the game

i’m learning about mmorpgs today.  then i have to decide what mine looks like.

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Nobilis draws on many sources, including Christian and Norse mythologies, but adds numerous unique details to its setting. Though the everyday world in the game appears much like our own, it is actually only the Prosaic Earth, a lie that the world told to itself in a desperate attempt to explain suffering, and a rationalized delusion which conceals the true reality that would plunge most mortals into madness: the Mythic Earth, an animistic world where everything has its own sentient spirit. In the Mythic, the earth is really flat, and hangs somewhere among the vast boughs of the “world-tree”, Yggdrasil. Countless worlds dot the branches of this world-tree, but at the top is Heaven, which is inaccessible to all but the angels (only one human soul in a billion is not turned away) and is the source of all beauty. Beneath the earth, in the roots of Yggdrasil, is Hell, the source of all corruption. Around Yggdrasil, except above heaven (where it is open to the stars), is a mystical impenetrable curtain of blue flames known as the Weirding Wall.

Every class of objects and every concept is represented by a being of god-like power known as an Imperator. Each Imperator may govern from one to several of these Estates, and has effectively limitless control over them. The Imperators are engaged in a deadly struggle with the Excrucians, terrible beings from outside the Weirding Wall who wish to destroy reality; this struggle is known as the Valde Bellum. This war keeps Imperators busy in the Spirit World, so in order to maintain their affairs on Earth and in the other worlds they invest a shard of their soul in a human (or occasionally another animal or object), creating a Nobilis. Each Nobilis represents one of the Imperator’s Estates; the group of Nobilis this forms, known as a Familia Caelestis, is typically loyal, both to each other and their Imperator.

Flowers have great significance to the Nobilis and their Imperators; earthly flowers are reflections of their heavenly counterparts and each has a meaning. For example, the gamemaster is known as the HollyhockGod because, in the world of Nobilis, hollyhocks represent vanity and ambition. This is because, according to the in-game story, the angels used flowers as a tool to control and direct the brunt of their powers when they created Reality. Each Nobilis and Imperator has a flower that represents them, and flowers are often used in their magical rites.

Unlike most role-playing game systems, Nobilis does not use random elements in determining success in characters’ actions. Instead, Nobilis uses a resource management system; players may spend Miracle Points to succeed at certain actions, but otherwise they rarely fail at what they set out to do. Instead of the action centering on whether or not the characters succeed, the emphasis is instead on the consequences of those actions. Since combat between Nobilis uses up Miracle Points very quickly and a Nobilis can easily defeat even great numbers of humans, social roleplaying is encouraged over combat. Though the characters may seem to have limitless power, in reality they must take into consideration both the outcome of every act and what other Powers or Imperators they may offend in the process.

In the first two editions, each character has 4 attributes: Aspect, which governs their ability to perform superhuman physical and mental acts; Domain, which covers their power over their estate; Realm, which determines how much power they have in their Chancel; and Spirit, which describes how much magical power the Nobilis has. Spirit creates the Auctoritas, a shield that protects them from the Miracles of other Powers. A character’s Spirit also determines how many Anchors they may have. Each attribute has a number of Miracle Points associated with it.

The character creation system also makes Nobilis notable by giving players an unusual amount of control over the setting. In addition to creating their own characters – a process which already allows for considerable customization – the players create their Imperator and Chancel. Players receive a number of points to invest in their Chancel equal to the total amount they spent on their characters’ Realm; they may use these to buy special attributes for their Chancel such as special technology or magical inhabitants. They do not receive any points for their Imperator, so they must take a corresponding drawback for every special attribute they wish their Imperator to have. Each Nobilis also has an Affiliation, which is a moral code they follow in order to regain Miracle Points, as well as character flaws called Limits and Restrictions. Much like their Affiliation, these allow the character to regain Miracle Points when they become an inconvenience.

***

and here’s something i found as a link in the above page.

Another humorous side of Incarnations is the portrayed magic/technology duality. Most series emphasize one or the other means of understanding and manipulating the world, but in Incarnations each method is equal in usefulness and respect. This leads to a number of amusing parallels, such as competition between automobile and magic-carpet manufacturers. By the future time period of Norton, magic is referred to as the Fifth Fundamental Force, with its own primary particle, the Magicon (similar to a graviton). A few other series have used the technology/magic combined motif, notably Apprentice Adept, another series by Piers Anthony, and Four Lords of the Diamond by Jack Chalker.

***

here’s the plot line from neverwinter nights

Following a small prelude, there are four “chapters” in the original game, with each chapter consisting of a general storyline (the first chapter, for example, deals with a mysterious plague in the city of Neverwinter), and within each chapter, there are many quests, subquests, and mini-storylines. Depending on specific quests completed, and specific items kept, some storylines are continued throughout the entire game (such as Henchman or Aribeth’s tales). Completing many of the side quests will give the player’s character more experience (and special items), making him/her level up faster and continue to make the game easier as the player progresses. For example, completing all quests in the first and second chapters will place the player in Chapter 3 with a 13th level character, instead of a 10th.

NWN game modules run as a variety of separate genres and themes, including persistent worlds (which are similar to MUDs), combat arenas (player versus player modules), whole servers dedicated to sexually oriented roleplay, [5][6] and simple social gatherings similar to a chat room. The campaign included with the game can be played with friends, for example, or a team of builders can build a virtual world similar in scope and size to commercial MMORPGs. BioWare insists that these persistent worlds be free of charge, primarily for reasons of copyright law.

Because Neverwinter Nights lacks a global chat function aside from the supported Gamespy, players typically join “pickup” games through the game’s multiplayer interface, or schedule games in advance with friends. Matchmaking sites, such as Neverwinter Connections, facilitate scheduling of games, and the experience is much like traditional Pen-and-Paper roleplaying games. Persistent worlds do this work for them by inviting players to visit their website and continue to roleplay there.

