Dev Discussion #22 - Immersion

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Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!


Dev Discussion #22 - Immersion
What were some moments in an MMO that broke your immersion? How much did those moments affect your perception of the game? How important is immersion to you, generally?

Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding housing and decor tools!
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Comments

  • AeneasAeneas Member
    edited September 10
    Inventory limitations... Or at least constantly having to packmule back and forth. I think immersion is really important, but you can make it too immersive and it just becomes tedium.
  • jakutajakuta Member
    edited September 10
    #1 Repeditive Battle Music.
    Oh my goodness nothing has broken my immersion more than the same Battle Song being played on repeat with every monster i decide to attack.
    Ofcourse this is not so much the case nowadays, but the same could be said with games like Archeage and their Flute and Lute sound plaguing my dreams with the nerve rattling Du-Du-Du-Du.

    ► #2 Quests with no Meaning
    Ofcourse in MMO's there is bound to be quests that are dull in comparison to others, but when you're stuck gathering a stone for a blacksmith in need for the hundredth time it gets really immersion breaking.

    ► #3 Awkward Combat
    Speaking for myself here, but when playing MMO's it's easy to Immerse myself in a game that has a good combat system that is both Fluid and Responsive. In the past i've played games where you go from one skill that feels great to use, then to another that awkwardly moves you or keeps you in a animation lock for no apparent reason.

    ► #4 Mass Summoning
    Won't need to say much here because there won't be in Ashes.

    ► #5 Desync
    This is a tough one to iron out as there will always be some form of desync in MMO's. However there is nothing more annoying than you wanting to use a skill on someone but you miss because they're actually 1-2m from where you are intially aiming. Or for examples sake, On Tera if you use backstep to a target that is Desyncing badly you will port about 2m away from them rather than right behind them.

    ► #6 Reused Monsters
    Lets say you finally get to Level 50 and are doing a raid that requires a high amount of gear. You're excited but as you enter you see mobs that you fought at lvl 1 that are now reskinned and have a different name..... At that point it would completely break my immersion and a portion of my excitement.
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  • Very repetitive quests and complete lack of realism in terrain. Like when you walk over a hill to a new zone and it's completely different environment. No transition. Just from dessert biome to tundra just over a hill.
  • Aeneas wrote: »
    Inventory limitations... Or at least constantly having to packmule back and forth. I think immersion is really important, but you can make it too immersive and it just becomes tedium.

    I can relate to this so so much. I love immersion but there has to be a convenience balance
  • For me it would be a badly optimize game, for example BDO is a beautiful game but the way the trees, NPCs and sometimes even cities would start to *pop* in as you got close to them (even with a high spec PC) really broke immersion.
  • I Remember trying out wow when it was still in beta, had some fun running through one instance, i thought to myself thats pretty fun. Then i gathered another party for another instanced dungeon and this one guy was complete dick, he was rolling for all loot even though he was of different class, he was talking shit, pulling mobs on purpose, so my thoughts were:

    How do I kill this guy? Hm..i cant, its same allience, same party etc... thats schaize...

    Can i kick him out out of this instance? No...

    Is there anyway to get back at him? No...

    So i newer played wow again, apart from some short trial runs every couple of years...

    Basically, limiting basic player choices is a big immersion killer. Its pretty sad experience to have someone tell you what you can and can't do in a game, best if you can do everything but also have to deal with consequences...
  • LethalityLethality Member, Braver of Worlds
    edited September 10
    Immersion is incredibly important to me, and it goes hand-in-hand with some level of gameplay constraints and some level of realism.

    As an easy example, I really shouldn't be able to care 200 logs in my backpack, along with everything else. Maybe I can carry 2-5? And if I want more than that, there should be other methods... hand carts, mounts, wagons, etc.

    Or, certain items should be specially tagged as encumbrance items, similar to how trade packs might work in that... other game ;)

    All of this forces the players to actually consider before they go out logging what their goals are, and prevents resource bloat in the economy.

