Monday, August 06, 2007

Hirelings for WOW?

I was checking out Gitr’s latest post where he asks an interesting question. I post it here in full for effect. My response to this post grew so large I decided to post here. This seems to happen a lot and I thank Gitr for inspiring me to be overly verbose. Hell I need content just like the next guy. My response follows the article. All in quotes is Gitr's. I bolded it for clarity:

“Single-Player Mode
August 3, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Pursuant to my discussions with Lassira about private servers, I finally came up with an original content idea. Original, at least in that, as well-read as I am in WoW, I have yet to see this idea.
For those of us who have always played RTS, FPS, and the various FPS/strategy games like Rainbow Six, I have a desire to see the entire game. Obviously there are thousands, if not a million people willing or able to put the time into the game to get attuned, geared, and learned in the end-game instances to play them through to the end of Blizzard’s content.
What I propose is a single-player mode. You get a crew of 4, 9, or 19 computer-controlled players, just as you do when you assault the subway in Rainbow Six. That would enable someone who gets off work and eats dinner and puts the kids to bed to play for an hour per night to get somewhere. We don’t all have a bunch of guild whores that can drop everything they are doing to help us out whenever we log in, do we? You do!? You suck!
There would be no need for acquiring the loot directly, as you would need to take control of another player should your main die in combat. Bosses would drop tokens that represent a particular piece for your given class, which you would then obtain when you rez and take control of your main again.
The only thing missing at that point would be a save game feature for your progress through a long instance. Granted, instances don’t take 3-6 hours any more, but they are still longer when starting off than many people have. Even playing on private servers to experience end-game content won’t alleviate everyday time crunches.
Would you like to see a Single-Player mode? What things have I missed here? Would you consider playing on a private server just to have an instant 70 to see end-game content with a new class that you’ve never tried? Are you even remotely as busy as I am?
I love WoW as much as the next guy, so let me see it all. Sound off.”

Nice idea. Let’s poke some holes shall we.

The first thing to think about when making this sort of “single player” game is AI. (Big deal here) Second would be balance, encounters and rewards. How much worth would you get out of this type of game play?

How will the mobs interact with your party? How will the party interact with each other? Sure it is easy to have a set number of rules governing actions, but when does it become ‘easy mode’? You have several NPCs under you helping you along. This makes the game less MMOG; in fact it turns it into a single player game.

Working with 4-19 computer controlled NPCs means that all the encounters will have to be tuned to account for the lack of real people governing the actions of the participants of a particular instance. How high an AI will be needed and can that be regulated for zone or level? Will all levels be able to field several bodyguards? Will they be able to use them in PVP situations? Will characters be relegated to their own private instance while using NPC groups? Will these instances encompass the world or just a dungeon? How will gear and progression be affected? Can you take a +9 NPC group into Kara and expect some lewt? Will you have to level and gear your ‘special’ friends? Will you be able to use what you earn during these forays with the NPCs in the real world with other people (MMOG Style)? How will this affect balance among people who put in the time? Will raiders and the leet be able to skyrocket to the tops of DPS Meters and arena rankings using this part of the game?

This game was built on the premise of co-operation among several parties. Yeah there is single player content and the best stuff requires a team of people who know what they are doing and can adapt to changes. Does this leave out a lot of people? You damn skippy. So what? I have never seen Rag, or Strat (either) and have never even figured out where Naxx is. I may never go to AQ40. How ever I have been to Kara, will likely go to Black Temple in a few months, and someday I don’t doubt I will see Hyjal. I may even get some Phat lewts on the way.

To make a single player option like you are proposing in this here game we play will seriously undermine all that has come before to make this game as accessible as it is. Some day when the developers are in a quirky mood they will give us the tools to go back and see the content we have missed due to the requirements of needing large numbers of live bodies. I hope to hell that it does not ever come in the form of a tag-a-long team of NPCs. If you played Diable2 you know the AI involved with an NPC bodyguard is pretty limited, as it should be. No reason for you dummy to have more brains then you in any given situation. Can you imagine trying to govern +4 to +19 or +39 for the older stuff? It would be a nightmare, when would you get to see anything when you are busy micromanaging every thing from heals to dropping aggro on the hunters or laying off on the DPS from your rogues/mages/locks? Tank switching for key fights? You would have to have a degree level knowledge for every class that goes into the raid/group.

I would love this idea if I didn’t think it would destroy this game. It has so many issues involved with the implementation of it that they developers would spend more time trying to fix what this screws up then making new stuff for us to rompe through. This would be a game changing event of monumental proportions. Armageddon for WOW. Game over, the Scourge win. Thank you and good night. People will be reading about the big WOW crash of 09 or 10 or when ever this would theoretical be pushed out to the, conceivably 12million by then, players world wide. I see a lot of suicides and killings, even outside the game world. People would long for the days when it took 10-40 people to raid a dungeon. There will be guilds of NPCs just sitting in SW waiting for their Overlord GM to wake them for the evenings dungeon kill. Upside would be the decrease in gold sellers, trade spam and Barrens chat. All would be a waste land of NPCs following one lonely player on his way to raid Black Temple. Nameplates saying things like ‘Main Healer’ or ‘Off Tank2’, the only unique name plate you see is: ‘Gitr’

PS. I will note that most times when Gitr posts something that gets a responce from me, it sends me off on a rant. This is the case here. Props to Gitr for getting me out of a writing laze.


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Samownall said...

I hate this idea and only really play wow for the MMO part of MMORPG.
Samownall - World of Warcraft Blog

Gitr said...

Cool. I had no idea you wrote this, bud. Nice write-up. I don't think the AI would be a problem, seeing how the whole instance is full of AI anyway. The whole world has NPCs doing their own thing, remember?

Take that! :) Bring it with a vengeance, Mind.