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  1. #51
    Thanks for the applause and wine lol. I just love DaS.

    Quote Originally Posted by nkuvu View Post
    That doesn't make me feel good. That makes me feel nervous. Holy carp, there's no way I wrote all that without any flaws whatsoever. No typos, no missing semicolons, nothing. So there must be a fundamental flaw in my logic somewhere, an endless loop or a program state that will never be reached or... something. Gah.

    (for the record, if code I wrote seems to work flawlessly first time, it's likely that I'll spend more time testing it than I did actually writing the code)
    Oh yeah, definitely, in the normal case. But you know those nights when you slammed a few drinks, or watched three straight episodes of House, or went for a 2-hour run because you couldn't sleep... and then it just hits you, that perfect solution for whatever you're working on, and you just log on to your dev machine from your home computer at 3:42 am and write it down as if it's molten gold flowing from your brain through your fingers onto the monitor... You'd be literally unable to write this at any other time, it's the best stuff you ever came up with.
    And in 5% of cases, it actually is (the other 95% are usually the times when you wake up the next morning and ask yourself what that unintelligible gibberish is).

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaris View Post
    It's when you argue like this that you are at your best. Keep that up!

    I think "holding nothing back" is a good ideal, and I think it can be done right. I'm not sure why the MMORPG has taken this approach, and I don't like it. I prefer to give people all the tools and start the player with a complete build that works, and let them learn how to tweak it as they learn to play more.

    This is done by ramping difficulty, and presenting players specific challenges which make them practice given tools. Have some foes you need to kill fast to practice dps, then some you need to dodge attacks, etc. Introduce a skill, and make them practice it enough that they remember it when they need it. Dark Souls sounds great in that respect, I've played other tutorials that work like that too.

    Giving players the sense of edge is an art that every game dev should aspire to. A big underdeveloped part of it is imo proper ways to control difficulty, so you can play on harder if you can handle it. And then there's incentive to play at harder difficulties. If you manage both, it can be a great game.

    Instead, MMORPGs put challenging content out of players' way, and give you the opposite of increasing challenge with experience. Terrible ideas that only work because of addiction. In that respect, GW2 is less terrible than other MMORPGs given scaling and faster grind. That's not excusing them, just excusing me for giving them my money even if I disagree with some decisions.

    I can't emphasize how much having many players sharing content is the opposite of having good challenging content. The more people you build for (and the more variable that number is) the harder it is to give them all a worthwhile challenge. Imagine if instead of kill 10 centaurs, you'd have them actually taking over cities WvW-style. First, that's hell to program. Second, at a fixed difficulty that means many servers would be over-ridden with no chance at recovery, others would end up clean of centaurs within a week. Third, even if you scale, good players will plow though foes complaining about noobs not doing their part, and noobs will complain that the difficulty is too high. I don't mean it's impossible, but I do mean that ANet's so far the closest to having achieved that in MMORPG form, mainly because it's a really hard thing to do right.

    The thing about not punishing for playing in the vicinity of other players, that's huge for a MMORPG though. There's literally no point for me playing a MMORPG that encourages me to play alone. And the thing is, it's really a big problem to design a game where people can play together and still have a personal challenge. Add teamplay to that, and it gets really complex. Sad to hear EVE gameplay is not that good, and super-grindy...
    Yeah, DaS' tutorial is great... Apart from not holding anything back (not 100% true, you don't get spells in the tutorial, but ya), another thing it does is... it doesn't expect players to have an easy time with it. In fact, players are expected to die multiple times during the tutorial. My first meeting with the huge demon I mentioned ended a couple of seconds after it began since I tried to fight him (or rather, I had no idea what to do, so I took a hit, got up, attempted to swing at him, missed, took one more hit and that killed me). Basically every time you are introduced to a new mechanic (dodging, parrying and so on) you get to use it right away and about half the time you'll fail at it (jumping attack? oh sure, I'll... no wait I got the timing wrong... oh**** he has backup what should I d--- YOU DIED).

