Raph Koster on MMO ecosystems, the balance of power, and tennis

Most MMORPGs have the core sandbox problem: Whoever gets there first, controls all the toys and has the power to drive everyone else away. Even in a themepark, the “richest” players, whether they control the gold or the dungeons or the gear or the PvP, eventually help kill the game.

That’s the subject of a Raph Koster blog that recently popped back up on my radar. Koster, known for ecosystem-oriented virtual world MMOs like Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, is subtly making the case for MMOs that end, even if that end starts a new beginning. It’ll sound familiar to A Tale In The Desert players, surely, or anybody watching Koster’s latest MMO, Crowfall.

In the service of his argument, he references a blog post about the age of the world’s best tennis players, which just keeps rising. Is it because the olds are innately better at tennis? Nope. It’s because the “winners” are entrenched in a rich-get-richer situation that ensures “the typical person in the system ends up below average.” The more the winners win, the more money they have to ensure they win more, whether that’s with better coaches, better equipment, better medical treatment, or just plain more time to train, which makes it progressively more expensive (on all fronts) for newcomers to compete… until the newbies stop trying and the olds start retiring.

And then? The whole system collapses.

“Systems that don’t destroy their kings on a regular basis end up destroying the kings and the citizenry,” Koster argues. “And life under a king is never advantageous to the citizens, either.”

“There is a sweet spot for ecosystems, you see. A certain level of connectedness, a certain level of inequality, gives us teams and cities and competition and cooperation. But a level above that gives us stagnation and centralization and loss of freedoms. There are thresholds in systemic complexity that serve the system but do not serve the components of the system well. Having hugely paid celebrity tennis players serves them and the system of tennis that monetizes that celebrity well, but does not serve anything else in tennis well, just like having a music scene of only the major rock stars does not serve garage musicians well.”

The takeaway, from an MMO perspective, is that our worlds need to be designed with “ferment,” not stability, in mind. The power and profit ecosystem must be constantly shifting and breaking down so that if “kings” – be they the uberguilds that control the dungeons, the gankers who control the farms, the PvP powerhouses that cap all the territory, or the number-crunchers who rule the trade economy – do rise up, they don’t last forever. Hopefully, that’ll mean the game will.

Source: Raph Koster
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Dread Quixadhal

The biggest problem with MMO ecosystems is simply that they’re all using the faucet/drain model for resource management. In these systems, resources are infinite and enter the world at a given rate (the faucet), which usually is based on player activity. More players farming materials, or looting, means more resources entering the economy. These resources exit the world at another rate (the drain), which is also based on player activity. Players having to repair gear, buy consumables, craft items.

The problem is, all MMO games are balanced towards the faucet side. Players can choose to simply never repair gear (and just get new), never use potions or food, and basically bypass much of the drain side of the equation. Thus, you end up with an economy that becomes pointless, as crafting doesn’t yield you as good results as farming, and materials become too abundant to be worth much.

What I’d love to see is an MMO that is built around a scaled semi-closed ecosystem. A closed ecosystem is one where there are fixed quantities of raw materials that are never replaced, only combined and broken apart. In a pure closed economy, players would start mining copper and gradually get lower yields as the amount present goes down. At some point, it will be more economical to start reusing existing items with copper, than to mine any more from the depleted ground.

I say “scaled semi-closed”, because of course a pure system isn’t fair. So, I would make the total amount available scale based on active player population. There are a few quirks to work out in doing this (such as scaling player inventories of people who quit and come back years later), but I think it would be much more interesting to have to trade goods to melt down as materials for new goods.

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Raph Koster

I have a had an idea for a long time around a game that involves colonization. Using procedural content, you could actually have an endless supply of new locations — planets, say — and you could ALSO have each one be a closed system, and therefore have all the gameplay and lessons inherent in a resource management game where you have limited resources. Cities would have to give up farming, because they’d sacrifice it to housing, but you could set up farming worlds, so to speak. But they could actually suffer from crop exhaustion. Etc. Basically, a different way of doing turnover.

When everything is in one closed loop space you basically have to either have a HUGE resource pool that is so large all the collective player actions don’t actually make a dent (like many humans think of our planet now), or you hit all sorts of resource exhaustion way too early, like UO did.