One important feature of Neverwinter Nights is the ‘DM’ or ‘Dungeon Master’ Client, a tool that allows an individual to take the role of the traditional ‘Dungeon Master’, who guides the players through the story, and has complete control of the server. While not the first game to utilize this feature (one previous example is a more basic version in the game Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption, based on the printed gamebooks published by White Wolf), Neverwinter Nights had the most evolved version of this feature and thus arguably created one of the most ‘immersive’ RPG experiences currently available in CRPG gaming. The DM Client allowed players to participate in regular campaigns, while also allowing persistent-world servers to flourish by permitting the Dungeon Masters of those servers to possess NPCs ‘on-the-fly’ for added realism. The DM Client also permitted the user to spawn and control masses of monsters and NPCs much in the same way as units would be controlled in a real time simulation strategic game.

Neverwinter Nights ships with the Aurora toolset, which allows players to create custom modules for Neverwinter Nights. These modules may take the form of online multiplayer worlds, single player adventures, character trainers or technology demos. Additionally, several third party utilities have further expanded the community’s ability to create custom content for the game. Custom content creators are known as builders in the Neverwinter Nights community.

The Aurora toolset allows builders to create map areas using a tile system; the appearance and surface textures of the area are defined by the area’s selected tileset. Builders can overlay placeable objects onto areas, and use the built-in scripting language NWScript to run cut scenes, quests, mini-games and conversations. NWScript is based on C.

Third party utilities allow builders to create custom content for most aspects of the game, ranging from new playable races and character classes to new tilesets, monsters and equipment. Custom content is added to the game in the form of hakpaks. Builders have used the Aurora toolset in combination with hakpaks to create playing experiences beyond the scope of the original campaign. Despite the game’s age, the Neverwinter Nights custom content community remains active.

The community, mostly centered on the Neverwinter Vault, created over 4000 modules to the game, among them are many award-winning adventures and series, like Dreamcatcher, Aielund Saga, AL series, and much more.

***

nonplaying characters are useful

Games revolving around relationship-building, including visual novels, dating sims such as Tokimeki Memorial, and some role-playing games such as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, often give choices that have a different number of associated “mood points” which influence a player character’s relationship and future conversations with a non-player character. These games often feature a day-night cycle with a time scheduling system that provides context and relevance to character interactions, allowing players to choose when and if to interact with certain characters, which in turn influences their responses during later conversations.

***

Bosses are usually significantly superior to regular enemies, and are usually found at the end of a level or area. Most games also include a “final” boss, which is usually the main antagonist in the story, at the very end of the game. Some examples include Bowser from the Mario series and Doctor Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog. While most games include a mixture of boss opponents and regular opponents, some games have only regular opponents and some games have only bosses – for example, Shadow of the Colossus has no enemies other than bosses.[13] In games such as Duke Nukem 3D, the first boss even reappears throughout the game as an uncommon enemy. However, they are weaker than the original. In a similar vein, a relatively powerful enemy may be introduced via a boss battle, but later appear as an uncommon but strong enemy, after the player has had a chance to find more powerful weaponry or a weakness it may have. An example of this is in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, where the game’s second boss, the Giant Skeleton, reappears in later areas as a normal enemy, with the player even fighting two at once at one point.

Boss battles are typically seen as dramatic events. As such, they are usually characterized with unique music, and/or cutscenes before and after the boss battle. Recurring bosses and final bosses may have their own specific theme music, to distinguish them from other boss battles.

Some bosses require the player to defeat them in a certain way that may be unusual to normal attacks, such as requiring the player to use a certain weapon, such as in Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, or hitting the boss in a certain area, termed a “weak point”, such as in the Metroid series. Story-centered bosses of this type will sometimes require certain prerequisites to be performed during the fight for the player to succeed, such as a requirement that a partner must stay alive during the battle or sequence to be counted as a victory.

In some games, the boss returns after being defeated, sometimes in a new form with alternate attacks. This can repeat a certain number of times before the player faces their final and most powerful form. The Final Fantasy series is well known for this style of boss, often having as many as 5 phases in a single boss battle (Sorceress Ultimecia being this example; other FF villains such as Sephiroth and Vayne have from 2 to 4 stages). The Mega Man series of games also prominently display this, with the main villain (Doctor Wily; Sigma; Copy X, Elpizo, Omega, and Doctor Wiel) adopting a second and even third vehicle/body immediately after the first is destroyed to continue the fight.

As they can sustain a lot more damage than normal foes, bosses commonly have a health bar which is displayed either on/near them or in a specific location on the HUD, usually with their name or a portrait of them attached. In lieu of a health bar, some bosses, like those in the early Metroid games, change color, change attack patterns or, in the case of larger enemies, lose parts of their overall structure as they receive more and more damage. Although health bars or indicators were less common in the early days of video gaming, they are now found in many video game boss battles.

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now for stuff pulled from world of warcraft.

To enter the game, the player must select a realm—sometimes referred to as a server. Each realm acts as an individual copy of the game world, and falls into one of four categories. Realms are either player versus player (PvP), where open combat among players is more common, or player versus environment (PvE), where the gameplay is more focused on defeating monsters and completing quests. Roleplay (RP) and roleplay-PvP (RP-PVP) variants of both primary realm types are also available. Realms are also categorized by language, with in-game support in the language available.[20] Players can make new characters on all realms, and it is also possible to move already established characters between realms for a fee.[21]

To create a new character, in keeping with the storyline of previous Warcraft series games, players must choose between the opposing factions of Alliance or Horde. Characters from the opposing factions can perform rudimentary communication, but only members of the same faction can speak, mail, group, and share guilds. The player selects the new character’s race, such as Orcs or Trolls for the Horde or Humans or Dwarves for the Alliance.[22] Players must also select the class for the character, with choices such as mages, warriors, and priests available.[23] Most classes, except for special “Hero classes,” are limited to particular races.