    This seems bleak and forbidding... But it's actually not! Instead, the game is... basically gaming you. It's holding something a little bit out of reach, and then slaps your hand when you reach out for it. This forces you to go all in and just grab it instead, and you find that it is possible. And that is the crucial thing. The true value of the Dark Souls tutorial is not that it teaches you the game mechanics, because really, it doesn't, it just tells you that they are there. That doesn't mean that you know them well! Instead, the true value is that it teaches you that you can overcome the game's challenges. And you can. Pretty soon you'll be doing backflips while standing on a ledge seemingly 200 meters up, fighting some demon knight who is twice your size and who seems hellbent on having you for lunch.
    And I'm absolutely positive that the same would be possible to get in an MMO. Different, but similar.

    On the other hand. You are right about that shared content makes the content harder to make challenging. GW2 scales some of its content to the number of players present, but not to mention how difficult that is to get right without ending up with enemies that kill in one hit, any sort of synergy throws the scaling off. One solution would be to force players to spread out. That can be done in various ways... One way would be to have kill stealing and single looting (e.g. WoW). But sure, this detracts from the social nature of the game. Another way, seen in many old MMOs as well as in some new ones, for example EVE Online and Darkfall, is to make PvP always on. That means that you can team up, but you can also attack players at will (or with some small restrictions like not attacking party/guild/corp members). Unlike the first option, this still encourages social interaction... But it forces world PvP everywhere. And a lot of people don't want that!

    EVE actually found a middle way here. It follows the "PvP always on" pattern, but it divides its universe into parts with different "security level". It's a number between 1 and 0, inclusive. In high-security space, if you attack someone, the AI-controlled space police (called CONCORD in the game) will arrive and attack you. In low-security space, though, you're on your own. Since CONCORD are very effective (you basically can't survive against them), high-sec space is basically "safe PvE" areas. Sure you can still be attacked but only by suicidal people. Low sec space is more risky, but the game keeps track of players who attack other players. If a player that ambushed others a lot enter high sec space, he'll face CONCORD ships and die. It's even possible to get such bad reputation that you become an outlaw and can "legally" be attacked at will by anyone.
    But every EVE player will tell you that the most interesting areas of the game are "null sec", 0.0 security space. There, all bets are off - anyone can attack anyone without repercussions. This area of the game is more like WvW in GW2, except that it's a much larger part of the game world than WvW is.

    Now that is space, but the same can be done in a fantasy-setting game. You can have cities and civilized areas where people behave civilized and only ever attacks bad guys (bandits and cave goblins and what have you). And the you can have more dangerous areas, deep forests and high mountains where the arm of the law don't reach. Such places could hold great adventure but watch your back. Well, at least word of your death will get back to the cities and villages and your murderer will eventually have to face the city guard.
    And if you want limitless PvP, well, no one knows what happens in the deserts or on the high seas...

    Anyway, about the centaurs and WvW style city capture and such. Yeah, it would be hell to create... What I didn't know until yesterday evening (after I wrote my last post) was that it has actually already been done! And not just in any game either. The venerable old grandfather of MMOs, Ultima Online, had a full ecosystem where for example bunnies would be eaten by wolves and if these wolves didn't find any bunnies they'd eat deer instead but then the deer population would get low and since deer was dragons' favorite food said dragons would attack human cities and villages in search for food instead. The simulation apparently ran just fine on its own, finding equilibrium points, buffer pools, dynamic cycles and whatever else that actual ecosystems have. Beautiful system.
    And then they did the mistake of actually letting people play in the world. This was all still in the birth of MMOs, so the devs had no idea what to expect... Players totally swarmed the entire thing, killing anything that moved and totally eradicating the entire system.
    I think that this can be made to work, but it would have to be extremely durable.

