Dev Discussion #22 - Immersion

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  • BrenoHelinskiBrenoHelinski Member
    edited September 11
    The biggest "immersion killer" is linearity.

    Doing quest quest quest, then dungeon dungeon dungeon, following a fixed gear progression, will never be comparable with: 1) choosing how and where to level up; 2) choose how to farm; and 3) choose how to build your own build.
  • ClockClock Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    Real quick I will add another controversial one - camera angle.

    I feel First Person/or at least 3rd person close-up camera angle is far more immersive than zoomed out. It's just more suspenseful and puts you in the shoes of your character. Also obstruction of vision/vantage point/scouting becomes far more important with a close up camera.
  • cosmicthundercosmicthunder Member, Braver of Worlds
    1. Cosmetics that are not lore friendly (i.e. bunny costumes, candy cane staves, Santa hats, or anything else that clearly does not belong in the game world)

    2. Real life Pop culture dance animations (they annoy me; however, something a bit more neutral would be okay)

    3. Classes/races/skills that are underwhelming/clunky/one-trick-pony that ends in very few people playing them

    4. Many other things already listed by other posters (i.e. Choosing between fashion and function, mechanics that feel like needless work, decisions that have very little to no impact to the world around me, scaled dungeons and monsters to name a few)
  • digitalwinddigitalwind Member
    edited September 11
    alpharexa wrote: »
    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.

    A good thing to remember is that immersion breaking doesn't always mean there are bad things in the game....such as Halloween events.
  • HeruwolfHeruwolf Member
    edited September 11
    What were some moments in an MMO that broke your immersion?

    1. In FFXIV the amount of dialogue in the quests was absurd. I stopped reading pretty much any and all dialogue in that game.

    2. The actual mechanics of the game were fine, but then there was this extremely weird delay of mechanics. The overlay for an AOE ability for a mob would show up, if you were standing in it when it disappeared you got hit by it, but the animation wouldn't actually go off for a solid 1-2 seconds. So even if you are standing out of the initial AOE cone or circle when the animation goes off, you still take the damage. The vice-versa was true too, if you weren't standing in the overlay when it disappears but then move into it afterwards the animation would go off, but you would take no damage.

    3. Animation locking. Specifically when it doesn't make sense. In FFXIV when you use certain skills or abilities your character goes through an animation that can be anywhere from 1-2.5 seconds. That's even for abilities that were ON GCD, so when you started weaving off GCD abilities with their own animations it started looking very weird and like animations were overlapping, or certain animations played while the spell effects of the other spell played and it just felt poorly designed.

    How much did those moments affect your perception of the game?

    1. Eventually I ended up in a world where I knew nothing about the story or how I got to where I am, all I knew is that I was there, I owned a house, and I killed some things pretty often, but eventually even that wasn't enough.

    2. Eventually because of this weird delay raiding became like a dance. Instead of a test of skill, it became a test of memory. Sure you had to continue with your rotations but the rotations for some classes were so complex it was impressive if you could do it, and for others, practically a 5 year old could do them. Bosses in both raids and dungeons should be complex, but they should be complex in a way that you should feel rewarded for being able to react quickly to abilities and mechanics that you were able to one shot it.

    3. This one was easy to get over because there was so much more happening on your screen most of the time in raids and dungeons that you didn't even have a chance to watch this, but for a game that boasts high fidelity and focus on RP it did make me a little sad.

    How important is immersion to you, generally?

    Generally immersion for me is odd. For me if everything is running smoothly and there aren't any obscenely horrible game breaking things that make the game feel tedious or just outright dumb, then usually I forget that I'm playing a game 15 minutes into loading the game up. But if I don't forget that it's a game, then eventually I ask myself why I'm playing, because I'm clearly not having fun.
  • NPCs Not Reacting to Titles:
    Immersion for me is affected by the actions of the NPCs, for them to claim that I am some great hero then make me go collect some sticks. Frankly, I don't need to be treated as some hero in the game, just an adventurer who happens to trade and help out from time to time. For those who want glory titles, they can go out and do whatever quest they need to get a title while I can still have fun with simple searches. It would be cool to see NPCs walk around, even if it is from their shop to their house or just going to talk with another NPC.

    Seasons Not Affecting NPC Quest and Location:
    It would be interesting if the seasons affected the NPCs quest and location, say if one NPC leaves their shop in winter to travel to a warmer place, or an NPC gives out a mission to get them hides so they can make a coat. It would make the NPCs more realistic.

    NPCs Not Favoring Players:
    It would also be nice if some of them could favor players who did their quests over players who didn't. Like if I went through the trouble of getting a shopkeep NPC a coat in winter, I'll get a couple of coins shaved off what I buy, and the players who didn't bother getting a standard price. It would be even better if a player dropped their quest, and then they get a couple of coins added to the cost of items they want to buy. It would make the NPCs more realistic and would give players an initiative for interacting with NPCs.

