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  How does it work in a MMORPG?  (Read 6185 times)
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Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Posted 2006-05-16 14:50:25 »

I would first like to say that I'm NOT planning on building a MMORPG in 21 days using Java‚Ķso don't panic.   Grin  Instead, I just have a couple gameplay questions regarding what is considered the typical way of handling some situations in modern MMORPGs.  To be honest, I've never really looked that closely at the format.  I am a big fan of face-to-face RPGing but just never had the time / money to invest in any of the online incarnations so it's got a lot of unknowns to me.   Huh

This question is really regarding how these games treat your avatar when you're not online.  I am going to guess there are probably "safe places" in the game where you can return to rest and recover ( please correct me if I'm wrong ).  Let's say you're wandering around a dungeon or a country side and no where near such a location, what happens when you have to log off to go to work?

If your avatar remains visible in the game world and another player wanders by, do you have any level of protection or can they just wack you with their weapon and steal all your stuff.  Assuming you are not placed in some state of invulnerability while off-line, is the combat system in these games abstracted enough that your avatar will defend itself with some degree of success ( and you may even return to the game later to find the corpse of someone that tried to attack you laying at the ground by your feet )?   Cool
Offline Alan_W

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Medals: 8
Projects: 3


Java tames rock!


« Reply #1 - Posted 2006-05-16 18:27:37 »

On WoW, you disappear from the gameworld when you log out.  I think your avatar may persist a bit, particularly if you disconnected when in a fight (to try to escape).  You reappear when you log in.

From a players perspective, it's best to return to an Inn before logging off.  IIRC your recover rate when offline depends on where you are.

I haven't played for a bit.  There isn't enough time in my life.  Really should cancel my account realistically.

Time flies like a bird. Fruit flies like a banana.
Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #2 - Posted 2006-05-16 20:58:01 »

So in WoW you don't have any offline presence to speak of.  That's the easiest way for sure but a little surprising.

Can anyone comment on how some of the other big names in the field handle this?  Is this the common method used? 

I was thinking in terms of some "moves per day" browser-based games in which combat is completely abstracted and your in-game presence persists while you're off line, so you could be attacked, and defend yourself, while not being logged in.  I sort of had the impression that a disapearing avatar was sort of a "cheap" ( in terms of effort ) way of handling the issue and therefore the big MMORPGs would probably be doing something else.
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Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




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« Reply #3 - Posted 2006-05-17 03:52:37 »

I cant think of a currewnt MMo that derosnt remove you from the world.l

I understand WOW gives you an exp bonus next time you play though for time spent offline.

(Reward your players for NOT using your machine!  Sheer genius!)

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Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #4 - Posted 2006-05-17 12:24:52 »

You know, Jeff, that's not really that bad of an idea. 

It reduces the load on the server for having to handle people that feel they must log in on regular basis just to get SOMETHING.  It also reduces the stress you give your player since they know if real life is getting in the way of their gamming for a while they can just come back to it later and will not only be safe, but will have also accumulated at least a little experience.  A pretty good approach I think to keeping your players as paying members thru active and inactive periods without creating any resentment in them for having to put in any extra effort on their part ( and even getting some reward for no effort....the American Way!  Grin )
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




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« Reply #5 - Posted 2006-05-19 04:03:47 »

Nope its not as bad idea...

But I think its ironic that peopel are paying fro a service you then reward them not to use...

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Offline Kova

Senior Member





« Reply #6 - Posted 2006-05-19 14:29:47 »

maybe ironic, but developers surely aren't complaining...  Lips Sealed
Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #7 - Posted 2006-05-19 15:03:13 »

I'll admit I never would have thought of it...but now that i have....   Roll Eyes

Maybe develop a MMORPG that lets you earn points FASTER by being off-line.  In fact, punish the user for being active.  how does this sound:

SlothWorld
Set in a modern world.  You log on and create a character.  You then set its state to something like "Lay on couch and watch TV", "Sit in front of computer and browze porn", 'Get in car and go to fast food drive in".

