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Dev Discussion #22 - Immersion



  • #1 Third party websites and quest hand-holding mechanics breaking the immersion and the reason to interact with other players and npcs. They break the reason to interact with npcs and players which is to find out information about the world(items, quests, npcs, perks, locations etc.) and they diminishing the meaning and reason of exploration.

    #2 World Bosses just standing in the open waiting to be attacked and letting you prepare to attack them and NPC factions creating zero difference in the world as you and everyone choose to do or not do quests relating to them.

    I'll quote my say on these matters from other threads and link the said threads here because they contain lots of ideas of other players which are worth reading too and the threads deserve to be followed by the devs in general.
    Birthday wrote: »
    This post makes a really good point.

    In DayZ before maps with all the loot's spots were made available for everyone on third party websites exploring was epic because even though you'd run for miles and see absolutely nothing or some stupid village with nothing in it, the extremely powerful feeling of why drove me to spend 6 hours everyday in just running directionless. To uncover secrets deep in mountains, woods and deserts that no player has found yet. To find the best loot spot to outgear players. To find a great place to establish and build your base, where no one can find it and at the same time be in a convenient place, close to a high-loot place or high population(pvp) place.

    And even after the maps in third party websites ruined that experience, DayZ did a great job at still giving a "Why to explore" to the player by using the randomly spawned helicopter crashes which gave top-military gear. So again exploring made tons of sense.

    Gear in WoW showing how far you've progressed definetly gave me a strong why to play the game. I PvP'd in Arenas a lot just to be able to get the gear to show off. I PvE'd for the same reasons, and invested lots of time to explore and find hidden quests which gave fun/powerful items that not a lot of players were aware of. Then again third party websites, hand-hold mechanics etc. ruined that part of PvE and exploration.

    Here are some suggestions which will keep the mystery and immersiveness of the big world, promote more organic player movement, give players more incentive to explore and create a more incentives for players to PvP across the whole world rather than center them in certain parts and add additional exploration/PvE upkeep-tasks for nodes which will again covert later into incentives for players to PvP in different places and diminish the effects of hand-holding thirdparty websites.

    -Quests which are not part of the main-quest storyline should spawn randomly across more than one zone. This will make players move more organically in the map and give more incentive to explore and diminish the effects of third party websites like WoWhead have.

    -Mobs can have progressions too.
    a) Depending on what nodes players choose to progress Mobs could have a change in their AI.
    For example - progressing a node where you help npc dwarves with their mining or w/e makes the dwarve npcs more powerful and makes them invade a different node where elves life, taking over their towns and forests.

    b) After a faction of mobs (Let's say goblins) has occupied a cave which has seen little player activity for about a week - they should grow in numbers and start expanding - creating new events and new quests for players centered around this faction of mobs gaining power. The goblins could start ambushing NPC and Player caravans, raiding villages during the night and thus destroying or setting back a certain node's progression. This will give guild players an incentive to set up ambushes to stop their enemy guild's players who are trying to drive the goblins back into the cave so that their node can progress safely etc.

    c) Factions of NPCs which have more to do with trading, science or w/e (not war-orientated factions) could give certain bonuses to nodes/guilds if the guild/node has helped them or chose them over another faction to integrate them into their node. This again can open up possibilities where other players will try to slow down that faction of NPCs by doing quests to sabotage their mines or cut their transport routes etc. and give even more choices for players to make which choices will make more or less player enemies and give better or worse bonuses.

  • Movement and World Interaction
    People have already mentioned this but I have to reiterate since this is numero uno for me. The avatar is a representation of my virtual self, so janky and stiff character animations that lack transition or outright look unnatural (as in things bending wrong or clipping) bother me a bit. More importantly, limitations and restrictions on movement effect me more than anything. The inability to jump/vault over a waist high fence, climb up to a ledge that's well within reach, or constantly get stuck on ankle-high projections when walking up a hill is a full-stop failure on translating the thoughts of how I wanted to move forward in the world--small limitations like those are mildly infuriating.

    I'd rather play something that looks like dirt yet moves and feels like there was care and thought about the player behind it, rather than something that looks pretty but doesn't feel smooth or account for player freedom.
  • One thing that's always broken immersion for me is nonsensical drops from enemies. For example a bird enemy dropping scrap metal, or a rodent enemy dropping swords. It creates a perception of laziness to me, in that the devs couldn't come up with a creative way to integrate these components.

    I think it's something that MMORPG players have simply just come to expect over the years.
    Looking at the content that AoC has put out so far, I believe the game's more than capable of implementing "realistic expectations." And by that I mean if you kill a bird enemy, you'll probably get feathers, talons, eyes, etc of varying rarity. And you if kill a bird enemy with plate armour, well then you can expect to get scrap metal or more.
  • VyrakaVyraka Member, Alpha One
    edited September 2020
    Immersion is really important to me because it's what makes me keep wanting to play the game.

    Sometimes the thing that breaks the immersion the most is gold spamming and toxic conversations on global chat. I don't mean general conflict. I mean someone intentionally saying the creepiest and foulest things just to get a rise out of people. I know this is inevitably going to happen, and that I can turn chat off. However, there are also reasons I want to keep chat on. If a game has some form of monitoring, then it's not so bad, but I have seen some games with no monitoring, and it makes me want to turn off the game - despite the game itself being fun.

    I hope that there is no universal global chat, but instead a regional chat.