    Player Attire getting too Crazy:
    Players can wear epic armor that fits their race or another race, but I don't want to see someone frolicking around dressed as a rainbow unicorn. I am perfectly fine with players changing their looks and such as long as it fits in with the game aesthetic and its set boundaries on cosmetics.
  • PlagueMonkPlagueMonk Member
    edited September 11
    I have mention this is previous threads but.....the things that break immersion for me are:

    1 - Mobs and NPCs that are just standing around doing nothing.
    - Is that NPC hanging out in front of his tent really going to be waiting there for me 24/7/365? While that shows incredible stamina and convenience, it's also completely unrealistic.
    - Has that lair boss really just been sitting on his throne waiting for a group of adventures to barge in and kill him......repeatedly?
    - Are those mobs standing in the same spot (and will RESPAWN in the same spot 1 min later) waiting to be attacked?

    I want cities, encampments, NPCs and mobs to be doing SOMETHING other than standing around eternally. The world should feel ALIVE. Have that quest giver performing a routine in his encampment when you come to ask about a quest or to get a reward. Have that group of mobs performing daily tasks in the area, etc.

    If it supposed to be 3am in game, I shouldn't expect the local Blacksmith to be out still working at his anvil. He should be asleep and you will have to come back when it's light to turn in that quest.

    And when a mob dies, have it come out from somewhere else to re-take its daily routine, not just magically re-appear.

    2 - Bad names. Nothing is more annoying than to see someone who has had the lack of imagination to name themselves, "Leggolas", "Bob123" or WORSE something like "buttkisser". /smacks forehead in complete disgust.

    Spend 5 damn mins and actually THINK of a name people. Also come prepared with more than just 1 name in case others had the same thought.

    Having first and last names available on creation would really help. That way the more common name could be used by many as long as you had a different last name.

    3 - Quests that have meaning, not, "go get me 10 bear teeth and I will give you 20 silver". Well after this NPC has had 1000 people deliver 10 bear teeth I would only assume the NPC has enough bear teeth and is also now poor from handing out 4000 gold!


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  • the strength and stamina to farm and kill armies of mobs and gods
    but the movement speed of a turtle and needs a mount to go anywhere

    lack of inertia and momentum in skill animations,, the force and will i put into my punch or fireball should move me around and either make it hard or easier for me to dodge random aoe's

    gambling for gear and gear upgrades,,
  • @ManagerTony I brought this up over a year ago, except that the NPC grows with you in that he is the one that gives you 'the best' deals around and quests. That is if you go see him repeatedly. This could he done with our AI I think without too much trouble.
    It could also be done with the sellers as well, as a tick box before you put up stuff for sale, i.e. do you want to offer Npc's the option the buy your items at a 10% discount?
    This would only be done of you visit him regularly. In other words you form a rapport with said npc and as you do this is when he gives you discounts and secret cool quests. This of course is done with AI.
  • immersion.gif?h=250

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

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


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

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

    PvE has always been something I'm drawn to.
    Fishing and it feeling real, or any of the gathering aspects whether it's mining, wood cutting, etc. The animations cant be too quick- nor too long but that's just for me.
    After watching some streams, any thoughts on having crafting characters? At least for me, coming from an ESO player- I always had my character who did the content of the game, like story, and everything else but had another character who did everything in the crafting professions- I think Ashes of Creation could do something like a trait that makes you significantly weaker than an average player but you can advance in more professions- even if it's just two or three.
    For example, I could be a fisher who spends alot of time in the wild so I am good at hunting and wood cutting or gathering herbs yet I'm more of a civilian to a city than a soldier or fighter. Just a thought? Sorry for straying away from the core question you asked.
  • To add to Alecks' post, I lose immersion when the different zones are all just giant bowls where you quest in an area but your surrounded by mountains that make up the zones "borders".Wow u hate that ;)
  • Having IRL personalities in the game. If I know who it is, it totally breaks my immersion. It's even worse if they voice act in the game, because they're usually not professional voice actors. The one exception is maybe famous actors or actresses, because I guess I'm used to seeing them in movies playing different roles.
  • I personally have a short word or two to say about magic and immersion.

    - If theres no story to how magic actually works in an mmo, it breaks my immersion playing a mage typed character by 100%.
    - If the character is not able to use each magic represented ingame, it can also play into my personal immersion.

    As someone that is very mage and wizard typed when it comes to MMOs and DnD roleplay settings, magic is very meaningful to how I play a game.
  • UlfUlf Member
    Great Thread !

