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Dev Discussion #22 - Immersion



  • digitalwinddigitalwind Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited September 2020
    So I have a few thoughts on Immersion. This is not a wish list of features I do or don't want to see.

    There are two types of immersion. Game and The World (of Verra). One is the sense that I am playing a game and my fun and engagement is not stopped. The other is the sense of being a part of the world and the worlds depth. When either aspect is "broken" immersion in the game will fail.

    Important Gaming Immersion aspects:
    1. The UI. Especially anything non-character such as the auction house or crafting.
    2. Getting VERY lost. It happens to everyone, that's okay. Being completely lost is not. Double so for when it happens in a game's Capital. 95% of the time it's fine and can even add flavor...but sometimes it's frustrating and all you want to do is get un-lost and log out.
    3. Recycled Quests. It is possible to recycle quests, the key is to not make it feel like it. Walk n' talk quests are fine imo.
    4. Running out of inventory. This is especially true after being max level for a while and your inventory is pretty full of the various things you frequently use that you never had to worry about while leveling.
    5. Players. Friendly ones immerse you in a community, toxic ones make you ask "Is this GAME even worth it?"

    Important World Immersion aspects:
    1. The NPCs. All mobs should not just be "there", they are a part of this world and we need to see it!
    i. Town NPCs should regularly appear to interact with the world like gate guards fighting off a mob.
    Wandering mobs should do more than walk a path, perhaps they stop and "browse" a stall or tie their shoe.
    ii. Assume players will see the same city mobs 1000+ times, a little effort would be nice.
    iii. Town NPCs that respond to emotes. Doesn't have to be a big list of responses, maybe even just a mirror of yours. ex /wave to a guard the guard /waves back. You /joke the barkeeper, the barkeeper /laugh
    2. Mob loot. When that boar drops a pair of boots..
    3. Costumes When truly Ridiculous and outlandish outfits exist. Not saying they are bad, but they do break immersion.
    4. Geology+Geography. A pet peeve....but come on...who tf puts a gold vein in what is clearly not a river bed or Quartz rock formation! An Oasis ON TOP of a sand dune! Valley streams going the wrong way...towards the mountains and metamorphic rocks on a Volcano's slopes.
    5. Meaningless or petty quests. I am the doom of dragons and killer of krakens...but I shall pick 10 apples for your stew.
    6. Weather. When the environment changes with it and you get a minor buff/debuff, oh baby, very immersive! The world has done something and now I am affected!
    7. Nothing to do. There is sweetspot of boredom/waiting (like for a raid) where you have fun fooling around and thereby immerse yourself in the world. Too much and you actually become bored. The more shiny bells and whistles we have access to, the bigger this idle sweetspot.

    Those are my thoughts. Tried to keep it very brief.. :smile:

  • Immersion is created by giving the player a reason to pour in tons of hours into their character. Making a player feel like their time was well spent keeps a player immersed in your game.

    Personally, I see that most MMORPG have four mechanical incentives:
    1. -Stats, via Leveling and Gear
    2. -Achievements, whether personal set or with a tracker
    3. -Cosmetics, through Gear, Mounts or Ability-SFX
    4. -Skill, via complexity of controls or difficulty of combat

    IF ANY of these aspects can be just bought and paid for, then the game developer is pretty much telling the player: "That aspect of our game isn't worth putting in the long hours for. Find another incentive to keep playing."

    Examples of immersion breaking things I've seen:
    1. -Paid for Level-Boosting
    2. -Excessive game 'Achievements' (i.e.: You completed: "Scratched your Ass")
    3. -Paid for Skins or Mounts
    4. -Hand-holding through 'end game content' (i.e.: WoW's LFR difficulty settings)

    I think a box price and subscription fee should be your only method of earning money as an MMORPG company. If the option to 'pay for anything' is present, then it breaks my immersion. Real life has enough problems with bribery and instant gratification. I want to immerse into a world where I know that what I accomplished has weight. And seeing others having taken the easy route to get where I am (or better) is enraging to say the least.
  • SonicXplosionSonicXplosion Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I think realism and tedium needs to be looked at really closely. Individually smelting 100 ingots is realistic, but it isnt good gameplay. I would rather systems lose a bit of realism if it makes the game more enjoyable. (For example, the most games dont add players needing to go the the bathroom because it doesnt add anything to the game other than realism)
  • LonelyLonely Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2020
    I think that immersion is very important but you shouldn´t overdo it, since immersion can make a game good, but too much could make it worse again. So for me it´s more important to have a good and well thought through game than an immersive game thats worse just to complete the immersion. It just has to make sense for the game and the immersion will create it self essentially.

