So where is the immersion?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lord_Darkmoon, Jun 20, 2016.

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  1. Lord_Darkmoon

    Lord_Darkmoon Avatar

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    Ok, here is what I think SotA needs for me to be immersive:

    - Every scene should be logically populated by creatures that make sense for them to be there.
    - Creature and enemies should behave naturally - not just stand around or walk in circles amd wait to be attacked. They should do something, it should look like they have a life.
    - No respawning out of thin air (I know this is problematic for multiplayer and will be included in offline but I add it nonetheless)
    - Cities should have unique looks, interesting layouts and not just be hubs for social acitivities or places for housing. Basically cities should have unique "personalities"
    - NPCs need a place to stay, a daily schedule, interesting backgrounds, secrets and a reason to be in the world (again I know this is being worked on)
    - Every house should be decorated in an atmospheric way and not look empty
    - NPCs we meet during quests should have a place in the world - for example what happens to the healer in Highvale or the scavenger in Solace Bridge?
    - NPCs should react in a natural way and not repeat the same answers like robots or don't know us anymore when we talk to them again.
    - Quests should have more depth, be more complex, full of twists and surprises. We should actually do and investigate things and not get important items automatically (yes I mean the infamous Highvale gate keys).
    - Much more quests.
    - There should be more to quest NPCs. For example why is there no interesting background for the healer in Highvale or why doesn't he have some secrets we can discover?
    - Cleared areas should be resettled either by roving monsters or by NPCs that move there
    - No HUD. If we need a compass, the hero should take it out of his backpack. No hotbars - yes this would mean a totally different combat system, but this would be my defintion of immersion. No floating numbers for damage. Enemies should have visible wounds, limp, go down etc. No healthbar. If we are near death, the edges of the screen could become red, the sight blurred. No icons for buffs or debuffs but instead visual indicators like effects on the hero.
    - No lists or windows or UI-grids. We should just use every item in the world in a logical way. Move ore into a forge. Use the metal with a hammer on the anvil etc. Just backpack mode for inventory. No paperdoll - just drag the items on the avatar.
    - No stat or skill windows. No numbers. No levels. We get better, invisible stats and skills improve but we don't see the numbers but instead feel it for example by being able to kill enemies faster or endure more hits, being able to jump further etc.
    - A spellbook like magic system like in the old Ultimas with an atmospheric spellbook we collect our spells in. Reagents that have a meaning. Spells need to be found or bought.
    - Active combat system - similar to Skyrim.
    - An atmospheric dialoge window that presents the conversations in an interesting way.
    - Either descriptions of what the NPCs do during conversations or have very detailed animations that show it.
    - Unique looking NPCs.
    - Events that happen around us like a dragon suddenly attacking a village, a thief running out of a shop, a murder occuring in front of us. The story should not be told with texts and dialogues only.
    - More secrets and interesting areas in the scene where things like the above mentioned events can happen
    - Roving encounters and animals on the overland map. Also secrets we can discover on the overland map.
    - NPCs like merchants should travel around the world.
    - A natural transition from scene to overland map and back, not some loading screens.
    - We just play in the world without seeing any windows, lists, floating numbers or bars.
    - Our decisions and deeds should have visible consequences and be recognized by the NPCs.
    - No scenes that have no real purpose in the world. Shardfalls and other "PvP"-areas should have a purpose and meaning besides PvP.
    - Dungeons should be logically populated and we should be able to clear them. What are undead doing in the sewers? Where do they come from? Why is no one concerned about this?
    - There should be scenes that are not about combat. Every time I enter a scene I instantly know that I have to fight. How about "silent" scenes without enemies in which have to do some detective work etc.?
    - Every item (according to its weight) should be moveable and we should be able to drop items everywhere. Items should be hidden underneath other items

    Maybe more features will come to my mind but those are the things that I came up with now.

    I nearly forgot:
    - A flow to the game. Suddenly reaching an area that is way too hard while just following the story destroys the flow of the game. There should be no grinding involved when we just want to do the story.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  2. Poor game design

    Poor game design Avatar

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    @Berek
    @RichardGarriott

    I think that's a great list.

