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Lord of Lost Socks

Regarding powers and sense of urgency.

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Here's an idea from a person who plays 4th edition D&D(which is much more easily adapted to video games). Not necessarily saying this is a viable suggestion, but it may inspire someone to do something with it.

 

I read another suggestion in this forum that they want a sense of urgency in the game. Too often the world is about to be destroyed and you are the sole person able to do it, except you're debating philosphy in a bar instead, because you want to explore the entire game content. This has probably happened to everyone in some RPG. So how do you get a sense of urgency?

Simple, time limits. Now personally, I hate time limits, because I want to explore and I do not want to feel too stressed when playing an RPG. This is often due to, in my opinion, poorly implemented time limits. They're often in the form of "10 minutes to fetch water from the Undying Well" or something, and then you rush to the well and barely make it, or realize that you stil have about 8 minutes left on the clock when you finish it. Now here's my suggestion:

 

Assume that time passes as fast in the real world as it does ingame. 1 second in RL is 1 second ingame. Now, saving the world, it's not a 10 minute job. It can be a matter of hours, days or weeks even. Now assume that you have 2 days to kill the Warlock in the Temple of Evil. This would mean that in Real life you would have 48 effective hours to explore and do side quests, or even just finish the quest instantly and do the side questing later. Now why would this time limit matter? Here's the jiffy and the idea from 4th edition.

 

Assume that you have At-will, Encounter and Daily powers. At-will powers can be used whenever you feel like it, encounters per encounter and daily per ingame day. Bear in mind that it does not have to be daily, it could be a 12 hour cooldown, or whatever the developers feel like having it as. This would cause resting to be an obvious choice to regain your most powerful spells, except, you are on a time limit. You can't sleep 12 hours(ingame of course) after every encounter, because that's not enough time to finish the quest. So, you are instead forced to spend your daily powers sparingly, because you only have a few of them before the quest is failed.

 

Now if you instantly go to the Temple of Evil, you may kill the Warlock in 1 hour(ingame and in RL). You spend one daily to knock him out and the rest of the dungeon you make due with encounter and at-will powers. This would leave 47 hours in your time limit, this 47 hours you could have easily spent on exploring the world and side questing, while making your way slowly toward the Temple of Evil instead of skipping it in the first place.

 

This would be great, I hope you may agree. But the problem is that the average player, me included, probably can't be bothered to think about a time limit for 48 hours and may fail a quest simply becaue they underestimated the time or effort it would take to finish the quest. This is where penalty systems would have to become a little more creative same as the explanation for the time limit. A failed time limit should not lead to a failed quest/game. It should in most cases, simply lead to making the quest harder to finish, but not impossible. Quests like "Destroy Cthulhu" should be made clear that if you do not instantly destroy him, the world will succumb to a nightmarish hell and you will die. Not all quests would have to be timed either.

 

The power system would come with the added bonus that you could change your parties powers to suit the enemy you are facing instead of having all spells available constantly and a mana bar, creating more tactical gameplay. (For example having 6 at-will, 3 encounter and 1 daily available at any time for your characters). Some powers would have casting times so that they would not be spammable(to compensate the lack of mana bar). Random bandits you encounter while exploring would not take long to finish, because you do not need to call down a meteorite to kill them. You just levitate a fork in their eyes.

 

This would also resolve the annoying memorization and rest abusing that I believe no one really enjoyed in the classics, and resting within enemy strongholds would of course be impossible. Essentially, some benefits from this would lead to more tactical(preparation) combat, a sense of urgency, removal of sillyness in old game and more powerful spells that would not be spammable and used only when the need is great.

 

This would also give the interesting competitiveness that some enjoy. "Who can complete the game in the least amount of ingame hours?"

 

Now, as I said. This may or may not be a great idea and may include a bunch of holes that I cannot see after a few beers and sauna, so feel free to discuss and modify it as you please.

  • Like 2

My thoughts on how character powers and urgency could be implemented:

http://forums.obsidi...nse-of-urgency/

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In D&D 4.0, you've got an action point after two encounters if you didn't rest between, and you could spend one to regain a used power (whether daily or encounter), but you could only spend one AP per character per encounter. If we're going with a similar mechanism, I'd like to see this implemented, too.

Or, even better, use different levels of abilities (like the spell levels in D&D), and give out a different number of action points based on how difficult an encounter was. Higher levels would mean a higher number of AP would be needed to regain the ability. Thus, you wouldn't need to worry about "level-appropiate" encounters.


"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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The problem with OP's suggestion, as I see it, is that it seems like giving the player 48 hours to defeat the antagonist still doesn't change the fact that your primary goal is defeating him. I can't see why, from an in character perspective, I would be dilly-dallying with exploration and side quests when the big threat is still out there. I would be focusing on him. Even if it seems like I have time to spare, preventing some evil dude from summoning a demon that will destroy the world strikes me as the kind of thing you don't want to leave for the last minute. I'd want to get on it as soon as possible so that I'm sure to get it done. Or if I don't confront him right away, I would be spending my time preparing and strategizing, not doing stuff unrelated to the impending apocalypse.

