Arcen Games

General Category => A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 => Topic started by: Smiling Spectre on December 14, 2011, 02:31:05 PM

Title: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Smiling Spectre 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... :(
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 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.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: zebramatt 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!
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 on December 14, 2011, 03:39:09 PM
But you never know when you'll get to the dungeon of brooms!  I mean, snowsuits! ;)
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: tigersfan 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.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 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!
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Bluddy 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.

Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: TechSY730 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. :(
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 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.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 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).
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Hyfrydle on December 14, 2011, 04:13:21 PM
I really enjoyed finding the xp containers and wish they could stay in some form.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 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.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: keith.lamothe 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.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: TechSY730 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.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 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. ;)
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Dizzard on December 14, 2011, 06:01:49 PM
- 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.

Agree with this. Maybe continents could start out being covered in a fog of war (the unknown) and you "scout" it simply by moving around the main map. So you still get a sense of discovering areas but it's not a long drawn out process.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Hyfrydle on December 14, 2011, 06:02:37 PM
I've played quite a bit and I really don't like the new mana system I much preferred having control over my mana the regen is much too slow or maybe as suggested the mana costs are too high. Boss battles are so annoying as I'm constantly running out of mana and then the trash mobs cause me problems. Don't like been negative but for me it just isn't working.

Also I dislike the water espers there attack is just annoying as it fills the whole screen and mix this with light espers and it's a real nightmare.

I do like the mission idea and the continents but just feel I currently don't have the tools to progress and enjoy the game.

I've even knocked the difficulty down and still find it too frantic.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Hyfrydle on December 14, 2011, 06:06:59 PM
Quote
Agree with this. Maybe continents could start out being covered in a fog of war (the unknown) and you "scout" it simply by moving around the main map. So you still get a sense of discovering areas but it's not a long drawn out process.


Great idea then at least finding a mission would become more exciting. Also over time other strange areas could be implemented to discover when exploring.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 on December 14, 2011, 06:50:03 PM
In terms of mana shortages: that's just because the right balance hasn't been found yet, in the main.  Kind of the point of the whole power coding thing is "a lot's changing and balance is super preliminary, but we're not working on balance yet because a lot's changing." ;)
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 14, 2011, 08:51:17 PM
Agree with this. Maybe continents could start out being covered in a fog of war (the unknown) and you "scout" it simply by moving around the main map. So you still get a sense of discovering areas but it's not a long drawn out process.
There is a sort of bubble-popping fun to that, but honestly: is there any challenge in that, at all?  Why should the game make you manually move the cursor around to reveal the screen? 

You see, I've had enough discussions of about the trivial nature of the interaction required to optimize energy production in AI War, and while I don't feel a need to smooth over every such seam in an existing design (in the energy case, because every alternate approach I've thought through just causes another seam elsewhere) I certainly don't want to intentionally make a choice in a new design that will provoke that.

Granted, vortex pylons can theoretically make it impossible to access an area for a certain time, and hostile regions do something like that, but the amount of territory blocked off isn't generally a lot.

Anyway, we'll see.  I think the nature of the world map makes it so that the emphasis of exploration will be in-chunk, looking for things that the world map doesn't tell you about.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Bluddy on December 14, 2011, 09:17:27 PM
I totally agree that moving around to clear the fog of war is a waste of time. If it's brought back, it should be in the form of a game mechanic ie. limiting your ability to move somewhere until you've done something. The true purpose of fog of war (Civilization, RTSs etc) is to hide your enemies' moves, so I guess I also agree it's not really relevant to this game.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 14, 2011, 09:50:16 PM
I totally agree that moving around to clear the fog of war is a waste of time. If it's brought back, it should be in the form of a game mechanic ie. limiting your ability to move somewhere until you've done something.
Yea.  I really want a cost to world-map movement and/or other limitations... but it just won't work, at least not with anything remotely like what we're doing now:
1) Missions spawn in regions of the appropriate level, and world-gen places like-level regions in roughly the same area.  Either you can get to your like-level area, or you can't, and if you can't that's a big problem.
2) If there's very much cost/restriction to world-map-movement, exploration gets harder and pushed towards the margins of gameplay, not better emphasized.  Which very much defeats the purpose behind the requests for the world-map exploration if I'm understanding them correctly :)

Quote
The true purpose of fog of war (Civilization, RTSs etc) is to hide your enemies' moves, so I guess I also agree it's not really relevant to this game.
I think it has relevance in this genre if there's some cost to movement: that way you have different "tiers" of anticipation:
- There's what's right around me and I can do right now.
- There's stuff a little bit further up the mountain.
- There's stuff way up the mountain just below the clouds that I can see but it could be a while before I'm there.
- There's even more mountain above the clouds and I don't even know what's there but I'll be thinking about it.

