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Dev Discussion #22 - Immersion



  • Immersion is the ultimate rabbit hole because it means so many different things to different people. In the early days of the ESO beta this one guy was always going on about things being more realistic and then complaining that it took a whole 15 seconds for his ballista to unload. LOL.

    For me 80 percent plus of the game happens in my head, I have a story or theme at least for most of my characters and try to play them in accordance with my inner rule set for that character so, he might not take on a quest that requires stealing or conversely might prefer a quest that requires bad acts. So for me having options about which quests to take or not take makes the game more interesting in that I don't have to shut off the story line in my head and just game it through to make the exp I need to move onward.

    That being said the more I think about immersion to me is more cosmetic than game mechanics or quest lines. I like armor options I hate it when you can tell what level someone is by the armor they are wearing and at level 15 literally everyone looks the same. I prefer a clothing customization option like SWTOR where you can easily switch between outfits rather than being able to change the look of the armor pieces themselves like WOW or FF

    I like the ability to have my own place even if it is relatively small but you guys seem to have that pretty dialed in already.

    Taverns and city buildings (in permanent settlements) that are different. I hate when every tavern plays the same one song in the background.

    Instanced node collection is huge especially in the opening days of a game when everyone is trying to level crafters at the same time.

    Separate storage for crafting, rather than having to use precious bag space. I would prefer to be able to access this space from any alt tied to my account but I can also see good reasons not to have that ability. I just HATE having to make multiple trips between a crafting station and my bank to get that one piece of spider spit I need to craft the ubershield. I just want it to BE there.

    The ability to craft or at least buy the best gear in game. Do not make me do that one raid 50+ times to get that one piece of gear that can only be had from that one monster. just don't

  • Nothing more discouraging than to spend months working on crafting because "you can craft gear just as good as the best drops" just to discover that crafting ingredients for those items are locked behind the same encounters as the drops. This kills the immersion of playing as a crafter, negating the desire to continue without being forced into raiding.

    Put the crafting ingredients as rewards for quests even if long and involved as long as they don't require the same raid level encounters as the drop themselves as that would make it no different than just getting the drop from a raid. Even requiring a lot of cooperation among many different master crafters.

    If worried about flooding the market.. add long durations to crafting process to limit how often they can be crafted.
  • Ryfaen wrote: »
    Nothing more discouraging than to spend months working on crafting because "you can craft gear just as good as the best drops" just to discover that crafting ingredients for those items are locked behind the same encounters as the drops. This kills the immersion of playing as a crafter, negating the desire to continue without being forced into raiding.

    I wish I could "like" this comment about 50 times. Make it a very rare drop but don't gate it behind some other content I may not be interested in playing.

  • SoggyBandaidSoggyBandaid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    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?

    To begin, immersion is not generally of critical importance to me. I'm a gamer first, role player second so a lot of issues different people have raised would slide under my radar as acceptable for a community driven game like AoC. I (personally) would consider a fun game better than a realistic game, and I would consider an engaging game better than an immersive one. I do have some experiences from games that broke both immersion and engagement, and although similar examples have been given by others, I figured I'd highlight them as particularly annoying.