As characters become more developed, they gain various talents and skills, requiring the player to further define the abilities of that character.[24] Professions such as tailoring, blacksmithing, and mining can be learned. The three secondary skills, cooking, fishing, and first-aid, can also be learned by characters.[25] On December 7, 2010, Archeology was added as a fourth skill characters could learn.[26] Characters may also form and join guilds, allowing characters within the guild access to the guild’s chat channel, the guild name and optionally allowing other features, including a guild tabard, guild bank, and dues.[27]

Much of World of Warcraft play involves “questing”. These quests, also called “tasks” or “missions”, are usually available from NPCs.[28] Quests usually reward the player with some combination of experience points, items, and in-game money. Quests also allow characters to gain access to new skills and abilities, and explore new areas.[29] It is also through quests that much of the game’s story is told, both through the quest’s text and through scripted NPC actions.[30] Quests are linked by a common theme, with each consecutive quest triggered by the completion of the previous, forming a quest chain. Quests commonly involve killing a number of creatures, gathering a certain number of resources, finding a difficult to locate object, speaking to various NPCs, visiting specific locations, interacting with objects in the world, or delivering an item from one place to another.

While a character can be played on its own(solo), players can also group with others to tackle more challenging content. Most end-game challenges are designed in a way that they can only be overcome while in a group. In this way, character classes are used in specific roles within a group.[28][31] World of Warcraft uses a “rested bonus” system, increasing the rate that a character can gain experience points after the player has spent time away from the game.[24] When a character dies, it becomes a ghost—or wisp for Night Elf characters—at a nearby graveyard.[29]Characters can be resurrected by other characters that have the ability, or can self-resurrect by moving from the graveyard to the place where they died. If a character is past level ten and they resurrect at a graveyard, the items equipped by the character degrade, requiring in-game money and a specialist NPC to repair them. Items that have degraded heavily become unusable until they are repaired. If the location of the character’s body is unreachable, they can use a special “spirit healer” NPC to resurrect at the graveyard. When the spirit healer revives a character, items equipped by the character at that time are further degraded, and the character is significantly weakened by what is in-game called “resurrection sickness” for up to ten minutes, depending on the character’s level. This “resurrection sickness” does not occur and item degradation is less severe if the character revives by locating its body, or is resurrected by another player through special items or spells.On both server types, there are special areas of the world where free-for-all combat is permitted. Battlegrounds, for example, are similar to dungeons: only a set number of characters can enter a single battleground, but additional copies of the battleground can be made to accommodate additional players.[35] Each battleground has a set objective, such as capturing a flag or defeating an opposing general, that must be completed in order to win the battleground. Competing in battlegrounds rewards the character with tokens and honor points that can be used to buy armor, weapons, and other general items that can aid a player in many areas of the game. Winners get more honor and tokens than losers. However, players also earn honor when they or nearby teammates kill players in a battleground.

World of Warcraftcontains traditional fantasy elements, such as gryphons, dragons, and elves; steam-powered automata and extreme engineering typical of steampunk; zombies, vampires, and other undead typical of horror; as well as time travel, spaceships, and alien worlds typical of science fiction.As a player explores new locations, different routes and means of transportion become available. Players can access “flight masters” in newly discovered locations to fly to previously discovered locations in other parts of the world.[36] Players can also use boats, zeppelins, or portals to move from one continent to another. Although the game world remains relatively similar from day to day, seasonal events reflecting real world events—such as Halloween,[37] Christmas, Children’s Week,[34] Easter, and Midsummer—have been represented in the game world. Locations also have variable weather including, among other things, rain, snow, and dust storms.

The term “instance” comes from each group or party having a separate copy, or instance, of the dungeon, complete with their own enemies to defeat and their own treasure or rewards.[41]This allows a group to explore areas and complete quests without others interfering. Dungeons are spread over the game world and are designed for characters of varying progression. A typical dungeon will allow up to five characters to enter as part of a group. Some dungeons require more players to group together and form a “raid” of up to forty players to face some of the most difficult challenges.The game was designed to be an open environment where players are allowed to do what they please.[47] Quests are optional and were designed to help guide players, allow character development, and to spread characters across different zones to try to avoid what developers called player collision.[48] The game interface allows players to customize appearance and controls, and to install add-ons and other modifications.

In some previous MMORPGs, a player would suffer a high penalty for character death; in World of Warcraft, a player is able to recover and start playing quickly.[19] Combat was another area where “downtime”, or pauses between play, was reduced. By allowing all character types to recover from damage taken, players can return to combat quickly.[30] Reviewers felt that these changes in pacing would make the genre more accessible to casual players—those who play for short periods of time—[30] while still having “deep” gameplay that would attract players of all levels of interest.[29]The concept of a “rested bonus”, or increasing the rate at which a player’s character gains experience, was also welcomed as a way for players to quickly catch up with their friends in progression.Questing was described as an integral part of the game, often being used to continue a storyline or lead the player through the game.[30] The high number of quests in each location was popular, as well as the rewards for completing them.[19] It was felt that the range of quests removed the need for a player to “grind”, or carry out repetitive tasks, in order to advance their character.[29] Quests also require players to explore every section of the game world, potentially causing problems for social gamers or roleplayers seeking somewhere quiet.[30] Quests that required the player to collect items from the corpses of creatures they had killed were also unpopular; the low “drop rate”, or chance of finding the items, makes them feel repetitive as a high number of creatures need to be killed to complete the quest.[29] The large number of new players in a particular area meant that there were often no creatures to kill,[30] or that players would have to wait and take turns to kill a particular creature in order to complete a quest.

The practice of buying or selling gold in World of Warcraft has generated significant controversy.[110] On February 21, 2008, Blizzard released a statement concerning the consequences of buying gold. Blizzard reported that an “alarmingly high” proportion of all gold bought originates from “hacked” accounts. The article also stated that customers who had paid for character leveling services had found their accounts compromised months later, with all items stripped and sold for virtual gold. The article noted that leveling service companies often used “disruptive hacks … which can cause realm performance and stability issues”.