    Another immersion breaker is obvious exploitable bugs that take months to fix because the developer is too busy making things to sell and make more money versus providing maintenance and tweaking what they already have.
  • SzoloSzolo Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited September 2020
    I have been mainly playing WoW for the last 15 years, so my examples will be mainly from that game.
    Wastly overpowered skills or skill combos can really break my immersion. Even if those are on really long cooldowns. Same goes for immunity spells or "chain-fear/stun" spells.
    "Death touch" effects from the game engine can also break my immersion. Be it a response for accidentally getting a mob stuck into some pixel, or delivering too high performance in a fight (got killed multiple times during WoW raids without any reason mentioned in battle log, 90%+ performing priest according to warcraftlogs).
    Spells traveling through walls/rocks can also break my immersion.
    Mobs popping out of nowhere next to my character also breaks my immersion.
    Weird loot table can also break my immersion. Staff drops of a rabbit? Where did the rabbit hide that staff? :)
    Zones with impossible climatic conditions next to each other (lush trophical forest next to an ice field) also breaks my immersion.
    Unreal/unnatural situations can also break my immersion, like undead players ressurected/healed with the use of holy/nature spells.
    Killing the same boss, razing the same camp, over and over again really kills immersion. Once I have killed Otto the three-headed giant, Otto shouldn't come back to life, unless there is a compelling reason for that, like for example a necromancer ressurected him.
    Having the same reaction from NPCs towards strongly different characters can also break immersion a bit. For example a noble priest, a shifty rogue and an outcast necromancer should clearly receive different reactions from the same NPC.

    Some of these situations, mainly the death touch effects might make me pretty upset at the game, but it depends mostly on the circumstances.
    At most of the above listed situations I just smile, and move on.

    For me immersion is only really important for class specific quests, or for the main storyline quests.
    You ride that fine line of like everyone is about to die and you shall keep on casting, keep going, it's awesome. That's the best part of healing.
  • Examples that previously broke immersion:

    * Mobs with low drop rate for body parts. Example: Quest is to collect 10 bear pelts but the drop rate is 50% on pelts.
    * Overuse of color variant mobs. Its the worst!
    * Seeing low level players in epic looking Bind-On-Account or Real Money Shop armor pieces. (Please consider a level minimum requirement for real money shop armor or a toggable settings to turn them off visually on other players)
    * Nonsensical quests, lazy grind or fetch requirements
    * Bosses that stand still until aggroed.
    * Obnoxious quest items/toys/craftable items

    These examples broke my immersion which is very important to me.

    I'd argue that the most immersive experiences are while players are solo or in small groups such as questing or pvp.
  • KabhaalKabhaal Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2020
    Immersion can be a tough things to tackle but some of my big things are...
    • Animation fluidity
    • Visceral combat, movement, and it's accompanying sound
    • Response from the game world as achievements and choices accrue
    • In that same vein, consequences for a player's actions in the game world
    There are others but they've already been touched on by Steven and the team numerous time so I'm content to stick with those four.

    I love my roleplay, feeling like I'm actually part of the world and my choices in it matter. I know that in a MMO that can be hard to do, but one of the things I'm hoping for is branching story paths or secrets. Paths that players can go down or things to uncover that after significant effort can or will, permanently affect how the world interacts with them, maybe even a character's physical or ability appearance, or augments.

    For example, If a player goes down some great evil quest line and throws their lot in with the Ancients and Others I would love if that put a character in danger while in areas that fall heavily under the influence of the Seven like a divine node or even that character having to take extra steps to conceal their identity and status via specialized but less than optimal gear if they still want to operate in that area.

    The religion system kinda goes that route so I used that as a example but to see it in other ways and places would just In my opinion make Verra just that much more believable.
  • One of the biggest hardships I’ve had with MMOs in the past is the impact that I, as a character, have on the area around me and the world as a whole. It always feels like you start out as a young adventurer then progress to become the legendary hero at the end of it all and nothing you did mattered because the world did not react to your actions. In the case of WoW, you had zones that changed as you progressed in the main zone quest line but at the end, it just becomes another zone that you leave and never come back to, unless dailies or farming.

    What’s great about the node system is that my actions have a significant impact on the world. Questing, farming, exploring, etc all factor in to the growth of an area. If I get the best node, I get the best stuff in the region. That in turn makes other people need to attack to level their nodes. That cycle continues for a long while!

    That, paired with the nodes changing their aesthetic and culture to that of the race that most contributes to its development, gives this game a whole new level of immersion you can’t find in a lot of MMOs nowadays.
  • BardticBardtic Member, Alpha One
    Immersion for me is hugely important for certain games. It really depends on what the game is trying to go for. Single player games need to be hugely immersive while MMOs can get away with a lot less. That being said having a highly immersive game while also being an MMO is amazing.

    The key thing that both breaks immersion and ruins a game in general for me is any clunky feeling player actions or monster AI. As we have seen with the recent test of New World, being animation locked for seconds at a time is hugely frustrating and you realize you are playing a game because your mind stops thinking about the game and focuses on the frustration of not being able to do anything for a second.

    As long as your mind is actively engaged in the game I feel like even addons or UI don't really effect my immersion. However if I start looking at an addon(like say a DPS meter) or quest pointer more than I am looking at the game it does ruin the immersion.

    Keeping a persons mind engaged on what is happening around them is the most important thing to keeping me immersed which is also why repetitive scenery or actions/quests tend to pull your mind out of engagement and ruin the immersion as well.

    Constant engagement by the player is also what leads to super addictive games. There is a reason you can play certain party or fighting games and time flies by without you noticing it. You are so focused on the game you don't even pay attention to the time.