    I've read all the comments and I would like to add that what breaks it for me is the looting system for groups/dungeons. The greed/need/pass system is good, but it lacks something, the ability to barter and trade items freely. For example, it kills the player interaction a lot, you always get what you need only or what the dice gives you, on the other hand, A completely random/by turn / finderskeepers outcome is better in my perspective.. if Im a tank/warrior and receive a random but awesome magic staff.. i can go into town afterwards and trade it for something I need.

    I have other thoughts but they have been discussed already here.

    Have a great day Y'all!

    Ulf
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  • The things that kill the immersion are when crafted items are second best.

    Why would this big boss have a legendary item and not use it? Crafters should be able to build the best items as they are working on always making things better. And they have more time than monsters have for crafting as the adventurers are always out to get the monsters.
  • oh.... I simply don't get immersed in video games at all. So everything breaks it.
  • When the first few quests don't introduce me to the overarching narrative or main antagonist I find it very difficult to know my purpose or stay interested when the inevitable fetch and deliver quests come around. WoW was successful in part because fans were already well acquainted with its universe and characters.

    Some open world games suffer from being total blank canvases. There is no reason to scale a mountain or reach a distant island because there are no ancient ruins to discover, no treasure to be found beyond mob drops. Let the player map the world. Skyrim did this well.

    One thing that completely breaks my immersion is WoW's awful terrain. The obvious texture borders, repeating textures, low polygon count, stretched textures, jarring colour transitions between zones all break immersion and make me feel like I'm standing on a work in progress rather than a world.

    Finding gear that looks exactly the same as a completely different piece is just heartbreaking, don't do this please.
    Zones that look different but feature the exact same enemies as another.
    On a similar note, assets that get reused. Extremely immersion breaking. I can get past rocks, trees and minor buildings, but major features and landmarks should all be custom.
  • Hummm... interesting question. For me I think being able to explore the world you've created from the start probably is the way i can get immersed easily. I want to feel my character, live it a bit and decide the roll i'm gonna take. I think the anti grief you have in place will help that idea greatly. I definitely agree that endless repetitive tasks to progress would get boring very quickly like endlessly guarding a caravan. That said it seems so far that if you want to just go out and explore the world there will be plenty of opportunity to progress and flesh out your roll. Pure PvP players will always want to just go kill things and it looks like there will be plenty of that and some to spare. However i personally get involved with my story line in my head and how i fit in the world. As an example i'm thinking Rogue once the skills can all be developed... maybe protect a caravan or scout a dungeon for a team. Maybe bounty-hunter or go out to find animals in the world. In the end in a new world it'll take me some time to see where i get immersed in my character to decide so I guess in the end to the question ... Freedom and time to settle in...
  • Silver FoxSilver Fox Member
    edited September 12
    Ljosalfar wrote: »
    As "borderline-hardcore-role-player" myself, my hopes for Ashes of Creation is that we will be able to play out our "class fantasies" based on our character choices (class, race, archetype, weapon, armor).

    Like if you pick a rogue archetype as part of your "class" you can sneak your way through certain quests or objectives, taking a nonlethal or stealthier approach for example.

    As well as plenty of locations (taverns, libraries, etc.) that have no immediate or priority to gameplay or mechanics but instead offer a niche locale for roleplayers like myself to get away from the hacking and slashing and comfortable immerse ourselves in the world.

    Oh boy... where to begin? >:)

    As someone who's been an avid player and fanatic of both the fantasy and role playing genres, it's only natural and obvious that my most prominent and early exposures to the fantasy, role playing, game genre was with my experiences playing both the World of Warcraft MMORPG and the classic tabletop game; Dungeons and Dragons.

    Since then I've dipped my toes, at the very least, in many of the more prominent titles in both the role-playing and fantasy genres over the years. And despite the varying degrees of game-play or art direction, what kept me playing or got me interested in the first place wasn't the gameplay, soundtrack or graphics; but the level of immersion each title offered.

    My best example would be, easily enough, World of Warcraft. When I was introduced to WoW, I had just finished a playthrough of the original Fable on the original XBox and I was eager for another fantasy roleplaying romp through a realm of swords and sorcery. What got me hooked on WoW wasn't the gameplay or combat, it was the immersion. The quests, the characters, the world. Everything come together to make me, the player, feel as genuine of a character as any npc designed by the developers.

    The world felt big, and mysterious and with what little direction players were given during the early days; that kind of game and world exploration where players had to figure out the in-game world and the game itself got people really immersed trying to pick it all apart.

    That's what's simultaneously beautiful, ugly and complex about immersion. There is no one key to immersion, it's more like an equation. World design, soundtrack, lore, characters, dialogue, combat, virtually every component of a video game, film, or book all contribute to the overall level of immersion experienced by the audience. However just as every factor contributes to immersion in varying ways, any one factor out of place or miscalculated can easily break it.