    What really breaks my immersion is if gear is less important than charakter level, which makes no sense to me, I think the higher your char gets, the stronger should your wearable gear be, so far so good. But the level difference itself shouldn´t be what´s changing the overall defense and offense stats, sure it should at least increase hp and mana for example, but things like evasion, damage, damage negation etc. should be determined by the gear you can and are wearing. My point is, if you were able to follow me until here, that your gear should make the greatest impact when it does come down to stats and how strong someone is, since strong gear should only be wearable by high level charakters and if a high level charakter has bad gear, he shouldn´t be much stronger than a low level charakter with e.g. the same gear.

    EDIT: Also bad lip-sync is a real throw off.
  • PromptlingPromptling Member
    edited September 2020
    Zones that are vast and have great verticality. SWG did this amazingly well. I want to find a good hunting spot, record it, and have my buddies come join me when they log on. Basically stretch everything out more than you see in a thempark mmo. If you have a valley, make it a large valley.
  • MrPocketsMrPockets Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    What breaks my immersion is when story-telling elements are in group content (cut scenes, quests, etc). It forces the group to either wait for everyone to finish with the story elements, or move forward without the full party.

    The main example for this is FF14 - cut scenes everywhere, and most of the time the players are either forced to skip it to keep up with the group, or sit back and miss out on actual game play.

    I think all story elements should be before or after the group content.
  • Having to kill a different kind of Boar again, while i have slayed Gods (unless the quest is done in a comedic way, then I wouldn't mind it)
  • SoloveyFRSoloveyFR Member
    edited September 2020
    Other players not roleplaying which is nearly happening in every mmos sadly.
    Roleplay isnt for everyone however and falls into a different subject i think. And honestly, i think an AoC private server would be best for roleplaying with several devs triggering events as stories performs through the actions of players and not from already planned events that are set to happen no matter what the RP is.

    Not reading quests text.
    In terms of progression, many top players feels stressed to level fast, its the number one reason in most mmos they dont read text in quests and so, sacrifice the immersion from narrative storytelling.

    If there could be a way to make it so that player can feel relaxed enough to read and get more immersed while knowing it wont slow down their gearing/lvling process, would be a never done before mechanic.
    Like getting rare items from some long and hard lore puzzle, requiring the player to head out to either human or Orc libraries or all of them to get significant knowledge required to solve it. You setted instance with difficulties scaling for pve? introduce lore puzzle with greatest difficulty aswell.

    Quoting others:
    And as previously stated, badly optimized visual like in BDO with constant pop up or same music upon engaging pve.
    Optimize graphics and either dynamicaly set differents music upon events or give the player the tool to set the music themes himself.
    "A lion chased me up a tree, and I greatly enjoyed the view from the top." -Confucius
  • HasorkoHasorko Member, Alpha One
    edited September 2020
    What do I understand by immersion?

    The feeling of getting sucked into the game world. I feel immersed when I forget the real world around me. When I start caring about NPC’s. When I get excited about the story. When the impression of a certain scenery takes my breath.

    Factors that break immersion:

    1. Other (especially hostile) players. As soon as I spot a player, I get aware that besides me there is another entity, which is not from the game world I play in. This person’s behavior can very easily bring me back to the real world. Already the difference from being the almighty hero, that for the past hours has overcome any challenge now potentially gets one shot by a higher-level player breaks immersion for me. Also, the contrast of “real” struggles, that usually lead to conflict and the random hostility of ganking is a mismatch.
    2. “Given the opportunity, players will optimize the fun out of a game.” This well-known quote also comes into play for me when it comes to immersion. When I must choose between being a competitive player and enjoying the game, immersion loses. A tavern with games sounds super fun. But if I can achieve more during that time in terms of progress, I won’t go to the tavern. When I can chain quests and my main objective is to reach max level to join the endgame content with my friends, immersion loses. I do not take the time anymore to allow moments of immersions to happen. In the past Tibia had quite a good system in my opinion to allow for players to take a moment to appreciate the game world. Regeneration of mana was painfully slow. The regeneration was so slow, that consistent fighting was basically impossible. However, it was possible to store spells in runes. Additionally, non-spell based classes were dependent on active training by hitting and getting hit by monsters or other players. Thus, player gathered around houses or guild halls or other social spaces to create runes and train on each other (or on summoned creatures). Some players enjoyed that so much, they threw hunting and fighting out of the window all together and sold their runes instead. Paired with a great housing system, this also led to cities that were equally inhabited instead of everyone sitting at the auction house/ bank. One could run around town and find interesting people all over the place. Very immersive!
    3. Lack of reason to why I would “explore” the world. I’ve recently written a post about such ‘why’s. Lack of reason to explore the world was one of the topics. If I lack reason to explore the world, I just do not care about it either. Link to that other wall of text:
    4. Strategically limited field of view. Some games never allow the player to look very far. For example, WoW has every zone surrounded by mountains and if you are still able to look into the distance it fades out very quickly. It reduces the awareness, that one is in a huge world and makes the player only focus on the one zone, which then feels tiny and little breath taking. A candidate which does better in my opinion is Zelda Breath of the Wild (even though it is no MMO which also explains, why its easier possible). The world wasn’t restricting in that way and one could always see points of interests in the distance (i.e. the castle or death mountain). However also Elder Scrolls Online had that feeling for me in some locations.
    5. An overly story filled world. If every last spot in the world is part of some quest, it feels unreal. It is just not natural to visit house after house, cave after cave, forest after forest and EVERY SINGLE TIME there is some kind of emergency. (Looking at you Breath of the wild… literally every stone had some secret to it) There got to be places that are just there. Without a story induced conflict.
    6. Fast Travel. Period. Example: WoW Vanilla. In the most remote places of this world you find world buffs. Its current meta to collect these in preparation for raids. They are literally spread over different continents. In terms of realistic travel, it would take weeks (in game time it should at least take up to an hour) to travel that route. Yet, it is possible to stand in front of raid bosses in the deepest depth of the Black Rock Mountains with buffs from around the world, which were all acquired within the last 5 Minutes of online time of the character. Within of 5 minutes of play time the character has been literally all over the world. Immersion got stuck in one of the portals…