    I don't think I am saying anything that hasn't already been said but every time you implement or test a game mechanic I would just ask "Does this interrupt the players active thought process in any way?"
  • Some moments for me would be lack of enemy varieties and copy pasted assets throughout the world. I realize these type of things help the product come out faster and if the gameplay is fun it is easier to overlook such things. In general, I love to be immersed in a world and feel like im a part of a big adventure but I would rank gameplay as more important. Here's to hoping ashes can bring both to the table and good luck friends!
  • SorcresSorcres Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Overall I´ve got three things that totally destroy my immersion from the game.

    1) When you are killing a monster in a certain location, and ten levels later you meet the same monster, which is only re-named and his color is a bit changed.
    I like exploring new and original monsters. Same monsters over and over again destroy my enjoyment from the game.

    2)Quests that are in game only so it can looks like there is a lot of them. I like quest sequence and when every quest have different story and is
    I appreciate when side Quests unlocks something you can´t get from anywhere else. After that I want to find the side Quest and finish him!

    3)And one more thing that destroys my enjoynment from the game is that a lot of drops and materials are totally worthless, and they are only a useless pieces in your inventory. Their only reason to exist is that its taking a lot of space in your inventory and are giving you a feeling that there is a lot of drops in the game, but you have to drop the items to have some space in the inventory. Items like:( Rotted meat, old ceramic vase, broken plate or withered grass)
  • coatimundicoatimundi Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    edited September 2020
    Immersion is huge for me. Here are the breakers for me:
    1. Over Used and reskinned monsters with different names. I hate seeing the same monster in just a different color and armor set with nothing creative or different about it.
    2. Overused, boring fetch quests: kill X, retrieve 10 X. There so much more you could do, for instance: Bounty hunting where the target isn't just in one place all the time. You could make it where you have to talk to npcs to reveal where the guy might be, whats his weakness, where does he frequent: bars? Gambling Dens? This one tea house in this one particular village?
    3. Shitty water content and it always looks bland. Some random seaweed, some random coral, ruins, and boom! you now got generic boring sea content. Inspire to have diverse biomes like in the game Subnautica. More unique creative sea life would be awesome instead of 'insert generic fish'. This is a high fantasy game, make more fantasy like sea creatures instead of boring real life creatures.
    4. I absolutely despise crappy pop culture references that a three year old could make.
    5. I absolutely hate going into large cities and not seeing enough npcs. Like in wow Orgrimmar theirs only shop keepers and maybe 10 random npcs doing nothing. Make cities or villages feel alive. I want to see npcs conversing about recent events, I want to see npcs visiting market stalls, kids playing in the streets, people sweeping, cooking, drinking, random npcs playing dice on the corner, etc etc.
    6. Please no cosmetics where theirs french maid outfits or bikinis or suits that are from our Real world into this game
    7. Can we please not have bosses standing at the end of a long quest like a frozen mannequin waiting for a quarter to be put in to start. LIke really, that big bad evil boss is chilling in the center of the room just doing nothing?
  • Examples that effect my immersion with the game in a negative way:
    • When there is a mini-boss or a dungeon boss it needs to feel like a challenge. I have had multiple games where dungeon bosses or mini-bosses don't pose a challenge to players. To me that can make the game boring (for a lack of better words)
    • Lack of inventory space. Either give a relatively large base inventory or dont make the game drop too much loot.
    • Quests where you are asked to walk back and forth between two or more NPC's.
    • Repetitive use of monsters through the leveling experience. For example when you are in a level 10 area and there are small size grey wolves and then later on in a level 30 area there are the same model wolves but now just a bit larger and a different color scheme.
    • Too often games do not make gear look good untill max level. I would like to see an earlier gear progression. The gear that you get needs to reflect the progress that you are making. The higher level you get the more 'awesome' the gear should look.
  • Immersion can mean different things for different people, honestly. This is a TLDR ramble, so be warned.

    For the RP people, suspension of disbelief is total immersion. For this type of player, visual game glitches, missing animations, having to go outside the game for information or logistical purposes can hinder the suspension of disbelief. Static npc's are the bane of an RP person's existence. As well as lack of functionality. You have horses, you should have jousting and make available the potential to hold jousting tournaments. You have pvp, so brawling contests might perhaps be a consideration. The ideas they can come up with are limited only to their imagination, so any tool to give quests or setup competitions/activities greatly improve their immersion.

    For a PK (like myself) I'm immersed in combat and character progression. Immersion is broken for me when game mechanics just don't make sense. Logical combat is important, a shield wielding tank should be ... tanky... A spell slinging mage should be mostly vulnerable but extremely powerful, as with the healer classes (paperweights that serve a very important purpose, life). Berserkers are wild, strong, but not all that tanky. Combat tactics play an important role for the pk types. Ambushes, counter-ambushes, stealth, environment all play their roles to make for an immersive combat experience. Having to change up spells or weapons due to a specific situation is immersive (casting lightning while standing in a pool of water is not that immersive). Fire in a wheat field, etc. A warrior wielding a glaive in a tight dungeon for example. This just doesn't make as much sense as him out on the field on a mount or leading a charge. Friendly fire (or lack thereof) can break immersion to a point, but I won't dwell on that one. It's a peeve of mine, but I'll digress. Character and object occlusion is important. A group of players should be able to make a body-wall and players shouldn't be able to phase through each other.

