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PNP vs MMO

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TheMightyPaladin
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PNP vs MMO

I'm often reminded that there are a lot of things that work well in Pen & Paper games that just can't be done in an MMO. Well, as some of you know I'm making a Pen & Paper game so I was wondering if any of you could name some of your favorite things from PNP that you don't think can ever work in an MMO. That way when I'm finished I can use some of these suggestions in my advertising.

Redlynne
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The biggest thing with PnP

The biggest thing with PnP games is ... you get to pick who you're collaborating with. Games that involve storytelling are essentially collaborative efforts, and I've honestly found that the best gaming experiences have been ones where the objective was shared entertainment value, as opposed to hauling in Phat Lewts™. PnP games give you the ability to choose who you're going to be collaborating with, and the "stories" that get told through your games are essentially shared work.

MMOs don't really function the same way. Although it is possible to accomplish many of the same things I just described above, those efforts are not necessarily assumed to be the purpose of playing the game, even if it's an MMO. Most of the time, you don't have stories being "made up whole cloth" on the spot during play ... instead you've got pre-programmed (and hopefully debugged!) missions or quest lines of PvE content to go do, which plenty of other people have done before you and more will be doing after you've had your "turn" doing it. So a lot of the storytelling "devices" function quite differently in an MMO than from how they do in a PnP game.


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Tannim222
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One huge difference is having

One huge difference is having a GM. Someone who can cater the encounters, alter rules, and weave stories that cater to the particular players and their characters set around the table. This is in part what Redlynne was referencing. A pnp game all you need is a place to play, anywhere from one to two rule books (and even less than that at times!), paper, writing utensil, a set of dice, and imagination. You can take pretty much any rule set and twist it to suit any setting and tell any kind of story. An MMO requires a pc, and deals with finite amounts of stories to be told. With a pnp that has say a module, a gm can alter the module on the fly if necessary to suit the needs of the players, while an MMO is a contained, confined system.


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cybermitheral
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A PnP game allows the players

A PnP game allows the players and GM to change setting/scope/anything whenever they want - as long as most agree that is :)
If your playing a gritty, low-level type game of DnD where you start at level 1 and taking on 3 rats is a challenge, then decide that next week you want to make a new set of characters and be level 15 and start taking down the rogue Storm Giants League that's entirely possible - simply make new level 15 characters and your good to go.

In PnP the GM gets to decide what is and is not allowed. In a fully free-style system where any and all abilities/powers/etc can be selected the GM can decide "Nope - that's too much/over powered/etc" and make an on the spot decision and deny that player. In a MMO the game has to put those blocks in place at the beginning. Or allow such but then implement on the spot changes to the combat (for example) to get around the players OPness - for example in a game of Unearthes Arcana I played an Arminger - basically a tank. I chose game-allowed options that made my almost unkillable - my DR was high enough that most enemies did at best 1-2 damage IF they rolled Max Damage.
This was allowed by the game rules so the GM simply decided that the enemies are smart enough to ignore me and focus on the rest of the team who were nowhere near as tough. Unless Im mistaken MMO AI is not at that level yet - and even if it was and my CoT Tank was similarly unkillable I would have Taunt to keep them focused on me - so unless the game breaks the rules to suit the game, which will really piss players off if the game changes the rules on the fly, my being overpowered becomes a problem.

That's my 5 cents and Im waiting to see what TMP comes up with and how he advertises his "PnP game better than any MMO!!"

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Redlynne
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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

One huge difference is having a GM. Someone who can cater the encounters, alter rules, and weave stories that cater to the particular players and their characters set around the table. This is in part what Redlynne was referencing.

Totally! The social aspect of a PnP game is completely different from a MMO, in very substantial part because the game happens under the watchful eye of a GM, who makes allow/deny decisions on the spot based on what's happening (and what they want to permit to happen in the future). MMOs don't have that level of "feedback" in them. Everything in an MMO is pre-generated. Even the "random" missions are ones that have been pre-generated and permitted long before your character ever encountered them. The opportunities for "tailoring" the experience to the Player(s) is far less, because the interaction between Players and the MMO's storytelling isn't happening in real time ... unlike the PnP storytelling experience.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Tannim222 wrote:
One huge difference is having a GM. Someone who can cater the encounters, alter rules, and weave stories that cater to the particular players and their characters set around the table. This is in part what Redlynne was referencing.
Totally! The social aspect of a PnP game is completely different from a MMO, in very substantial part because the game happens under the watchful eye of a GM, who makes allow/deny decisions on the spot based on what's happening (and what they want to permit to happen in the future). MMOs don't have that level of "feedback" in them. Everything in an MMO is pre-generated. Even the "random" missions are ones that have been pre-generated and permitted long before your character ever encountered them. The opportunities for "tailoring" the experience to the Player(s) is far less, because the interaction between Players and the MMO's storytelling isn't happening in real time ... unlike the PnP storytelling experience.