    Qualities of an immersive game for me:
    - Being able to play alone or with close friends at times, without being disturbed (concept of ‘playing alone together’ by Jane McGonigal). A well-balanced player density will do the trick here.
    - Having a well-balanced, interesting, open, non-level-based world, which shows me how big it is, by letting me see far and letting me suffer through running at crippling speed.
    - Likeable inhabitants of the world (funny npcs go a loooong way) and emotion invoking creatures (cute cat/ rabbit, creepy spider (the ones you got are amazing but their non spider like movements kind of take some of their effect), awe invoking (a huge stone giant)
    - Designing competitive play in a way that allows to take time to explore and enjoy. (at some point even the avg. player must reach the point, where his progress for the day is done for, without making it so, that hardcore players have nothing to do 90% of the time) Stamina system of Tibia. I’m not going to explain it in detail so have a link to the wiki ( The result of it is that avg. player can decently keep up with the more competitive player, while the super hard-core player still advance faster than anyone else, while still being leashed at some point.

    How important is immersion to you?
    Overall, I am a more competitive player with a bit of a role play background. So, while I can enjoy immersion, it is not my number one priority. I can also enjoy non immersive games. However, immersive games are definitely the ones that stick to memory and which make me come back even after several years. I think it makes a big part of the nostalgia one feels for the “good” old games.

    Most immersive moments I recall:
    1. Star Wars: The Old Republic Marauder Class Quest: Careful spoiler! So, in the calls quest of the Sith Marauder Class one gets confronted with a Jedi Padawan, which has the ability to sense the intention of others and thus could pick out all Sith Spies. In several missions one would encounter her. She was a bit annoying, but one also had the feeling to compete with her. Both the player and her were students of their master and one just had to prove superiority by being better than her! So, at some point along the quest line I had a thought. I didn’t take the thought seriously. It never plays out as you think, but man it would be so epic, if one could turn her to the dark side at some point. So, the story unfolded and at some point, one is facing off against her master, while she is forced to watch. And I was like wait… that is like the perfect setup to turning her. While beating her master I was thinking of nothing but cheap emperor quotes. “It is unavoidable. It is your destiny.”, “Good. I can feel your anger.” “Let the hate flow through you.“ I felt like I actually played out my own little Star Wars Story. And the game would play along. But not right away. The Padawan got away. Darn it! I was so close. But later we met again. And the game finished the masterful quest by not just “handing her over”. But giving me the choice to choose to turn her or hmm what was it? Kill her? Heck I don’t know I immediately clicked the turn her option! It was so well made in how I experienced it, that I truly felt the game didn’t guide me to this point, but I actually developed the story to this point.
    2. In Tibia there are no level zones. So, I was out in some cave, killing some trolls thinking that was just it. A small troll cave for noobs. Suddenly a party of super high-level player zoomed past me. I managed to pm one of them, asking what business they had in a troll cave. Short answer, following the path deeper into the cave one would find much stronger creatures. And in that case, they were out for hunting demons. Creatures I only read about and undoubtedly understood to be the strongest foe in the game at that time. The sudden realization, that these literal monsters weren’t locked away FAR out of my reach, but actually lurked only a few (admittedly often well hidden) steps deeper into the cave, made me freeze. I suddenly had the greatest respect for my little noob troll cave. (For people that know the game: this was a long time ago, I realize demons are hardly a challenge for a mid-level player nowadays)
    3. In the early days of WoW I spent weeks raiding a horde outpost. I completely neglected leveling and only focused on finding groups to attack again. I was a low level, but since open world PvP didn’t know level limits and as a hunter there was actually a lot less penalty to hit enemies, I actually somehow felt, like I wasn’t totally useless (I was, but I wasn’t aware :P). Here I didn’t feel the need to be max level to play with others, even if 75% of that were my own cluelessness XD.
    4. Spoiler warning again (and I might mess up some details on this one): Having to leave behind a very sympathetic and most importantly funny NPC to certain death, who was part of the story for a long time up to that point, in order to not let the bad guys get away in Elder Scrolls Online. I’ve quested with a mate at that time. We were speed leveling. Yet, the quest was so well designed that both of us hesitated and we took literally!!! 10 minutes to arrive at the decision to do the “right” thing and honor this Khajiits feeling of duty and willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good and track down the bad guys. And know that much… NOTHING WOULD HAVE STOPPED US TO FULFILL THIS MISSION.