    For the record, I rarely find a game that really makes me feel like I'm in the world. I'm a DM and can create a world over the course of a good poop, but when playing even the best games, I find it hard to feel like I'm a part of that world. I'm always analyzing data, statistics, and combat effectiveness of a given class. (this also means finding those glitches/exploits that give a class an upper hand). I enjoy all aspects of the game, however, from graphics to mechanics; from statistics to cool features. I can definitely appreciate immersion, I just don't think my brain is wired as such to suspend my belief. I just appreciate the entertainment for what it is.

    BUT, I believe that most gamers can appreciate an environment that changes. (Your node system is a good example of this). It's exciting to play a game that has true seasons, visual updates as well as npc updates, static adventures and content grows stale and repetitive for most. A world that changes on it's own as well as by player interaction is really cool and immersive. Worlds change over time. I think node changes are a good step in this direction.

    While I could go into many situations where immersion was broken, I can elaborate on instances where immersion was maintained. Scum (fps game), overly complicated, and rather boring game had a very sensible plot and game world. Arma 2: Dayz Mod, yet another example of a world you could play and feel like you're a part of it and it just made sense, from the buildings to the lore, to the plot. The modders did a great job with it. Another good one is Mortal Online, but for a completely different reason. The crafting, skill and combat in that game felt so REAL. The overall game graphics & content, (pardon my language) sucked. But those key elements were absolutely amazingly well done. Materials actually mattered and you had to learn what worked and what didn't.

    This is one that I have yet to see anyone accomplish, but ecosystems and AI that actually make sense. Trees get cut enough and the ecosystem can begin to suffer. Kill too many deer and outpace their breeding can lead to a shortage. Intelligent npc's that can react and grow or change with the game/season/node. If a hostility takes place in a city, the citizens lock themselves in their houses until the threat is resolved... Just a simple example. AI has always been lacking in games, I just don't think our tech has reached the point where AI can really shine.

    In closing, I believe that different people immerse themselves differently, from suspension of disbelief to matrix-esque data crunchers. You can see this with children if you watch carefully how they play with toys and each other. No two people are wired the same, really.

    I believe the question you are asking is directly proportionate to suspension of disbelief, though. If it doesn't make sense, it simply reminds you that it's a game. All you can do is do the best with the tools given to try to portray a world that is plausible and sticks to those parameters. If magic is not directly affected by environment or weather, players will over time learn to adjust their parameters internally, but if the world and environments, quests, dungeons, npc's are static, it's a paper-thin world and eventually the players will no longer be able to ignore the lines on the paper. Then it goes from an adventure to just a game, then to a chore or job to play.

    If you get anything from this, it's not about "new" content, it's about diverse and changing content. This is what draws me to Ashes of Creation. To go a step further, I appreciate a land that can experience seasons, a dungeon that can over time change denizens, a world that can react/suffer due to player actions, and npc's that have seemingly realistic lives and aren't waiting around 24/7 for the next adventurer to come along.

    Again, I'm sorry. This isn't well thought out and is just more or less me rambling. I tried to stay on topic as much as I could. The most immersive game that I have ever played was a toss-up between eve online and Arma 2: Dayz Mod and Mortal Online. I'll give an honorable mention to Final Fantasy XIV and Destiny 2, but only for their dungeon mechanics.
  • For me is people abusing of bugs. I stopped playing a lot of games because people abused bugs and destroy it.
    Even small bugs like cancel animation, I don't think devs use all their time to create animation, VFX, SFX and code for people "cancel it and call it a skill" .. if people want to do something faster I think is dev choice to fix that or not, maybe needs to be a little bit faster to not break the flow and it is ok, I just don't like when people abuse.
    So bugs, of any kind where people can abuse of it. So I ask if s bug happens a lot, remove the thing or fix it fast. I don't know the best thing to do, but just don't allow to people abuse of it.

    Another thing is kind of bug related is AI acting weird if I climb a rock for example, it breaks the combat and I think it is really important to have a fluid combat, pve and pvp.

    And finally repetitive actions with no big impact. hey go kill 10 monsters.. here is your gold and exp, btw there is another monster on the same place can you kill 5 of them? I will give you this ring.
    This is boring, it is ok for a start where you are learning the game so the goal is to teach you the game but if the goal is just to give you exp... I pass.

    I like to learn, improve all the time. This is what keeps my immersion.
  • I like setting my own goals and "being" in the world. MMOs that require you to just follow a quest path break immersion for me. I'd rather discover a pattern for a sword and then go try and get the materials than rep grind or complete 50 quests to get it. A world that can surprise and delight the player will keep me hooked.
  • uaouao Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    Diocles wrote: »
    Movement and World Interaction
    People have already mentioned this but I have to reiterate since this is numero uno for me. The avatar is a representation of my virtual self, so janky and stiff character animations that lack transition or outright look unnatural (as in things bending wrong or clipping) bother me a bit. More importantly, limitations and restrictions on movement effect me more than anything. The inability to jump/vault over a waist high fence, climb up to a ledge that's well within reach, or constantly get stuck on ankle-high projections when walking up a hill is a full-stop failure on translating the thoughts of how I wanted to move forward in the world--small limitations like those are mildly infuriating.