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Schmidt.Capela

UO originally tried that. It failed because players hoarded all kinds of resources to such an extent it paralyzed the closed-loop economy.

Something similar can happen in the real world, mind. If most people decide to save most of their money and only spend on the essentials, this can effectively paralyze the economy and cause a recession despite people having plenty of money to spend. I believe Japan went through one of those in the 90s.

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Dread Quixadhal

The problem there is the difference between “need” and “want”. The real world economy is very much based around what people “want”. As a result, it’s very possible for people to save and slow the economy down to the edge of collapse. However, in an MMO, you can engineer the gameplay requirements to shift things to a “need” based economy.

The trick is, advancement must be tied into those “needs”. Maybe if I want my character to grow from “level 3” to “level 4”, I need to either kill a bunch of critters that are too difficult to handle without better gear, or perform some quest that needs resources I don’t have access to. In either case, the only way I can advance is to satisfy that need, which means finding the materials to craft what I need, or buying what I need from someone else that already did that.

If, OTOH, I can just sit back and continue doing the stuff I already do for a bit longer instead, it’s not a “need”, but a “want”.

That’s why I suggest scaling resources based on player population, and removing hoarded resources from players who are no longer playing (work it into the story however you like…. bandits broke into your storage locker while you were gone, tax collectors, whatever). It’s natural for a limited economy to have periods of stagnation and periods of growth.

Consider digging for oil in the real world. At the dawn of the industrial age, people could only literally dig holes and hope oil came gushing up from the ground at them. Today, we extract oil and gas from rock layers by forcing materials into it to displace them. Technology improves, but the amount of oil hasn’t increased, we just get better at finding it.

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Cosmic Cleric

Something similar can happen in the real world, mind. If most people decide to save most of their money and only spend on the essentials, this can effectively paralyze the economy and cause a recession despite people having plenty of money to spend. I believe Japan went through one of those in the 90s.

I remember during that time, the news was talking about how the vast majority of U.S. citizens had almost no, or none, savings. There was talk about commercials and such to bring public awareness to the issue, but it was scrapped, because of fears of tanking the economy. Fundamentally, our economy can’t handle smart citizens that “save for a rainy day”.

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Raph Koster

It’s really interesting to see the comments on this. It reinforces a couple of things I’ve long known :)

  1. MMO players are pretty smart and thoughtful! And they know what they like.
  2. People hate losing anything.

I think it’s important to take the step back and look at what I said again, outside of an MMO lens. For example, if I say “hey, it’s better for everyone if a few rich families can’t gradually end up owning all the wealth in the world,” you probably wouldn’t disagree. If I said “it’s not good if one company can end up owning all other companies in the world,” you likely wouldn’t disagree. If I said “maybe we shouldn’t exterminate all other life on earth…” You get the idea.

Nobody likes “losing” but we all recognize the risk in concentrating too much power over time, until it turns into a runaway phenomenon. Even having it happen in small ways, for bounded periods of time, can be really problematic for those who are living through that period.

A classic way this manifests in games is something that tends to be considered bad design: a positive feedback loop where whoever is winning becomes more powerful exactly because they are winning, and there’s no way to cause a reversal. This is why so many people hate Monopoly — a game that was, in fact, originally designed to make that point.

MMOs, like the real world, aren’t single-axis achievement ladders — unlike tennis, where there’s really only one key way to measure status. So right off the bat, it’s not a direct comparison. There can be many different ways for players to invest, and we don’t need to make you “lose everything” in order to cause the type of ferment we are talking about. What it really means is things that many of you have actually cited as some of your favorite elements in some of my games:

  • A player driven economy where lots of roles were possible — which is dependent on item decay (.e.g, turnover!)
  • Shifting and emergent gameplay as circumstances change what’s going on in the world — which is dependent on power realignment in the game such as resources moving, powerful guilds losing standing, etc
  • Diverse player groups actually needing one another, contribnuting to the sense of a “world” — which is dependent on not allowing total vertical integration, e.g. groups not permitted to grow so powerful they can cover all their needs themselves

It’s worth pointing out that people didn’t like crafted items being better than looted ones, item decay, house decay, or anything else similar. They DO all represent forms of loss. But they are the loss that allows new life to grow between the cracks. You want, and need, other players, especially new ones, to be able to come in and find the same sort of home you did.