***

and back to mmorpgs

Traditionally, combat with monsters and completing quests for NPCs, either alone or in groups, are the primary ways to earn experience points. The accumulation of wealth (including combat-useful items) is also a way to progress in many MMORPGs, and again, this is traditionally best accomplished via combat. The cycle produced by these conditions, combat leading to new items allowing for more combat with no change in gameplay, is sometimes pejoratively referred to as the level treadmill, or ‘grinding’.

most MMOs require some degree of teamwork for parts of the game. These tasks usually require players to take on roles in the group, such as those protecting other players from damage (called tanking), “healing” damage done to other players or damaging enemies.

Some MMORPGs offer “roleplay-only” servers that prohibit interactions to other players among characters for those who want to immerse themselves in the game in this way.[6]Community resources such as forums and guides exist in support of this play style.For example, if a player wants to play a priest role in his MMORPG world, he might buy a cope from a shop and learn priestly skills, proceeding to speak, act, and interact with others as their character would. This may or may not include pursuing other goals such as wealth or experience. Guilds or similar groups with a focus on roleplaying may develop extended in-depth narratives using the setting and resources of the game world.

Most MMORPGs are deployed using a client–server system architecture. The server software generates a persistent instance of the virtual world that runs continuously, and players connect to it via client software. The client software may provide access to the entire playing world, or further ‘expansions’ may be required to be purchased to allow access to certain areas of the game. EverQuest and Guild Warsare two examples of games that use such a format. Players generally must purchase the client software for a one-time fee, although an increasing trend is for MMORPGs to work using pre-existing “thin” clients, such as a web browser.Some MMORPGs require payment of a monthly subscription to play. By nature, “massively multiplayer” games are always online, and most require some sort of continuous revenue (such as monthly subscriptions and advertisements) for maintenance and development. Some games, such as Guild Wars, have disposed of the ‘monthly fee’ model entirely, and recover costs directly through sales of the software and associated expansion packs. Still others adopt a micropayment model where the core content is free, but players are given the option to purchase additional content, such as equipment, aesthetic items, or pets. Games that make use of this model often have originated in Korea, such as Flyff and MapleStory. This business model is alternately called “pay for perks” or “freemium”, and games using it often describe themselves with the term “free-to-play”.

Depending on the number of players and the system architecture, an MMORPG might actually be run on multiple separate servers, each representing an independent world, where players from one server cannot interact with those from another; World of Warcraft is a prominent example, with each separate server housing several thousand players. In many MMORPGs the number of players in one world is often limited to around a few thousand, but a notable example of the opposite is EVE Online which accommodates several hundred thousand players on the same server, with over 60,000 playing simultaneously (June 2010[7]) at certain times. Some games allow characters to appear on any world, but not simultaneously (such as Seal Online: Evolution), others limit each character to the world in which it was created. World of Warcraft has experimented with “cross-realm” (i.e. cross-server) interaction in PvP “battlegrounds”, using server clusters or “battlegroups” to co-ordinate players looking to participate in structured PvP content such as the Warsong Gulch or Alterac Valley battlegrounds.[8] Additionally, patch 3.3, released on December 8, 2009, introduced a cross-realm “looking for group” system to help players form groups for instanced content (though not for open-world questing) from a larger pool of characters than their home server can necessarily provide.

***

Second Life’s status as a virtual world, a computer game, or a talker, is frequently debated. Unlike a traditional computer game, Second Life does not have a designated objective, nor traditional game play mechanics or rules. As it does not have any stipulated goals, it is irrelevant to talk about winning or losing in relation to Second Life. Likewise, unlike a traditional talker, Second Life contains an extensive world that can be explored and interacted with, and it can be used purely as a creative tool set if the user so chooses.

There are four types of land regions; Mainland, Private Region, Homestead and Openspace. A region comprises an area of 65,536 m2 (16.194 acres) in area, being 256 meters on each side. Mainland regions form one continuous land mass, while Private regions are islands. Openspace regions may be either Mainland or Private, but have lower prim limits and traffic use levels than Mainland regions. The owners of a Private region enjoy access to some additional controls that are not available to mainland owners; for example, they have a greater ability to alter the shape of the land. Residents must own a region (either Mainland or Private) to qualify for purchasing an Openspace region.

Linden Lab usually sells only complete 65,536 m2 (16.194 acres) regions at auction (although smaller parcels are auctioned on occasion, typically land parcels abandoned by users who have left). Once a Resident buys land they may resell it freely and use it for any purpose that it is not prohibited by the Second Life Terms of Service.

Residents may also choose to purchase, or rent, land from another Resident (a Resident landlord) rather than from Linden Lab. On a Private region, the built-in land selling controls allow the landlord to sell land in the region to another Resident while still retaining some control. Residents purchasing, or renting, land from any other party than Linden Lab are not required to hold a Premium membership nor to necessarily pay a Tier fee, although typically the landlord will require some form of upfront and/or monthly fee to compensate them for their liability to pay the Land Use Fee charged by Linden Lab. However Linden Lab acknowledges only the landlord as the owner of the land, and will not intervene in disputes between Residents. This means, for example, that a landlord can withdraw a Resident’s land from availability, without refunding their money, and Linden Lab will not arbitrate in the dispute unless it is a clear-cut matter of ‘land fraud’.

Second Life comprises the viewer (also known as the client) executing on the user’s personal computer, and several thousand servers operated by Linden Lab.

Each full region (an area of 256×256 meters) in the Second Life “grid” runs on a single dedicated core of a multi-core server. Homestead regions share 3 regions per core and Openspace Regions share 4 regions per core, running proprietary software on Debian Linux. These servers run scripts in the region, as well as providing communication between avatars and objects present in the region.