 

What I'm trying to say is, when there is a threat of some sort looming over you, it seems strange for your character not to be focused on that.

Edited by eimatshya

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The idea is that if you don't complete it in time, the demon will be summoned and you will have to destroy it. And as I stated, I would not necessarily wish these time limits to all quests. A quest like kill the bandit chief before my trading caravan arrive, would be an example of a side quest where this could be more easily implemented.

 

EDIT: I would only wish these where it makes sense. Warlock in temple suggestion would have been a general assassination mission that must be completed within a 2 days, or you won't get the bounty. Quests where danger is imminent, should be made clear that they must be completed in time, or you fail.

Edited by Lord of Lost Socks

My thoughts on how character powers and urgency could be implemented:

http://forums.obsidi...nse-of-urgency/

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I'm sorry, but I don't think time limits (no matter how long) are going to fly -- they've been tried (Fallout, anyone) and they always end up causing problems. Soft time limits might help (complete in X in game hours or it is harder / you get less benefit), but... Really, I don't see this as being viable. Far better to provide positive reinforcement (extra rewards / more content) to encourage efficent play than to penalize the player for taking his/her time.

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Soft time limits might help (complete in X in game hours or it is harder / you get less benefit), but... Really, I don't see this as being viable. Far better to provide positive reinforcement (extra rewards / more content) to encourage efficent play than to penalize the player for taking his/her time.

Fairly sure that's what I wrote. Twice.

 

In any case, I never played Fallout 1&2(yeayea), so I can't comment on its problems.

Edited by Lord of Lost Socks

My thoughts on how character powers and urgency could be implemented:

http://forums.obsidi...nse-of-urgency/

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The idea is that if you don't complete it in time, the demon will be summoned and you will have to destroy it. And as I stated, I would not necessarily wish these time limits to all quests. A quest like kill the bandit chief before my trading caravan arrive, would be an example of a side quest where this could be more easily implemented.

 

EDIT: I would only wish these where it makes sense. Warlock in temple suggestion would have been a general assassination mission that must be completed within a 2 days, or you won't get the bounty. Quests where danger is imminent, should be made clear that they must be completed in time, or you fail.

 

Hmm... OK, I think I agree about the time limits, then. I'm not very familiar with 4e, so I can't comment too much on the other stuff.

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I always though the time limit in Quest for Glory II was well thought out. For example the Elementals would show up by a certain day, but they wouldn't destroy the city instantly, you had a few days of them rampages through the city to stop them before they grew too powerful to stop and you got the bad end animation of your character watching the city be destroyed. You had time limits on quite a few things in Quest for Glory II that never actually got in the way of play and left plenty of time to do things on the side. Oddly you could actually miss some aspects and still continue on, but without those things to help you later. Possible buy harder via your own actions.

 

I typically managed to do everything needed with time to spare, and, frustratingly, I'd actually have to wait some time in Rasier waiting for time to pass . . . because I'd managed to do everything . . . just waiting for the Guards to come arrest me. The timer on the final area of the game, while present, and you could fail, made sense because you only had until he was done with the riual that summoned Iblis. A tangible time limit. Those are always preferable.


"Step away! She has brought truth and you condemn it? The arrogance!

You will not harm her, you will not harm her ever again!"

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Urgency needs to exist. Time sensitive quests need to exist. The game world is a living breathing thing, and should act as such. It should not wait around for players to get around to things. Just as things happen in real life with or without you around, the game world should progress with or without the player in the same way. Anyone who claims to be an RPer knows this is fundamentally true.

 

Time sensitive quests do not have to be "Do this within 7 days or get game over". Time sensitive quests can be, and do, so much more. They can bring depth and immersion into the game world, and far more so than studying the lore ever could. Not being around to stop an assassination attempt on one of the faction leaders could cause a power vaccum within the city, and the weakest faction may use this time to hire the adventurers to investigate and find out who planned the assassination. This knowledge could then be used to publicly shame the instigating faction and cause them a major loss of prestige... where as being around to stop the assassination attempt might simply preserve the status quo. Not dealing with a camp of bandits early on might simply cause them to become stronger and bolder. Not taking care of an necromancer while he is performing his experiments might lead to a city or town being destroyed or pillaged. All of those examples bring a lot of depth and immersion into the game, and are perfect examples of time sensitive quests that are not "Complete this in 7 days or it's game over". These type of quests will also add to replayability, because things will play out differently. Realistically speaking, you won't even know anything has changed unless you reload the game and do things differently, or are on your second playthrough.

 

By all means, take your time and explore the world, talk to everyone, and learn up on all the lore... but you cannot argue that you are being "punished" for your inaction when you are the one putting off the quests. Choices are supposed to matter in RPG's, and deciding you don't want to do a quest because you "don't feel like it" is as much a choice as "I want to go rescue the Elf King's daughter from those kidnappers". There is absolutely no reason the game should not reflect your inaction.

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Also keep in mind from what we know so far of the story, or at least there overall concept of it.. its less chosen one save the world and more personal story. Now, it may still involve you saving the world but if its anything like PST or BG1-2.. that ergency is entirely molded around you wanting to solve the myster of what the ****s happening to you. At which point, you being side tracked by some other stuff is entirely reasonable.