    World Class Indoorsman
  • Bland lore, quests effectively being nothing but setups for pop culture references and mediocre jokes, bad voice acting, broken character creation settings, not getting quest credit for not being the person who tagged the mob.
  • Immersion is a big deal for me. Some things I have found that break it are typically mob grinds where you just sit there killing hundreds of dudes to gain xp. For me the immersion really comes from investing into the world and I get that most from quality quest lines that make me feel like I am making a difference. Constant fetch quests and taxi quests that ping pong you back and forth make a disconnect through loss of interest the third time I have to make a particular run But quests where it feels like I've accomplished something that may even change the environment around me always bring me deeper in and feel like a part of what is going on.
  • Rakesto wrote: »
    Aeneas wrote: »
    Inventory limitations... Or at least constantly having to packmule back and forth. I think immersion is really important, but you can make it too immersive and it just becomes tedium.

    I can relate to this so so much. I love immersion but there has to be a convenience balance

    Yup being a pack mule is a pain. Look ashes is high fantasy please don't limit us to realistic carrying weight. We can throw magic at stuff and warp. I think we can make a space pocket to hold a decent amount of inventory
  • When the best items are from loot and not crafters. This makes crating seem more like a side hobby and not a profession and craft.
  • I think the immersion is kinda different be twin different types of MMO.
    Theme park MMO immerse you with the well develop lore that push your character into it.
    For Ashes, I think the best way to create an immersive world would be by not creating a story line for the world, but a different lore for different things.

    Ashes already have a huge immersive tool that is the node system, who create this feeling of you belong to an entire new world, created by you and the players from your server, creating a different lore for each server.
    Following this idea, what I would like to see in Ashes that will bring me more into the game and make my experience more immersive, will be lore not exactly connected with each other creating a story line for the world, but different lore to different content on this unveil world.

    For example: a new dungeon appear on a node after it develops, and the quests related to it will give you information about that place, the monsters, what possible happen there in the past. And in a different server, that do not developed that node, will never found it, but they found a new world boss, and this new boss will have quests that can let you fight him and know more about this new creature.

    sorry about bad english boys (:
    not my main language
  • agreed with the folks saying repetitive quests. I understand there may be a fetch quest every once in a while, but as a new WoW player, I have to say it's very annoying to expect every other quest to be "kill x number of beasts in this area" and "collect x number of these regional resources". It is just playing the same quest over and over with a different skin.
  • AwaceAwace Member, Braver of Worlds
    When you are forced to fully zoom out your camera in open world/pvp scenarios to not lose that tactical edge.
    While i think people should have as much customizable options , for me it kills the immersion.

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  • For me the things that break my immersion are combat, environment graphics, and animations. It can be quite boring when all you do is tab/click target and press a bunch of buttons until they are dead. I appreciate the combat in games like eso because you have to aim your abilities and frequently roll and block attacks. It also helps when the environment feels more real with light rays and cast shadows, foliage that crumples when you step on it. And of course the animations and sound design are so important. I can ride my saber mount around Stormwind but it doesn't really feel like I'm riding a big vicious beast around a huge capital city. I want to feel like a very small part of a huge and expansive world.
  • Plenty of moments in games have tore my immersion apart. From mobs that just line up to fight you to the death basically (so no mechanic where things might flee or surrender), to the fact that animations are so game-y and off that things just feel aggressively like a video game instead of a fantastical world, not to mention carrying around six suits of armor and two hundred flanks of steak or whatever. Repetition in quests can also be kind of disastrous for immersion, but done right it can be a boon!

    But I think the biggest immersion breaker of all is the inability to interact with the world around you. From an inability to lean on walls, flip coins, play tavern games, animate oneself drinking, or appearing out of breath from running - a big part of immersion ingrains itself within the animations of that game, and the ability for one's avatar to express these adequately. Another big thing one can do to aid with immersion is to establish lore very meaningfully through quests or the games overworld. Lore is big, and achieving an understanding of lore through gameplay is even bigger!

    I'm a roleplayer, planning to come to this game with my friends who also roleplay, and immersion is huge for us. Without being properly immersed, roleplaying in the game's world can feel drab and lose it's shine. Take a look at WoW, a game that has been followed by a massive roleplay community for over a dozen years. Immersion is big for us roleplayers!
  • I personnaly get "disconnected from the game :

    When I realise that I already cleared all contents like dungeons/raids/battlegrounds multiple times, and I feel that nothing else will surprise me anymore. That's why I'm super excited about having this strong PvP aspect to the game, to always surprise and keep you busy.

