Author Topic: Brainstorming How To Introduce EP and Missions to new (or existing) players.  (Read 14613 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris McElligott Park, Arcen Founder and Lead Dev
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Yeah, I think that would be worth doing, for sure.  Maybe it could be based on dungeon depth of the dungeon they are in.  So going down multiple cave systems could give you much higher-tier missions earlier.
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Offline Teyar

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Since I picked up this game, theres been something off, and it took a day or so away from it to clarify. I went noodling around in the forum here to see if you guys are already aware, but amazingly, no one's managed to flat out say it. I've got to ramble a bit to put some context up, so bear with me....

Video gaming, at its most basic, is an action/reward system. Jump this flag, get a firework, punch this monster, get a princess. But as games have progressed, we've gotten a bit more refined. The act of playing the game itself has grown to be conceptualized as its own reward - for instance, take Devil May Cry, where the 'fun' comes from the combat system's visceral brutality and complexity. Your reward is having survived, not having gotten the princess. Who actually remembers what was behind that last door? Now who remembers how long it took you to kill that one boss?

Another type of motivation to reward that we've developed is the urge to explore, a concept I seriously doubt I need to expound upon too terribly much in this particular subject. I spent an hour or so seeing just how far down I could take a particular cave system, for instance, just because I wanted to know what was down there. (BTW, you guys are working on a sort of 'sky' level, right? :D )

Here's where it gets a bit more abstract, and where the crux of AVWW's problem is. Another of the major motivators is the growth of power. I can jump higher, hit harder, take more damage, my armor is shinier, my attacks are flashier, so on. This isnt a motivation that exists in a vaccuum, like the previous examples. It only shows up when you have more complex, elaborated experiences, and theres a reason it was unheard of in the early days of gaming - the hardware just couldn't handle it. Nowadays we just take it for granted that /everything/ has at least a sprinkling of RPG progression, but hey, theres a reason we label this near universal mechanic structure it with a specific subgenre - it used to be rare.

Anyways. What I'm getting at, is that the 'growth' motivation isnt inherent. It only starts to take shape a few hours into The Experience with these sorts of games - you only really feel it when you've been shown your character's current limits.  IE, not powerful enough to fight this guy, and that fact matters, because you HAVE to fight him. Given AVWW's loose structure, there's precious little impending crunch sensation, for instance, at no point is there any threat or /reason/ to advance, beyond the presumption that all us old hands already have the "I want growth" desire revved up and charged when we walk in the door. To be fair, a large number of 'us' do, but its still a weakness. There is a reason a lot of games have us fight the same boss a few times - by that last one, we give a shit about this individual, their strength, and our own in comparison, and we've /worked/ to surpass them. Doesnt matter if its the lovable but durable goofball or the cackling evil overlord - their presence being established and your drive towards them matters.

The bit that started me on this thought process is sort of the biggest and harshest problem, though. All the rest of that is esoteric, 'critic' layer arguments for narrative structure. More important is the moment to moment experience, the interface.

Did any of you guys notice that the game's interface emphasizes the tasks you perform, over their rewards? You look up a specific achievement, and see the unlockable after clicking it. It really, really, really ought to be the other way around - I should see a list of possible spells, or upgrades to the settlement, or niftier monster types to encounter or something, the /thing/ you want to get at should be dangled infront of the player at all times. That way you're motivated for that "one more turn" moment.

In essence, its a game that tells you all about the stuff there is to do - and forgets till long after the fact to remind you that theres a reason to. Prime example - item six in that list should be the first thing blared at people, not the afterthought they have to go searching for.

Hope that didn't come off too rough, I'm up way past my usual sleepcycle.


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