Pantheon’s social systems aren’t ‘simply bringing back the past’

    
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One of the most interesting things to cover when it comes to Pantheon’s development has been its reconciliation of two superficially opposing ideas for social systems in MMOs: the old-school, hands-off, organic approach that leaves socializing entirely up to the players vs. modern contrivances that proactively group players together. The goal, however, is one and the same, and that’s to create a truly social community and “forging true relationships.”

Indeed, that’s what Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid attempts to explain in a new dev blog today focused on matchmaking and the LFG. Because… there will be a LFG tool — “or, really, set of tools. A suite a completely optional tools and mechanics that help people find real friends, help them group with those friends, help keep those friends together in a group.” McQuaid explains that the game is embracing a more “proactive” stance than what players might recall from EverQuest, using “positive reinforcement to rewards players” who make community happen.

That said, you won’t see “some of the more ‘modern’ systems that just bring people together to do an instance and then, afterwards, those people spread about by the wind, no reason to speak during the instance, nor afterwards… no reason to really even talk much if at all,” he says. “Total, even blatant disregard for shared experiences and how incredibly powerful and memorable, due to the way our brains are wired, they truly are.”

Even so, he seems aware that some “alarmist” people are going to freak out at the plan.

“Some of this stuff, especially on the surface, is going to appear, at least initially, as inconsistent, even incompatible…. both incompatible in terms of gameplay and experiencing the game pre-launch but also incompatible, at least on the surface, with some of our tenets, the FAQ, etc. But, as I always try to put out there: we’ve no interest in creating an emulator, or simply bringing back the past. Yes, Pantheon has the same spirit and feel as many of the classics — we’ve already achieved that, verified it, and are proud of it. But it’s also so much more — so much more at launch, and then holy crap! we have some crazy cool stuff that is integral to the Grand Vision, that we’ve been waiting years even decades to get into an MMO like this.”

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Crowe

the Vision is a “Grand” Vision now?

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Rolan Storm

“Some of this stuff, especially on the surface, is going to appear, at least initially, as inconsistent, even incompatible…”

McQuaid was always paradoxal to a point. In Everquest that worked great, Vanguard either had no opportunity to work that out or his approach got him in trouble. Either way announcements like this are interesting.

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Toy Clown

It worked back in the heyday of EQ1 because MMO gaming was just starting to come out into the open, so to speak. Back then, people still employed dealing with each other as they do in real life, in that they greeted each other, you got a reputation from being a horrible person and no one wanted anything to do with you, and people were more want to make friends so they could easily get into content together.

It’s like an entire generation has passed since the EQ1 days and no one wants to socialize during group content, no one wants to speak to each other. I have a friend I do groups with in FFXIV and she used to get upset that people were “Rude” when she greeted them by remaining silent. You get used to it and sort of numb about it all; you have to. Then we end up becoming those people who are brick walls of silence because of how we’ve been treated, so I decided I’ll just keep saying hi to people, even if I might be a hello back once every 2-3 groups. I don’t want to become one of those people!

Alyn
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Alyn

An LFG tool would turn off some of the die hard or hard-core, I think. However, long term what will the community look like after the newness has worn off and the first mass migration away from game happens. These are part of most mmo’s today. What happens to new players say a year or two out? How do they catch up to the more established players? Will there be a system in place to help new players traverse an in-game universe generally not too solo-friendly?

We shall see.

April-Rain
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Kickstarter Donor
April-Rain

I was excited for Pantheon in the beginning but in reality I don’t have time anymore for the group style of play, my 20’s are long behind me and I guess so is the old school mmo days of playing 60hrs a week.

with closer to 10hr a week of gaming time I am limited to hop on, have some fun or do what I need to do and get off which is no good for old school/group social aspect, its just taken me 6 weeks to unlock flying in legion due to my limited time.

The focus on group content has me worried for the title as we have all grown up and have family’s etc who really has time to put in and are the younger generation of mmo gamers really interested in that old school group content style of play?

kjempff
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kjempff

Yes I believe there are mmo players who are interested in group content style of play, they are niche but I think enough to support Pantheon.. however, it require that it is a modernized game with quality of life improvements (mechanics) over eq – Old school spirit but modern mechanics.