    Or :

    When your character "visual progression" (armor & weapon skins) doesn't progress at the same time as your actual character progression. I really can't stand seeing brand new characters like a lvl 10 warrior with a armor that looks like and armor that you would loot only on the last max lvl raid...
  • NostraNostra Member
    edited September 10
    For me, immersion is most often broken by the following:
    1. pop-ups are by far #1 on this list - if other players can interact with me and generate pop-events that I cannot disable when I want to not be disturbed (/dnd flag style) there is nothing you can do to keep immersion
    2. conscious recognition of a repetitive pattern - this can be graphically (a re-used model, texture, animation), audio (repeated constant ambient sound or track), quest (doing "yet another" xyz chore/task) - real life is chaotic and dynamic and while humans tend to be pattern-finding machines genetically clear repetition is a distraction.
    3. out-of-place occurrences - seeing futuristic technology in a high-fantasy setting; observing out-of-place NPC behavior; (I am anti-potion launchers in AoC... sorry... just seems out of place and over-powered from videos I saw in Apocalypse)
    4. violation of the natural laws governing the environment/eco-system - this often-times is resulting from cheats where players suddenly start flying all over the place, glitching, disappearing/teleporting. etc. This can also occur however from bad design. If we are told that a specific world has the following laws and then suddenly the laws are circumvented "to make things more challenging" then it just reeks of bad design. I am not saying you can't have exceptions but they have to be explained and consistent. When things occur and it makes me go "wait a second, that makes no sense..." I have lost immersion.
    5. tedious systems - like having to repeatedly run the same path back and forth to do a quest chain "because you have to turn in each step of the quest back in town" (like they couldn't just give you a series of tasks knowing you would be out "that way"; inventory management hell - some management is expected and I realize that I can't just pick up everything but if I'm picking up what's expected of me and I don't have enough space then I'm frustrated.
  • Immersion is incredibly important to me as a roleplayer.

    I think one of the biggest offenses in MMOs when it comes to breaking immersion is the introduction of modern-day-esque vanity items that seem to have no real place in the world. Korean MMOs are often guilty of this, giving players real-world costumes like French maid outfits, colorful bikinis, funny mascot outfits, hoodies and jeans, etc. I am all for a wide variety of costumes, but I would also like those costumes to feel like they're a part of the game's world, rather than just a fun little import from our real world. Crossover vanity items from other games or media that don't quite fit in with the aesthetic of the game is also immersion breaking.

    I've played two MMOs without a walk/run toggle, and found it incredibly difficult to RP in those games as a result. Jerky movements and controls are likewise somewhat jarring and annoying. Roleplayers don't want to show up to an inn for a night of RP just to have to sprint from the door, to the bar, to the table. Little things like walking, looking at players you target, having cycling emotes that you can use to idle in poses befitting of the character you play, etc, are all nice little tidbits to find in MMORPGs. It's also nice to have smooth transitions between movements so you don't end up just snapping from a run, to standing idle, without like a half second of a halt in the character's movement, and a wind-down to their idle pose.

    One last little immersion breaking peeve I have is when things like furniture and NPCs are completely out of scale with most player characters. I've played more than a few MMOs where books, for example, end up being about as big as a character's chest as a rule, rather than an exception. Chairs end up really wide, tables end up too tall, doors are all entirely too massive, parchment stuck to notice boards is roughly the size of a pillowcase in relation to real people vs environment, beds are extra-super-grand-king beds larger than anything you might commonly find in the real world.
  • When I picked a class as my main, that was not only underpowered but so neglected that the developers forgot it existed for multiple years. Until they tried fixing it by changing skills around with low effort , ultimately leading to the class becoming a one-trick-pony through weapon skills so the class viability in pvp or endgame pve depended on those weapon skills being strong or weak between different patches.
    Former toptier 1vX Pvper from ESO, seeking refuge in a better MMO o:)
  • When your actions don't matter... that's what breaks the immersion for me. That's why I never play theme-park MMOs, e.i. cause no matter what I do or not do, Alliance and Horde are just going to become friends, get together and defeat the ultimate evil at the end of any expansion.

    P.S. Also quests where I have to go fetch something from a dude that stands right next to the questgiver. That's just stupid.
  • HellfarHellfar Member
    edited September 10
    Immersion breakers for me primarily have to do with the storytelling.

