Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Classes should be fun!

Sorry for the long gap between posts school has had me very busy. As the title suggest this is not the next game world post, but a post in the way of me showing what I feel MMO's are lacking as they continue to be pumped out. This post is not bias in any way I have played a ton of MMORPGs and understand that classes do need to have similarities to keep balance, but where is the line for too similar?

The biggest challenge I have had as far as class design and concepts is the uniqueness of each class. Every time I seem to be happy with a class a MMO comes out that really comes close to one of my classes designs and I then either scrap the class or modify it. Since you will be playing a single class you like for most of the game there really needs to be uniqueness between the classes so you don't feel you are just playing a clone of another class. My biggest gripe with this seems to be World of Warcraft, WoW is a great game and I love it but sometimes other classes seem to just blend in with others. The biggest comparison I make is mage and warlock. Both are spell casters and they do differ in their own right (warlock gets powerful dots, debuffs, and pets while mage relies more on just raw damage spells.) but when it comes to game play each class just sits back and slings spells at the target.

That is something I really want to avoid is classes that may differ in their spell/ability access, but when it comes to game play differ very little. So with my caster classes I have been trying to give them each different play styles, one that can inflict raw damage but also has utility abilities to add on how they position them selves and another that uses spells that my alter the foe in ways that they can really change the pace of battle and control fights. In a nut shell they both can deal damage but have to utilize different aspects of their class to do this instead of class A, and B just standing back and spamming a spell waiting for a proct. I really want spell casters to be able to show their uniqueness in combat and in doing so making them more involved with battles rather than just being a casters that just have either dots, or more raw damage spells. Classes need to be fun since they are what a player will be spending all their time learning and perfecting. The same can be said about tanking but I don't want this post to drag on for ever so in a later post I will touch on the other aspects of game play (tanking/healing/melee damage dealing). Thanks for reading and thank you for the feedback.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

idea injection #2

While traveling through Selethra you may encounter one of the many debilitating effects that can be inflicted apoun you.

Status alignments
Action freeze: Cannot perform melee abilities.
Silence: Cannot use magi spells.
Slow: Movement speed is reduced.
Disarmed: Weapon is unusable for an amount of time.
Fractured armor: Physical defenses are reduced based on your armor.
Sleep: Asleep and cannot attack damage will break the sleep effect.
Frightened: Run in terror from your target cannot cast spells or use melee abilities while running in terror.
Attack down: Your attack power is reduced for an amount of time.
Magi power down: Your magi power is reduced for an amount of time.
Stunned: Cannot move, attack, or use spells.
Dazed:  Cannot move, attack, or cast spells damage will break the daze effect.
Petrified: Cannot move, attack, or cast spells, but defenses are increased greatly a set amount of damage will break this effect.
Attribute down: An attribute is reduced for an amount of time.
Air born: Thrown into the air cannot attack, move, or cast spells and take increased damage fall damage is applied based on how far you fall when this effect wears off.
Speed down: Attack speed is reduced for an amount of time.
Tongue tied: Magi cast times are increased for an amount of time.
Itching: You are very un-comfortable and may have to stop and scratch yourself from time to time, this effect interrupts attacks, spells, or abilities if it activates.
Diseased: You are inflicted with a disease causing a status alignment or damage over time.
Poisoned: You are poisoned and are inflicted with a damage over time effect.
Cursed: You have a curse on you causing a damage over time effect, or status alignment.
Sealed: A magi school has been sealed and cannot be used; other schools outside the sealed school can still be cast.
Shattered: all of your attributes have been switched.
Frozen: Frozen solid and cannot attack, move, or cast spells damage will break this effect and some abilities or spells have increased damage against frozen targets.
Vampire: Your attacks will heal you by 10% of damage done but healing spells will cause harm to you.
Drained: Attack speed is reduced, spell cast times are increased, movement speed is reduced, HP is reduced, and ME is reduced.
Resistance down: Magi defenses are reduced

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

idea injection #1

 This is the first idea injection this will be the mechanics behind basic movement through out the game world. These are movement ideas for general purposes some realms will have different modes that you can move in, but I won't be posting those quite yet.

Basic movement
Walk: move in any direction at slower speeds, lowers the chance that a foe will attack you very slightly.
Run: move in any direction at higher speeds.
Swim: Move underwater at a reduced speed, oxygen decreases the longer you stay underwater.
Jump: jump up 1 foot into the air, allows you to move over smaller obstacles and avoid certain attacks.
Advanced movement
Double jump: allows a second jump after a normal jump is executed allows you to move over larger obstacles and access different areas. A special item is needed to perform the double jump.
Climb: climb up ladders and hoist yourself over certain obstacles. A special item is needed to allow you to climb up hill and mountain sides.
Grapple hook: Toss your grappling hook onto a secure area and swing across large gaps accessing different areas of a map. The grappling hook must be obtained before this action can be used.
Mount: Ride on the back of your mount increasing your movement speed based on the mounts quality. Special mounts and the item needed will allow you to perform the double jump, grapple hook, and climb movement actions while on a mount.
Sneak: Greatly reduce your movement speed but decrease the chance a foe will see or hear you.
Hide: hide within a pile of bushes, or various other items to make yourself usable to foes; you must stand still while hiding moving will break the effect there must be a usable object you can hide in.

