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Reader Comments (46)

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 8:23AM Sephirah said

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"Most players aren't clamoring for a return to days when you had to draw maps on graph paper as you walked"

No, the sentence should start with
"The vocal minority of old school players that enjoy to walk to school and back uphill both ways in a videogame as a way to raise their self esteem"

But at least I'm sure that for coherence none of them use any kind of GPS navigation in real life...

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:28AM Saerain said

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@Sephirah

Joy + Immersion != Self-esteem
GPS in 2012 != GPS in the Third Age of the Sun
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 8:26AM Matix said

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Quests: For leveling areas and leveling quests, I want the objectives clear. The whole point of leveling is to learn the finer points of your class--not spend four hours of your life playing "Where's Waldo... the rat, and his 9 pals".

Secrets, Easter Eggs, Lore stuff: IMHO a truly well crafted world will have special places with secrets to enjoy and discover. And they will have a purpose for seeking them out. Maybe the Easter Egg/Datacron/Adventure Log Achievements trifecta is enough to keep players looking but I would like to see more innovation in regards to finding "forgotten" areas off the game's themepark beaten path.

Sandbox/Free-form: I think of the perfect MMORPG as a "playground": The sports yard for PVP (soccer field for faction, basketball court for arena); PVE content as a themepark for solo content, and PVE Raids as a massive jungle gym everyone works to make the most of; and then the sandbox.

The sandbox has a lot of potential because within the limits of the box, you can use tools to mold the medium into what you want.

I would LOVE an MMO with sandbox areas that scouts explore and map out--not with graph paper but rather using in-game mechanics. That sense of freedom, the unknown, etc. is awesome and could be tapped by the brave.

As an principled example, rather than an ethereal wishy-washy sentiment, consider this idea: The zone starts as a blank map. Press M, and it's NOTHING there. Players would need to explore the place--but not just for themselves, like a normal MMO. The exploration of this new, untamed land would reveal the map in phases, granting players different effect:
Phase one: reveals the topographical map for the faction;
Phase two places landmarks on that map;
Phase three shows spawn locations on that map,
Phase four grant area wide "well travel" bonuses to allow carriages or flightmasters or w/e to allow more travel;
Phase 4 would give guild xp for the area to earn a "tracked" bonus (Your guild's exploration of the area makes it known to you. Guild members gain a +10% movement speed bonus in this zone).

Just an idea, but that's give an almost colonization type vibe to an unexplored portion of the game world.

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 11:17PM h4ngedm4n said

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@Matix
I think you should just play Minecraft or Terraria instead. There is just no way the type of exploration you are asking for will work for a large volume of users.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 8:38AM Dumac said

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I liked WoW before they implemented quest markers. Quests had descriptions of where the problem is and i liked to find it on my own, and i learned to appreciate landmarks which aren't just props to make the place pretty but useful for orientation. For those tough to find things or the vaguely described quests, there was always something like Thottbot and similar sites. I didn't have a problem with that. The problem with having markers is that sometimes quests just don't describe the location, you have to rely on the marker.

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 3:21PM DarkWalker said

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@Dumac

What you say is true. When players are expected to just follow the glowing arrow, the game sometimes does not give them enough clues to do the tasks without the glowing arrow to help.

I believe the best compromise would be to have the questing help available (perhaps in a toned down amount compared to what we have now), but for said help to be optional; and for the devs to make sure all quests can be completed with the help turned off.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 8:43AM Sente said

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It is all about context I would say.

If it is directed to an entirely new area I have not been to before, then by all means i can be a bit more vague - if the search itself can enrich the experience beyond the specific task at hand, plus tha the task itself is something I may care about.
But that also requires a bit of a build-up and variation, otherwise it gets tedious and irritating.

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 8:44AM (Unverified) said

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The problem is I enjoy both extremes. Sometimes I'd love to go out exploring to find out where a quest objective is by intelligently figuring it out based on the description given by the NPC. Other times I just want to get it over and done with quickly and not have to think that hard.

