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Dev Discussion #43 - World Map Discovery

VaknarVaknar Moderator, Member, Staff
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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 - World Map Discovery
Would you like to see a traditional MMO world map that, once explored, updates with the ever-changing state of the world, or would you prefer to see more innovative ways of keeping maps up-to-date?

Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding Tank Participation!
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Comments

  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    This is a difficult question for me, because I both hate and love certain aspects of both.

    That said, I can't imagine Ashes being quite dynamic ENOUGH to update in a way that will physically matter to the map's appearances other than 'adding Metros'. This isn't MineCraft where you can actually change the landscape and have to update your map.

    Having players able to make markers on their maps and then sell the 'marked' maps is my opinion of how this can be done best. This is a real ingame work process and has some good options for people, particularly since we would no longer be tied to what the mainmap thinks is important.

    As always please reference FFXI's magic map markers.

    If I find a boss, and I mark the location of that boss and a few other things in the sub-area, I wanna be able to copy/trade/sell that map with the markings to people. Is it a lot of database space? Maybe, but not MORE than any other 'actual map stuff' I could think of that I'd care about.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • AdestraAdestra Member, Founder, Kickstarter
    I'd be super interested to see alternate ways to keep the maps updated, a catography skill tree could be awesome, and having to buy updated maps could be cool, especially to see how the server has progressed over time, however I do feel like I could get dull if maps get outdated too fast.
  • namcostnamcost Member, Intrepid Pack
    I think map making should be a part of the crafting system. Someone would have to harvest tree's, process them to paper, and then make maps. Different levels of skill in map making means different ways for the map to look. A basic map might offer just an outline. A higher level skilled map maker might be able to fully map dungeons along with having creatures listed where they spawn and what types. So the higher skill level maps would sell well to other players. And this also helps create more player vs player interaction, as the best map makers will be a mix between dungeon explorers and crafting. So while a normal crafter might go all out and never really do combat, relying on others to find rare loot, map crafting might be less severe in terms of required skill points so that even a normal adventurer can max out both their killing and map making. At least in my mind. I am sure there would need some sort of balance, but making maps a sort of thing you can buy from other players would be epic. And perhaps a super simple "overworld" map you can buy from NPC's that you can fill out yourself "basic" wise as you play, maybe simple fog of war, but maps created my map makers ("cartographers") would be highly sought after and every guild would have that one guy who is the map making king.
  • T ElfT Elf Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Personally, I'd like a map that updates itself. Verra sounds so complex that no map maker could keep current.
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    Formerly T-Elf

  • Lord_PopoLord_Popo Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Mixed feelings, i think areas that have not much relevance after a certain point could and should be changed so there is use in visiting them again, keeping the world alive. But other Areas should stay the same, we all played plenty MMO's and there is this fond moment when meeting someone you didnt know before, but played the same game, and talking about something like.. Was Goldshire as weird on your server? Have you completed this or that quest in Varrok? etc.
    So yes, the map should change in any way you can to keep it alive, while also staying loyal to the soul of it
  • I want to lead my premise and initial thoughts here on the fact that I don't have a problem with the current system of 'once you explore the map simply keeps itself updated'. It works well without too much complication in the way of technical implementation.
    But this is Ashes of Creation. We're flipping the script, changing what's normal, etc. I think that exploring the world should come with near constant positive reinforcement. A good way of doing that is having your map update with the world events. If I go to a mountain while leveling/farming, then go back to my freehold (that has a lovely view of said mountain in the distance) and watch that mountain explode into a violent volcano because a dragon spawned, it would be cool to not have that reflected immediately on the map but having to go there and see what changed.
    Maybe the UI can be designed in a way that allows you to "leaf back through old maps" where you can toggle to see what a map looked like in Winter or before an event, etc. This kind of thing could be in the UI or included in the library for a node. Regardless having access to these records in game will make it so people that are planning for the future (guild leaders, traders, PvP organizers) can access the information without using outside sources. Scribes could even make copies to sell to people that don't explore as much or went away from the game for a month or 2.
    That's my idea anyways.
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    Professional Skeptic, Entertainer, and Animal Enthusiast
  • GoalidGoalid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Here's my ideal for a MMORPG fog of war. I would like the library to be a big part of personal map updates. You visit an area, your personal map updates. But if you want, you can go to a scientific node library building, and update that library to more recent information you've collected. Then, others can go to that library building to update their maps as well. Or maybe you can exchange this kind of update at a tavern with another player.