    I'd rather play something that looks like dirt yet moves and feels like there was care and thought about the player behind it, rather than something that looks pretty but doesn't feel smooth or account for player freedom.

    god all this is so important! especially since unreal engine tends to look great visually but animations and control are horrific most of the time.
  • ChunksChunks Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Something that really hits home for my immersion is audio and music besides. Audio can really tie in the atmosphere of where and when you are as well as what you're seeing or otherwise experiencing.
  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    edited September 2020
    In general I don’t need a lot to be immersed in a world. Avoid setting-inappropriate cosmetics. Be consistent in terminology, if you’re going ye olde school, stick with it. In general, avoid “meme-y” terms and references to the outside world. Don’t break your own lore just to shoehorn something in. Really basic stuff.

    The biggest, most atmosphere-shattering thing I’ve ever encountered is approaching the BBEG at the end of a quest line. They’ve been built up over three zones of questing as a strong, army-defeating being. Then I show up, he starts his villainous monologue as I go in to fight him!

    And he dies before the first sentence is over.

    Nothing ruins an experience for me as much as a paper-thin “boss” does.

    Edit: Damn I can’t believe I forgot to include voice acting. I know this one is already not happening, but it’s definitely going to be jarring every time I approach an NPC and it’s just silent.

  • I want to preface this by saying this is all my opinion and will probably not reflect what everyone else thinks. There are levels of QOL specific systems that people find perfectly acceptable even if they do break immersion. It is a sliding scale for everyone on what is or is not immersive.

    Immersion to me is what makes you forget you are wasting your time
    playing a game. It draws you into a world and makes you want to log in every day.

    Immersion as a concept: Immersion to me is fundamentally a system in the game that has a lore friendly in-game explanation. The opposite of that would be a system that gamifies the world. A gamifying system would be having different server layers you can jump to or being able to teleport to any location you want by clicking on it. Using a silt strider in Morrowind does not break immersion for example because there is an in-game reason for you to be transported. The Mark and Recall spells do not break immersion because You have to earn them and they are explained with Magic. Another example of a gamified system from another MMO is Personal loot in WoW. The loot automatically appears in your bag when you complete an objective. There is no weight to that item and it is like it only exists because the game gave it to you. The boss did not drop it. There is no in-game explanation as to why you randomly got loot after killing a boss. I could go on forever about gamified systems that might be a quality of life for players but it makes the game feel worse in the end. Always be able to explain a system or feature you add in game. Why have a UI pop up that tells you what to do when you can send the player a mail message from an NPC that tells them the same thing. It is less intrusive and does not take you out of the world.

    Questing: Number 1 thing that breaks questing immersion for me is quest objective markers. A quest that just tells you a location to run to and then highlights exactly what you need to do on your map breaks immersion. You can turn off your brain and mindlessly complete quests. Why do I remember every single quest I did in Morrowind 20 years later. Why do I not remember a single quest from Skyrim that I played more recently. It is because Morrowind made just finding an object a journey. You had to ask around for more location information. You had to follow landmarks to find a cave or ruins that you need to be in. You had to explore nooks and crannies to find what you need. In Skyrim you followed a marker that told you exactly where to go. You did not have to look around. You did not have to think.

    Exploration: Exploration being slightly dangerous is a good thing. If you find yourself looking around in the world for threats as you travel you will be automatically more excited to reach your destination. If you have a map that tells you the location of mobs or materials you will never feel the need to actually look at the world in front of you. You just have to look at a map for all the information you would ever need. Now if you have an ability to "scout" to make things appear on your map for a short duration on a cooldown you will not break immersion as much because it is an active action not passive. You want players to be looking at the world that you spent so much time on.

    Forming a connection to NPCs: What really makes an immersive experience with an NPC. I would argue first and foremost it is the ability to form a connection with that character. That can be via clever dialog or an emotional story. Anything that binds that NPC in your mind as something worth remembering. If in Ashes you are able to find an NPC out in the wild that is clearly in danger and you manage to save them after a difficult encounter you will form a small bond with that character. Say you could ask that NPC you just saved to work at your tavern and retire from the dangers of a gatherer you would get a backstory for them. That NPC will subconsciously be more important to you than if you just automatically got random NPCs working for you. An NPC should have realistic problems relevant to the area or node they live in. A mountain cat attacking the trade route at a node near a mountain for example. An NPC that really wants a fish would probably make more since in an area away from water where they cannot get it themselves. A unique story is always better than a generic kill or collect quest. Give the player a reason to remember that encounter with that NPC. It is one of the hardest forms of immersion to maintain I have to admit.
  • VetkinVetkin Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Annoying, bright flashing effects on a character that I cannot turn off. Guild Wars 2 has lots of infusions, shiny pink and glittery mount skins and I absolutely hate it. The players need a function to turn such things off. Especially important for roleplayers.
  • Seeing tons of names floating above people's heads in different colours breaks immersion pretty quickly
  • I want to quickly echo what @Lashing said about exploration. A dangerous world is imperative to enjoyable exploration/travel. Sure it's fun to go run and find something and be wow'd by it, but having to skirt hundreds of really deadly mobs to get to a very secluded low-level area or just an area of beauty, or your teammates, or another city, really heightens the enjoyment of the adventure as a whole. If I have to LOOK for creatures in a dangerous and wild world, it feels dry and just lacking in content. It doesn't feel alive, threatening and vibrant. The same can be said about static npc's. Make the mobs roam and migrate. Make them hear/smell/sense your presence and adapt (stalk, approach curiously, run away).
  • The immersiveness of PvE experience is quite important to me, so I will mainly focus on this here.

    These are the issues that I observed in many games, that break immersion for me, while some other games manage to avoid the trap.

