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Don't Kill the Casual - Progression through emersion should happen naturally

Before I start I just want to say I have played many many MMOs since 2006 to end game and beyond. I am an advocate for these type of games and have spent my life growing up in fantasy worlds of all types through the years to escape. Through those times I have loved, lived and enjoyed my RL as well as my fantasy gaming realm. I have always done my best to balance these and to have a health life style.

The word casual gets thrown around casually. In my mind it means you play several times during the week maybe even daily but you also hold down a job, family and maybe even work in some time for fun on the side that might not be gaming. You play 10-20 hours a week devoting time to the game but have restraints so that time may vary.

The issue arising from many of the newer games released now is the influx of over informed perfectionist that want to be the best as fast as they can. A week or sometimes less into the game you will see players already maxed leveled trolling the chat, dungeons and such making the community less than enjoyable while trying to control the market with some nonsense. I have seen many of your videos and followed your work for a long time and I believe you will be able to defeat this new age moto by doing exactly what you are striving to do.

1.) Long Story Driven Leveling of Characters
2.) Node Progression of Zones
3.) PvP Organized for Peak Server Times-Corruption System

No one wants to be handed anything because then it just seems unimportant but also no one wants to grind something for hours if it also seems useless in the end. Progression through emersion should happen naturally. Much like reading a book. Before you know it you maybe halfway through and you have half a book left but you don't care because it has been so good thus far. The worst is when your halfway through something and you realize that it was not worth the time you spent dumping into it.

So why Limit Progression? If the server is going to change naturally and the structures, environments, and players around you do the same shouldn't it happen at a realistic pace? Have you thought while making hundreds of craftable items that maybe no-one could really make this in the time I've been pumping out iron ingots. Maybe you conquered an entire village just to see next week other players doing the same quest line again as you pass.

I know making quests pass away in time and trying to make everything seen new and not recycled is near impossible with story structures involved. Most the time this is done with instances or content made for specific events.

Here is the crazy idea people will love/hate. What if there was limits on progression based on realm time. Instead of making the overall goal level 50 for end cap make it level 20 during the first month of launch. Next month 30, 40 then 50 ect based on time lapse in the realm. Players who reach the cap maybe like "Well what is there for me to do now?" Alternate characters, crafting, dungeons based on level and getting level appropriate gear.

One of the biggest challenges is always how do you keep the realm feeling like its moving together. People don't want to get left behind or your stuck waiting on people to catch up because you have the time to play. Most MMOs I find people power level through the game forgoing any storylines or questing unless they have too.

What about when all these players reach 50 (max) then someone wants to come along and start later? If this game is going to have children and a family tree type thing why not have specific birth months that give bonus XP or whatever other bonuses blows your mind. I think the overall thinking is many people want to play an MMO game but we all have many different life styles. Since we all want to play together the more organized it is the better it will be, the closer we will join and the more fun we will have.

I have absolutely loved everything I have seen on the AoC youtube channel, forums and media. Keep pumping out the footage and get Alpha rolling. You will have the backers. You are working on something truly special.

Comments

  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    The basic reason to not do what you're suggesting is that it does not actually have any effect.

    It helps with 'finding groups for leveling', but doesn't do much else of note. People just level alts or other crafts and claim all the same benefits of 'grinding a lot'. Technically, getting people to grind more is better because it funnels them and slows them down.

    When the server only has 30 people at level 44, it is harder for those people to form EXP-efficient groups so they either slow down anyway, or already had a full group 'static' who would still just take advantage of the cap (disclaimer: I am basically in the second category).

    Occasionally a 'random lower level player' would get a chance to enter one of their 'alt parties' and level a bit faster, but the experience doesn't directly improve.

    We really want those players with lots and lots of time to find each other and push forward together, because this is actually a stronger 'drag force' on their progression than any that can be put in by the developers. XP debt makes this even more effective.

    Those sorts of people will get ahead in terms of gear, money, influence, and boss encounters either way. The only thing we really would need to care about is something to prevent level 50 players from 'farming' level 20 boss/raid enemies and not letting the 'intended level' of player get that experience.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Seems like this will partially be gated by how long it takes to progress nodes to Metro, but...
    There will still be plenty to do after reaching max Adventurer level
  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    Nope. There are mmos that cater to people that want to balance their gaming hours.
    This game wants to reward players for their effort and time spent in.

    Some weeks I might wanna play 4h per day. Some weeks I might wanna login just for the weekend, 48h straight and not login for the next 5 days.
    I dont need time limits to ruin it for me.
  • Lark WyllLark Wyll Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    There will always be an element of fear of missing out by one player who has less time to spend on the game compared to another who may play it as their primary function in life.

    I wouldn't worry too much about placing caps on other players ability to no life a game and go for server first type achievements. Play the game at your pace. Working adults like myself will not keep up with full time gamers in Ashes or any other mmo. That's okay.

