Author Topic: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW  (Read 5705 times)

Offline Smiling Spectre

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0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« on: December 14, 2011, 02:31:05 PM »
Well, maybe I am too dubious, but I began to lose vision of the project.

Half of my pleasure from AVWW was from exploring. I love to explore, in all senses. I love to see new places, love to discover new recipes, love to uncover some secrets and acquire new things... that' because I love Terraria, and that's was I seen in AVWW before this major changes.

But now it is different, and keep to deviate more and more. And I don't understand now, how it will be kept together. As exploring and terrain - some of most important aspects of AVWW for me before - now mostly stripped. Or is it only seems so for me? Let me see it for you (and I am speaking not about 0.550, but rather of announced changes in 0.550 patch notes):

1. Global map.

Well, obviously, no exploring here anymore. You are always see everything right from the start - and new "continent" will not much help with it, as it will be the same fully visible island.

Oh, but map is not only for tile exploring! On map I can build wind shelters, plan to acquire resources, open new ways or rescue NPCs... Or rather I could. Before changes.

Shelters will go to missions. Resources will go to missions. Oh, NPC rescuing and vortices go to missions too! What will remain? Wood and stone only? And it are obviously can be mined only two tiles around settlement. Oh, well, it seems like whole overland map lose any meaningful purpose.

But wait, you always can go in any chunk that you want and do here... something! Well, let's see, what remained at chunks.

2. Chunk map. It connects local maps together and also have some resources. Also there is mini-bosses and trash monsters here!

Well, resources are mostly not needed, as you need only one type of each for every spell - and that's all of it. Missions, I am sure, will fulfill all your needs of it.

Bosses, just as spawning monsters, now are simply obstacles. It will not give you anything that you couldn't get everywhere. It even haven't EXP.

So on chunk level map now only for "connection" purpose.

3. Cave maps. It had bosses, resources and lost NPCs!

Well, resources are the same as with chunk maps. Not needed.

Bosses are the same as in chunk. Not needed.

NPCs will gone, as it is mission objective.

Oh, well, why we need the caves now?

4. Surface - buildings maps. It had EXP containers, bosses, some resources, scrolls, healing potions and mana potions. Before changes.

Resources and bosses are viewed already. EXP containers will gone. Scrolls are gone already. Healing and mana potions gone too.

Well, what remained? Several items that cannot be aquired otherwise (as snow suit), health pods and some teleport potions. Well... looks not worth farming for me.

So, as it seems now for me, everything on map - and map itself - haven't any purpose. It's only... decorations. Well, rich decorations, definitely, but without any need of it. Essentially game now looks like settlement management plus several mission selection plus some redundant details. Well, put stone/wood production in mission type too, set crafting results and health stones as auto-reward for any type of mission, and you will not need any sort of map at all. Settlement with 7-point menu where each choice will send you to appropriate mission directly will be enough for everything.

Please, say to me that I am horribly mistaken, and didn't notice something really important? Or that I am too grim and underestimate power of health stone grinding? Or something like that? Pretty please? Because now it's look too grim... :(

Offline x4000

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2011, 02:46:01 PM »
Cheers, don't worry, we're not getting rid of the exploration aspect.  However, a lot of it is becoming a lot more directed, as in most sandboxy games.  With games like Red Faction: Guerilla or Grand Theft Auto, etc, you have a central set of story missions that you can complete and ignore a lot of the side stuff in the world, if you want.  The missions here aren't story-centric, but they fulfill a lot of the same role (plus adding a lot of strategic options in the style of a boardgame).

That said, the exploration aspect isn't going anywhere.  Right now there's not much of the prior pieces of the game to explore for, that's true, but that's mostly because they were not very interesting to explore for in the first place.  You'll still need to explore for the stones, and for the wood platforms, and for things of that nature, as you pointed out.  But here's the kicker: we took away outfitter and crestsmith crafting specifically because we had the same general sort of concerns as you -- everything was getting too centrally mission-focused and there weren't any good things to go explore for.

And that's where the outfitter stuff and the crests and so forth come in.  Some of the crests you might find via missions, I dunno, but all the outfitter type stuff you'll find out in the wild.  Sure, snowsuits aren't that exciting because you only need to get a few of them.  But we plan lots of special traps and other objects that you can't get any other way except for exploring outside the mission structure.  I would say that, by 1.0, there will be much more tangible rewards for exploring outside the mission structure than there were prior to 0.550 and back.  Having a strong central gameplay line of play doesn't subtract anything from the ability to go out to the side and explore, and in some ways can enhance it.
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Offline zebramatt

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 03:37:12 PM »
A few snowsuits? You only need one!

