Arcen Games

Games => A Valley Without Wind 1 & 2 => AVWW Brainstorming => Topic started by: x4000 on March 05, 2012, 03:12:20 PM

Title: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: x4000 on March 05, 2012, 03:12:20 PM
The Semi-Problem
----------------------
Right now, the only reason to kill small enemies is either to get health, or to get them out of your way if you need to get past them.  As has been discussed in other threads, there are pros and cons to this, and I myself even play the original Metroid in the same fashion. 

But right now, the problem is that too large a percentage of the playerbase seems incentivized to just avoid monsters when they would rather fight the monsters.  In other words, you get people who are spoiling for a fight, but not motivated to actually fight because of the lack of reward from mobs.  This makes them feel let-down by not being able to feel rewarded for playing the game they want to play.

Those of us that tend to monster avoidance and sniping anyhow, or who like fighting for the sake of fighting from time to time, of course aren't bothered by this and everything is fine for that crowd.  But what I'm trying to do is add in just a bit of extra incentive that will appeal to the folks who currently view combat with trash mobs as pointless beyond being the sole source of health when out in the field.

The Main General Avenue Of Solutions I Can Think Of
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Broadly speaking, it seems like trash mobs need to drop something small in addition to health.  But what would it be, and what would it do?

EXP: If this were an RPG, they'd be dropping EXP.  But I in no way want to bring back EXP, because it simply doesn't have a place here, and even when we had EXP we didn't let trash mobs drop it because it's far too tempting just to grind trash mobs, then.  I don't like anything along these lines at all; it's just not where I want to go with this game.

Cave-Story-Style-Powerup-Shards: In Cave Story, monsters all explode into little triforce-looking things that powerup your currently equipped weapon upon collection.  That's handy because it incentivizes killing trash mobs (and so I do, there, where in Metroid I do not bother).  And in CS, it also encourages players to avoid taking any hits from enemies, because every time they do, their currently-equipped weapon loses some of that collected strength.  This plays out perfectly when combined with a max weapon level of 3, since that means that you're almost never incentivized to just massively grind monsters in CS, and past a certain point there is literally no more grinding that can net you any benefit whatsoever... but at the same time, the next time you take damage you are going to have to collect more shards, which means that shard-collection is perpetual unless you NEVER take damage.  This means that most good players should be killing a lot of trash mobs at first, and then some-but-not-all on an ongoing basis.  What a tidy feedback loop!

Currency: In a lot of RPGs, you also get GP or whatever from beating small monsters.  There is less incentive to grind this compared to EXP, because there tends to be a limited number of things to spend GP on.  That's great, because it means you can't just ignore trash mobs completely, but it also means that once you've got all the equipment purchased that you need for now, grinding for more GP seems really hollow and stupid.  So you move on, naturally, until you next find yourself in a place where you don't have enough GP to buy something you want.

How These Broad Ideas Could Apply To AVWW
------------------------------------------------------

EXP: Like I said, I don't want to go there.

Cave-Story-Style-Powerup-Shards: Well, we already have enchants and upgrade stones for upgrading your character.  And you can upgrade spells themselves, plus you can find various supplies to help you.  That seems... quite complex enough, to be frank.  It seem far too much to be adding on some sort of Cave-Story-Style powerup for your "current weapon" (which there is no concept of here, presenting another fundamental problem with that anyhow).  So what else could we be improving, if not your weapons?  Well, again, it could go to some sort of base character stats... but that overlaps too much with upgrade stones.  I think that would make decision-making too hard for players.  It could fill some sort of "overcharge" bar that you could use for some sort of extra-powerful one-off attacks, I guess.  But how exactly to activate that, and show and make it clear to players, and make it balanced so that players don't just one-shot bosses is tricky.  That also gets us back into "ammo" territory, where some players will feel the need to always be at full ammo before doing anything, so they'll go out grinding trash mobs even when they don't want to, "just to be safe."  So everything I can think of in this category encourages the wrong sort of behavior, ie encouraging people to do things that they will find un-fun.  The whole premise of this thread is trying to find ways to encourage players to do things they will find fun, anyway.

Currency: The main form of small currency in AVWW is consciousness shards, of course.  And those are useful only for guardian powers, but that's a fairly central part of the game (or will be, even more, anyhow).  Right now the problem is that you can get larger amounts of currency just by focusing on bosses and exploration and ignoring the trash mobs, though.  So if consciousness shards are your goal, we'd really have to change the acquisition mechanics to make that work... and I think that then kills a big part of the fun rewards of exploration and bosses.  That would imply that we need another currency system instead, but now we're adding complexity again.  For instance, if monsters dropped Skulls or something (one per trash mob), players would just kill the easiest monsters to stock up on them.  So it would have to be something that could vary with the difficulty of the monster itself, which gets us back into a true currency system like GP or consciousness shards.  But what would you spend these on?  Adding in major new mechanics to the game for the sake of this seems like it would take forever to balance and just ups the general complexity quotient to an unpleasant degree.


Conclusion
------------

Right now I don't see an elegant solution, but I'm sure there must be one.  The ideal solution:

1. Can be implemented really quickly.
2. Doesn't require too many changes to the existing game, which is working well in a rewards-sense other than this.
3. Is easy for new players to grasp.
4. Provides an incentive to fight SOME trash mobs, but never such a strong incentive that players are trying to grind them all.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Terraziel on March 05, 2012, 03:32:22 PM
I say this from the perspective of someone who doesn't need anymore reason to fight monsters than there already is, I view enemies as obstacles to deal with whilst completing whatever my goal is at the time.

The only solution which leaps to mind is a currency system with no point to it.

That's a bit hyperbolic, but if for example Enemies dropped a health-connected quantity of "consciousness dust",  which could be then used on minor guardian powers, say revealing the next few squares of the map, or instantly scouting a building, things which whilst perhaps useful no one is likely to grind for.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Martyn van Buren on March 05, 2012, 03:42:01 PM
I'm with Terr in not feeling a need for more trash fights, and I'm wondering if there's a way to make these more important without paying players to kill them. That always annoys me in RPGs --- I prefer stealth and avoidance strategies and I think they're often harder, but most games penalize you for using them because you're weaker when you get to the inevitable boss fights.

I was thinking, would it be practical to rejigger map generation so you're more like to find mobs actually blocking your way? Since if understand now all areas are a mix of handcrafted and procedurally generated building blocks, if there were a simple guarding mechanic you could have mobs holding choke points like narrow entrances in buildings or the tops of cliffs, making it hard to pass without dealing with them either by fighting or luring them away and then slipping past.  This might create a more organic incentive to fight minor mobs.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: x4000 on March 05, 2012, 03:42:54 PM
I say this from the perspective of someone who doesn't need anymore reason to fight monsters than there already is, I view enemies as obstacles to deal with whilst completing whatever my goal is at the time.