There are many ways to invest into a system without losing everything, too. One can keep a permanent rank of some sort (G.O.A.T. in tennis!) without staying at the top seed. Of course, few can achieve being the greatest of all time, so finding even more ways to drive personal satisfaction at a level that doesn’t necessarily require huge fame or standing atop the pile of every other player in the game is critical.

This isn’t solely about competitive play, either. Social networks are also a type of network that falls victim to this same phenomenon. Plenty of people have commented over the years on how it can feel weird to have a server dominated by a single uberguild. That’s the same sort of accrual of power, and it may not even be done competitively.

So… it’s not that I am describing a desire to take things away. I am describing a desire to keep a world alive through turnover. After all, if everything is going to grow static over time, we might as well have built a themepark in the first place. :)

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socontrariwise

There are only kings if you design a game with this kind of dependency and power-over-others structure. The very point of a virtual world is that we can get rid of artificial resource restrictions/limitations. You can compete for “highest” tetris levels and still everyone can have their own progress or development speed and not be impacted by what anyone else does – because the game is player focused, not competitor focused.

Going back to ATitD designs just means in my opinion a lack of imagination and trashing a VERY valuable resource – especially within a persistent, complex world. And that is people’s spare time. We are mostly no kids anymore and if we play short term games (anything below a few weeks max) that is a choice, they are “exercises in struggle and accepted loss” in my opinion. But a MMO is something very different, it is a place to call home and connect and build long term. The very reason I left ATitD was because it replaced organic gameplay with grind and extraordinary hardship just to then erase everything. That kind of repetitive stuff I’m getting rewarded to only do MORE repetitive stuff is NOT what I want my scarce spare time for. That is what work is for. And the increasing attempt to squeeze work-style mechanics into spare time while pretending it is FUN is very bothersome.

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Robert Mann

Hmm, that doesn’t conform with my ideas and desires for a virtual world. Where I agree there are many things that need to be left shorter, given that nobody is going to spend real life years to make a food item in game… at the same time complete non-scarcity of resources leave us with the status quo of crafting. Where it is, frankly, boring and pointless outside getting a little in game cash off those with no desire to bother.

Given that I like crafting, but not as it currently exists, I can’t agree that the only factor involved is time. I do believe there needs to be a balance between things, and generally favor different games for different people. Then again, the last thing I want for it is just more grinding (I got very sick of several games that made me gather thousands of materials just to progress craft tiers, for example, which is entirely the wrong solution to my mind.)

Also, I would argue that the biggest issues with resource scarcity come into play with the relatively low area of games compared to players playing… which is another issue in and of itself.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Going back to ATitD designs just means in my opinion a lack of imagination and trashing a VERY valuable resource – especially within a persistent, complex world. And that is people’s spare time. ,,, But a MMO is something very different, it is a place to call home and connect and build long term.

This exposes one of the most serious issues with many MMOs, in which players are also to blame: we should not be looking at our time in a game as an “investment”. MMORPG’s trick the players with rewards for grinding boring game loops, so that they get this sense of fullfillment that they mistake for fun and enjoyment. And of course persistence and not losing progress become prerequisites to that, otherwise the player gets frustrated and puts the game away.

Instead, the (indeed) valuable player time should not be used to “investing” in the game but just having fun with the game – this excludes many of the copy paste cheaply designed MMOs out there. Long-term goals should just be seen as “enablers”, to get you started on something, and persistence could then only be a means to deliver the sense of “impact” of player actions, not a measurement of their progress. And then, resets of any form can be used to refresh the virtual world at any appropriate level. But this requires whatever “grind” is in the game to at least be fun and fullfilling by itself.

Agree with the rest of your points.

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Carebear

But if we remove the sense of “investment” in MMOs what separates them from single player games then? The key to MMOs is that there is a persistent world where you “invest” time to become better.

Some people do think invest as fun… they are not fooled by it. Thats how rpg and mmos are… not all games are like pubg or fifa where you join to play a match for fun..

