1. Hey Guest! If you're more than just a WildStar fan and want to keep up on the latest MMO news, reviews and opinion pieces then I'd like to suggest you visit our sister site MMO Central

The Wild Worldly Wonders of the World

Discussion in 'Gaming Arena' started by Yakzan, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Yakzan

    Yakzan "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    743
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Iceland
    Hail! This week I wanted to bring up something I felt related to last week's thread about immersion and that is world design. I feel the world itself and its design in an MMO is a lot more important than many people think and in some games it isn't getting the care and long term attention that it deserves. (As an aside, I'd like to gladly point you to John's journey thread instead of cursing him for beating me to it. :p)

    TL;DR: World design has a lot to it and is very important. It comes in many forms like seamless worlds, zones with loading screens, along with simply lobby-based game worlds. Worlds are big and small and have an effect on the 'feel' of the world. With size comes travel, with its boons and time consumption. Flying mounts is definitely a thing. It has such a great effect that people just won't shut up about it. I definitely won't. Points of interest and hubs are cool, but are they cool enough? My little batch of "interesting" questions are at the bottom of the post!

    One Big World or a Bunch of Boxes?
    The world of an MMO comes in many flavours. You have the seamless words (WoW, DAoC, Wildstar, etc) then you have the zoned/boxed worlds (EQ, AoC, SWTOR, etc,) which have their effects on 'feeling' of the world itself. Then you have games where the 'world' is instanced per person/party (GW, Vindictus, etc) and instead there are hubs where you meet the people.

    It's a Small World After All
    Worlds and zones come in many sizes. You can find rather large zones in WoW like the Barrens (Now Northern and Southern Barrens) and on that topic, WoW had a pretty large world, or at least seemed large due to its seamless nature. Then you get worlds and zones that are rather smallish like in TOR, especially due to its boxlike nature (At least that's how I felt.) Actually, it's pretty interesting thinking about how that approach can effect the perception on the world's size.

    The Road Goes Ever On
    Related to size, I'd like to bring up the concept of distance and travel. This is something pretty simple and well known, due to it being quite founded in our grasp of reality, but something I find interesting in MMOs for some reason. Traveling between places takes time and effort, this reduced by systems to reduce the time and effort required, such as taxi services, class abilities, and the current trend of teleporting to dungeons. On that trend, you can see with games such as GW2 that 'hassle' of traveling is being increasingly reduced. This also effects the sense of scale of the world's size.

    That Z-Axis Can Be a Real Bugger
    I really wanted to avoid mentioning flying mounts, considering the discussions we've already had on this subject, but I feel that I cannot avoid it when it connects to world design so much. There is a huge difference between travelling on the ground and in the air. The world on the ground has paths and 'corridors' to direct players into and through various areas. The world in the air is one of utmost freedom, I've even likened it to 'no-clipping' like in Doom where you can just ignore all the obstacles and go to where you want with minimal effort. This is a huge boon in terms of convenience because suddenly walls can be easily bypassed, dangerous areas avoided, mountains ignored. This also, obviously enough, puts everyone in the air. It is such a convenience that without restrictions that fewer people are on the ground. Overall, this has an effect on how players view the world, affects the sense of scale, and reduces spontaneous interactions and events.

    Towns, Outposts and Dragon Heads, Oh My!
    Points of interests and hubs are an interesting topic. PoIs can be a point of congregation or it can be simply cool to look at, such as Hemet Nessingwary's Camp in WoW and the variety of neat locations in LotRO. Hubs have now increasingly turned into simply quest hubs rather than a point of congregation in an area before heading off into the wild unknown. Related to this are capital cities, which are massive hubs in themselves, usually made so due to services available along with being centralized hub of travel.

    Now I'd like to ask:
    • How important is the world to you? Is it just a piece of leveling content before endgame? Is it outdated and a more lobby-like system used instead?
    • Do you prefer seamless worlds or instanced zone-based worlds? Do you feel it has a significant effect on how you perceive the world?
    • How important is the world size to you? Do you prefer smaller, condensed worlds with minimal distance between PoIs or do you prefer large, expansive worlds with an increased distance between PoIs?
    • How important is traveling in the world to you? Should the trend to decreased travel time and effort continue or should we take a step back and maintain a system that has increased travel time and effort involved? Where do you draw the line?
    • How do you feel about flying mounts? Is the convenience worth the side-effects? Are there better ways? Try to avoid turning the thread into being about nothing other than flying, though.
    • How important are hubs of congregation in areas and PoIs to you? Do you feel they get enough love? Any suggestions on how to improve these parts of the world?
    • How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? Here I'm meaning scenic pieces like towers on a mountain you cannot reach, etc. An example would be the things you'd see back in older times in WoW while on a flight path like the dancing troll village or ruins in the mountains.
     