    Final Remark: Another aspect that I kind of count to immersion is feeling connected to the world. Which basically means for me, that within the world setting, created by the game, I have a certain freedom to do fun things. The contrary are games that are so streamlined, that you can play them only in one way. I.e. at some point in WoW WOTLK Addon we were so super stacked with gear that normal dungeons with a normal group were beyond boring. So what we did instead was clearing them with only 2 dps classes rather than a full 5 man group with tank and heal (we even duo killed a raid boss which was intended for 10 people!). Or if we were with a full party, we would engage 2 bosses simultaneously. This was not intended by the game, but was also not always restricted. The resulting chaos was so much fun. Especially when the healer had no idea what we were up to :smiley: . It would be different if every boss had some kind of mechanic which requires a tank ability simply to justify the need to bring a tank class even if you don't need it otherwise. Or if every boss resets the second something is done, that isn't intended (ofc some bosses can't be designed like that, since their abilities are based on the room they are in). Also WoW had some areas players weren't intended to go to. Yet there were some easter eggs in these places. I felt really connected to the world discovering places that weren't intended to be discovered, but still had something to be found. :)
  • RoblightRoblight Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    For immersion I think there will need to be a balance as you could make the game super immersive and not require any HUD or UI allowing a player to enjoy the visuals and world as is, however that could make things very challenging.

    1. Combat needs to be fluid and preferably I should not need to look at my skill bars to know what skills are coming up. Having visual or audio signals that an ability is ready allows you to focus more on the combat rather than a bar.
    2. Mobs need to not be overly reused without a justification. If there are going to be multiple types of say goblins we run into make sure they are say different tribes, use different abilities, have different gods and symbols and that changes how you need to fight them. Put that into lore and quests early on so that it has more of a witcher type feel, where you know generally how to fight a monster but there could be something unique about them.
    3. Bags and inventory, please do not throw 20 types of logs at me, also make sure that anything that if you have junk items make sure its obvious, but preferably dont have a bunch of garbage items that will eat up bag space.
    4. Rare items need to not be complete trash. If I get an extremely rare item and its basically worthless that only makes me say "why would the developers even put this in the game"
    5. Mystery, if possible keep or have hidden content or content that the player base wont know about. Like do a random patch one day and drop in a new mob that is going to threaten towns, or a new dungeon. The idea that there is something undiscovered is key to keeping me immersed. If I can look up a preview of the patch with all the loot drops before it goes live, the thril is kinda gone
  • I find that "fun" items and/or emotes that are initiated by other players, that affect your character, can ruin immersion, especially if there aren't any enabling/disabling toggles to prevent those situations from occuring.

    If voice chat is available within taverns, please allow the tavern owner to enable/disable it so that it meets their playstyle.

    I do love the idea that was discussed regarding possibly having movers show up at a new house with your old stuff and carrying the boxes inside so that the furniture can be placed.

    Players that stay mounted near NPCs can ruin immersion for me, too. I make it a point to dismount around NPCs, so that I feel like I'm talking to them, rather down to them.

    Mobs that path short distances can be immersion breaking, as well. Have pathing be tied to RNG would be nice, for variety, and also have the respawn locations be randomized so that players can't just stand in one place waiting for the mob/npc/item to respawn.

    I guess basically anything that can be seen as systematic in terms of "natural" life isn't realistic, and immersion breaking.

    Entering a building and suddenly music is blasting is immersive breaking. Have it set up so that the music is softer outside the door, maybe enticing you to go inside, and then have the sounds get louder the closer you get to the source.

  • Personally, the highest point of Immersion for me comes from my ability to invest myself in the story. To be able to be in an area, and know what has happened there, what characters were involved there, and why these events were important. This has actually been a concern for me in regards to my ability to invest myself in the AoC universe and it's locations and characters.

    Yes, Narrative Quests are potentially different by server due to being tied to nodes, and the narrative can take different directions. But: What happens to a given narrative direction when a node is destroyed? Is it dropped completely in favor of that node taking up a new narrative direction? What happens to our investment in that story and its characters? How important can a character be to the overall story when their narrative is contextual to node layouts, and can be seemingly cut short by a player siege at any time?

    I tried to submit a question like this for the QnA, but I think it was confused for something much simpler. I understand the node/narrative quest interaction. What I am wondering is in what ways/how much do the developers imagine players getting invested in the story, in the context of what I have noted above? Not just our investment in the story of a particular node, but in the story of the universe overall. Will there be some global controversy that each zone's narratives explore, revealing interconnecting threads that drive a plot?

