07 Sep, 2013, Hades_Kane wrote in the 1st comment:
Since End of Time is in a bit of a lull right now with our logins, and on the heels of some balance adjustments, we have come up against a few things that at the beginning of the design of parts of the game world and structure that wasn't really anticipated. Likewise, roleplay has yet to really start in earnest yet, so other than an extensive background and mapped out timeline, there's not much to interfere with while revisiting some of these things. I don't want to get too much into specifics here, as I'm looking really more for general feedback from people who are fans of the old SNES console RPGs, particularly the Final Fantasy and Chrono series.
1) If you are familiar with that era of JRPGs, what game do you personally have a greater awareness of, Final Fantasy 4 (released as FF2 in the US) or Chrono Trigger? What is your opinion of the general awareness of both of the games versus one another?
2) If you were coming into a game with the FF/CT theme, what would your expectation be of a clan/government based on Baron from FF4? ie: good, evil, neutral
3) If you were coming into a game with the FF/CT theme, what would your expectation be of a clan/government based on Guardia from CT? ie: good, evil, neutral
4) If you were coming into a game with this theme, which clan/government would you personally find more appealing, a good aligned Guardia themed clan/government that Baron was a subkingdom or territory of, or a good aligned Baron themed clan/government that Guardia was a subkingdom or territory of?
Any input or feedback would be greatly beneficial. Like I said, activity is a bit low right now with the player base, so a sampling from the player base is a slim prospect at the moment… and a more "neutral" or "outsider" input would be helpful too, because part of the thought process is determining what might be more beneficial toward new players familiar with the themes.
FF might have more awareness among the younger crowds due to the ongoing installments, but of the people who actually played those games at the time, I believe they are somewhat equally known. I've played both games more times than I count count, so I wouldn't say either holds more awareness (I'm not sure exactly what you mean by this really) for me. You could ask this question on a dozen retro game sites and get hundreds of different answers.
A government based on Baron I would expect to be evil if you don't think about what happened after the events in the game, while I'd say Guardia would probably be good due to its war against Magus.
I consider Baron to be far more iconic as a government to FF4 than Guardia is to CT. The difference is that while things happen in Guardia, the government itself doesn't play a super active role in the game. It's really more about the characters in Guardia. Baron, however, is something of a symbol for the evil that takes place and is constantly sending the Red Wings to go dick stuff up. So Baron should probably play a more prominent role.
I played your game a long time ago and found that the cities in general were really just hunting grounds with not much more content. Maybe if you added some more quests and dialog to NPCs and provided more reasons to return to the cities, you could encourage people to identify with their allegiances more strongly. NPCs could talk about how the war is going (was there an ongoing conflict? I can't remember anymore) and let you in on the government's cause, maybe the player could participate in battles, you could try to include some interesting personalities that players can react to. It was cool to see places I recognize in your game and explore secrets, but I felt that the areas could benefit a lot from some story development and character attachment. Stuff like "go get me 4 potions and 5 bear asses because my mom is sick" isn't the kind of content I'm talking about. The little vignettes can be nice, but it would also be nice to thread some of quests into a grander picture. A few areas did have some interesting dudes and cool stuff to experience. Overall they were very insulated from each other though (getting quest items from other locations aside), and cities weren't an exception.
I seem to remember that there was a bunch of backstory you guys had written for the setting, but was disappointed that I never actually got to see that or experience its effects while playing the game. My understanding is that the vision of the game includes RP, so maybe that's how you expect all of that story and information to be exposed. You probably need a more significant backdrop to generate that sort of investment. RP has never been my thing though, so maybe I'm wrong.
09 Sep, 2013, Hades_Kane wrote in the 3rd comment:
I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
Part of the issue is that we are looking to have the Baron or Guardia government (whichever takes priority) take on the primary "good guy" role, and part of my concern with maintaing Baron as the third world power was the expectation that they may be evil, and of course, dealing with potential disappointment from players who mostly identify Baron with an evil Government and find them not so much. I know the first FF MUD I played that had Baron as a good clan, it didn't really seem "right" to me. Still ironing this all out and figuring out what way we want to go, though.
Much of what you likely experienced has been largely the "building the shell" of things phase. We have some staff members now whose primary task is dedicated toward going through and adding in dialogue and differentiating the mobs through the towns more, so that every NPC in every town should have not only something unique about them, but something unique to say. They've been provided with the timeline information to help with some of that world building aspect, too. In addition to that, we are also adding in what we are calling "area dungeons" to pair with each town as a means to further increase the hunting areas, so that we can wean the towns off from being a place for grinding exp. Our goal is that towns will be for supplies, backstory, roleplay, quests, etc. Killing citizens will still be possible, but there will also be consistency in level ranges as a "child" in a level 10 zone will be the same strength as one in a level 60 zone, etc. This is an active project that has some good headway, but still a bit to go. Eventually, I aim to have a reputation/faction type of system where positive or negative actions within a town will cause the NPCs to react to you differently in different regions, so blasting through and wiping a town out will have negative consequences for some time (I figure the rep will be a fade over time, with other actions able to decrease or reinforce in either direction).
The "hometown quest" as it's known in Sector 7 is a good indication of where the game is headed as far as quests. It's the beginning of a playable storyline, basically, and each hometown is going to have a fully fleshed out playable story that meets up at the Termina, the centralized location/town of the game. From this point, the quest will expand into a story quest line that takes the player through the entire MUD. The class promotion quests (particularly the extensive pre-promotion quest that opens up once you reach level 50) is another solid indication on how quests and the game overall will look in the future, which is a quest that spans over several areas, involves numerous different elements, tasks, etc. along with every step of the way, learning about the lore and history from certain parts in our background (in fact, gaining this information and at times intepreting this IS the quest in some instances), all leading to a class specific quest to "gain more power". It does a fantastic job of displaying the rich background we have crafted, and I think is exactly the sort of thing you were finding missing.
Things like that are coming together, slowly but surely. We aren't there yet, but those concerns of your's are ones we are aware of and are actively addressing. Again, thanks for your feedback :)
Cool. EoT has some fun mechanics. I'll absolutely give it another look once it has been given some time to mature and your team has had an opportunity to fill in the gaps. There is a ton of potential here.