The only solution which leaps to mind is a currency system with no point to it.

That's a bit hyperbolic, but if for example Enemies dropped a health-connected quantity of "consciousness dust",  which could be then used on minor guardian powers, say revealing the next few squares of the map, or instantly scouting a building, things which whilst perhaps useful no one is likely to grind for.

That's actually not a bad idea -- I'm in the same camp as you in how I view trash mobs, by the way.

But yeah, granting super minor one-off abilities through some sort of "dust" or whatever might be a good way to encourage that sort of thing.  Or we could even have enemies all have a low chance of dropping some sort of rare-but-very-low-powered spellscroll that does the same thing, skipping the middle step.  The problem is that then there's not a continuous sense of progress, even though it is simpler to implement for us and understand for a new player.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: x4000 on March 05, 2012, 03:46:12 PM
I'm with Terr in not feeling a need for more trash fights, and I'm wondering if there's a way to make these more important without paying players to kill them. That always annoys me in RPGs --- I prefer stealth and avoidance strategies and I think they're often harder, but most games penalize you for using them because you're weaker when you get to the inevitable boss fights.

Agreed, I think the same way and also hate that in many RPGs.

I was thinking, would it be practical to rejigger map generation so you're more like to find mobs actually blocking your way? Since if understand now all areas are a mix of handcrafted and procedurally generated building blocks, if there were a simple guarding mechanic you could have mobs holding choke points like narrow entrances in buildings or the tops of cliffs, making it hard to pass without dealing with them either by fighting or luring them away and then slipping past.  This might create a more organic incentive to fight minor mobs.

That's a really interesting point!  I already have really been wanting to redo monster AI in terms of cliffs in general, because too many times the monsters wind up all at the bottom.  So they need to not walk off some cliffs, but at the same time if you are down a small ledge they need to jump down to get you, like they do now.  So that's tricky to program in a generalized sense.  But having most non-flying non-boss monsters specifically guard certain areas strikes me as even more interesting.  Logically speaking, if there is a section of houses or something, the monster could hang out there and if you want to go in the house you have to deal with them.

That's... way more interesting than paying the player!
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Martyn van Buren on March 05, 2012, 04:56:26 PM
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.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: HellishFiend on March 05, 2012, 05:36:46 PM
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.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Dizzard on March 05, 2012, 05:40:21 PM
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.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: BobTheJanitor on March 05, 2012, 06:27:33 PM
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.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: x4000 on March 05, 2012, 06:33:58 PM
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.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: HellishFiend on March 05, 2012, 06:40:05 PM
Glad you like the idea.  :)

One of the beauties of it is that there are so many ways to set it up, that I'm sure there is a way that would be easy to present it to the player and for them to grasp at the start. There is also a lot of potential for it to be much more meaningful to the gameplay and/or progression than trivial reward systems. Does the game need another meaningful gameplay/progression element? Maybe, maybe not, but the system can always be tweaked to make it more or less of an impact.  :)
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 05, 2012, 06:41:10 PM
Random thought: grant enchant points for killing trash.  Scaling it so that going after containers is still generally faster.  Since monsters don't respawn outside of boss (and npc-rescue) rooms, grinding involves exploring new areas.  Which is what the current container-pickup system also requires, roughly speaking.

Anyway, that would be the "occasionally get a bit of interesting procedural loot" thing.

Could also drop 1-2 shards to go along with it, so that over time you'll get at least a downpayment on your next wind-shelter or whatever.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: x4000 on March 05, 2012, 06:46:25 PM
HellishFiend: Yep, that's definitely a cool thing that it could be applied in a lot of ways.  Finding the one best way is tricky, of course.

Keith: Yeah, I thought about that, but it seems like in multiplayer that could really go nuts.  I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: HellishFiend on March 05, 2012, 06:48:01 PM
Random thought: grant enchant points for killing trash.  Scaling it so that going after containers is still generally faster.  Since monsters don't respawn outside of boss (and npc-rescue) rooms, grinding involves exploring new areas.  Which is what the current container-pickup system also requires, roughly speaking.

Anyway, that would be the "occasionally get a bit of interesting procedural loot" thing.

Could also drop 1-2 shards to go along with it, so that over time you'll get at least a downpayment on your next wind-shelter or whatever.

That's a good idea if the player maintains the philosophy of only killing the monsters that it needs to, but the more manic players will kill every monster, not realizing that they'd be better off spending their time on other activities in the game.

In my opinion, whatever gets implemented, needs to be something that has no chance of being misinterpreted as something that can or should be grinded. As an action RPG fan, I have enough trouble convincing myself not to kill every random monster in AVWW without being constantly rewarded for it.  :)
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: x4000 on March 05, 2012, 06:52:43 PM
Yeah, I'm the same way.  The lack of rewards in Mario and Metroid are the only things that keep me from killing all those monsters, too.  I tend not to fall in health much in Metroid, and I don't use missiles except on doors or bosses, so most of the time "there are no rewards" in Metroid for me.  And that works out just fine, because dodging enemies is interesting, too.

In both Metroid and AVWW, having enemies be the sole source of health replenishment does create kind of a rubber-band system right there, it occurs to me.  If you are not at full health, grind away.  If you are, it's absolutely fruitless.  Maybe what's needed is already there...
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 05, 2012, 06:52:52 PM
Keith: Yeah, I thought about that, but it seems like in multiplayer that could really go nuts.  I'm not sure.
Any more nuts than enchant-container gathering in MP?

That's a good idea if the player maintains the philosophy of only killing the monsters that it needs to, but the more manic players will kill every monster, not realizing that they'd be better off spending their time on other activities in the game.

In my opinion, whatever gets implemented, needs to be something that has no chance of being misinterpreted as something that can or should be grinded.
Well, why?  Is Diablo fun?  Does it encourage killing everything?  Are there more-interesting/more-fun ways to progress than intentionally clearing areas in that game?  I think the answer to all those is 'yes'.

