Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Developing the gameplay and systems in Heroes and Villains

Re: Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Unread postby lorec » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:46 pm

I've read a lot of interesting things on this forum. Lots of cool and interesting ideas. I don't know if what I'm going to ask here is someplace else and if it is, please forgive me, here goes. One of the things that COH lacked, at least in the beginning, was a character driven story, like what we see now in SWTOR and GW2. While there are all kinds of side missions, there was a personal story for each character, based on character creation. Is that something that is planned? From my own personal experience, I enjoyed playing through my characters story much more than the side missions I ran around doing.
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Re: Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Unread postby Golden Girl » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:37 pm

This might be similar to what you'rte looking for - viewtopic.php?f=10&t=56
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Re: Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Unread postby Azrael » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:19 pm

Yes. A character driven story. It was something that Coh lacked and drove my old duo partner nuts in frustration. i.e. it was obvious to him. Especially after having altitis to L50 many times.

The closest I think I felt we got was the PB and WS story lines post L50 when you could roll an epic. :)

Even one storyline like that per scrapper, blaster, science, tech hero etc origins would have made a sense of a street hero would fight and explore a very different set of foes and story to a cosmic powered hero or a magic hero?

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Re: Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Unread postby Azrael » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:43 pm

I've been reading through the game play discussions and have seen some very promising ideas.

The idea of the story paths for each 'type' is sound. So you can play like a Street Hero with suitable mob up to L50 without getting dragged into Cosmic Affairs. Similarly, Cosmic Heroes can take care of the 'big' stuff. It makes for a more tailor made and 'realistic' narrative.

I took note of the PVP discussion. In as much as I never liked it or the idea of it. But I know many do. What I always thought re: coh and PVP that is was ironic that a great deal of time, effort, money and resources got wasted into a sideways move into CoV when Coh already had gapingly big maps needing far more content.

For example, remember how initial tutorials would ask you to avoid the 'red zones' on a given map? Or be careful in amber zones? Or you'll be more safe in the 'green' tram lines? I always thought that was the solution!

Put the PVP in the 'red tram' lines and players would know that going into those zones that 'villains' may be lurking, you could end up getting dragged into PVP conflict and you'd have to take great care to get into such missions. It would make the 'meh' been there effect of doing the early levels out of the equation with some unpredictability.

What's more, CoHs had loads of maps with loads of 'in district' areas for this to happen. A big own goal. The resources to make CoV maps and for me, a whole duplicated game should have gone into pushing Coh 2! A race on to renew the engine, textures, graphics, add more power sets (which they did with CoV...fair enough...) and loads more missions to fill up large maps with more dense content.

A case of spreading themselves too thin at a crucial junction which didn't give the 'WoW' effect in subscribers they were looking for when CoV turned out to be 'more of the same...'

Still, Heroes and Villains looks, with it's many ideas and it's all about good design(?) to have thought long and hard, as players...what was missing from Coh and were they were somewhat flat footed in their development history. Crucially so, it turned the end.

It's something I always thought about and it's good to see you guys are thinking about it too.

Similarly, I always thought it would be a good idea to call help in from NPCs to act as your own team aka The Avengers. And I think it's a great idea to build up a deeper relationship with NPCs to the point that you can join their organisation...get help from them on missions and more of them as time goes by and you build up trust. Superb idea. NPCs aren't just stopping points....there becomes more interaction and evolving the player level. Another area Coh could and should have done better on. Eg it was nice to have Fusionette or Faultline help you as NPCs in some missions. It left me thinking...'if only...' But Paragon seemed more focused on the mushroom plant set... :o

And maybe this will have implications for a nemesis idea where by you may well be facing a foe more powerful than you and need help from your NPC contacts. Contacts that don't just disappear after a few levels....

...but grow over time with L50. ie the narrative of NPC, mission story for your type of hero...and your SG npc capability to tackle missions and certain threats grow over time...but if you don't make the right narrative can jeopardise that relationship. Feel great about where you're going on that track.

Narrative is king. It drives everything. And it's nice to see you have a 'leader' in Golden Girl who is emphatically aware of this...and what worked....what didn't...and what was needed.

Narrative is king. And developing systems around that at the player interaction layer over 50 issues turns Coh 'spiritual successor' into just that. A worthy one.

Naturally, I'm hoping for a very similar 'two tray' (and more...) of 9-10 powers each, primary and 2ndary power sets. Champions failed big time for me on that level.

And design. That's the crux isn't it? Cryptic threw the baby out with the bath water with Champions. Disastrous design decisions, poor teaming and power progression...and zones that were so big and unwieldy you couldn't see the whole map even when you brought up...'The WHOLE MAP!!!!'

Good design?