    (About EVE's grind: the skill grind is something that you can literally sleep through, since your skills are trained over time even when you are logged out. The grindy part is gathering enough money to get a cooler, bigger ship. That said, though, as always, the fastest way to earn money is not to be an honest worker bee that mines things and sell them for cash. Instead, looting other players as well as playing the market are both quicker ways to make money.
    And then, of course, you can start a bank. (read story #1, on page 2.) Now that is social gameplay! Sort of.)

    Quote Originally Posted by shawn View Post
    Again, you guys are confusing the server system with districts. Districts would not solve anything if they still required two data centers, all that districts would do is replace overflows.

    I'm wondering if you guys can grasp just how much bandwidth gw2 uses compared to gw1. Remembering that first of all, gw1 had far less people, and the heavy instancing made it use even less bandwidth than any modern persistent mmo. Most things on gw1 could be handled client side, with the only information required being what you and your party was doing in the general vicinity of where you were at the time. Compare that to any given zone in gw2, where you have several districts worth of people all spread out over the entire zone, a zone which has to keep track of every one if these players and broadcast their position, the progress on events (regardless if players are even around or not), run meta events and broadcast them to the zone, calculate where the spell effects are landing, if there are any cross combination skills going off, heart progress of party members, map chat, team chat, say chat, keeping track of who's in the party or guild and how they should be represented to you, sending far more information about all the armor and weapon information for everyone around so you can see what your allies look like, and many other things that are ramped way the **** up compared to gw1.
    Districts would solve the problem of guesting quite handily. And two (or more) data centers are not really a problem, it would work like it does in GW1. You don't even need to log out to switch continents in GW1! You're still authenticated to your account, so you are just silently disconnected from the European servers and then equally silently connected to the American ones... all you see is a loading screen like any other area transition. It's very smooth. And since there are no separate named servers you can just agree to meet your friend in district 9 or whatever. Good movie btw. Anyway no need to choose just one server you are able to guest, when you can choose any district.

    GW2 have much greater bandwidth usage than GW1, but that means nothing to the servers vs. districts discussion...

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by shawn View Post
    Are you for real? I just explained why that wouldn't work. Again with the confusion of data centers and servers and thinking they tie into districts. gw1 had a tiny amount of people playing off and on, all saved at one center, with different servers available for eu and na. You could choose which server by switching districts, not which data center. One is where you send information to, the other is where your information gets saved. This is why sometimes it was possible to disconnect and lose progress in gw1.
    Aha, ok I get you. Are you sure, though? I thought the European servers were physically located in Europe, Germany? And the American ones in Texas? I might take this out of thin air though.

    Anyway, I still don't see why this would be a problem. So, GW2-with-districts, your character data is saved on your home server. When you connect to another, your data is sent to that server, stuff you do is saved there, and when you log off it's sent back to your home. Where is the problem.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by raspberry jam View Post
    (...)
    The ecosystem example was pretty funny.

    Equilibrium is hard to achieve in complex systems. Even in nature, balance can go out.

    In my game, one type of level has spawns that are kinda like those in DotA, but the AI is quite different. Ever wondered why those trash spawns were so weak and dumb and didn't actually group up or do anything useful? Well, the reason is that if you put a bit of AI into them, they can quickly get out of balance and form a big zerg that is hard to stop even with skilled play. And once side has its zerg, the other side can't do much about it.

    In order to provide a predictable homogeneous and tailored experience, such natural imbalance are commonly removed. Mobs are independent, stupid, easy to kill, spawn at low rates and density.

    But if as a player you are willing to accept a world where things can go out of balance, even to the point there's no way to recover from it, then the experience becomes much more enriching. The game becomes not just combat, but also keeping the system from falling against you, and trying to get the system to fall against them.
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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawn View Post
    Are you for real? I just explained why that wouldn't work. Again with the confusion of data centers and servers and thinking they tie into districts. gw1 had a tiny amount of people playing off and on, all saved at one center, with different servers available for eu and na. You could choose which server by switching districts, not which data center. One is where you send information to, the other is where your information gets saved. This is why sometimes it was possible to disconnect and lose progress in gw1.
    My question is more why they chose to change the setup, not so much switching from districts to servers, but why they created two data centers.
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  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaris View Post
    The ecosystem example was pretty funny.