Neither old players or new generation players have the time (or patience) to dedicate to unproductive hours that eq had. Whole evenings wasted travelling or waiting for key classes to get to a location, only to have another key class leaving.. or standing in a town with /lfg on unable to do something meanwhile – Try those kind of mechanics in 2017 is the recipe for fail.

This is one of the things I don’t see them talking about or having a solution to, and I am afraid they do not realize just how important it is to have mechanics to prevent waste time. The thing is the old school purists (who have too much say) will really have a tough time accepting that slow travel is something that has to go – It is either that or a game that will die or struggle in infancy forever.
We NEED some kind of mechanics to easily and swiftly summon or port a party member to a location, and by swift I mean travel times should not exceed 10 mins. However much you like your waiting for the ferry because it is more immersive or getting a gate from another player, it has to go sorry. Spending an hour for travel (which could easily happen in eq) could be half of a players session time.
There are hardcore players also in 2017 (possibly also enough to finance a hardcore mmo) who could dedicate their time for slow travel, but two problems with that .. first it will require a huge game with a lot of content to keep those and so far Pantheon with all respect is a small mmo project .. second the competitors are many in 2017 and players may just find something more interesting.

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Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

I see you even have to pay a monthly fee to post on their forum. If Bree ever wants to reduce drastically the number of comments here she could impose a similar arrangement :)!

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Melissa McDonald

I’d care a lot more about this game if it didn’t have a $1000 entry fee.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I concur. I was interested to see how it shakes up, but I don’t know if I can support developers who think that’s in any way reasonable or okay to be charging for something that isn’t even halfway baked yet.

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FreecczLaw

Of course it is okay and reasonable. If you are so excited you can’t wait and think it is worth it you pay, if not you wait until the game is finished and pay the standard price for a game. I find it so interesting that people think they are entitled to testing games before they are released.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I don’t think anyone is entitled play a game before hand, I just think the $1000 price tag is egregious and overall greedy. You should pay your quality assurance testers not the other way around.

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FreecczLaw

The price is first of all not only for pre-alpha, you get a lot of things, but regardless of that it is just a tier of the kickstarter which is what has financed the game. Like I said above I would think most people paying that money do it because they want to support the game, not because they get to test the game early. Even if it is because of alpha that is their own choice, this isn’t some necessary medicine people need to live.

Further, iirc earlier there were lower tier pledges that got pre-alpha, but they were taken away (I could be wrong on this one, but I think that is how it was). Most likely because it is pre-alpha and they don’t want an endless amount of testers and this is a way to limit the amount.

This isn’t a large company with endless resources either. This is a crowdfunded game which initially actually failed to get enough money, they should definitely make money where they can. Your idea of “you should pay your quality assurance testers not the other way around” is just not the real world when it comes to a lot of the gaming market. The market is changing. Thankfully, because it helps let projects like this one actually happen and it doesn’t hurt anyone since if you dislike it just wait until release.

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Kickstarter Donor
thalendor

Further, iirc earlier there were lower tier pledges that got pre-alpha, but they were taken away (I could be wrong on this one, but I think that is how it was).

You are correct. I don’t recall what the price for pre-alpha was but, for example, the minimum pledge for alpha is now $250 while it was previously $100.

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Bryan Gregory

Why on earth would a company waste money paying testers, when there are thousands of people out there not only willing to do it for free, but to actually PAY THE COMPANY to do so? It’s been this way for a long time, don’t expect it to change. These pre-release fees are for people who really really really care about the game, not for people who are just looking for their next MMO fix.

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FreecczLaw

But, it doesn’t. When the game is released properly it will cost the same as any other game and have a sub fee. The entry fee for the pre-alpha of the game is 1k yes, as it is part of the kickstarter pack. This is just speculation but most people that bought the 1k pack probably didn’t do it to get pre-alpha acess to try a broken game. They more likely did it just to support the game to help it get made, the pre-alpha is just a bonus if they also want to help by testing early in development.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Easy solution: stop caring about games until they’re actually released and you can see real gameplay videos, reviews, possibly demo them yourselves, etc. :)

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Golden Social

If you’re not a fan of their ongoing crowdfunding thing that’s fine, but this is really misrepresenting what’s going on here. $1,000 is one of the higher ones out of a ton of different contribution levels and gets you a ton of insane stuff like Pre-Alpha access if you’re into that sort of thing. I think you’re probably free to just, you know, treat it like a normal game if you don’t want to pay a bunch of money.