Every item in the Second Life universe is referred to as an asset. This includes the shapes of the 3D objects known as primitives, the digital images referred to as textures that decorate primitives, digitized audio clips, avatar shape and appearance, avatar skin textures, LSL scripts, information written on notecards, and so on. Each asset is referenced with a universally unique identifier or UUID.[57]

Assets are stored on Isilon Systems storage clusters,[58] comprising all data that has ever been created by anyone who has been in the SL world. Infrequently used assets are offloaded to S3 bulk storage.[59] As of December 2007, the total storage was estimated to consume 100 terabytes of server capacity.[60] The asset servers function independently of the region simulators, though the region simulators request object data from the asset servers when a new object loads into the simulator.

Each server instance runs a physics simulation to manage the collisions and interactions of all objects in that region. Objects can be nonphysical and non moving, or actively physical and movable. Complex shapes may be linked together in groups of up to 255 separate primitives. Additionally, each player’s avatar is treated as a physical object so that it may interact with physical objects in the world.[61] As of 1 April 2008, Second Life simulators use the Havok 4 physics engine for all in-world dynamics. This engine is capable of simulating thousands of physical objects at once.[62]

Linden Lab pursues the use of open standards technologies, and uses free and open source software such as Apache, MySQL, Squid and Linux.[63] The plan is to move everything to open standards by standardizing the Second Life protocol. Cory Ondrejka, former CTO[64] of Second Life, has stated that a while after everything has been standardized, both the client and the server will be released as free and open source software.

Religious organizations have also begun to open virtual meeting places within Second Life.

The Maldives was the first country to open an embassy in Second Life.[75][76] The Maldives’ embassy is located on Second Life’s “Diplomacy Island”, where visitors will be able to talk face-to-face with a computer-generated ambassador about visas, trade and other issues. “Diplomacy Island” also hosts Diplomatic Museum and Diplomatic Academy. The Island is established by DiploFoundation as part of the Virtual Diplomacy Project.

Relationships are common in Second Life, including some couples who have married online.[89] In addition, sex is often encountered (see Second Life criticism#Sex).[90] However, to access the adult sections requires age verification.[91]

There is also a large BDSM community.

Due to Second Life’s rapid growth rate, it has suffered from difficulties related to system instability. These include increased system latency, and intermittent client crashes. However, some faults are caused by the system’s use of an “asset server” cluster, on which the actual data governing objects is stored separately from the areas of the world and the avatars that use those objects. The communication between the main servers and the asset cluster appears to constitute a bottleneck which frequently causes problems.[96][97][98] Typically, when asset server downtime is announced, users are advised not to build, manipulate objects, or engage in business, leaving them with little to do but chat and generally reducing confidence in all businesses on the grid.

A more disturbing fact, believed to be caused by the same issue, is “inventory loss”[99][100][101] in which items in a user’s inventory, including those which have been paid for, can disappear without warning or permanently enter a state where they will fail to appear in-world when requested (giving an “object missing from database” error). Linden Lab offers no compensation for items that are lost in this way, although a policy change instituted in 2008 allows accounts to file support tickets when inventory loss occurs.

***

Players start the game by either selecting a previously-created character or by creating a new one. Each Eve Online account allows for up to three characters.[21] When a player creates a new character, they start by choosing one of the four playable races – Amarr, Gallente, Minmatar and Caldari. Each race is further divided into three bloodlines that give characters different pre-defined appearances, which can be finely tuned by the player.

Unlike many other MMOs, where there are numerous copies of the game universe intended to run at once (i.e., servers), Eve Online is functionally a single-universe game. There are technically four copies of the universe running (the main server “Tranquility”, the Chinese-based “Serenity”, the event test server Duality[22] that focused on organized events like mass tests and playtests coordinated by CCP and the test server “Singularity” which is subject to periodic wipes when new content is being tested[23]) but rather than starting a new “realm” when in-game population increases, CCP simply adds new features to the existing game environment.

Due to the game’s focus on freedom, consequence, and autonomy, many behaviours that are considered griefing in most MMOs are allowed in Eve, such as stealing from other players, extorting, and causing other players to be killed by large groups of NPCs.

Only malicious, prolonged and concentrated harassment where no material gain is involved and a few other actions are considered to be illicit griefing by the game’s developer.

Players can organize themselves into corporations (similar to guilds or clans in other MMOs). Corporations are run by one chief executive officer (CEO) who controls the corporation’s assets. The CEO assigns roles to corporation members such as director, accountant and personnel manager. Corporations may also band together to form alliances. Corporations and alliances come in different shapes and sizes. Some player groups write press releases about new business openings and send out IPO information to potential in-game venture capital investors. Alliances can control enough star systems that their territory can be plotted on the Eve Online game map.[32] Alliances based in lawless space often form unofficial political power blocs with other alliances. These power blocs are typically referred to as “coalitions”.

Corporations take up numerous business models such as mining, manufacturing or “ratting” (hunting NPC pirates for their bounties and loot). Corporations can levy income taxes on their members, which skim off a percentage of every member’s earnings. Many corporations offer a variety of benefits to their members, such as free or discounted ships, equipment, formal training, and organized corporate group operations.

Among the many activities that corporations can organize is piracy. Actions considered piracy generally involve breaking the in-game law, and can come in a variety of forms. Pirates may camp stargates waiting for other players to arrive, attack players operating in asteroid belts or hunt for players carrying out an NPC agent-assigned mission. Because these activities are considered to be “illegal” within the game mechanics, pirate characters often will have low security status and may even be branded as outlaws by CONCORD. Likewise, victims of overt piracy may retaliate without intervention from CONCORD, often via an expressed right to destroy the pirate ship (i.e., “kill right”). Although piracy activities are “illegal” within the game universe, they are not against the rules of the game, i.e., there will only be in-game retaliation and punishment for them.

Whole corporations and whole alliances can officially declare war on (or “war-dec”) other corporations or alliances for a weekly fee, permitting all members of the involved corporations or alliances to attack each other without loss of security status or the intervention of CONCORD.[33]The weekly fee can be eliminated if the war declaration is reciprocated. War declarations will clearly flag a player’s enemies, so the player can determine who can legally attack and be attacked.