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Thomas Zervogiannis

I think investment/progression and persistence are orthogonal, they do not necessarily need to be tightly connected to one another (they can, if it makes sense for the game design). See for example sandbox games EVE and Albion, where you can lose progress/investment in the blink of an eye, but their worlds have more “persistence” than most MMOs out there – every player action changes the dynamics of the world in some way. Or E:D, where “persistence” is just the effect of players on the BGS (Background simulator), however small, and is only loosely tied to the player’s progression (if the players decide to measure investment/progression as them standing behind a faction and making it expand for example).

All these three examples have no resets though. Crowfall goes for a sort of middle ground in resetting the world (long cycles), but still ties progression with persistence (eternal kingdoms, if I remember correctly).

From the opposite side, arena/lobby games have no “persistence”, but they have “progress/investment” in the form of ranks.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

That final point you make is my key for evaluating any MMOs suitability for my putting time into it: core activities must be fun in and of themselves. The tricky part for MMO creators is that what constitutes “fun” can vary greatly from person to person.

My only caveat is when you say something like “….that they mistake for fun and enjoyment”. I think people are their own best judges of what is entertaining for themselves, and while you may find a particular activity tedious and hard to believe anyone could truly have fun with it, after watching my bf who can be slightly OCD I can assure you some people find these very routine tasks very enjoyable.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

… some people find these very routine tasks very enjoyable.

… and relaxing. Indeed, no disagreement there. But most of the times (not always) getting fun from a feels-like-work grind is not sustainable by itself in the long run and leads to burn out, if the ultimate goal is investment and reward. And I think that is a matter of player mentality, as much as bad game design. I think the situation you describe about your bf is an exception, because he does get enjoyment out of the routine itself.

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Schmidt.Capela

That is part of the reason I only play MMOs where other players can’t influence my gameplay unless I allow them. Which takes care of most, if not all, imbalance issues, or at least the ones that matter to me.

Caveat, I’m not competitive. I don’t care about winning against other players, or about having more or better things than anyone else. As long as other players having power can’t negatively impact my gameplay, my access to content, I don’t care if everyone else has more power than me; I will keep progressing at the pace I’m most comfortable with, without any regard for whether I’m falling behind.

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wieland

While i can understand that it might be good to have regular restarts, its not for me to constantly lose progress. I am not getting younger. My online time is getting less. Such a game would definitely not be for me.

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yep realname

only the campaign is gone. it’s like playing a board game, someone winning/losing and starting over. the character’s skills are saved, any items exported are saved and can be used to build in the player housing or traded.

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Sally Bowls

I certainly don’t want to argue against Raph. But I wanted to say that for me, YMMV, the pace can be too fast. I am looking for some persistence in my MMO. You can’t have a game where the 5-year veterans have an insurmountable lead. But I don’t want the next match to be the same as the last; I want some sense of “progression.” in my MMO without it being reset with a new season let alone game.

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yep realname

would you consider skill training as part of progression? what about player housing starting from unusable land to building a castle over a period of time?

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Daniel Miller

Well bring Archeage into this. A player loses all assets in land, and many cases innovatory.

As for pvp, a new user or even casual will never achieve anything due to the cash shop or way gear score works in that game. Hence why they server wipe so often.

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Raph Koster

By the way, the blog post wasn’t about Crowfall; I realize people want to connect what I write to specific projects, but the blog post wasn’t even about MMOs in particular.

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Arktouros

I largely agree with him on this.

One of the biggest problems there is in persistent, on going PvP scenario is generally speaking the winners keep winning and the losers keep losing. This is because the losers will stop logging in or playing because getting crushed night after night just isn’t very fun as much as well enjoy an underdog story. If you know the battle is hopeless before you even log in, why log in when you could go do something you have a chance at? However equally boring is always winning because you’re never challenged or pressured to be better. It’s the opposite issue where if you know you’re always going to win then why bother playing?

So game mechanics that offer a chance to reset things or change things serve as a way to disrupt the status quo and offer a chance for people to switch things up are always regarded as good things to me. The key is keeping enough persistence that players feel like they want to stay invested in a MMO space (which is all about persistent progression) yet keep it fresh.