    Going back to the World of Warcraft example; what broke my immersion was the pace of the game. Originally Warcraft didn't have a definitive end game. Sure there were end-game raids, battlegrounds and high level quests but not everything was layered so perfectly. There wasn't a definitive story-line and no final boss so the end game was very open ended. Also there wasn't much of a high profile competitive scene so the social structure was more friendly and less laser focused on progression and more about experiences.

    Ultimately to keep up the modern landscape of the games industry, WoW turned from an immersive MMORPG to an action adventure title. Everything is mapped out for your convenience. There's no mystery. The game very much betrays the idea it's just a game and despite how beautiful the world is, you never feel like you're really there with each area only remaining relevant for so long before newer content replaces or restructures the world around you. The pace keeps you moving and unless you played each expansion at launch, you're never in one spot long enough to appreciate the sights, sounds, and stories before you have to move on to catch up to the relevant content. Just passing through.

    You feel less like apart of the world and more like a guest when the world feels like an over-glorified hub and less of a living, breathing, cohesive world.

    The same ultimately happened in my experience playing SWTOR, Star Wars: The Old Republic, by BioWare. The game started off fantastic, each class had its own unique storyline with fully voiced character dialogue, class specific companions and a fantastic soundtrack to boot. Where it lacked in the massively-multiplayer aspect of the MMORPG genre, it made up for in the RPG elements. Quest objectives were fairly generic and simple BUT you could approach them in different ways. For example as a smuggler, I could sneak around enemies and for some missions I could persuade them to stand down rather than just killing everyone and everything. It really immersed me into the role of a smooth-talking sneaky scoundrel hunting treasure across the stars.

    What killed my immersion was the world design. Each world, or zone, was very linear with the earlier parts being lower level and the parts further from the "start" being more difficult and congested with higher level monsters. Apart from a couple hidden areas, the worlds never felt like worlds; more like general video game levels with well, hard, defined beginnings and ends. There was little if any room for exploration as most zones were built to funnel or guide players in one direction. The zones, thus, felt more like a level in a platform starting on side of the map and the goal being on the other side.

    There weren't areas to relax in, or places to soak in the atmosphere. The goal to stuff as much as content into the game, I believe, ended up doing the game a disservice at least in my eyes. There weren't any experiences that were more important to your character than the player. Everything, every zone, every npc was relevant or restricted to gameplay. Even the general gathering areas for players to meet up, trade or chat felt too "video-game-y" where the design favored quality of life and ease of access versus realism and immersion. Everything was close together so it was easy to get to and everything had purpose but there was no breathing room in between as a result.

    As such my favorite roleplaying games lost a LOT of their luster once quality of life changes took priority over immersion. A game loses that immersive nature when a location seems a little less realistic because everything is designed with convenience in mind. Like when you reach the new hub city in a WoW expansion and its relatively small and all the vendors and quest givers all right next to each other. There's no room to breath and there's no room to appreciate the journey between those interactions. It feels less like a real world, and more like a conveyor belt. Just going through the motions until your numbers max out.

    The immersion stops when you can't choose your path because the game chooses it for you. It's no longer about the journey and all about the destination.
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  • When as a hunter, in a certain big box MMORPG. We all know it,
    I am limited to no exotic pets unless I have a certain talent tree.
    If there was one thing that would break the immersion of this game is classifying me as a certain type of hunter. I wanna have a variance of different creatures.
    Whether I have to get a biological understanding; through terminating the monster,
    Taming it, or just surveying patterns from afar.
    I would also hate to see animal husbandry not have a boon towards hunters.
    I don't wanna be put into a bear trap of class that will mitigate me as a die hard hunter player.

    Also please patch ALL classes when you do class engineering and tune ups.
    The unspoken game I play, Tends to falter in their balance mechanisms.
    Playing a class that does massive dps, then having an expansion come out and not only kill my damage cap, But also nerf any and all of my abilities to suit ease of use really tickles my pickle, in like an non-consensual sense.
  • As an addendum I've personally played in Second Life for well over 13 years straight.Been a vampire, DJ, Club Manager, Noob, Currently in a steampunk sim roll so story and roll matters to me...
  • kesarakkkesarakk Member, Warrior of Old
    Immersion is super important to me. I enjoy logging onto a game and getting lost in it for hours. Ark and similar survival simulators did this for me quite well (I'll admit I avoided PVP servers because I wanted to raise dinos and harvest materials).

    What kills Immersion for me:

    1) Main Character NPCs in combat. Nothing irks me more than following a main character through a storyline only to have them disappear during combat. I want to fight along side them, save them and have them save me to really build that story and connection with them. I've had enough of NPCs leaving you alone to do the heavy lifting against a quest villain or being encased in ice just to steal the show at the end.

