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Populated Cities

Discussion in 'WildStar General' started by Thieron, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Thieron

    Thieron New Cupcake

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    I don't know if this topic has be discussed or not...

    What are some ideas Carbine can do to make players visit or hang out in cities/towns. There needs to be something more then just quest givers. With the vast features of player housing, and guild halls (post release), what going to keep players from spending all of their down time there, or is that what Carbine is going for?

    When Guild Halls were released in EQ2, the cities felt deserted and I'm just hoping cities and towns won't feel like this in W*.
     
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  2. SniperCT

    SniperCT Cupcake-About-Town

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    Cities need to draw people but they also need a lot going on NPC wise to make them feel lively during off-hours and on low-pop servers.

    Kids running around, vendors hawking their wares, NPCs discussing things. Sit in Stormwind and the city feels so alive, even without players.

    Even little towns and quest hubs need this kind of thing.
     
  3. Tayle

    Tayle Cupcake

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    I would love to have lots of mini games. And maybe a pool to fish in would be nice. Like in Dalaran in WoW. There were always a bunch of people hanging there :)
     
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  4. Convicted

    Convicted Super Cupcake

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    Wait...is this the opposing view thread for people who dont want players out in the open world.

    :eek:

    /shocked
     
  5. osufan

    osufan New Cupcake

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    This has been one of the big hang-ups for newer MMOs. Who exactly am I doing all of this stuff for? In RIFT, you saw a farmhouse every 4 hours and in SWTOR there was nothing... Ambient NPCs who don't serve quest purposes are a huge part of making the world feel alive.
     
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  6. SniperCT

    SniperCT Cupcake-About-Town

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    I could go on a rant. I'll save it for if I ever get into beta and can give them appropriately aimed feedback. :D
     
  7. BonusStage

    BonusStage Well-Known Cupcake

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    Sorry but i cant not laugh at this thread after so many other threads that wanted sugestions on how to keep people active outside the Towns/Hubs.

    it just shows how MMO's are hard to make, it has such a big player base that almost everyone wants something diferent.
     
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  8. F8L Fool

    F8L Fool Cupcake-About-Town

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    I knew this subject would come up sooner or later so I might as well hop in now.

    With all of the features that are supposedly being put into player housing I suspect cities will be less and less of a necessity. The only way to prevent cities from being outright deserted is to require the user to come there for specific tasks, which equates to directly limiting what the Housing system can do.

    If they allow characters to store non-decorative items in their home—gear, consumables, crafting materials, etc—they will just use it as their primary bank. Especially when you can instantly teleport to your house from anywhere in the game; far more convenient than trekking to a city bank. Furthermore if you log out in your decorated home you will receive 4x the rested EXP that you would get from logging out at a city/inn. So the typical mantra of "log out at a NPC based rest zone" will be no more, thus greatly reducing traffic in said areas.

    There are a number of other housing features that will replace ones typically found in cities, but I will move on to ways to keep cities bustling rather than list them all.

    The absolute easiest way to keep people coming to cities is probably the last bastion for a characters reliance on NPC cities: auction houses. As long as this is the primary means of purchasing items from other players, the vast majority of players will always have to travel to cities a on a frequent basis. Whether to buy items or to sell their wares. The economy actually relies on people doing this in order to create a gold sink in the form of Auction House Fees, so I'm sure they will persist in Wildstar.

    Other mechanics to keep players attached to cities are:
    • Specialty Vendors - class and profession materials
    • PvP Vendors - gear and consumables
    • Unique Craft Stations - highest tier/special ones that can't be replicated in housing
    • Recurring Quest Chains - keep people coming back to advance special quests
    • Skill Trainers - obvious one, but becomes less important after a lot of people hit level cap
    • Banks - if you restrict some (or all) items from being stored in homes people will have to visit them
    • Political Hub - not sure if there will be politics of some kind, but ya...
    • Warplot Maintenance - require people to construct and maintain warplots within the city
    • Housing Upgrades - require people to buy new houses/expand plots in a city
    There are many other more "experimental" and creative ways to keep people relying on cities as well. To be quite honest I am not that attached to cities at all, especially with he advent of housing. I've always preferred gathering at my home(s) and seeing friends, guildies, and visitors on my land instead of some city I have no influence over. So I guess the questions we have to ask ourselves is:
    • Should the developer intentionally inconvenience players to preserve a city-centric design?
    • Why should we try to preserve populous cities in the first place?
    • Would you rather have countless houses that people congregate at or a few capital cities?
    • What is the down side of not having a lot of people NPC frequent cities?
    • What is the up side of having lots of people visit NPC cities?
    I look forward to seeing how Carbine handles this conundrum in the future, as well as their reasoning for doing so.
     
