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it seems quiet... too quiet...

Discussion in 'Release 16 Feedback' started by coder1024, Apr 9, 2015.

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  1. coder1024

    coder1024 Avatar

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    I'm specifically referring to the cities. Last night it hit me that when entering a big city like Ardoris, things seem entirely too quiet and there seem to be far too few people in the streets.

    Of course, when many players are running around that'll help. And this is pre-alpha and there are server performance considerations to take into account, etc, etc, etc.

    But... still, if you enter a large city like Ardoris wouldn't you expect a lot more people running around and crowd noises, etc.? It seems a bit like a ghost town with a handful of merchants here and there, but beyond that very few people.

    Just feels way too quiet for a big city. But again, it could just be a result of being pre-alpha :)
     
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  2. Spoon

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    They did mention this in the last hangout where the AI costs resources for each moving object. So generating traffic etc.

    However if they could make something client side it would be relatively cheap...
     
  3. coder1024

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    Yes, they were referring to a question about having bees flying around and did say that each AI is a hit on server performance.

    So I certainly understand that anything like this would have to be considered alongside the server performance impact. Maybe, as you say, it could be client side only. Not sure how well that work work but maybe thats necessary to maintain performance.

    But at the end of the day it doesn't seem right to walk into a large city like Ardoris and be greeted with quiet empty streets. More players will help that, but again even with that you would expect a very busy town given the size.
     
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  4. majoria70

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    Yes it gets quieter as people get the hat quest done and wait for the next release fun stuff. I still try to go in most days, so if you catch me I'm happy do something in game even if chat.:) If you'd like friend majoria.
     
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  5. jiirc

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    Conversation overheard in chat

    Player 1: Why do you keep slowing down when running through the city?
    Player 2: I keep bumping into the NPCs wandering the streets?
    Player 1: What NPCs? I don't see any NPCs on the streets near you?
    Player 2: What do you mean no NPCs? They are all around me!
     
  6. Spoon

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    Completely agreed that the cities look empty.
    I think they will add more life when scenes get better optimization.
    Plunking extra load into the worst FPS scenes wouldn't be good at this time.

    But the problem with NPCs you can interact with is that they cost performance resources.
    While the problem with NPCs that you can't interact with is that they break immersion.
     
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  7. Poor game design

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    There's a fundamental problem with large cities - we expect them to have large amounts of people. (at least I do)

    When you factor in that the game is using "selective multiplayer" meaning that if just 100 people or so are running around the city of Ardoris, then that would be "max" capacity for that instance of the scene. Yet I doubt I've EVER seen as many as 3 or 4 people in the entire city during any release. (your mileage may vary slightly)

    The real problem, as I see it, is that there's no reason to be in the city. Even if you own a home there, and even if you want to craft your heart out, that's an indoor activity. You're not going to be out on the streets talking to people or "doing things" that we might expect people to do in a large city like that.

    What I think these NPC towns (and eventually player owned towns) are missing is compelling reasons for people to gather and move from one part of town to the other. To create this type of environment, you really need to make the "attractions" spread out every other block or so and each "attraction" needs to be interesting enough that people will reasonably go there to do more than just get a quest.

    Sure, player vendors might help with this. But what we should really be looking for is more dynamic interactions between players, not players and NPC's.
     
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  8. Lord Ravnos

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    A major part of the philosophy of this game is that it's up to the players themselves to create these dynamic player interactions. :-/ Curse and a blessing I suppose.
     
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  9. Greymarch

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    Though I think NPCs you can't interact with is a bit less immersion breaking than an empty city personally.
    Mind you, I don't need to see 300 more Jack the Lamplighters running around...
     
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  10. Waxillium

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    Perhaps the watchers could throw their voices making it seem like people are everywhere!
     
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  11. Hazard

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    It would be a nice addition if the number of people logged into an area can be tied into a graphical representation in the overland map signifying life or general level of activity in an area. [e.g. lights in the Lilliputian buildings at night; banner, guard milling around, tiny wagon train out front, etc]. It's more wishful thinking and this may have been covered and buried over in a forum (or not), but I'd like to see this also tied into the tavern-keeps.
    "Hey Tommie Strongbeard, why is it so quiet here today in Owl's-Town? News?"
    "Merchants give word that Ardoris is packed with onlookers at the moment since Winfield was carried away by a monster fish. In other grim news, steady reports are streaming in that the body count is quickly mounting at the Verdantis Shardfall (News at 11!)".

    Criers could serve the purpose as well.
     
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  12. Arkah EMPstrike

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    Most of the city is player housing. Thats kinda a hint to me.

    tho, in a place like ardoris, the streets are lined with "House included" lots. And if not so many folks live there, alot of them will be cookie cutter, and empty creating that ghost-town feeling.