    @Lord_Darkmoon
    A few thoughts.

    - We just play in the world without seeing any windows, lists, floating numbers or bars.
    I think the F9 will do this for you.

    - Dungeons should be logically populated and we should be able to clear them.
    I'm not sure what this means. How are they not like that now?

    - There should be scenes that are not about combat. Every time I enter a scene I instantly know that I have to fight. How about "silent" scenes without enemies in which have to do some detective work etc.?

    I agree with most everything you said above but I especially agree with this. I keep giving this same feedback in the DEV+ areas. My favorite example is Desolis. It's this beautiful area that even once you clear the mobs in they eventually respawn just to annoy you. It's an ancient tomb at this point, so why there's anything down there in the first place is kind of suspect, but then once you kill the things it's like "what the heck? just die already and let me explore!" :)

    One more thing, I feel like the devs know this, but it's still a GREAT list and I personally don't think it's a bad idea to keep score on this list as we move through each release. But I think it's important to give them credit when they move further along in one of these areas, and I also think it's important not to assume they aren't trying their best to move these areas forward.

    I assume for example that we'll eventually have a better pvp system. But I also assume that it will take a lot of time, probably a good 6 months to a year after launch, and that's a reality that I can live with. Why? Because I'm in this for the long haul. I don't expect them to do miracles.

    @Lord_Darkmoon Hey I'm curious, if you had to pick 5 things from that list that you thought were most important, what 5 would they be?
     
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  3. enderandrew

    enderandrew Legend of the Hearth

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    There are a couple items here I may disagree with or I don't feel are entirely necessary, but I think this is a very specific and productive list. This is helpful. I want to discuss a few points:

    * We have very basic creature AI, but it beats no creature AI. Predators will hunt prey. You can find a wolf hunting down and eating rabbits.
    * Respawning is a difficult problem to solve. In a purely single player game you can do the Doom 3 trick and only respawn behind the player, but that doesn't work in multiplayer.
    * Major cities all have a unique layout. I do think we need a more unique look though. I've called for regional/city-specific color palettes or texture swaps.
    * NPC beds and schedules are in flight
    * I'm hoping side quests will help a great deal. Right now, we don't have many side quests.
    * I prefer minimal HUD, but there are places where it makes sense. Thankfully a lot of the HUD in this game can be disabled optionally so players can have what they want. Richard pushed for minimal HUD and they added more in after players complained they wanted floating health counters and the like.
    * You have the option for a visual display or list view. The new crafting interface is quite nice.
    * A new dialogue window is planned.
    * We DESPERATELY need unique looking NPCs. I haven't seen on the roadmap where we are suddenly getting a lot more clothing and armor options. I've been calling for years to try and tackle this with crowd-sourced contributions, but Port stopped taking crowd-sourced art for some reason.
    * Shardfalls do have purpose.
    * Dropping items in scenes is something that was planned, but has performance blockers.
     
  4. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    The floating skill gain notifications they added in reminds me of an OS notification system. Its just noisy, I tune it out, and it encourages grinding and min/maxing, and, again, treating the game like a spreadsheet.

    The 'conning' system is another issue like this.
     
  5. Kara Brae

    Kara Brae Avatar

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    Great list.
     
  6. Gix

    Gix Avatar

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    @Lord_Darkmoon this is probably the first time I actually feel like I can agree with you. Most of your points are pretty spot on.

    With that said, I know it's your list but there are a couple of them that are questionable for me:

    The devs could make the wolves and bears spawn from dens (the entrance of a too-small-to-go-into cave) and then they could path to their location. Deers could spawn from zone entrances and path to their location. Bandits could spawn from either zone entrances or huts... Etc,

    There are ways to do this. It would at least get rid of the instant-teleportation thing going on.

    It's all good up to the health bar... to which I disagree. If you're going shooter style, then players either need way more health or enemies need to do way less damage.

    You need to still be able to take hits in the critical state for the "screen edges going red" thing to work. Otherwise, there's not enough time for players to react appropriately... or they'll be forced to fall back the moment the screen start to go red because they can't tell how badly injured they are.