And don't forget as well that sometimes, just sometimes, the GM will let you get away with something *totally* ridiculous or scrap a dice roll that would have killed you outright.

Sometimes the dice are just against you.

Talking from experience where bad dice rolls wiped out a whole starting party and the GM followed the rules to the letter.

A different GM might have fudged things through so that the starting party wouldn't have died so quickly in non combat situations.

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4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

The biggest thing with PnP games is ... you get to pick who you're collaborating with. Games that involve storytelling are essentially collaborative efforts, and I've honestly found that the best gaming

That nails it for me Red. Twenty years later my old friends and I still rehash some of the more epic events of our D&D exploits. Events where the characters made turns in the story that the DM simply had not even remotely considered.

"Fireball 'em Jim."
"Who, the trolls?"
Matt considers for a moment.
"No Jim, FIREBALL EVERYBODY!"

There's a built-in chaos knob available to everyone at the table in PnP that will never be present in an MMO.

Now, where did I leave my twelve sided.....

With great power, comes the need for great heat sinks

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...in a PNP setting I would

...in a PNP setting I would say the biggest difference is in the scope of the player characters and their actions. it can actually have an affect, both long and short term, on the world they inhabit versus the relatively static world of MMO's. this in turn allows for a virtual unlimited number of potential story arcs to occur versus MMO's which have very few and the player characters are locked into a few select paths to choose from and on occasion, the player doesn't even get a choice...

just thought I would toss my wooden nickel onto the pile. :)

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whiteperegrine wrote:
whiteperegrine wrote:

...in a PNP setting I would say the biggest difference is in the scope of the player characters and their actions. it can actually have an affect, both long and short term, on the world they inhabit versus the relatively static world of MMO's. this in turn allows for a virtual unlimited number of potential story arcs to occur versus MMO's which have very few and the player characters are locked into a few select paths to choose from and on occasion, the player doesn't even get a choice...
just thought I would toss my wooden nickel onto the pile. :)

Yes the ability of characters in PnP games to fundamentally CHANGE the world around them is a huge difference between most PnPs and MMOs.

As we know most MMOs are still relatively static because their content and environment has to be ready and available for potentially thousands of players 24/7. It's hard to make permanent, consequential changes to a MMO world and not maintain the same equal chances for everyone to experience the same scenarios anytime they want. On the other hand PnP games are typically established for only one party of characters at one given time and there's usually little concern that you have to keep the game world intact/unchanging for anyone else.

I've been reading about a new Kickstarter game called Crowfall that's actually going to try to address this idea that MMO game worlds can't be changed/destroyed. It's a mostly PvP oriented game that's trying to bill itself as the "Game of Thrones" of MMOs. The key idea behind it is that while your characters are permanent and continue to grow in abilities the game worlds you play in are temporary by design. You play in campaigns that have fixed time limits (that can be weeks/months long) and have their own "house rules" and randomized maps that can be different from game to game. Because the game worlds are not permanent there will be far more potential for players to fundamentally alter/destroy parts of it without worry that you're going to affect anyone else. Imagine if CoH maintained dozens of versions of RV and that each of them were completely reset every few weeks and changed with different rulesets and objectives in each version - some would be FFA, some would be strictly faction vs faction and some would even be more or less PvE oriented.

While Crowfall has an interesting take on solving the classic "static MMO" dilemma it's not an approach I think would necessarily work for the entire CoT world. Maybe the closet thing CoT could do along these lines would be to introduce a new kind of Super TF/Trial that you would be locked into for say a week at a time. While in this Mega-Trial you would be in an individually instanced game environment that you could destroy/rebuild as you wanted without affecting anyone else in the "real" game. By lasting for extended periods of time you could play out an extra long sequence of events/missions (PvP or PvE) that could have significant environmental consequences at least as long as the Mega-Trial is running. I wouldn't expect CoT to have a feature/system like this at its launch, but maybe they could add something like this as an update in the future.

