Greedy Goblin

Monday, February 6, 2017

The next game part 2

As I've said, I'm not interested in another "X is rigged" project, I want to accept the game as it is and run an interesting, positive project. Practically every game, even so rigged as LoL or WoT are good for the first part, practically the only exception is EVE where the rigging is personalized, the devs aren't for "bad players" or "paying players" but for their particular business partners/friends.

But "can accept as a black box" doesn't mean an interesting project. The game must have some playerbase (sorry 1000 players games), must have some form of persistence (the ranking persists in LoL and your tanks persist in WoT) and the players must have some goal they aim for but which not all of will them reach (LoL has high ranks but WoT doesn't have such common goal).

Also, the game must have some form of "metagame" or "strategy". If the game has no such layer, than it's an already solved puzzle, maybe practice needed. For example in Counterstrike you must aim properly and know the map. These are hard to do, but simple to understand. In card games the proper sites has the proper decks and the way of playing them, from that point a bot can - and in Hearthstone often do - reach top play.

Finally, the game must be released instead of alpha, pre-order, open beta, early access or whatever excuse for being unplayable. Pirate servers are off for the same reason. Same for games where the server is player run. With this respect I made a list of the games offered to me:
  • Archeage: very low playerbase
  • Final Fantasy 14: not yet evaluated
  • Elder Scrolls Online: not yet evaluated
  • DOTA2: not yet evaluated
  • Heroes of the Storm: not yet evaluated
  • SMITE: not yet evaluated
  • Magic the Gathering: no strategy layer
  • Hearthstone: no strategy layer
  • Dual Universe: still in crowdfunding
  • Albion Online: still beta
  • Mortal Online: very low playerbase
  • Guild Wars 2: not yet evaluated
  • SWTOR: not yet evaluated
  • Overwatch: not yet evaluated
  • Path of Exile: no strategy layer
  • Ultima Online: very low playerbase
  • Elite Dangerous: very low playerbase
  • Infestation the new Z: not yet evaluated
  • Blood Bowl 2: very low playerbase
  • Offworld Trading Company: very low playerbase
  • War Thunder: not yet evaluated
  • Tale in the Desert: very low playerbase
  • Dofus: not yet evaluated
If any of these is incorrect or you can add information, please comment. If a game is missing you'd recommend, please comment.

Finding the new game is exhausting. But I want a good project.

32 comments:

Skeddar said...

I am sure tons of people will protest about several things in that list... I'll just add that Hearthstone has a 'meta', and that's the current list of viable decks - but also which deck of these viable decks is the best against the current meta as it works as counter. So there can be several 'meta switches' within hours as if there are many type A decks, their counter type B will start increasing, until people switch to the counter type C... and then it starts from the beginning. And obviously there could be meta decks out there noone has found yet.

I still think Hearthstone is kinda a pay to win game, as you'll need ages to reach any kind of card pool that includes several meta decks, and even investing like 20$ per month will not be quite enough for some time.

Raphael said...

You apparently don't enjoy Warcraft high-end raiding enough to want to dedicate even 2 nights a week to it, but WOW is where your blog started and it fits your criteria. And the game has ranking persistence: wowprogress.com. And it's widely accepted not to be rigged.

Gear isn't the metric, only how fast you kill the bosses. And if you demand in-game persistence, it does have that in terms of achievements - how fast can you get [Cutting Edge: Bossname], and what is the date on your achievement. WOW mythic raiding might be one of the few online games that fits your criteria. And frankly, if you can earn enough gold in-game to buy a carry to cutting edge before most players get it, that might prove something as well.

If you come back with your common reply "but killing boss is easy 1 year later to get the gear" you are completely missing the point. The challenge is explicitly to see how early a date you can kill the boss at. That's the goal, that's what is celebrated, the gear is a means to an end.

You saying you can kill the boss easily 1 year later is no different than the socials who don't gem or enchant their gear or know rotations and are just "playing for fun lols." It's no different than a 10-year old saying "I am just as good as Usain Bolt, I got to the finish of the 100-yard dash eventually just like he did!"

It's fine if you want to solo WOW bosses 1 year after they are release, but no one doing that should pretend they are competing for the same goal that current content mythic raiders are.

Andru said...

A + for you to try Guild Wars 2.

I played it 3 years ago, and the market trading idea was ... interesting, and there's a lot of 'I farmed it for free' to beat out of the minds of the playerbase.

If you do pick that, I might just re-join the game.

Anonymous said...

