Creating something off the basis that there was a previous issue is the definition of innovation.
The word you're describing is invention.
As an example, the overflow servers. Such a simple solution, but it will make a huge difference to the players. No more staring at a queue screen. If your server is full, you're put on the overflow server and when a spot opens up you can jump back over and all your progress from overflow will be saved.
oh wow I missed that, that's really cool
Lobbies and matchmaking is fine, but it's better suited to strictly PvP games than the expansive PvE landscapes you find in many MMORPGs.
You just have to match the right system with the right game is all.
I look at it as a gamble. Yeah, in XI I may have occasionally chanced upon a lowbie getting mauled and saved them, but it also translated to often throwing an EXP party together and visiting a number of camps within your level range to find them taken. If the goal is to truly make friends out of a situation, then the events that inspire people to use such grouping options should hopefully be a bit more robust and entertaining without being needlessly time consuming and tedious. Part of me feels speed runs should be discouraged or even impossible in such cases, as they hinder the ability to communicate. Again looking to XI, the old inifini-chain colibri parties might've been good experience for the BRD and RDM, but actually playing those roles weren't fun for many because they were constantly doing something for often hours at a time, leading to some players burning out.
Mentioning communication may lead some to suggest the use of Ventrilo or other voice clients, but in my earlier talk of anonymity, I don't like to use such. I have additional reasons, but too often I've seen use of such things be deemed mandatory. This can lead to some additional layers of disconnect because text just isn't good enough for some, possible sacrifices of speed like hinted above being a reason.
Sorry you don't like voice chat but it is a natural evolution in a gaming world that becomes faster paced. Text chat has been inefficient since the advent of online gaming, even before the first mmorpg.
Really it's no more the fault of the individual developers than the advancing genre in general that we're at the point we're at with levels of communication. I personally disagree with your comment about speed runs as I find they require enhanced communication and said communication improves teamwork and encourages community (guild-based initially) in both the short- and long-run. Your statement about speed runs hindering communication presumes that the speed run comes before the communication which is entirely false. Communication needs to occur on a very high level for speed runs to be achieved. Yes this can be done with text chat but it is not nearly as efficient as voice.
Furthermore, text-based chat creates a far greater disconnect in communication than voip. For example, anonymity (distance) is more easily attainable via text chat. People are more likely to flame each other in text than voice for the same reasons. When you look at every aspects of text-based chat all you see is disconnect and a form a communication devoid of humanities such as emotion, intonation, and passion. All these things can be communicated through text, yes, but the context does not exist in mmo games and not everyone is shakespeare.
If you are not in this kind of situation then it is difficult to understand, but I feel it's counterproductive to this spirit of a thread such as this one to argue points that are, IMO, both archaic and incorrect. I simply don't feel there is room for subjective anti-voip discussion in a world where gaming evolved past text-based chat over 10 years ago.
Speaking of anonymity, text chat, context, etc. Do any new MMOs create RP specific servers anymore? Used to be a big thing back in the day but I think it went the day of the dinosaur. Which makes sense I suppose since that kind of thing only really works with small communities, and all new MMOs seem to want the entire world to play their game.
I think every new MMO has RP servers, i'm just not sure how they're enforced.
Used to be the players would enforce it by telling GMs about anybody that consistently broke character. GMs would just keep an eye out for the guy and if it continued you'd get the boot.
Not sure how it would work on a large server.
NA TERA is supposed to have an enforced RP-only server. You can be GM'd for harassment by using excessive out-of-character speech in public channels and such.
I went on to consider speed runs problematic because too often people assume a stranger would know the given event or possess the gear to support a particular style. Communicating may help with the former, but not the latter. When players start getting complacent about (un)reasonable standards, you get people raging when suddenly they're not met. I saw this plenty in Rift when it came to the dungeon finder. As basically the entry level to light raiding, hardcore raiders could wind up paired with fresh 50s because Rift didn't care about your gear or skill, just the role you signed up to play. While some may enjoy the challenge of seeing how quickly they can get through something, for many, the root lies in getting to the next activity faster so they can chase even more loot. Ultimately, it's a testimony toward rewarding players properly so taking 20 minutes instead of 10 isn't perceived as some world-shattering loss.Really it's no more the fault of the individual developers than the advancing genre in general that we're at the point we're at with levels of communication. I personally disagree with your comment about speed runs as I find they require enhanced communication and said communication improves teamwork and encourages community (guild-based initially) in both the short- and long-run. Your statement about speed runs hindering communication presumes that the speed run comes before the communication which is entirely false. Communication needs to occur on a very high level for speed runs to be achieved. Yes this can be done with text chat but it is not nearly as efficient as voice.
Back to communicating and voice chat. I am not for mandatory use because it often assumes people are free to sit in a bubble relative to the game in question. If I am wearing a head set, I can not hear my handicapped father when he needs me for something. Headsets also invite comfort issues, both in strain upon the ears and sound quality if you're someone with a better sound system for their PC. Furthering that, conversation spoken isn't saved. If for any reason I had to AFK, I can't just come back and scroll up or even later go back to refresh some finer points instead of burdening someone to say whatever again. Text also simply avoids those awkward moments where multiple people try to speak, there's a stutter, both try to go again, before finally someone concedes to let the other go first. To call the text medium archaic is folly. Speech's only slight advantage is speed of delivery, and adequate pre-planning from leadership can easily negate that need. While mandatory statutes are largely player-imposed at the moment, I'm of the mind that if a later game goes on to require-it-or-fail, said game is either going to be really easy overall or just setting itself up to bomb. Not everyone wants to talk or have their immersion killed by hearing others talk. So, great if all parties involved are willing, but not everyone is and I've had my share of fights with people who go on thinking I'll be some colossal liability as if the deluge of in-game information through sounds, animations, health bars, emotes, and movements of my allies aren't enough to convey a clue. Behold yet another aspect of endgame drama I try to avoid when seeking entertainment.