    I'd still advise a health bar... top-center or bottom screen;l anywhere but in the corners. Ultimately, even though I agree with you, I'd argue that you don't need to have a invisible HUD in order to be fully immersed in a world. I had no problems being sucked in back in vanilla WoW, or even (more recently) while playing FF14, ESO or Black Desert Online.

    Just the backpack mode? Then the backpack mode needs to be functional. I'd say the backpack mode (as it currently is) is the most unholy abomination ever conceived in entire SotA experience and should've died back in Ultima 7.

    I'd start with bigger, recognizable icons (that you can actually click on) and a larger bag.

    Also, dragging items onto the avatar would be problematic considering that some items are better off being offhand... like a shield, torch, secondary weapon, etc.
     
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  7. Gideon Thrax

    Gideon Thrax Avatar

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    Love the list... I added a few things :)

    (+1)
     
  8. Freeman

    Freeman Avatar

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    Except it explicitly is. The jumping between design themes is what breaks immersion. Even if it went in a direction I didn't like, or find fun, a solid direction would make it immersive.

    700 users, 10 managers, and we just rolled our our job apps software. That's just for what I write for our company alone. We then sell it outside our company, adding another flavor of fresh hell. Not to mention that ever project has a similar starting point, and everyone wants their special snowflake of a version pulled in a different direction....and... just to add icing to the cake. I can't pull a stunt like divide the user base against itself, I HAVE to figure out what they want and deliver it. There is no "we'll do it my way and hope it works out for them".

    As for the map, the immersion problem is almost completely interface driven and based on the current expectations of the users. Which sucks. I like the two tier map and, when implemented correctly, don't find it immersion breaking. I think there are some sticking points, but on the whole, it's a good compromise and an actual hearken back to the old days while adding some flexibility for new directions. I'll talk more about this after your next quote.

    The can't win... with everyone. Fixed that for you.

    But they're trying, and that's the problem. There's always been this attempt to split the difference, and it's leading to a game that's washed out. I would love to follow them and support them... can you tell me what direction they're headed? Because I can't... and honestly... I don't think they can.

    Which ends up reflected in the game design, and it's why people are complaining about immersion. All these systems glued together without any attempt to join them smoothly is turning people off.

    I'm going to point you at this game. http://codebreaker.creativitygames.net/

    The entire premise of the game is you put in something and it says if it does, or doesn't like it. That's all you have to go on to figure out what the magic sequence is.

    Saying "I don't like it" is actionable. It's hard. But that's different than impossible. Having large groups say they don't like it, you should be able to get a feel for where things need to get pushed. What questions are they asking, etc.

    The problem is, in some ways, you're right. It's no longer helpful. Unfortunately, back when it was helpful, conversations like this pushed people like me out of the forums and away from the game. Because, here's the thing. My feedback about conversation contains no new information over what I said in the first post where you said I didn't offer constructive feed back. Pick a direction. You're doing this and this. Pick one. Build on that. I might follow you, I might now. But at least I'll know if I want to.

    This is litterally limbo. A game that isn't bad enough to be bad, but not good enough to want to play.

    Couple problems with your concept here.

    1) Yes. I'll argue you very much do want consistency. No player wants to be the player that has no impact on anything, and no one notices them. You can play that character without turning on the computer. Just sit in your chair and stare.

    You want that interface to be reliable. You want the game world to behave as expected. You want things to make sense. Swords do damage, shields block swords, etc. If every time you changed direction with your lawnmower it changed speeds on you, you'd buy a new lawnmower. It would make mowing the lawn more aggravating than it absolutely needs to be. And that's what immersion is. The ability to not have bits of your interaction with the game change. That it behaves as expected. That doesn't mean there isn't a challenge, or even random elements. But that you know where the randomness is, and it feels like it belongs there.

