Pantheon devs discuss LFG tools, disposition, leveling up, and other design tenets

    
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Back in March, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s Visionary Realms studio announced its plan to begin releasing roundtable videos that were formerly for VIP backers only to the broader public, all in the interests of getting out more information on the game to the wider community. The second such public release is out now, and on it, VR’s Brad McQuaid, Ben Dean, and Ben Walters answer questions submitted by the community.

Notably, the devs address the faction system, the disposition system and alignment, the player economy (they have an economist working with the team!), class and hybrid philosophy, level-up design, 4k gaming, and automation. There’s also a lengthy section on group finders; the short version is that yes, the game will have one for onboarding purposes, but the developers consider it voluntary.

“If we’re gonna make a game that is group-centric – there’s still solo, there’s still raid stuff, but it’s primarily about groups – if we’re going to do that, then it’s our responsibility as developers to help you guys out and provide as much functionality and mechanics in there as we can. Yes, LFG is a kind of a given at this point.”

Don’t have time for listen to the whole roundtable? There’s a helpful transcript available on Reddit.

Source: YouTube, Reddit. Thanks, Nephele!

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Nephele
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Nephele

I’m big on crafting, so the discussion on items and the economy was really nice to hear. I also liked hearing about the synergy they want to have between crafting and adventuring, although they only covered that very briefly.

Another thing that was interesting to me personally were the concept of keeping a group going if they were deep in a dungeon and someone needed to leave. Given that Pantheon’s dungeons are going the EQ/Vanguard route and not using instances, that’s a pretty meaningful design direction with a lot of potential ramifications for the game.

Finally, I was happy to hear that even though are still some ways from launching, they’re starting to think seriously about how to handle post-launch content. Sometimes I think studios focus so much on their product launch that they don’t really have a post-launch strategy ready to kick off, and this leads to a big gap in terms of features and content being added in the first year after launch. The team at Visionary Realms has been pretty up front that they’re not going to be able to squeeze everything people want in for their launch (for example, Brad’s said a few times now that housing is probably a post-launch feature, because they want to do it right and not just slap something in). So, knowing that they have a plan to get stuff like housing, diplomacy, new races and classes, and other things added to the game after launch helps me to feel like the game has a future beyond its first 18 months. Though obviously, they need to pick up enough subscribers at launch to be able to keep going :)

I’m cautiously excited for Pantheon. It might be the first new MMO since Vanguard that I’ve been really this excited for.

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Ironwu

Well, that about wraps up P:RotF for me. LFG tools are 100% counter to establishing a friendly, helpful community. Time and time again, LFG tools have proven to foster aggressive, impatient and abusive players. Even FFXIV has pretty much devolved into the go-go-go dungeon running mentality. LFG tools turn other players into nothing more than NPCs that are there to blast through the dungeon.

So, no. I will not be purchasing P:RotF. Nor will I be subscribing to it if the client is free. Even if the whole thing is F2P, I would not waste my time getting involved with another LFG train-wreck MMO.

These are just my feelings, and if anyone loves games with LFG tools? Well, there are lots of them out there. So enjoy them; enjoy this one. For me, LFG tools are a show-stopper.

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Phone_Guy

Anyone who can sit and try to honestly dismiss any MMO as a “Train Wreck” for having a feature they disagree with is an audience that developers need to stay away from. Just reading the information released so far you should know that “Blasting Through Dungeons” isn’t an option in Pantheon style game. Dungeons are not a theme park ride that have a beginning or end. LFG tools can help strengthen communities by uniting players who may never meet under normal circumstances. Just because they ruined your time in FFXIV or WoW does not mean all LFG tools are bad. The work fine in EQ so drop the hyperbole.

Nephele
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Nephele

I think you’re conflating “LFG” with “Dungeon Finder” or “Group Finder”. The original EverQuest had an LFG tool (I want to say it was added in Velious) where players could flag themselves as /lfg and enter some text about what they were looking for. That is a far cry from FFXIV’s Dungeon Finder or WoW’s equivalent tool.

Regardless, player behavior is influenced far more by the way content is set up than by the tools players use to find and form groups. Since you mentioned FFXIV, note the difference in behavior between people running instances, and groups that form in Eureka. An instance has a clear beginning and end, and people are interested only in the rewards at the end most of the time. So the speedrun mentality takes hold. Eureka, on the other hand is an open-world experience where you keep going for as long as you want (or until your timer runs out), and so people behave differently there.

When Brad talks about LFG, he’s talking more about the original EQ version, not the WoW/FFXIV version. And Pantheon’s content will be far more like FFXIV’s Eureka than it will be like FFXIV’s Wanderer’s Palace (Hard Mode)

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thalendor

player behavior is influenced far more by the way content is set up than by the tools players use to find and form groups

I think this is a great point and one I agree with myself. Content in MMOs was changing a fair bit around the time group finding tools were seeing wider implementation and I think those tools get blame where perhaps they should not. Taking the example of WoW, easier dungeons came first and the implementation of the group finder as we largely still know it today came second. Wrath dungeons were far easier than Vanilla or TBC dungeons, AoE’ing things down and moving on to the next pack to do the same very quickly became the norm instead of taking a moment to figure out which targets to CC and so on (at least until you overgeared things). That meant less need to coordinate and fewer opportunities to communicate unless using voice coms (you’re probably not typing out anything significant during a fight). And that was before the group finder was introduced fairly late in Wrath.

Personally, I’m very much looking forward to the mix of ideas, both older and newer, Pantheon is trying. Here’s hoping it all works well together!

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Ironwu

We will see when the game launches exactly what form the LFG tools will take. For now, there is really know way of knowing for sure.

But for me, any LFG tool that trivializes the formation of groups is not my cup of tea.

I am happy for others to have them, if they so desire. However, I don’t like them and will not support a game that has them.

xpsync
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xpsync

I’m expecting some modern features tbh. SWG is great as it’s super deep, yet solo’able with the right boxing combo’s, heroics though, no matter what still brings peeps together. (tbh i’m not even close to heroics yet but the guild always asks and gets together for it, and never hear anyone solo’ing them.)

SWG i run around here telling everyone “oh man it’s deep”, going to be completely frank here, i honestly had no idea how deep the game really is, or how f’ing right i actually was, omg was i ever right.

I mainly solo, i jump into a group at times but i’m mostly soloing the learning train, and i already have mountains of stories i could tell, lets hope pantheon blends the two time frames well.

Anyway my point is an swg lfg is in game, i think, i actually dunno lol, only reason i might not think there is, is people are always in gen chat looking for group, but people in guild are always ask and go, i’m not understanding why an lfg is a dead game to you but, i think you’re being a little too strict on that policy.

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Bruno Brito

There’s a difference between the LFG tool, that TBC had, and the FINDER tool.

And the biggest problem with finder tools is that they’re crossrealm. Keep them serverlocked and server identity still exists.

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Ironwu

This idea sounds good on paper, but in reality it does not work. These days, most MMOs are using, or moving to, the concept of ‘mega-servers’. Or, at the very least, multiple servers hooked together. It is becoming increasingly hard to find MMOs that have the older tech of one server standing alone among a sea of other stand-alone servers.

The lure of being able to provide ‘instant gratification’ at the expense of spending time and forming social bonds with other people has proved to much of a temptation for companies and some of the player population. If these tools are present, they will eventually corrupt the player base.

packagegrope
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packagegrope

lol?