    The primary issue for casual players Steven and Intrepid already solved with their node hub system where more casual type players will be able to log in to the game and be around an active player base at all times if they wish. That's the main issue most casuals have in these types of games. The hardcore players normally advance through the starting zones so fast that by the time casual players have time to play the world may feel empty in those zones as they're trailing behind their progress.

    Ashes is going for the melting pot approach at least for inter-mingling of low level and high level players being active in the same zones of influence.
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  • LachesisLachesis Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Time gating no lifers just because some cant keep up seems like a really entitled thing to do. People should be rewarded for investing time into the game
  • SolvrynSolvryn Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Natural progression is contingent on the individual playing the game. Gating this only hampers their ability to naturally progress at their own pace.

  • I understand where the OP is coming from as I’m someone who has grown older and have a family of my own now. If the game came out now I’d maybe be able to play 1-2 hours per sit down 3-4 times a week?

    However, it doesn’t feel right to limit the progression of those whose schedules allow them to put more time into it. The key is creating a balance of time vs reward. If some can feel rewarded for playing 6 hours a week and others can feel rewarded for pumping 25+, then you have yourself a good system and that’s what really matters.
  • MerekMerek Member
    This isn't EVE Online, you won't gain progress from doing nothing. If you can't put in the required time to progress your character then it won't happen. Asking the developers to dumb the game down so you do less to get more or even punish those that actually put the effort in is ridiculous.
  • Looking at game models now you can see that if you don’t limit progression the game will be obsolete by most very early. Also I’m not sure what MMO games your describing that already do this? I also never said gain exp by not doing anything if you actually read it hat I wrote.

    Most people want to do group content when they play an mmo and if a large majority are casual and you don’t address the rush crowd then they simply don’t play. The hardcore players play because they have to while the casual player plays because they want to. That maybe hard to hear but I was both and understand both sides. To say it’s limiting is an overstatement. There should still be things to do even at max level cap… just like when you hit end game material. I’m not saying punish anyone with limits but if you don’t have people running lower level dungeons early on it’s going to be an issue. Not to mention no dungeon finder. I’m a fan of this obviously but it make for some issues with finding groups.

    Either way I would like not to see max level characters running around controlling my experience with nonsense. That is really what ruins it.
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited June 2021
    I don't understand how any of that is intended to apply to Ashes.
    What specifically would make Ashes obsolete by most "very early" - how and why?
    Ashes has plenty to do at max Adventurer level and there is no endgame.

    Finding groups should not be an issue since we will know where the people live who play at the same time we do. Building and protecting cities together means that we won't be spreading out all over the map day-to-day and week-to-week. We will be visiting neighbors' homes and Freeholds, etc...in addition to monitoring neighborhood Discord channels.
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Ridiric wrote: »
    Looking at game models now you can see that if you don’t limit progression the game will be obsolete by most very early. Also I’m not sure what MMO games your describing that already do this? I also never said gain exp by not doing anything if you actually read it hat I wrote.

    Most people want to do group content when they play an mmo and if a large majority are casual and you don’t address the rush crowd then they simply don’t play. The hardcore players play because they have to while the casual player plays because they want to. That maybe hard to hear but I was both and understand both sides. To say it’s limiting is an overstatement. There should still be things to do even at max level cap… just like when you hit end game material. I’m not saying punish anyone with limits but if you don’t have people running lower level dungeons early on it’s going to be an issue. Not to mention no dungeon finder. I’m a fan of this obviously but it make for some issues with finding groups.

    Either way I would like not to see max level characters running around controlling my experience with nonsense. That is really what ruins it.

    Well, I don't see what you're saying and I don't understand it, but I won't assume you are wrong or that your experience is invalid. You are going to have to explain in more detail what it is you have experienced though.

    Is this about a personality thing of other players, or a game mechanics thing, or both?

    I am by most definitions a 'carebear with a static'. If I was able to play a lot with that static group and hit max level 5x as fast as the average player, or let's say you in particular, actually, what is it that I will 'do' that ruins your experience? What is the 'nonsense'?

    Is it that I'd 'dictate the best builds'? Just don't follow them.

    Is it that I would 'not need to level with you'? You just need more people who aren't me, and I wasn't likely to level with you anyway.

    Is it that I somehow 'delete' or 'control' content that you want to experience at your own level? I won't do it, and maybe instanced stuff can help.

    Is it because I will 'figure out that content faster than you will by lots of trial and error'? In all arrogance, I don't need much trial and error for most content, so this only affects you if you are also really good at this and can convey your insights to all the random players you are grouping with (unless you also have a static who can just play less, in which case it only matters if people in your static just look up the guides someone like me makes instead of experiencing the content).

    Are we talking about max level Artisan stuff where people control the market, and not character levels?