    It's that second part that a lot of devs screw up. And it's my complaint with combat. It doesn't feel like it belongs there. It does the rest, but doesn't fit with everything else. It pulls me into a menu system to set up combat stuff instead of just experiencing the world. You're not interacting with things in the game, you're interacting with the game itself. It's a subtle difference in type, but a huge one in practice.

    So no... it doesn't define the playerbase. Single and multiplayer people want to impact the world. Now that has nothing to do with immersion.

    It's a good explanation of why grinding works. Why we let it happen. We get on the treadmill and just get lost in the work. Grinding though, is only really grinding when the effort you're putting into the game stops being fun. (Fun happens when you're treating something with more seriousness than it deserves.)[/quote][/QUOTE]
     
  9. 2112Starman

    2112Starman Avatar

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    Well said!

    Im amazed that I disagree with most of the things on that list just posted. Not that some wouldn't be cool (others are just ridiculously impossible or just bad ideas), but because Pol does not have a team of 500 developers and 200 million dollars to make this happen.

    for example, if I wanted Skyrim like combat I would play Skyrim (and did and got tired of it pretty fast with 100 hours into it, I have 1000+ hours in SOTA and Im not tired of it yet).
     
  10. Lord_Darkmoon

    Lord_Darkmoon Avatar

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    Problem with F9 is that the game basically is impossible or at best very hard to play because of the hotbar.

    With logically inhabited dungeons I mean for example the sewers. Is there a reason for the undead there and why does no one care about them?

    5 things I have to pick... This is hard:
    1. Quests with more depth, twists and surprises.
    2. Npcs with backgrounds, purposes, secrets etc.
    3. Better dialogue window - this is really needed!
    4. Events like the dragon or the thief that lead to quests.
    5. Better flow to the game.

    But I would hope that some if not all of the other features in the list would make it into the game, too ;)
     
  11. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    Nah, grinding is bad gameplay even when you aren't bored of it yet.

    For instance, Path of Exile is a lot of grinding, but its fluid and doesn't lose your attention remains entertaining, and you can waste a lot of time playing it. The problem is, even if it keeps your attention, its not satisfying game play. I played through the course of the game just because I thought from an artistic perspective, it was creative, but once I finished the game course, I stopped playing. So, I'm not interested in playing the game anymore. I shelved it, and am not interested in downloading it again.

    On the other hand, I have games that I can re-play for years, because they don't make everything convenient, there is no grinding, I have to think about what I'm doing, and what I get out of them is what I put into them.

    It's the difference between an entertaining game and a satisfying game. You see the same thing in movies, books. Its the point I was making earlier.
     
  12. Bluefire

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    I'd fathom a guess they want it to feel like it is treating them as royalty. Provide what they want before they know they want it. ;) Now that's purple!
     
  13. Gix

    Gix Avatar

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    Grinding is grinding. Some people can enjoy grinding as it can be a fun activity but it doesn't magically stop being a grind just because one is too caught up in the moment do realize what they're doing.

    If it's repetitive and only really there without adding anything particularly new to the table, it's generally considered grinding. Farming is grinding for the sole purpose of yielding items.
     
  14. Bluefire

    Bluefire Avatar

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    Easiest fix for this is to have obvious entrances for what is spawning. For instance a wolf would come out of a den. A rabbit out of a hole in the ground. Elves would come out of a structure or enter the scene like we do and walk or run to their mark in the scene.

    There are definitely too many aggressive MOBs and not enough passives that help pull people into enjoying scenes. A fix for that would be to have MOBs quit attacking in instances where they "know" they can't win. GM combat avatars should not have a trail of entry level wolves and bears or skeletons chasing them - they should be holding their ground or trying to hide behind a nearby shelter.
     