Some movement is built for general use while others are more meant for accessing areas that you may not have been able to access before. Some of them are traditional MMO game standards while others are a little more unique. Sneak is a little vague, it is not a stealth more than a movement mode that will lower the range in which a foe will attack you. Together hide and sneak will help less experienced players avoid un-wanted combat and hide will allow for an ambush attack (a battle mechanic that I will post in a later injection.).

Saturday, July 23, 2011


 "Be damned if you think the earthen realm is the most outer layer! No matter how far you travel into the deep or outer realms there is another realm beyond it. What world do we live in where there is no stability, I'll tell you Selethra! Every realm is just a door way to the next. I will find an answer someday, but for now Caleb you will watch the kingdom."
                Jonathan Rampheart's final words before he gave the crown to his son and left his kingdom.

 Selethra a planet full of mystery, the many races that call it home search for answers that make up the planet and it's many realms. Even the most eldest of races have no knowledge of what caused the planet to shatter and form what the natives call the realms. The only hint to what happened is an ancient glyph that only reads "purple mist, purple sky, it fell from the heavens..." the rest of the glyph has seemingly been destroyed. Scientists and philosophers around Selethra have came up with many theories to what this could have meant. Some speculate that it is a warning while others think it may be an incantation for a spell that caused the shattering, but one thing they all point to is that what happened was on a catastrophic level. Despite the lack of knowledge for their planets mysterious mutation the races strive to live in peace.

 The earthen realm is thought to be the most outer realm on Selethra it is the most stable realm and has signs of the earliest habitation being the race known as the Felardre. The earthen realm has vast forests that extend for hundreds of miles, rivers that flow over grand waterfalls, and oceans that seemingly go on for ever. As adventurers and merchants cross through the forests the magnificent trees sparkle with dew and baby leaflings can be seen hanging from the branches blending into the tree. To the east of the Kelarish mountains lies the Jin'Thala forest where the pixies call home. Pixies are the smallest race on Selethra and are magically advanced. A key feature is that male pixies have two horns on their heads and females have antenna. Though they are native to the elemental plane the pixies where forced to the earthen realm due to a war that broke out.

 West to the pixies home Jin'Thala lies the Kelarish mountains. A vast mountain range with great canyons and mountain tops that touch the heavens. Here is where the race known as the durashire live or more commonly known as the durahan. The durahan live a tribal life style and have no want to harm the other races. They live peaceful lives and help the people of Selethra, but to travelers who have not meet them are alarmed by their appearance. From a distance they look like floating armor but if you look closer you can see a mist like skin that acts as their limbs. When not armored there faces resemble a tribal mask with glowing eyes. If you travel north through the caverns of the Kelarish mountains and over the vast Gishalt plains you can catch a glimpse of the sun setting on a grand kingdom.....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Me as a designer

 I have given you a in site of how this dream came to be now let me give you a more in depth idea of me as a game designer. By the way I talk and you can tell I'm more fit for the game designer role than the others. I have decent programming skills and my math is sub par, my main strength is my imagination. My teachers have often told me that I have had some of the most creative designs they have seen, but when it came down to programming I wasn't an A+ student. By book definition most people see this as being the funnest role, but most forget it is the most demanding role. Game designers have the most work load out of all the roles in a development team and always answer to the lead designer.

 The lead designer name is also misleading, the lead designer trades creativity for authority. They are tasked with the sole purpose of keeping the game on track and making sure the design does not walk to far from the games core ideas. This is a role that veteran game designers take on after they have been developing games for many many years. So as far as my MMORPG goes I am a game designer for it, but also currently many other roles since I do not have a company or team, and working on it by myself. Though that was a little off track I wanted to give you a reason why I refer to myself as a designer and not a lead designer.

 By book definition I am a player-centric game designer. Player-centric game design is a philosophy of design in which the designer envisions a representative player of a game the designer wants to create. The designer then undertakes two key obligations to that player
  • The duty to entertain
  • The duty to empathize
 In a nut shell I put myself in the players shoes and judge the game by what the player would find fun not myself. I do find the concept of my MMORPG very fun but would be pointless if I didn't share the ideas for it with other players. Why create a game for yourself? I take pride in my studies and love what I learn. That is why I will often make mention of me being very observant to other players responses to game patches and ideas rather than my own view of them. I also love to come up with game play ideas and game world concepts. (haha you might go crazy after I bring that up for the millionth time.)

 I love it so much I often find myself writing down ideas or drawing small concept sketches on my notes while I sit threw lectures. But don't take it as me telling ya not to keep up with you studies! Haha I work hard on my school work don't get me wrong but the ideas flow so much if I don't get them down I lose all of my focus and drift off to a day dreaming state. Now I can rattle on and on about me personally, that's not the goal of this blog I hope as I share my ideas with you my design style will show and speak for itself.