In order to literally have no chance of that misinterpretation, the monsters need to give no reward that is more lasting than the current health drops or possibly cave-story-ish drops.  If it gives anything that's even partial progress towards a permanent gain, that misinterpretation becomes possible.  The real question is: is it more important to avoid that misinterpretation, or is it more important to provide an interesting (albeit very-small-bit-towards-something-interesting) reward for killing trash?
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: HellishFiend on March 05, 2012, 07:04:08 PM
In order to literally have no chance of that misinterpretation, the monsters need to give no reward that is more lasting than the current health drops or possibly cave-story-ish drops.  If it gives anything that's even partial progress towards a permanent gain, that misinterpretation becomes possible.  The real question is: is it more important to avoid that misinterpretation, or is it more important to provide an interesting (albeit very-small-bit-towards-something-interesting) reward for killing trash?

I know the topic says "rewards for defeating enemies", but I feel that the actual point here is twofold: to make the slaying or avoidance of enemies be more meaningful than it currently is, and to attract newbies to actually purchase the game after trying the demo (Trash mobs are extremely relevant in that scenario). Chris raises a good point, there is already somewhat of a reward system due to the fact that mobs all drop health orbs. That, however, doesnt solve the problem of your generic, ignorant (I dont mean that in a negative way) newbie writing off the game because there is no point to killing enemies with all his flashy cool spells.

This game has a lot of potential to draw in new players to it that didn't previously play or enjoy games of this type. That being said, it should strive hard to bridge the gap between the types of games they enjoy (probably action RPGs, or top-down/side-scrolling shooters, where killing everything is encouraged and rewarded), and the kind of game it actually is.

Just looking out for you guys. As a pure consumer when it comes to games, I feel it is important to help you guys figure out how to generate sales and draw customers, rather than simply fine tuning the game for our enjoyment.  :)
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: x4000 on March 05, 2012, 07:10:28 PM
Keith: Yeah, I thought about that, but it seems like in multiplayer that could really go nuts.  I'm not sure.
Any more nuts than enchant-container gathering in MP?

Well, actually, we probably need to have that divide by the number of players active on the server at the time, or something, come to think of it.  If we did that, we'd need to multiply the enchant point scale a lot in order to be able to keep it an integer.  And then really it would need to be  Int64 to be safe if we did that.  That would be... doable, I think.  And in that sense, we could do it for monsters, too.

That's a good idea if the player maintains the philosophy of only killing the monsters that it needs to, but the more manic players will kill every monster, not realizing that they'd be better off spending their time on other activities in the game.

In my opinion, whatever gets implemented, needs to be something that has no chance of being misinterpreted as something that can or should be grinded.
Well, why?  Is Diablo fun?  Does it encourage killing everything?  Are there more-interesting/more-fun ways to progress than intentionally clearing areas in that game?  I think the answer to all those is 'yes'.

In order to literally have no chance of that misinterpretation, the monsters need to give no reward that is more lasting than the current health drops or possibly cave-story-ish drops.  If it gives anything that's even partial progress towards a permanent gain, that misinterpretation becomes possible.  The real question is: is it more important to avoid that misinterpretation, or is it more important to provide an interesting (albeit very-small-bit-towards-something-interesting) reward for killing trash?

Ninja'd by HF, but he made a lot of my points for me.  With Diablo, I would say, though, that the entire grinding cycle is at the very core of what that game is.  That's not exactly a stretch. ;)  But we don't really include that in any sort of satisfactory way, nor do we want to.  So anything that misleads players into thinking that's what they are here for is going to a) be misleading, which is bad in the first place; and b) lead to disappointment if they think we're a not-good version of Diablo Lite, versus a (hopefully) good version of something completely else.

Perhaps there needs to be some education in the intro mission about "your only source of healing is killing the trash mobs, so be careful with that!"  And in that sense, perhaps the neutral Ilari stone in the intro mission needs to go away, since he heals you.  That would actually give a more correct introduction to what the game actually is, without having to twist anything.  But I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: HellishFiend on March 05, 2012, 07:23:51 PM
With Diablo, I would say, though, that the entire grinding cycle is at the very core of what that game is.  That's not exactly a stretch. ;)  But we don't really include that in any sort of satisfactory way, nor do we want to.  So anything that misleads players into thinking that's what they are here for is going to a) be misleading, which is bad in the first place; and b) lead to disappointment if they think we're a not-good version of Diablo Lite, versus a (hopefully) good version of something completely else.

My thoughts exactly.

Perhaps there needs to be some education in the intro mission about "your only source of healing is killing the trash mobs, so be careful with that!"  And in that sense, perhaps the neutral Ilari stone in the intro mission needs to go away, since he heals you.  That would actually give a more correct introduction to what the game actually is, without having to twist anything.  But I'm not sure.

Now that you mention it, that is an excellent idea and should defintely make it in the game at some point, in my opinion. I still think the current system of interaction with the trash mobs needs some work though. Not to create too much of a sense of urgency, but it would probably be best to rework it before launch, as there are a great many players that will look at the game/play the demo once at launch, and then not come back to look at it again later (or at least not until it reaches non-profitable price points). Like I said before, as a consumer, I cant stress enough the importance of how the basic interaction system with trash mobs in a game affects the decision to purchase. It is one of the first things most players look at, if not the only thing in cases where they decide to write it off early.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Terraziel on March 05, 2012, 07:24:14 PM
I think what bothers me about the rubber band idea is that implies, if not outright states, that there is a "correct" way to play the game, which clearly there isn't.
It is, and should be an entirely valid choice to not kill anything but the bare minimum of enemies. It is, and should be an entirely valid choice to kill everything that crosses your path.

This is why the current system doesn't bother me, through not providing incentives to combat it is entirely up to player choice. I mean, what we are endeavoring to do here is change people's minds about the way they play the game.
The issue as it was presented was that players WANT to fight but don't, and that combat needs a "carrot". If the players reaction to a binary decision about whether or not to engage in combat is "Why bother with it?" To me what that says is these people aren't finding combat fun.

Now personally, I think that is more likely to be down to the difficulty levels and balance, than it is a fundamental issue with combat. Adding enemies in more vital places, whilst clearly a good idea, isn't actually going to change the fun of combat for these people.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Underfot on March 05, 2012, 07:29:08 PM
Personally, I would find Martyn's suggestion quite rewarding - trash enemies  mobbing up on occasion and having some guiding AI. 
For instance:  There are three skelebots and two espers standing/floating close together in front of a building.  They don't attack or move.  When you get within distance X they all turn to face you.  When you attack or get within distance Y they all rush you.   I would feel good about surviving that.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 05, 2012, 07:34:50 PM
Ok, another couple random thoughts:

- Along with president van Buren's (that's some longevity, man) suggestion, have some "guard points" seed enchant containers that are thus kind of difficulty/perilous to get without killing the monsters.  No direct reward from killing them, just a matter of how risky you want to play it.