    Vembumees, Kurik, Krakuun and 3 others like this.
  2. ObliviousPrime

    ObliviousPrime "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Likes Received:
    490
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Bahrain
    • How important is the world to you? Is it just a piece of leveling content before endgame? Is it outdated and a more lobby-like system used?
    I love living vibrent worlds the atmosphere is great for game immersion. I want to see places not just wait in a lobby area like I am playing TF2 or something.
    • Do you prefer seamless worlds or zone-based worlds? Do you feel it has a significant effect on how you perceive the world?
    Seamless as much as possible. Recently played Neverwinter beta and I did not particularly like all the loading screens.
    • How important is the world size to you? Do you prefer smaller, condensed worlds with minimal distance between PoIs or do you prefer large, expansive worlds with an increased distance between PoIs?
    Large worlds are better as long as there isn't long stretches of land that is empty. Ends up making the zone feel desolate and not that well liked. Tatooine on SWTOR as an example
    • How important is traveling in the world to you? Should the trend to decreased travel time and effort continue or should we take a step back and maintain a system that has increased travel time and effort involved? Where do you draw the line?
    I like traveling quickly from one place to another. If its not like the waypoint system in GW2 I hope to at least port quickly to major hubs.
    • How do you feel about flying mounts? Is the convenience worth the side-effects? Are there better ways? Try to avoid turning the thread into being about nothing other than flying, though.
    I haven't played a game with flying mounts before, so I have no stong feeling about them.
    • How important are hubs of congregation in ares and PoIs to you? Do you feel they get enough love? Any suggestions on how to improve these parts of the world?
    I would like it if it was not just one hub that was full of people and the other cites were empty in comparison.
    maybe make all cities important in different ways. maybe one is the crafting capital (the merchant city) and another is a raid/dungeon hub ( adventurers city with training barracks etc..)....
     
    Joukehainen, Yakzan and Gempulse like this.
  3. Gempulse

    Gempulse Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Likes Received:
    141
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Kansas
    How important is the world to you? The world and the way that the world looks is exceptionally important to me. To me, if the world is bland or uninspired, I will feel bland and uninspired while playing. In contrast, having a beautifully designed world creates a vast sense of immersion for me and is one of the largest producing factors of nostalgia and long-lasting memories.

    Do you prefer seamless worlds of zone-based worlds? I prefer seamless worlds because it makes the game feel more like an actual world. If I am constantly trekking through portals, that can throw my immersion off balance.

    How important is world size to you? The bigger the world, the better. I like to pretend that games like WoW have never-ending horizons or borders, even though I know they aren't; it makes the game feel like a real world. In the real world, you will never reach the "end" of the world and I like at least partially feeling like that is the case in an MMORPG. I dislike itif I'm constantly running into un-passable borders and zone limitations.

    How important is traveling in the world to you? It is very important. I think teleporting everywhere (i.e. GW2) can reduce the scale, or feeling of scale, of an online world. There should be some fast traveling, like Mage Ports or Warlock Summoning Stones in WoW, but even that should be limited. Too much teleporting deadens the feeling of a large world.

    How do you feel about flying mounts? I don't necessarily like them, because, again, I think they dramatically decrease the perspective size of the world. Grounds mounts are enough to me.
     
    Joukehainen, John and Yakzan like this.
  4. Yushi

    Yushi Cupcake

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Montreal
    Why is WoW like...one of the only MMO's with so few loading. That's all I ask honestly. The world...for beside instances or maybe changing continent...I want minimum loading!
     
  5. Yakzan

    Yakzan "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    743
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Iceland
    Actually, a thought related to PoIs came to mind while reading your posts:
    • How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? Here I'm meaning scenic pieces like towers on a mountain you cannot reach, etc. An example would be the things you'd see back in older times in WoW while on a flight path like the dancing troll village or ruins in the mountains.
    As much as I love reaching the places I see in the distance, these kind of things always enthralled me. There is something about seeing something cool in the distance but can never reach and the mystery around it. I'd actually like to think this applies to a lot of things that I saw in WoW and LotRO like the old Timbermaw Hold door in WoW and roads leading to places like the Far Downs in LotRO.

    I'll also posts my own answers to the questions I asked tomorrow, in case you guys actually care what I think. :p

    I think this is a shame as well. The last game I recall being released that was seamless was Rift, though I could be wrong. I'd definitely love to be proven wrong, really.
     
    Joukehainen likes this.
  6. ImmortalExile

    ImmortalExile Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Indiana
    I think the best answer I can give would be just to say, to me, the world itself should feel huge. I want to be so immersed that I don't feel like I'm in a fictional world, but I am traveling and seeing sights for the first time, every time. Stopping to look over a cliff, or up into mountains, or down to a river or some body of water. I love looking at architecture, nature, the inhabitants, etc...
    If the world can make me forget I'm just logged into a game, then I am very happy.
     
    Lethality and Yakzan like this.
  7. Black Wolf

    Black Wolf Super Cupcake

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Likes Received:
    638
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I want to live in the world the developers create. It's my escape from a life away from keyboard. A themepark-only game is nice, but the developers are holding your hand and your decisions mostly don't mean and change anything. The more sandbox elements are in the game the better for me. Sandbox-only games have negatives as well though, so hopefully Wildstar will be right with their sandpark- or themeboxsystem.

    The more seamless the better. I understand it's not always possible to avoid loading screens though.

    Size isn't really the most important. You can ask the ladies! ;) Sure it's better to have a huge world, but if that world is empty and nothing is happening inside it, it's worthless. A really small world isn't ideal too, so developers need to find a good mix between them. What I've seen of Wildstar so far, I'm not worried.

    Every distance should have it's own transportation. For long distances you should have the opportunity to use faster travel. It's no fun to spend an hour to run from one location to another. Where do I draw the line? Instant travel? Maybe, if you need to use that several times a day, like to your house. But it has to have limits too. The choice to use it should matter. Once an hour maybe. Other ways of travel like a taxi system? I think 5-10 minutes of travel time or so will be fine. It's long enough to get a drink or use the bathroom in between and short enough to make it worthwhile to use it.