    For example. I go to node "X" and discover it's a level four node on June 14th at 4 pm. I know there are tier 4 minerals there as well, at quality 80%. My map then updates to tell me this information. I then leave that node, and don't visit it for over a month. My map doesn't change in its information, but unbeknownst to me there was a siege there, and it has been demolished. The minerals have also switched over to tier 3 at 60% quality. My map doesn't automatically update, but another player has been to that area recently. They generously update my local scientific node's library, and that map is now updated. Now I go to the library and can update my map for a fee, or for free if I'm a citizen. Player exploration is more important, and there's an element of imperfect information in the game that lends to the enjoyment of resource-gathering exploration. You can gain a bit of renown for updating the library maps as well, and there's a community effort to keep these community maps updated. Maybe it's even an unspoken rule that caravans must update your local maps to trade there.

    I think that would be inline with what Steven has previously said he's wanted for a fog of war map system.
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  • l3v3rag3l3v3rag3 Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    i want the map to go back into fog of war as it changes, that way you know there's something new to explore and maybe you get a little exploration xp from it
  • While the idea of some kind of cartography system like other people have mentioned sounds interesting, I think having an obstacle like that would quickly lead to the development of a 3rd-party tool that would crowdsource that data and kind of make the original idea only useful to those that willingly choose to avoid "meta" ways of going about the game. Because of that, I'm not sure that putting a lot of effort into developing complex ways of updating maps is worth the effort it would take.
  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited July 14
    Azherae wrote: »
    This is a difficult question for me, because I both hate and love certain aspects of both.

    That said, I can't imagine Ashes being quite dynamic ENOUGH to update in a way that will physically matter to the map's appearances other than 'adding Metros'. This isn't MineCraft where you can actually change the landscape and have to update your map.

    Having players able to make markers on their maps and then sell the 'marked' maps is my opinion of how this can be done best. This is a real ingame work process and has some good options for people, particularly since we would no longer be tied to what the mainmap thinks is important.

    As always please reference FFXI's magic map markers.

    If I find a boss, and I mark the location of that boss and a few other things in the sub-area, I wanna be able to copy/trade/sell that map with the markings to people. Is it a lot of database space? Maybe, but not MORE than any other 'actual map stuff' I could think of that I'd care about.

    I like all of these ideas but I have an additional critique relative to information control on maps. Essentially I view having node levels being updated on a map or announced on a server as a negative because they will cause large amounts of people to go flood a node whenever a node update happens to reach a normal milestone.

    This can severely impact the locals of the node and distort the local economy. I therefore think it's better if this information has to be sought out by buying maps from other players, visiting the locations themselves, or just going to a 3rd party website if you are really that interested in keeping track. This encourages community interaction with the game, local politics, and encourages travel in a more natural part of the gameplay loop.

    So over all I want static maps that you need to update your personal copy of, and investigate manually or pay a cartographer to update.
    Alkali Witch
  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited July 14
    I'd prefer if the map didn't update and you either need to re-explore or do something like buying a map to get it updated.
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  • BerZerKerBerZerKer Member
    edited July 14
    YES PLEASE YES PLEASE YES PLEASE MAKE IT A THING!!!
    An explored area that remains the same the entire time until some huge expansion kicks in is so boring. Make it dynamic, make it random, make it various, make it colorful.
  • lemuletlemulet Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I believe a lot of players love MMORPGs and open world games because of the sense of exploration. This innovation brings a lot of value to those players.