    To answer the thread's questions, my immersion is cracked when a game's 'story' is just endless world building with no hooks. A lack of character-driven(or not character driven, just some measure of permanence) stories means a lack of emotional threads to draw me into the story, to make me care. I have not found a game that I could play for more than a month or two that did not draw me in with emotional hooks.
  • InixiaInixia Member
    edited September 2020
    As so many others have said repetitive or pointless quests is a big one, a big part of immersion lies in the fragile illusion of being able to care about exploring the worlds and the characters and creatures that inhabit them

    If quest givers don't have realistic motivations, or if they only fleetingly introduce themselves give you one or two lines then pass you off to the next NPC - it basically conditions you to ignore them. I think race and class story quests can be really interesting tools too as they are custom to your character choices and can help you step into the shoes of that specific culture. Also when quest givers have you running around pointlessly because the devs think quests need to be a certain length of time, or if you are just killing things to build experience, you are trained to view monsters only in terms of just experience increases and you are trained to beeline to waypoints rather than smell the roses. Its a sure way to interrupt the narrative that it is a living breathing world.

    That all might seem obvious but a surprising amount of mmo's don't do it well... and I've talked to a few devs from a previous game where there was a perception that a lot of the grindy mechanics were necessary to keep player time up. That short term player activity spike might be easily chartable and attractive to a company, but it comes with a huge cost - long term enjoyment of a game, the causes of which will be less obvious as they happen as the decline is spaced out over time.
  • I totally agree with the Jakuta's responses as i have the same experience with immersion. For me the impact of story and quest is huge. It truly pulls you out of the world when the quests and the story feel non-existent. Even if the story is general to the world it needs to have value. A quest purely for gathering or fighting mobs to help strengthen a node or zone would be fillers rather than primary quests. It be great to feel like the zones or overall continents "pending the map" to feel like an adventure story or a world to discover that history etc.
    jakuta wrote: »
    #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.

    ► #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.

  • StormWindStormWind Member
    edited September 2020
    What were some moments in an MMO that broke your immersion?
    World of Warcraft, The burning crusade, the first expansion, when you could not use flying mounts in the old world, a red message popping up saying "you can't use that here" with zero explanations.

    Heroic dungeons in the second expansion TBC also completely killed immersion for me. So right clicking and pressing a button on the UI makes the instance heroic and for max levels. Instead of having a physical button inside the instance where now the mobs knows you are coming making them being prepared pr something.

    Retconning lore.

    Not building on places that existed but instead the opted to remove them and build a completely new area. Skipping some places for many many years. That was completely fine from warcraft 3 to wow, where the maps don't add up.

    Moving the max level up to 70 and making all raid content trivial, all of a sudden most of not everyone could smash through some of the strongest bosses in lore, just because a new expansion had dropped. While I can completely understand it, when it comes to immersion it broke down. Something that I am a bit afraid of that Ashes will do the same.

    Achievements that list everything in the game. Really immersion breaking to have most if not everything that can be done in the game in a neat UI checkbox style.

    How much did those moments affect your perception of the game?
    A lot, the world building was lost the more expansions they released, you became the hero of it all in wrath of the lich king which is completely opposite of what you where in vanilla. How reasonable is it that everyone is the hero?

    Having perfect questing zones instead of an actual world where quests just happens to be. I tried to give new WoW a new try but having quests on my minimap with several perfect circles where I could find the objectives that all matched up. It was blatant in how they made it a rollercoaster themepark. Instead of atleast trying to resemble a real world. And while it was frustrating in vanilla wow having to read the quest logg and in the end sometimes checking online it was far more immersive and satisfactory to not have a "perfect world" made for you.

    How important is immersion to you, generally?
    Very important, everything from invisible walls to the smallest world building detail like merchants or Inn keepers standing around at the same spot 100% of their time. While it's Fun > immersion for me I think it's the game designers job to include immersion as far as possible. Black rock depths was the best instance just because it was designed around being an actual city.

    Black rock depths in vanilla or Karazhan in TBC (the actual raid that was released) was the pinnacle of dungeon design for me. Both are built with a sense of realness, stable right next to the servants quarters and the kitchen that serves a banquet for example. Since the Karazhan tower existed before with cryps that was off limits it really heightened the mystical side of it all. Lots of places where you where not supposed to be where they had half finished content made world of warcraft more of a world then ever. From the smallest of farms really far along the coast to more finished places like the airport of ironforge. Cryps of Karazhan, Mount Hyjal. They did not do much with it unfortunately, instead of expanding on their world they removed it or forgot about it completely. This was one of the reason for the immersion of the world dying for me at least, they had such a great world built from vanilla and did not build it further.

    It was a absolute blast to get a private server functioning and visiting these places myself many years after.