  9. Lesh

    Lesh Cupcake

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    Just to add to F8L. Cities should also be stratigically located, geographically speaking.
    I don't think city centric design is inconvenient in any way, in fact it's quite convenient to have one major hub for all your needs, that's why cities exist to begin with. It would suck to have an auction house in one place and arena entrance on the other side of the world and your class trainer in yet another place and no one convenient physical location that is at equal distance to everywhere you need to go and no place for crafters to advertise their services, etc..

    Dueling ouside of cities!!!!!
     
  10. Paul_Cousins

    Paul_Cousins Cupcake

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    Well World of Warcraft showed one way to get cities to be populated was to have the cities be portal travel hubs from city to city, from city to place.

    Day or night. Any time of the week players were at the major cities in noticeable numbers.

    Blizzard getting rid of city to city portal hubs was one of the final straws that made me leave the game.
     
  11. Tacomagamefan

    Tacomagamefan Cupcake

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    Some very thoughtful responses here, especially from F8L. Two other ideas to help make main cities important are:

    1. Have lots of holiday or other events there for people to do with decent personal and guild benefits; and

    2. Faction city raiding with temporary detriments if your city gets crushed by the opposing faction and benefits if it's well defended. For instance, if the opposing faction takes down your city, the AH cut goes up. This could be tied say to a random day each week -- so on Sunday it's announced that on Wednesday, factions that take down an opposing city get 'X'. Could be a fun way to keep server factions engaged! But there will have to be just enough reasons to have players spend some time in cities (not just defending it) along the lines of F8L's suggestions.
     
  12. Psistorm

    Psistorm Cupcake-About-Town

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    I think populated cities are a good thing. There should be a sort of main hub. And while expansions can introduce potentially sub-hubs, I'm weary of those since they'll split the community up a bit more. I would rather there was one capital city that was reasonably static for each faction.

    Housing I don't think will take away much from that, as long as the conveniences found in houses and those in cities don't overlap. Meaning there need to be many reasons to visit a city. A travel hub, all the important vendors and such, many conveniences that make you come back there often. Houses have their role as rest xp generators, which works well, since offline players aren't in the world anyways. So cities are the main social hubs for those in world, whilst the open world itself will be the main draw for those who want adventure.
     
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  13. Azhdaha

    Azhdaha Cupcake-About-Town

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    I like these ideas. To me, Lion's Arch in GW2 was a good example of a city that felt alive... but perhaps that was to the detriment of the other cities (as I only really ever saw mass amounts of people in LA).

    In my head, I picture my house in WildStar as being somewhat akin to living on the frontier 200 years ago. You may have been fairly independent, but there were often times things that you couldn't acquire or build without "going into town." I agree with you in that the AH is going to be the biggest draw. Sure having AH access at your housing plot would arguably be a "quality of life" bump, having the AHs physically kept in the cities would undoubtedly be more of a draw.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Morphine

    Morphine New Cupcake

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    This is also a concern for me, especially considering the role settlers have in the defense and upkeep of cities. Hopefully we won't just have a single city which is flooded with people but will have several populated ones.

    I think, as many of you guys do, that this can only happen if there are unique draws to each place. Say for example have profession trainers which have different trademark crafts. Public events based in cities seasonally, imagine the 'Draken head hunt'- first saturday of every month players compete to get the most kills on one specific beast Make cities necessary to visit. I think that's a clever way to bring players to a city, if even for one day a month.
     
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  15. Afrotech

    Afrotech Cupcake-About-Town

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    I agree with these points and one needs to look no further than single player sandbox games like the GTA series and Watch Dogs for examples of lively vibrant cities packed with interesting NPC's, quests, merchants, enemies and mini games.

    Why are people drawn to or choose to live in or near big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Hong Kong, England, Dubai etc. and why are all those places expensive to live in?
    It's because those places are all hubs where you can see and do things conveniently that you can't in other remote parts of the world that offer urban features unique to those places.

    Give cities, city atmosphere and unique attractions.
     