Each state will only keep your character entertained for a general period of time, modified by attributes you set when creating your character ( such as Fat, AntiSocial, etc ).  When that activity stops holding thier attention  then he'll get up and start wandering around looking for something productive to do.  As long as you are productive you start loosing points, so you have to try to keep you character engrossed in time consuming, unproductive activities ( during which time you gain points ).  The goal is to only have to log in rarely. 

To keep you up to date, you will get emails from your character letting you know how they're doing.  Such as "I found this great site which links the Bush family to the Kennedy assasination.  This will take at least six hours to read!"

What do you think?  Should I patent it???
 Grin
Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #8 - Posted 2006-05-22 19:49:46 »

Not to beat a dead horse, but I have a "fair play" question on this topic.

If your avatar vanishes when you log out, what prevents players from just disconnecting as soon as they're loosing a battle?  The only thing I can think of to limit this cowardly exploit would be to make your avatar remain in-game, uncontrolled and generally defenseless for a few seconds ( 5 - 15 seconds ) after you log off. 

This would encourage players to find a safe spot before logging off, and also if they try to log off while loosing a fight there's a good chance they'll be destroyed before they disappear completely.  However, that may be "too harsh" so I'm not sure if it's something else.
Offline Mr_Light

Senior Member


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shiny.


« Reply #9 - Posted 2006-05-22 20:13:28 »

thats usually inplented next to that if your battling your likely to be cought in the battle right wenn you log on too.

It's harder to read code than to write it. - it's even harder to write readable code.

The gospel of brother Riven: "The guarantee that all bugs are in *your* code is worth gold." Amen brother a-m-e-n.
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
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Offline nva225

Junior Member





« Reply #10 - Posted 2006-05-25 04:03:15 »

Simple enough really. When you're fighting anything in the game (i.e. you have been recently hit, and are still in a preset range of said thing that hit you), you enter a "combat state". This, among modifying other in game abilities (some may require out of combat for stealth purposes) will modify the log off procedure such that you cannot exit the game the normal way. If you crash, you could still potentially exit, *however* at this point I think you should keep the character in game for 15-30 seconds, giving any opponent ample time to finish off said cowardly foe.
Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #11 - Posted 2006-05-25 12:12:38 »

I appreciate the comments.  i'm glad to hear I wasn't thinking too harshly when I thought if someone disconnected to try to avoid death they should be forced to "hang around" for a little while.

On the other side of the coin, let's say someone has been playing for a couple hours and needed to log off.  They were no where near a "safe zone" so they found a nice, quiet spot in the wilderness well off he travelled routes.  When they log back on the next day, they discover that a group of hungry trolls has set up camp at that spot to feast on a group of dwarves they captured.  Do you:

1.  Automatically give players entering the game a few seconds of invulnerability to "look around" and get their bearings.
2.  Set a "ENTRY_SAFE" flag to "true" if the player logged off from a safe location.  If the location is no longer safe at log in, move the player a short distance in a random location so he's still in a safe zone.  If it was "false" at logout then he stays where he is.  No invulnerability period is granted.
3.  Just let fate rule.  If it's a safe spot to login then great.  If not, well, that's fate.  No invulnerability.  Think fast or become stew.

My thought is to lean at #2.  There would be complexity to the random movement to keep the character in an area already explored by them and that they could have gotten to from the entry zone ( don't want to put them on the other side of a locked door for example ).  But it seems most fair.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #12 - Posted 2006-06-09 21:25:17 »

Not to beat a dead horse, but I have a "fair play" question on this topic.

If your avatar vanishes when you log out, what prevents players from just disconnecting as soon as they're loosing a battle?  The only thing I can think of to limit this cowardly exploit would be to make your avatar remain in-game, uncontrolled and generally defenseless for a few seconds ( 5 - 15 seconds ) after you log off. 

This is called CADing in MMO jargon.  (COntrol-Alt-Delete, the fastest way on an old DOS box to end your session.)

As many have noted the usual answer to cadding is to force you to stay in game for 15 or 30 seconds after you disconnect.  Many games do this *whenever* you disconnect even if you are not currentl;y in combat (CoH/CoV for instance).

