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Shroud of the Avatar: Selective Multiplayer, Part 3

An Example Scenario

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This is the third in a series of articles about the Selective Multiplayer system in Shroud of the Avatar.

Schultz How does that work with a vendor? For example, if someone buys an item from a vendor while you’re playing offline.

Garriott Good question. Some of these we still have to figure out. But, as a hypothetical, let’s give a particularly tough example.

Let’s say you as a crafter made the Demon Sword of Doom, and there’s one of them. It’s very special, it has your name attached to it, it has five special gems in it, so it is easily perceivable as a more or less, one-of-a-kind item. Well then, we have two options as a developer. We either have to say that it’s not available offline because it is a unique item, and so if I’m offline and I go to your vendor, I don’t see that sword, because there’d be no way for you to sell it to me offline, and not end up selling it to someone else who is online. So we’ll either quit exposing those to the offline people, things that are unique, or, conversely, we’ll have to say, you know, the fact that somebody bought two of these in the universe is no big deal. If it were a generic sword, it wouldn’t be a big deal. If it really was something that wasn’t that unique, it wouldn’t matter that it was something that two people managed to buy one. It is inconsequential in the big scheme of things. And so we can allow it to be sold multiple times, if it was a non-unique item, but we’ll have to see. We’ll have to playtest those and it’ll have to be one of those kinds of routes; either block it entirely, or allow duplication of swords.

There are a number of case studies like that. Playing offline can’t be identical to playing online, just because you can’t do all those checks.

We’re probably going to err on the side of caution, which is to take all the limited edition digital objects and one-of-a-kind pieces and pull them out of the offline, period. But, conversely, if I was crafting offline, and I was making that Dragon Doom Sword to sell it to your vendor, it is held in that stasis until I log back on, at which point it pushes everything back into the metaverse.

We’ve also got people looking for things like, “If I have a slider where I can go from solo play to MMOishness, well, in theory I could piss somebody off while playing in MMOishness, and then slide the slider to single player so they can’t retaliate.” And so we’re just going to stop that. We’re going to say, when you play, you’ll have to stay very long periods of time in a mode, you can’t be going back and forth, that’s not the intention. The intention is really for you to find the way that is comfortable for you to play and let you play.

But I’m pretty confident that people will play in the default way we have it set up. So if it ends up being the default method, we may just not allow the slider. Internally, we think of the slider because it allows us to create story instances that are as private as we want them to be from a story standpoint, we don’t have to expose that slider to the player at all.

For example, we’re going to create a game where protected towns are pretty well protected, and even well-lit roadways in the daytime are pretty well protected. But the more you go into the woods, especially at night, especially in unlit areas, then the less protection you’re afforded. And that’s a continuum we’ll make clear to everybody. So if you’re a person that doesn’t like that danger, then just don’t go there. If you’re walking that way at night, and a monster or another player has turned off the lights for that whole stretch of road, you have two choices; go back, or get somebody to go turn on the light. Or you go turn on the light. Or go through in the dark, it’s up to you. But it lets players choose their, even in the MMO normal mode of operation, elect to level of danger.

Schultz Like the Minecraft metagame of “light the world so that the monsters don’t appear”

Garriott Right, exactly.

Continue on to Part 4

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