  16. Eluldor

    Eluldor Cupcake-About-Town

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    Ahh there is one thing people here are missing. Nexus is a recently discovered planet and settlements are being established as you play. I don't really see huge capital faction cities being here...yet.

    Now towns have an entire Path dedicated to building them up from scratch: the Settler. Other players visiting these new establishments will be able to receive buffs, new/unlocked quests, taxi services, and all of that good stuff. All of this may additionally apply to cities, if such huge constructs are in game.

    If you want to experience cities, buy a ticket to Cassus, the Dominion homeworld ;)
     
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  17. Miatog

    Miatog Cupcake-About-Town

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    This is what's missing in nearly every MMO out there. Walk around in any WoW city. You'd think they exist only for the sake of adventurers and the only people who live there are the trainers and merchants that sell to the adventurers. I realize there's needed worldscaling going on there, and I assume here. We don't need the cities to have thousands or even hundreds of NPCs. Fill out who's needed, then add another hundred or so who never sit in one place, let all the non-venders, non-trainers walk around. Let them go home, go to work, go to the merchant, go to the tavern, then back home.

    Heck if they wanted, they could even add NPCs having dates, then when a patch hits let them marry, next patch kids. Ok so maybe that's a bit much but it'd be fun to watch the cities grow too! I'd actually spend a good week at least in each city to see how it's changed if they did this.
     
  18. F8L Fool

    F8L Fool Cupcake-About-Town

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    I totally see the appeal of cities and I get where you are coming from, but you are using examples that simply do not apply to a MMO environment, or Wildstar specifically.

    Take GTA and Watch Dogs for example, or Hitman: Absolution and Infamous 1/2 if you've have played them. All of those games feature a lot of NPC's in the environment doing menial day-to-day tasks. It is immersive, believable and quite a sight to look at when you are passing through. The only problem is that all of these environments are offline, static, and are inhabited by literally one player character: you. Developers know the maximum amount of activity that will occur at any given time and can design for that. In essence despite appearing lively and vibrant, it's very much a static world. If you tried to incorporate that level of detail into a MMO city you would encounter insane amounts of lag, server crashes and people demanding the NPC's be immediately removed.

    In regards to the concept of real world cities attracting large numbers of people to them, that goes hand in hand with real world limitations and conveniences. Not every single person in the world can do what our characters can do, such as: chop down a tree, repair our broken objects, cook food at a campfire, never sleep, never need to work, create money out of thin air via killing ogres (lol). Real life cities are attractive because they offer so much in a very confined amount of space. Obviously there are other things that appeal to people as well, but it's mostly due to real world necessities and constraints that millions of people flock to them. I guarantee you if everyone in the world was 95%+ self-sufficient like MMO characters are, people would be just as spread out IRL as they are in MMO worlds.

    The point is that we can't set real world expectations on in game cities without bringing in the real world inconveniences. The same can be said for comparing single player environments to multiplayer ones.

    Well, the NPC's really do exist just for the sake of the adventurers. They were willed into existence for that sole purpose and serve no other function. The more NPC's you put into a place the more you will have to account for rendering and scripting them, both of which can adversely affect server stability and player framerates. It's definitely appealing to think about a city that is overflowing with NPC activity. But not at the expense of the gameplay or simply for the sake of having it.
     
  19. Afrotech

    Afrotech Cupcake-About-Town

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    Ahh very true, but it's a timeline thing just because a character is newly arrived on Nexus even on launch day doesn't mean that there aren't some first pioneers that have been there for months and have already established a bustling town that is quickly growing.

    But, you are right not likely to be a huge capital faction city just yet wouldn't it be great to watch a boomtown slowly, dynamically morph into a city over a 6 to 12 month period after WildStar launch. :)
     
  20. Afrotech

    Afrotech Cupcake-About-Town

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    I snipped your post down to what I think would be the biggest concern which is server stability and the impact of what all these dynamic NPC's running about in the world would have in terms of lag.

    Admittedly I'm no expert on the technical side and my imagination moves much faster than what may be technically possible :D but, I mainly used GTA and Watch Dogs as examples for atmosphere and the types of NPC's I listed already exist in other games.

    But, as Eluldor pointed out to create cities on that scale of say GTA5 wouldn't be consistent with a planet that has just been discovered.

    Maybe Red Dead Redemption would have been a better example, but the main point is to create a focal point with unique attractions that draw players and has a lively atmosphere whether prime time with players filling that hub or off hours while most people are sleeping.
     

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