The down side is that the penalizes people with flaky connection who might have a genuine disconnect and get kileld while they are unable to respond. Alas there is NO way to tell a legitimate disconnect from a user turnign off their modem or pulling the cable out, so this is generally just accepted as a necessary limitation and players try not to play on flaky connections.


Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

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Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #13 - Posted 2006-06-20 16:05:47 »

Back when I used to play the original Command & Conquer on 1v1 dial-up connections there was one person that seemed to be able to play one game after another for hours on end with no connection issues...as long as he was winning.  As soon as I snuck a bunch of stealh tanks into his base or successed in a daring capture raid of his manufacturing facilities, he would have a "problem" with his line and disconnect.  He'd call me up all apologetically with an excuse like call-waiting beep messed him up or his wife had to use the phone for an emergency, and ask if we could restart.

That was when I determined if I ever make a multiplayer game it will carry some penalty for disconnects as a means of avoiding loss. 
Offline Mr_Light

Senior Member


Medals: 1


shiny.


« Reply #14 - Posted 2006-06-20 21:10:13 »

thats hardly computergaming related, I mean howmany ppl accidentally bumbed against the board whilst playing chess or checkers?

c&c and it's "game is out of sync" or was that with RA? those flamethrowing tanks weren't nearly as cool as the mammot tanks. \o/

It's harder to read code than to write it. - it's even harder to write readable code.

The gospel of brother Riven: "The guarantee that all bugs are in *your* code is worth gold." Amen brother a-m-e-n.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #15 - Posted 2006-06-20 22:00:20 »

thats hardly computergaming related, I mean howmany ppl accidentally bumbed against the board whilst playing chess or checkers?

c&c and it's "game is out of sync" or was that with RA? those flamethrowing tanks weren't nearly as cool as the mammot tanks. \o/

Well true... but the distance and anonymity of the net make the likelyhood of real social repercussions much lower.

Which, unfortunately, encourages such behavior in some people.

Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

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Offline gamepro65

Senior Newbie





« Reply #16 - Posted 2006-06-21 04:59:23 »

\On the other side of the coin, let's say someone has been playing for a couple hours and needed to log off.  They were no where near a "safe zone" so they found a nice, quiet spot in the wilderness well off he travelled routes.  When they log back on the next day, they discover that a group of hungry trolls has set up camp at that spot to feast on a group of dwarves they captured.
To answer your question what happens is when you log off after it has taken you out of the world your just non existant. your in a list of people not online thus there is no need for a "save zone". When you log back on the game then will persue you the way it does any other player. This is why i can be outside the exit of a boss dungeon with a WoW penalty of being on too long, then log off wait a few hours come back get the xp bonus then kill the boss (assuming he is still there). Hope this makes any sence to you.
Offline OverKill

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #17 - Posted 2006-06-21 06:58:03 »

@OP:
Many games simply plop you back to the place you just where.
Though that can be exploited.

If I were the designer.. you can log out where you want, but your avatar will not.
Safe areas are good, though also exploitable.

Never underestimate how players will try and manipulate the game.
'accidential' disconnects right before losing is a common tactic.

I cant think of a currewnt MMo that derosnt remove you from the world.l

I understand WOW gives you an exp bonus next time you play though for time spent offline.

(Reward your players for NOT using your machine!  Sheer genius!)
Not really as the bonus was not that great.
Helped those that do not play as much as the other to at least not fall that far back compared to 24/7 players.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #18 - Posted 2006-06-22 21:42:10 »

@OP:
Many games simply plop you back to the place you just where.
Though that can be exploited.

If I were the designer.. you can log out where you want, but your avatar will not.
Safe areas are good, though also exploitable.

Only problem with safe areas is that, if they arent easily reachable, you run into the "I gotta go NOW but Im gonan get scrod for it" real life v. the game problem.


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Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #19 - Posted 2006-06-23 16:55:36 »

In order to limit the capabilities of abusive players, you have to set hard limits within the game.  There are always cases where those limits will impact someone that had a legit problem or reason.  But an honors system just does not work when people have no reason to be honorable. 

