Hardcore mode

Discussion in 'MMO Design and Virtual Worlds' started by Lameador, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Lameador

    Lameador New Member

    Sometimes, due to the pleasure of epeen stroking and rosed-color, backward looking glasses, many people talk about HARDCORE mode. It was a mode of Diablo II were death was permanent. No rez whatsoever.

    It carried great adrenaline, great risk, great rewards and great stupidity. You could level a character for months and loose it once your connectin lagged. It rewarded an extremely cautious/defensive gameplay. And carried a great sense of achievement.

    If you wanna discuss why this pointless, uncompetitive, you may go fuckyourself with a bottle of Drano think of why some palyers might enjoy this kind of gameplay.

    MMO editors ingenral, and WoW in particular, don't provide such a mode. The closest to it might be EVE Online's handling of expensive ships. I can see why. Due to to the high emotional damage caused by a death, many players quit playing the game on death and/or end up crying and whining endlessly.

    However a vocalized demad exists for hardcore servers. For MMO, this demand is as stupid as the demand for corpse looting, or full focus on PVP : this is something most players definitely don't want. They just think they want it.

    However I still think that MIDCORE servers could be viable. They would work part like hardcore servers, but instead of permadeath, auto-rez would be possible with a long, session ending cooldown. 15 hours would be a good example Maybe 5 days. You could have other kind of rezzes (like rez by a healer class if you didn't release you spirit) but a real death should mean game over, restart later.

    This would make the game require some skills (harcore is difficult), while tempering the direst effect of hardcore (lack of player motivation after a death, loss of carefully crafted experience, subscription drop rate, ...). And I can assure you that when starting a playsession it woudl have the full <I DONT WANNA DIE> feeling knowing that your game might be over for the night at anytime.

    Chaining a group of <VANILLA> <RANDOM COLOR> bear of <#TEMPLATE> would not feel like a stupid grind if things had the potential to really fuckup. All of this with the added bonus of no permaloss (I see permaloss as a bad thing)

    Do you thing this might be a valid game mode for MMO servers ?
  2. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Just to run down some of the negatives I see:

    If PvE focused:
    It discourages casual grouping and socialization. You aren't going to group with unknown people when you aren't sure of their skill level.
    It ruins dungeons/raids. Any group content becomes a huge pain. Getting 1/2 way through a dungeon then abandoning it because someone died would feel terrible.
    The current MMO combat system would have to be tossed out the window. That'd actually be a good thing but it becomes necessary. Surprise big attacks, respawns, etc. are all ways in which players can suddenly die which would need to be reworked to be more fair. You'd never be able to have a world first raid kill if the fights were like WoW.
    The current MMO progression would need to be reworked as it'd take serious investments of time to reach end game.
    Dressing up a grind with fancier punishments and rewards doesn't make it any less of a grind. It's just a bad gameplay mechanic dressed up in fear and tension.

    If PvP focused:
    The obvious one is people ganking/griefing players to keep them from playing. Getting killed by a large roving gang wouldn't be fun at all. With such severe penalties you can be sure that no one is going to go anywhere PvP without massive groups.
    Even in well matched PvP people WILL die. It's the nature of PvP. Having such a severe penalty is a huge disincentive to PvP.

    Since you briefly mentioned it I wanted to bring up EVE. You're missing a big part of why permaloss works in a game like EVE; it's the balancing force of the economy. By having permaloss you create an economic drain that would otherwise be impossible to have. The balance to permaloss is that players, especially for PvE, have a lot of control on whether or not they lose a ship. It's not like Wow with respawns and adds, players almost always have a good 'out' in PvE. PvP also gives you plenty of opportunities to use your personal skill to avoid bad situations.

    The other part of EVE is how moderate their permaloss is to your system. EVE does a great job of creating tension. You never want to lose your ship and you'll always be cautious with it. Yet in EVE a loss can take as little as 15 minutes to replace. Even more expensive ships can be replaced by only a few hours of making money. It's only really capital class and faction ships that require a very serious investment of money.
  3. SW

    SW Active Member

    From my eve experience, what i must say is that the greater the risks, the lower the risk taking. What this really means is this:

    1. Most players would simply not do difficult things, because the risk rewards is usually quite crap. Most would just do the lowest risk thing constantly in fear of being weakened and becoming a pvp target.