    Terrain Issues: When assets are slow to load or invisible when entering a new area. I've run into this with sandbox games. I know a monster or resource (even my base in one sandbox) is in front of me but it failed to load. Invisible walls or generally bad terrain when traveling in the wilderness. I dislike in many single player rpgs not being able to sneak in the back of a location because some nearly flat waist high hill is marked impassable. Inconsistent visuals when using ranged attacks. Few things sting in PVP like launching the perfect attack only to have it explode against a curtain or some invisible tree branch.
    Bad Monster (NPC) AI: Although funny, I am not a fan of being chased by a giant spider halfway across creation through towns with guards just standing by. This happens in tons of games; doesn't the spider have anything better to do? In general, I think mob aggro should be representative of the creature. Lazy or passive monsters should aggro less. Smart or docile monsters should flee when hurt badly. NPCs should react to other NPCs similarly to PCs. I would love to be walking through a forest biome and see a wolf kill a deer and then be chased away by a bear. I am also totally against power balancing content. I hear AoC has no intention of balancing content for each player or group entering an area, so I'll say thank you :smiley:
    Story & Quests: Repeating fetch and kill quests just seem like unrealistic time sinks. Please just throw a bounty board somewhere with everything that could possibly need killing near a node instead of making us all run back and forth to farmer John. Similarly, would it be possible to set some quest at a town or regional completion level? For example if a town needs wolves killed, two groups could actively complete the quest at the same time without grouping up one group needing respawns to tag for completion? I felt GW2 did this very well, and I also thought GW2 did a superior job of making quests seem urgent and meaningful. Having an NPC run to me with a short quest blurb was much more engaging than reading through pages of pseudo conversation like ESO.
    Illusion of Choice: I have two small pet peeves that sometimes pop up in games. First, is when certain NPCs are immortal or cannot be hurt. I hope in AoC where our player choices matter if a snooty Elven mage talks down to me I can waste him before he mysteriously becomes a villain later (looking at you Skyrim). Second, is when character names are very short. or when they're overshadowed by account names. No one takes "Soggy" seriously but "Valbrik Ninefingers" might have some respect on Verra.

    Thank you for your time reading all our posts and everyone's continued hard work on AoC!

  • This game has given me hope and a desire to come back to the mmorpg genre of gaming. It felt like with the toxic community takeover of games like WoW, LoL, and so many others, the Golden Age of the genre had passed and was gone for good. In my opinion, nothing broke immersion (for me) more than trolling within the community. I am really excited about the way this game is set up and seems to promote positive interaction from player to player. Just a small mention (because it was mentioned in an earlier post) about the carrying weight aspect, I am NOT a fan lol. Hopefully this isn't a thing in Ashes :)
  • Immersion is something that is equal parts game and gamer I feel.

    As long as a game gives you the tools (backstory, systems, etc) you can make immersion work fairly well.

    You all have to complete the same mission 5 times because you each have an instance of it. City of Heroes was cool because if X party members had the same mission they could enter 1 instance an complete it together. I think many do that these days but some may still not.

    Squires - having a Squire system where players could have a friend (perhaps someone they referred) that gets bonus XP when paired with them would be nice. Having a referral system that rewards referrals further by perhaps unlocking certain vanity items or a species that doesn't have any gameplay uniqueness outside of visuals (Pangolin species from the coloring sheet!) but is exclusive to both the refer-er and the refer-ee after the later begins their subscription would be cool. It would feel like I'm actually leading this person through the world and affecting them aside from just getting them to play the game a bit.

    Shared world enemies - Having a group where you encounter someone from your quest line within a group setting would be an immersion win. Say I team with a mage, a fighter and a cleric and I'm a rogue. As we proceed through my mission perhaps the team based enhancement to difficulty (more/stronger enemies) could include someone that each of those classes normally only encounters in their own class-related quests...sort of the Legion of Doom to our Justice League in that moment.

    Fewer load screens wherever possible obviously.

    Enhancing/Crafting - The ability to learn enhancements of items from an item with that trait. Want to learn how a Damage enhancement is made so you can add it to your sword? Break down anything with a damage enhancement (not just swords) it's just a Damage magic spell/charm/whatever the ability to apply it to something shouldn't depend on what you learned it from.

    Legacy weapons and armor. Both a visual and a functional option. By "Legacy" I mean you can hone your weapons and armor starting at a certain level so you can make them better and better as you go. Make it extremely time consuming at the end game but being able to complete some quest while wielding the cool looking weapon or wearing my awesome armor (or certain number of quests too) in order to trigger a legendary tag that does something cool would be great. If I want to use raid gear then fine but I have this sweet Sword I got from a class quest at level 10 that fits my character better than the weird demon scimitar from level 25 so I can just level this sword up via crafting, perhaps get the a "trait scroll" that would make it function the same as the reward I'd get at level 25 so it's visually the same and but stronger. I'd love to reach max level and have this battle-tested armor with some special visual glimmer/tag that lets people know I put in serious effort and this gear is the stuff of legends...not because I was told it was because I got it from a chest a dragon was guarding but because I'd worn it for dozens of levels and fought innumerable battles with it.