    When monsters (calling them that for simplicity; could also be humans, angels or whatnot) of specific type are located in this one specific little location. Makes some sense with sentient beings settlements (although over-using this excuse makes the game look unnatural too, like BDO), but not so much with wildlife. Wolves are supposed to roam the whole forest, not sit on this one hill. Too many games suffer from this to list them all. Some, like WoW, present it a bit more gracefully than others, like RF Online.

    When monsters are grouped by "level". If I come to hunt foxes, who are level 10 - I will be perfectly fine if there's also a lvl 30 (or just "significantly stronger", if we don't have levels on monsters) bear roaming around who could maul me. Not only makes it the ecosystem looks more realistic, but avoiding the bear can also be part of the game, and make hunting foxes so much more engaging and less theme-park. Again, since most MMORPGs are theme-parks - most suffer from this issue.

    When monsters are static and don't move around / move very minorly. BDO looks especially disturbing in this regard.

    Already mentioned by many, but - reused monster models presenting as different monster alltogether, or even worse - same exact model with different "level" slapped on it is suddenly a stronger monster (looking at you, GW2).

    Loot / drop rate from specific monster depends on player's level. Probably another attempt of a theme-park MMO to keep all players at their level-appropriate kennels. Not sure why, but this is a very wide-spread design solution and very immersion-breaking.

    Monsters not interacting between themselves. Wolves don't eat rabbits, they just happily co-exist somehow. Otherwise, the player in need of a rabbit might have to wait for it to come out of its hole and catch it before a wolf eats it, woe to me. Or maybe there could be way more rabbits than wolves, and maybe wolves only hunt when rabbits overpopulate. So many interesting solutions that are way more realistic.

    Consider some games that avoid most of the above, such as - Monster Hunter World, Terraria, Minecraft, Outward, even Skyrim to some extent... Ragnarok Online, of course.


    Another big pet peeve of mine is story-related:

    When the "story" of the MMORPG works like a single player game (everyone is a "long-awaited hero" going through same exact motions and achieving world fame for being the savior of everyone and everything, on first name basis with the Gods, etc.). I see all these other people talking to the great Vivec right next to me, you can't trick me.

    MMORPG can totally have a story and not pretend that you are the only one living through it. I heard WoW have been like this back in the days.

    MMORPG also doesn't have to have a player-focused story-mode at all. Every quest can be a side-quest (just a small side-story, not followed by anything specific, letting you take a peek at a bit of the world lore), and the world can still grow and evolve. That's what sandbox MMORPG is ideally in my view.
  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    In MMOs, most story moments break my immersion. When you watch a cutscene, especially one that has some big story event in it, and then you watch another player experience the same thing you did a minute later. I struggle to find a term but I want to say it makes the story feel meaningless. It takes me out of it and makes me feel like it didn't really happen.

    When the UI or menus are a large part of gameplay.

  • BanemorthBanemorth Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I mean there's some super obvious things that kill immersion, the biggest one being other players. I feel like most of that is entirely outside of your control though outside of RP servers where you can prevent someone like Dankweed69 from running around.

    For me questing is probably the be all end all. I miss the days of Everquest where there weren't giant glowing exclamation marks over everyone's heads. Or glowing paths that show you right where you have to go. I'd love for questing to be more organic. Talk to NPC's. Learn about them. See what they have to say. Maybe they offer you a quest, maybe they don't. Do they need 100 players to do the same fetch quest?

    Probably not.

    I'd love there to be some kind of logic around these things. Make me think. Make me figure this out. Don't throw big markers on my map telling me where to go. Put directions right in the quest text. Make me read it. "These herbs need to be delivered to Denendril. Exit the town through the south gate and take the easterly road. After half a mile you'll see a path on your right heading into the woods. Follow it, you can't miss his hut."

    I'd also love to see some "rare" quests. Like legitimately rare. Quest giver spawn is totally random, something that can't be camped. Something special.

    Another thing I loved that Everquest did is added real danger to the game. Heading into the woods during the day? Totally fine. Heading out at night? It's a zombie nightmare that you have to be decently high level to survive. I hate the idea of every zone being relegated to a certain level. Eastern Commonlands was a newbie zone but Hill Giants and Griffins would tear you apart if you weren't careful!

    Just because you can access an area at a low level doesn't mean it *is* low level. Now certain areas make sense to be very dangerous all around. High in the mountains, deep in the caves, or near volcanoes but I'd rather them be the exception than the rule.
    Everquest > Everquest 2 > World of Warcraft > City of Heroes > Eve Online > Guild Wars 2 > Wildstar > Final Fantasy

  • WreynaWreyna Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    The most immersion breaking thing for me is fast travel/teleporting. I think a big part of being immersed is learning and enjoying traveling around the world.

    As for getting immersed? An amazing atmosphere and tone can get you really into the area you are in. A hallmark example of immersion is EQ's Estate of Unrest. You walk in and there's a courtyard and forboding-looking manor right in the middle. It's dark, claustrophobic and eerie. Moments later some poor adventurers run screaming with zombies making hideous noises behind them to the zoneline. I can't remember being more scared to explore a zone the first few minutes after entering.

  • ChaosFactorChaosFactor Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Good day to you ladies and gentleman of Intrepid and us loyal fans! Being quite passionate about the direction of the game as a whole I wanted to sit down and take the topic overly seriously. Because that's what I'm best at. To me, Immersion is everything. I'm not just talking in the sense of I really feel like I'm in a fantasy world where magic and dreams come true. No, immersion is what gets you to hit the launch button every day then startles you when you alarm to actually get some sleep goes off to keep you from playing 18 hours a day.