    I love to fly. I can spend an hour flying over landscapes enjoying the view. But, the world should be made for it. It should be restricted in certain area's. It's no fun to fly from quest mob to quest mob and be able to avoid all danger like that. Even at Elder game. It's a tough subject and I don't have exact ideas how to solve it. My hope is on Carbine to come up with a good one.
    Every PoI should have a purpose. A reason to be there. Settlements on earth were build for a reason as well. If not for trading or shelter and even more reason's then that. Some were build because of a strategic purpose. I want to go to Deradune because there is something in that area that I need. A raid boss or a crating trainer/station. I want to go to that outpost because there is a trader who sells hides that are only sold there and nowhere else. I want to return to lower level area's because I need those lower level plants in my Elder game recipes.
     
    Yakzan likes this.
  8. Lethality

    Lethality "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2012
    Likes Received:
    629
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I'll try to be concise!

    The world is the single most important facet of an MMO to me. It must be believable and create a sense of place. It also shouldn't be a throwaway, and players should be given reasons to go back to these places. Just because I grew up in a different state, doesn't mean it doesn't have relevance for me to visit now (in fact, it has possibly even MORE!)
    Gotta be a seamless world. This was the #1 Guild Wars 2 killing factor for me. Having the an open seamless world contributes the sense of a real place. See something? You should be able to get there - and without a loading screen!
    Worlds should be huge. Zones should be huge. I think back to SWG and the large open space, and even though much of it was empty, it made it feel more real and the commitment to travel somewhere meant something.
    Travel time has to exist to some extent. This was killer #2 for GW2 for me. The world is too small with map/click travel. There has to be some time involved for it to feel meaningful! Now, some instant travel abilities are ok - if they belong from players (like WoW's Mage portals) since they require players to work together to use and have a small time/resource sink.
    They are the cherry on top of the sundae I mentioned above! They make the world feel absolutely real... having that freedom is the #1 thing for a game to feel like a world to me.
    Players should naturally gather in the world, and some of those areas might even be emergent (not set up or predicted by the develoipers.) I think it's good that developers flow players into certain areas to fosters this kind of thing, it helps the game world feel alive, and even subsconsciously that's important!

    So much for concise :(
     
    John and Yakzan like this.
  9. Wayoverpowered

    Wayoverpowered Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    • How important is the world to you? Is it just a piece of leveling content before endgame? Is it outdated and a more lobby-like system used?
    It's very important for me to help make the game feel like an actual place, instead of just a set piece. I actually very much liked having some open-world/non-instanced content in older MMORPG titles. Incidentally, you end up bumping into people and interacting with them occasionally, which helps the social aspect of the game and at least makes it feel like an actual massively multiplayer game instead of solo with other people maybe existing.

    • Do you prefer seamless worlds or zone-based worlds? Do you feel it has a significant effect on how you perceive the world?
    It doesn't matter to me, but I prefer it to be one cohesive map. Having to "zone" doesn't bother me, nor does a loading screen for all of 2-5 seconds like it takes nowadays on most modern systems with an SSD. What does bother me is when, like SWTOR, they make a bunch of disconnected/disjointed areas and it ends up feeling like you're just hopping between maps like you would in a game of Counter-Strike. Having natural zones like a line where you have a quick load screen going through a canyon, or whatnot is fine, but entering a ton of portals and then being whisked away to random other places that wouldn't be "physically" connected, detracts immensely from the world feeling.

    • How important is the world size to you? Do you prefer smaller, condensed worlds with minimal distance between PoIs or do you prefer large, expansive worlds with an increased distance between PoIs?
    I prefer larger worlds, both for fun factor and meaning to travel decisions within a zone, however I dislike not being able to get to major functions easily such as your bank, housing, raid portals, etc. I don't mind spending a bit of time traveling in general, otherwise. The world *does* have to have more than just flat, empty plains in it for the size to matter, though, except when it makes sense to have a sparsely populated area (lore and/or zone-wise, and just to give some extra distance for travel).

    • How important is traveling in the world to you? Should the trend to decreased travel time and effort continue or should we take a step back and maintain a system that has increased travel time and effort involved? Where do you draw the line?
    I am more than happy to travel around, but I don't like having to commit to being in one area of the game for a long time, i.e. having to say go by foot/mount to a boat, wait 10 minutes on the boat, then run another 10 minutes to get to a vendor, etc. Basic functions should be readily accessible, but I'm fine with having to travel within a zone for awhile to get to a good farming spot, or find resource nodes to gather, or simply get to a good area within a region. Basically, I think going to regions and major functionality-providing areas should be quick, but getting to the actual thing you're in said area for doesn't need to be.

    • How do you feel about flying mounts? Is the convenience worth the side-effects? Are there better ways? Try to avoid turning the thread into being about nothing other than flying, though.
    I dislike them, as it makes the world feel more like a stage/simple field, and at least for non-instanced PVP makes for a lot of issues. That said, so long as flying is prohibited or designed for in any non-instanced PVP zones that may come down the pike, I don't mind it. WildStar is confirmed to have them though, so... I hope to see it well-integrated into the world design.