    Alternately, a visual only option with the ability to slot a weapon as my visual weapon for PvE so if I get a cool look I can keep it together, many other games have done similar in the past. This would be the bare minimum though to me.

    Also, please no animals with random bags of money etc on them. The occasional rare creature that has gems embedded in it (which is why it's tougher) would be cool. I think that's all I've got for now.
  • For me the main thing that kills Immersion is Quest trackers. I know that they are great for alt's and people who like to power level, but for me you miss out on a lot of the world exploration with them. The second thing is non-editable maps!!! I am not talking about the mini map but the full scale one. I think this would be a nice thing to have for ashes seeing as there will be no add-ons for the game. This will let people mark possible resource and mob spawn. If it you make it to where you can make a map then trade/sell maps it could up a market for when nods change. Also I could be use in replace of quest trackers for alts and new players. If you expand that farther to dungeons and raid maps, guilds could use that to mark mobs, paths and strategies for them.
  • Wow, it's incredible how many people are commenting on this topic.

    I watched a really great video of Asmongold reacting to and discussing the idea of players optimizing their play in games:

    I think the idea that a game is "solved" and there is a right way to play has always been really depressing to me and is one of the biggest things that takes away my immersion from any game, not just MMO's. Even though I really enjoy playing competitively in strategy games like Starcraft and Go, the most immersed I am in those games is when I feel like I am creating strategies/doing things that no one else is doing - or at least doing them with my own unique flair.

    In the above video, a lot of comparisons were made to how players play WoW Classic in 2020 vs. how they played Vanilla WoW in 2005, i.e. people are playing with two monitors, they are texting their friends while they wait for something instead of talking to the players around them, they're watching or listening to videos while they're grinding, and they are expected to know the "right" way to do everything because the information is widely available and easily accessed.

    This is a really difficult problem I think for ALL games made these days, but I think from the MMO side Ashes has at least one good thing going for it and I think that is the 64 class system. But even within that, I know I'll be able to go online and find "The Best Build for Bard in Patch 2.4" and "How to Raid with Bard" and many top guilds will expect me to play Bard "correctly." (again I love playing competitively, it just irks me when the environment is that there is only one right way to do something).
  • Balrog21Balrog21 Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    @Arcadia I tried wow again about a month was a complete joke. While making it up to level 100 I did the dungeons along with BG'ng, and not one person said one thing in group chat...not one out of all the instances, not one. Even after trying to make conversation. It was sad to say the least.
    I think we will have a few months before metas come out and I cant wait to see the whiners in all their glory where you actually have to talk with people and interact with them, better yet earn your items and other things.
  • Fortnite style cosmetics.
    Hellokitty hats.
    Miau miau pets.
    Fairy tale sh*t.
    Cosmetics that don't fit the world around you!!!
  • NixalNixal Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    There are not a lot of things that break Immersion for me. Maybe promotional items like a twitch costume or nike shoes or items the clearly do not belong into the world, e.g. cars.
  • 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?

    Immersion is important, it keeps me playing and side tracked from real life issues.

    1) Quiet community, where nobody is chatting in the game. This makes the world feel dead.
    2) NPC's not talking as you walk by: IE: NPC's have 2-4 different lines they use instead of just the same sentence over and over again vs the same script every time "Hello, see my wares!" . This makes the game feel alive when they have more to say.
    3) Night and day cycle, this is a must have
    4) Games that have no swimming are game breaking IMO.
    5) No game lore.
    6) No secrets or easter eggs. even no secret quests can be a game breaker sometimes for me.
    7) No in game events or late events that dont make sense
    8) No board games
    9) Fast crafting, this really makes the game feel TOO easy.
  • I glanced through some of these comments and lots of ppl have some really get things, things that I agree with. But I'm gonna drop in my 2 cents anyhow.

