The Evils of Repetition

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WarBird
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The Evils of Repetition

While playing one of the *other* Superhero MMO's recently, I've been running into a frustration. Champions Online has added content in the form of "Alerts", which to their credit, often take your hero out of the city to 'exotic' locales for one-off adventures. This is all good so far, and I'd like to see something similar be available in CoT.

However, too often you get a scenario like this:

Contact: "Okay, there's a big bad guy hiding in a bunker. We need you to find out out about his defenses. Go to these coordinates and shake down the Commander." [Rec'd Mission: Defeat Commander] Then your map points you to a location to the East where you find a fortress-like installation with some goons. So, you mop up the goons, fight the commander and he coughs up some info. No problem. Return to contact.

Contact: "That's interesting. Looks like we need you to take down their communications. Go to these coordinates and knock out the satellite dishes." [Rec'd mission: Destroy Satellite Dishes] Your map points you West this time, but you find an IDENTICAL fortress-like installation with a slightly different mix of goons. Okay, knockout dishes while fighting off more squads of minions. No problem. Return to contact.

Contact: "Great Job! Now if we could only neutralize his missile defenses we can send in troops. Do you think you could..." Right, right. Sensing the pattern. [Rec'd Mission: Destroy Missile Launchers] Now you go South to, you guessed it, Standard Villain Issue Fortress No.3.

You see what I'm getting at. I realize the incentive to get as much as you can out of an existing resource, but after not too long it feels like you're just padding content. Not to mention the return trip to the contact 4 or 5 times. Don't these people have walkie-talkies at least?

Now there's no mathematical solution to this problem. No formula that can be applied. This is about writing and composition. There's already been enough lamentation about the "Kill 20 Mopes" type missions. But it's such a common feature of the MMO landscape that I guess we're all kind of resigned to it. But I'm asking you Devs out there to be cognizant of this. If this is truly a "By Gamers. For Gamers." creation, then I'd cautiously hope for a little better.

We see what you're doing and have a good idea why. These forums give us hope, but can also generate greater disappointment if those hopes are dashed. So please, if when you're plotting a mission or storyline and you ask yourself "Would they start to get bored/impatient/frustrated at this point?" By the time you ask yourself, the answer is probably 'yes'. I'd rather have a 10 minute mission that feels like I've actually accomplished some satisfying feat, than feel like a glorified errand-boy, or a dog chasing his tail for 20.

I'm also sorry that there's no way to offer a simple solution that can be universally applied. I'm just sending up a great big "Pretty Please with Sugar On It."

Lothic
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WarBird wrote:
WarBird wrote:

So please, if when you're plotting a mission or storyline and you ask yourself "Would they start to get bored/impatient/frustrated at this point?" By the time you ask yourself, the answer is probably 'yes'. I'd rather have a 10 minute mission that feels like I've actually accomplished some satisfying feat, than feel like a glorified errand-boy, or a dog chasing his tail for 20.

I think in general everyone hopes we'll get well written missions with "meaningful" goals and a sense of accomplishment.

But to play Devil's Advocate here (like I've never done that before) there are some people who don't really care about the overall "story" and literally don't mind a degree of mindless repetition when it comes to MMOs. I'm not trying to make a blanket excuse for bad game design - just pointing out that not everything has to be as meaningful as a Shakespeare play and still be considered workable content for a MMO.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

WarBird
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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

WarBird wrote:
So please, if when you're plotting a mission or storyline and you ask yourself "Would they start to get bored/impatient/frustrated at this point?" By the time you ask yourself, the answer is probably 'yes'. I'd rather have a 10 minute mission that feels like I've actually accomplished some satisfying feat, than feel like a glorified errand-boy, or a dog chasing his tail for 20.
I think in general everyone hopes we'll get well written missions with "meaningful" goals and a sense of accomplishment.
But to play Devil's Advocate here (like I've never done that before) there are some people who don't really care about the overall "story" and literally don't mind a degree of mindless repetition when it comes to MMOs. I'm not trying to make a blanket excuse for bad game design - just pointing out that not everything has to be as meaningful as a Shakespeare play and still be considered workable content for a MMO.

I'm not expecting mind-blowing revelations, or paradigm-shifting accomplishments every mission. Just that when it gets to the point of saying "Well, if we just make them repeat this set of similar actions, (or worse) just keeping them running back and forth across the map, we can stretch this bit of 10 minute content out to 15 or 20!" that they let it alone and stick with 10.