But yea, not a lot of room for literal fog in this case.  In this case it's "I know there will be more continents, but I can't see them yet", which I think is good.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: superking on December 14, 2011, 10:11:45 PM
challenge and gameplay is one thing, but immersion is another. I am not going to feel like an explorer if everything is already visible  :P
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Hearteater on December 14, 2011, 10:27:48 PM
The only way I can see world-map movement costing something would be to limit the distance you can move from a settlement, somewhat similar to how fuel cells limited how far you could travel in Master of Orion 2.  So if I had 4 Food, I could move 4 spaces.  I'm not consuming the food, it just is an indicator of the area around my settlement I can travel to.  Some terrain types might have increased costs, and some, like desert, might require 2 Water in addition.  I'd imagine these wouldn't be something you carried with you even, but rather an upgrade you applied to your settlement so it would affect all players in MP, and each time you got a new settlement you'd need to upgrade it to increase the area around it you can explore.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Smiling Spectre on December 14, 2011, 11:43:57 PM
Thank you, x4000 and keith.lamothe for removing some of my concerns!

I think, it's still not enough incentive to search chunks, but I hope, it will be expanding in the future...

Speaking of that, I like this "Exploration range" of Hearteater. I used to have "camps" that extend exploration range - planets/colonies in space games, cities in Civ-games. It would also give more purpose to second-third-etc settlements. :) (But yes, basically, it would be the same as it was before power coding, only with "range" restriction instead "civ level" restriction. :)

Another idea that come in my mind just when I read this thread is "scanning" possibility. Just as in all this space games, you can see everything from the start - all vast space or (in out case) all vast island. Catch is - you don't know what is exactly inside. Yes, it's the same now - you cannot predict stashes, minerals, etc from looking on chunk - but I want something more global! There was one such "global search" mission - stranded NPCs - but it's gone now. But if chunks would have more such sort of "auto-trigger" missions, it would be much better! Plans for lost technology, NPCs, abandoned outposts, lost mines... such sort of things. Something-global-map-changing-that-was-not-visible-before.

Yes, words of x4000 sounds like that, but I think there is no harm to repeat it. :)

P.S. It would be interesting to found some... little incentives for settlement workers here too. Pneumatic hammer for mining, working coffee machine for more energy, 20-carat diamond chain for morale... such sort of things. :)
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: Dizzard on December 15, 2011, 02:11:49 AM
Agree with this. Maybe continents could start out being covered in a fog of war (the unknown) and you "scout" it simply by moving around the main map. So you still get a sense of discovering areas but it's not a long drawn out process.
There is a sort of bubble-popping fun to that, but honestly: is there any challenge in that, at all?  Why should the game make you manually move the cursor around to reveal the screen? 

Not everything HAS to be a challenge, besides thanks to pylons you won't be able to scout the entire continent in one sitting.

Why shouldn't the game make me do it? I'll be moving around the continent anyway won't I? (If I want to get anywhere)

When the whole map is automatically scouted, it feels like we were here before.....or we just instantly knew our surroundings. I really liked earlier in the game where you had to move around to uncover the black regions....ok maybe it wasn't difficult but it gave you a sense of place. That you were in a world that you didn't recognise and were uncovering it bit by bit.

challenge and gameplay is one thing, but immersion is another. I am not going to feel like an explorer if everything is already visible  :P

This sums it up perfectly. I don't want to come to a new place knowing where everything is. It feels a little like the game is doing the exploring for me.

Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: superking on December 15, 2011, 04:03:17 AM
slightly off topic Trivia: my perfect games of 'this kind of' genre are

1) Morrowind
2) Diabolo II
3) I Wanna be the Guy

Morrowind works because it makes the player work hard for everything; the map starts blank, and you have to run anywhere to get it coloured in. Technically, no skill required, but it makes discovering new places exciting every time.