    Forgive this line but this boils down to what you expressed at the end of your last post.

    "Who hurt you, and how did they do it?"

    Maybe someone can explain better 'how Ashes intends to prevent you from being hurt again', or, will understand and accept your situation if Ashes has no plans of preventing whatever it is. No one can deny you an endgame here as far as we understand their plans, but you might have a really specific definition of 'enjoyable endgame'.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • MeleeSparksMeleeSparks Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    You know, I agree that the casuals should not be forgotten or ignored, however I don't think that people who want to spend 20 hours a day playing this game because they want to (or can), shouldn't be penalized for it.

    I have a fulltime job, I work a second gig a few days a week and have 3 kids. I may have 2-3 hours a night to play if I'm lucky but most weeks I'll probably play 10 hours or so. I'll be left behind on levels and gear, but I have no issues with that. I played Lineage II for almost 7 years, and that game is brutal on people who couldn't keep up with gear and politics. But this game really taught me to just enjoy the ride and relieve myself of any pressure to "keep up".

    As long as Intrepid can somehow still keep the game relevant to us as well, I'm all for zero caps or gating.
  • KhronusKhronus Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I very much disagree with most of your post.

    Final Fantasy 14 started out telling people when they could or couldn't play (in fact you could keep playing but for 0 experience) and that game failed so miserably that they fired the whole team and started with a new game.

    The definition of casual is;

    1 - relaxed and unconcerned.

    2. not regular or permanent.

    You do not fit this mold even though you think you do. I have 3 kids who I spend a lot of time with doing work or working on schooling, work full time in real estate, work on my house and other home hobbies often and somehow find time to no-life video games and keep up with the hardest of hardcore players in both time played and skill.

    Fomo is a real thing but everyone needs to address it individually as this should not be on the shoulders of Intrepid to balance.

    As far as the game model goes, nobody has successfully pulled off an evolving nodal system before. It's scary to think that something may be coming out that will entertain us as much as games used to entertain us when they weren't all about loot boxes and P2W.

    My guild will be helping players who fall behind by creating our own atmosphere that further promotes the social aspect of the game as much as possible. I agree that I don't want to spend the time to accomplish some awesome task only for it to be regurgitated in the node next to us right after we do it. I want the systems to both difficult and rewarding and I want the node system to be something that you have to work for and ultimately defend. Only time will tell what is eventually delivered to us : ).
  • MarcetMarcet Member
    A casual is not worried that everyone is gonna surpass him, he already knows that and he doesn't care. Personally im gonna play very chill, I want to have a tavern and slowly discover the world and make friends, I could take an entire year to get to 50 and it would be awesome and meaningful.

    If there is fun content to do as a low lvl or casual player, it's completely fine. I'll let the ultrameta high tier raiders do their stuff.
  • ShoelidShoelid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Ridiric wrote: »
    Here is the crazy idea people will love/hate. What if there was limits on progression based on realm time. Instead of making the overall goal level 50 for end cap make it level 20 during the first month of launch. Next month 30, 40 then 50 ect based on time lapse in the realm. Players who reach the cap maybe like "Well what is there for me to do now?" Alternate characters, crafting, dungeons based on level and getting level appropriate gear.

    One of the biggest challenges is always how do you keep the realm feeling like its moving together. People don't want to get left behind or your stuck waiting on people to catch up because you have the time to play. Most MMOs I find people power level through the game forgoing any storylines or questing unless they have too.

    What about when all these players reach 50 (max) then someone wants to come along and start later? If this game is going to have children and a family tree type thing why not have specific birth months that give bonus XP or whatever other bonuses blows your mind. I think the overall thinking is many people want to play an MMO game but we all have many different life styles. Since we all want to play together the more organized it is the better it will be, the closer we will join and the more fun we will have.

    What you're proposing is time gating. It's nothing new, and is actually something that modern WoW players frequently complain about.

    It does exactly what you think it would- it keeps the hardcore players from playing for three months straight and running circles around everybody else. To some degree, this is good. WoW (and many MMOs) use weekly lockouts for raids. This is a form of time gating. If they didn't use lockouts, people with infinite time would run the raid over and over and over again, gaining infinite loot. It is good they can't do this.

    Point is, again, your idea is nothing new. I know you have a grander scale in mind, but you always need to look at the core mechanics of your idea first. WoW started implementing time gating behind other things, too, to try and allow for the people with less time to keep up with the people with infinite time. What really ends up happening is people end up feeling like they have a list of chores they need to complete to stay competitive. If they make alts out of boredom, that list of chores extends to keeping those alts competitive as well.

    This would happen with your idea. Somebody with lots of time gets to the monthly cap of level 10, levels up their gathering and crafting abilities, gets some gear from the hardest dungeon available to them, etc etc. Then they have nothing left to do and they make an alt, then another alt. They have three alts with everything maxxed out by the end of the first month. The level cap increases, and they start the process again. Level up, collect loot, move on to the next alt. How do you think this person would feel after month four or five? I imagine pretty burnt out. Meanwhile the person who plays casually is doing fine.