- When you kill a monster that's credit towards an unlock, show the current progress towards that unlock.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: HellishFiend on March 05, 2012, 07:37:00 PM
The issue as it was presented was that players WANT to fight but don't, and that combat needs a "carrot".


Yes, but I think the actual issue here is bridging the gap for those players so that they cross over to the way the game was meant to be played. That involves two things: educating players on how the game works, and providing some kind of mechanic that makes the killing or non-killing of the trash mobs relevant in some way (which it already has, to a limited degree).

This isn't minecraft. It's not the kind of game where you can stand behind giving a player a map and a set of game mechanics and telling them they can do whatever they want. In minecraft, there is no chance of players misinterpreting the game, buying/trying the game under that misinterpretation, and trying to make it into something it isnt.  With AVWW, that scenario exists. It has elements of minecraft, sure, but it also has elements you see in shooters and action RPGs, and those elements need to be properly delineated and/or well-represented in the game to draw and keep a playerbase.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: zebramatt on March 05, 2012, 07:37:21 PM
Perhaps there needs to be some education in the intro mission about "your only source of healing is killing the trash mobs, so be careful with that!"  And in that sense, perhaps the neutral Ilari stone in the intro mission needs to go away, since he heals you.  That would actually give a more correct introduction to what the game actually is, without having to twist anything.  But I'm not sure.

I'm... not sure. Metroid doesn't give me any indication enemies heal me until, you know, I kill one and the pick-up heals me. And right off the bat I can recharge at my ship.

Come to think of it, in Super Metroid there's also an abundance of save stations scattered about which heal you too. And enemies are practically guaranteed to give you health (or missiles, etc.). And bosses give you loads. So it's pretty different from Valley at the moment, where kills don't actually guarantee anything; but are the only way to heal in the wild.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Ixiohm on March 05, 2012, 07:38:42 PM
I like Martyn's suggestion as well, and here comes my twist ;D

I like the general idea of making the rewards from trash mobs similar to  the cave story buffs, however I fear it will conflict too much with the upgrade stone and enchant systems, which has already been pointed out. Therefore I came to approach a solution from a slightly different angle.

I like games where when you get more powerful, it gets reflected in others reactions towards you, and this works as a kind of reward. If I recall right, Borderlands for example have this - if you approach a group of low level Skaggs when you are many levels higher than them, they will run away.  This is a quite subtle system that ideally wouldn't even needed be explained to the player.

The core idea is that instead of altering the glyph bearer you alter the mobs reactions to the glyph bearer. As monsters are killed the glyph bearer rises thru a few menacing-ranks. The enemies then alters their behavior depending on the menacing rank.   
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Terraziel on March 05, 2012, 07:40:49 PM
- Along with president van Buren's (that's some longevity, man) suggestion, have some "guard points" seed enchant containers that are thus kind of difficulty/perilous to get without killing the monsters.  No direct reward from killing them, just a matter of how risky you want to play it.

After a fashion I would argue that is what stashes in buildings are already.

- When you kill a monster that's credit towards an unlock, show the current progress towards that unlock.

Loosely related to this but, personally I think the unlocks are all a tad low. I generally unlock half of them before i am even out of tier 1

Edit: On further reflection I am coming back to this being a difficulty concern, or perhaps more specifically, a damage to healing ratio concern, on the highest difficulty it can take half a dozen enemies worth of healing orbs to make up for one mistake, this makes the way you interact with trash mobs a lot more complex.

Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: BobTheJanitor on March 05, 2012, 08:14:42 PM
Enemies that block things would just encourage me to pop a shield and run through them. That's pretty much what I do right now if I run across something like a clockwork probe in the way of an enchant container. If it's weaker, I might stop and shoot it. So if the desired effect is to make monster interactions more meaningful, I don't think having them in the way would do much. Running across anything in a small hallway is pretty much already a monster in the way.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Terraziel on March 05, 2012, 08:19:38 PM
Enemies that block things would just encourage me to pop a shield and run through them. That's pretty much what I do right now if I run across something like a clockwork probe in the way of an enchant container. If it's weaker, I might stop and shoot it. So if the desired effect is to make monster interactions more meaningful, I don't think having them in the way would do much. Running across anything in a small hallway is pretty much already a monster in the way.

To me that just says shields are too powerful, as well as highlighting that lack of knockback from melee damage is problematic.

Edit: Rather that is using the methods provided to avoid damage to avoid combat, which though I won't claim to be illegitimate usage, is clearly not a good thing.

Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: HellishFiend on March 05, 2012, 08:22:24 PM
To me that just says shields are too powerful, as well as highlighting that lack of knockback from melee damage is problematic.

I cant remember which game it was, but there was a classic game where you would always suffer knockback damage+animation against the direction you were facing regardless of the nature of the damage. Needless to say that provided for some hilarious and rage-inducing moments. Perhaps on "I am already the guy" difficulty....
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: BobTheJanitor on March 05, 2012, 08:34:25 PM
To me that just says shields are too powerful, as well as highlighting that lack of knockback from melee damage is problematic.

The problem being that without shields, there is just no way to avoid some damage. Too many small hallways, and too many big enemy shots. Sometimes you can jump or duck to avoid things, but with something like the probe's shot, you just have to take it or shield it or run the opposite direction and wait for it to sputter out. On the other hand, if everything had knockback from melee damage it would probably force me to deal with it, but it would probably also require the addition of a temporary invulnerability after taking a hit, megaman style, or else you could get in some unfortunate scenarios getting bounced back and forth between two enemies and being unable to get out of it (and then that becomes abusable; take hit, run through enemy while invulnerable). You could also just straight up add actual physical blocking on enemies, so you simply can't run through them, but I'm guessing that might involve a whole lot of new programming work.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Martyn van Buren on March 05, 2012, 09:58:59 PM
Enemies that block things would just encourage me to pop a shield and run through them. That's pretty much what I do right now if I run across something like a clockwork probe in the way of an enchant container. If it's weaker, I might stop and shoot it. So if the desired effect is to make monster interactions more meaningful, I don't think having them in the way would do much. Running across anything in a small hallway is pretty much already a monster in the way.

I mean, shouldn't that be a valid way of dealing with monsters?  Does the game really need to be balanced for a player who really wants to kill mobs but won't do it unless he's absolutely forced to?
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: zebramatt on March 06, 2012, 02:46:30 AM
Enemies that block things would just encourage me to pop a shield and run through them. That's pretty much what I do right now if I run across something like a clockwork probe in the way of an enchant container. If it's weaker, I might stop and shoot it. So if the desired effect is to make monster interactions more meaningful, I don't think having them in the way would do much. Running across anything in a small hallway is pretty much already a monster in the way.