Diabolo II works because it empowers players while pretending not to. You feel isolated out in the wilds, a million miles from town, help, anyone, hedged in by monsters.. but its all an illusion because one town portal and you are back home, where you can fully heal, sell gear, go get some food - then step back through the portal and it seals behind you, and the illusion of isolation returns.

I Wanna be the Guy works because the world hates you, and every nanometer of progress you make feels like you have put your shoulder behind a big roman shield and bashed the guy who developed the game backward a few steps toward a distant pit of spikes.. complete enough of the game and you can dream of pushing him in.

ontopic, AVWW didn't previously work because it felt infinite, with no real resistance against progress except my commitment of tme. I didn't have to work hard at all to receive many of the conviences, and once I had powerful spells I didn't think about them again in the span of that sitting. I didn't feel like pushing foward was sticking it to someone, or likely to find some interesting piece of buried temple with bling inside, and I didn't feel like an intrepid warrior helping the town by slaying all the nearby monsters, because they instantly respawned.

^ probably an unrelated rant altogether  :)
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: zebramatt on December 15, 2011, 04:47:43 AM
I'm with Dizzard, as it happens: although the consensus seems to be that it was just busywork, there was a definite unwrapping-your-presents feeling from the border patrols back in the day.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: tigersfan on December 15, 2011, 07:35:40 AM
slightly off topic Trivia: my perfect games of 'this kind of' genre are

3) I Wanna be the Guy

I Wanna be the Guy works because the world hates you, and every nanometer of progress you make feels like you have put your shoulder behind a big roman shield and bashed the guy who developed the game backward a few steps toward a distant pit of spikes.. complete enough of the game and you can dream of pushing him in.

I don't mind a challenge, challenging is good, IWBTG is too much. I don't want to literally fight for every inch of progress.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 on December 15, 2011, 09:17:35 AM
I would posit that the very act of having continents in the first place works much like the players are asking for.  They:

1. Prevent your forward progress.
2. Prevent you from seeing anything on other continents (that haven't been genned until you complete this continetn).
3. Are a small surface area for you to walk around on on the world map, with a ton of amount of smaller areas for you to explore into.

The fog of war I really can't see coming back.  There's just no way, it doesn't fit in any fun sort of way.  Lots of games take this sort of approach, such as every Zelda game, every Final Fantasy game, and so on.  I remember how fun it was to explore the Zelda II overworld, or the overworld in Final Fantasy I, both of which work the same way that ours does now.  It was fun not because I had to walk through a fog, but because there were obstacles preventing me from getting out into the larger world at any given time (aka, continents here), and because there were lots of secrets hidden all over the place if you wandered around the already-visible overworld enough.

Keith and I have been talking about doing things like having secret missions that you can find and complete inside regions, which would let some of the freeform exploration tie in to the central mission system while at the same time rewarding pure exploration with some really exciting side stuff and attendant rewards.

TLDR: I think that people are worried about the wrong thing.  I understand where folks are coming from, but on this issue at the moment I'd really just ask you to trust us for a little while.  We've got a lot of very clear and definite plans on this sort of system, but it's going to take a while for us to get enough content into the missions and so on for it to really have the feel we're aiming for.  I think folks will be pleased by the end, but this stuff doesn't happen overnight -- and just going back to older game mechanics that were a pale shadow of what we're now trying to do is kind of missing the point.  I think you'll be really happy exploration-wise where this ends up, but for now please just try to enjoy the ride despite the fact that freeform exploration is definitely taking a hit in the shorter-term. All good things to those who wait. :)
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 15, 2011, 10:10:19 AM
The only way I can see world-map movement costing something would be to limit the distance you can move from a settlement, somewhat similar to how fuel cells limited how far you could travel in Master of Orion 2.  So if I had 4 Food, I could move 4 spaces.  I'm not consuming the food, it just is an indicator of the area around my settlement I can travel to.  Some terrain types might have increased costs, and some, like desert, might require 2 Water in addition.  I'd imagine these wouldn't be something you carried with you even, but rather an upgrade you applied to your settlement so it would affect all players in MP, and each time you got a new settlement you'd need to upgrade it to increase the area around it you can explore.
Personally I would like something like that but it's totally at odds with the way the world is generated right now.  One of two things would be true at any given point:

1) Your "fuel range" lets you get to the part of the continent that's within your level range (+/- 2), and thus it's basically irrelevant to the gameplay (which is tolerable if it's aesthetically pleasing, but I've also found confusion among players when stuff doesn't tightly integrate with the gameplay).