I might be in favour of having your snowsuit degrade with damage (perhaps more with fire, much less with snow, etc.) but at a rate which was maybe a tenth or twentieth (or a hundredth) of the rate you take damage.

Then maybe allow allied/neutral Ilari to fix up your suits same as health; but if you don't bother to go visit them (or you're on a particularly grueling mission) it'll eventually break and you either need to have another one clogging up your inventory - or you have to go out and find another.

But of course, all that mightn't hold up particularly to the number of snowsuits one might naturally find (and horde) nor to the frequency with which you encounter Ilari, or whatever.

Still, at the moment the snowsuit is a bit of an enigma to me. You need one... to go into snow. You find them... in snow. You only ever need... one. You can pick up... as many as you like. Weird!

Offline x4000

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 03:39:09 PM »
But you never know when you'll get to the dungeon of brooms!  I mean, snowsuits! ;)
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Offline tigersfan

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2011, 03:51:44 PM »
Also, in multiplayer, you can pick them up for others.

Also, how about having the snow/heat suits being destroyed upon death? That way you have to keep a few around in case you die.

Offline x4000

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 03:53:17 PM »
Also, how about having the snow/heat suits being destroyed upon death? That way you have to keep a few around in case you die.

I think that's a great one for mantis.  If you're wearing a suit when you die, that suit gets destroyed.  I think that would make a lot of sense!
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Offline Bluddy

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 03:59:47 PM »
I would disagree with the OP and say that IMO the game has gotten far more enjoyable in just about every aspect, though I can somewhat hear where the OP is coming from on the exploration thing. There is something neat about finding stuff on your own rather than being told there's a 'mission' to do this.

After the power-coding phase, perhaps some of these ideas could be considered:

- Perhaps missions could be more implicit. You could have 1/2 missions be explicit to give direction to clueless gamers, but other missions would be 'hidden' in the sense that you'd have to explore areas to find them. Towers are an obvious way to find missions, but perhaps finding a different looking walnut tree could serve as the trigger to a walnut mission (for example).

- Continents don't have to be small, and they don't have to be pre-explored, though exploration seems like a bit of a problem vis a vis multiplayer. Maybe continents could be random sizes and shapes (I mean more random than currently)? Sort of like a Civ game, where you could start up either on a huge continent or an island.

- I liked the feeling of exploration and unknown that was present before the power coding, but I didn't like the way exploration was done. Exploration of continents could perhaps be done in several ways: by going through each area to the end (the slow, inefficient and methodical way), by discovering rare maps in caves/houses, or by heading towards a tower and going all the way to the top to get a view of the surroundings (similar to HOMM 2). 

- Though there are missions to rescue NPCs, you could also have a random chance of finding a stranded NPC somewhere. Agreeing to rescue him means that you then undertake a de-facto mission of constructing wooden platforms for him to get out (really gives platforms a good use) all while avoiding and protecting him from highly increased enemy activity. This would be analogous to the side activities you can find in GTA like driving passengers in a taxi or hunting down criminals in a police car.

- GTA also rewards you for exploring by having things like collectibles in hard to reach places. I know this is much harder in a random, infinite game, but it may be worth looking into. Specifically, there could be some pre-designed chunks that generate in random places whose sole purpose would be to challenge you to reach the collectible. These could be contributed by users just like boss rooms.

- GTA has random races and other challenges, which might also be cool in AVWW.

- I imagine lots of random content that will be gradually inserted in the game is going to expand the exploration aspects. Random NPCs that give you a new spell or tell you a crazy story; other NPCs that suddenly need some quest done; finding odd bits and ends about the story of the world etc. Hopefully mods could open this up to user content as well, and the good stuff could be incorporated into the game.


Offline TechSY730

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 04:02:09 PM »
So, this is mostly due to old rewards getting refactored somewhat, and new ones have not been created to take their place yet. Frustrating, yes, but expected in a pre-release beta/alpha.  ;)

Wait, bosses don't give EXP anymore? I sort of liked having several ways of gaining levels. Is the plan to have only mission related stuff touch EXP? That doesn't sound very good to me. :(

Offline x4000

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 04:10:31 PM »
The reason for a lot of the missions type of stuff is that it makes for an inherent turn-based strategic approach to what you're choosing to do in order to advance the state of your civilization.  Thinking here of boardgames like Settlers of Catan or Dominion or similar, for instance: where you can only do so many things per turn, and you can't even always choose from every thing every turn, so you have to kind of go with the flow and weigh lots of pros and cons as you progress toward your goals.  For that reason, missions can't ever be explicit, and most things need to be wrapped up in the missions wrapper to keep that overall strategic flow to how you're advancing a specific continent.