 

In those games, any super urgent stuff was... literally int he side quests. Run into some event and oh crap somethings happening! someone needs help, this small village is under attack! or.. what have you. And in those instances your just jumping at the situation,d ealing with it and... that's a side thing. Your overall story, whats 'driving' your character as a whole is less rushed, but still 'feels' urgent as it's a personal thing.

 

Frankly that's what I want them to do, and if they do end up going with a 'dooms day' thing, that shouldn't become apparent till the end (like with BG1-2). The War stuff didn't really kick up till you where really locked into the end part of the game. Though the whole kidnapped imoen thing kind of was an odd-ball in that as it felt urgent but you had to go make a ton of money just to get to her. Which was there handwaved reason for saying 'go do all the side stuff now'. So in that, BG and PST are better examples... less kidnapping super-early on as part of the main story, more mystery in 'wtf is going on, and why is some of it directed at me'.

 

Now, time passing, which is completely unrelated to what I just said (but you mentioned it as part of yours).. I would, honestly, prefer time to pass at a 3:1 ratio. Not counting actual in game time-passing events. Such as 'waiting' or resting that pass hours by. To many games, in my opinion, work off the 1 hour = 2 minutes and entire days skip by in 48 minutes. It's just insane how fast **** goes, you can have a single conversation and half the 'day' is gone, or the sun went down and came back up already. With the 3:1 ratio you get much nicer, smoother transition. Was used mor recently on a PW I played in for years in NWN. They used to work off of a 4 minute to 1 hour ratio and that was extremely fast. The 1 hour = 3 in game hours switch changed everything, and it changed it for the better.

 

-edit-

Oh and, 99% of the time, time limited stuff sucks.

Edited by Adhin

Def Con: kills owls dead

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Urgency where it makes sense.

Penalties for failing where it makes sense.

 

Sometimes you will fail the quest if you don't make it in time. Oteh times the quest will become harder OR.. the quest objectives will change.

 

However, when you do get tiem limits they should be generous enough that you usualy l don't have to run like crazy (unless it makes sense to run like crazy).

 

 

For example, you have to sabotage a bridge so the enemy army cannot pass. You have 3 days to do it. You get there too late, the enemy troops passed.

Maybe you got there just as they are passing over, and you decide to try and buy time by holding them off. Or yo ucna go back to report. Or you get a new objective, to try and slow them down in antoher location.

 

 

Village dying from a desease and you have to find the cure? The longer it takes the more people die. Take too long and everyone in the village is dead - quest failed.

 

Etc ,etc... a lot of thing can hapen. From enemies becoming stronger to the situation changing dramaticly. Heck, sometimes you may want to DELIBERATELY fail a quest.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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The stress of a time limit does not exactly make it fun for me.

 

It is an RPG, I intend to take in the sights, drink in the superfluous dialogue and calmly enjoy my time in the game world. How can I do this if I am under pressure to complete a quest with a time limit?

Edited by Aedelric

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Ugh, time limits for the entire game severely hinder the experience. I don't mind them for a particular quest, but an overarching time limit basically rules out every significant activity except the main plot line. It's more enjoyable to allow your character time to grow and expand, then (perhaps) start to impose a growing sense of urgency toward the end game.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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No time limits, I do not need an artificial stick forcing me to HURRY up and not have time to enjoy or explore the world. I mean, if you want to hurry through YOUR game then go ahead, but for those of us who like to take the time and explore, do not punish us by trying to make us use YOUR playstyle.

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Yet without urgency being inforced, what's the point?

There are no conesquences. Which sucks.

 

You can just as easily argue that having to heal HP is tedious and you should always be at full HP...you know, because it hurts gameplay. Gameplay is rather subjective that way.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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No time limits, I do not need an artificial stick forcing me to HURRY up and not have time to enjoy or explore the world.

 

Time limits that force you to miss out on content would be a bad idea, but I like the idea of time limits if they're short term ones, leaving you free to wander around and explore as much as you like after they're dealt with, before moving on to the next encounter that involves urgency.

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What about a scaling reward. For example. You enter the dungeon and the reward will be truly awesome if you complete it in one in-game day, and will be degraded with every passing day, because NPC want to have some item quickly or the dungeon master is sending treasures to his superior as a tax money. Do the same with the ending. If you take your time you'll get a bitter-sweet ending where you stop the boss after he killed many people, but if you know-the game inside out and will do it things really quick you'll catch him with his pants down and stop him before he even begins to put his plan in motion, on the other hand the places you didn't visit might end-up in worse state because you didn't stop to fix their problems.

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Yet without urgency being inforced, what's the point?

There are no conesquences. Which sucks.

 

You can just as easily argue that having to heal HP is tedious and you should always be at full HP...you know, because it hurts gameplay. Gameplay is rather subjective that way.

 

What is the point? The point is the story, the quest, the fun of the journey and the completion. None of which is defined by urgency.

 

You are wrong to believe that the lapse of time is the only way to have consequence. You can have consequences that matter through player actions and choices throughout their adventure.

 

Your health argument is strange and not really a good example of your point.

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