    • How important are hubs of congregation in ares and PoIs to you? Do you feel they get enough love? Any suggestions on how to improve these parts of the world?
    I think it's important to have areas that people will flow to naturally (in the wild) again to make it feel like an MMO world, and a few major areas for core functions that are only available at those areas, to force people to at least see other players, conduct trade, etc. I think that Rift's "rift" system was fantastic for helping with this, but things like nice mob density and farmability, resource-rich areas, quest paths criss-crossing, etc. can help people meander more, and for a reason.

    • How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? Here I'm meaning scenic pieces like towers on a mountain you cannot reach, etc. An example would be the things you'd see back in older times in WoW while on a flight path like the dancing troll village or ruins in the mountains.
    I don't mind them at all. They just provide nice scenery, and if there's no gameplay reason to be able to access them, that's fine: it still helps the world feel bigger, and provides ambience.
     
    Yakzan likes this.
  10. Naunet

    Naunet Well-Known Cupcake

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Oh, supremely important. It's the foundation of civilization (or lackthereof) and the foundation of any stories created within any given universe. I'm super big on exploration and appreciating the artistic creations of the devs out in the world. I'm that person who has 30 some-odd GB of screenshots of TERA landscapes and my characters out in the world. Besides its story value and its aesthetic value, I also take great pleasure in analyzing the different ecosystems of a world. I come up with wild theories explaining certain phenotypes, potential species interactions, climate, geological history, and more. I just love it.

    Seamless definitely. I wish more MMOs were like WoW and Rift, where I can literally go from one end of a continent to another. In Rift, they even encourage you to climb crazy mountains, and you don't run into invisible walls at the top of them preventing you from jumping down into the other zone (lookin' at you, TERA, you dick). I also hate zones that funnel you from one place to the next with "natural" walls like cliffs and such. If the region is moutainous or whathaveyou, use those features as part of the zone, not as a way to restrict travel.

    The bigger the better, to be perfectly honest! As long as these vast expanses are filled with interesting features, flora, and fauna, or whathaveyou.

    Travel in MMOs does multiple things. It accentuates immersion, can act as a currency sink, and helps pace players through content. One thing travel shouldn't feel like, however, is a chore. While you shouldn't start out knowing how to get everywhere (be it via flight path, teleportal, boat, or something else), once you've traveled some place, you should remember it. How that travel is implemented I think should depend on the lore of the game. Certain modes of travel are more appropriate in different types of worlds.

    So yea, I think there's a happy medium that can be found between making travel meaningful and immersive and keeping it from becoming too monotonous (afking on a 15 minute flightpath that you've seen a thousand times before).

    I'm a bit ambivalent on flying mounts. On the one hand, they allow you to get to places you may never have been able to go by foot (which can be really cool, especially if this is exploited by developers with hidden places all over the world). On the other hand, there are very real concerns about taking a community off the ground. I think in a game where the design incorporates flying mounts from the start, it can be done right. But it's rather risky to just add it in later.

    Quest hubs are like the red-headed stepchild of MMOs. At least for a lot of MMOs. Oftentimes one quest hub ends up looking just like all the rest. The devs should use the different quest hubs and towns as opportunities to really dig into demonstrating different cultures in the world - or the merging of said cultures. Architecture (or lackthereof), the manner and dress of NPCs, signs of life including hints at what they're doing for food and water and other necessities... Basically a hub of any kind needs to feel alive.

    I want to be able to go to ALL the places! D: Make it supremely challenging if they want, but damnit, let me go there!
     
    Wayoverpowered and Yakzan like this.
  11. John

    John "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Likes Received:
    618
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    USA
    Couple ones I'll hit on...

    Seamless worlds are a big one. It just really kills the immersion when you're walking along and you're suddenly disrupted by load screens. I love watching the animation magic of changing from one zone to the next.

    I like a huge world, it really adds to the scope of the game. And tying that into traveling, I really like having distance matter in the world. It makes it feel real. When I play games where you teleport everywhere I really don't have a sense of where I am in the world, i'm just 'somewhere'. I like the idea of a faraway place where different things are going on and I have to work a little bit to be a part of it. Just like visiting a foreign country IRL, if you can just open your front door and be there its not as exciting, its no longer foreign.

    In principle, flying mounts are awesome. As far as just a fun factor, they are really cool. That said, I don't like how they allow you skip all the details you see on the ground and more easily find secrets. I wouldn't mind seeing flying be a level cap feature that is only usable in level cap zones. Those zones could be designed specifically for flying, so they would not be trivialized. I think it is a tough question, i'm not sure there is a good solution to it.

    Adding one more, I'm really not a fan of invisible walls, it makes me feel like im playing a little kids game where they have to stop you from doing something dangerous. If i'm walking a bridge and decide I want to jump off, let me! :laugh:
     