Or:

2) Your "fuel range" stops short of the regions that are actually in your level range, and you can't really get anything done.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: keith.lamothe on December 15, 2011, 10:21:08 AM
From another angle: think about the difference in "how hard is this" when moving from place to place.  In Morrowind/Diablo-2/etc there can be some pretty significant differences there, but generally it was pretty gradual and it took a fairly long time of just walking to get from "the area I should be able to do well in" to "the area where I will be unconditionally stomped".  So if some factor makes it so that "you can go this far, no farther, until you get X", it's not a game-breaker. In AVWW you can easily have two regions adjacent to each other with a 5 level difference (or more).  That's something like a 500% (or 1600%, I forget) harder region.  Something that causes you to have access to one of those regions and not the others is rather a big difference.

Anyway, I'm not trying to hammer this into the ground or whatever: I want y'all to understand why it is the current design doesn't really support such mechanisms.  Certainly bigger things have changed about the game but it would take some pretty big changes to make it possible and it's not at all clear that such changes would be a net-gain for the game, and in any event we need to get the things _currently_ undergoing massive overhaul to a relatively stable state so you can re-evaluate the game before serious consideration of further overhauls would be based on any kind of wisdom.

So keep thinking :)
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: TechSY730 on December 15, 2011, 10:52:08 AM
Speaking of "smoothness" of difficulty, isn't one level above being twice a difficult a bit too steep? This could easily lead to circumstances where playing on your own level is too easy, but one level above is too hard. Sure, fiddling with the difficulty level could help ease this, but I wouldn't want to change from normal to easy difficulty every-time I wanted to be a little more adventurous but still live. How about something more gradual like 1.5x as difficult and continue on from there?
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 on December 15, 2011, 10:55:03 AM
Speaking of "smoothness" of difficulty, isn't one level above being twice a difficult a bit too steep? This could easily lead to circumstances where playing on your own level is too easy, but one level above is too hard. Sure, fiddling with the difficulty level could help ease this, but I wouldn't want to change from normal to easy difficulty every-time I wanted to be a little more adventurous but still live. How about something more gradual like 1.5x as difficult and continue on from there?

It has to do with how we're planning to balance the missions.  I'm not really willing to discuss it until people can see it in practice (after which I'll be all ears for feedback).
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: TechSY730 on December 15, 2011, 10:57:11 AM
Speaking of "smoothness" of difficulty, isn't one level above being twice a difficult a bit too steep? This could easily lead to circumstances where playing on your own level is too easy, but one level above is too hard. Sure, fiddling with the difficulty level could help ease this, but I wouldn't want to change from normal to easy difficulty every-time I wanted to be a little more adventurous but still live. How about something more gradual like 1.5x as difficult and continue on from there?

It has to do with how we're planning to balance the missions.  I'm not really willing to discuss it until people can see it in practice (after which I'll be all ears for feedback).

OK. I'll wait until some of the other stuff gets implemented. If it still feels to steep after that, I'll mention this again.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 on December 15, 2011, 10:58:16 AM
Absolutely.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: zebramatt on December 15, 2011, 11:06:17 AM
Speaking of "smoothness" of difficulty, isn't one level above being twice a difficult a bit too steep? This could easily lead to circumstances where playing on your own level is too easy, but one level above is too hard. Sure, fiddling with the difficulty level could help ease this, but I wouldn't want to change from normal to easy difficulty every-time I wanted to be a little more adventurous but still live. How about something more gradual like 1.5x as difficult and continue on from there?

The difficulty is (totally understandably) rather out of whack at the moment, anyway. I'd say same-level regions are feeling twice or two-and-a-half times as difficult (to pull a number out of the air) as they might feel once all the elements have started to balance a little better - so one level up right now is four or five times as difficult as it might otherwise be, rather than 2x.
Title: Re: 0.550 and up: concerns about future of AVWW
Post by: x4000 on December 15, 2011, 11:08:20 AM
That's also definitely true.