This happens as much in real life as it does in the game world.  We have situations where we take an action or risk that may have unwanted consequences for it.  Sometimes this is because we think we can get away with it.  Other times it is because we have other influences in our decision process that out weigh the potential risk.  Speeding on the highway.  Cheating on your taxes.  Stealing pens from work.  Logging out of a game that's still in progress.

The rules have to exist and applied consistently.  A ( hopefully ) small percentage of times it will catch and punish someone that had a legit situation. I believe it would be better to keep the level of punishment low and aligned with the "crime", make sure all players know about these very clearly, and let the player plead thier case directly to the game admins if they feel it was not appropriate.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #20 - Posted 2006-06-23 20:28:36 »

In order to limit the capabilities of abusive players, you have to set hard limits within the game.  There are always cases where those limits will impact someone that had a legit problem or reason.  But an honors system just does not work when people have no reason to be honorable. 

Im not disagreeing with your theory, but this can be taken to extremes and be a real problem for the player.

It used to be that, when you died, in many games you had to get abck to your corpse or suffer server penalties.  It could take hours to return to your corpse.  People in the real world have schedules.  After they get stuck staying up until 2:30am because they were palnning to log at midnight but died at 11:53 they are that much *less* likely to play your game again.  Similarly sometimes real life just takes precdence.  If I my wife comes home really upset about something I need to deal with that-- now!

These are things you have to consider,  The msot successful games are turning otu to be ones that DONT put huge time comittment costs on the players.  Ones where you can drop in and drop out on pretty much a moment's notice. 

CoH/CoV does a *fair* job of this at lower levels. At high levels though it starts to break dow wtih the longer mroe difficult missions...

Quote
This happens as much in real life as it does in the game world.

Never a good comparison. Most people play games to *escape* the issues of the real world.  And  in the end, to any healthy player, your game is far less important then the real world.

 

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Offline beowulf03809

Junior Member




We live for the code, we die for the code


« Reply #21 - Posted 2006-06-26 13:58:02 »

Jeff, I agree completely with your counter points.  In fact, the reason I haven't played any current MMORPGs is simply because I do not have the time.  My only currentl online game activity is a browser based game that I can play with about 2 - 5 minutes of activity at a time.  It cranks along in real time ( one tick per hour ) and I just check it now and then thru the day, issue a couple orders and log off.  When work spikes up to 50+ hour weeks, or my home life has an increase in responsibilities, or I simply need a  break from anything computer related, I may be off line for a few days at a time.  I don't even think twice about this.

A key difference is that it is a strategy game and my territories continue to exist and may still be attacked while I'm off line.  My choice to depart even when my enemies of tens of thousands of forces heading my way does not in any way effect their attack.  The game offers a "holiday mode" which can be used to suspend and protect your territories for an extended period of time.  In holiday mode you cannot log in, you cannot issue orders, all growth and development stop, etc, and no one can launch new attacks against you.  If you go into holiday mode after an attack has been launched, it still goes thru but no new ones can launch.

But, believe it or not, players have still found ways to abuse holiday mode and the developers have been trying to address those weaknesses.

In a more "live" game, perhaps having the game keep track of how many times a player logs off while in a "bad situation" would be a good option.  If this happens very infrequently then the game just assumes "that's life" and lets the player go on as usual.  If the player starts getting a higher ratio they may be warned that it is looking like a pattern. If it continues, then they start getting time penalties.  Play long enough without doing it and your ratio starts going back down.

Again, this leaves room for abuse such as "saving up" and only doing it when thigs are REALLY bad.  But as we can see, there is no mechanism that can be put in place to deter abuse that does not in turn abuse the innocent.  It's just a matter of degree.  The same goes for cheating in other ways as well.
Offline DavidBoBavid

Senior Newbie





« Reply #22 - Posted 2006-07-22 16:27:04 »

On the other side of the coin, let's say someone has been playing for a couple hours and needed to log off.  They were no where near a "safe zone" so they found a nice, quiet spot in the wilderness well off he travelled routes.  When they log back on the next day, they discover that a group of hungry trolls has set up camp at that spot to feast on a group of dwarves they captured.  Do you:

1.  Automatically give players entering the game a few seconds of invulnerability to "look around" and get their bearings.
2.  Set a "ENTRY_SAFE" flag to "true" if the player logged off from a safe location.  If the location is no longer safe at log in, move the player a short distance in a random location so he's still in a safe zone.  If it was "false" at logout then he stays where he is.  No invulnerability period is granted.
3.  Just let fate rule.  If it's a safe spot to login then great.  If not, well, that's fate.  No invulnerability.  Think fast or become stew.

