Skyrim is educational!

Loque Nahak

One step forward:

I’m 11 hours into Skyrim, right now (level 9) and boy… coming from WoW it seems I’ve been playing a videogame for small children, really.

One step back:

Skyrim dinamically adds side-quests on the go, stuff changes based on what happens… That’s almost impossible in a persistent online world, shared by thousands of players. Unless you instance something of course.

EVE just ‘dynamically’ added a pretty awesome side-quest for my Corp last night; we got war-decced. Time to hide in our instance!

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in EVE Online, Random, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Skyrim is educational!

  1. Randomessa says:

    And then people think GW2 is full of crap for even trying to add dynamic, non-instanced PvE content like that. Or lying about it. Gee, I guess it’s not possible then!

    • SynCaine says:

      Rift also has ‘dynamic’ content, remember? Actually it’s THE MOST dynamic, Trion said so themselves!

      I’m hoping GW2 is a huge step forward in that regard, but from what (little) I’ve experienced, I’m not holding my breath.

      • Randomessa says:

        You go ahead and talk in absolutes (most dynamic EVER or it didn’t happen). I’l just be over here revelling in the improvements, the ways in which it is closer and closer to the ideal (and my ideal is not EVE).

        • Rammstein says:

          “most dynamic ever” is a superlative, not an absolute.

          p.s. I think you missed both the #sarcasm and #quotingsomeoneelse hashtags there, randomessa :)

        • Randomessa says:

          I didn’t miss the sarcasm, I just antagonized back. Syn and I won’t see eye to eye on the mattter, so I might as well have fun with it!

        • Rammstein says:

          I guess I haven’t seen you ask for anything that doesn’t fit in the framework of the PVE sandbox he describes. You say things like: “I make no differentiation between a single-player sandbox and a multiplayer one, that is to say, content is largely provided by the devs in the form of environment and NPCs, and not by players. I don’t have an interest in acting on other players, or they on me; I wish to act cooperatively WITH other players on the world (hence, PvE).”

          Acting cooperatively with others players IS the differentiation between a single-player sandbox and a multiplayer one, no? You’ve contradicted yourself quite quickly, in that respect, but I think the larger issue is where you say a sandbox = content is provided by the devs. I’m not really into arguing semantics, but it’s just so fricking obvious that a sandbox game should be largely about player provided content, because that’s what a real sandbox is, a box filled with sand, where you have to build everything yourself. A. I think we should settle semantical debates by using the blog-owners definition, unless the term already has a strict meaning elsewhere, which it does, but it’s the same in this case, so…yea. B. I really don’t understand what point/purpose is served by you differing semantically here. What larger purpose are you attempting to further? Trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here.

        • Randomessa says:

          Rammstein, I don’t differentiate between a single-player and multiplayer sandbox because you aren’t making your own content in Skyrim unless you use the modding tools. You don’t make the dragons attack, and the NPCs aren’t manned by GMs. I do, in fact, disagree that a sandbox by necessity requires player-generated content, then, because the Skyrim I’m playing doesn’t have any.

          Feel free to doubt my intentions or point out what else should be freaking obvious to me, but let me be clear: I see nothing at all necessary about players generating their own content for a multiplayer MMO to be a sandbox, unless there is some way to build a city from scratch in Skyrim that I don’t know about.

          Are you suggesting that I can’t agree to disagree with a man’s definitions on his blog? You’re welcome to come disagree with mine on mine.

        • Rammstein says:

          As near as I can tell, your definition of a sandbox is “whatever it needs to be to make Skyrim a sandbox”. That’s useless for any rational purpose. Enjoy whatever it is you think you’re accomplishing by doing so, I’ll bow out before I waste any more time.

          “Are you suggesting that I can’t agree to disagree with a man’s definitions on his blog?”

          I’d be the last from saying you lack the ability to do anything you please, at least in the subgroup of “saying things that don’t make sense” You may rest assured on that count. Toodles.

        • Randomessa says:

          Well, since putting words in my mouth has made you feel so good about yourself, you’re welcome!

        • Rammstein says:

          Technically, I said you were speaking nonsense, which is rather opposite from putting words in your mouth. So…since putting words in my mouth makes you so feel so good about yourself, you are also welcome! See how fun that is!

        • SynCaine says:

          Get a room you two.

        • Rammstein says:

          It’d have to be a hospital room, cause that discussion was a trainwreck.

  2. Nils says:

    I’ve done a billion different side quests playing PvP games over the years – including all kinds of PvP in WoW. PvP is ‘easy’ player-generated content with its own problems.
    The challenge today is making a game with player-generated content that doesn’t rely on PvP – a PvE sandbox.

    Alternatively, you can have single-player games and while Skyrim is quite good at adjusting depending on what I did before, it is way from percect. For example, I’m the Archmage but still do errants for my subordinates and in the town they talk to me about “those mages” – while I wear the traditional robe of the Archmage of the college of Winterhold.

    But this is a battle that can be won with money alone. The more content producers and voice actors you have the more you can make a credible, consistent world. The more players buy Skyrim the better the next Elder Scrolls game is going to be because this company actually invests their profits into their games and has a vision.

    • Randomessa says:

      Nils, I may not always agree with you, but you have my vote on a PvE only sandbox. Be sure to leave in the conveniences of Skyrim, though. ;)

      • Kobeathris says:

        The thing is, PvE and Sandbox don’t really go together, not from an MMO producer’s point of view anyway, unless they reset regularly. I’ll stipulate here that I am assuming by Sandbox, you mean a game where player action is the driving force behind building and influencing the world. Even from the start, I hope you can see that PvP, even if you don’t allow players to attack each other or their stuff, will occur in any sandbox. There will be competition for resources, or competing goals about the direction the world should move. Even if it is political, it is still PvP.