  15. nonaware

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    i dont know but ive been going through and reading the threads here for about a week now and one thing ive noticed is that we are all over the place with i wants and desires. sure some of the feed back will help developers. BUT vague threads about the all encompassing "immersion" this dosnt help at all when it turns into a long meandering stroll through idealistic dreams expactions and the new hot concept videos of indevelopment games.

    what would be the best bet at the moment is to focus all out attention on single aspects of the game and write our thoughts on them.

    there are some great ideas in this thread one list really sticks out as being very helpful and full of great ideas. but its buried.

    make a thread about one issue such as ui. combat. crafting. overmap. creature ai. ect and focus on that topic if we avoid these huge pile issue threads we will help get more accomplished by the devs as they can find our thought and issues with certian funtions easier.

    they have people working on seperate parts of the project. we should take this in mind and help by clearly sepearting our desires so that they reach the people working on said parts with out having to hope someone stumbles upon it reading a multi issue/page thread.

    sorry if i come across as preachy in this or scatterbrained trying to push this out during a quick break from work :)

    and one more thing there are going to be multi eps of this game. and many more updates, things will change more and more over time just because it dosnt exist now does not mean it will not in the future ;)
     
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  16. WrathPhoenix

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    This. To the point many games arent even the same games that launched any more.

    This. Is. Not. A. New. Thing. The only thing that's different is where their starting off point is.
     
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  17. Isaiah

    Isaiah Avatar

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    Personally I think they've done a great job at taking this game from the bare bones that it was and are now weaving it into something to me is quite immersive. I cannot seem to find a flaw.

    Crafting is really cool. Sure it takes a long time to craft an item, but it really feels good to complte the project. Adventuring is really interesting since there are many points of interest that I have yet to look at. Traveling in parties has been fun. The skill system is fantastic!!! There are so many possibilities that I have to consider what fits my imagination as to the type of character I want to be... now this is better than UO to me in the sense that there was only a few builds that basically worked for a warrior or a mage. we have so much to choose from skill wise that it feels like my own imaginiation is free to picture the character I like and the skills are there to give me the tools to recreate it on my own.

    So say you want to be a ranger? What is a ranger? In sota it is what you imagined it to be. Is it some sort of stealth archer? Is it an archer that can summon elementals? Is it a swordsman and an archer who knows how to make potions?

    I guess everybody has their own perspective of immersion, but for me the ability to form the character that I want is immersive enough... and they aren't finished implementing all of the content. I'm really impressed to be honest.
     
  18. Lord Blackthorne

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    What is most immersive to me is scene exploitability/believability. And random, unique scenes (or sections of a map) strewn across the world. For example, if I was feeling adventurous in guild wars 2, I could jump off a cliff into water, swim for a bit, and stumble upon a cave of pirates guarding a sweet chest. Heck, even if there was only a small chest, the experience there is so cool to me, and so immersive. Themed content does that for me, too.

    One of the most immersive experiences in gaming I have was exploring the new continent in Wrath of the Lich King in WoW. The Argent Tournament grounds were SO cool. Even had music akin to UO.

    "Immersive" is really unique to what hooks YOU into a game. Search for that in this one, and enjoy :)
     
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  19. Isaiah

    Isaiah Avatar

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    When I first played Ultima 5 (my first experience with any ultima), I was drawn in because I could type in the first 4 letters of a word and have a conversation with EVERYBODY in the world. Then add the story elements which were amazing, and I had to play every ultima after that.

    So for me it was the world and the interactions that got my imagination going. Also reading blade of the avatar (the Sword Of Midras) is excellent because now all these locations I see on the map have all sorts of cool history, and the book itself is actually really cool. It isn't clear how this whole thing will turn out and there is suspense and we don't know who is going to betry who or what it is worth it to me. I suggest getting the book.
     
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  20. Aldo

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    Grinding is a word that is beginning to carry veiled negativity. ******** is another. In UO I fished for years plunking my rod over and over and over. Some would definitely call that grinding, but to me it wasn't. My goal was to display the biggest fish trophies in the game on my wall at home. The RNG eventually complies, and the rewards are great. Personal achievement as far as I am concerned. So grinding for me (and I assume many others) is great gameplay if there are rewards possible due to the grinding. In SOTA, "grinding" wolves, trees, ore, or what have you would cease to be grinding if there was a chance for something unusual to happen... perhaps a rare drop or a quest like doorway to more content.

    Anyhow, I would find it somewhat insulting if someone called me a grinder in a subtle derogatory way while fishing month after month, year after year.
     
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