Thursday, November 27, 2014

GUS and PvP

The people launching this server seem to be in agreement in that a small set of PvPers tend to ruin games. A game would probably be dead is there was no PvP and for an MMORPG to have good PvP the game designers need to always think about it even if the goal for the server experience it PvE.

SWG is an older game and changes to the PvP experience also have an impact on the PvE experience and vice versa. Right now the agreement seems to be that the developers will listen to PvPer issues and balance complaints. These will be evaluated to see if there is a real problem that needs to be addressed. If the conclusion is that there is a real problem, then the developers would start looking at possible ways to deal with the problem. This means that there will probably be no quick fixes and very rarely will the fix be the change that the players ask for.

There are some other aspects of PvP that will be different between GUS and SWG Live and other Emu servers. For example, unless the development team decides to make Jedi as powerful as they were earlier in the CU there is no need to keep the Jedi perk of an additional character slot on the server or the Jedi control of visibility. There would also be no reason to add in the controls of Permadeath or no ownership of structures. There were appropriate disincentives to play Jedi at a time when they were super powered that do not fit with Publish 14.1 Jedi.

The removal of Jedi visibility does mean that the PBS will be delayed until the code can be added to allow players to place bounties on players that killed them.

There is one suggestion that may be added though. The suggestion was to add a character flag that players can toggle. The default would be off and would allow individual Jedi characters to turn on gaining visibility because they like the hunted aspect of the PBS. If this is easy to do there is a good chance to add that.

Right not there has been no discussion about changing Guild War or Factional PvP. Right now the thought is that the FRS was extremely broken and that it would not be enabled until it could be re-designed. What may happen is a series of quest chains to grant the FRS titles and robes as rewards. The top rank would of course not be available but the robe may be. One suggestion is that a Blue Glowie Obi-Wan would start these quest chains in the Light Enclave and a Darth Maul, which according to the Disney Canon is still alive, would start the quest chains in the Dark Enclave. One advantage of this is that the Light and Dark paths could be disconnected from the Rebel and Imperial factions and locked in Special Forces status.

Thoughts, ideas, comments?

GUS and Jedi

Yes GUS. Until we get a name I think I will use GUS instead of Oserver here in this blog.

SWGEmu is configurable to use The Hologrind, The Village or a server specific unlock system for Jedi. The current SWGEmu has the Hologrind completely implemented. They have all but part of Phase 1 and all of Phase II thru IV of the Village implemented. They also have Publish 14.1 Jedi implemented once you complete the unlock system and make Padawan. Like all professions the Jedi profession is close to Publish 14.1 but still needs some tweaks to match the live servers.

The SWGEmu hologrind has not been implemented like the live servers. The SOE code had a set of unlock packages. One of these was chosen at random when the character was created. For players that understood what the different sets were they knew which 6 professions once the Holocron told them their first profession. (The Holocrons always gave you the next unmastered profession. The Emu implementation works this way also.) In the Emu Hologrind code all 6 professions are completely random and could include the Pilot professions once JTL is available. One good thing is that the Emu can easily be changed so that there is no silent Holocron. This way the Holocrons will tell you all 6 professions and not leave you blindly searching for that final profession.

As I have often stated, the blind profession grind had many negative consequences for the game. Among which was that, contrary to what some want to believe, players grinding to unlock never really learned anything about the professions that they ground. SOE also concluded that the Hologrind had negative aspects and delayed working on the much needed fixes to combat in order to replace the Hologrind.

From a personal standpoint I felt that the Village was a reasonable unlock system. It was structured in a way that players could see progress toward unlocking Jedi and that progress was based on how much effort that they were putting into unlocking Jedi. This was the best feature of the system. SOE did include though gates in the system to force a minimum of 16 to 19 weeks, depending on when you gained access to the Village, in order to unlock. While some players who really wanted Jedi ASAP were frustrated by this, it was no surprise and not a big negative aspect to players who started playing when this was the unlock system.

From the current state of the code, I seriously doubt that the Village Unlock system would be completed by the Emu team before this server wants to go online. So the options are to temporarily use the Hologrind, wait for the Village or use a different unlock system. In addition to thinking that the Hologrind is bad, the Emu team is not codeing the Hologrind to Village transition that SOE had to do. The Emu team sees it as a server used one system from day one. If there is any change to what is used it is up to that server to code how the transition works, if there is a transition.

So this leaves waiting, which means the development team for this server could add more content or doing an alternate unlock system. My preference is an alternate unlock system. We have seen though that an overly simplistic unlock like the Bloodfin EMU server used can cause problems. So there needs to be some degree of complexity.

One suggestion that I made was to create a series of long quest chains that would eventually unlock Jedi. In this proposal the quests would grant access to the Village and the Village could become a Quest Hub.

Part of this idea would be to require learning 6 of the 16 Force Sensitive skill branches just like the Village. However, these boxes would be learn from a quest giver for completing tasks just like the Tier 3 pilot skill boxes. This, of course, would also be best implemented with 16 separate trainers, one for each branch, out in the world.

So thoughts, ideas and comments?

Name that server

While not critical I think that we need to come up with a name for this server project. Currently I am calling it Oserver in the development environment, O for Other, and I do not want that name to become like GURPS. (The Steve Jackson Games Role Play system got that name because they called it the Great Unnamed Role Playing System. After a while they decided to simply use those initials instead of giving it a name.) Personally I do not have a preference for a name which is why I used that.

Once we have a name Someone can look into editing the ui_logo_lucas.dds, ui_logo_soe.dds and ui_starwars_logo_jtl.dds files to replace what the SWGEmu used to replace those files with something fitting the server name. The ui_background_arrow.dds file does not need to be edited but probably be edited to maintain a consistent theme.

I found and I am using the Easy2Convert DDS to JPG and Easy2Convert JPG to DDS to convert between the DDS file format and JPG which has many readily available editors. These are free and easy to find using a Google search. Before when I did some texture modding I used a third party plug in for Photoshop to read and write the DDS format. But in relation to this project I wanted to find an alternate path that more people could use.

SWG Emulator Project

Well I have started working with a group to set up and operate a Star Wars Galaxies server emulator. This will operate under the agreement between the SWGEmu community, SOE and Lucas Arts, Now Disney. People can go to www.swgemu.com to learn what the requirements for legally connecting to any server operating under that understanding.

The goal of this server group is to start with what SWGEmu is working on which is a Publish 14.1 server. (The last publish before the CU.) Then add content from later in the game to make it a more interesting server. Many in the group has talked with Koster about his intentions for SWG and what mistakes he made with SWG and try to take that into consideration as we tweak the server.

Since we do not currently have a web site set up, I have decided to resurrect this blog for us to discuss changes that we will be making between now and when we want to launch this server in late December and early January.