thing that has me most eager to try out Wander is how its been built for interaction beyond the typical things we’ve seen. I’ve yet to read about another MMO that has looked more closely at fostering collaboration .
I suppose I should include Camelot Unchained here too, as the collective war effort of a realm to survive could hopefully offer sollaboration as well. It would be nice if there were other games which fostered and rewarded pursuits that help people beyond “make number bigger for best stabpunch”. I would adore an MMO that lets me run a pub or a storefront, for example.

mbbrazen
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mbbrazen

There are many people hungering for a noncombat MMO. I think Wander represents one of the possibilities. The bad thing about the Steam Green light program in my mind, is that people will buy Wander and expect a finished game. It isn’t finished, it’s miles ahead of where it was a year ago, but work still needs to be done. The company has been working with a small group that participated in their crowd funding campaign and you can tell from their tweets that the release on Steam was probably quite overwhelming for them. IMO, they need another 6 months to a year before the game will be ready for the crowd that cannot endure works in development and all the bad things that come with that (bugs crashes, etc).

A_Dad Supreme
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A_Dad Supreme

Robert80  I still miss the complexity and interaction that was everything Vanguard when it comes to crafting.
It was daunting at the time but when I look at all these games with an emphasis on ESO-style boring/ RNG crafting, I realize I didn’t know just how good I had it back then.

Liandreth
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Liandreth

Robert80 I was playing Wander this weekend. It could be a great game. Right now, it is plagued with game crashing bugs, that are more frustrating then not. I would recommend waiting for the game to iron out the bugs more before getting into it.

JesLyck
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JesLyck

It is possible but Wander is a poor example it replace the combat with nothting except a boring minigame. A fine example is Minecraft as this has a strong emphasis on Building and creativity.

Robert80
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Robert80

Wander has… huge issues with bugs, according to the multitude of steam users.  Granted, some of that may be people jaded by the lack of combat, but the reports of unfinished world-building, bugs crashing the game, and other issues that don’t really make it seem like a lot of fun make me very leery of the game.
As for farming/crafting:  AA is nothing.  It barely even touches on the systems in real sandbox games that are coming out late this year or next year.  We are talking worlds with limited resources, actual ore veins to find by digging mining shafts, forests where every tree is an interact-able object that provides resources and can be cut down, crops that grow according to multiple environmental effects such as weather and fertilizations, crop rotations that make a difference in crop harvests, crafting that interlaces not only with products in that crafting ‘tree’ but with others, animals that breed and age while producing harvestable resources and having care requirements on a regular basis, and more.  The timers of AA, while a nice touch, are the tiniest point that should be made here… the game simply does not do that much for farming, animal husbandry, or crafting when compared to so very many projects out there.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Great read, especially for a Sunday.

And as someone who made one of the earlier online 4X games (Galaxy, in the mid 80s), I wish you luck on your project. I’m going to check it out.

A_Dad Supreme
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A_Dad Supreme

http://gamepolitics.com/2011/04/11/how-reach-level-85-world-warcraft-without-killing-anything#.VXRwymfbJhE
I still remember this from 4 years ago and wonder just how large a market there is for this in MMOs.
Wander might give us a better indication of that.

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