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world reactivity  

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  1. 1. How do you want the world to react to you?

    • I don't care if the world reacts to me. Let me have my quests, and either get the rewards for completing them or not. I don't need outside recognition, nor do things have to change.
    • The game world is essentially static. Until I act, things don't change. Then things do, but it doesn't have to be anything crazy.
    • I want the game world to be dynamic- it should change whether I do or don't do something. If I do something, I should see the result.
    • EVERYTHING I do matters. I want to see a major difference after I do something, where the actual game dynamics change and I am recognized for it.
    • Everything should be on a timer, where things automatically begin happening at predetermined points. This should be independent of my actions or presence.
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    • Everything should be on a timer, where things automatically begin happening at predetermined points. This should be dependent upon me receiving the quest/information.
    • Everything should be on a timer, where things automatically begin happening at predetermined points. This should be dependent upon me finding the relevant area (be it a town, city, dungeon, etc).
    • There should be NO countdown timers for quests, with very few exceptions. I should be free to do them if I want and things shouldn't change much either way, in general.
    • There should only be countdown timers for the main quest, and it should be relatively generous. I shouldn't feel rushed to do stuff.
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    • Other. (please explain below)


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Okay, so this is something that I just thought of while responding to something in my Arcanum thread, but I think it's good enough to warrant it's own thread. It has to do with "game world reactivity". I apologize if there is a more "correct" term for it, but I don't know all the vocabulary associated with gaming. Basically, the discussion was about whether it is "acceptable" for the equivalent of months/years to pass in the game world, vice days/weeks. I am of the opinion that it is, because it is more "realistic", in that very few events are accomplished in days or weeks. The Civil Rights struggles of the 60s/70s took years, wars typically take at least months, Bruce Lee didn't become a master in weeks, it took Columbus over a year to "find" the New World, etc. So, I just like for the game world to have time progress a little more quickly, because it ultimately makes it feel "more authentic". Not only that, but I get a greater sense of accomplishment out of it, when I think that my character has literally spent months or years working to "defeat the threatening evil" or "subjugating the lands", or whatever.

 

But this isn't directly about days/weeks vs. months/years. This is about how the game "reacts" to you. Below is the method I thought of and really like, though I don't know how feasible it would be to program, as it sounds pretty complex. I made a poll of the various other methods I could think of off-hand, so I'd love to see what everyone else thinks about it and why.

 

For me, it doesn't have to all be continuous, never-ending adventure, where I'm going from fight to fight, finding the next NPC to get a quest from. I like for their to some sort of sense of urgency to the main quest, but I prefer to be something that is encouraged through game mechanics, rather than being forced on me.

 

So, instead of, "you need to complete this within 24 hours" (which might be nice occasionally, as there are things that if they aren't taken care of immediately, will result in disastrous results- like Paul Revere not making his ride, for instance), it goes like this: if it is not completed within 24 hours, the game "responds" by doing x; if it isn't within 72 hours, y; if it isn't with 96 hours z; etc. Basically, as time goes on, more bad things happen as a result of not "attending to" the issue. So if you don't take out a group of bandits like you have been contracted to do, merchants start providing fewer goods. Then, they become unwilling/unable to participate in trade. Then, bandits begin attacking inside the village, and so on. That way, there are direct results from choosing to accept quests and not completing them, or possibly even from just being made aware of them and not taking some sort of action one way or the other.

 

You could potentially even have triggers that are independent of that, where they just begin as soon as you get to an area. So, all the "quest" options for an area are on a countdown. As soon as you get to that area, the countdown begins. If you don't find out what the actual "quests" are, either by stumbling upon them or being told about them, it doesn't change the "escalations" of the situations. So if you begin wondering why it is that there are more bandit attacks, or abductions, or less goods, whatever, you will find out there is a quest related to it.

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"1 is 1"

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"if it is not completed within 24 hours, the game "responds" by doing x"

 

This is actually how a game master I know often structures his PnP games. It makes sense there because you don't have dozens of smaller side quests in PnP. You might have a few simultaneous quests going but quite often the players then drop the more uninteresting ones or try to get things done in parallel if possible. What really never happens in PnP is that your party suddenly decides: We want to look what's behind that mountain. Or that they think it's a good idea to travel for 2 weeks to the next city because that side quest about delivering a package to Aunt Rosalie sounds like fun. But that's exactly what often happens when you play a cRPG. And this is why timers in cRPGs are not well liked.

Edited by jethro

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I think that, essentially, it should vary depending on the quest and the importance of the main character. I would like to see a cRPG where the PC is not important ridiculously important. I would like not to have to save the world, for a change. It would be cool to get credit when credit is due, but I would like a world that does not revolve around the main character, at least in the sense that things will happen that I have no control over.