    2) "You Can't Fight Crime If You Ain't Cute"... Meaning it really hurts when there is a beautiful sword/warhammer/axe that I want to use, but isn't meant for my class or has the wrong stats and I'm stuck with a toothpick wooden sword that is just better. I know this is something that Ashes is working on and super excited about it.

    3) Common Legendary Items. Or if you prefer the WoW term "Artifacts". Blizzard really fell into the pits with this one. Iconic weapons like the Doomhammer or the Ashbringer were one of a kind weapons that really set the stage for equally iconic characters. Then Legion hit and you walked around town with every paladin with an Ashbringer or Shaman with the Doomhammer. Please... oh please. Don't do this. Legendary items should feel exactly that, not only in their looks but also how they are obtained. When you come across a player using The Sword of Jeff, you know that player has spent a lot of time working towards that item and thus respect is shown to them.

    4) Tedious gathering. I hate gathering quests or farming materials that fall off animals. Last I checked, most animals have the same number of ears, toes/claws, etc. I don't want to kill 20 boars only to come away with 3 Boar Tusks.

    5) Ping-Pong Questlines. I don't want to run back and forth between two towns for no reason. If you want me to move in a box, hexagon, octagon, then fine. Just don't make me go back to the same quest giver I came from two minutes ago just because the NPCs can't walk twenty feet to talk to each other.
  • RayhoyepRayhoyep Member
    edited September 12
    Many MMORPGS now days give a lot of free log in rewards and/or chests that require keys to unlock. (The keys are typically very rare drops but can be bought in store with money.) Some games even have a wheel or dice which can be used once a day that grant a special reward. Those features absolutely destroy the immersion feeling. I want to earn in game stuff not be incentivized you log in every day. It gives a very fake feeling.

    Also mentioned many times in other posts are the streamlined quest chains.
  • I don't need immersion to enjoy a game, but it does help, especially for something that is supposed to retain mindshare for years. There is no one right immersion formula, but the key seems to be anything that distracts from my ability to focus my eyes on the 3D viewport breaks immersion. My mind has gone through a lot of hoops to find that conclusion, but I stand by it as a good guide. I'm either paying attention to the game (by looking at the viewport of what is happening in the game right now) or I am paying attention to things that describe that action (like skill cooldowns, threat meters, minimaps, etc.). The more engaged I am with the viewport, the more I care about what happens there--the characters and places have more meaning when I see and interact with them than they do when my interaction is filtered through UI widgets. Vanilla WoW raiding was all about resource management. I know that there was some story about the black dragonflight or something, but all I saw were health and mana bars. I honestly couldn't tell you any major story points, but I could probably go into painful details about the various changes to mechanics between patches. The Guild Wars 2 Living Story Season 1 was about Scarlet Briar and her weirdly awesome Joker/Harley Quinn/Twilight Sparkle mishmash of insanity as she works to destroy the major races and empower Mordremoth. I can't recall which version of the Trait system was live during this content. Meaning is not necessary for a game to be fun, but if they don't have meaning, then I'm not going to stick with it, and I'm not going to want to return after a break. Immersion is one way of engaging with a game. Social groups are another. When a game stops being engaging, that is when I move on. It might be engaging because my friends all play it and we have fun building stories together, but when they stop, or we have a falling out and I lose that source of engagement, then if there isn't another, I have no reason to stay.

    Some examples, both good and bad.
    I found EverQuest very immersive. In EverQuest, running out of mana as a caster was a big deal. This was a risk in a big fight, but generally you never had to worry about it--you could see the risk coming from a long way off and adjust your pull rate accordingly. That level of meta-thinking wasn't counter immersive, it was just part of the normal group conversation (if it was even relevant--often the spawn rate was the limiting factor, not player resources). Spells tended to have instantaneous cooldowns. That was important because it means I wasn't staring at a hotbar looking to queue up my next spell, it means I was watching the action ready to react with a spell. I knew I was near the threat limit when I couldn't sit without pulling aggro--a fact communicated by watching the mob as I sat down (which, for those that are unaware, was key to managing mana regen--you had to be sitting when the 6-second tick was processed or your mana regen was effectively nil). I watched the action and I hit buttons and such without needing to micromanage resources. Healing was fundamentally anti-immersion; I stared at health bars, and I'm told there was a game people were playing, but I just saw health bars. Tanking / melee DPS was more or less the same as playing a caster to me; mob positioning was more important than tracking cooldowns or resources. When something was dealt damage, it was pushed away from the damage dealer. Fighting a dragon on an island surrounded by lava required coordinating an entire raid to turn the boss before the tank fell to a fiery death. Not difficult, but you knew to do this by watching the game world.