    For me the biggest immersion breaking element to any game, even before things like hello kitty hats and **** characters, its the games UI. The UI is always the make or break thing for a game to me, and so few games have done it well enough that I don't even notice it.

    To me there's 2 games I'm going to use as examples of supremo UI. ESO and SWTOR. Say what you will about the games themselves, the UI experience in both those games was fairly great, and flawed in their own rights.

    ESO moment to moment gameplay UI is near perfect. I much prefer the compass over a mini map, hot bars could be set to fade away, enemy highlights could be changed and adjusted, AoE colors adjusted, chat window easily hidden, Quest Tracker wasn't bloated with every damn quest you had just the 1 you were chasing (but all quests still showed up on compass and map) This moment to moment gameplay UI really helps me focus on THE GAME WORLD and not the map, or my chat window when i don't want, or giant yellow ! marks! Yes the game has similar things but, toned down. I fucking hate the ! system. Where ESO really drops the ball is its menus. Inventory, vendors, map etc. All horribly designed. But that is more of a gameplay problem, less immersion.

    My second example of SWTOR is more of UI QoL that few games have. And that is EVERYTHING IS MOVEABLE AND RESIZEABLE! This feature is a must have for any new MMO coming out. By being able to customize my UI without addons, and save that profile and instantly bring it from character to character its a huge QoL thing that really helps immersion. I've recently started playing WoW for the first time, and its a pretty good game. I can see why people hate on it. But I can also see why its been around since 2004 and still very popular. But it is the most un-immersive MMO i've ever played. No matter what class you play, there's something popping up on the UI and flashing at you. Either to let you know you're dying, or to show some proc has happened and you have other abilities available or some kind of power. The worst part to me is even if you could turn those off, which you might I dunno, those mechanics are so important to how the game plays that you'll really be sucking if you miss out on those procs.

    I'd also like to see a more interesting way to show enemy AoE circles. A giant red circle growing on the ground may be functional, but its horrid at the same time. There is easily some other ways to show that area is going to be affected rather than the circle.

    So thats it for me. UI is the big killer for me, it'll almost always snap me out of my fantasy and remind me "oh yea I'm playing a game"
  • SaraphitaSaraphita Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Nothing will break my immersion faster than screen shake, motion blur, or cameras that aren't in a fixed position (i.e. the camera moves all over the place) because they will cause me to be physically ill. Motion sickness & epilepsy suck :-/
  • Oh forgot to mention that a minimalist UI is important for immersion, so keybinds to trigger quest log, minimap, etc is very good. Ideally I'd like to see my skillbar, health and party list, I'd like to be able to activate other pieces of UI by pressing a key. Remember less is more. ;)
    "Magic is not a tool, little one. It is a river that unites us in its current."

    I heard a bird ♫
  • Vig BeaumontVig Beaumont Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Immersion is very important to me. That being said, stupid nametags like XstankassX annoy the shit out of me.