I don't play it but I don't think it is quite appropriate to lump Elite Dangerous in with the others; low but perhaps not "very low." Not all the ED players use Steam but SteamCharts shows average 6,717.7 with peak of 13,304. So, it is perhaps a third of EVE, not large but not ATitD either.

Anonymous said...

DOTA2:
Compared to LoL it is more complicated and has more depth. You would have better chance of finding in-game strategies than in LoL.

Heroes of the Storm:
The most casual friendly of MOBAs. In game strategies are trivial and the 'twitch'-part of game is trivial. Game has various different maps with (slightly) different goals. Hard part of the game is coaching your team to do what they are supposed to do, so there is some place for meta-strategies; In this case how to get your team mates do what you need to do to win. Also game doesn't really have 'snowballing' or any kind of 'building up your capabilities', it really feels like you need to fight for x points and the one who gets them first wins, and that in level of football (soccer)... think of it really like football game that ends when one team scores 5 goals.

SWTOR:
While I have not really engaged in the end game it is alot like a WoW-clone with more involved story. Be prepared to level for a quite while to find if there is something to do on top.


Overwatch:
Has maybe a little more non-twitch aspects than most shooters; For example; You can stand on escort objective vehicle with Reinhard (a melee tank with area shield) for whole game and cause your team to win (in this case you would just keep one button down and face the enemies). But in heart of it, it is really much a twitch game like many other shooters and you won't get far without good twitching.

Anonymous said...

its not what it used to be like, but might be interested in what you think of SkyForge.

Anonymous said...

For readability, color code that list mate!
Also, please don't pick a shallow Blizz grindfest dance party game..

Cathfaern said...

@Raphael:
The problem with mythic raiding progress race is exactly that only the date matters. If wowprogress would rank not based on absolute date but on gear level and try count then it would be a true metric. Because right now what matters is how much time do you have. First how much time do you have before raids open: if it's a new expansion than yes leveling is not an issue now but farming for gear (either heroic or mats for crafting) needs time. The more you have the better (closer to non-raid BiS) your gear you will have so you will have better chance on the bosses. If it's not a new expansion then time means farming the previous raid until you have BiS. Considering that thanks to the random ilvl and stats you can't realistically get BiS before the next raid that means more time = better gear. Also more time = more BiS close alts.
So second what matters is how much time do you have when raids open: more time means more try in the same time frame. Of course skill matter but if you have 8 hours a day to try and you can't kill it, then it does not matter you could kill the boss in 100 tries (which would take 9 hours) if there is someone else who can try it 16 hours a day and they kill it after 200 try. They won.

Hearthstone:
I think the problem is not that there is no strategy layer. There is. Yes, legend is easily reachable, you just need time (lots of time) but playing consistently good, which means reaching tournaments consistently and getting in top positions in them (not winning, that sort of luck because of the card game nature) takes a lot of skill and can't be done only with time and basic knowledge. But I think participate in tournaments (some of them requires to be done in person) is not something you would want. And without tournaments the problem is that there is no persistent thing in HS. That's the main problem.

Tithian said...

@Skeddar

The only 'meta switches' happen within 1 or 2 weeks of a new expansion launched, and then nothing changes for months. Currently there are literally 2 types of decks in the ladder, PirateX and RenoX.

Look at Kripparian's latest video on why ranked play is abyssmal in HS, it was linked to the Reddit where everyone like to poke fun at him, an everyone was pretty much 100% aggreed on why ranked right now is cancerous.

@Gevlon

You are correct to conclude that HS currently has absolutely no strategy layer. The top decks literally play themselves, and it comes down to drawing the right cards to see if you won or lost by turn 5.

Alvi said...

Try fighting games. Street Fighter V for example.
SFV everything you need, but suffer from "it is extremely hard to get into" mentality. If you could make a project about getting into this genre and be successful that can help not only your blog but the fighting games and community in general.

Anonymous said...

How about chess? It has lots of players, persistent ranking and lots of strategic depth.

Gevlon said...

@Skeddar: HS players cud themselves calling deckbuilding "meta". If we accept this, then playing with a sniper rifle in an FPS is "meta".

@Raphael: we don't know how big part of the playerbase cares about competitive raiding. Also the game has no time limits, so the guy who kills the boss in 100 hours wins over the guy who kills it 50 in hours, assuming he played his 100 hours within the first week, while the second guy played 20 hours a week.

@Alvi: fighting games admittedly have no strategy layer.

@Chess is not a video game, it has its own community and authors, I don't think I could add anything to it.

maxim said...