GW2 I think does a fantastic job of showcasing this principle and even 5 years later every Friday night for WvW resets is always maximum queues on each WvW server and it’s a big event. But slowly over the week you see the inevitability of the outcome sink in and population dwindles until the next reset.

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Schmidt.Capela

IMHO the WvW PvP in GW2 was far better back when it reset daily. And the original plan was to make each WvW match last two weeks, but thankfully ANet gave up on extending the matches past one week.

Funny thing, the difference between Beta players and regular players seemingly played a role in why ANet thought 2 weeks long matches were a good idea. In Beta, the fight would go back and forth, with players of all factions fighting for their side until the end even if their situation seemed hopeless (which is what enabled all the back and forth in the first place); regular players, on the other hand, mostly gave up as soon as it seemed likely their side would lose.

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Arktouros

Oh my God those were frantic times back when it reset each day. We spent soooooo much RL money converting to Gold to buy enough siege to keep fighting.

And yea even today it’s like Friday -> Monday is pretty heavy action, then it dies off till reset basically cause the winners are usually in by that point.

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Mailvaltar

I’m someone who was never the richest, or the top tier, or the top anything in an online game.
Yet I still do absolutely not want my progress to be erased regularly (or ever). For that alone Crowfall doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

Sorry Raph. I loved SWG and are onboard with your thoughts and ideas often, but not at all this time.

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yep realname

Your account training doesn’t reset but the worlds do. it’s similar to an instanced PvP match only thing that changes is the instanced match, rest is persistent.

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Raph Koster

Think of it like in sports; league standings reset, last year’s champion doesn’t determine this year’s champion. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad, right?

The issue is that if you just let benefits accrue and accrue, then pretty soon the winner always wins, forever.

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socontrariwise

It still sounds as bad if you are not interested in “matches” in your spare time. Matches tickle the competitive streak and there are people who enjoy just this or want more of this beyond there job. More power to them. But I don’t play in my spare time to be squeezed into a ludus approach.

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Rolan Storm

‘Of will and skill’, huh? That’s good. I have not yet read your original article, though.

Xijit
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Xijit

The funniest thing is that this entire issue was solved decades ago: Just look at Guild Wars 1 & 2 / Final Fantasy 11 & 14.

PvE titles with Instanced PvP and players have zero ability deny other players access to content.

Granted, there are issues with GW2’s market system & FFXIV’s limited housing, but both of those are due to piss poor game design leading to unintended exploitation (not intentional design).

Last time I commented on one of these things I reacted to the MOP article instead of the actual blog post (my reaction was still right, but I will be a better man this time and at least read it).

Xijit
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Xijit

See: this is why we can’t have nice things!

This is game design: set up your system to cause ferment, not stability and inevitability

He takes the lesson that allowing money and success to raise the bar of entry is bad, and then goes “so, yeah … we need to make sure that the best players routinely get torn down and kicked out”

Really … that is your plan … contrived failure so that every kid has a chance to be king?

Not capping power or developing systems where every player has an equal access to materials and gameplay? What about Bracketed competitive levels? Nah, who the hell needs compartmentalized division to ensure that players of comparable skill get matched up in a fair field of play! Lets just dump everyone into the same shark tank & tell them “becoming the biggest fish is your only reward” and then intend to sabotage whoever becomes the biggest fish.

You don’t think it might actually be intentional that American Professional sports all follow tiered progression of “local School -> College level -> Professional” Divisions? or that they have all implemented salary caps to prevent one team from outspending all the others and signing the best players? or that they all have player Drafts to limit players from picking their own team?

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Raph Koster

The fact that tournaments happen on an annual (or periodic) basis is in fact how sports solve what I describe. And yes, leagues.

However, sports don’t have infinite leagues. People’s age itself helps take them out of the mix. There isn’t such a thing in a game where your power is just accumulated stats and gold.

Xijit
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Xijit

I do feel like a dick every time I react badly to one of these articles, because I know you are going to reply as a rational human being even thought I am ranting and throwing a tantrum.

You are one of the only Developers who will talk about game theory and reply to comments, while everyone else just posts one sided VLOGS or carefully edited press releases … so I do recognize and respect that … thing is that I just can’t help but to shoot the messenger, because this is decades of pent up frustration and disappointment talking.