    Additionally VOIP can be unbelievably abused and just a deal breaker at times. If there are no controls to mute individuals and still have functionality, I wont use it.
  • DescepticonDescepticon Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I'm not going to go into a long story, or what games I've seen this in, but when you have a tutorial about the game, and its like push b to look into you bags, and oh btw push c for our cash shop for in game items. Now I'm not saying don't have a cash shop, you have to make money I understand, but please have it outside of the game. I don't like seeing that buy me with real money icon, It totally breaks immersion.
  • personally i like mobs that have a wider area to wandered around in and more idle animations. i dont like mobs walking in a small square i want them to wander around quite a bit from where they spawn since i like to take screenshots in games of wild life. in games like ark survival evolved where mobs can actually wander into the next bio a bit it is interesting to watch and also makes it a bit harder to find a creature when there is a large area to spawn and wander in
  • ExSpetsnazExSpetsnaz Member
    edited September 2020
    What were some moments in an MMO that broke your immersion?
    1) Story
    • Constant fetch quests or kill x number of mobs. It's okay to have some sprinkled in where it makes sense (clear out the wolves that are killing our live stock and we'll give you valuable information). Too many of these quests make it painfully clear that I'm playing a game instead of having an experience.
    2) Music
    • No transition between music tracks; just an abrupt change. This seems like a small detail, but it is very noticeable when this isn't accounted for.
    • The music not fitting the mood of what is happening during a major story point. Nothing is more jarring than seeing a main character die and having cheery music in the background.
    3) Bugs
    • Getting stuck in a wall or in the ground. We've all been under a map and stared into the abyss.
    • A specific trigger that doesn't go off in a dungeon that stops a group from progressing, forcing them to restart from the beginning.
    How much did those moments affect your perception of the game?
    The more important the moment is to the story, or alternatively, the more effort required to reach an objective, the more heightened the emotions were when something went wrong. Some of the above will produce a sigh while others can be downright rage inducing.
    How important is immersion to you, generally?
    Extremely important when it comes to maintaining a cohesive plot line. Not so much when it comes to farming out in the world. Still sticks out like a sore thumb, but I'm more forgiving with those instances.
  • Biggest immersion breaking feature is micro-transactions of any shape and form.
  • Biggest immersion breaks are time gated features. Artificially telling player - stop, you can work on improving your character next week
    “Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.”

    ― Plato
  • SneakzSneakz Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Playing WOW right now and doing quests that say "go kill zebra's to collect 20 zebra hoofs" OR " kill 10 raptors and collect 10 raptor heads" but they are like a 1 in 10 chance of dropping, and it sure doesn't look like i'm killing legless or headless animals for them not to drop... Breaks it for me.
  • Balrog21Balrog21 Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    @Sneakz playing GW2 atm....these zone loading screens....ughhh
  • Magic ManMagic Man Member
    edited September 2020
    It is really important to me. Singleplayer RPGs make it really easy for you to be immersed because..well, they tend to be top notch quality.

    MMOs lack immersion immensely partly due to the fact that they go for more functionality rather than immersive gameplay. e.g using the mouse cursor to click things. Pressing tab to select targets so they have a freaking circle around them etc etc. When we have these, immersion is ruined completely for those with standards.

    Some other people can be immersed rather easily - in which you case you don't even have to bother since they start roleplaying already! (they do this in two and even one dimensional games including tabletop games soo)
  • edited September 2020
    Magic Man wrote: »
    Some other people can be immersed rather easily - in which you case you don't even have to bother since they start roleplaying already! (they do this in two and even one dimensional games including tabletop games soo)

    I'm pretty sure I've never played a one-dimensional game. How would that even work? :D
    Here is the game: _____________________________________________________________________

    Just a little levity, I understand your point. (although a point is 0 dimensional)

  • Magic Man wrote: »
    Some other people can be immersed rather easily - in which you case you don't even have to bother since they start roleplaying already! (they do this in two and even one dimensional games including tabletop games soo)

    I'm pretty sure I've never played a one-dimensional game. How would that even work? :D
    Here is the game: _____________________________________________________________________

    Just a little levity, I understand your point. (although a point is 0 dimensional)

    People make it work xd
  • VoidwalkersVoidwalkers Member
    edited September 2020
    Also the power ratio / relationship between characters, when not handled properly, breaks immersion.

    Say, back in WoW BC, part of the lore was Kael Thas sent some blood elves to train under Illidan as demon hunters. Illidan put them through hell, many died, 1 had gone insane, and 1 (who turned out to be a prodigy) succeeded and surpassed all his mentors.
    Now one would normally expect that prodigy BE demon hunter end up being a powerful boss, but nope. He ended up being just a quest target, whom can be killed without much effort. Just follow the quest.
    On the other hand, the insane dude ended up being a raid boss, and you had to bring a 25-men raid to take him down. That felt wrong.