    How I understand it would work :
    * World is visible without any markers on as the map is already shared with the community
    * As you explore, markers appear for point of interests, nodes and maybe other informations.
    * As time pass, markers fade until they are greyed out, letting the player wonder if they are still there
    * Ownership/ZOI indications could also be shown on the map and have to be updated through scouting

    Why have it be innovative :
    * Dynamic content based on nodes and events would mean markers would appear, disappear or change
    * Adventuring, you may want to go buy potions somewhere, but then you discover a destroyed area. This adds to the Narrative of a breathing living world
    * The community will have reasons to share information, collaborate or compete. Maybe even have map trading capabilities in game
    * Cartographer profession and objects could be added to create a new aspect of the economy adding to potential expansions for the game after release.
    * Can always remove it later if players really don't like it later


    Why have it be traditional :
    * Many will try to gamify this by having alternative characters placed everywhere. It might end up not being meaningful
    * Such a system is different and has never been tested. It might bring more harm to a majority of player compared to the gains for the explorer type of players.
    * More dev time

    Personnaly, I really love exploration and I think Ashes of Creation node system and dynamic world is a unique chance to add a new innovative way of doing World Maps.
  • JakeyEXJakeyEX Member
    JustVine wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    This is a difficult question for me, because I both hate and love certain aspects of both.

    That said, I can't imagine Ashes being quite dynamic ENOUGH to update in a way that will physically matter to the map's appearances other than 'adding Metros'. This isn't MineCraft where you can actually change the landscape and have to update your map.

    Having players able to make markers on their maps and then sell the 'marked' maps is my opinion of how this can be done best. This is a real ingame work process and has some good options for people, particularly since we would no longer be tied to what the mainmap thinks is important.

    As always please reference FFXI's magic map markers.

    If I find a boss, and I mark the location of that boss and a few other things in the sub-area, I wanna be able to copy/trade/sell that map with the markings to people. Is it a lot of database space? Maybe, but not MORE than any other 'actual map stuff' I could think of that I'd care about.

    I like all of these ideas but I have an additional critique relative to information control on maps. Essentially I view having node levels being updated on a map or announced on a server as a negative because they will cause large amounts of people to go flood a node whenever a node update happens to reach a normal milestone.

    This can severely impact the locals of the node and distort the local economy. I therefore think it's better if this information has to be sought out by buying maps from other players, visiting the locations themselves, or just going to a 3rd party website if you are really that interested in keeping track. This encourages community interaction with the game, local politics, and encourages travel in a more natural part of the gameplay loop.

    So over all I want static maps that you need to update your personal copy of, and investigate manually or pay a cartographer to update.

    I totally agree that if node levels are displayed on the map, people might just flock to one specific area more than normal. Id also like it to have to be figured out and explored first to know what each node is looking like. Thus crafting more natural exploration across the world.

    Regarding the full OP question, it could be cool to have some sort of mechanic to updating the map, but i dont think it needs to be overly complex for any random reason. If players take a bit of a break and come back and their whole map is fogged out again it might be pretty confusing or feel alienating and not comfy. Though how fast we’d be getting changes or would be changing the map i dont know, updating the map every couple weeks seems fine to me
  • SolvrynSolvryn Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Make Cartography a profession were players can sell the details of an area and it goes along with in game time.

    That way it changes with dynamic events.
  • I think you could try a mixture of both. Have it so that you can explore the world map traditionally, but as time goes on and changes happen maybe the game creates a sort of fog-of-war effect that makes the area look vague again. Things that change will start to fade back into an unexplored blob, while things that stay the same will remain explored.
    This way you could look at your map and use certain things as Vista points while trying to figure out why and how the landscape may have changed over time. You could do this similarly to city info. Let things fade the more it changes.
  • prymortalprymortal Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited July 14
    50/50 initially on this till thinking on it.
    ~ I feel more than 1 change every 2 years is a bad thing & That is this, just changes to Current maps, not new areas of a map from DLC/Expansion updates.
    ~ My largest issue here is, To make a map change it needs to be a large event, Which means people need to do a quest for it, which means people need to do quests/said quest, Which just wont happen!!!! insert countless mmo examples here & on the other side of the coin Forced to do said quests puts you off that MMO & its publisher, Less examples but FFXIV is the obvious one.
    ~ Lesser issue is nostalgia is to much of a map changes over time after a break it doesn't feel like home, you can overcome this by having 1 major town as players safe & market town. But Ashes isn't doing this so, RIP.
    ~ ^^ Only Good thing is "it keeps things Fresh" which is also a Con.