    One example of this is when I am engaged in text-based back-and-forth discussions between NPCs, and if the text is reeling so fast that I cannot keep up with what is going on in a specific moment, it makes the story far less interesting. It gets to a point where I am scrolling up the chat window to catch up with the conversations, and that event is most likely over and done before I finish reading. Also, text-based storytelling pretty much keeps the player focused on the chat window rather than what is going on in front of your toon.

    This is why I really enjoy the voice acting in Guild Wars 2, there is SO MUCH of it, and it keeps you immersed in the world. If text-based storytelling is going to be very prominent in this game, please give the player time to read the conversation before skipping too far ahead in the events taking place. :smile:

    Other than that, the only other important immersion factor for me is Community, hence a healthy server community that relies on itself and is not plagued by cross-server 'Looking for Group' convenience systems.
  • for me, it has been invisible walls and mute characters.
    Voice acting is really important for the immersion, especially ambient voice acting, GW2 for example.
  • RyuujiRyuuji Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    edited September 10
    For me immersion is very good made lore not world creation and races but why this animal is like this and why this bookcase is made of this wood. I like when game developer pay attention to small thing too its when it comes to realize that world is alive. For me good example is Rdr2 it not mmo but I think they did good job.
  • Kololodolo wrote: »
    But I think the biggest immersion breaker of all is the inability to interact with the world around you. From an inability to lean on walls, flip coins, play tavern games, animate oneself drinking, or appearing out of breath from running - a big part of immersion ingrains itself within the animations of that game, and the ability for one's avatar to express these adequately. Another big thing one can do to aid with immersion is to establish lore very meaningfully through quests or the games overworld. Lore is big, and achieving an understanding of lore through gameplay is even bigger!

    I'm a roleplayer, planning to come to this game with my friends who also roleplay, and immersion is huge for us. Without being properly immersed, roleplaying in the game's world can feel drab and lose it's shine. Take a look at WoW, a game that has been followed by a massive roleplay community for over a dozen years. Immersion is big for us roleplayers!