A little bit confused about your definition of "strategy".
Plenty of strategy in MtG, for example

Skeddar said...

Isn't picking meta champs and going on meta lanes in LoL the same as building a meta deck?

Gevlon said...

@Skeddar: indeed it is. And I wouldn't call "I pick Katarina lol" a strategic decision.

@maxim: "strategy" is trying to solve an open-ended problem that doesn't have optimal solution. To attac Goons or not is not a solved problem. Deck X beats Deck Y is.

Alkarasu said...

With that criteria, War Thunder would not fit for the same reason WoT does not. It's pretty much the same game that has a bit more game modes and a bit more accurate vehicle models. It also has a significantly lower player base, which seems to be important to you as well.

Joe said...

You want a challenging game with meta shifts, strategic depth, persistence and demonstration of improvement? Go play Starcraft. Brood War or SC2, your call.

Anonymous said...

@maxim,
What Gevlon wants is a game that lacks what I will call 'Newtonian certitude', though that is not really a very good metaphor in this context.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace's_demon

Sacula said...

I wouldn't recommend SWTOR even though I play it. You need a subscription to just about anything outside of the original storyline.

You have a stupidly low money cap, limited number of instances, can't get endgame gear etc without the sub.

Antze said...

@Gevlon: I think, your approach to strategy raises some quite interesting questions.

Let's take WoW. "Warlock tanks Illidan @ some phase" is also a solved problem. "Better gear increases your raid performance" is too. Actually everything in the game related to game mechanics itself is solved. But you put effort to find unsolved problems in the game - you found that most of the players are wrong in their perception of gear's importance (Undergeared project), overestimate sociality (The PuG) or sometimes understimate it (Tol Barad fun). Still, ingame questions are already answered. Skilled players beat unskilled ones, skilled geared players beat skilled undergeared ones, even in Tol Barad those who know what to do beat the ones who don't.

"How to beat Goons" is quite unique, because in EVE there's player made content (Goons themselves), something that's not present in most of the games. Earlier, there was strategy in siege PvP in asian MMOs, but I'm afraid MODERN asian MMOs mostly revolve around "which guild paid for win more".

Anyway, if you expect "true strategy", you surely need to shift focus to MMOs with strategic PvP (maybe not all of them are hopeless).

Otherwise you might consider the "WoW option" - find strategy in the game yourself, and that usually means, "optimization". Surely, anyone who plays good can reach Gold league in LoL, but you found something different. Surely, anyone playing in a social guild will eventually kill a boss in WoW, but you explained that one can do it faster without such a guild. Anyone can grind money in BDO, but suddenly Gevlon.

I believe it's very possible that you could find strategy for a blogging project in some games you labeled as "no strategy layer" (even though you're likely right on that label). Well, so far you labeled just three of them, but I expect more to come - most of the modern games are themepark and that means "you know what to do, just learn it and do it properly".

marseillefrog said...

Maybe this has already been suggested: how about playing the AH on a WoW server. Many people still play and could provide some interesting results.

PICOLONY NAUTS said...

I think ff14 would benefit alot from your blogging. Yet it wouldn't be to much different from your wow/eve market posts. The difference would be mostly their selling system. The market is due for an overwork and if your looking to have an positiv impact on the game I think you have a good chance that the devs consider your opinion unlike other games.

One unique feature that their market has that no other one has is a backlog of 20 sales. Sales outside their marketboard system are pretty rare as there is no trade chat equivalent and you can only talk mapwide (there are 3 cities where peaple are sorta equally active and they are all made up of 2-3 maps each). There is a big focus on crafting as crafter/gatherer are classes just as warriors and mages. There are multiple systems to trade things in for items as well as item trade ins for gold/xp.

FF14 has right now about half a million aktive players https://www.reddit.com/r/ffxiv/comments/4y2zs8/unofficial_2016_ffxiv_census/ and it should go up with the next expansion in a few months.

maxim said...

@Gevlon and anon
I think Gevlon is severely underestimating card games.
MtG is certainly not a game with a lot of optimal solutions. Or rather, there are optimal solutions, but making the game go in such a way that you get to use them is the real strategic kicker.
The downside is, of course, substantial financial investment that a proper card game always requires.

maxim said...

@Gevlon
Also, it bears mentioning that there was, in fact, an optimal way to defeat Goons, which you found :D.

The distinction of "... and nobody found it yet" is too fuzzy to rely on for a definition of strategy.

Asparagus32 said...