    2. Players simply would avoid each other as much as possible to prevent pvp death which is very hard to avoid (unless it has mechanics to prevent unwanted pvp, which makes really not all that hardcore). In uncontrolled parts of eve, people pretty much find places to hide as soon as anything shows up on the horizon as instinct. PvP is mainly about running around a lot trying to find target out of massive areas of land of fast hiding folks.

    Now, for some people, the idea of spending the VAST VAST majority of time running around to get into a perfect tactical situation as opposed to fighting is okay. To other people the idea that you can run around for 10 hours without launching one attack (as the weaker just run, while the stronger you run from...and those that can't run quit quickly since they just die a lot) and just moving about to find a chance is terrible.

    *. If the death punishment mainly happens in PvE, it just means people would stop free form gaming and follow strict guides and do lots of excel-gaming before hand.

    Basically, the worst the potential loss, the more less fighting and more risk management. If fighting is as punishing as real life, you'd expect players to not show up on a battle field over the average of 70 years.
  4. qzujak49

    qzujak49 Active Member

    In the lair of the evil game designer David Jobs Gates a plot was hatched:

    "I've got it! I'll make an MMO with a Hardcore mode. But I'll have a Real Money Transaction to revive in Hardcore mode. It'll be like a worldwide arcade game. I'll get even richer one quarter at a time. MWAHAHAHAHA!"
  5. Lameador

    Lameador New Member

    Yes, such a genre definitely eliminates raiding from the spectrum of possible activities. Grouping (like group dungeons in WoW) would still be an option.

    Please take note that I consider such a mode would reuqire a Diablo-like RPG system, where you have the option to tailor your character towards survivability/escaping tools rother than raw potential. Such a thing somewhat exists in WoW (you can gem for more HP, for example) but should be more developped.

    Definitely disagree. The ability to perform a simple task, but under pressure, without error and numerous times is both an interesting skill to test and a real world skill (think of pilots, surgeons, ...)
  6. Lameador

    Lameador New Member

    Yes, this is definitely the kind of people this mode would be adressed to. And yes it a a rother strong design choice, so rother niche oriented.
  7. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    I'm still not really sure why this is desired over a loss system. It's still a loss of time which is a loss of money through opportunity cost. The only advantage is that you can recover your losses while offline but that comes at the expense of forcing your players offline.

    Also EVE's cat and mouse is pretty tense. It's niche for sure but there's more to it than if it was the same type of thing in WoW. There's actually a lot of mind games and skill involved. The mindgame is that you can see the direction someone is warping off to but not exactly where they are going. You may have multiple locations you need to try and pin them down at. Even within a location there are multiple distances they can be warping to (you can't cancel or change a warp once its started). If you know someone is around but not exactly where you also have the game of scanning them down with a directional scanner. The time it takes to do so depends heavily on skill (and a little luck).
  8. Jazriel

    Jazriel Member

    So basically you guys want to control a medium people will use to find enjoyment simply because it doesn't make sense to you.

    What exactly is the argument here? Or are you all just being stupid?
  9. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure if a) you didn't read the thread or b) you're delusional or c) you don't understand the concept that a game is defined by a set of rules.
  10. PeterTheLeader

    PeterTheLeader New Member

    Actual permadeath, in which you inherent nothing and must start from scratch, sounds like a game that very few would play and even less continue to play when placed in a standard MMO environment (meaning a persistent world). Sure, if you want to make it yourself then by all means go ahead. I am just saying I sincerely doubt there is any monetary value in it and will not be able to sustain itself.

    However, I have thought up and idea about it, such as inheritance. Say, one has the ability to raise a family. If the character dies, the player becomes the child and the child will have the abilities of the parent. The money and items are inherited outright, but the skills aren't. The ability of the child is like from scratch, with the exception that skills the parent had are much easier to obtain than from a fresh character (say, you die with a level 10 rank in fire magic and it took about 20 hours. It might take 5 hours to reach for the child).
  11. 2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616

    2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616 Well-Known Member

    What about demon's souls style death, loosing anything not spent when you die?
  12. Sam I am

    Sam I am Active Member

    Ever play Ogame?