    Yakzan likes this.
  12. Optimisticnerd

    Optimisticnerd Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    California
    • How important is the world to you? Is it just a piece of leveling content before endgame? Is it outdated and a more lobby-like system used instead?
    The world is very important to me. I need it. The huge reason I continued to play World of Warcraft was because it was an entire world, as it's name suggested. It offered me a lot of scenery change while leveling, a lot of story, and just a good amount of fun. In fact I would have quit WoW immediately after MOP came out if it were not for the absolutely beautiful scenery. It gave me a big impression that they put a lot of work into the game and I should give it a chance.
    • Do you prefer seamless worlds or zone-based worlds? Do you feel it has a significant effect on how you perceive the world?
    I like the formula that WoW has going. It's zone-based, but at the same time there are no loading screens. It makes it easier for navigation to me, I can just say "Okay I need to start in Deradune, then I need something from Algoroc..." rather than saying "I need to go near here, then near there"
    • How important is the world size to you? Do you prefer smaller, condensed worlds with minimal distance between PoIs or do you prefer large, expansive worlds with an increased distance between PoIs?
    A large world size is important to me, I like have a million things I could do that are fun, but at the same time I want my content to be kind of close together if that makes sense. For example, if you are at one quest hub you should not get a quest that says "okay, go to the next quest hub... By the way, the next quest hub is half way across the map. In between here and there is absolutely nothing interesting. have fun."
    I want large zones that are packed with content, if that's not too ridiculous to ask. I never want a situation like Tanaris in WoW where you can walk in a straight line and see NOTHING but sand and maybe a few bones for ages. It doesn't seem real to me otherwise. And even when it does seem real, it makes me think the designers were just lazy.
    • How important is traveling in the world to you? Should the trend to decreased travel time and effort continue or should we take a step back and maintain a system that has increased travel time and effort involved? Where do you draw the line?
    When we are leveling, there should always be that increased travel time feel. Things while leveling shouldn't be really stream-lined, it ruins the leveling experience if I could just say "Oh, I need to go here? let me teleport over" However I draw the line when it takes 30 minutes between point A and B. When it takes that long, feel free to stream-line it.
    When we are max level though, I could care less. If you're a raider like me, everything becomes streamlined anyways, if something attacks me I just blast it to bits in one hit because of all my gear. Leveling is the only place that I really care about travel time.
    • How do you feel about flying mounts? Is the convenience worth the side-effects? Are there better ways? Try to avoid turning the thread into being about nothing other than flying, though.
    There shouldn't be flying mounts allowed for people still leveling, they should be available only to max levels, otherwise it's extremely boring and the content is streamlined and lazy. Granted that you are max level though, have flying mounts. I don't care. The only reason you would not give a max level a flying mount is because "well then he won't look at the scenery" which is a stupid argument. The only purpose of not allowing flying mounts be available to a max level toon is to inconvenience them in my opinion.
    • How important are hubs of congregation in ares and PoIs to you? Do you feel they get enough love? Any suggestions on how to improve these parts of the world?
    Personally I don't really like the idea of concentrated hubs all too much. On one hand they are very convenient sure. But on the other hand, they seem unrealistic and lazy. However, when quest hubs are combined with something like phasing in WoW, I love them. It seems realistic to me and makes me feel like the quests I complete actually have an impact on the world.
    • How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? Here I'm meaning scenic pieces like towers on a mountain you cannot reach, etc. An example would be the things you'd see back in older times in WoW while on a flight path like the dancing troll village or ruins in the mountains.
    I always hated these kinds of things in WoW. I feel that it just promotes laziness. For example: I have the collector's edition of cataclysm, I watched the behind the scenes DVD. It's stated in there, that a huge portion of developing Cata was just filling in the gaps of the environment, by that I mean, Blizzard only made the parts of WoW that people could see, and it hurt them later.
    Another reason why I hate these things is that it just seems unrealistic. I ask myself questions like "How did those mobs get up there? Why can't I get up there? If they got up there, why can't I?" It ruins my immersion. I especially hate it when I can't get to scenery for a closer look. "Hey that looks really really cool. Lets see a closer look!...... I can't get to it..." those kinds of things are ridiculous.
     
    Yakzan likes this.
  13. Yakzan

    Yakzan "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    743
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Iceland
    Been loving all the replies! They've been really good and interesting reads, so keep it up! I guess it's time for me to have a taste of my own medicine though!

    The world is extremely important to me, in the journey and beyond. It's part of what I love about MMOs, having this whole world to explore and do things in, and best of all, a bunch of living, breathing people to meet and do things with! I feel that this aspect in MMOs have been shrinking more into a niche type of content that'd you would group up with instance dungeons and battlegrounds. In current WoW it feels like it's a story vehicle, one of many leveling methods, and a place to, well, place things. They're putting some efforts to revive it a bit but due to how their systems are at the moment, it doesn't do the same thing for me as it once did. Also, the world is part of why I don't like games like Vindictus and the beta for NWO much.

    Simply out of experience I've learned that I love seamless worlds more than anything. DAoC was the first MMO I played with a seamless world and I loved that. It became a trend really that the games I stuck around the longest in had seamless worlds (DAoC, WoW, LotRO). It just gives the world that much greater believability and immersion. I don't mind games with zones too much, but some are just terrible offenders to my tastes, the most recent example being TOR. I could tear into that one but it'd take a paragraph on its own so I won't. Either way someone already made a comment about it. :D

    This is a tricky subject to me, actually. I prefer larger worlds with a bit of 'emptyness' between points but not too much. The world also needs to be big enough to facilitate the population and content without spreading it too thin as well. I guess it just really depends on the game. I don't like tiny worlds though.

    Traveling is something that I feel gets more hate than it should. Don't get me wrong, I hate spending hours getting somewhere and that's not what I want. I want it to be reasonable. My favorite fast travel system so fast was in LotRO where you had 'swift travel' between key hubs and locations in zones, but had a slow travel on horse to other points in the zone. They were also not too many so wouldn't 'skip' most of the zone. As much as I liked flight paths in WoW, they did get tiring when I need to get from one end to the continent to another (I'm looking at you, Moonglade to Thunder Bluff.) On the other end, I felt that all the hard work in GW2's world fell to the wayside with their waypoint system. It shrunk the world, lots of areas went into disuse, etc. As much as I loved many things about that game, it was one of the killers for me, just like for Lethality.