    Star Wars Galaxies (which I only played up through the first couple months post-release) I also found to be immersive, but for different reasons. I did have to monitor resources, but tracking 3 bars didn't take much focus away from the action. The content helped to offset the immersion, however, as did a RP-focused guild. Like that time we redecorated the guild hall for a tribunal setting to pass judgement on a guild member.... we made our own immersion, we just needed game mechanics that let that happen.

    Guild Wars 2 was also very immersive, but had some significant shortcomings. Most important information could be communicated by looking at or listening to a mob. I had no idea how important audio cues were until 2 hours into a kite I had speaker issues and realized I had been using audio cues to know exactly when to time my dodges (Duoing the boss of the since-removed "broken" path in Twilight Arbor was a ~3 hour boss fight, where I kited all the adds). During that fight there was minimal room for error and I couldn't look away from the action. I had to just *know* that the abilities I wanted to use were ready; I couldn't spare the attention to look at a hotbar or my stamina meter. It did have shortcomings for gathering and navigation (staring at the minimap for node locations and to head towards specific targets) but generally you could play the game just looking at the action. One of the things it got very right, I feel, was getting rid of healing as the primary means of support. When a support player's job is to heal damage, they stare at health bars. When a support player's job is to prevent damage (e.g. area-effect buff that blocks the next hit but only lasts 2 seconds), they focus on the fight. The lack of a healer also meant that putting a group together was a fundamentally less-meta experience than in a lot of other games. Not an immersion factor, but certainly a huge benefit. The clash between the world as portrayed by the living story and the world as depicted by personal stories, dungeons, zone stories, etc. is also very counter-immersive. If the world can change, it matters that the game recognizes and embraces that fact.

    WoW is one of the worst games that I have played from an immersion standpoint. When I was a healer, I used a mod that replaced my entire display with a whack-a-mole minigame. That may not have been my best night healing, but it wasn't my worst, either. The only time I found healing truly engaging was when I was one of 7 people to survive a raid-wide positioning crit fail during Onyxia. Because the margins were so thin I had to focus on everything; losing that fight would mean we had to let the people that always showed up an hour late to raid night into the zone for the second attempt, and that night we were all taking a stand against them. Failure was not an option. So one boss fight in about 2 years of healing was actually immersive/engaging. On the tank/dps front, things weren't much better. Boss fights involved staring at some giant boss's crotch or butt. Or, they would have, if watching the viewport was useful. All the important information is scattered about; threat meter, DPS meter, buff bars, messages, cooldowns, resource pools, and so on. So many people died from standing in fire because none of the useful information is displayed in the game viewport, it is all in the UI dressing. This wasn't immediately obvious to me as a design weakness because I didn't realize at the time that I wasn't playing because the game was fun, but because it was a way to spend time with my friends. Between game mechanics splitting up groups of friends and the drama caused directly by people, that motivation to play eventually left, and there was no immersion to make me want to seek out new companions--instead, I sought out new games. I associate the fixation on meta-elements with a lack of immersion because playing WoW was never about the story (at any level--class, zone, or world), it was about using skills in the correct order so that the skinner box would dispense a piece of loot. Having to focus so much on things that describe your character's current state, rather than the state of the world around you, is the game's way of telling you that the world itself is without inherent value.

    EVE Online was immersive for all the reasons WoW was not. Best spreadsheet-based representation of space combat ever. 10/10, only way to make it better would be to integrate the UI into Excel. Of course, that is what it was trying to be, so the excessive meta-focus worked there. It was not, however, the game I wanted to play, which is why I bounced off it so fast.

    Honorable mention to the original Guild Wars. You don't get much more immersive than customizing every combat zone for every party of players that ventures there. Full instancing has its advantages. I find it particularly anti-immersive when non-instanced MMOs try to replicate this. Guild Wars 2 tried to mix the two by putting a personal story in instanced areas while maintaining a world story, and zone-specific stories, but really everything should have taken a back-seat to the world stories. Very little breaks immersion more than content that denies the existence of other content.

    I think it is also worth looking at the WvW elements of Guild Wars 2. At release they were somewhat immersive. Success required cooperation and coordination across your server. Over time, however, that meta was replaced by loot trains. The content was reduced to a loot pinata. Engaging other players became a sub-standard strategy because winning was no longer measured by your team's performance but by the pile of loot you walked away with. When the fight had meaning, people found purpose and invested themselves in the game and the community. When the outcome no longer mattered, it was just another boss farm. Immersion does so much to give people motivation to play. Without that, my desire to play becomes decoupled from a specific game, and I'll readily move on.
  • For me it would be one main thing.

    Establishment of a power ceiling

    Power ceiling was a big immersion breaker for me in other games. I wasn't that much of a roleplayer, more of a 'numbers & spreadsheets' PvP player, but even then i couldn't help but feel disconnected from the game since each and every player by the end of the game's main story was some overpowered demigod entity. It didn't feel... special. Everyone was the Savior of Azeroth, the Champion of Cyrodil, etc.