    So really its more Cons that Pros for it deep down. Static maps are the best way to go. Or instance per player maps.
  • lightofscorpiolightofscorpio Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    The ideas about needing a cartography skill to make maps is interesting. But, I'd rather the game actively update the map itself. If a cartography skill is something players want, introduce it later. Maybe as a big feature of a patch or something.
  • NorkoreNorkore Member
    Solvryn wrote: »
    Make Cartography a profession were players can sell the details of an area and it goes along with in game time.

    That way it changes with dynamic events.

    I love this idea.
  • gazoagazoa Member
    It highly depends if you guys want to add a skill point or talent system for the map or not. If so, you can technically implement any indicators for example to get to see weather conditions or active events and such, depending on your progress in expertise.

    On the other hand, you can keep the map simple. An actual map is kind of minimalistic and doesn‘t show you more than necessary. Then it could be like an “explore to unlock“ system or you could be able to buy parts of the map from a vendor in the city of the region maybe.

    Another idea is to add carthography as a profession. This would unleash a lot of potential in regards of gimmicks such as being able to get to hidden places or do treasure hunting. It also increases player interaction by alot.
  • GathoderizGathoderiz Member
    edited July 14
    Some ideas i have for maps :
    - Cartography skill tree ( something on it's own, that doesn't impact any other job in a negative way )
    - Map data sharable / sellable to other players ( if you explored deep in a dungeon, you could sell that precious map to others or share a map of the gatherables if you are high on the cartography skill tree, that other players who didn't maxed it high enough don't have access to on their own)
    - A map that updates with the season layout
    - The map shouldn't update by itself until you go back to the place that changed ( Points of interest or gatherables that changed )

    Also, make the map a donut, if you travel to the top, you come out on the bottom, and from left to right etc...
    That's so old to have a " flat map " with invisible borders, i'd like to see that innovation here as well, it can create interesting travel routes imo
  • VoxtriumVoxtrium Member
    edited July 14
    The point of Verra creation has been to re ignite interactions between players and the world, through risk vs reward, like caravans, node sieges and world events like boss spawns. A map automatically updating with world events provides easy access for all players in terms of participating in events (resource spawns, boss spawns etc, can be any event) by giving them the location and type of event, however it also removes a potential social requirement that might come from having map updates be applied through a node library.

    The system I may enjoy would be one where my guild can draw an advantage from our exploration by having something like the guild map, while also not having updating the map become a chore. So the system i would implement is

    Castles - t6 nodes = Global automatically updated maps available for any player, instantly updates player map when interacted with.

    Vassal nodes to T6 = ZOI of metro map automatically updated with all public events.

    Guild maps - Any player in the guild can upload their personal map to the guild map, giving any player in the guild access to their current map. The map only keeps the most recent data and automatically removes the least up to date version of data.

    Allow special map notations (pins) by players, the player with those pins can then update guild maps or attempt to sell the map on the market or post it on any node.

    Pins like this would be used for events that IS has designed under a "private" event design, something that can happen but isn't obvious, like perhaps the micro dragon who spawns boss loot who dwells in the cave below the river. Things global maps would include are resource/monster locations etc.

    There would need to be a system to prevent players from putting down troll pins on the global maps, but that is beyond the scope of my points.

