Old Idea, New Beginning

Share your ideas about the future of the game with other players and wizards.

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Old Idea, New Beginning

Post by everin »

This originally was an email to Terces during the last idea contest (2015?). It would be awesome if it could be implemented!


My Personal Icesus/Gaming Philosophy

My current feelings on Icesus are that it is very player-focused. By player-focused I mean that a lot of time is spent trying to make the character(s) that a player controls as strong as possible. Now, that is not bad in and of itself, but it easily overshadows the other aspects of what Icesus can potentially offer. In my opinion I feel that a more meaningful approach to the game is possible and can hopefully increase Icesus's player base and the longevity of stay of the current players without alienating those who fully enjoy making their character as hard as possible. The ideas that I will suggest provide a more story-focused approach to playing Icesus. A story-focused approach provides meaning to the actions that a character takes; ie. the difference between a ranger and a monk is more than one fights with two swords while the other fights with fists. This approach also provides meaning to the events that a character will undergo; ie. in conflict two sides may have opposing views on the same matter at hand and would make different decisions towards different outcomes.

A game also needs good mechanics to ensure that players come back. As a whole I think Icesus's mechanics are good. They are a bit repetitive as it stands now, but I would say that there is an element of repetitiveness in every RPG, so I dont have any suggestions or ideas to change the basic mechanics of how Icesus works. In fact, one of Icesus's strongest and unique elements, masteries, requires repetition. So why bring up mechanics? Because the new ideas that I will suggest rely on building additional mechanics that will keep the player coming back and Icesus is a game that is to be played over a course of years, not days, weeks or months.

In short, meaningful actions, events and decisions as well as good game mechanics create a game worth playing.

Within this mindset we can move on to the ideas...

A Useful Quest Log/Adventurer's Journal

I would suppose that the reason that there is no quest log currently in Icesus is in part because of the Note feature, as well as a lack of realism and challenge that a player would be able to look at a handbook and see where to go and who to speak with for a quest. It also provides Ereldon with more of a role than simply casting healing wind and complaining about mortals every so often. However, it could also be the case that it was overlooked or simply just not expanded on. I do not know the reason why it is not implemented, but I can provide reasons why it would be a great addition to Icesus along with suggestions to avoid making questing in Icesus with this feature a simple "look-and-do," as it is in games such as WoW.

A Quest Log is an important feature to promote a story-focused approach.

Prevents players from forgetting the progress they made in a quest, especially when players take breaks due to real life factors, or general
Allows players to view their overall progress in questing in Icesus which will help motivate further questing
Can search through completed quests to remember key points of a quest's story and events

Can look back at all the awesome things a player did!

Elements of a good Quest Log, and a design so to prevent questing from becoming "look-and-do"

Should have its own screen, menu and commands
Main Quest Log Screen displays the names of quests that have been initiated and completed and [Optional] quests not found yet (highlighted in grey)
At predesignated checkpoints for a quest, a brief synopsis is written in the Quest Log
For initiated and completed quests, commands allow access to view the progress made along checkpoints of the quest, such as key dialog with NPCs, killing certain monsters, obtaining items, etc
In addition to quest progress, a player can also see details about a quest such as: location start, quest-giver's name, name of quest, reward(s) given

Guild Quests

A guild is more than a group of people that want to develop a certain way to beat someone up, it is a way of life. Guild members should be encouraged to work with each other towards a common goal or against a common enemy. Guild quests can provide such motivation within a story-focused approach.

Suggested structure of a story-focused approach to Guild Quests

Initiated by NPC guildmaster (or Wizard) when a certain number of guild members are actively online.
A minimum time period may be established so that Guild Quests are not given too frequently
Can introduce new skills that are useful in the completion of Guild Quests - training increases the success or magnitude of the skill - helps to reduce guild exp "waste" for high level players
Guild Quests for a certain guild can be independent of other guilds or they can work cooperatively with or competitively against other guild members

Independent - only members of a single guild may participate
Cooperative - members of two or more guilds are required to complete the quest (Ie. A mage would need help tracking, or a templar would need a curse lifted, etc)
Competitive - members of two different guilds try to be the first to complete their specific objective; not true PvP

Rewards should be adequate for the time taken to complete them. Rewards can include:
Guild reputation and the establishment of guild ranks
Requirement to become a guild leader - a true leader takes action and is active in the guild community - also enables all guilds to have a leader
Karma or city reputation
Something else TBD

Story Arcs & Instances

Where would a story-focused approach be without a story? I would consider this to be the most ambitious of the ideas that I present. Story arcs would provide a meaningful context and be the driving force for potential new areas, guilds, events, etc for Icesus. Story arcs can expand and grow based on player interest and players can be designed so all players can directly influence how some aspects of the story will progress. To be adaptable to a game such as Icesus, it would make sense for these story arcs to have never-ending struggles, rather than an apocalyptic event (for story coherency). New areas can be created and old areas incorporated (or left alone) to advance a story line. Much like guild quests, a specific guild's skills may be required to advance a story beyond a certain point and to complete an instance. In all, story arcs would be useful in promoting parties, incorporating every player regardless of level into an event, providing meaning to Icesus, helping to distract from the usual grinding, attract new players and increase player longevity.