There is just so much that is fundamentally wrong with the MMO industry and every time a game fails, three more step up with new lipstick on the same boar. And the root issue of basically all of it is that you give people these gigantic living worlds, where your character is supposed to be a thriving inhabitant surrounded by other players living out virtual lives, but then supply zero collaborative content outside of forming predatory kill packs for slaughtering the weak (or require players to swarm up and perform repetitive, redundant tasks with the only reward of slowly becoming a better apex predator).

Which is passably functional (but ultimately unsustainable as players need a constant stream of new content to remain entertained) when you are in a PvE environment and the “weak” are just AI mobs … but in a open PvP title, the “weak” are other customers who, more likely than not, do not enjoy paying good money for the privilege of being shit in by abstractly more powerful customers.

Which is just fucking insane!

That is like if Walmart had a frequent shopper program where they would let you punch other shoppers in the back of the head and will hold them down while you beat them up, depending on if you buy more shit than they do … and yes, conflict can be fun, but if I want that I will skip all the bullshit and go fire up a flat out combat game where the only barrier to being competitive is how long it takes for my PS4 to power up, not 6 months of grinding (or even worse: real money).

I will freely admit that Crowfall ditching the level based power system, and continuous recycles of the game world to prevent stagnation, are both steps in the right direction. but you still haven’t addressed the issue that there really isn’t anything else collaborative to do but swarm the weak and the largest mob wins.

… on top of that you have the entire crafting / home building / only thing permanent in the game “Kingdom” system locked up in either being on the winning side of that Mob victory, or paying shit loads of Real World money.

The root issue is right here in the first entry of the Crowfall gameplay FAQ

the only options are: you win, or you die.

… I don’t want either one of those: I don’t fucking care about “winning” & I sure as shit do not want to die.

Where is the option for “succeed” … that is all I am looking for; I just want to feel like I had a bit of success every time I log in.

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yep realname

Crowfall is going after the Game of Thrones or Highlander of ‘there’s only one’. That and the lore of The Hunger consuming everything so it’s a do or die thing in the campaign worlds.

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Raph Koster

Well, first off, this post wasn’t about Crowfall. It wasn’t even about MMOs. It was as much about the real world economy, about politics, as it was about anything else.

That said, I think you’ll find that quite a lot of changes are happening to Crowfall to drive more collaborative things to do that aren’t swarming other people… the recent addition of the new parcel types in EKs are explicitly intended to give some amount of PvE and collaborative adventuring to the game, for example.

And, funny enough, the point you make about “succeed” — which I totally agree with — is actually almost identical to language we used in a design meeting just last week on harvesting. :)

Xijit
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Xijit

This is a MMO site, so Bree linking to it involuntarily inflicted a MMO slant.

One of the best things that Black Desert Online got right, is that every single action you made had a positive result. no matter what it was you were doing: you got something from every action, & the only RNG variable with the reward was that you had a chance to get “extra” if you were lucky.

Granted they later made that all but redundant by switching over to unlimited personal crafting, combined with effortless resource supply from the node system and a stagnated market economy … but I felt that was a revolutionary design concept compared to how many games will give you dick nothing for 90% of your actions.

To put that in more practical terms: say you have a quest objective, and there is the option to get what you need by fighting mobs for a 1 out of 100 RNG chance that the Items will drop, VS going out and mining 1,000 rocks for ore & then building the thing instead of looting it.

… I will gladly mine the 1,000 rocks, provided that I get at least 1 ore from each rock.

Now to a gamblers mindset, they will say “hey, 100 kills is way less than mining 1,000 rocks & I am sure I will get it in less than that” but to me I see it as “I do not want to waste my time suffering 99 absolute failures before that single complete victory, when I can have 1,000 minor victories leading up to a guaranteed accomplishment.”

Xijit
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Xijit

ya know what … here is a better sports analogy for how the “conventional” MMO design works: “conventional” MMO design (Open PvP + End game content locked out by gear level + required gear is only available from end game content) is like if Boxing allowed fighters to stand out side of Boxing gyms and beat the fuck out of anyone who tried to get in.