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

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

While Crowfall has an interesting take on solving the classic "static MMO" dilemma it's not an approach I think would necessarily work for the entire CoT world. Maybe the closet thing CoT could do along these lines would be to introduce a new kind of Super TF/Trial that you would be locked into for say a week at a time. While in this Mega-Trial you would be in an individually instanced game environment that you could destroy/rebuild as you wanted without affecting anyone else in the "real" game. By lasting for extended periods of time you could play out an extra long sequence of events/missions (PvP or PvE) that could have significant environmental consequences at least as long as the Mega-Trial is running. I wouldn't expect CoT to have a feature/system like this at its launch, but maybe they could add something like this as an update in the future.

And this idea is something that players would have to consider. If you come in late you WILL miss stuff.

And if you are fine for the "johnny come latelys" to miss out on content, then you must be fine for YOURSELF to miss out on content for any reason as well (hey, we all know that stuff happens where you are unable to play for a reason).

And this is why sandbox games are niche (even the ones without PvP in them...they are out there). Because players want to be able to experience a complete story from start to finish. Its a bit hard for the developer to come up with a coherant storyline for the whole 1-cap trip when player events have changed the experiences of OTHER players by their own actions.

The players are the ones who make the story up. The developers just provide a light framework to work off.

Just my own 2 cents, opinion only valid in this post, I reserve the right to change my opinion in following posts.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

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Gangrel wrote:
Gangrel wrote:

And this idea is something that players would have to consider. If you come in late you WILL miss stuff.

Yep, like certain badges.

*Ducks and runs out the side door*

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Gangrel wrote:
And this idea is something that players would have to consider. If you come in late you WILL miss stuff.

Yep, like certain badges.
*Ducks and runs out the side door*

Well - honestly I think that isn't necessarily unfair. I mean if you started playing in the game's 3rd year I don't see why you should get the 1st or 2nd anniversary badges. THAT SAID - I think that such account/player-level event badges should apply to all of your characters, so that down the road if you create a new character it shows that you as a player have been around since X date.

TheMightyPaladin
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That's another difference

That's another difference between MMO and PnP in PnP nobody collects badges.

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Named magical items counted

Named magical items counted as badges in my opinion

Lothic
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TheMightyPaladin wrote:
TheMightyPaladin wrote:

That's another difference between MMO and PnP in PnP nobody collects badges.

It's pretty clear that the idea of "badges" more or less originated with computer-based MMO type games. But just because there aren't many (any?) PnP games that have the concept of badges built into the rules doesn't mean you could not have them there. Depending on the GM and whatever house rules he/she uses badges could easily become a part of any PnP game.

For what it's worth I played a DnD campaign one time where the DM had established a system of NPC bounty hunting where people would routinely wear "mementos" of their collected bounties. The more you had the more status you had among the other bounty hunters. In effect that was a system of "badges" for that particular game. *shrugs*

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

For what it's worth I played a DnD campaign one time where the DM had established a system of NPC bounty hunting where people would routinely wear "mementos" of their collected bounties. The more you had the more status you had among the other bounty hunters. In effect that was a system of "badges" for that particular game. *shrugs*

I've never played a PnP game before, but I have to say that this sounds pretty creative!

Lothic
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Plexius wrote:
Plexius wrote:

Lothic wrote:
For what it's worth I played a DnD campaign one time where the DM had established a system of NPC bounty hunting where people would routinely wear "mementos" of their collected bounties. The more you had the more status you had among the other bounty hunters. In effect that was a system of "badges" for that particular game. *shrugs*

I've never played a PnP game before, but I have to say that this sounds pretty creative!

Yeah that was years before CoH was even a "glint in the milkman's eye" so to speak but it points out that human GMs/DMs have the flexibilty to do almost anything in their game worlds.

It's going to be a long time before computer-based MMOs manage to provide the same level of customization and freedom that PnP games provide. We'll probably literally have to come up with some kind of "Matrix" level system with senient AI before it's possible.

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