I mean, shouldn't that be a valid way of dealing with monsters?  Does the game really need to be balanced for a player who really wants to kill mobs but won't do it unless he's absolutely forced to?

Or a player who really doesn't want to kill mobs whenever an alternative is available, for that matter!
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Dizzard on March 06, 2012, 06:29:50 AM
Does the game really need to go out of it's way to encourage the killing of minor mobs? Aren't they called minor mobs for a reason?

On the other hand....

In Guild Wars (it's sort of like an mmo) when you entered a new area....you could talk to somebody to set up a sort of counter for kills (like a bounty) and then when you killed a certain amount of enemies you got reputation points for the race that you took the bounty quest from.

So perhaps in AVWW every time period group of npcs could have a different view of your hero. So you would have to gain a reputation with each one. Killing minor mobs (maybe specific ones) as bounties (received from an npc in a settlement) could be one way of increasing your reputation (although probably not a very good way of doing it...since minor mobs are farmable)
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Ramarren on March 06, 2012, 06:39:03 AM
I have preordered AVWW months ago, but haven't played past the intro mission since the infinitely respawning monsters completely killed any sense of accomplishment in combat. I have played the current version a few hours and it feels much better.

So, I have some thoughts from a perspective of a more or less new player about rewards for defeating enemies.

The problem with many of the "kill x of monster y" unlocks is that the only thing they unlock is a new enemy type, which is a good thing from a player perspective since it is more content, but bad from "in character" perspective, since new monsters are more difficult. It would be nice if all unlocks had an in-game positive aspect.

Mobs dropping consciousness shards is definitely bad idea, because for a new player they are nearly useless. Even after guardian powers unlock, most of the initial ones are not really directly useful, other than the wind shelter one, and in any case they are limited by the scrolls, which can only be obtained through missions, and the costs are so low that you will gain more shards in the course of the mission than you could use on the scrolls. A reward for killing mobs, if any, must be much more immediate to influence new players.

I'm not really sure if any rewards are necessary, health drop and just the fact the monster is no longer there seems mostly fine. Although, I think the respawn rate should be pushed back to something on the order of mission expiration. Right now I have seen monsters respawn outside a larger maze rooms. I don't think there is so much backtracking in AVWW that it is necessary to provide monsters to fight when doing it, and it would give a greater sense of "holding back the tide" as it were. And I suppose a small enchant charge drop would be nice (maybe for absorbing health orbs at full health, when those are left behind and just float somewhere I always feel momentary need to go and collect them despite the fact that it's impossible), as long as it is minor addition to containers and the game communicates that properly.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Terraziel on March 06, 2012, 06:49:00 AM
And I suppose a small enchant charge drop would be nice (maybe for absorbing health orbs at full health, when those are left behind and just float somewhere I always feel momentary need to go and collect them despite the fact that it's impossible), as long as it is minor addition to containers and the game communicates that properly.

Now, I like that as an idea.
Rewarding people for doing the combat well, rather than just for doing the combat at all, and you could balance the reward such that no rational person is going to be grinding monsters for them.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: tigersfan on March 06, 2012, 07:06:07 AM
And I suppose a small enchant charge drop would be nice (maybe for absorbing health orbs at full health, when those are left behind and just float somewhere I always feel momentary need to go and collect them despite the fact that it's impossible), as long as it is minor addition to containers and the game communicates that properly.

Now, I like that as an idea.
Rewarding people for doing the combat well, rather than just for doing the combat at all, and you could balance the reward such that no rational person is going to be grinding monsters for them.

I like this idea too.

Also, Ramarren, welcome to the forums!
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Minotaar on March 06, 2012, 08:05:05 AM
Speaking of dropping consciousness shards...
<shameless_plug>
If this guardian power scaling idea (http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=6449) was implemented, there actually would be an incentive to collect lots of shards, and, therefore, a reason to have monsters drop shards!
</shameless_plug>
Other than that, I kind of like Ramarren's idea, but the whole being able to go fully heal yourself thing doesn't really interact well with it. And I can't really think of a simple way of measuring combat performance that doesn't implicate "the only right way to play".
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Ramarren on March 06, 2012, 08:15:59 AM
Also, Ramarren, welcome to the forums!

Thanks!

Other than that, I kind of like Ramarren's idea, but the whole being able to go fully heal yourself thing doesn't really interact well with it.

I don't think that is actually a problem. Unless I'm missing something the only way to heal other that mob drops is the Ilari at the settlement, and the reward should obviously be balanced so that the time it would take to get to the nearest gate, move to the settlement, and then get back to wherever you were would be better spent either exploring for enchant containers or just healing by killing trash mobs.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: zebramatt on March 06, 2012, 08:32:28 AM
Other than that, I kind of like Ramarren's idea, but the whole being able to go fully heal yourself thing doesn't really interact well with it.

I don't think that is actually a problem. Unless I'm missing something the only way to heal other that mob drops is the Ilari at the settlement, and the reward should obviously be balanced so that the time it would take to get to the nearest gate, move to the settlement, and then get back to wherever you were would be better spent either exploring for enchant containers or just healing by killing trash mobs.

I agree.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: MaxwellDemonic on March 12, 2012, 07:09:34 PM
So, what about the Castlevania approach (and I'm referencing the later games), have the monsters drop (on a low% change) something related to them. This could be a rare spell component (based on energy type and tier of course), a usable item (potentially a one use spell), usable secret mission thing (like the Scrolls in Torchlight) , maybe a monster-drop only guardian power (who cares if you stockpile a ton of them, they still require shards). I think that for spell components, they should all be found elsewhere or else you'll have people grind for them. Aren't unlockables the real reward anyway?

My other suggestion would be to have the message window give updates on monster-based unlockables upon reaching a certain point so something like "you are 50% of the way to unlocking (unlockable name), 50 (monster name)s to go". This way monster-based unlockables are clearly a combat reward. With something like that you don't have to add any more complexity while still giving a sense of purpose to combat.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: bvchaosinc on April 27, 2012, 10:06:51 AM
I seem to be missing a central tenet of this game.

Why is exploration grinding any more or less interesting than combat grinding?

Why is wanting to not kill anything any more or less a valid choice than wanting to kill every thing?

Why don't you reward both play styles equally?

