05 June 2006

Player housing and more

Runescape has recently announced that they are having player housing.
While we do not directly compete with Runescape, our games are similar in a few ways, and our players expect us to compete with them, if possible.
Now, we are not stealing ideas from Runescape. Having player houses in a MMO is an idea as long as the MMos themselves, even earlier, as some MUDs did have it.
The first MMO to have it (I might be wrong) was Ultima Online, about 10 year ago.

There are basically two ways to add player housing in EL:
1. Make use of the hidden map objects feture, which is already present in the EL server and client, thanks to Learner. This can be exploited by placing hidden houses on the maps, and unhide them once they are bought by the players.
This is relatively easy to implement, but not very flexible.

2. Make use of some of the Barren Moon code, which already almost supports dynamic maps. I am saying almost because it's only about 70% done, and there are some bugs.
This method allows infinite versatility, and allows the players to build their houses in such a way so that they can plant flowers, trees, possibly building farms, etc. Some other code can be reused as well, such as the growing plants for example, and planting seeds wich will end up in mature plants.

After much thought and talking to Learner, we decided to go for the BM code, and merge it with EL. This is really a lot of work, possible a few months. It will require having two map formats, on the client and on the server. One format for the static maps, one for the dynamic maps.
The already existing maps will not be dynamic, but there will be a few new maps where players will be able to buy land for a house and a farm.

Like I said, this will take a lot of time, so if everything goes fine, they might be available in the fall, maybe November or so. A lot of testing will be required.
But when this is done, EL will be a much more interesting game.


Anonymous majestyk said...

I can remember my friend being an almost full-time UO player lots of years ago. He got his own house, which was kind of a status symbol then, mainly because of the limited space for user housing. There were much more people interested in residential property than space was available on the servers, resulting in incredible demand and pricing.
The concept in UO was that your house could serve as your "private storage", keeping your belongings safe, which would really not be needed in EL (where is the sense in having one place to keep your things when you can have many?). I don't think houses would be more than vanity items with no real use; if you increase their meaning by making them so large they can also house (PK) training areas, you would render guild maps useless. And I (for one) would not like to see maps crowded with houses (maybe even with lots of different styles), it's already enough to see that in real life ;-)

From a developer's perspective, I can absolutely understand that you want to add something new. In my humble opinion time would be better spent on revising/enhancing the magic system, because that IMO is the least developed part of EL right now. The most proficient fighters are the best spellcasters, there are no 'real' mages here, and that's mainly because there are no useful spells except for fighting purposes. And talking about the battle mages - there is no way of making real damage with spells right now. Wizards don't even have a puny magic missile, not even speaking about spells with splash damage (like fireball or similar). And I would really like to see a "paralyze" spell. But all that should be better implemented only after there is a separation between fighters and spellcasters, which might need some larger readjustments.

And if I could personally wish for one thing being added fast: please give us some kind of studded or enhanced leather pants/boots, maybe in the price range of 300-500gc. It is really boring that everyone from newbie to pro wears the same kind of feet/leg armor for training, and the rate of it getting destroyed is annoying.

So all in all, while doing new stuff is cool and makes fun, please do also keep an eye on enhacing existing parts of the game. Thanks for your time :-)

8/6/06 05:12  
Blogger Radu said...

Yes, the magic skill has been neglected for quite a while.
Right now, I am trying to fill soem gaps and add a few new spells, such as invisibility, true sight, and a few other spells, but mostly combat.
There are some non combat spells as well, such as bones to gold, teleport to range, teleport to portal room...

If you have other suggestions for non combat related spells, please let mw know, and I will consider them.

9/6/06 14:51  
Anonymous KaRt0nEs said...

"Now, we are not stealing ideas from Runescape. Having player houses in a MMO is an idea as long as the MMos themselves, even earlier, as some MUDs did have it.
The first MMO to have it (I might be wrong) was Ultima Online, about 10 year ago.
Of course not! As you mention, first game to have player housing was UO, so Runescape is not innovating.

I've been playing Ultima Online since nearly 4 years in a free spanish shard (to which I've helped a bit too), and one thing we decided to be the best approach is the following:
· House deeds can only be placed by GMs
· Only 1 house per player character + 1 tent (tents are unsafe)
· One extra house per guild (clan-guild or profession-guild like the woodworkers guild)
· Houses can be fenced, but no more than 6 feet/steps away from outher walls
· Small houses are cheap. Big houses (like castles of fortress) are very expensive.
· All houses have monthly fees (for example, small house is 1500 gold, fortress is 150000 gold), if you dont pay, they collapse.
· House placing is forbidden in some areas (for example, near a dungeon entrance). As GMs have to place them, they decide whenever or not is a suitable place.

It's a small shard so there's no problems with free space.

Oh, we have too rent houses (fixed placed in outher radius of some big cities) which you rent for X days and after that all your items on it go to your bank (to avoid losing them).

You may also think about creating "residential zones" in cities or just outside them, and limit house-placing to there.

Hope my experience helps you or brings you some ideas.

10/6/06 08:24  
Anonymous majestyk said...

About the magic skill and fighting: at the moment almost all spells which are regularly used revolve around the fighting skill. Fighting is the most important skill in EL, and combat magic is the only way to become proficient in the magic skill. To break that up, real high-level magic should be costly (maybe regarding nexuses?), so that you have to decide for the fighter way or the wizard way of playing. Players with OA 130+ will still be able to master both skills, but when a specialized mage and a specialized fighter of about the same level (magic skill equaling the others fighting skill) meet each other in combat, the mage should be able to stand a chance _using magic_. We are currently far away from that, and even the new invisibility and true-sigth spells will probably only be used be PKers, because the cost is too high and duration too low for players to use them as an "replacement" for MM during explorations. Changing those parameters wouldn't be feasible either, because it would make the spell too strong for fighters; seems like we're stuck in a dead end here at the moment.

But enough ranting about that, now to the spell suggestions. Basically I think that there should be a spell to recreate most (if not all) effects which can be gained by using potions: there should be skill and attribute boosting spells. Of course they shouldn't stack on each other, nor on potions or blessings. The essence costs (monetary) should maybe a bit lower than the potion ingredients costs, because it will use up more space in your inventory to carry all required essences, so PKers might still prefer potions.

Another idea a friend gave me was about a "radiation shield" spell, to reduce the damage of radon pouches while harvesting. Since plate armor also has protection from radiation, this should be few extra work to implement, and since it wears off relatively fast compared to the mining time needed I don't think it would impact too hard. I dont think higher level players would use it, so it might be a nice low-medium level spell.

Of course there are also some combat spells which might be cool, regardless of my general ranting ;-) Basically, a "stun" spell (or entangle, or paralyze, whatever you call it) comes to my mind here, keeping the target from moving. Also a great spell would be "wall of fire", creating a barrier of flames around you, damaging all creatures and players standing directly adjactent to you, maybe also in all "wall of ice" version? A slightly lower-force version of this spell would be "fire/ice skin" spell, giving the opponent damage when he hits you. It might also be a consideration to give weapons temporarily magical abilities, like enchanting it with fire/ice damage for a short while.
Going with it could some protective spells like "protection from heat/cold", helping against fire/ice weapons, fire/ice spells and maybe even environmental (lava, arctic) damage.

Well, now I am out of ideas. Might be a good idea to start a thread on the forums if you want more input, but of course I hope you like some of those ideas. Thanks for taking them into consideration!

12/6/06 08:10  

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