    Two of the key things that I believe are pivotal in retaining a sense of immersion is:

    A real sense of reward -

    1. Soulbad... One of my greatest annoyances with many of the MMORPGs and RPGs that I experience are items that contain the text, or something similar to Soulbound. You can spend hours and hours grinding it out and slaying the most bada** enemies to finally be rewarded with that incredible blade with awesome stats that makes me look twice as evil. Only to be shortly after met with the message: "Equipping this item will bind it to you, are you sure?" then not far after that you get your character constantly speak to you (Clearly alluding to WoW) "I can put that there." .... "I can't trade that." ... "You can't send that to another player." . God darn it game! I didn't just spend all of that time grinding out a stat stick made of polygons on the screen! It's supposed to be a legendary weapon! Where I can do with it as I please! Lineage and history can pass down through items to make them some of the most immersion propagating content in games/lore, and I hope that Ashes can afford to fit that into game balance.
    2. Oh Yay, my eight experience bar... Exp should feel quite unique. It's one of the few things rewards that you can accept is invisible, and untouchable, until you reap the rewards as you level up. We have grown to be used to that, and continues to be one of the most rewarding mechanics in any game even if the progress is not nearly as visible as you may like it to be. What makes this concept far, far worse, is when I gain another bar. Reputation bar, Artifact power bar, AzerBite bar. Goal after goal after goal that I cannot actually SEE or FEEL my progress until they possibly hand me a cool cloak at the end of my grind. Being able to visualize this progress, through the changing of an environment, development of a building, increase in population of an artisan guild. A prime example of a game that does this well is Skyrim. Skyrim does a fantastic job of creating new characters, giving unique rewards that don't unbalance your character, progresses buildings and gives you cosmetic baubles each step of the way.
    TLDR: I don't want my rewards to feel empty, I don't want them to feel like I'm being given power as a player, I want my character to grow stronger, my guild to grow stronger, my house more beautiful. Something that I can log on to see change and evolve every single day, not just remember that, oh cool I got that % boost that's just gonna always be there from now on.

    Clear and concise goals
    1. You know what to do... one of the big mistakes that I think RPGs often make, and is never really addressed, is that by the time you reach late game, the game just assumes you know each and every thing you need to do each day to feel successful for that play session. Things like dozens of world quests, hundreds of dailies, time clocked events where you have to come back in 12 hours, but also 24 hours, and 168 hours, etc. Just an endless supply of late game that can always keep you busy.. but it really just gives you the off chance of maybe getting a +2ilvl from a new piece of slightly better gear. One thing that I believe that mobile games actually get right, is that sense of urgency, and need to attend the game. Daily/Weekly quests that actually sustain a higher level of productivity or accomplishment, raids that feel rewarding every time you play them and not just another raid day where you might get a new piece of gear. It's about making sure that everything you have worked for, continues to work for you. You have to run a caravan to your child node so the workers don't go hungry and your city continues to bustle, and if players don't show up within a certain amount of time, preset NPCs assault the caravan. Anything that you can do to keep me invested in coming back every day, not just because I love the game, but because I love the game and I can continue to excel if I maintain my responsibilities.
    2. Just craft, your crafting score makes you feel goo right? ... Imagine this, you spend day after day, grinding it out, chopping down hundreds of trees just so you can reach that next goal in crafting, to unlock new tools, craftables and chop down better trees. Your last few swings go out and.. WHAM! you cut it down! Well what happened? Oh you level up to woodcutting 75, you can cut down a new tree now. Maybe an alert pops up, maybe it has some kind of neat animation with it, and the only thing that you see beyond that veil is another progress bar to fill to get to the next level. Now often the reward in crafting is the things that you can make, and the efficiency at which you can make them. But the concept I want to introduce to you, is player made quests/goals. I know, crazy of me to toss up a completely unique mechanic that would most certainly take dozens of man hours to implement. But just think about it for a minute. I just soooo want to reach that next step of crafting, I wanna reach that milestone in defeating a number of enemies, but all I get when I reach that is my self made enthusiasm for hitting a new number in my stats. Well what if instead you could set your own quests, or your own goals. I want to create a new objective, to cut down 500 Silithid trees, I need that amount of resource to build the number of spears that my guild needs and I wanna get it done fast. Well finally when your axe crashes through the last fiber of your last tree you get a rewarding ding! The sound of accomplishment just the same as you get from any other quest you took from throughout the world. Now, you get to decide your characters own meaning, and the potential is limitless.
    TLDR: It's far too common for it to be easy to log off for the day on MMORPGs lately. It feels like each one of the quests is just a non-stop repeat of the previous day, and it's hard to keep track of what I need to do when there's literally 10,000 things to choose from. Having that option in games like WoW feels incredible, because I feel like there's unlimited world to explore, but it's hard to feel a sense of accomplishment exploring it when there's nothing but a checkmark in my mind to fill in.

    I cannot thank you enough for reading through my post, especially if it's anyone at intrepid taking interest in the time I spent on it. I may not be one of the most OG backers and members of Ashes and the community around it, but I've never been more excited for a concept/game in my life, and I can't wait to continue to get into the swing of things.

    Have a wonderful day, Sincerely,
  • QuintusQuintus Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Immersion is what keeps me logging in. So it's everything to my gaming experience. THANK YOU for asking this VERY IMPORTANT question!!