        Moving on to combat specifically though, in order to have a dynamic world, there has to be a method for getting rid of stuff that has already been built so that there is a reason and space to build more stuff. For example, suppose there was a game where the broad general idea was “Players have arrived in a new world, and must tame the wilds and build their new civilization”. Players could then build farms and castles, mine, build weapons, etc. When the game first launched, there would be a barren land, after a few months, a small city, after a year, a castle and a metropolis, after three years? You see where the problem is. So, to keep people playing, the designer needs to either reset every so often, or have some way of tearing down things so the players have incentive to build them again.

        The designer could add an Orc horde to this game, they periodically attack, and their goal is to destroy things, and they give the players an incentive to plan defenses against the Orc horde. Some players could be soldiers, others could be weaponsmiths, others could be masons, and some could be miners. The problem is, the designer has to code the horde, modify the AI to give it new tricks, and basically try to out think their player base in order to make it challenging, but not overpowering. The other option is to allow PvP, and let the players clean up the world for them.

        Now, I can understand the bad taste that many people have for PvP because of the general assholeishnes of some PvP players. I do think that ganking, especially targeted against new players, is something to be discouraged by developers. It’s bad for the game, and it’s not very fun. The thing is, in a game like Eve, which is basically what I described above with Spaceships instead of Castles, that behavior is discouraged fairly effectively by the design of the game.

        • SynCaine says:

          There is a tab near the top of this blog. Enjoy.

        • Randomessa says:

          Your assumption about what is meant by sandbox is not mine, though I acknowlege that’s what many mean by sandbox. I make no differentiation between a single-player sandbox and a multiplayer one, that is to say, content is largely provided by the devs in the form of environment and NPCs, and not by players. I don’t have an interest in acting on other players, or they on me; I wish to act cooperatively WITH other players on the world (hence, PvE). I also suspect that many people would enjoy this, especially self-styled casuals currently playing more theme-park oriented games, who assume or fear that this is not possible to achieve.

          It is my theory that if MMO sandboxes were approached more in this way, they would be seen as a less risky proposition and as less of a niche.

        • Kobeathris says:

          I can see your point, I guess I just don’t have a lot of faith in what devs can do in terms of AI without resorting to scripted encounters. Actually, that’s not even it, I guess it’s more about how much devs are willing to make real changes to the world because of their AI behavior. That I think is really key. If the evil side burns down a town before the players can drive them off, once they are driven off, the town should still be burned and need to be rebuilt/repaired, not just have a magical color palette change because the evil is gone.

          And Syncaine, very interesting reading.

        • Randomessa says:

          I don’t see why devs who can make strong NPC characters in a single-player game can’t also make them compelling and intelligent in an MMO. And there are MMOs on the horizon who are trying to portray the precise scenario that you describe, down to the dead villagers and town rebuilding. Granted the rebuilding exercise may take minutes rather than months, but the kernel of possibility is there (caveat, as always, being “if they deliver”).

          But back to lack of faith in devs, I’m not sure the alternative is to say they can’t program good AI anyway, so give us our player-content-filled world, already, when that hasn’t worked out well save for a couple of noteworthy exceptions. For EVE and Darkfall, there is aso Earthrise and Mortal Online.

    • JonDo says:

      > The more players buy Skyrim the better the next Elder Scrolls game is going to be because this company actually invests their profits into their games

      Absolutes aside (obviously this is a reference to Blizzard which actually does invest their profits into their games [or did you see them completely stopping their developments of their various games?], albeit not to the extent you would like), how do you know it’s even more than them? How much of their profits are reinvested? Where are your numbers to back this up?

  3. Dril says:

    I agree with the sentiment of the article, but…

    It’s such a pity you chose PvP as an example of a player-generated side quest. Oh well.

    • SynCaine says:

      Just curious, what example would you have used?

      • Rammstein says:

        Surprised you didn’t just cut and paste your “tab at the top of the blog” comment here too ~_~

      • Dril says:

        I realise it probably wouldn’t happen in EVE, but some sort of RP scenario, or where you got caught up in people venturing out to explore something you haven’t seen before or.

        I’m not against the idea of PvP as the most prevalent form of player interaction (far from it) but methinks MMOs, in particular sandboxes, would be improved immensely in terms of their “this is an actual world” factor if more stuff happened with other players that wasn’t simply “oh look, we’re killing people again.”

        Or, of course, if you were doing some mining in a system and an incursion popped up and you rushed to defend it from the evil machinations of whatever they’re called. It would at least prove you can have some form of dynamic content in a persistent world with potentially 1000+ people in the same area without instancing.

        • SynCaine says:

          Mining Op is a good one. That happens pretty often in EVE. Of course part of the fun is running a mining Op in low-sec or null for greater profits, at a higher risk, but yea, happens in Empire all the time as well.

          In my PvE Sandbox design, this would happen thanks to the random mob spawns that would attack towns.

        • Rammstein says:

          1000+ people in the same area without instancing? You’re already asking for something that the vast majority of games can’t currently do, let alone asking for dynamic content to run alongside them. o_O

  4. Loque says:

    It’s good I specified “almost impossible” and not “completely impossible” ;-). Good reading, thanks for the detailed discussion.

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