During two weekends in July 2006, a live streaming video production called Eve TV[45][46] covered the events of the 2nd Caldari Alliance Tournament. The tournament pitted three-man teams from the top alliances against each other. Eve TV provided live in-game footage of the battles along with expert commentary. Analysis of the teams and strategies, interviews with CCP staff and behind-the-scenes specials were also aired between battles. Eve TV was produced and hosted primarily by DJs[45] from Eve-Radio (a player-run streaming radio station) with resources provided by CCP. A total of 95 matches were scheduled, with the Band of Brothers[47] alliance emerging the winner.[48]

The first two weekends in December 2006 saw the 3rd Alliance tournament. This was once again broadcast via live streaming video by Eve TV[46] The tournament saw 40 Alliances[49] pitting five-man teams against each other. Once again, the Band of Brothers[47] alliance emerged as the winner. Of particular note in this tournament was the fielding of an Imperial Apocalypse by the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate. The ship was destroyed in the semi-finals of the tournament by the COW (Cult of War) team. A last-minute attempt to arrange an 8 billion ISK ransom for the ship fell through.

According to the developers Eve Online evolved from the classic computer game Elite, which itself was based on concepts from the science-fiction role-playing game Traveller. Eve combined concepts from Elite with the multi player chat and player-versus-player aspects of Ultima Online.

Both the server and the client software for Eve Online are developed in Stackless Python, a variant of the Python programming language. Stackless Python allows a relatively large number of players to perform tasks without the overhead of using the call stack used in the standard Python distribution. This frees the game developers from performing some routine work and allows them to apply changes to the game universe without resetting the server.[64] However, the Eve cluster is taken offline daily for database and server maintenance.

One infamous example was a corporate infiltration and heist where one corporation infiltrated a target corporation over the course of nearly a year. They then performed a virtual assassination on the target’s CEO and proceeded to steal corporate property to which they had gained access. The target corporation lost billions of ISK worth of property (amounting to about $16,500 USD) and a great deal of prestige; the CEO’s expensive ship and cybernetic implants were destroyed in the attack.

***

In many MMORPGs the number of players in one world is often limited to around a few thousand, but a notable example of the opposite is EVE Online which accommodates several hundred thousand players on the same server, with over 60,000 playing simultaneously (June 2010[7]) at certain times. Some games allow characters to appear on any world, but not simultaneously (such as Seal Online: Evolution), others limit each character to the world in which it was created. World of Warcraft has experimented with “cross-realm” (i.e. cross-server) interaction in PvP “battlegrounds”, using server clusters or “battlegroups” to co-ordinate players looking to participate in structured PvP content such as the Warsong Gulch or Alterac Valley battlegrounds.[8] Additionally, patch 3.3, released on December 8, 2009, introduced a cross-realm “looking for group” system to help players form groups for instanced content (though not for open-world questing) from a larger pool of characters than their home server can necessarily provide.

Recent findings included that 15% of players become a guild-leader at one time or another, but most generally find the job tough and thankless;[17] and that players spend a considerable amount of time (often a third of their total time investment) doing things that are external to gameplay but part of the metagame.

Many players report that the emotions they feel while playing an MMORPG are very strong, to the extent that 8.7% of male and 23.2% of female players in a statistical study have had an online wedding.[19] Other researchers have found that the enjoyment of a game is directly related to the social organization of a game, ranging from brief encounters between players to highly organized play in structured groups.

It was also found that 57% of gamers had created a character of the opposite gender, and it is suggested that the online female persona has a number of positive social attributes.

Achievers – Also known as “Diamonds,” these are players who prefer to gain “points,” levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of succeeding in a game. They will go to great lengths to achieve rewards that confer them little or no gameplay benefit simply for the prestige of having it.

One of the appeals of online gaming to the Achiever is that he or she has the opportunity to show off their skill and hold elite status to others. They value (or despise) the competition from other Achievers, and look to the Socializers to give them praise. As they achieve more, they are no longer easy targets of the Killers and may enjoy their new position on the food chain. These gamers also tend to like seeing their user names at the top of scoreboards and ladder systems. Many games cater to these players by offering special titles and a special exclusive mounts to those that place in the top of the competitive Arena ladder.

In many ways, the Achiever is the style of play most targeted by the MMORPG genre.

Explorers – Explorers, dubbed “Spades” for their tendency to dig around, are players who prefer discovering areas, creating maps and learning about hidden places. They often feel restricted when a game expects them to move on within a certain time, as that does not allow them to look around at their own pace. They find great joy in discovering an unknown glitch or a hidden easter egg.

In these games, you find yourself in a strange place, and the objective is to find your way out by paying close attention to detail and solving puzzles. The Explorer will often enrich themselves in any back story or lore they can find about the people and places in-game. Whereas an Achiever may forget about previous games as soon as they’ve conquered them, the Explorer will retain rich memories about what they experienced about their adventures.

Socializers – There are a multitude of gamers who choose to play games for the social aspect, rather than the actual game itself. These players are known as Socializers or “Hearts.” They gain the most enjoyment from a game by interacting with other players, and on some occasions, computer-controlled characters with personality. The game is merely a tool they use to meet others in-game or outside of it.

they play some of the more popular games so that they can use their experience to socialize with others who have played them, or use the multi-player features.

The online environment is very appealing to the Socializer, as it provides near limitless potential for new relationships. Socializers start filling up their friend lists as soon as they start meeting people, and get to know them better through private messages and sometimes even voice chat. They take full advantage of the ability to join guilds or kinships in many online games, and form fast friendships and try to help other people out.

Killers – “Clubs” is a very accurate moniker for what the Killer likes to do. They thrive on competition with other players, and prefer fighting them to scripted computer-controlled opponents.