    You can have an enormous fleet that took weeks to build, and then someone bigger can come and wipe it all out.
  13. PoisonDagger

    PoisonDagger Active Member

    I have to agree with SW on this. Some players may "want" this (regardless of whether or not they'd actually enjoy it), but all it seems to do is reward risk avoidance - in other words, fun avoidance.

    Shooters with health regeneration are proof enough to me that overly defensive gameplay is boring and frustrating, even when the idea is enticing at first. Back when you had hit points and health packs, enemies could be threatening without instantly killing you. If you got hit a few times, you could just play more carefully until you reached some health packs. Players could repeatedly switch between defensive and risky play styles. With health regen, enemies aren't really threatening unless they can kill you quickly. That means you always have to play super-defensively, and you can't take risks when you die instantly.

    Games tend to be more fun when it's viable to take risks, even if defensive players can succeed too. So I'm not sure if Hardcore should be provided as an option. I guess it couldn't hurt, although maybe players would enjoy a more well-designed challenge instead, even if they think they want a Hardcore mode?
  14. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Just a key part here. While I agree hardcore is often not what people really want generally they DO want something more towards a hardcode mode.

    What I bolded is 100% true. The thing about many MMOs is though is you need an actual risk. Losing a battle ground is not a risk. Dieing and running back to your corpse is not a risk. In MMOs players have a mind towards the long term and their investment is also long term. When you play Quake your entire purpose is to win this Deathmatch and all your previously invested time was training to win this deathmatch. When you play an MMO you're building a character to a certain point and your current goals are often stepping stones or a less significant part of what you've been working towards.

    So when I play WoW, go into a battleground, and die. It's no risk. I may lose the battleground, but that's not what my goal is or what I'm working towards.

    Since MMOs are focused on this concept of character building & long term investment it only makes sense that for there to be risks associated with those concepts. Sure there's nothing wrong with WoW's always progressing line for many people, I wouldn't want to take it away, but I think a key part of a good MMO design will incorporate this.

    Take two examples... One is Eve online where your character development is always at risk. The other is DAoC/Lineage 2/Warhammer Online/Shadowbane/etc. basically any MMO with castle sieges done well. In these games the long term goals are what you risk when you get into doing something risky. If you participate in the castle system you're creating a risk with a reward and a penalty for failure. Likewise with ships. Flying an expensive ship creates a reward and a penaltiy that's part of your long term goals.

    Games like WoW and the like tend to have a mix, they use short term penalties in a game where people care about the longterm rewards and benefits. Just think about how bad this is mismatch is when it's the other way around. How frustrating can it be in say HoN where you have short term goals (win the next game), but long term risks (if my stats suck it's harder for me to get into games).

    Of course you have to balance out the risk:reward situation so that people actually take the risks, but it's important that there's actually a risk with benefits/penalty that match your real goals.

    To bring it all back to the point, I think this is why people want hardcore modes. I think people tend to feel bored when games offer short term risks and long term goals. Hardcore mode obviously brings out longterm risks with the longterm goals.
  15. Warskull

    Warskull Active Member

    Hardcore + MMO sounds really stupid. "Midcore" sounds even dumber as it won't satisfy the misguided souls who want hardcore mode in something like WoW. In both cases you are just encouraging players to grind slowly on really safe mobs to level up.

    Hardcore works in rogue-likes because they are designed for it. Hardcore is on ok optional feature in Diablo-esque games because they have a relatively faster leveling curve (compared to the glacial curve of most MMOs) and it takes little effort to implement.

    You want hardcore style gameplay, go try to clear an arcade style game without continues. A game where death is heavily punitive needs to be designed with that in mind. Faster leveling curves with the goal of completing it. Think kind of like Dead Rising if it deleted your save when you died.
  16. MajinSweet

    MajinSweet Well-Known Member

    Technically you need to die twice before you lose anything, after one death you can still get your souls back by returning to the place of your death, of course all enemies respawn when you die!

    I'm actually a big fan of D2's hardcore mode, in fact, I won't play the game normal anymore just because I find it too boring. The hardcore mode keeps me "honest" and forces me to take the game seriously. I find myself naturally playing a lot smarter, and planning my character better. I'll admit though, that a system like Demon's Souls is a lot better. It has the good things of a D2 hardcore mode, tense serious game play. Doesn't have super conservative, no risk style combat.

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