It would seem the if an hour of kicking in doors netted you the same stuff as an hour of monster murdering, that more people would enjoy your game.       
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: tigersfan on April 27, 2012, 12:56:55 PM
I seem to be missing a central tenet of this game.

Why is exploration grinding any more or less interesting than combat grinding?

Why is wanting to not kill anything any more or less a valid choice than wanting to kill every thing?

Why don't you reward both play styles equally?

It would seem the if an hour of kicking in doors netted you the same stuff as an hour of monster murdering, that more people would enjoy your game.     

I think the central tenent that you are overlooking is that this is a game about exploration. This isn't necessarily a game about killing every bad guy you see, just like Metroid isn't about killing every bad guy you see.

As another example, compare Counter-Strike and Ghost Recon. In CS, being a "Rambo" type character where you just let bullets fly all day and just run through the level is a viable option. Good Luck doing that in Ghost Recon.

My point is that not all games have the same focus. In AVWW, the focus is on exploration, and seeing things you've never seen before. It's not on killing every enemy and feeling accomplished by the body count.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: bvchaosinc on April 27, 2012, 01:46:53 PM
In AVWW, the focus is on exploration, and seeing things you've never seen before. It's not on killing every enemy and feeling accomplished by the body count.

This is not coming threw for me.  After more than 3 chunks in the same tile set it all starts looking the same to me.  I stopped exploring to explore about 2 hours in because I assumed that was not what this game is about.  As I had not found anything more interesting than a new tile set.  I now run from building to building, cave to cave, check the block map for the room type the thing I need spawns in run to it if its their go to a different building if its not.  This does not feel like exploration, this feels like a chain of fetch quests.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: tigersfan on April 27, 2012, 02:31:21 PM
In AVWW, the focus is on exploration, and seeing things you've never seen before. It's not on killing every enemy and feeling accomplished by the body count.

This is not coming threw for me.  After more than 3 chunks in the same tile set it all starts looking the same to me.  I stopped exploring to explore about 2 hours in because I assumed that was not what this game is about.  As I had not found anything more interesting than a new tile set.  I now run from building to building, cave to cave, check the block map for the room type the thing I need spawns in run to it if its their go to a different building if its not.  This does not feel like exploration, this feels like a chain of fetch quests.

I mean, frankly, if you think that the difference between the ice age regions and say... the junkyards is merely a new tile set, then I'm not sure what we could do to make the areas feel different for you.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: bvchaosinc on April 27, 2012, 02:55:17 PM
I mean, frankly, if you think that the difference between the ice age regions and say... the junkyards is merely a new tile set, then I'm not sure what we could do to make the areas feel different for you.

No but the difference between buildings in the ice age and buildings in the abandoned town is tile set and baddie population.  Caves in the desert are very similar to caves in the grass lands.  Ruins seems to be annoying and not worth exploring in every time slice I have found them in.  I have gone out looking for clay twice now.  Once I went to the desert once I went to an abandoned town my method of finding them was the same in both cases.  The surface layers of all these places are very nice looking and really convey the feel of their time slice, but as soon as you go inside that goes away.     
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: tigersfan on April 27, 2012, 07:11:00 PM
I mean, frankly, if you think that the difference between the ice age regions and say... the junkyards is merely a new tile set, then I'm not sure what we could do to make the areas feel different for you.

No but the difference between buildings in the ice age and buildings in the abandoned town is tile set and baddie population.  Caves in the desert are very similar to caves in the grass lands.  Ruins seems to be annoying and not worth exploring in every time slice I have found them in.  I have gone out looking for clay twice now.  Once I went to the desert once I went to an abandoned town my method of finding them was the same in both cases.  The surface layers of all these places are very nice looking and really convey the feel of their time slice, but as soon as you go inside that goes away.     

These are fair points. This is something we'll have to look at. We aren't able to do that right now. But in a few weeks, we should see what we can do about that.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Tallgeese on April 29, 2012, 12:22:28 AM
I pretty much registered just to get in on this discussion.

One of the things I have noticed while browsing this forum is that there are complaints about there not being a good reason to try out various spells aside from one or two staples due to the cost of creating the appropriately tiered spell. Some say this is okay, but some don't. I have also seen at least one complaint about how sometimes a player wants to upgrade a certain spell, but it takes a long time for them to find the specific gem component they need in order to do it.

I think monster drops can solve the above sorts of complaints without unbalancing the game.

Judging from other posts I read on the subject, back before the game was released on Steam, there existed a generic spell building component called "dust".

Would it be feasible to bring dust back as a sort of "stand in" component? As in, make 20 (or what have you, just tossing out a number) generic dust stand in for any generic gem for the purposes of crafting a spell? Make the recipe take the gems first, of course.

I would think something like that would communicate to a new player that, yes, they COULD grind monsters for enough dust to make a new spell all by itself, but since the gems are worth much more, it would be obviously more time-efficient to go after actual gems. For the less bloodthirsty player, it could serve as a useful supplement to their gem stock, so that they do not have to go crazy searching for that one last gem they need to complete that desired spell.

This would scratch that itch for constant minor progression. If inclined, you could even throw in a death penalty that takes away a small percentage of your dust.

Just tossing in the idea. It's a fine game.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Xanirus on April 29, 2012, 08:53:12 AM
Been playing this game for a while and I think I'm amongst a lot of people here agreeing that there should be at least some reward for killing mobs, other than health and unlocking...more mobs.  But I understand the goal of the game being about exploration instead of mindless killing, and in that sense, the exploration should be the activity required to gain your upgrades.

Unfortuantley, I'm coming from playing a lot of dungeon crawlers with RPG aspects (so bear with me if I'm diving too much down this road,) and with the random generation and near endless continents, unfortunately that's the kind of game I'm seeing here, even if that wasn't the game's intent.  I want to explore because of the excitement to find what kind of goodies I can find in all these rooms, not because I wanted to see new lands.  The problem is, this game has enemies too.

I have to be frank, regardless of why some people would call random generation "laziness," I think any game that has it is pure genius in order to keep people playing your game.  It gives the feeling that the game is never done, there will always be something new to explore.  It may not be interesting, but it's something.  But the ones who hate it, are usually expecting the generation to be miraculous, making them want to go WOW at the geometry, and always say it's repetitive when they find out all the layouts are repeated or generic.  But as I see it, there's virtually no way it can't be repetitive.  But a computer needs building blocks, it can't create those blocks on the spot, only a human can.  (Of course, I'm no programmer, maybe I'm wrong)  1,000, 100k, 1 million, it doesn't matter how many "blocks" the game has.  Unless you dedicate every patch to creating more (and I'm sure no one wants to do that) eventually, you're going to see a pattern. 