In my mind, a Story Arc would allow players to advance the history of Icesus. In order to accomplish this, an arc would involve:

The ability of all players to participate in a story event, which I will refer to as instances
Instances are meant to be inclusive of all players, immersive and emphasize a main struggle within a story arc
Instances occur within an area and are first run within the story arc
Instances are designed to be repeatable outside of the story line - as such they can be stand alone events - ie. a siege of a fortress
Instances will occur within areas - however entrance to the instance itself will only be available during the event itself - this allows training to be done outside of the event
Factions (guild or city) can be introduced, and faction points (for guild or city) can be earned by participating in an instance
Cities and guilds themselves may react to the events of a story arc or instance, further emphasizing a reactionary world - sending NPC defenders, raising or lowering prices, etc (much to be expanded on)
City or guild factions may have different goals during an instance - ie defenders of a city's fortress gain faction points for that city or during a siege a templar may try to defend, while a shadowdancer may find it a prime opportunity to assassinate the fortress's commander or allow the enemy through a gate in the fortress
The faction to complete their objective first wins the event
The significance of faction points are TBD
Fortress is defensible at certain points (exact numbers to be determined) within the city - when one area is breached players must fall back or they will be swarmed
Event can be lost if neither faction achieves their goal within a set amount of time or before reboot or if the defenses of the fortress fails
Defenses of the fortress will fail if enemies breach the keep and there are no players left alive within to defend it
[OPTIONAL] Players who die during the event must be revived at locations within the Instance - players may not leave the instance once entered
Event based skills that are trainable by NPCs at the instance - ie. firing a ballista, trebuchet, catapult during a siege - these allow low level players to be a part of the event and not in real danger of being killed by high level monsters
Alternatively, low level players may guard a gate where there are low level monsters breaking through, while high level players guard another area with high level monsters or fight an enemy boss

Rewards for instances would include, but not limited to:

Faction points (Use TBD)
Some guild benefit if successful
+ city reputation
Counts as completing a guild quest
Better shop sell/buy prices in hometown
Access to efficient exp areas within the area that the instance is found that was previously unlocked - helps to promote involvement from those who are player-focused
Possible EQ, though would hope that instances would focus more outside of the exp- ash-eq realm (would need feedback from playerbase to either adjust faction points as something valuable, or to allow EQ to drop from some mobs during the instance)
Positive title available to the player

Because instances are meant to be story driven, and they represent key times in the history of Icesus, there should be some negative consequence if players fail to achieve victory. These consequences can take Factions into account or defense of the city fails. (In terms of punishment, breach of the keep is seen as failure, even for those trying to sabotage the defense - they are trying to sabotage before the fight is over and if they don't do their part it is seen by their guild leaders as if they had chosen to do nothing). Such negative consequences can include:

Aggro enemy mobs (based on type of attacker) within the area that holds the instance
Loss of faction points
- city reputation
Negative title forced on the player for a certain amount of time

*Note: I used the example of a siege as I do have the beginning of a story line for this whole story arc in motion. You can probably get away with calling them Sieges, instead of instances to keep that distance between Icesus and what people normally think of instances as in an MMORPG. I intend to have 4 instances for the main cities where you can make a hometown; Vaerlon, Atherton, Graemor, and Cenedoiss for which to gain city reputation from. I may include Mahrakh in the story arc, I am just not sure. As for the story itself, I figured that I would include my thoughts on the mechanics of my idea before delving into an actual story. I would like to run these Arcs like the continuation of Icesus's history - (Somewhat inspired to write this by Warhammer Fantasy's End Times, if you are familiar with the tabletop. I know Bel is because his name comes from a High Elf loremaster :P ) - with effects possibly causing some areas to be in ruins etc (maybe with profession guilds helping to rebuild them, etc). Its a work in progress right now, and of course depends on the wizard's approval.

As for a brief and possibly a rambling and incoherent spoiler, I will say that I think invaders from outside the valley of aegic would try to invade. I think having creatures that have lived in unlivable conditions would be an awesome enemy. In my current thinking, a mad fire priest would cause the invasion to occur with a ritualistic sacrifice to the goddess of fire. In researching creatures in a D&D manual online I found some good monsters that will fit the purpose as well as a behind-the-scenes elemental archdemon of ice that could play the role of puppet master and eventually players would come to fight it. As for the sieges, Im currently thinking that there will be breaches near each city and that each city is responsible for defending. The first one will of course be north of Atherton to fit with the fire priest idea. Each gate may have a name based on the city's element or so, not sure yet. The players will of course defend each of the four breaches and then as a final part of the story would mount a counter-attack to finish off the invaders, again north of atherton.

Watchtower Missions

This idea spawned from my idea for instances. These would be challenges that the player and his party can initiate or they can be events. For reference, the idea is somewhat a mix between the Gladiator Arena in Mahrakh, Tower Defence games and the Fort Condor Missions from Final Fantasy VII. Players would split up and take positions to defend against waves of NPCs before grouping together for boss. Players can choose to continue the defense between waves or keep going. If the Watchtower Missions are held as an event, there can be multiple towers across the valley, to facilitate potential high participation, with NPCs of lower -> higher levels with lower -> higher rewards (again, so players of all levels can participate). Again factions can have a role here (more on that later). Rewards for success can include titles, reputation, faction points, and records of the players who reach the max wave or for the current highest wave for that tower.

*Note: Again, the main idea is to incorporate players regardless of level, give a reason for playing as well as a competitive aspect outside of PK to the game, add something to a game that I have been playing for over a decade, and of course to have fun.

I hope you enjoyed the read.

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