    Wholeheartedly agree with all of this!
  • I don't care that much about "native" immersion given by the game. If it's there, great. But I can also create my own world/story within the universe that has been given to me. The thing to me that matters the most is consistency within that world and fun content. Kind of like a backbone to that "story path".
    For example, I tried playing BDO 5 times. Always reached level 2x and quit. Personally, I feel the combat doesn't feel good at all compared to a similar game, such as BnS. In that game, I played KFM with bad PC and lag and even then I had a lot of fun. But then, BDO also has a lot of "open chest" mechanic, the UI is cluttered as hell and everything is thrown at you at low level without any guide really. So in general, how can I get invested and immersed in a world I can't even experience or see (or explore) without something there bugging me. One of the best things about swtor for me and I think of any other mmo, was its UI editor. That was amazing. For someone with a smaller monitor/resolution or people who like more on screen or less and change places, it's amazing. AND NO, ElvUI doesn't count for WoW because it's not from the game ;)
    When it comes to the world, there has to be THINGS around happening. Currently playing The Division 2, and besides all the problems that game may have, to me personally, is quite great (compared to what the rest of the market offers). You can do solo content, story mode, just explore the city, do group content, etc. Maybe the playstyle mechanic at its core is not for you and that is why you may not like it, that's fine. But in general, it's a very versatile game that has something for everyone.
    In the world, not only looks beautiful and the design is really good, but it has many details like weird ass creepy dolls or nutcrackers or penguins, etc. as decor. Same for graffitti and all. And there's sunny times, day and night and mild rain as well as heavy windy storms. On the story side, even if the agent doesn't speak or you don't get to choose dialogue options like swtor, and you're kind of one sided on "being the good guy", in general, it feels like you matter. A little bit streamlined and another iteration of things like "we need YOU, our savior" which is kinda meh in general, but still isn't bad. The story as a whole is very compelling.
    Finding paintings and audio recordings in the wolrd that give out lore with very good voice acting it's another thing that makes me feel very immersed in general. You could argue it gets repetitive over time, which it does, but all games do at some point, and this one is broad enough that doesn't turn into something boring quickly (at least not for me and I'm very very picky).
    Another example for consistency (and it needs to be grounded) is back in the day, the swtor story play was great and whatever happened there was within parameters of the world. Such as kill X, defeat X boss/Lord Sith, whatever. But it was "doable" (if you think of the universe as the normal reality). It was believeable. Later on, it started having everything blowing up, everything was falling apart, shit would explode in your face and send you flying, you started doing lots of acrobatics, etc. I guess for the sake of cinematic drama? But that paired with the lackluster story, it just killed it.
    When it comes to world design, things need to be a good scale. For example, if it's a giants town and everything is huge, it makes sense. But having insanely massive castles for a human race town, to me it looks odd. Now, I KNOW in real life this is actually a thing. We do have huge hosues or mansions and castles. But, generally speaking, we don't use them anymore. All every day life doors and stuff are like 2 meters (6 ft). So when you change these things, it starts getting into the uncanny valley where it feels weird but no one knows why. A massive castle should be a point of interest, or an entrance for a dungeon. Also having to walk/run/ride/fly to locations makes it feel real, UNLESS there's an explanation within the world for a teleport.
    And in the world in general, having empty parts makes it a "dead zone" and this should be something tied to lore or intentional. Like let's say simple quest says "Go from A to B, in B kill X monsters and go to C to deliver". If going towards B is just an empty road, even if it looks beautiful because of the details but it has nothing going on, it gets boring after the first time you awe. This can be done with visual or audio elements, as well as some NPC stuff perhaps.
    In TD2 sometimes you're running through an empty street, and it actually looks desolated. It's kind of eery to me, unsettling. Only because there is a cat, or a deer or a racoon sometimes moving out there, and the rest of the world isn't as empty.
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  • What breaks my immersion is competitive gear being either (or both):
    1.) Unreasonably expensive (ie. most Korean RPG enchant mechanics)
    2.) Breaks too quickly (ie. Conqueror's Blade...as an example of both, actually).
    By competitive I mean somewhere between bare minimum and top end. I believe it is acceptable for top end to be somewhat grindy and expensive to obtain, but it should last a good long while too.
  • SaucissonSaucisson Member
    edited September 10
    When i see a place and can't imagine people/animals/monsters living in, something that doesn't really make sense.
    When i'm running out of unkown places i never visited and i know the whole world from heart.
    When animations are weird, sliding, teleport/lag, it's even worst when it's during PvP.
    When the world is fading because of how the travel is shortened by dungeon-finder, flying mounts and teleporters.
    When the cosmetics make no sense (asian game are the worst for this, Bless Online had a Biscuit-man mount wearing a texudo...)
  • biggkennybiggkenny Member
    edited September 11
    Cosmetics that misrepresent the strength of another player REALLY kicks me out of immersion. I have issue with tanks being able to transmog their chestplates off, or just look like a random peasant. The ability to turn off transmog/cosmetics would significantly enhance games as people can look how they want, but also look how they were intended to look by people who want that.

    Network issues, particularly desync, for obvious reasons, you cant really RP a reason why it just happened.

    Quests that ask you to go back to where you just came from (especially if that npc was the one that just told you to go there!).

    Misuse of item rarity. Like in wow Epic means nothing. They could do with making purples blue and then some select items purple.

    "Legendary" items being just an epic. It's really offputting when you get massive proportions of the playerbase with the same legendary item. It cant be legendary if everyone has it. It would be nice for a game to add in some true unique items, with incredibly low drop rates, and then when it gets looted a new one replaces it in the pool which could be a reskin with a different name and slightly tweaked extra ability.

    Bikini armour. Nice to look at but not exactly appropriate to bring to a fight (unless you breathe through your skin of course)

    Bad accents on voiced characters can really throw me out. Like in WoW Cataclysm, in Deepholm, the non scottish dwarf lady with whatever that accent is. I also dont really like it when you click on an NPC and they say something really odd and not appropriate.
  • Trepan wrote: »
    I personnaly get "disconnected from the game :

    When I realise that I already cleared all contents like dungeons/raids/battlegrounds multiple times, and I feel that nothing else will surprise me anymore. That's why I'm super excited about having this strong PvP aspect to the game, to always surprise and keep you busy.

    Or :

    When your character "visual progression" (armor & weapon skins) doesn't progress at the same time as your actual character progression. I really can't stand seeing brand new characters like a lvl 10 warrior with a armor that looks like and armor that you would loot only on the last max lvl raid...

    Ill second that.. nothing worse than finding new armor or weapon with with just better stats but looking exactly the same... bdo was guilty of that.. guess theyr plan was to sell those ridiculous costumes..
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