 

In terms of structuring quests however, I would like to see multiple outcomes for each quest which goes beyond the side with good or evil options. Sure, the PC can deal with the corrupt cleric, but will they kill them, turn them over to the clergy or the law enforcement? Each of the options should have a unique response from the quest.

 

Essentially, the world should exist outside of the PC, but at the same time there should be appropriate and nuanced responses to the PC's actions. I understand that the nuanced repsonses are much easier to achieve in a PnP game as the GM can allow and improvise for unforeseen actions, but it would be nice to see nonetheless.


Brown Bear- attacks Squirrel
Brown Bear did 18 damage to Squirrel
Squirrel- death

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I think that, essentially, it should vary depending on the quest and the importance of the main character. I would like to see a cRPG where the PC is not important ridiculously important. I would like not to have to save the world, for a change. It would be cool to get credit when credit is due, but I would like a world that does not revolve around the main character, at least in the sense that things will happen that I have no control over.

 

In terms of structuring quests however, I would like to see multiple outcomes for each quest which goes beyond the side with good or evil options. Sure, the PC can deal with the corrupt cleric, but will they kill them, turn them over to the clergy or the law enforcement? Each of the options should have a unique response from the quest.

 

Essentially, the world should exist outside of the PC, but at the same time there should be appropriate and nuanced responses to the PC's actions. I understand that the nuanced repsonses are much easier to achieve in a PnP game as the GM can allow and improvise for unforeseen actions, but it would be nice to see nonetheless.

 

Not to mention in PnP, you don't have to write out code for everything.

 

I would love for every action or decision to matter in the game but I'm also a realist. A game designer can't tell a good story while still giving you the option to be good, evil, indifferent, or too lazy to get off the couch in 10,000 different quests that are all interconnected that also factor in your looks, wardrobe, race, and sex compared to the NPCs or antagonists goals and previous experiences or views on the matter.

 

That aside.....I would like the REALISTIC approach of having multiple options in a quest line that allow me to create influence and change that reflect my views or opinions while still leading towards the goal intended by the developers to further the story.

 

"PC can deal with the corrupt cleric, but will they kill them, turn them over to the clergy or the law enforcement? Each of the options should have a unique response from the quest." That sounds as a fairly reasonable example to me.

 

Sorry if any of that comes off rude but people need to realize we aren't playing the sims. YOU WILL NOT BE GIVEN THE OPTION TO FLIP BURGERS FOR A LIVING.

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Yeah, that is sort of why I am not necessarily concerned with the overall "reactivity" to specific actions, but more interested in the "passive"/"automatic" reactivity, where things will happen UNTIL you take action. I mean, if you don't clear out the bandits (or convince them to pick different targets, or whatever), it is only a minor inconvenience when buying stuff in that city/village becomes more difficult or restrictive. On the other hand, if you have failed to clear out the bandit groups near multiple cities/villages, it isn't just a minor inconvenience anymore, now it is downright frustrating. Maybe this even results in the "spawning" of a new "boss", who was a warlord/bandit leader that united all those separate groups, making them more dangerous.

 

To provide another example- take the Eyeless Cult in BG2. Let's say that NOT deciding to go into the sewers to clear them out results in more of the cultists popping up all over the city. You reach a certain amount of time without addressing them and all the other sects in the "cleric's ward" (I forgot its actual name) start becoming less friendly. Perhaps the costs of their services go up. Perhaps certain sects just leave the area altogether, because it is too dangerous for their followers there.

 

Or let's say you are playing a rogue type of character. The guildmaster requests that you assassinate/"talk some sense into" a local lord/sheriff/paladin which is targeting their operations because he is "losing good men" and it is "making operations difficult". The longer you take, the more expensive their services become. Perhaps you find fewer of their members throughout the area (maybe there was one in every pub/inn, and now there is only one in a single pub/inn) and then, if you never address it, they ultimately "vanish".

 

Those are some pretty straightforward examples, and I don't think everything has to have a dire end result, just something where you recognize the results of either having done a quest or not having done it. Sort of like the end credits with the Fallout games, where they would enumerate what happened to some of the key players and areas in the game. But instead of having to wait until the end game to realize the impact of your actions, it would happen in game.

Edited by Michael_Galt

"1 is 1"

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Too many choices. And some of them are not mutually exclusive.

 

I don't want timers on main quests, and I wouldn't miss it on sidequests either. I do want the world to have some feel of going on without me, and I do want any major action I do, to matter in the game world.

 

Anyone not as lazy as me that can find the right choice for my opinion? :p

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I hate quest timers along with escort quests are my gaming pet peeves


None of this is really happening. There is a man. With a typewriter. This is all part of his crazy imagination. 

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