I have no doubt that we will have plenty of mindless repetition to occupy us. It's supposed to be a casual game, after all. And I get that more bad guys to beat down is how we get XP. I just want to point out that after a while it can get numbing. I recall one of the most frequent complaints about CoH was too few maps.

I fully understand that more variety/less repetition means more content creation. I get that. Maybe I should just be hoping for more from the Mission Creator and Player Created Content. I'd like to see some kind of Jury system from the Devs, but I think that's another thread. . .

Brand X
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This seems like the same

This seems like the same complaint that accompanies every MMO.

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Ya and MMO that try and keep

Ya and MMO that try and keep it unique and not repetitive tend to lose much interest because of the fast completion of everything. Repetition i think is fine as long as it is not together all at once or long period of time.

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Radiac
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I think one challenge before

I think one challenge before all MMO devs is to make missions, trials, taskforces, etc that people WANT to repeatedly do, for some reason. That way you get the most out of your assets.

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It's more about fun than

It's more about fun than anything, if the content you put out isn't fun and doesn't allow for much variety, you'll find it gets boring much much faster. City of heroes was made in a way you could redo alot of things any number of times but it was kept fun because of the wide variety of ways to deal with everything. Many mmorpgs make the mistake of, surprise, requiring a holy trinity for everything. So you end up with alot of new encounters....that are solved the same old way every time with no room for variety, people tend to see that and think "oh, new encounter, time to form another team with some healers and tanks and then take the rest damage dealers then find out where everyone stands".

It's that it gets predictable, rather than allowing for unpredictability, that kills mmorpgs because while they "try" to be different, they actually fail to do so because they really only masked that they were the same as everything else.

I realized something today(5/8/2014) that many MMORPG players, are not like us who enjoyed CoX. They enjoy repetitiveness and predictability, rather then unpredictability. We on the other hand enjoy unpredictability and variety.

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I'm not a programmer so one

I'm not a programmer so one of your computer-types tell me if this is feasible:

Each map gets a unique designator (office 1, cave 2 etc). We'll need this for the AE if we ever get it anyway.

Each type of mission is also given a designator (like escort, hostage rescue, defeat all etc).

The computer tracks these and makes sure that the player doesn't see a specific map again until he's been all the way around the wheel at least once. This avoids seeing the same map 2-3 times in a row. The same goes for the mission types.

TFs and story arcs would supersede this since they're more structured.

If a team forms then the team leader's tracking is used and all the other team member's tracking is reset to zero.

If the game can track how many of X you've defeated for accolades and badges as well as a slew of other information, would this gag the game or would it work?

I remember when Star Wars was cool...a long, long time ago...

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Comicsluvr wrote:
Comicsluvr wrote:

I'm not a programmer so one of your computer-types tell me if this is feasible:
Each map gets a unique designator (office 1, cave 2 etc). We'll need this for the AE if we ever get it anyway.
Each type of mission is also given a designator (like escort, hostage rescue, defeat all etc).
The computer tracks these and makes sure that the player doesn't see a specific map again until he's been all the way around the wheel at least once. This avoids seeing the same map 2-3 times in a row. The same goes for the mission types.
TFs and story arcs would supersede this since they're more structured.
If a team forms then the team leader's tracking is used and all the other team member's tracking is reset to zero.
If the game can track how many of X you've defeated for accolades and badges as well as a slew of other information, would this gag the game or would it work?

If you want to just randomly generate content, it can be done this way... however, if its going to be like CoX was, and missions entrances are randomly allocated, then you will get the disconnect of "Office entrance / full on cave system"

This is before you get to the "story arc" stuff. This is for the "contact missions" (ie working up to the full blown stuff). The story arc mission allocation could be better done as well, so that at least the mission entrances would be appropriate to the mission generated (ie its an office map, give it an office building entrance).

This is something that the "non instanced" game worlds of WoW/SWTOR/Rift etc do not necessarily have.

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The random mission generator

The random mission generator database could simply be written with 'door awareness', to match the door and the map. Alternately, there could be some transition options, so we enter the cave-door and the first cave section connects us to the Basement of the office that the mission actually starts in.

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Shouldn't the title of this

Shouldn't the title of this be, "The evils of repetitiously repetitive missions that are redundantly redundant on a continually continuous basis to the point of a recurring experience of Deja Vu all over again"?

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The Department of Redundancy

The Department of Redundancy Department would like to have a word with you.

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