    Equilibrium is hard to achieve in complex systems. Even in nature, balance can go out.

    In my game, one type of level has spawns that are kinda like those in DotA, but the AI is quite different. Ever wondered why those trash spawns were so weak and dumb and didn't actually group up or do anything useful? Well, the reason is that if you put a bit of AI into them, they can quickly get out of balance and form a big zerg that is hard to stop even with skilled play. And once side has its zerg, the other side can't do much about it.

    In order to provide a predictable homogeneous and tailored experience, such natural imbalance are commonly removed. Mobs are independent, stupid, easy to kill, spawn at low rates and density.

    But if as a player you are willing to accept a world where things can go out of balance, even to the point there's no way to recover from it, then the experience becomes much more enriching. The game becomes not just combat, but also keeping the system from falling against you, and trying to get the system to fall against them.
    Yeah when I read about it, I recalled the introduction of toads into Australia's ecosystem.

    For the system to work, there should be a dynamically running ecosystem, but one that could be... let's say, nudged. The system would need to be constantly monitored, and advantages could be silently inserted on a losing side to bring things back on track. Of course the entire system would need to be designed with this in mind. Having buffer pools that actually work even in the presence of players would be another key thing though I think.

    Yeah a zerg... that could happen if you did that. One counter to that could be to force the spawns to not group up by involving some sort of AoE or something... That will cause an "AoE analogue" to the zerg though. Another idea could be resource management. Either in the form that troops that need supply, supply trains or whatever takes a certain amount of space, or there is a maximum supply flow on a certain route, making a zerg starve itself down to size. Or resource nodes of some sort that needs to be defended in order to support the army, so that you force the spawns to spread out.

    Or, absolutely, accepting that the system falls. That doesn't fit so well in MMOs though!

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by raspberry jam View Post
    (...)
    The thing is that all these efforts are spent trying to keep the system static. It's much easier to just have foes not moving around, spaced apart, respawning on a counter. Boring? Yes. ANet's solution is awesome in faking real ecosystems, but when you look at it, it's easy to see past the smokescreen.

    Nah, I decided to go crazy on the other side, and fix the problems another way... Keep the levels self-contained, and allow players to upset the balance. In fact, if you can in any way shape or form upset the balance to your advantage, you can win the level that way. Instead of balancing it away, I decided to make it part of the gameplay.

    I can do that pretty well in small contained levels, because once you win, the level resets for replay. It makes for a good experience of synergy (protecting and working with your units actually matters) during gameplay once you understand the zerg you're with and against.

    At the MMO level, it would require the players to organize and use strategies like used in WvW or 300... find ways to put the zerg at a massive disadvantage, and work their numbers down. I think it would be awesome, but it would require you to allow players to switch servers. Single players could move away from servers that are massively losing. Organized large guilds could actually join losing servers for a greater challenge. Or failing that, losing servers that become unpopulated could be reset... a world could actually be lost this way.

    It would make for a very uneven experience. Culling would become a hugely important factor in regular PvE. Soloing would be a lot more difficult. It would not be a game for the masses, but it could get its own niche very well.
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  7. #57
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    Just saw these in the GemStore just now (Valentine's stuffs + Unided Red Dyes):


    And Apparently I missed the update when they amended the original town clothes.

  8. #58
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    say what? does this mean you can transmute these?

  9. #59
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    Probably due to me not being in town clothes for a very long while, but the outfit above did not use to have sleeves. I don't think they are transmutable yet still.

  10. #60
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    The guy one looked the same when I accidentally turned it on last week.
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