These gamers love to sow destruction, so games that are high in carnage, action, and destructible environments are definitely a plus. Many of these gamers also enjoy the opportunity to depart from the norm of being “the good guy” who comes to save the day. Instead, they will play on the side of evil or conquest. On the flip side, Killers also represent the archetype which is most interested in affecting their environment, so sandbox games in which they can take a direct hand in building (or destroying) a virtual society will appeal to them as well.

otoh, nothing amounts to the joy of pitting one’s skills against an actual player-controlled opponent. For most, the joy of being a Killer results from a friendly competitive spirit. They’re in it for the sport, trying to read their opponent’s moves and generally acting with honor. For others, it’s more about power and the ability to hurt others. One such example is “ganking” or “owning”, a process where the Killer takes their strong character to a place where inexperienced or weaker characters reside, and proceeds to kill them repeatedly.

Market control appeals strongly to Killers, many of whom have a natural talent for reading markets (likely an extension of their common aptitude for sizing up strengths and weaknesses, vital to their play style). Social Killers tend to be guild, clan, or community leaders—or trolls.

Richard Bartle also created an 8-part version of his player types model for virtual world players.[4]

  • Friend
  • Griefer
  • Hacker
  • Networker
  • Opportunist
  • Planner
  • Politician
  • Scientist

***

Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.

In simple terms, it is the use of out-of-game information or resources to affect one’s in-game decisions.

The term is also used to refer to a game with moves that consist of creating or modifying the rules of another game, the target or subject game, to maximize the utility of the resulting rule set. Thus, we could play a metagame of optimizing the rules of “chess-like” games to maximize the satisfaction of play, and perhaps arrive at the rules of standard chess as an optimum. This is related to mechanism design theory in which the metagame would be to create or make changes in the management rules or policy of an organization to maximize its effectiveness or profitability. Constitutional design can be seen as a metagame of assembling the provisions of a written constitution to optimize a balance of values such as justice, liberty, and security, with the constitution being the rules of the game of government that would result.

In role-playing games, a player is metagaming when they use knowledge that is not available to their character in order to change the way they play their character (usually to give them an advantage within the game), such as knowledge of the mathematical nature of character statistics, or the statistics of a creature that the player is familiar with but the character has never encountered. In general, it refers to any gaps between player knowledge and character knowledge which the player acts upon.

Within actual entertainment games, the term metagame is used to describe either a game system layered over the game system, to increase enjoyable complexity, or a game system by which game rules are created, such as Nomic.

Some card games and board games allow dynamic rule changes depending on extraneous events, such as distinct states of weather or commercials on the television.

***

Emergent gameplay refers to complex situations in video games, board games, or table top role-playing games that emerge from the interaction of relatively simple game mechanics.[1]

More recently game designers have attempted to encourage emergent play by providing tools to players such as placing web browsers within the game engine (such as in EVE Online, The Matrix Online), providing XML integration tools and programming languages (Second Life), fixing exchange rates (Entropia Universe), and allowing a player to spawn any object that they desire to solve a puzzle (Scribblenauts).

In games with complex physics and flexible object interaction it may be possible to complete in-game problems using solutions that the game designers did not foresee.

Some rare games don’t use a pre-planned story structure, even non linear.

In The Sims, a story may emerge from the actions of the player. But the player is given so much control that they are more creating a story than interacting with a story.[5] Emergent narrative would only partially be created by the player. Warren Spector, the designer of Deus Ex, has argued that emergent narrative lacks the emotional impact of linear storytelling.

Completing games without getting certain items or by skipping seemingly required portions of gameplay result in sequence breaking, a technique that has developed its own dedicated community. Often, speed of completion and/or minimalist use of items are respectable achievements.

In games with no financial law game mechanism, players develop financial institutions. Forms include banks or investment schemes launched with an Initial public offering, typically based purely on trust.

Emergent gameplay appears when there is good game simulation according to Peter Molyneux, creator of Populous and other games. Simulated worlds allow players to play around the world and should respond realistically to player’s actions. This is what made SimCity and The Sims compelling to people. Similarly, being able to freely interact with the city’s inhabitants in the Grand Theft Auto series adds an extra dimension to the games.

***

Nomic is a game in which changing the rules is a move. In that respect it differs from almost every other game. The primary activity of Nomic is proposing changes in the rules, debating the wisdom of changing them in that way, voting on the changes, deciding what can and cannot be done afterwards, and doing it. Even this core of the game, of course, can be changed.

While the victory condition in Suber’s initial ruleset is the accumulation of 100 points by the roll of a die, he once said that “this rule is deliberately boring so that players will quickly amend it to please themselves.”[3] Players can change the rules to such a degree that points can become irrelevant in favor of a true currency, or make victory an unimportant concern. Any rule in the game, including the rules specifying the criteria for winning and even the rule that rules must be obeyed, can be changed. Any loophole in the ruleset, however, may allow the first player to discover it the chance to pull a “scam” and modify the rules to win the game. Complicating this process is the fact that Suber’s initial ruleset allows for the appointment of judges to preside over issues of rule interpretation.

Initially, gameplay occurs in clockwise order, with each player taking a turn. In that turn, they propose a change in rules that all the other players vote on, and then roll a die to determine the number of points they add to their score. If this rule change is passed, it comes into effect at the end of their round. Any rule can be changed with varying degrees of difficulty, including the core rules of the game itself. As such, the gameplay may quickly change.

Under Suber’s initial ruleset, rules are divided up into two types: mutable and immutable. The main difference between these is that immutable rules must be changed into mutable rules (called transmuting) before they can be modified or removed. Immutable rules also take precedence over mutable ones. A rule change may be:

  • the addition of a new mutable rule
  • an amendment to a mutable rule
  • the repeal of a mutable rule
  • the transmutation of a rule from mutable to immutable
  • or the transmutation of a rule from immutable to mutable

Alternative starting rulesets exist for Internet and mail games, wherein gameplay occurs in alphabetical order by surname, and points added to the score are based on the success of a proposed rule change rather than random dice rolls.

