General Category > AVWW Brainstorming

Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.

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Martyn van Buren:
Cool!  I think it could do a lot --- I was just thinking of trying to climb a tall cliff with a skelebot sniper at the top, or the fairly classic platforming situation of a melee enemy patrolling a small platform.  Skelebot dwarves could be quite nasty if you have to get at them from below.

Long post, there is a TLDR/conclusion at the bottom.

I'll start off with a few of my opinions so you have perspective on where I'm coming from:

RPGs like Xenosaga/FFXIII: Annoyed by the fact that the fields are set up to encourage sneaky fight avoidance, yet the level up system is set up to encourage fighting them. I ignore the stealth and enemy avoidance options and fight for maximum EXP. Some lost potential in the game design, but still fun.

Stealth games like the classic Metal Gear Solid: Love the fact that encounters are so difficult and punishing so as to reward stealth. The reward and satisfaction for killing an enemy comes in the form of easier navigation of the map, not exp or items. The satisfaction is equally great when you can navigate an area without killing.

Isometric perspective action games/RPGs like Diablo: Love, love, LOVE grinding and the sense of progress you get by getting small amounts of exp and gold for each kill. I generally explore every map to its fullest and kill everything I find. Even more rewarding to find rare drops.

So I guess you can say I am capable of enjoying any game the way it was meant to be enjoyed. These days though, the isometric style action rpg leveling system seems to be finding its way into more and more types of games. Thats a good and bad thing, depending on your perspective.

To me, at the very start, AVWW feels like the kind of game that should have a leveling and grinding system, and it will be confusing to new players why one does not exist. As you get deeper into the game though, the player can realize why the game doesnt have one, and doesnt need one. That being said, if the primary goal is to hook new players, the game should have some form of reward (no matter how trivial) for killing random monsters, for the sole purpose of establishing a sense of progression with every action you take in the game. If the goal is to keep the spirit of the game intact, that system should also not encourage endless grinding by providing endless incentive to do so.

For the purpose of maintaining the design of the game and making it fun for long term players, I think the solution lies somewhere along the
lines of making it more desirable to avoid random enemies, to the point of giving you a sense of accomplishment from avoiding them and "getting on with the game" rather than having a trivial reward for wasting time fighting them (you could easily explore the map faster yourself than by grinding enemies to have a scroll to do it for you).

So, I propose a best of both worlds solution: a rubber band system. There are several ways it could work, and therein lies the true beauty of it. For the sake of keeping the spirit of the game intact, the system should probably affect only the player's interactions with the random enemies, and not with bosses. To me, a good rubber band system is one where you are incentivized for keeping the slider in the middle.

One example would be, at the left side of the slider, the player has moderately reduced stats (this could be explained by the glyph not being fully attuned to its owner yet). Not an ideal situation. As the player kills monsters and moves towards the center of the slider, he gains his stats back, until they are at normal levels. If the player continues to kill lots of random monsters, the slider moves past center to the right, and something bad happens, like monsters getting stronger, or the player's stats going back down. If the player is on the right side of the slider, it will slowly "rubber band" back to the center as they explore new areas and successfully avoid killing too many monsters (other things could cause the rubber band effect too, not just exploration). It's debatable as to whether or not the slider should ever move back towards the left past center except on death.

Another example would be giving the player an ambient light charge for being in the center of the slider.
Another would be making the monsters drop more health orbs at the center of the slider.
Another would be giving a minor consciousness shard or upgrade stone income for being at the center of the slider.
If you wanted to go crazy with it, you could even allow the player to "equip" themselves with different sliders, or even unequip them entirely if they dont want to bother with it.

The point is, it would be best if the player were rewarded for killing monsters to a point, and then incentivized to avoid them, or penalized for killing too many, until they "rubber band" back to the middle of the slider. I think it would actually be kind of cool to feel "crap, I have to kill this enemy" in a few cases because of your slider position. In any case, an important component of this is that people see some kind of element of progression as soon as they start killing monsters, and wind up realizing the true depth of the game before seeing that the it is indeed not an action rpg at its core.