COh's interface.
Power trays.
Power management screen (only when Paragon went to the dreadful, truly overly complex incarnate system did they completely lose sight of their core design values of interface and simplicity that made Coh so good in Issue 1!!! Incarnate? Truly horrible interface design relying on overly difficult and unwieldy Legion teams...what were they thinking? Rather they had added another strange to the 1, 2 and Epic strands and raise the cap to L60...)
City broken up into bite size chunks. (Each zone was more than big enough and distinctive enough as was. It allowed a design focus for each area. But look at CHampions 'sprawling' open areas? Dreary by comparison and hard to get that sense of narrative intimacy you had in each Coh zone.) The force fields dividing zone was a nice narrative vignette...but you can just have a city sign for the next district you visit. I guess HeroEngine can load dynamically anyway. As long as heroes and villains keeps that sense of intimacy. Hollows was worlds away from Steel Canyon as it in turn was different from Atlas or Kings. I'd rather H & V launch with 3-4 zones but get them right. Add more zones over time.
Classical, simple combat. I liked the turn based approach of Coh. Combat in Champions with the block and skittish dead like an arcade space invaders type game I just don't like. I play Champions. Grudgingly as a Life Subber. Each power in the Coh set had a well designed focus because they decided to go with a 'class' or set based approach rather than unlimited pizza mage tank as in Champions. And the 9 powers in the primary had a sense of development that built upon the last...or gave you options to AOE or focus on chainsaw builds....combine your 2ndary and Primary at will to blast...etc.
Teaming. Coh was legendary at teaming. Up to 8 players. I always prefered smaller teams of 5 or less. But the 8 person team design(!) worked so well. Especially for TFs. You could break up a missio into two groups of 4...bag a healer...two tanks...3 blasters...1 scrapper....etc etc. The combintations were born out of design simplicity. And that came from a simple team design. Point at. Invite. Search for hero. Invite. He=/she joins your mission if you have lead. Simple focus. Set missio diff' of mob. Which could increase as you gain in power or experience. But in Champions? I think teaming was a train wreck.
The 'passive' fitness pool design was a design masterpiece. Health and end were important and after bits of balancing Coh got this pitch perfect with mobs that seemed liked they'd been play tested over 1000 years! Fights weren't over in seconds...there were an artform...(Unless you were a L50 swooping through Atlas and had a bad day...) Each battle you could die. And the more you took on? the more the odds increased against you. Mobs of 1, 2, 3, 5, 8? Whereas in Champions? If you're a tank you can still die in a few seconds if you're not carefully. YOu don't feel 'super.' Coh's design at the play level had that. From Grey, green, blue, white, yellow, orange, Red, Purple. It had a very steady sense of progression of threat level. And I think that's part of what made it so lovely to play. Silk combat, good A.I with turn based combat? No jerky and clumsy blocking mechanism with arcade style 'pew pew pew' style flavours.

How Heroes and Villains stacks up to what Coh did so well? Well, teh good news is with something like Icon...players and devs (a rocky road?) are now one and the same and can closely examine the zones in more detail...and see what they did so well. Character. They can look at the design of the NPCs. Listen to the music of each zone. Look at the animations. Look at the particular powers on customisation...look at the seminal character generator. At teh least, the Icon program allows H & V a sense of design reference. Not to clone outright perhaps? But to see what worked.

Coh is a ten year old game. But boy, it's like victorian silk. It never ages. It's still brilliant. Even Cryptic couldn't top it with Champions. DC couldn't take it with their effort.

But what I'm reading on the H&V forums about the narrative driving design?

I wouldn't bet against you.

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Re: Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Unread postby Exo-Buster » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:19 pm

What I would like to see more of in terms of mission design is more missions with multiple factions. I want to see how factions interact with each other and what their relations are like. One of my bugbears with CoH is how outside of some factions with strong connections it often felt like each faction lived in its own bubble. Finding out that the circle of Thorns played a big part in fighting the Rikti was fascinating but I literally never got to see much of it. Learning that Lord Recluse managed to outfox Nemesis and turn Nemesis' spies into double agents by simply being less of a jerk to his subordinates than Nemesis is incredibly interesting, but it wasn't expanded on nearly enough. The post-freedom content I think was a lot better about this and we got all sorts o fascinating things like the Tsoo in Astoria, Arachnos being one of the biggest supporters of the efforts to take down Praetoria and Wade, Malta trying to stay in the game as people's power levels started to slip past their ability to handle.

It was all so very interesting and it made the setting feel alive. Like the various factions weren't just sacks of XP that stood around X part of the city but were living entities that had their own goals, diplomacy, conflicts, and motivations that lead to friendships or strife with other factions. Plus there's something really cool about charging into a brawl between mutually hostile factions and turning things into a good old free for all. I want more missions to have multiple factions in them, I want to see NPCs be more than just mission dispensers for the players, I want to see different types of mobs interacting with each other in the overworld and sometimes coming to blows, I want to read all about what X faction/character thinks of Y faction/character and how they interact with each other. I want to see more of what the average joe schmoe civilian thinks of things no matter how mundane and hear idle chatter from the minions of the various mobs about their day to day lives. I want to see the world live.