Not only can every aspect of the rules be altered in some way over the course of a game of Nomic, but myriad variants also exist: some that have themes, begin with a single rule, or begin with a dictator instead of a democratic process to validate rules. Others combine Nomic with an existing game (such as Monopoly, chess,[4] or in one humorously paradoxical attempt, Mornington Crescent[5]). There is even a version in which the players are games of Nomic themselves. Even more unusual variants include a ruleset in which the rules are hidden from players’ view, and a game which, instead of allowing voting on rules, splits into two sub-games, one with the rule, and one without it.

Online versions often have initial rulesets where play is not turn-based; typically, players in such games may propose rule changes at any time, rather than having to wait for their turn.

The game of Nomic is particularly suited to being played online, where all proposals and rules can be shared in web pages or email archives for ease of reference. Such games of Nomic sometimes last for a very long time – Agora has been running since 1993. The longevity of nomic games can pose a serious problem, in that the rulesets can grow so complex that current players do not fully understand them and prospective players are deterred from joining. One currently-active game, BlogNomic, gets around this problem by dividing the game into “dynasties”; every time someone wins, a new dynasty begins, and all the rules except a privileged few are repealed. This keeps the game relatively simple and accessible. Nomicron is similar in that it has rounds — when a player wins a round, a convention is started to plan for the next round. Several rounds experimented with an alternate form of ruleset made up of books and pages.

Another facet of Nomic is the way in which the implementation of the rules affects the way the game of Nomic itself works. ThermodyNomic, for example, had a ruleset in which rule changes were carefully considered before implementation, and rules were rarely introduced which provide loopholes for the players to exploit. B Nomic, by contrast, was once described by one of its players[who?] as “the equivalent of throwing logical hand grenades.”

***

Onverse is both a social network and a virtual world.[8] Its website includes popular features of social networking, including: avatars profiles, media sharing, user comments, microblogging and an interactive forum.

Main features of the virtual world include:

  • A large amount of free content (e.g., apartments, clothing, furniture, tools, clothes)
  • Player Points (see Economy) to purchase upgraded tools, furniture, pets, clothing and homes[12]
  • Games and puzzles that produce rewards
  • A large variety of settings to chat and interact with other avatars in
  • Official competitions and events for Cash Coin rewards (see Economy)

The World

The Learning Center

The Learning Center consists of a series of tutorials. All new players spawn in the Learning Center in the hopes that they will complete the tutorials. Completing the tutorials is optional, but encouraged.

The Hub

The Hub is the central shopping district and contains many themed stores. The Hub features the Shark Tank Nightclub, a popular hangout destination. It is notable because its entrance is shaped like a shark’s mouth. The Hub contains Metroview apartments, a large apartment complex that features free apartments, deluxe apartments and penthouses. The Hub also encompasses surrounding areas including Blue Water Bay. To celebrate the 2009 Holiday Season the Hub was decorated with snowmen, Christmas trees and falling snow. The Hub was decorated to celebrate Independence Day 2009, and Spring 2010 as well, albeit on a smaller scale.

Volcano Island

Volcano Island was the first community available. It has a tropical island theme (i.e., Hawaiian) with many different areas and secret caves. The island gets its name from “Old Smokey,” a large active volcano. Housing is Tuscan themed and encompasses dwellings such as bungalows to mansions. Volcano Island has a few island-themed shops and Paradise Apartments which contains apartments and deluxe apartments.

***

Choose your side.
Fight the invasions.

Adventure in the world of Telara as either a noble Guardian or technomagical Defiant and enter a dynamic MMORPG where 8 primal forces battle for control in an ever-changing landscape.

Adventure in the world of Telara as either a noble Guardian or technomagical Defiant and enter a dynamic fantasy where 8 primal forces battle for control in an ever-changing landscape. Build your own class using the Ascended Soul system and embark on epic conflicts that bring you into the story, taking your RPG experience to new heights of achievement and excitement!

Massive Dynamic Battles:  Invasions unfold zone-wide, creating epic conflicts that bring you into the story! Save the world now alongside hundreds of other players or fight to reclaim lands from invading hordes.
8 Primal Forces:  Creatures from the Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Life, and Death planes battle for control of the world of Telara! Two warring factions—the Guardians and the Defiant—face off against each other and fight extra-planar creatures as they seek to save the world.
Build Your Class:  No other game lets you build your class the way RIFT does. Specialize in a single class or pick and choose abilities from many to create a character uniquely suited to your play style—and have fun while you experiment!
Choose Your Role:  Each character can have up to five different roles, so you can choose different classes for every situation! You might have one for PvP and another for raids; or perhaps you want a high-damage or high-defense build. The choice is yours to mix and match as you see fit!
PvP Combat:  Battle others in exhilarating Player vs. Player combat! Earn PvP ranks, titles, loot, and unique Souls to further enhance your character. Head to cross-server Warfronts and fight others in world PvP.
Full-Featured:  Guilds, dungeons, raids, auctions, crafting, a vibrant economy, Player vs. Player combat, and more!
Deeper Gameplay:  New features like Guild Quests and Artifact Collections enhance your gaming experience by giving you earned achievements that matter.
Highly Accessible HD Graphics:  Play a game that has stunning visuals on virtually any computer, even if your PC isn’t state-of-the-art.

Every player experiences a different adventure in the living, breathing world of Telara. RIFT™ has all of the traditional quests and deep story arcs you expect from a fantasy MMO role-playing game, but there is unpredictability to life in Telara that guarantees even familiar terrain can offer new dangers and opportunities.

Whether it’s a previously peaceful farm being ravaged by demons, a tranquil forest glen suddenly ripped apart by a violent rift, or merely an unassuming traveling merchant with astounding wares, spontaneous events are taking place all across Telara for you to discover and take part in.

The ebb and flow of activity in Telara is always changing. Thousands of unexpected encounters are occurring at any moment, making every adventure unique — with more being added all the time. And just like in real life, you can revisit favorite haunts to see what’s different, adding a novel sense of exploration to even well-trodden ground.

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About jeanne

artist, grandma, alien

Posted on November 29, 2011, in game, research. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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