I'm not overly keen on the cave story idea. I think I'd rather see something more interesting. (maybe the currency....) I mean don't we already have enchants covering the concept of power ups?

Hey I heard you like power ups, so I put some power ups on your power ups.

I don't like the idea of every time you need to incentivise something, just give power ups....there's only so many power ups you can give out before it starts getting ridiculous.

As for my actual dealings with mobs right now, I actually feel the opposite to what was pointed out in this thread. Moreso than ever I feel like I'm spending more time fighting mobs than I did before. A fair deal of it is probably because it's not as easy to run fast across nodes as it used to be. I think if I fought mobs anymore than I did already I'd be moving very slow.

Edit: I guess you could always some sort of collectibles that drop from minor mobs (like trading cards or fancy artwork to display in your settlement on a tall banner or something) Or maybe the minor mobs could drop a special currency/material that can be used to restore cultural art and artefacts from past time periods. (so you find these broken/worn artefacts in old ruins/buildings and then use the currency/material to work on restoring them) People like customization and collectibles, so maybe if you give them some objects they can place in thier settlements like banners or totems/statues that are strongly related to something in-game or look important/special.

The Cave Story system worked really well for that game. I could see it working in AVWW but not without a lot of work to get it in place. Part of the fun of that system, for example, is that each level of weapon looks and sounds different, and that's a lot of extra art and sound work that there's likely no time to fiddle with right now. Not to mention all the rebalancing involved.

I still wouldn't mind NPCs dropping mana orbs from time to time, but probably mostly in longer fights where it takes many mana bars to dent the boss's health bar.

The currency token trade in style system is neat, but figuring out things to buy with it is rather tricky. The map-filler is decent but it undermines the exploration part of the game, which is already sort of falling behind.

Buying cosmetic things for your settlement or your characters or whatever would be fun, but that's new artwork. So again, probably no time for it.

You could buy short term buffs with it, like a health regen, or a super mana regen, or a high damage buff or whatever, and then save them up for big boss fights. But if they're powerful enough to be desirable, then they might end up becoming required to fight lieutenants or overlords, and then suddenly you have to grind monsters to collect all the buffs to be able to win. Probably not desirable.

You could buy back-story with it. Unlock pages of lore. I recall something like this being in way back in the first beta, actually, but since it was removed and hasn't come back, I guess that wasn't a popular idea.

And you could just go back to making all scrolls craftable with dust like they used to be, but have monsters drop it instead of ore nodes. Then just add a whole bunch more random little abilities besides the ones that already exist. Things that are useful but that you don't want the player using endlessly. Kill all the (non-boss) monsters in a single room, but get no drops from them. Stun all the monsters so you can kill them instead. Brainwash a nearby monster to fight for you. Confuse all monsters in an area to fight each other. Become invisible for a little while. Become invincible for a little while. Give yourself a no-mana cost shield that lasts until taking X damage. Etc. etc.

Wow -- as usual, lots of really insightful thoughts to mull over further.  Thanks everyone for your thoughts already. :)

I think that, right now, what I want to do is go with Martyn van Buren's solution of making mobs a little more territorial, and thus inherently the interest factor goes up.  In Zelda I must kill guy X because I have to get past him; that's it.  That, or I need some peace and quiet so I can look at my surroundings and try to figure out the puzzle in the room, anyway.  There's only sometimes a question of me running around a monster, because just running from here to there isn't easy.

Along with shifts to make more of the parts of the world more distinct and interesting, I think that will help: that skelebot is on the cliff, and climbing the cliff is hard enough for me already, ergo I kill said skelebot so I can climb the cliff in peace and not wind up in pieces at the bottom.

That's phase 1, and I think that's required no matter what else happens.  Beyond that, I think so far that HellishFiend has had the most interesting idea.  I really like the rubber-band concept, but I am a little wary of having yet another interface element to explain to new players.  The question of "hey, is it important to kill trash mobs or not" is of course an important early game question, and I guess if the game is having the mobs more in the way that will become more self-evident.  But if that's still not enough... well, something along those lines to reward "some but not too much" killing of trash mobs is a good thing.


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