 For the course of the blog I am going to keep it more informal but will have frequent sections called idea injections where I will post pretty much ideas for the game that are either brewing or have been written down. These little info chunks will be meant for pure feedback and not really have a lot of text following them. I agree with the feedback I have gotten as to where the blog needs to be more formal, but the key goal is to get ideas out to you and get your thoughts on them.

 Well with all of the info about me posted lets get to know more about the world of Selethra! Not in this post but the next post I am going to start painting a picture of the massive game world to you. As you learn more about the game world the more I can show you game play mechanics and ideas with less fuzziness to how they will appear. So sit back and get ready because we are going full throttle into the game world from here on out. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

The dreams manifestation

 Working day and night I soon found myself working harder and harder to come up with more creative ideas. In order to keep ideas fresh I would never force them out, because it was more of a side project there where no dead lines and I could work at my own pace. Though the dream that used to occur all most every night had stopped there was a burning fire inside of me to keep going. Now as I played Final fantasy 11 and world of warcraft I found myself paying more attention to players reactions to new ideas and patches more than I payed attention to the game itself. Sadly my time was done with Final fantasy 11 I found myself sitting in towns bored and just wanting a new scene. But what Final fantasy 11 taught me was and still is not forgotten.

 About this time I was thinking why a MMORPG? Why did I have this drive to create one of the hardest styles of games? Every night I would stare at my screen wondering what could I do that would surpass World of warcraft and Final fantasy 11, what is special about this planet named Selethra that a random dream named? Yes I have developed classes that each have their own unique style, but that was only one piece to the puzzle. On one hand I have about 6 classes so far being created and on the other a empty world that only had a name. My mind was riddled this questions I could not answer. Still the motivation was not clear why a MMORPG I asked myself this so many times that my brain could explode. Then as the game went on a small break I was sitting in class listening to class mates talk about MMORPGs and their ideas where just world of warcraft with small differences. "You hit the max level and grind dungeons." "Raid bosses that blow up chunks of the arena." as I listened a answer finally hit me. Fun, I want to make a MMORPG that was fun, a game where people would come home and smile as they logged in. A game where you never got left out of the loop if you where not the most skilled player. A game that did not sacrifice enjoyable cut scenes and deep storyline quests for game play that only revolved around dungeons. I don't have money on the mind I just want to make a game that is fun and brings smiles to players faces.

 And this is where I stand, some 4 years and the tiny document that was just a fun idea is now a folder with over 14 class ideas, story lines, combat ideas, race ideas, and the key design goal "Fun". The list goes on and on and grows even as I type this. A dream that was once a unclear motive manifested into a game concept that I feel has the potential to become one of the great MMORPGs of it's time. Selethra a world created within a dream and a dream that someday will not be something that comes while I sleep.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dreaming of a dream

 As you all know from my first post I am a college student working on a degree in game design. But that's as far as I have ever went. I have given you little info on why I want to make video games in general and ultimately a MMORPG.

 Well it started a long time ago back when I was able to pick up a controller I always found myself fascinated with video games. I would play them for long periods of times, but I would catch myself really looking too deep into them. I was more than a young boy who wanted to play them I would sit up at night and ask my parents and brother how they where made always being answered with a shrug. Once I was able to play on the family computer I would find myself drawing board games and little critters and send them to toy companies. Now as you may know they where sent back (gimme a break I was 10 and had no idea how they came to be.). As I grew older I found free platforms of game creations my main focus was the RPG maker. I would spend months on a game then get excited when I watched my friends play them. The more I created on RPG maker the more I felt trapped by the limited creativeness it allowed. This was just the starting step of my journey.

 I was around 18 years old when something smacked me, I can recall it like it was yesterday. I was playing final fantasy 11 walking around on my warrior in the dunes and I saw a summoner call out ifrit. I thought to myself wouldn't it be cool if that taru could combine himself with ifrit and take on his characteristics? I wrote this down and thought nothing of it. The idea stayed in a word document for about 2 months. At this time I was starting to play world of warcraft and was having a good time. I was amazed by the druid class and it's shape shifting abilities. But ultimately I found my self thinking of other shape shifts it could perform. Finally the word document was opened again and was soon filled with over 75 abilities and spells. I got on Final fantasy 11 and started pitching my ideas to friends as was excited to see that this class sounded fun to a lot of my friends. Spirit fuser was born and I found my self opening up a side project next to my other game scripts I have written.

 I hit a hard point in my life and found my self jobless and getting no where. I would fall asleep dreaming of this world but in this dream that would return night after night I could never touch it. I would see a group of people in a conference room talking about this nameless game. Eventually I got my self together and found a college that offered a degree in game design I was filled with excitement. As I learned more I found this side project filling up more and more with ideas and even crappy concept doodles I would make in classes that bored me. Once again the dream returned and I found my self in that same room with the same people, then out of no where one of the people muttered the word Selethra. I woke up and wrote down this word as best as I could spell it. What was to become of this word and what did it trigger?