    Random secret places

    Karazhan version that was released

    Old Karazhan

    John Staats, Black Rock Depths. Timestamp:1:06:50

    John Staats about Karazhan. Timestamp: 1:03:51

    All secret places before the original world was remade

    While Ashes of Creation won't have the world already built the some of the same mistakes that WoW did can still be made. Like forgetting about old content once a new level cap comes. Hopefully you will be planning ahead and not tossing away your older content to the winds.

    Best of luck! Me and my wife is anxiously waiting for the release rooting for you!
  • Everybody suddenly playing the same spec/class.
  • The three things that have knocked me out of immersion hardest are:

    1) Many players running up to the same quest giver. There is a lighter version of this when everyone runs up to loot a fallen boss enemy, but it is really bad when it is a single NPC that has a crowd around them. I mean, this makes sense for a vendor, a bulletin board, or clerk (like a window at the DMV) but not Mister Farmhand who needs his potatoes protected from boars. Which leads to...

    2) Constantly respawning enemies in a static location. While it was certainly useful for AFK leveling with BDO, it makes it feel like enemies and creatures aren’t actually defeated and your actions never really happened. Extra egregious when you can watch the enemy/creature respawn from thin air in the same place over and over again.

    3) Skimpy “Armor” takes me right out of feeling like combat makes sense at all. I can do mental gymnastics for oversized weapons and seeing something like a shimmer around my character or someone else’s keeps me feeling like there’s at least a magic effect offering protection, but exposed skin isn’t protected against sunlight and thorny bushes, let alone swords and bear claws. I especially HATE picking up armor that looks properly protective for a guy but it spontaneously develops pointless curves and openings when I equip it as a woman (and I don’t want to have to RP as male to wear protective-looking armor). Sure, there’s a place for sexy, skimpy cosmetics for both guys and gals, but it does knock me out of immersion when all women I see have to sport boob plate/windows and wear high heels into combat. Again, a magical shimmer goes a long way for me to mentally handwave a bare-chested or bikini-clad warrior with no helmet taking a hit from a long sword or swipe from a bear and walking away from it.
  • Although I have a small but growing experience with mmorpgs, I have about 20 years experience playing video games in almost every genre.

    Immersion, from my point of view, is the ability to establish a set ground rules or expectations that the player themselves can grow to understand, expound/express themselves with. It's sort of an unspoken language that's conveyed/taught to the player without total reliance on tutorials but through their involvement and decisions in the game. Physics based games like half-life or zelda botw have inherent immersion where physical objects and their interaction with the environment, the player, and enemies are consistent enough for the player to build up a strong enough grasp of that "design language" to begin to speak it. "If i do x, then z should happen, " and z then proceeds to happen during the execution of their idea about x. It's moments like these that involve player expression where the game feels all encompassing or at least seems to have more depth than what the player currently is exposed to. Moments where I myself as a player can exist in that world, not just peer into it.

    It's a bit vague but I think this perspective on immersion, when applied and intertwined with as many aspects of a game as possible, begets an immersive game that can sidestep the trope of "immersion" being "realistic" and can retain a player's precious sense of discovery. Is it consistent? and is there room for expression? Is there as little dissonance between player experience/interactions and environment/ other entities experiences/interactions? And enough expression within the tools the player/npcs/environment uses to play the game to chase that sense of discovery and achievement?

    I know i didn't answer the questions explicitly but i figured a general approach could be more beneficial given there will be plenty of examples written among the other comments. Could be wrong and entirely off point here as I'm no game designer but I hope my perspective is at least interesting.
  • NyxxaNyxxa Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2020
    Moments immersion is broken for me:

    - Names that are clearly not names, more common in the hard pvp side such as: Gankface or Anklestabber

    - Housing in Bdo, where its instanced (which is fine), but then when your outside the house and you see someone else cooking inside "your" house through the window. Like, What on earth is that person doing in MY house?!

    - Mount running and instantly stopping, or instantly full speed from a stop. Where is the trot? the build up? the momentum when stopping? I could say the same about the character too, but mounts have more weight and speed, making it more immersion breaking than character models.

    - Obviously, animation cancelling.

    - Adding Mech like tech to a high fantasy medieval era esque game. (I couldn't stand Mechagon in WoW. It just didn't feel right to me.)

    - Player characters made to look like... Abominations? Mr. Potato heads, on purpose. Is it hilarious? Yes, but it does break immersion for me. Example: (0:30)

    - Meme pictures used in game.

    - Characters/npcs popping in after already being in view. Common complaint about BDO.

    - Mounts instantly appearing and disappearing.

    - Racial locked dances, reminds me I lost out on something else, there for making me realize it's a game limiting my choices.

    - Highly limited character customization, especially in the hairstyle and face selection.

    - Costumes or outfits that did not fit the lore or cultures of the in-game world.

    - [Added with Edit] The weapon draw and sheath animation, when it clearly doesn't fit the weapon or where it goes.