… and instead of saying “we need to stop top level players from beating the fuck out of low level players” the prescribed solution is “you can keep beating the fuck out of low level players, but if you win too many real fights we will take your title away.”

THIS!

This RIGHT here is why the MMO industry is in collapse and MMO players are dropping out of it in droves … everyone jumped into this market because the prospect was “play video games -WITH- other people” but then developers keep saying “Ooops, I am sorry that you didn’t understand me: I really said you will be playing -AGAINST- each other, whether you like it or not” and then shipping gank boxes where the mechanics are nothing but a bucket of tools to troll each other.

Well, fuck that shit: I would rather play alone & that is why I have barely even touched an MMO since BDO and have spent all my game time in Single player titles or titles with co-op game modes.

Xijit
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Xijit

Really?

Tennis?

You are going to go with Tennis?

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Xijit
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Xijit

Why not Racing?

Pretty sure NASCAR / F1 Racing would be a much better analogy than Tennis.

hurbster
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hurbster

Best sports players can stay on the top for longer because of the advances in medical treatment and preparation. It’s not just the ‘magic sponge’ any more.

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Peregrine Falcon

I’m probably the only one, but I just don’t care what Ralph Koster has to say about anything anymore. The MMO sphere that he made ONE successful game for doesn’t exist anymore and he hasn’t been able to replicate that success.

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Toy Clown

He got his start in MuDs, moved on to help on Everquest, was a lead design in Everquest 2 and Star Wars Galaxies. The systems he’s created were some of the most fun I’ve played in 20 years of MMOs.

But gaming was a whole different generation of players back then. That was back when people still had their “real world faces” on and before anon assholes and toxicity became as widespread as it is today.

That’s changed the face of MMO gaming immensely, and I’m not all-together sure Raph has his finger on that pulse yet. I think he’s trying, but after having glimpsed Crowfall — admittedly without a lot of interest because of the PvP inclusion, I’m not sure he’s quite got it figured out in a way that resonates with not only today’s new generation of toxic gamers, but also with the old and jaded gamers of yesterday who just want away from all that crap, but continue looking for that Holy Gaming Grail we all once knew through games like Star Wars Galaxies.

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yep realname

it’s possible to play crowfall without venturing into campaigns. You’d be stuck in the Eternal Kingdoms and would have to buy/trade for resources/items. There wouldn’t be much to do unless you love housing.

Siphaed
Reader
Siphaed

Well, he’s supposedly working on the economy of Crowfall and that’s “a big deal”. HOWEVER right now, in my opinion, that means NOTHING. The game is P2W on a grand scale that the backers are too blind or too invested to care. The game is selling buff statues on it’s website for $60 and $80 each. [Whether they can be obtained in-game or not is moot to the fact that instead of working hard and having RNG luck to gain one via gameplay, someone drops a large amount of cash to instantly obtain one. That is Paying to Win (or get something that others get through play and hard work without doing the same.)]*** Land deeds for $100’s, guild packages with perks for $100’s as well. There’s no way that anyone not invested into it, looking at all their store has to offer, can say it is not Pay-2-Win.

***My opinion on P2W is not the literal “pay money and win the game” thing that so many proponents of that say “there is no real winning, so it’s not P2W”. Pay-2-Win is paying to bypass normal game play time, mechanics, and investment in order to obtain that which others have had to otherwise get through normal gameplay experience. Getting a buff node by dropping $80 into a game’s cash shop, where as other players have to farm a certain area for 3-6 weeks in order to obtain the same node….ya, that’s P2W. Period.

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yep realname

How is it different than Star Citizen? Crowfall does have a ‘pay to progress’ but if you buy something and die, you can lose it. The game is setup so that people are specialized. You alone can’t harvest and craft and fight on one account, at least not to gather/craft/fight in legendary gear.

Those statues won’t grant a huge bonus and they can be found in campaigns (as per the NOTE on the item popup). These wont be huge bonuses and may last only an hour. The power curve is shallow, the player skill ceiling is much higher.

Reader
Raph Koster

Someone took my hint from my year in review post! :)

BTW, here’s a little essay applying the same principles to various other fields including economics and forest fires: https://www.soa.org/essays-monographs/fin-crisis/fin-crisis-essay-2011-wilson.pdf

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