In terms of having lots of freedom to explore, and finding side things in hard to reach places, that's definitely still a goal either way.  We have a lot of good reasons for doing the continents the way that we do, but players have also talked about having hidden islands on the map, etc, which could be an interesting thing later on.  But as far as the specific exploration of each region goes, you're actually getting a lot less info on those (missions aside) now, such as not getting the surfaces of each region pre-explored for you in every case.  There's a lot of interesting things we can do exploration-wise inside regions, because the missions stuff doesn't overlap that at all (taking place in areas that are specific to the mission only).

Which means, really, we should be able to have it both ways.  But the thing is, a lot of the "randomly exploring around" aspects of the game needed to be tightened up, and we haven't had time to replace those yet.  I feel like the central missions are a lot more compelling as a concept for most people, although I will say this: I'm one of those people who does absolutely every side quest, and wanders around an immense amount, before finally grudgingly completing the next story mission in most sandbox games.  The idea that there wouldn't be a strong side-exploration component is very counter to my nature, really -- Smiling Spectre, I don't think you have anything to worry about.  The current state of the game reflects an incomplete slice of even just our as-of-1.0 version of the game, and right now the focus is more on missions because that's the central hook that will let players progress.  That doesn't mean that's all there will be, though.
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Offline x4000

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 04:12:30 PM »
Wait, bosses don't give EXP anymore? I sort of liked having several ways of gaining levels. Is the plan to have only mission related stuff touch EXP? That doesn't sound very good to me. :(

They still do at the moment, but overlords/lieutenants aside they will not once more missions are in place.  Thing of missions as being like the story missions in various other games, except in a strategic sense rather than a story sense.  The only way to progress in Red Faction is to do the next story mission, but you aren't beholden to do that anytime soon if you want to explore side missions instead.  But you can't just grind side missions to get to the end of the game or whatever.

That's more or less what we're doing here, and I've outlined the reasons why in that thread about removing EXP.  If bosses are both challenge and reward wrapped into one, there's all sorts of problems that come from that (as evidenced in the current and prior implementations of AVWW).
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Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 04:13:21 PM »
I really enjoyed finding the xp containers and wish they could stay in some form.

Offline x4000

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 04:14:35 PM »
I really enjoyed finding the xp containers and wish they could stay in some form.

I think we'll have something comparable, but it won't be related to EXP.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2011, 04:17:46 PM »
The iterative design process inevitably leaves tons of stuff behind.  If AI War's alpha had been public there would have probably been a bunch of people disappointed that it was no longer going to be a turn-based pvp game when that went away :)   AVWW hasn't had that radical a shift since we actually started coding it, but there have been several points of a ton of change, and those shifts are made to make a better game.  If you're in the middle of one of those and feel disheartened that's entirely natural; I've had some down moments during those times too as lots of stuff I was looking forward to went away (and sometimes came back later, and sometimes went away again)... but the game has always come out stronger as a result.

That said, we definitely want feedback.  Indeed, at this stage in the project it's generally the player feedback that drives the really big shifts, like the one currently going on.  We won't really be able/willing to entertain the idea of totally changing stuff we're working on now until it's actually in whole form and players have experience with playing it instead of just reading about it, but once that stage is reached player feedback certainly can help reshape even recent changes.  We just have to see a trend for long enough to tell the difference between "something is actually wrong" and "they'll get over it" ;)

Many thanks to everyone for helping us continually refine :)

But as Chris has said: exploration is definitely not going away.  It's just that the whole game is changing right now and exploration stuff is not our focus during the change.
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Offline TechSY730

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2011, 04:18:55 PM »
Wait, bosses don't give EXP anymore? I sort of liked having several ways of gaining levels. Is the plan to have only mission related stuff touch EXP? That doesn't sound very good to me. :(

They still do at the moment, but overlords/lieutenants aside they will not once more missions are in place.

So overlords and lieutenants will still give EXP? That's fine. They are rare enough to not devalue EXP.

I am getting the sense that there is a push to make civ levels more significant then they were earlier. One important part to do this is to stop handing out EXP like candy. :P

But I am glad there still will be more than one source of EXP, even if it is planned to become a valuable commodity.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 04:21:55 PM by techsy730 »

Offline x4000

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Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2011, 04:21:13 PM »
Yep, right now people are really plowing through the levels, but we aim to make each one take about five times longer and be vastly more interesting.  The reasoning?  If you're just flying through the terrain and not ever having to really stop and figure things out at the level you're at, then there's a very superficial connection to the world.  And the world gets freaking massive without your ever having visited most of it, too. ;)
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