2001-07-18: Scenario Comments By Calandryll

Scenario Comments By Calandryll

This was originally posted to the Stratics forums.

First, great feedback!!!

I pulled out the major points of each of your points to respond to. If I took something out of context, please correct me.

"If neither outcome is worse, then there is no reason to favor a certain outcome at all -- or even participate at all.

I don't agree. Perhaps neither outcome is worse, but different players will benefit from different outcomes. For instance, let's say two outcomes in a fight for the city of Skara are: a) Skara becomes a dungeon (meaning monsters spawn there) or b) skara is saved (meaning you can bank there). For some players, the idea of a new dungeon is preferable, while to others, Skara is their home and they want it back the way it was. I'm sure I could think of a better example, given enough time. What I meant by my original statement was that outcomes where the player-base as a whole "loses" are a bad idea.

"Perhaps the worst outcome should come from doing nothing??"

I like that idea a lot. In fact, that is what happens now, if players don't retake the towns, they will be forever under attack. Doing nothing does result in a negative outcome until they do something.

"During this scenario I felt a little bit that the new content (which took the form of new items many times) was used as a crutch to help support a story that could not be fully expressed in game."

Actually, it was more that much of the story was not told on purpose. Again, think of this scenario as the opening chapter of a book. For instance, lets say that book starts out with an invasion of a town by marauding monsters. Do you (or the characters in the book) learn in the first chapter who caused that invasion? Usually not. Usually, you have to read a few more chapters before you can put the pieces together. In-game fiction didn't fit in this the next one (the next chapter if you will), it does.

"This scenario needed to be far more dynamic. There were basically three outcomes: orcs, savages, or neither."

For us to do what you propose in the first scenario would have been the absolute worst thing we could have done for a first pass. What you have listed in your second example is the result of an evolution of what we did in the first one. It is extremely easy to make that diagram, even easy to fill it in, but as you said, infinitely harder and more time consuming to design, code, balance, and test it. The fact that the first, fairly simple dynamic outcome did not go well is proof that trying to do something that complicated would have been disastrous. Too often, in our eagerness to flex our design muscles, we design above our own experience. It-s like trying to run before one has learned how to walk (to quote Tyrant). :)

Is it a goal to have a scenario like that? Actually, I'm not sure if they ever need to be that complicated...but even if I did, they won't be like that for quite some time until we learn more.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content.