    I'm a weird fellow and don't like things like instant teleports to dungeons and raids. I like reaching that gate to the wonders inside and meeting people outside it, waiting for their fellows to stop being afk or what have you. This then ties into what I feel is becoming increasingly neglected in the games with them: There are classes with portals/teleports/summon abilities and they are seeing less and less use because there is a growing lack of demand for them. I love that kind of stuff, the things that give classes something unique and in demand without being a part of min/maxing. I want games to shift their teleport needs to those people, or at least have a meeting stone summon system or something, you know? I just feel that if you make people teleport into these areas it removes a lot of its wonder. However, there are lots of ideas on how to deal with this but that goes into dungeon and content design, and that's for another day.

    I'll try to not get too indepth with this, like my infamous first post on the forums with a wall of text that you could beat people to death with. After that thread I came to the conclusion that I'll accept flying mounts, with open arms even, if they are done right. There needs to be restrictions so the ground world and content is not outright trivialized and ignored. I can see them more working within certain areas/zones of the world. You can have special areas in zones, both low and high level, that are unreachable unless with a flying mount and that opens up new content within those areas for Elder Game characters, but needs to be restricted to these areas. Things like that. As cool as they are and as much as I embraced them at first, give players that much freedom and they will abuse it profusely. You can argue that it's the players fault, and it is, but it is ultimately the designers fault as well because they gave them the tools. Like even members have Carbine said before, give players a tool and they'll abuse and exploit it, for better or worse.

    I feel they don't get enough love. They are often one-time fancies, either for quests or just natural flow through a zone. A lot more can be done. A PoI could have events with special rewards, hubs could have certain uses or be a 'bastion' in a deadly zone where people meet up before heading into the wilds. A lot of PoIs in WoW drove me insane for being there and looking interesting but having no idea what it was for, what the history behind it was, or never having any use. I was looking forward to Cataclysm to see these hooks used only to find them either ignored, or worse, removed (Timbermaw Hold :(. ) I really like the suggestion of certain hubs having centralized uses like special crafting stations, etc.

    I love exploring and seeing these scenic things. It's part of why really embraced flying in WoW at first because I could finally reach these locations, without 'exploits' of course. That was an exercise in disappointment for me because, well, those scenic things were exactly what they were. The expectation was more delicious than the reward, as it were. Thus, I love having those things grabbing my attention, making me pine for it to be a hook that the developers could make content around and open.
     
    Naunet and Vembumees like this.
  14. Roland Daemon

    Roland Daemon Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Likes Received:
    141
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Illinois
    • How important is the world to you? Is it just a piece of leveling content before endgame? Is it outdated and a more lobby-like system used instead?
    The world is probably one of the more important aspects. Zone's need to be completed and have their secrets to be explore, give the players that sense of freedom despite that there are always borders.
    • Do you prefer seamless worlds or zone-based worlds? Do you feel it has a significant effect on how you perceive the world?
    After playing seamless (WoW) and instanced (GW2) I... prefer WoW so much more... I like the idea of loading between big continents.. but I truly want that persistant world like things are going on.
    • How important is the world size to you? Do you prefer smaller, condensed worlds with minimal distance between PoIs or do you prefer large, expansive worlds with an increased distance between PoIs?
    There needs to be a medium. If everything's big (think barrens or even planetside 2) then when are you gonna meet people? If it's small.. when can you stake it out on your own?
    • How important is traveling in the world to you? Should the trend to decreased travel time and effort continue or should we take a step back and maintain a system that has increased travel time and effort involved? Where do you draw the line?
    Travel should be quick, but not so quick that if something catches your eye, you don't to wait to explore. I still haven't found a game that did this right, imo. (Also helps if the camera doesn't suck.. I Want to look up for once instead of at the ground cause it's easier for combat...)
    • How do you feel about flying mounts? Is the convenience worth the side-effects? Are there better ways? Try to avoid turning the thread into being about nothing other than flying, though.
    Flying mounts are fine, they had their purpose abit in WoW in the beginning, then it was kind of a joke. They were designed for Level Cap players to reach dungeons that could only be reached by those WITH flying... I liked that.. it was kind of a key that showed you played enough to get the cash to fly to reach the difficult instances. Now it's just to skip content and travel :/

    What i'd like to see is zone's DESIGNED around the air travel (I mean.. seriously..... make us work for our travel)
    • How important are hubs of congregation in areas and PoIs to you? Do you feel they get enough love? Any suggestions on how to improve these parts of the world?
    This is a hard one cause things change and people will always flock to whats convenient. While there are people who hang out in the racial cities in GW2, almost everyone hangs out in lions arch... why? It's the center of the game, has portals to all the racial cities and WvW... I liked it when there was actual competition for main city between Ironforge and Stormwind.
    • How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? Here I'm meaning scenic pieces like towers on a mountain you cannot reach, etc. An example would be the things you'd see back in older times in WoW while on a flight path like the dancing troll village or ruins in the mountains.
    I like the idea of places you can't reach because it gives you something to look forward or rather.. an easter egg. Easter Eggs are... awesome and make you feel more attached to the world because of something small and obscure that maybe not everyone has noticed.
     