    The power creep from expansion to expansion also contributed to this, say, in WotLK a 25-men raid took down the Lich King (supposedly an immensely powerful being), ended the threat of scourge. Then a few expansions later the same 25-men raid could find themselves wiping at the hands of mere ogres.

    The "title" / identity of your enemy & your character matters too.
    I just finished GW2's Path of Fire story not long ago, in short, at the final step of the story, your character (a mere mortal, not some half-god hybrid like Kratos in GOW series) ended up SOLOing the GOD OF WAR. Yup you had a magical fiery sword in your hand, yup you had a dragon hatchling helping you. But still, that felt wrong. Especially the same god of war had just toyed with & single-handedly killed your character (who of coz, somehow managed to come back to life) a few steps ago.
  • RokoRoko Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Immersion is a fickle thing and pretty much anything that seems out of place or that shouldn’t happen can break it for me. So I will focus on a couple of things that I have found are the ones that most take me out of immersion. mainly unkillable NPCs, indestructible stuff and power creep.

    For example when I come back to town from helping kill a giant dragon with my party; and a shopkeeper pisses me off. I attack him with all my might but no matter how much I try. I can’t hurt him. Meteors are showering on his head and he is unfazed. It immediately makes me remember that I’m not the hero I thought I was, reminds me that I’m in a video game where my actions don’t matter and I am powerless against simpletons in the streets.

    Also indestructible stuff that seems too weak, like doors for example: I am believing that I am super strong because I was just out of town slaughtering direwolves left and right for their pelts, giant beasts that could kill a regular human being in a single bite. So the game has me believing I’m this super strong hunter that can take on these super strong beasts.
    Until I come to a place protected by a small wooden door and it says I can’t open it because I don’t have the key. Except I’m supposed to be this super strong being how the hell is this tiny piece of wood going to stop me? I try as I can to break it but not a scratch. It won’t budge. Suddenly a bunch of sticks attached to a wall are tougher than my strongest attacks. And once again I’m reminded that I am in a video game.

    Power Creep in my eyes is also a very good example of immersion breaking. I’m the proud owner of the legendary armor of such and such legendary hero from before the fall that puts every other armor in the game to shame. I worked hard to get it, I’m proud of it.

    Then an expansion comes out and as soon as I run into an NPC armor vendor I notice that the common armor he is selling for a few gold pieces is on par or almost equal to my super legendary set. I’m like WTF?! This was supposed to be legendary. How comes an unnamed shopkeeper in the middle of nowhere has cheap stuff for sale that's on par with it?! It makes no sense.

    I Then go into town to get a few quests and a simple guard offers me a super simple task to clear a farm from these seemingly harmless creatures that look even cute. Oh boy I find out these little cute things hit harder than the giant faceless monsters at the end of the last expansion. WHAT? How is it even possible for something so cute and small to be as dangerous as the toughest single player enemies from the last expansion? It takes me out of the experience. And if that wasn’t enough When I go back to this simple looking guard to turn in my quest he rewards me with a common sword that’s somehow better than shadowmourne.

    Unbelievable stuff like that really breaks my immersion.
  • CaelronCaelron Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I think immersion is very important.

    I didn't always think that way until I realized what irritated me to no end: Modern or "cute" accessory items in a Fantasy world. If I log in and everything looks like a modern-day beach-going experience, with board-shorts, flip flops and sunglasses... I don't want to play anymore. I can rationalize away quite a bit in a high fantasy world, even when people start cosplaying a fairy or angel... but the modern-day sunglasses just somehow bug me and totally ruin my immersion.

    It's like if you time-traveled back to the middle-ages, and you donned the armor to participate in a giant battle, and look and see some dude in the front row is wearing beach gear? Is this a joke to you?
  • Thank you all SO MUCH for chiming in with your detailed thoughts and images on immersion, including what brings you into a game and breaks you out of the zone! <3 I'm going ahead and wrapping up a compilation of your notes for our team now, but please feel free to keep chiming in with additional thoughts as you have them!

    We'll see ya for our next Dev Discussion on housing and decor tools!
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