Metroid, what this game is obviously inspired from, didn't have random generation.  Forgive me for forgetting area names, (it's been a long time since I played Metroid) but I remember lots of elevator like-shafts with doors all alongside the walls.  Whether you personally like that level design or not, it's still unique.  Having unique and interesting level designs is a must if you want your game to be about exploring, making them fun to navigate through simply for the act of navigating, but it's only feasible if you don't plan on your game lasting any more than 20 hours or so.  AVWW is meant to last forever, so you can't do that.  I'm not trying to fault the game for choosing random generation, but since this very game mechanic makes the exploration dip down a bit, you got to balance out the other activity of the game: combat.

But what's the difference between killing an enemy for the loot that it drops, or destroying an enemy because he's guarding it?  Really it's nothing.  I think what we're craving for is some kind of loot or at least something of value from enemies that we can't get from anywhere or by doing anything else.

After reading all the posts, I still think the currency bit is the way to go, but the trick is what would that currency be and what exactly would we be buying?  Also, how would it balance the game out so it doesn't detract too much from it's original intent?  (Exploration)

Enchant Store

I think this would be the most basic reason for currency, as enchants are basically RPG equipment, but since the game's lore is of being right after a world-wide cataclysm and people are working together to survive, it doesn't make any sense for anyone to charge for anything.  So instead of charging some kind of made up money, a gesture that would no doubt be considered selfish in a time of rebuilding civilization, people are simply asking for the crafting components required to make them.  The problem is if the components are existing materials in the game that can be found through exploration alone, it wouldn't solve the problem of killing monsters having no value. 

There would be two ways to do this, a quick way, or another way that caters to the game's Terraria-like (I'm assuming this game was an inspiration too to an extent?) item crafting.  Regardless though, both methods have cons.  The easiest way to to do this is to have all monsters give the same material that would be used to create enchants.  Something that all monsters have, like monster "souls."  (Which of course I know doesn't make sense for robots, but this is just an example.)  Essentially, this is the same thing as cash.  The problem with this is that it might make players see $$ in their eyes whenever they see monsters, and can lead to grinding for cash. 

Another way is for each monster to give some kind of material related to them.  (Robots give metal, espers give, I dunno, essence, and rhinos would give up their horns.)  Effectively, the "body parts" from mobs act as individual currencies, used to create enchants and nothing else.  The problem with this method though is such an method would require time.

As far as the enchants themselves available?  They would be 10 or so randomly generated enchants, (like Diablo) but not necessarily of any better quality than enchants you could of gotten from enchant charges.  (Although a in-game lore reason as to why the stock would keep changing I haven't the foggiest idea, it would still seem like he's a merchant who keeps getting different stock.)  The reward in this is although getting enchants in this method requires more work and a form of currency, the player has more choices of what enchants to get.  (Also, enchant charges should give less "charge" per pickup if this store were to be implemented....or remove that one room which is a giant maze that has like 15 or so enchant charges, I always thought this room was overkill TBH.)  This provides another choice of how to gain enchants, leaving the player to decide if he would rather procure the enchants by blasting enemies, or exploring, leaving no game activity more viable than than other.  The enchants from the store would of course be improved as the tier increases on that continent.

An alternative to the above would be to have the enchant charges give you, instead of an enchant, an item that can be inserted into an enchant that boosts it's effects.  This would provide a way reason for the player to focus on "both" activities (combat and exploring) albeit maybe forcefully so.

Buff/Powerup Store
Someone earlier mentioned this, but instead of dropping from enemies, these can be consumable "potions" sorta speak.  Temporary effects, things like 10% HP increase for 5 minutes, or 5% increase chance of enemies to drop a particular material when killed.

Energy Tanks
Yes, I realize this may alienate the whole permadeath thing with no way to heal other than killing enemies, but it's just a random thought.  Why not have Metroid/Mega Man energy tanks in the game?  As it is, any person is going to choose whatever combat difficulty he's comfortable with, which means they're probably not getting hit and leaving a lot of health orbs behind.  With energy tanks, whenever your health is full, collecting health orbs will start filling up a tank little by little.  The amount it can heal can be mitigated, by say for i.e. having energy tanks NOT purchasable and instead be very very rare finds, making them consumable items, or setting the healing consumption rate only to half.  (Filling a tank by 2 HP would only heal 1 HP when consumed.)

Statistics
While not necessarily a gameplay enhancing option, this is for us trophy gamers who take pride in defeating things for the sake of defeating things.  Plain and simple, have an in-game statistic counter.  Espers kills, robots kills, total enemies killed, etc.  (The statistics would also display player deaths, missions completed, and other random stuff.)  Each world would have their own statistics for that player.

Oh man, I just spent 2 hours doing this.  Time for sleep.  I'm sorry if these suggestions are going out of hand.

EDIT:  Okay, maybe scratch the buff store, just found out that's what the guardian scrolls are for.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: khadgar on May 01, 2012, 06:32:27 AM
Killing enemies should be it's own reward, in that you won't run in to those monsters any more. Now that monsters respawn, it's not. I mean, sure, putting a few new monsters in a zone you thought clear is fine, but having the entire zone reset after 5/10/50 minutes? Meh, no point to fighting them anymore. Just equip the best triple or double jump enchant I have, and storm dash across the map. If I'm low on health, the LAST thing I want to do is fight monsters, I might DIE! Going to town is always easier and safer (chosen one), even if it means climbing out of a house or cave to do it.

In the earlier betas, wiping out the monster nests netted you a nice clear area to walk through. Though it left the areas relatively barren afterwards, what is wrong with that? Maybe as the strategic side of things gets flushed out more, a sort of thing can be implemented wherein once you defeat a certain boss or mission thing, monsters will no longer respawn. What about those weird towers that you guys had pre continents? I don't remember what they were or what they were supposed to do (something about... not being able to pass through them? I dont know) Have some kind of thing that you can activate to disable monster respawning in an area of some sort, for a time, if not permanently.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: bvchaosinc on May 01, 2012, 10:09:10 AM
HP tanks would be stellar.  It would make what baddies already drop useful and worth fighting for as well as sticking with your metroidvania formula.

Also stopping baddies from spawning in cleared areas(but not from migrating from uncleared areas) would be cool and give a sense of take back the land.