I also loved things like in universe newspaper articles and the newer trend of in universe social media and wikis as well as in universe forums where in universe characters make posts. Having windows into the minds and thoughts of people in the universe does a lot to make the setting feel more real. I'd be happy to write up a lot of this for you even. You could put some of these snippets of the thoughts of various in universe characters as collectibles or exploration rewards even. Reward some players for doing something as small as clicking on a computer or a newspaper box in game with some in universe documents that give them more of a window into the
world. If you're particularly ambitious you could even have regularly updated in universe media that players can read as a little bit of new content every so often; such as getting a notice on their communicators of a new news article to read. Having regularly updated in universe news could even be used to extend recognition to the actions of players the way it is in EVE online; which I believe would do wonders with letting players feel more accomplished about themselves.
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Re: Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Unread postby Golden Girl » Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:16 am

Generally, we're looking more at post-GR CoH than pre-GR CoH when it comes to how to present stories - although that's still just as a starting point, as we have access to a few bits of tech that the CoH devs didn't have, which lets us build a world that's more deeply driven by comic book requirements than CoH managed to be.
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Re: Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Unread postby adman123 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:50 pm

I have yet to see a superhero MMO that really feels like I'm living in a superhero universe. It's all the same MMO mechanics that are reskinned with some superhero stuff. I want a living, breathing, superhero world. I always thought it was lame watching villains stand stationary in one spot, looking dastardly, waiting for me to beat them up and respawn to farm them. I think intelligent AI is a must for a superhero MMO to set itself apart. If anyone knows what Chronicles of Elyria is, the system they're builing for that world, where it's responsive, evolving, and active, is what I think a great superhero MMO should have. Random invasions and disaster with lasting effects on the world. Rather than just having a "Rikti Zone" that permanently stays occupied, if there's an alien invasion, they should respond and react to how the heroes/villains attack, deploying extra force in a more active area, or perhaps setting up bases in the less populated areas, or calling off the invasion all together.

Also, the combat needs to flow. I've always hated the "Fireblast animation-stand and recharge-fireblast animation-heal-recharge" as it's boring, repetitive, and unrealistic. Combat needs to look natural, I wanna feel as if I'm actually fighting said villain, I want to feel like Captain America engaged in an intense battle, not like I'm playing some old turnbased RPG.

Just some random thoughts.
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Re: Gameplay and Systems General Discussion

Unread postby mattwo » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:15 am

As cool as that sounds, games with such ambitious design elements rarely ever do that well and the ones that do tend to fall into a niche. It doesn't help that the MMO market isn't exactly in a healthy condition (though it does seem somewhat stable for now at least).

That part's mostly though because most competitive players moved to MOBAs and the casuals went to mobile cashgrabs that are usually sorry excuses that stretch the definition of the word "game" a bit too far (Like Clash Royale, Clash of Clans, Power Rangers [s]Clash Royale[/s] Legacy Wars, Transformers [s]Clash of Clans[/s] Earth Wars, Transformers [s]Clash Royale[/s] Forged to Fight, FF15: [s]Clash Of Clans[/s] A New Empire, not to say there aren't good mobile games out there mind (like Final Fantasy Brave [s]Frontier[/s] Exvius and Dissdia Opera Omnia) but they still burn me out too fast if I play them enough to not have to pay to win...).

That said, I think it's important to understand why this happened and how to fix it. Personally I don't know why it happened but it seems like games such as WoW and Maplestory survived this long by adapting and making their games appeal more to casual gamers, which take up the vast majority of the consumers in the gaming market but at the same time, they wound up alienating long-time hardcore players by shifting the focus too far and forgetting that they're still important for them to make as much money as possible (something that WoW seems to have slowly been making up for with Legion and Battle for Azeroth).

Ambitious games take work and often times the investment of both money and effort just isn't worth it in the end.

I personally want all the CoH spiritual successors to prove to the bigger (but not AAA because 4)(|< AAA publishers) publishers' stupid investors (people who don't get that NCSoft alone was responsible for killing City of Heroes and that it was SOE's stupidity that caused DCUO to be such an abject failure that it quickly had to switch to F2P life support just to keep it afloat, these are the same people who killed SWG with their idiocy after all, you can cater to casual gamers without the need to drastically alter the core of the gameplay experience, this is something that WoW and Maplestory did successfully, though it certainly didn't help the game was already in dire straits due to a poor launch and post-launch) that not only can MMOs in general be successful but that the Superhero MMO sub-genera is one worth investing in. In fact, I want current MMO publishers' investors to understand this as well.
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