    Naunet and Yakzan like this.
  15. Krakuun

    Krakuun Cupcake

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    British Columbia
    • How important is the world to you? Is it just a piece of leveling content before endgame? Is it outdated and a more lobby-like system used instead?
    World design has a huge impact on whether or not I really get sucked into the particular universe. Any MMO is doing its best to convince us that we're in a world with consequences (whether implicit or real) and that we're running around somewhere that's just a piece of a larger world. I really love it when an MMO does this well and it contributes in a huge way to whether or not I play that game for very long. All of the MMOs I've played for substantial time have done this well. When I first played Ultima Online (and this might sound, umm, quaint? now..), but I was awe struck how I was able to run from Britain to Vesper, they had actually created a virtual country :D
    • Do you prefer seamless worlds or instanced zone-based worlds? Do you feel it has a significant effect on how you perceive the world?
    Seemless for sure. I'd say this is by far the most immersive approach.
    • How important is the world size to you? Do you prefer smaller, condensed worlds with minimal distance between PoIs or do you prefer large, expansive worlds with an increased distance between PoIs?
    For a themepark MMO, a balance is probably best between distance, POIs and area size. I'm not sure what that magic balance is, but enough so that you're not wandering without something of interest. Sandbox games can get away with more sparse content I'd say (because more of the gameplay is emergent)..
    • How important is traveling in the world to you? Should the trend to decreased travel time and effort continue or should we take a step back and maintain a system that has increased travel time and effort involved? Where do you draw the line?
    Again, I think balance is key. Some effort early on creates a larger sense of reward later on when it becomes easier. However, it's good to maintain some effort so we don't lose sight of what is hopefully a well designed world.
    • How do you feel about flying mounts? Is the convenience worth the side-effects? Are there better ways? Try to avoid turning the thread into being about nothing other than flying, though.
    Flying mounts are great for max level. It really highlights the sense of achievement reaching max level and you get to see the world in a whole new light. There are side effects in that certain things can become too easy, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as our expectations change at max.
    • How important are hubs of congregation in areas and PoIs to you? Do you feel they get enough love? Any suggestions on how to improve these parts of the world?
    Hubs are great if well designed, but I don't think that random or more spread out content should be impacted in favor of moving everything to a hub. The sense of discovery that running into something out in the wild brings is pretty significant.
    • How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? Here I'm meaning scenic pieces like towers on a mountain you cannot reach, etc. An example would be the things you'd see back in older times in WoW while on a flight path like the dancing troll village or ruins in the mountains.
    I think it can add to the atmosphere, but as long as it's not a tease :) (far enough away it's obvious I can't get to it.. so I don't waste an hour trying to find some special route.. not that I've done that...)
     
    Naunet and Yakzan like this.
  16. Vembumees

    Vembumees Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Likes Received:
    63
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Estonia
    How important is the world to you?

    In a lot of games with bad or uninteresting design, it is just a piece of leveling content that I rush through. But in games with gorgeous level designs, it will be an area that I will level through, explore in depth and even come back at high level to world PvP or do events at the area. Pretty much any unappealing area goes to the garbage bin, I won't most probably ever return there unless I am required to. Few games with stunning world design : Dark souls, Guild Wars, Skyrim, TERA.

    • Do you prefer seamless worlds or instanced zone-based worlds? Definitely prefer seamless worlds, instanced completely ruins the immersion and freedom.
    • How important is the world size to you? World size isn't as important as the amount of content. A city is always more interesting than an empty desert.
    • How important is traveling in the world to you? Travel time and effort should always be there, the lazier you make the players the less of the game they will see, the less they see, probably the less interest they will have with the game. And if there isn't any need to walk from points to points, the world will simply feel a lot smaller ;)
    • How do you feel about flying mounts? Flying mounts destroy the world design, they give an additional PoV, meaning things have to be designed from different PoV's. Also lets people to easily bybass content and overall ruins the experience of exploration. I was one of those people in WoW who spent hundreds of hours on jumping on mountains finding secret areas, flying mounts completely ruined that thrill of exploration for me. Overall, the flying mounts really scale the feeling of being in a large world down.
    • How important are hubs of congregation in areas and PoIs to you? I feel that PoI's mostly don't get enough love in mmorpg's and lack a lot of uniqueness in them. At least a bunch of quest hubs and quest areas should at least somewhat include a some fun stuff to do, turn yourself into animals, get pets that disappear over the time, get a small time ability to fly, get to buy unique items that do all kinds of tricks, you know, stuff that makes you eventually go back to that place to get some of that fun stuff. WoW had a bunch of those.
    • How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? I absolutely love them and I am one of those players who would spend hundreds of hours and try every possible item and thing to attempt to get there...somehow. And what I especially love is when I would be rewarded if I manage to reach it (like in Rift).
     
    Mierelle and Yakzan like this.
  17. Deltre

    Deltre Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    SoCal
    A big seemless open world is what I crave. I used to love cruising around WoW on my mechano chopper. Just flying around looking at stuff.
     