    Most of the NPC buildings do have occupants, and im sure in the future peopel will have more of a reason to occupy the city they live in when travel becomes "Travel" (IE no zoning everywhere)

    And when vendors are able to be placed at houses, there will be more
     
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  13. coder1024

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    Non-instanced property is a big part of the SotA design. this leads to the necessity of allocating a lot of lots to ensure as many people as possible have a chance at a lot. Having said that, just because much of the city is player housing shouldn't mean the city feels "dead". So while lots of player housing may be a hint as to why there are fewer NPCs it doesn't actually address the issue.

    Having said that, I do get that its a difficult problem esp. when you have to allocate a TON of space for player lots. But Ardoris is presented as a major city, and it does feel strange to wander into a major city and have it feel "dead".

    And of course, as the game actually gets closer to being done and certainly after release there will be many more players running around.

    I don't think there are necessarily any easy answers to this given the constraints involved but I think its something worth thinking about :) Perhaps nothing can be done -- or perhaps there's some clever solution :)
     
  14. Gunnar Macleod

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    I agree there needs to be more things in the city to make it more realistic, like more wandering npcs of ALL ages, wandering pets, minstrels, jesters, etc.
     
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  15. Beaumaris

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    Perhaps that is what needs to be changed. No crafting indoors. Or a limitation of the number of crafting stations on a lot, to require one to get out and about. If crafting is the heart of the economy, and by economy we mean meaningful trading between people, by its nature should not the economy include a design involving leading people to be visible (in appropriate places...). My take away from this thread is a concern that we otherwise might see only NPC vendors in a town. And maybe its just me, but that's just a tad bit creepy seeing NPC vendors only. Yes, I've seen too many zombie movies.....
     
  16. Poor game design

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    Good logic here. I don't like the solution because of what it would do to the value of housing and the pledges though.

    I think I'd much rather see attractions that lure people from their homes and into the streets when they're not crafting.

    Parks
    Special Merchants
    NPC Entertainers (Puppet Shows!)
    Fortune Tellers

    We could probably make a long list of things the devs would faint over because of all the extra work. :)
     
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  17. smack

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    Ardoris has been dead on arrival. But yeah, we still have a ways to go in terms of content.


    Yeah, completely agree. The towns are lifeless. I would gladly trade any amount of computing cycles for better NPC AI so they do something more than just stand around all day or walk around like zombies opening and closing doors or turning lights on/off.

    Also, Ardoris is completely out of balance in terms of NPC structures vs. player homes. Where are the cultural centers? What do NPCs do all day except stand around? What else is there to do in town besides buying/selling something or crafting? The towns themselves needs a lot more points of interest for being there.

    The town needs to come alive with activity from NPCs. Players will not serve that purpose...because POTs. The truly active members of the community are the ones that have purchased POTs and will live there and hold events there. Towns will be generally devoid of player events and activities. The player houses will become glorified / decorated storage boxes. So it really will be up to the devs to put 100x more life into towns via more NPCs and NPC activities.
     
  18. warxnox

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    I am not sure that putting more NPC could put more live in the towns.

    From my point of view, only players could.

    We have to give players incentives to spend more time in major cities.

    To counterbalance the impact of POT, perhaps could there be something like a buff for players spending some time in the center of major city (tavern, marketplace...).

    Ie: an EXP buff , a greater chance to craft "high quality items", NPC buying items at a higher price

    It could be "RP justified" through special "world event".

    Ie: Undead attack on Ardoris, more EXP for people defending the city and staying after the event to "rebuild" it (by crafting basic recipes).
     
  19. Cage Storm

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    That empty city feel is something I've experienced a lot in MMOs and something I really don't like. My play times are usually UK daytime which always seems to be the least populated time for real players, so I would be happy with more NPCs even if they are only client side, maybe an option to turn on and off depending on your frame rate and the number of real players in the scene.
     
  20. smack

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    I guess every single player RPG is lifeless then? Sorry, but I'd have to disagree. There are many, many ways to make towns feel alive. Just look at the many Skyrim mods that very active (and highly creative) community has created for that game.

    But yes, I totally agree that there should be greater incentives to visit NPC towns. The original thought behind that was greater NPC services, especially in the larger cities. But yeah, POTs kinda killed that idea, as they could have those too. The only saving hope are skill trainers, which they are -- at this time anyways -- limiting to NPC towns, although many POT owners wanted this (go read the POT subforum).

    Regarding NPC town "buffs"....yeah, they even gave POT owners that too. It's like on the one hand, the devs are trying very hard to support POT owners with their investment and giving them the tools for people to visit POTs...yet, at the same time, trying very hard to kill every other incentive to visit an NPC town...unless you're going there for quests and skill trainers...which at that point, you're essentially playing a single player game.

    I'm sure the devs have lots of other ideas they haven't revealed or implemented yet. But in my opinion, they need to at least start with NPCs and NPC-based activities and other NPC-town exclusive points of interest.

    And yeah, town sieges (scene states) is one mechanism they can employ (e.g. Solace Bridge on Fire).
     
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