I think a good mix is to keep the current questing standard but have extraneous hidden elements out there such as the artifacts from Rift. It balances the desire for exploration with the ease of being guided along. Maybe even have some hidden quests to discover and balance that with them not giving XP but vanity items instead.

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:05AM Irem said

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@(Unverified)
Agreed. I like the maps-on-graph-paper aspect of exploration myself, but when simply trying to get from points A to B is punishing, it starts just being a chore for most people. I'd just like the option to go after stuff if it's there, and feel free to make me really, REALLY look if I decide to take that option.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:02AM jlong64 said

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Well, adding my thoughts on this; I too am one of the people that enoys having Quest Markers put me in the Specific area (not necessarily right to it). But I like being able to explore an area and find secrets (eggs, etc) that aren't and don't appear on the maps.

Basically. I like a balance of the two.

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:05AM wahahabuh said

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For themepark MMOs, I would very clear instructions and markers and maps. For sandbox MMOs, I do not want maps at all, I want players to create their own maps.

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:06AM wahahabuh said

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@wahahabuh and by their own maps, I don't mean physical maps using graph paper. I mean create their own maps in game.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:32AM Saerain said

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@wahahabuh Do you mean more like in Minecraft, where each player can craft a map that fills in a limited area as they explore; or more like in the earlier ArcheAge beta, where everyone started with a world map but had to label it themselves?
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:50AM smartstep said

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@Saerain

Bit of a shame that ArcheAge added quest gps tbh :/
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:55AM wahahabuh said

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@Saerain I'm thinking more like you start with a blank paper/canvas and then you "draw" on it yourself. And then maybe players can make a living selling maps, or be evil and sell fake maps that will lead people to dangerous areas etc
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 3:55PM Daeths said

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@wahahabuh Eww... I much prefer the Elder scroll method where you have a basic contour map and as you find stuff its added to your map. There wouldn't be a fast travel system of course, but i would hate to have to actually draw my own map by had. I mean, talk about heavily punishing the artistically ungifted
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Posted: Jan 16th 2012 12:50AM wahahabuh said

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@Daeths well, my idea of a sandbox MMO is basically one where the developers quite literally provide a world and maybe a very high level story about the world and then let the players loose. Heck, in my "ideal" sandbox MMO, players can cause deforestation and desertification if they're not careful.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2012 9:50AM smartstep said

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LESSER amount of quests, but make them more complex and interesting + well described and then THROW OUT quest GPS COMPLETLY!

Seriously quest gps that show you exactly where to go is complete and utter fail.

Seriously it feel less like a game with this system and dozens of kill 10 boars quest and more like a chore.

Oh and make game WORLD interesting with places to explore and not small boring maps...

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 10:05AM ArcherAvatar said

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I enjoy exploring and the "feeling" of traveling in a virtual world, but that doesn't mean I want basic functionality taken away from other players who are just trying to get from point A to point B.

True explorers will explore regardless of whether or not there are waypoints provided for those folks who want to use them.

Posted: Jan 15th 2012 10:18AM Bladerunner83 said

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I guess I'm bit of a nostalgic gamer so I miss the days when there wasn't an in-game map with objective arrows pointing all different directions. I remember a lot of my quest hunting and wide-open map exploration in DAoC. If I didn't have the patients to finish a quest on my own, I would jump on the internet and find a solution on some random website. Most of the time if you just read the quest and understand what you're looking for, you wouldn't need a big arrow pointing at whatever completes the so called quest. I noticed in some games people would ask if a quest is broken or they can't find the quest objective, but the objective was clearly identified in the quest log. All it took was a little effort by the player to discern the items needed to complete the quest.

Clearly marked objectives are good for games with a lot of action. While I believe RPG games should have no marked objectives. I don't want a quest like, "Go find the flashlight on the table in the other room" with a big arrow pointing at a flashlight in the middle of a table, in the opposite room. It would be nice to have a quest like, "Go get a flashlight," and then you hunt around until you find a damn flashlight.

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