    Love the work you guys are doing IS, good luck!
  • LashingLashing Member
    I think the "fog of war" so to speak should come back if you have not been in an area for a while. Could even do events that bring the fog back for everyone in the area as a way to display the event. It does not necessarily need to delete points of interest but it could gray them out if you have not been in the area so a player knows that it might have updated with nodes changing in the area. With an ever changing world you do not want to give people perfect information at all times. Give them a reason to go back to that point of interest to see if there is anything new there.

    Let other players trade their updated maps with minor relevant scouted information. Give points of interest some short hand data that an adventurer might just jot down on a map like "Strong enemies" or "Bandits sighted". Or maybe a note about gatherables seen by a high level gatherer.
  • My opinion on map updating is that people shouldn't have to go to the location to see the change but instead use their node information from someone or a group of players who went there or to go to a node that close to that location and find a map update. Their should be an area that players from any area can go in a city to get this updated map for free or a small price. This give people who enjoy going to many location to have a fun and important.

    The map update can be a requirement that if this many players visit this spot on the map and bring back the updated version of it back to their information area the whole node will receive the update.

    I would love if upgraded libraries can show more detailed information about certain items on the map such as herb, monsters, and dungeon and be able to drag information in your map so that you can focus on what you believe is important. If I'm a miner and I don't care about herbs I do not want a lot of spots shown of different herb spots and only have different mining spots.
  • Miss XaniMiss Xani Member
    edited July 14
    I was so hoping this would get touched on so I could throw out some personal thoughts.
    I would like to see a test where the map will only update discovered area info while you're within a certain range (This can be a large range).
    Large enough as to not be completely tedious, but small enough so that you don't know that a node across the world was destroyed or leveled +any other changes that come along with it.
    I feel like It could make an information network form.
  • spyromancerspyromancer Member
    edited July 14
    I agree with others who mentioned a dynamic fog of war kind of thing, where the fog creeps back in after a while (maybe after a set amount of time has passed, or you've gone a certain distance away, or significant change has happened in the region).

    Maybe there could be a way to keep the fog from rolling back into specific areas that you have a stake in, like visibility over a node and its ZOI while it exists and you're a citizen, or something like that. I think a world as dynamic as Verra needs a map that can change along with it to keep the mystery alive and encourage more exploration.
  • BrianDaddyBrianDaddy Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Updating as you explore - Good. Once things change should it update.... Just based on the sheer size and depth of the game having it auto update is probably the best.
    I personally wouldn't mind going and exploring old updated areas to update my map. I think just going and buying a map is a surface level option. An option that I think could add more depth could be that there are quest givers or explorer NPCs that you would find throughout the world that have a quest to go and discover that new change.
  • RisingPhoenixRisingPhoenix Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Short answer, change is good! Long answer= Let's say that there is an earthquake, and a landmass suddenly appears or disappears... or a huge tidal wave reshapes a coastal area, and it takes several days for the environment to recover. Perhaps in the distance a storm is visible... yet so far that even sailing would take nearly forever, yet as it subsided it reveals a far-off gleaming land of oversized geode like islands filled with ghostlike creatures who tickle you to death.
  • KurushikaKurushika Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I wouldn't mind everyone being able to edit their own map and share or trade those edits with eachother. But not including the crafting of maps from materials, that would be a hassle.

    One downside of making our own maps might be that they'll look ugly.

    If we do get a system where we have to keep track of waypoints, i think litteraly all waypoints should be placed manually (or bought). This would include cities, buildings in the city, roads, points of interests, landmarks. This way most players would have knowledge of most cities and big landmarks in their region, but the more detailed landmarks like specific trees, some dungeons, fishing spots, lesser roads or building layout in the city would only be known there where you come frequently. The landscape of land/water should be visible for everyone from the start though.

    This would also make quests more questlike, since instead of a marker on your map, the questgiver could instead describe things like 'follow the road east and walk towards the third purple tree on your right' (i believe quests where like this already in alpha aswell).

    Another interesting thing here would be selling/sharing fake landmarks :wink:
  • PeroxPerox Member
    Love the idea of having to re-explore an area and find out that everything has changed.
    Also before an area has been explored I think a fog of war would be a great incentive to explore.
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