  18. InnocentCivilian

    InnocentCivilian "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Likes Received:
    992
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Ah, another round of Yakzan questions! Time to answer! :)

    • How important is the world to you? Is it just a piece of leveling content before endgame? Is it outdated and a more lobby-like system used instead?
    The world is super-important to me! I'm generally big into lore in the games I play, so experiencing the stories that it tells, both big and small, are great experiences to me. Sometimes, the small stories are even more memorable; and they help make the world feel more like a living, breathing one.
    • Do you prefer seamless worlds or instanced zone-based worlds? Do you feel it has a significant effect on how you perceive the world?
    I personally prefer seamless worlds. Not having a loading screen break up your immersion just adds to it. ^_^
    • How important is the world size to you? Do you prefer smaller, condensed worlds with minimal distance between PoIs or do you prefer large, expansive worlds with an increased distance between PoIs?
    I like worlds that feel hand-crafted. If that means smaller, and more condensed, then I'll probably go with that. I wouldn't want a larger world that's featureless with scenery that lacks personality.
    • How important is traveling in the world to you? Should the trend to decreased travel time and effort continue or should we take a step back and maintain a system that has increased travel time and effort involved? Where do you draw the line?
    I'm a fan of decreased travel time. This is probably something that means more to me in recent years as the number of free hours I get in a week is reduced. I'm even not opposed to something like GW2's teleport-for-a-fee to just about anywhere in the world. That say, you DO definitely lose a sense of scale in the world because of it. While I wouldn't mind something like that in Wildstar, I'd also be fine with the system they currently have in place, which is to have the convenience of flying mounts at lvl 50.
    • How do you feel about flying mounts? Is the convenience worth the side-effects? Are there better ways? Try to avoid turning the thread into being about nothing other than flying, though.
    Whoops; answered this in the last question. :p TLDR: I think that the convenience is worth the side-effects. To me, it's a good compromise between insta-teleporting and needing to travel on ground level all the time.
    • How important are hubs of congregation in areas and PoIs to you? Do you feel they get enough love? Any suggestions on how to improve these parts of the world?
    I like seeing people congregating in areas like this because the point of an MMO is to play with lots of people around ^_^. If too much content is instanced, I worry about not seeing enough people out and about. :p It reminds you that you're a part of something greater. That's why even Path of Exile isn't an MMO, I think that it's GENIUS that they have other players in town. It was such a nice feeling, even when you played it solo!
    • How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? Here I'm meaning scenic pieces like towers on a mountain you cannot reach, etc. An example would be the things you'd see back in older times in WoW while on a flight path like the dancing troll village or ruins in the mountains.
    If we have flying mounts, I'd like everything we can see to be reachable. ;)
     
    Yakzan likes this.
  19. Yakzan

    Yakzan "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    743
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Iceland
    I've been getting some interesting notions from reading all your replies but before I go into them, I want to bring up something I just remembered: Mixed level content in zones. What do I mean by this? WoW, being the infamously famous source of examples as it is, had often enough high level content in lower level areas. Examples of this being Scarlet Monastery surrounded by level 30+ mobs being in a level 1-10 starting zone, same with Gnomeregan. Why I bring this up? This is something I don't see anymore, at all. In terms of streamlined content, it makes sense to only have level 1-10 mobs and content in a level 1-10 zone. I feel this is an extremely dull and sterilized approach. I loved seeing these high level mobs and content while traveling and the threat they posed, even things like Zeracotl in Badlands and Fel Reaver in Hellfire Peninsula. It gave me a goal to go after. "When I'm higher level, I'm gonna come back here and see what the fuss is about!" It's like playing a Metroidvania (SotN, etc) and seeing those just out of reach items and mentally marking them down to come back later when I can reach them. So I ask:
    • How do you feel about mixed level content in zones? Do you think they are annoying or give you something to look forward to? Should it never be brought up again or should they rise from their grave and return?

    Now to what I feel is a pretty interesting thought, one which I noted down in proper Seinfeld fashion: "What's the deal with flying mounts anyway?" What I mean by this is that there seems to be a lot of similar views on most of the questions I asked but when it comes to flying mounts and out-of-reach places, it seems pretty polarized. There are people, like me admittedly, that are not much for flying mounts while others are all for it, despite both parties having similar thoughts on the importance of the world and what it means to them. I see these two different views and just wonder to myself, "Why is this?" I have a few ideas myself as to why. One of which is that perhaps once you reach level cap, people feel that the purpose of the world is now over and its time for full free-form flying, sorta like a level select once you beat a game. For those on the other side, though now I'm speaking for myself, feel that once you reach level cap, that means you now have all the tools in the toolbox, all the taxi points, etc, so now I can go back to these locations as they were with all these tools and do neat things. It's sorta hard to explain but I hope you get my meaning. Why do you guys think there is such a polarization of views on this?
     
  20. Naunet

    Naunet Well-Known Cupcake

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Regarding mixed-level content:

    I think this could be taken a step further to turn the entire game into "endgame" so that no zones are quested through and then left behind forever. Give players a reason to go back. Mentoring/de-level systems are an excellent way to achieve this, especially if players can earn endgame-appropriate rewards by completing lower level content while de-leveled (kind of a la Rift).

    I'm a bit meeeeh about dailies, but these are good, modular means of keeping old zones relevant at level cap. It could also play up the mixed level zone thing, where certain areas of, say the level 10-15 zone have level 50 (or whatever your level cap is) mobs, meant for those players coming back for dailies or some other task they can do at cap.

    World boss spawns are another way to keep things lively across all zones. They could either be level cap mobs, or tuned to be 5 or 10 levels higher than the zone to give those leveling a seriously insane challenge at tackling.

    There's probably other stuff I could think of, but these are just some ideas that popped into my head.
     
    Yakzan likes this.

Share This Page