    - [Added with Edit] When weapons and armor clip through the ground, often when sitting.

    For me, immersion is a massive deal breaker. I can enjoy everything else, and enough broken immersion will still cause me to leave games. Just having enough realistic immersion will get me to stay much longer, even if some other parts of a game fall short.
  • My biggest immersion break is when I am required to leave the game itself to look something up. Whether it be for how to complete a quest, beat a boss, or figure out what a stat or skill does or how good it would be.

    Next would be when I complete a mission/boss with a party and in the cut scene the party is non-existent and all the NPCs act like I just did the thing all alone.

    Next would be, quests that feel as if they are merely check lists. Or that they have no interactivity.
    Where I talk to an NPC, spam through the meaningless dialogue, follow the quest trail to the next NPC in the chain, spam through the next text box, get given the magic mcmuffin that will seal the great evil, I take 3 steps and put the magic mcmuffin into the magic sealing device sealing the ultimate evil away forever, go back to the quest giver to receive 5 bucks and a minor cure potion and ding level 2. And then the next quest is to go help some old granny move some boxes into the house. Done so by [action button] the boxes and then [action button] some random target circle at some random place on the floor, inside.
  • FlareFlare Member, Founder
    edited September 2020
    What were some moments in an MMO that broke your immersion?
    - When I switched from textchat to voicechat.
    - Everyone looking the same, when I cannot fall in love with my character at character creation and when I cannot create a unique identity with my armor choices.
    - The early game rush to get to max level. When I felt I had to keep up and leveling was simply the tutorial to get to the real game.
    - When the best way to level up was mass murder.
    - When exploration was just a huge checklist to complete and the only part of the game I needed to look at was the minimap.

    How much did those moments affect your perception of the game?
    - I wasn't in character, I was just controling a character.
    - They made the game more game-y instead of a world I wanted to live in.
    - Quest dialogue became meaningless and were just an obstacle to click through.
    - Some games were simply murder simulators to me, so i just focused on mechanics and stats.
    - When exploration was a tedious completion game, I stopped looking at the beautifully crafted environments.

    How important is immersion to you, generally?
    - When I cannot get immersed in a game whatsoever I usually drop it pretty quickly.
    - I can deal with other immersion breaking aspects, when I'm happy with how my character looks.
  • Probably recycled and repetitive content. I lasted about 45 minutes in City of Heroes, even though I had a ton of friends who loved the game and played it all the time, simply because every single dungeon-y encounter was set on one of 4 or 5 maps. WoW had some similar problems with "oh, it's this cavern again" back in the day. This isn't exclusive to terrain design, though; having the feeling of "oh, it's another one of these quest types" or "ah, this tier of crafting is just like that tier of crafting, except it's iron and malachite instead of copper and tigerseye" can pull people (or at least me) out of immersion into the game-as-a-world and make me focus on the game-as-a-system. This is especially the case when an expansion rolls around--if all that happens is the level cap goes up by 10 and raid currency X is replaced by raid currency Y, or 5 new zones appear with more of the same quests and map events, it gets pretty dull and non-immersive fast.

    The problem, of course, is that devs can't be reasonably expected to make every single quest, NPC, item, skill, crafting profession, mount, or whatever else a completely unique and independent item. Even if there were time to do that, it would be nigh-impossible to balance. So I'd encourage the Ashes team to look at what game areas they think are most important and relevant to the game they want to make, and be sure to throw some curveballs in those areas so that everyone's not just able to predict what the next quest/zone/crafting tier/dungeon layout/expansion is going to be like. Keep us guessing, and feel free to dole out your good ideas in clumps rather than sprinkling them evenly throughout.
  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited September 2020
    Immersion is very important, yet many studios sacrifice the creation of developers and vision of lead developers by introducing immersion breaking cosmetics. I understand that the games are products and money needs to be made, but there is 0 need for weird cosmetics.
    I think that the following totally ruin immersion for many people:

    1) Modern clothing cosmetics.

    2) Mechanical features, even steampunk.
    Cars motorcycles robots. They all beat the point of magic and mystery of the world.

    3) Weird bright gear colours.

    4) Character full body skins
    Magic infused
    Lightning covered
    Anything that supposedly makes you look like a 'rare and powerful force of nature', looks silly to me, when hundreds of players looking like that walking in towns, going to the bank, shopping, going mortal activities.
    Less full body, more subtle 'symptoms' of hidden power or affliction.

    5) Powerful looking mounts. Same as above.

    6) Wedding dress for males, beards for females.
    Most people doing that are trolling, in fact ridiculling peoples sexuality.
    But those that genuinely want to look like that, due to their inrl sexuality, I find them to have terrible taste in style. And before I am "cancelled", my favourite characters from Dragon Age Inquisition were Dorian and Sera which were gay and lesbian.