    I'd say the real solution is to make the game fun for people at all levels. Let the people who want to play 24/7 have their fun, but also provide a meaningful experience for the people who don't have that kind of time. I believe that the node system has a really good chance at creating that experience for people. The real struggle will be making people recognize that they don't have to power level, and that they have ways to have fun no matter their level.
    "Since we all want to play together"
    Unfortunately, this is not true. The hardcore players don't want to play with somebody who can't keep up, and the casual players don't want to be told how to play. If it were true, helping to combine the playerbase with your idea might do great. That's just not the case, though: these different playerbases need their own space to have fun
  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    There is no point to keep replying to this thread. Very one sided.
  • ConradConrad Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I agree. 100% one sided for a good reason.

    Time gating is always shit, WoW does it and its shit.

    I am by no means hardcore, but there are times where I go full in and fuck no way do I want to be capped by a system pandering to casuals who want to level by not playing.

    If you dont spend time you shouldn't be rewarded for it. I trust devs to deliver the right experience since so far they have their minds on the right things
  • SaeduSaedu Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    A thread like this is why I advocate to minimize leveling altogether in MMOs. The concept of lots of levels is antiquated and just limits the fun of a game. I get that's not the plan for Ashes, but a MMO with a level 20 cap would be a great innovation.

    In terms of time vs player power... I'd rather see rewards based more on skill/challenging content than time spent. Of course more time spent playing can lead to greater skill, but people eventuallyhit thier limits. This is the problem with leveling and xp debt systems. Leveling rewards based on time spent. It is not challenging (certainly not compared to pvp or raid content). XP debt discourages people from taking big risks when leveling since the risk is way higher than the reward. This just makes it more of a grind as you do smaller pulls.

    I get this (sadly) isn't the plans for AoC. Just stating my opinions on the topic. I might not be a fan of the leveling system, but I can work through it to enjoy the exciting systems like nodes and sieges.
  • AerlanaAerlana Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited July 2021
    Ridiric wrote: »
    Here is the crazy idea people will love/hate. What if there was limits on progression based on realm time. Instead of making the overall goal level 50 for end cap make it level 20 during the first month of launch. Next month 30, 40 then 50 ect based on time lapse in the realm. Players who reach the cap maybe like "Well what is there for me to do now?" Alternate characters, crafting, dungeons based on level and getting level appropriate gear.

    I dislike your idea for many reason, buuuut

    Lets give it a chance :
    This system will avoid people to reach lvl 50 before 4th month begin. ok, not a so long time to wait. but what does it changes in the end ?
    It impacts only the release for a final no real impact on the game. At the time of the first anniversary, those 3 month with level locking will only be memories. good memories of fun things we did while being locked at lvl 20/30/40, or frustrating memories because some dislike reroll and prefer focus on one character.

    People joining on the 5th month (so clearly after first people reached lvl50) won't even feel any impact of this. It is just slowing the game for 3 month...


    Yeah some people will be 50 far before other people.
    and i think even some people at the first day will be fifty during the 4th month... maybe a lot. Some will be lvl 50 after other people who came in the game 1 month after them.

    One of the goal is to have "low level" people usefull in siege, mainly with using siege weapon. being low level wont cut you from the game. you will just be weaker than the other.

    You don't want to be weaker? well... fine... maybe MMORPG are not best place. Lets look at modern MMORPG, leveling is just some small hours now. Does it make all people equal? clearly not. because then comes the stuff ! people playing 30h a week will get a good stuff far before those playing 10h a week. WoW did timegate stuff (weekly farm limit) FFXIV does it too. it is just frustrating...
    For the publisher and devs it is good, what some people woud collect in two weeks, they will need 8 weeks instead. doing less gametime each week, but they want subscription, not gametime.
    For the hardcore gamer you sit there waiting to be allowed to return to farm... Fun design

    And if you fear fast leveling like modern MMORPGs
    Devs said it would need 45 days with 4-6 hours a day to get max lvl. (it is what they estimate/aim)
    So, lets take the max, 45 x 6 => 270 hours.
    9 weeks with 30 hours a week (3h each days on week days + 15h during WE.) Already a long time no ?
  • ZericZeric Member
    The word casual gets thrown around casually.
    I read this far. I can only assume anything after it is in, complete, anthesis to the core values of AoC.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    Zeric wrote: »
    The word casual gets thrown around casually.
    I read this far. I can only assume anything after it is in, complete, anthesis to the core values of AoC.

    Don't forget though, Steven wants to add the family summons to the game to support casual players.

    There is no real way to know how viable this game is going to be to casual players right now.
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