    In no particular order, here are the main things I find the most immersion-breaking:

    Empty buildings
    These are filler buildings. Sometimes they have blurry windows so not only can you not go inside but you can't even see inside. You might say, "Oh, it's just an NPC's house." Well, then it should have a lock that can be picked and NPCs roaming around inside that freak out when you break in.

    Static or repetitive nature
    This includes plant life that is either static or moving in an obvious repetitive fashion. For example, tall grass that constantly sways back and forth. It should sway when there's a gust of wind (which should be audible). The wind gusts should be coming from the same general direction as the greater weather pattern and happen frequently but not constantly. Additionally, if I'm not hearing the wind, there should be minimal movement. There is an eerieness to calm weather that puts you in a certain mood that cannot be achieved if everything is always moving. You don't have to make things move constantly to make people feel like the world is alive and breathing. They just need to see it happen at least once to know that it CAN happen.

    Lack of weather and its effect on the character
    It's always sunny in X location. It's always raining in Y location. I LOVE a good storm rolling in and I would love to see different types of storms blow in from distant areas of the world. I live in Texas and we recently had a dust storm from the Sahara! Set some glorious RNG and let the weather just happen! Also, how cool would it be if the weather impacted the character in the many ways it does IRL? I know there's no plan for survival mechanics, right (hunger, thirst, exposure)? But it would be neat, for example, if my character couldn't charge full tilt into a huge gust of wind.

    Lack of wildlife, the ambience doesn't match the environment
    Where are all of these dang birds I keep hearing? Where is that wolf howling in the distance? If I want to venture through the night risking my life, I need to know whereabouts that howling wolf is and that it's actually THERE. Likewise, if you're going to audibly tell me there are birds don't make me feel like I'm going crazy. Show me the bird! ;)

    Lack of fine detail, dirt
    A problem that goes vastly unaddressed is fine detail. For example, developers often focus on building the most beautiful and/or interesting cities they can. However, most cities are dirty. They have pigeon sh*t, they have trash and scars. They have detail. Likewise for the rest of the world. There are bugs, not every tree looks the same, and the ground is littered with all things imaginable as the cycle of life continues. If you want this game to be immersive don't build an 'MMO'. Build a living and breathing WORLD that's not always pretty and plastic.

    Unresponsive NPCs
    I generally do not like being ignored and it's even worse when an NPC ignores me. If you need to add filler NPCs, at least have them tell me to go away.

    Attacks doing damage without connecting
    This ties in with what some people are calling 'fluid movement'. When you don't see your attacks connect, you can't FEEL them connecting. Combat feels 'light' and unfulfilling. This is a problem with a plethora of online games.

    NPCs that never relocate, do not have lives
    Nothing can be further from reality than people who stand in the same place, day in and day out, never moving or deviating. I am reminded of that moment from Harry Potter when Harry received his first Chocolate Frog card of Dumbledore. "You can't expect him to hang around all day, can you?", said Ron to a surprised Harry when Dumbledore had moved. I want to be surprised. I want to wonder, 'what the heck is he doing over here drinking in a tavern? How unusual.' Now I know something more about him that cannot be said. Maybe this NPC likes the bottle a bit too much. If you're worried about people getting frustrated with moving NPCs, give them a network of other NPCs that you can ask as to their possible whereabouts. At the very least have them path around the same area.
  • neuroguyneuroguy Member
    edited September 2020
    I've never engaged with formal RP so honestly I've never had a truly immersive coop experience let alone one in an MMO. That being said I think good "immersion" in an MMO is when you discuss the content of the game while on discord/ventrilo w.e. With that in mind...

    Immersion making features:
    1. Absolutely without a doubt good voice acting by far does the best job of engaging me in a story/game
    2. Meaningful dialogue options which I think Divinity Original Sin2 did a great job of. In that game you could talk to NPCs with no quest log guidance that may not only provide useful information about your quest but may provide you with items to help you out. I recall talking to a woman about her life before going to prison and she appreciated the companionship so much she gave me a spellbook that was once her husband's or something like that. When the game has little hidden options to interact with it, it goes a long way.
    3. Gathering that makes intuitive sense is important. If it has fur or scales, I should be able to collect its fur or scales. Now it could be used for crafting or not I don't care but if you design a monster with pronounced features like a saber tooth cat, I should be able to collect its teeth!
    4. Mystery/intrigue in the world engages the curiosity and keeps you in the lore of the world. Seeing high level monsters in your zone, or giant elites roaming around creates cool gameplay moments and makes you curious about the world because you can't yet explore certain secrets. It motivates your progression.
    5. Along that same train of thought, content gating can be done well and may be, counterintuitively, really immersive. Runescape had areas that were gated behind quests or craftable items that required super high levels to make. These motivated engagement and gave me an in-game goal that as a kid I would fantasize about achieving.
    6. Logical world interactions like having lightning do extra damage to water/wet monsters. This makes decisions interesting and makes certain parts of the world harder/easier for your personal character and the choices you made. This motivates group play and encourages replayability.

    Immersion breaking features other than the already mentioned unresponsive combat/movement, bugs, exact same buildings/towns/cities etc:
    1. Sparkling gatherables... did a pixie mark everything I was allowed to do or something? Yawn, the world should not feel like quicktime events that tell me what to do/press.
    2. High RNG mechanics that force you to repeatedly grind or attempt some enchantment or something are brutal on your mental. I think the already described system of having bosses drop crafting materials or being harvested will help a lot with loot RNG. If I'm unlucky and don't get a drop after 20 kills of a boss, I should have enough materials to make it.
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