Quests

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Game Development
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Hey Everyone,

I know it has sure been a while since I last posted but I have good reasons. I have really gotten into World of Warcraft as of late; one of the most addicting things I have ever played. Normally I attend to the genre of FPS before anything MMO, so I was more than surprised that I actually enjoy getting into it. As a Game Designer I am having a hard time finding flaws in any area of it’s design from the level design, to overall combat design. While looking at the quests however, it did get some creative juices flowing in my brain and I would like to document some of my personal ideas. I am a Blood Elf Warlock, so I am mostly speaking from their side of the spectrum (I will add more once I get my Alliance member to a high enough level that I feel I have a good enough grasp on how their arc really is. What I will do is write them in the same way that Blizzard has them laid out and then give a description beneath them as to why I think it is important. So without further a due here they are:

<Michael Garett “Bat Handler”>  *Opens Level 11*

<Brill>

<Title> Sonor

<Information> Hi there <insert name> we have a huge issue in one of our flight paths! The Forsaken Rear Guard are reporting they do not have our correct coordinates to effictively get the lines open. You MUST help us and take this map to the Bat Handler in the SilverPine Forrest.

<Recieve Quest Item> MAP

<Rewards> You will receive 1 Silver 86 Copper ; Experience: 100

The main purpose of this quest is to have the player explore more regions that they normally would pass up. Granted the entire area around Brill is mainly for the Undead class, but it opens the door for a player to gain more of their maps completed and also getting a little experience in doing so.

<Warchief’s Herald>

<Undercity>

<Title> Gargh

<Information> Lok’Tar <insert name>I have been looking to get away from my post, but I am unsuccessful. I need you to do me a favor, and go to the auction house. This precious necklace has been in my bloodline for generations and I want you to sell it. I do not care what you get, just get me something, please. Report to one of the Auctioneers for an appraisal.

<Receive Quest Item> Tarnished Silver Necklace

<Rewards> 38 copper

<Experience> 100

Why would you put in a quest regarding the auction house? Simple… to teach players how to use it. This could possibly be open to those who have the starter kits as well since it will not allow you to post it directly to the auction house. It will instead open up the next quest:

<Auctioneer>

<Undercity>

<Title> Are you joking?

<Information> How would anyone be able to sell this ugly, disgusting and more than likely infected necklace? Look at it; it has a worm on it that looks like it will eat your face! Take this junk back to it’s owner; here is some money for your troubles.

<Receive Quest Item> Tarnished Silver Necklace, 1 Silver

<Rewards> 1 Silver for your troubles

<Experience> 0

You are more than likely asking why would a player do something for nothing? It is simple: Usability. A player wants to feel in control, and by giving him/her this particular quest they have the option to either humiliate the player and tell them what the Auctioneer said OR give him the 1 silver and brighten his day. Dialogue would look something like so:

The point of this is to see how the player interacts with the NPC’s. By collecting data from this quest alone, you are able to determine the player’s archetype (general) by monitoring the results. using the data collected from this type of stream will allow the Quest Designers to effectively understand how the the player thinks and plays.

Let’s take an in depth look at each of the dialogue for this one so I can break it down a bit more.

By selecting <S0rry, but the Auctioneer said that they would never be able to sell this necklace. It’s ugly, disgusting and has a worm on it.>  the player is impacting him/herself by giving a negative reputation for Undercity, and it makes the NPC begin to wheep for all to hear. This may not seem like a lot of information right? Wrong. By a player choosing this action a entire team can establish that either 1: the players hate meaningless quests, or 2: the player wants to feel empowered. Usually though number 2 is generally the case; which is why they play WOW (from my understanding). I recently went into Orgrimmar and spoke with a few players regarding why they play. The answer was simple: “to feel the sense of empowerment.” Now you might thing this is meaningless but a Quest Designer can work a lot with this type of player. Simply put, by making the quests so that the player retains that empowerment over something/someone you keep the player interested and involved. Thus increasing revenue as well as to keep World of Warcraft the dominate choice for MMO players.

With players that are the number 1 types of player it does get some-what complicated. For this type of player a lot more data needs to be collected; mainly as to what they determine is a meaningless quest. With that data yet again, the QD can really effectivly work with it.

Now the main issue is when you have an equal amount of players of both types. This is an easy fix even though it may not seem like it; simply make empowered meaningless quests. Some “low-level” quests do just this in a fashion that they may not seem like they are meaningless because it garners some relative experience and/or rewards and still keeps a player feeling empowered.

 

That is all for now, I will be putting up some more ideas for quests and such once I get out of the office. See ya!


Programming + More

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Uncategorized
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See this is the type of topic I really do not care very much for.

It is the one thing that seems to have been the bane of my Level Design existence; programming.

It is my understanding that, as a Level Designer, the knowledge for programming does not need to be extensive, but should be known. A great man by the name of Warren Spector once told me (yes… personally… yes I met him!) that “the more you know, the better off you will be in the Gaming Industry.”

With that said, a foundation in Programming could only help me as a Level Designer to be more versatile and better prepared for issues that may and will arise. However, there is just one problem: I for the life of me, cannot understand C/C+ C# or any of that. I have countless books detailing the languages but still it just comes up empty. I can sit there and read up on all of it, and it will not sink in. The ONLY “programming” knowledge I can say has sunk in is Unreal Script. Of course I do sometimes force myself to use UDK as a way to train myself. After-all Unreal is one of, if not the most widely used Editor in the industry. Since D.I.C.E. will not let me use Frostbite 2 (yea… I have asked lol) I tend to stay away from the proprietary engines such as Source, CryEngine, ect.

Now that is not to say I have not tried, as I do like the Hammer Editor, and I find it one of the easiest tools to use (sometimes); UDK just speaks more volumes to me for some reason. It may be because when I jumped from using Blender 3d to UDK that it was such a vast improvement and a better UI that it just stuck with me.
Anyways, lately I have been hard at work on my demo reel; mostly coming up short. I have it in my head that every map I design is not as good as what the next person will do. I am not sure if I am becoming a perfectionist or if it just reality. I look at some of the industry professionals work and just think every little bit of it is awesome. What could I possibly do that could grab the attention of a possibly employer?

I think I will write more tonight, see ya!

This…Is…Good Meatloaf!

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Welcome to my little personal world, please introduce yourself to the others and take a seat.

This entire blog is to serve as my little getaway from everything, mainly work. Work is a harsh thing to do, and you are more than likely not wanting to know what it is I do; but I am going to tell you anyways.

On a regular basis I am a Video Game / Hardware Journalist, which I own and operate a whole network of websites dedicated to things around a broad spectrum. For instance the one I frequent most is http://www.thegamingexperience.net ; a full time Video Game Review website. Although lately, it has been more on the hardware side as games are becoming harder and harder to come by. I am helped by a ton of big name companies, such as: Corsair, SteelSeries, VisionTek, Activision, EA, and such. Though it seems it has been slowing down because of a move I am doing. We are moving back to our old office space.
Anyways, this is again just my spot to rant and rave about all sorts of juicy goodness. In this particular blog you will find information on Level Design, maybe some videos, rants, and video game stuff. So sit back, and enjoy the crazy ride!