    I feel like players will feel more immersed if they feel their characters to be a cog in a (node's) machine. The real progression would be to feel like a 'meaningful' cog.

    It's like that saying;
    'too many chiefs, not enough Indians,'
    the grind or work to graduate from an 'Indian' to a 'Chief', i feel, would provide great immersion to a player. Simultaneously, having too many chiefs is the problem i believe i experienced.

    Everyone felt strong...therefore, no-one felt really special.. besides an arbitrary 'item power' magic number that told everyone how 'special' your gear was (relative to others at the same level).

    I think Intrepid are already partially addressing some of these concerns with how difficult/rare Legendary equipment & flying mounts will be to acquire, and progression in societies/religions/node leadership/crafting specialization/etc/. This is excellent and definitely a big move in addressing what I've mentioned.
  • ilisfetilisfet Member, Braver of Worlds
    Immersion is quite important. More precisely, it's about the flow state - a melding of self and avatar. Immersion is one means of achieving that: being yourself in another reality.

    The most immersion breaking aspect of an MMO can be other players. This was definitely the case in ESO, where any player could easily reinstate my disbelief. However, thinking back upon other multiplayer games... other players in RuneScape and Dark Souls did not have such a jarring presence.

    I think what makes ESO special is the lack of weight behind nearly all of their animations. Running goes to full speed instantly, charging attacks have no acceleration (ease in & ease out), it's all very... jarring, even though I used that word earlier. It's jank in a way that reminds me of playing an unfinished, rushed game.

    In RuneScape, players may be running or teleporting all the time, but they come to a stop -- they don't just stop. It also helps that the NPCs acknowledge the players as special existences like "I don't get it but I guess that's how things are." They wonder why we pop in and out of existence, why we do the same thing over and over and over, that we even trade in our cats for death runes; the game-y nature is acknowledged, accepted and embraced, so whenever a bit of absurdity wriggles in, you can expect it to be lampshaded.

    Dark Souls limits players to bodily communication, and again explains game phenomena in the lore. Time and space are fluid and so phantoms of others may wander into your world from time to time. Some may even ask to be allowed, while others will barge in. When facing another player, your only means of communication are with weapons... and emotes. Which has somehow sprung up a devoutly honor bound dueling community, who must precede every engagement with a bow from both parties. And, it's the little things, players come to a stop instead of just stopping.

    If remembering and noticing this has shown me anything, it's not the big things that break immersion -- I can still suspend my disbelief if we don't cover how we crossed half the world in one fade to black, or how the big bad has no origin -- but the little things. A lack of momentum, no food in a populated village, jittering in the landing pose. It's the minor details that stare you in the face, right under your nose, every day that matter most for immersion.
  • cozminsky wrote: »
    I don't think "immersion" and "mmorpg" go along. Just read the comments above, one reads:

    - I shouldn't be able to carry 200 logs in my backpack, that breaks my immersion
    while another reads
    - I shouldn't be limited to how much I can carry, that's too much

    Immersion in MMO's is perfectly viable.

    The issue you are highlighting here is not that it doesn't work, but rather that some people don't know what 'immersion' means.

    This is fair enough, some people (arguably most people) never get actually immersed in any form of fantasy setting in their whole life. Thing is, I'd you go through the replies in this thread, more than half of them relate to mechanics or systems that people don't like, rather than to immersion.

  • How important is immersion to you, generally?

    Immersion is absolutely paramount ! It dictates how much fun I will be having, therefore being directly linked to how long I will stay subbed to a game. It's the most important factor in an MMO.


    What were some moments in an MMO that broke your immersion?

    1. Cosmetics that are not lore friendly (i.e. bunny costumes, candy cane staves, Santa hats, or anything else that does not belong in a fantasy game world).

    On that front, actually, I'd just like to add microtransactions altogether. Knowing that people can, will and are paying real money to obtain in-game items is just wrong, and has no place in MMO's. Doesn't matter if said items are cosmetics only, it's the principle of it.

    2. Ridiculous and/or non-ropleplay player names (i.e. mammakiller, fatsanta, unicornlover, etc...)

    3. Tending to ''casuals'', as in spoon-feeding rare and epic items to everyone... Making things too available for everyone without proper investment.

    4. Poor character customization (class, spec, appearance, etc).
    Class differentiation, not all classes should be able to do everything, like they now can in many of today's games.

    5. Phasing/Layering/Bots

    6. Meaningless PvE progression curve throughout the game (gear/dungeons/raids/availability)


    How much did those moments affect your perception of the game?