My thought is to lean at #2.  There would be complexity to the random movement to keep the character in an area already explored by them and that they could have gotten to from the entry zone ( don't want to put them on the other side of a locked door for example ).  But it seems most fair.

in WoW, there are no wandering bands.. so that sort of thing can't happen.  however, if you log off while in the wilderness, and not a town, whn you log back in, you'll be in exactly the same place. i've heard of people logging in and getting ganked before they know whats going on, because they just appeared in front of a group of players..haha.

as to not being near a safe place, every character in WoW has a hearthstone, which is sort of like a magical portal to an inn. you can change the inn it brings you too when you're visiting it. so normally people hearth back to their inn before logging out. the hearthstone also has a 1 hour cooldown, and you can't use it while in combat, so you can't use it as a quick travel while you're playing, nor to save yourself from an asswhooping. except paladins. they can do all sort of cheap stuff. lol.

anyway.. not totally sure this is what you were looking for, but that's how wow works, so hope it helps you get some ideas.
Offline Eli Delventhal

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Exp: 10 years


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« Reply #23 - Posted 2006-10-02 17:47:56 »

Nope its not as bad idea...

But I think its ironic that peopel are paying fro a service you then reward them not to use...
I was not paying for WoW for 3 months then reactivated my subscription and I had 2 levels (the maximum) of "rested" or double xp time. So you don't have to pay to get the level xp bonus. And I think the rate at which it goes up is the same for being offline or in an inn/town. It doesn't double if you are doing both. If you are in a town while playing, the bar goes up, and if you are offline anywhere, the bar goes up.

See my work:
OTC Software
Offline Eli Delventhal

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Projects: 11
Exp: 10 years


Game Engineer


« Reply #24 - Posted 2006-10-02 18:00:32 »

as to not being near a safe place, every character in WoW has a hearthstone, which is sort of like a magical portal to an inn. you can change the inn it brings you too when you're visiting it. so normally people hearth back to their inn before logging out. the hearthstone also has a 1 hour cooldown, and you can't use it while in combat, so you can't use it as a quick travel while you're playing, nor to save yourself from an asswhooping. except paladins. they can do all sort of cheap stuff. lol.

anyway.. not totally sure this is what you were looking for, but that's how wow works, so hope it helps you get some ideas.

And also, about this: the cooldown (1 hour) for the hearthstone is not the issue. It's the 10 second casting time. If anything hits you while casting, the casting time goes back down to 0. The reason a "paladin can abuse this" is because a very high level paladin can put up an invulnerabiliy shield for 12 seconds. This may seem imbalanced, but generally it does not factor down to a true 12 seconds - 10 seconds = 2 extra seconds with a shield. Generally the hearthstone spell doesn't start casting until a few seconds after the shield has been on, and so this doesn't even work. Plus, many other classes have similar ways to keep the enemy off them long enough to hearth (a thief can sap, a mage can polymorph, etc. etc.) so in reality it is not paladins that are cheap it's just that if you really really want to you can generally get a hearth off at high levels.

That being said, there is asolutely NO penalty for being killed by another player other than the long walk back to your body, which is at most 10 minutes. The real penalty would be hearthing to get away from death, because then it may cost you up to 45 minutes to get back to where you were. Payoff? No. I have a level 57 paladin with probably 300 hours of playtime (I know, it's pathetic) and I have never once used the "bubble hearth" technique, because it's a pain in the butt and has no payoff. Similarly, using it as any other class has the same lack of payoff, and therefore it shouldn't even be factored in as something players can potentially abuse.

See my work:
OTC Software
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