That said I would still like it if baddies drop crafting components.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: junker154 on May 01, 2012, 01:54:46 PM
What about adding a bar to a continent which shows the strengh of the presence of all the enemies, so if you fight and defeat loads of enemies this bar will deplete which makes the continent less dangerous and more habitable. Maybe when the bar reaches a certain point the player will be rewarded with some items/bonuses or maybe give him so advantages for a certain time. Or rescuing villagers and gathering ressources becomes easier.

This bar will increase if you idle for to long or cease to fight monsters. So throughout the playthrough you have a minor sidegoal, it is optional but gives the combat a deeper purpose.

Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Xanirus on May 02, 2012, 04:44:11 AM
Normally, I don't like long adventure type games where you can (or forced to) re-visit old areas with nothing to fight because you already defeated everything, hence the respawn.  But then again I forgot this game never ends, so disabling spawning wouldn't be too bad, if, however, we are negating the idea of having some reward from enemies in the first place, which I hope we're not.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: darkchair on May 02, 2012, 08:23:52 PM
Some ideas:  (sorry if they've been mentioned before, just skipping half the replies for now)


Story Rewards:

Have the monsters that drop something that advances the story somehow.

Perhaps you need a certain amount of drops to open the doors into the current puzzle rooms?
Perhaps you unlock fun little stories about random people?


Enemy Cohesion:

Saw this mentioned earlier, I'm a huge fan.
If you could have enemies randomly blockade certain parts of the map with a magical barrier or anti-air turrets or something it would add character to running around and make combat more interesting.


Temporary Spells:

Along the lines other people have suggested, maybe the monsters could randomly drop spell components that can make temporary high level spells with limited uses. (Like you could make a tier 4 miasma whip during CP level 2 but it would be destroyed after 30 uses)


Vanity Rewards:

I'm not really a fan personally but you could reward vanity items for killing enough trash mobs.
I would rather vanity items come from more interesting, rewarding reasons.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Xanirus on May 03, 2012, 01:06:42 AM
I believe I once killed a certain amount of enemies and I unlocked part one of the mysteries, which is sort of part of the story, well, back-story really.

EDIT:  Okay, maybe not.

It's hard for story to "advance" in this game, since you keep moving on to new on continents onto infinity.
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Qba on May 25, 2012, 02:38:32 PM
When I first saw this game, I thought that my dreams come true! I waited for years for this game. I'm not interested in any of the new games that are now on top. This game is fantastic! I also understand that the game designers want to make something trully original to this game. Please tell me what is so wrong with gaining experience? This game is quite original in order to have the levels of experience. 2d Morrowind  :) I like it! Especially That is enough space above the mana bar for, for example white bar of experience, progress to next level  :) What's wrong is in grinding? Personally, I always loved when my character reached a high level of experience.This is only one missed thing in this game for me. Killing monsters is really boring... My three friends come to the conclusion that this game is not for them - through lack of experience,I think I'm not alone. I read what Chris wrote, and I know there is no way to improve the game witch exp. But you can always try  :) That is why I speaking in this forum only once. This is my first post Ever. seriously!  :) I'm glad that is the reason for me to write my first post in my life, exactly on this forum. Don't  get me wrong, but I really think that something is missing in this game. I understand that the characters in this game are random, and you can really die unexpectedly, but look at it from the other side: If our cannon fodder die so quickly, it would have to be really hard to trying to achieve a higher level. Chris also wrote that if it was the experience, players will have the oportunity to fast grinding to highest level. Ok, I agree with this, but notice that the difficulty levels in the game are  really hard(especially the last three of them) so that theoretically, achieve a high level would be(anyway) very difficult. In this case in settlement may be for example a tombstone like a highscore - All dead Glymphbearers will be written on this "grave" like a "in memorial" And also will be saved scores in three columns like : Name / Level / Monsters killed. This is just my idea to keep already dead characters in glory!  :)
One more thing: This game really reminds me a great commodore remake - "Hurrican"in this game, I never thought about the experience - there is no point about that for me. I walked simply from point A to point B - and ... Level finished! Simply platform game. But AVWW is too GREAT and too BIG to be without some kind of experience reward for player! (I know I'm a maniac of RPG games!)  ;) I think the idea of experience is not so stupid, I mean, for example, you meet a guy on the 90 level, and think: Wow! this guy rules!... A few minutes later - wow this guy dies!  :) In this game you can die very quickly. Independently of the level of experience that might exist. In my case, I would be angry for a while when my character was died on higher level, but after a moment I will try with pleasure to play and gathering up experience to next character. It works for me - You died? It's your problem... then you must start over! This is my opinion.That's all, thanks!

What do you think?

Don't beat me for my english, please!  :) I hope that you understood me.  ;)
Title: Re: Brainstorming ideas for minor rewards for defeating enemies.
Post by: Nanashi on June 28, 2012, 06:13:47 AM
Hi Mr Park!

I wanted to ask - have you ever played a Monster Hunter game?

I think there could be some merit in using a simple crafting system for consumables rather than just having a vendor for them. You could get monsters to contribute drops towards such a system - say, kill 1 robots and get screws or nails, which you use with cedar logs to make crates. It'd solve the problem with building up a HUGE stockpile of crafting ingredients (especially with this new update coming up) and then never needing to go hunting again.

I really like moon orbs! I kind of dislike the flash of light spell because it made them sorta obsolete - and I like games where you have to plan your expeditions and supply yourself accordingly beforehand (although yes, some people find this gameplay very annoying indeed!). Right now, the primary way of getting consumables like platforms, crates and moon orbs is from finding stashes in buildings, but you mentioned that there'll be some changes to stashes in the works, and it was kind of frustrating trying to hunt down moon orbs to sustain my moon orb only no-flash playstyle, so I eventually caved in to using Flash of Light (RNG isn't reliable). We have ilari vendors using generic shards, but that's plain uninteresting (heatsuits and snowsuits are cheap) and the items they sell are in such huge quantities that I'm kind of puzzled why there even exists a limitation on platforms and crates - they may as well be infinite in supply.

With monster hunter, it was always nice to be able to plan expeditions keeping future expeditions in mind - items were limited (you couldn't carry more than 9 potions at once - want any more and you had to craft them in the field) and it really lent an immersive aspect to the survival bent of the game. The "scrounging/salvaging things" appeal has been around ever since Robinson Crusoe and the Swiss Family Robinson.

AVWW is at its core a Man versus Environment survival game, no? But there's no real survival pressure outside of windstorms (and the most preparation I've found vs windstorms is just to bring the no blowback enchant on a swap) - once people are rescued, they pretty much stagnate around the Ilari and don't really do much of anything. Defeating enemies doesn't just have to solely be to combat the overlord, forcing combat for survival purposes is a cool concept too.