    All of the above make me feel like I'm not in the fantasy game world I wish to be in hence demoralizing me and removing my desire and will to play. I could be having a blast and absolutely love the game I'm playing, those previously mentioned elements will both annihilate and prevent me from having fun.
  • I think that it is important to have a smooth transition from one landscape (or city or node) to another landscape.

    To give an example:
    If an area consists of swamps and jungle then it would be fatal to the area next to it with zb. To shape ice, or the one with fire (volcano etc.) and the next with ice. They just don't go together because that would look unnatural. You could also assume that the further north you go, the colder the regions become, so you would have an exact structure of the map and difficult to understand for example. It wouldn't be newbies either, it would just improve orientation. In my experience, however, what is almost more important is that hits (PVE or PVP) should be run precisely and smoothly on the hitbox, with a game that stands or falls (very often) with a fluid gameplay. You should also keep the collisions low, because if you do open PVP, for example, there is nothing annoying than getting stuck on a small tree trunk or stone.

    thx and @ll a nice day :smile:
  • nidriksnidriks Member, Warrior of Old
    Dev Discussion #22 - Immersion
    What were some moments in an MMO that broke your immersion? How much did those moments affect your perception of the game? How important is immersion to you, generally?

    The Pizza command that SOE tried to introduce in to EQ2 was glaring. Please don't do that, Intrepid. :D

    Zones like The Barrens, with its intrusive chat are an immersion breaker, but there is little way around that. Whilst I would like Ashes to not have world chat, there is probably some need for localised chat.

    To be honest, Ashes is a game at the end of the day, and that means immersion can be broken for me and allow me to enjoy the game. There are going to be moments where I will be happy to chat real world stuff with friends. There needs to be a choice as to when that immersion should be maintained though. With chat I can just change the tab, for example

    I just want the game to have difficulty elements that make the world feel real. Penalties for death and areas that challenge me. Have areas that are predominantly lower level but have dangerous enemies chucked in. That is immersive for me. Make me feel like I'm challenged at every turn and quite able to find myself in the thick of it because I was careless.

    I suppose simple dungeons would class as immersion breaking. EQs dungeons were world class. Places like Guk were immense zones that you could get lost in...and I did, every time I went there. When I played Rift, the first dungeon I did was more like a straight route through a cave. It was bland and boring and I forgot I was in a mystical world. The occaisonal cave is not a big deal, but dungeons should be interesting and captivating.

    Perhaps the biggest immersion effect for me would be the act of making the world feel big. I remember playing SWG and wanting to travel about for quests or crafting. The way I had to take shuttles and travell about by bike to get somewhere was immersive. Add to this the need to travel to shop for resources or equipment. Making the player have to travel to merchants makes the world feel real.

    When it comes to taverns, make them feel real. We don't want real world games and arts. I don't want to enter a tavern to find people playing the games I'd be able to play on my PC in the real world. Essentially, I'd hate to enter a tavern and feel like I have just entered the Dog and Duck in my home town. Some players may try to make the game echo real life, but if enough options are available then maybe that might deter them.

    Immersion is important because it creates memories. My greatest MMO memories are from games like EQ and SWG. Many of these memories come from times where I felt part of the world because the game made me travel. In EQ I travelled the breadth of the land as a sort of coming of age quest. I got the boat from Faydwer to Freeport and crossed the entireity of Antonica. The game didn't have maps. You had to look them up back in the day. It felt like I was finding a map. Perhaps Ashes can have a system whereby the player has to earn maps. At least have a fog of war so that players have to explore the world. On top of that, having areas that are reminiscent of Kithicor Forest from EQ really pull the player in. I need to get to a place to complete a quest but a dangerous area is in my path. Do I take the long, long route or test myself in the dangerous area?

    In SWG I felt immersed whenever I went to buy stuff. There was no world spanning auction house, you travelled to merchants to buy their stuff. But let us have a method of advertising ourselves as merchants/crafters. The cities could have message boards upon which we can place notice of our business. SWG had this in various ways. The placing of harvesters was one. I could place a harvester in the middle of Tatooine and write on the side that I sold quality pets. Obviously we can't do that in Verra, but I could read a message board and see that Engelbert is selling quality furniture in the marketplace, for example.

    One of my favourite memories was from when a friend of mine and myself crossed a zone boundary to enter a new area of EQ2. I will always remember that friend turning to me and and saying "now this is EQ, buddy". It was what we saw as we passed through that zone boundary that prompted this. The view was breathtaking. Even without zones that can be replicated in Ashes. Have gorges or mountain passes that open up to a vista. Forests that thin and leave you with a view over a cliff. From what I have seen of the map I have faith this will be true.

    A big immersion breaker would be biomes that shouldn't border. I shouldn't be crossing a forest to immediately find myself in a desert, then crossing the desert to find ice. We won't see that, I am sure, but it can't hurt to say.

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