As for RP, my long standing and still persistent gripe about the activity is it draws no rewards. In fact, taking the time to RP hinders the typical statistical progression found in most MMOs. Combat systems simply do not pause to allow you to reply to receiving a blow, be it staggering or insignificant. The environments simply don't support it. Now, players may break off into cliques or hide behind rule enforcement policies, but none of that changes what I just said and doesn't really help draw in people who may be interested in RPing, but can recognize the losses incurred. Personally, if I wanted to RP, I know of plenty of free text-based mediums where those participating are typically looking more to do so without the trappings of an MMO client. There isn't quite that awkward bridge between the graphical client and your imagination, either. At best, in an MMO you can do something like sit in a chair, but you can't define how you sit in the chair with perhaps doing more like tossing a ball between your hands or eating an apple. You can still type it, but you're also just sitting there like a statue for anyone who chances by without seeing that output.
Anyway, I would love to see a game where players could have a stronger effect on the world with being friendly in arranging RP events, but at present, affecting the world usually lies in the domain of PvP, which introduces the above problem of stats when you pit those who grind the game against those playing characters. Players can't really freely set up camps/settlements, finally doing something about that rodent population, or other "common sense" actions of potential significance that can lead to a more dynamic world that could result in two different servers looking completely different. I can understand these desires being hard to code and account for, but I just feel like no current game has really tried.
I'm glad someone brought up RP. First of all, I can't stand RPing in MMO's. I don't understand it. It's counterproductive to achieving what I consider more worthwhile goals. Go write some damn fan fiction instead...
That being said, I know RP has a long history and some people still have an interest in participating in that kind of activity in all kinds of games. More so in MMO's just because of RPG elements that are so prevalent. I had a completely unrelated idea that I had not considered related to RP until now.
As a precedent, FFXI had weak roles projected onto some of its jobs that RPers could have, and in some cases did, latch onto. For example, I ran into countless paladins that tried to RP as a white knight type, complete with 2 line /p chat macros for every ability (god these were awful people to play with...). Thief had the role of a treasure hunter type projected onto it. These were all fairly weak connections and were never fully fleshed out, but were there.
What if, when building a character, you not only choose a class, but also certain personality traits, which we could combine into a persona. Taking the treasure hunter persona, as an example, would make your character the adventurous, risk taking type. There could be basic traits and abilities associated with the persona, for example, to rip off FFXI, a treasure hunter buff that boosts drop rates. This could help separate the role a class tries to fulfill from the personality projections that some classes can tend to take on in other games (emo DRK ect... maybe all classes could be emo if they wanted! yay!).
I feel this would add an extra dimension to the RPG part of the MMORPG. Taking Bioware's text system to the next logical step, depending on the persona you choose, you might have additional responses available in certain situations. While adding an extra layer of re-playability, it also would give RPers something firm to latch onto and build off of.
As far as a specific RP server, I have a hard time even understanding the need for one. Can't RPers do their RP anywhere? Why do they need a secluded place to punish anyone OOC? It has been my experience that hard core RPers will stay in character regardless of what the hell is going on around them. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.
You don't need voice chat to be successful in modern MMO's, the guild I joined back in Ulduar in WoW was a very good hardmode guild before ToC came out and vent was 100% optional for raiding. They had class channels, so warriors or etc needed to be in their proper channels etc while the class lead explained the things they need to be doing thru chat. Our guild blew peoples minds because they were the only guild on our server that cleared pre-nerf sunwell in TBC, all vanilla content without the single use of vent.
Voice chat sure makes things easier but its not required.
God forbid someone would role play in a role playing game. . .lol, remember not everyone will share the same goal within the same game.What if, when building a character, you not only choose a class, but also certain personality traits, which we could combine into a persona. Taking the treasure hunter persona, as an example, would make your character the adventurous, risk taking type. There could be basic traits and abilities associated with the persona, for example, to rip off FFXI, a treasure hunter buff that boosts drop rates. This could help separate the role a class tries to fulfill from the personality projections that some classes can tend to take on in other games (emo DRK ect... maybe all classes could be emo if they wanted! yay!).
Guild wars 2 character creation embraces role playing with back ground story, and personality type selections when making your character. It also also reflects in decisions made during your story mode also.
Cant wait for many of us to try it.
Trolls will troll, even if it's just jumping up and down between some RPers on a noisy mount. While maybe little more than a fly buzzing at your head in comparison, it's still a distraction.
Meanwhile, my concern with your persona idea is if it basically leads to cookie-cutterisms. Wanna be a good THF? Better get that TH perk. And if players later lack a means to reset, it can easily be seen as a waste of time. Of course, if you introduce a reset option, why bother restricting and not just make them native class perks overall? Though, what you're hinting at is kinda present in D3. Instead of having skill points screwing over your long-term build plans like in D2, people can just select available abilities on the fly to tackle a given situation, only having to cope with a short cooldown (or loss of magic find bonuses at 60). On top of the skills, the classes have sub-talents and even possible rune augments to further boost abilities. Now, some are angry runes aren't dropped anymore and you'd get some that liked having three amazons for each tree. I think Blizz realized there's not much a player actually gains by this other than wasted time in fishing up gear for three amazons along with grinding up levels. In the MMO sphere, such things may be considered good to keep people playing, and thus paying longer, but players are also getting better in calling out dev bullshit while the aging playerbase may find they're not possessing the freedoms they had in their youth for some things.
http://gw2.luna-atra.fr/character_tool/ They don't go as far as giving you unique traits though. It's mostly to do with the personal story.