    7) Loly, childlike or cute miniature races.
  • IzexIzex Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited September 2020
    Things that are immersive:

    Visual progression of gear that correlates with character level.
    NPCs that look like they are doing things, ie talking to each other, walking around, doing chores, guards/soldiers patrolling roads.

    Things that break immersion:

    Monsters not attacking other NPCs ie guards, if a guard won't protect me what is he doing there?
    Epic looking gear on a low-level character.
    Managing my inventory full of useless junk that drops from monsters.
    A level 50 NPC saying they can't go gather berries that have LVL 2 goblins next to them and that they need me a LVL 2 to go get them.
  • I've given this a lot of thought lately, actually. For me, Skyrim is still one of the most immersive games I've ever played. I've tried to figure out why I find Skyrim so much more immersive than, say, Elder Scrolls Online.

    I don't know that I've totally pinpointed it, but I think for me a lot of it is visual. Skyrim seems to have longer view distances than ESO, and that really adds to the scale of the zone and the feeling of being in a real place. Being able to look across a field and see mountains I know I could, with some time, walk over to and climb - that's missing in ESO, which has artificially limited view distances. A sense of scale is really important to creating an immersive world.

    Environmental detail is another huge thing for me when it comes to immersion. I've tried really hard to make WoW immersive; I use the ActionCam, I minimize my interface, I turn up ambient noise. These changes definitely help, but they only go so far. I think this is because WoW's environments just aren't detailed in the way a single player RPG like Skyrim or Witcher 3 is detailed. Thickness of trees, underbrush, assorted items placed across the world like camps, graves, ambient wildlife - all of this can combine to make a world that is just a joy to travel across and look at. So many years later, I still enjoy just traversing Skyrim to take in the beautiful, detailed environments (especially outdoor) and feel like I'm there.

    I suppose that for me, when it comes to immersion, it's very much about the sensory experience of being in the world. I know, I know - a focus on graphics is shallow, but when it comes to something like immersion in a world, it's actually really important to me. Well done lighting effects, weather effects, ambient noises of nature - all of these, when done well, combine to make me really feel immersed in the world.
  • I think its easy to say immersion breaks when you create something that is too polarized on either side if the spectrum.. ultimate immersion is possible when things are balanced.
    For me personally I HATE when gathering and stuff is super tedious, like i understand theres got to be a certain grind to it.. but only being able to carry 2-5 logs or ores and constantly have to go back and forward would feel like i was getting absolutely nowhere. On the other end of that spectrum is making gathering abilities too easy.. where you dont feel like your putting in any real effort, that will also be mind numbing and break immersion.
  • Lashing wrote: »
    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.

    This is really good suggestion!
  • Balrog21Balrog21 Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I knew I forgot one immersion breaker.
    If an exploit is discovered and being abused shut the server down and fix it asap. Dont let it carry on for 8 hours or a day or a week or until the next patch comes out.
    Rift suffered from this heavily. The worst was when they unveiled the three faction waterfront. At the beginning was a glitch that was just totally atrocious and people were making bank in xp in a hurry.
    But instead of closing the wf down they just left it up and madness ensued. What happened was huge gaps in xp for the player base, and Trion didnt do anything till the next day. A bunch of players were wanting them to dox the exploited xp back to normal but they did neither. It left a very sour taste and I do believe that was when I lost all faith in the game and began playing it less and less.
  • Hi Intrepid Team!

    Something that Guild Wars 1 did extremely well was the immersion of the questing. I believe part of why it worked so well was in part because of the instanced nature (you don't see 20 other players killing the same pack of wolves supposedly plaguing the nearby settlement...), but also the amount of care put into each quest.

    You could directly see in how the quests were written that a lot of time was put into even simple "kill these mobs" or fetch quests. For example, rather than just "take this package to X NPC, thanks", there was a story about how a nearby mage was doing research on Ice Elementals, and needed a specific tool from the city. And a few quests later there was a callback to that quest, for example the mage that you brought a tool to discovered a nearby area filled with elementals that needed to be cleared out before they rampaged. These small attentions to detail help make it feel like what you're doing has consequence and meaning. It also has a side-effect of creating player attachment to certain quest-related NPCs they enjoy interacting with, further enhancing their immersion in the game world.

    Some potential suggestions / tl;dr:
    1. Try to avoid players (not in the same party) doing the same quest in the same spot. For example by using instanced areas, or by randomizing the location to spread out the players.
    2. Don't make throwaway quests / Always put some thought into the story of why a player should be doing this quest.
    3. When possible, try to make callbacks to previous quests that are not back to back. Having a series of quests that relate but aren't a directly linear story help to make the world feel alive, and bring meaning to even small quests.
    4. Ensure that quest related NPCs have a consistent personality. They don't necessarily have to be complex, but consistency helps prevent breaks in immersion.
  • Things the killed immersion for me is the quests that take me a long time to do but I get little reward. I find that killing monster is a great quest but it should be limited between each town or node. Having a daily goal reminder is always annoying and I don't think it fun.
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