Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The importance of world persistence in MMOs

The corp and especially the faction standing affect broker fee, I wrote it several times: BrokerFee% = (1 – 0.05*BrokerRelationsLevel)/ exp(0.1 *FactionStanding + 0.04*CorporationStanding). But elevating standing isn't a trivial job. If you double-click on a faction, corporation or agent in your standings page, you see the list of missions and their rewards in % form. A good mission gives around 5%. That is either a once-a-lifetime COSMOS or datacenter mission, or a lucky storyline you got after 16 normal mission. An average one gives around 3%. You might assume that to raise it to 100%, you need 33 missions (or actually 33*17 = 561), but it's not true. The standing change is not equal to this value. The standing change has diminishing returns: change = base_change * (1 - current_standing/10). So the actual % to accumulate for a certain standing is:

The broker fee (calculated with zero broker relations here) has an own diminishing return against standing. The combination of the two: the fee vs missions done is really-really diminished:
It's safe to say that there is no reason to decrease it more after 200% collected. Don't forget that all the "cheap" ways to get standings (datacenter, cosmos, career agents) are all included, the further steps are laborious collection of 16 missions for a storyline.

Yet when I had nothing better to do and realized what I'm doing, I did some missions for standing. My last action was doing the Sisters of EVE epic arc with the Hek station trader alt. It provided 8.4% faction standing at the end, after 46 missions. Not really stellar. Gave some lore (that I could read on some site) and it was definitely more fun than another 16 distribution missions. But what was the point? I mean the opportunity cost on these missions probably larger than the gain on the broker fees over years. Yet I did it. OK, I was bored, but I could have started a WoW alt, or join faction warfare or RvB.

I was thinking why I choose this way of spending time, instead of some farming activity (I can't trade more than I do, I'm limited by capital and the lack of Orcas, the time demand of my process isn't high). Then I realized that the faction standing and the broker fees will stay with me forever. I mean the guy who got the same standings when the servers came up 10 years ago can still use them. They did not go obsolete, unless he choose a different path (turned pirate for example). The "progressing characters in a persistent world" was a basic idea among MMOs. It surprisingly worked on even me. Did not make me OCD about maxing it out (9.996 is rounded to 10.00), did not made me to care about it when I had something better to do, but when I was bored and open to random ideas, I was drawn to gain faction standings.

Surprisingly EVE remained the most true to the "progressing characters in a persistent world". You constantly gather skill points and your standings can't be lost either. You can lose ships and even implants but they are consumables anyway. Vanilla WoW had it and people swarmed to play it. Then they made a reset with Burning Crusade and people kept coming slower. Then they decided to make a reset every content patch in WotLK and the people stopped coming. Finally they introduced between-patches nerfs creating a "you'll get something better in a week if you wait" feeling and the people were leaving in masses.

After running after those silly standing percentages I'm not sure that the downfall of WoW had anything to do with content difficulty or even the dances. Maybe it was just taking away character progression.

I think "streamlining" the EVE skillpoint system allowing carriers to be learned without faction battleship 5 would be a similar mistake. You can be sure I really believe it as I'm training for carriers and I don't have Amarr BS 5. I would gain several weeks by the change. I still tell CCP: don't! Messing with anything that mean character progression can break the magic. I can't tell where it breaks. The Burning Crusade did not break it for Blizzard. But finally it will break.

Wednesday morning report: 49.8B. (1 PLEX ahead, 1.1B spent on LCT, 0.1 on Rorqual)
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Micko said...

This is one of the things that killed WoW for me, was the lack of character progress. I mean, I could get gear, but it was meaningless gear that I would replace in the next patch, but more importantly I would get that new gear in the next patch even if I didn't get the current gear in this patch. Compared to vanilla WoW where each piece of gear was progressing your character and made a difference to your guild's progress in the next tier.

Anonymous said...

it's not the first time ccp has fiddled with the character progression, and usually it did not fuck up much.

For example the removal of learning skills, the removal of starter skills by bloodline/education, the introduction of noob xp boost at the start. And even the requirements skillwise for some ships / modules have been adjusted over the years.

Looking at how / what carriers are used for and the amount of existing carriers i believe its quite fair to streamline the skill progression there. In the end there is no logical reason as for why to require BS 5 for Carriers, since that skill has no real linkage - battleship skills don't give you any advantage with a carrier.

Belloche said...

The standings that you should be shooting for is at least 6.67, once you achieve that you should be paying no taxes other then just setting up your market orders.

Gevlon said...

No, 6.67 is for refineries.

Ignatius Hood said...

I love the journey as much as the destination. Sure it can be a grind at times but nothing worth doing is done easily or quickly.
My main is over 23 million SP and it gives me no end of pleasure to look at that number and think of all I've built in that time and all I've learned. Yet there is so much more to build, to learn. My 23m is nothing compared to some whales deep in the hundreds.

I want to be those guys!

I'm as engrossed in this game today as I was when I first started and what I have planned in the future keeps me moving forward. The second I look at what I do in this game and can think of nothing else to do with it is the second I stop.

I tell people all the time that EVE is brutal but fair. It rewards patience and preserverance, it punishes ignorance and carelessness.

Use your brain, observe what transpires, and question every outcome, and you will profit. Thats why I love it.

Anonymous said...

I really love character progression and persistence and loathe gear resets.

But note persistence has a downside to a company (but not the forum warriors.)

If the developer obsolesce, replaces or obviates skills, it is not really persistence. If they don't, how will they ever get non-masochists to start the game? The market is moving away from long commitment games. WoW was quicker than EQ with each expansion getting shorter and GW2 allows you to start a pvp character at max level.

Once you get most of the players having two+ years of training of significant skills, then that is a major deterrent to most (but not all) players from starting the game. (IIRC there was a QEN of a couple of years ago where 1-2 year age was when the death rate in 0.0 started going down.)

Persistence is an interesting thing for the ongoing player and a detriment to new players and thus the developer's investors..

Mabrick said...

Greed! Look at Star Wars Galaxy. They nerfed the skill tree and allowed everyone to be a Jedi. That's when the game died - at that very moment. I think CCP is smarter than that but it never hurts to remind them.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope CCP won't make the grave mistake to allow capital training off level 4 racial battleships. It's a good thing some ships require commitment to long term training plans, especially in a time when more and more MMOs offer instant gratification for no effort to their braindead customers.