@PICOLONY NAUTS

The biggest issue with FFXIV's currency is that it has very little use outside of crafting (housing as the biggest money-sink is limited much more by plots per server than the high price-tag). Still, it would be quite interesting to see the ways to make Gil that Gevlon would come up with.

@Gevlon

The main issues I see with FFXIV are the following:

1. The endgame gear progression is very similar to WoW. Every even patch several new tiers of gear are added which are either bought with a weekly limited currency (tomestones) or dropped in the highest available raid (8 player dungeons). Raid dropped gear will be the highest quality available, but the following odd patch will add the option to upgrade one (or more if you're willing to grind rare world spawns) pieces of tomestone-bought gear to the same level of raid gear.
As you wrote with WoW, the most effective way to get top-end gear is thus to simply wait until it's available for everyone willing to put enough time into the grind, no skill required.

2. The game has a very weird stance towards parsers (damage meters). Since there is no add on-support, there's no ingame way to effectively measure dps and performance. On PC it's possible to use parsers for this, which is forbidden by the game's TOS, but will be tolerated as long as it's not used to "harass" other players.
What this means is that you have no way to call out M&S or even offer friendly advice based on your parser data, since people can report you for this.

3. The story system: FFXIV uses the same "you're the only hero who saves everyone"-approach, that WoW started to use with Cataclysm and more heavily during MoP, which you have previously written about in your blog.
The big issue with this (aside from it making the game seem like a single player game at times) is that there's no story skips possible. This shows when you reach level 50, the previous level-cap before they introduced the first expansion, when you have to complete a ton of quests before the game allows you to proceed to the expansion areas.
SE announced that they plan to introduce a story-skip with the next expansion in June, though it's possible you have to buy it in their cash-shop.

Possible projects (other than dominating the market) I could imagine would be similar to “Undergeared” or “The Pug”. Many jobs have a high skill-ceiling and the game actually rewards you doing some content with the lowest possible equipment. It has to be mentioned, though, that many fights use the “dance”-approach that you often criticized when you still blogged about WoW. The last patch added the possibility to form cross-realm parties (from servers in your datacentre), which could be helpful to find people interested in participating in a project.

Trees said...

I'm glad to see you shooting down cardgames. I think these silly games are deceptive to their player base, making players think they are performing some great feat by pulling random cards and defeating another player (or bot) who is doing the same.

As far as games from your list: I can only speak to DOTA2 and Overwatch from recent experience.

Dota2 I think you will be very good at, as winning is much less about twitch skill and more about picking counters in the pick phase, and knowing abilities of enemies (and allies) and then adapting your play to exploit or fill weaknesses.

Overwatch I think is less interesting for you, it is very easy to gain ranks by playing simple characters that have very basic strategy. Overwatch claims to have a meta about switching characters in and out to adapt the new situations, but this is usually only true for one or two people on a 6 man team (the people who play the twitch skill characters).

John Dougan said...

There is an weak metagame in GW2's WvW PvP. Currently, the relevant out of game aspects to dominating your WvW matches have to do with WvW population and timezone coverage. Because of this there are a handful of realms that dominate the WvW rankings in a rich-get-richer positive feedback situation. They've get it divided into MMR tiers to help this a bit, but the richer rewards at the higher levels ensures that anyone mostly interested in WvW eventually goes into the higher ranked realms.

There was some interest from ArenaNet in changing how teams are determined in WvW to help remedy this (WvW is the last place in the game where realms have any relevance) but not a lot changed after those discussions.

It would be interesting to see if anyone could find new aspects in the WvW meta that breaks the dominance, though I personally doubt it could happen without ArenaNet making changes.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember anyone having suggested these:

TERA, Blade & Soul

Both are free to play MMO with crafting and trading, endgame PVE and PVP with a healthy current playerbase as far as I can tell.

I haven't played too much of them yet(20-30 hours), but can imagine they have potential to have what you are looking for.
Basically I am suggesting these two to get comments from people here who played them a meaningful amount of hours on max level to have some well grounded opinion.

Tunoi Veil said...

Still suggesting Planet Calypso. Cannot really tell about the playerbase. But all winnings in game can be withdrawed in RL currency.

Unknown said...

Tibia, despite it's somewhat low playerbase nowadays, is a great game and a worthy challenge.

You lose gear upon death, unless you have blessings/amulet of loss (considerably expensive, and a kind of loss of its own). You can go back *several* levels upon death, depending on how high your level is. There is no level cap. There are PvP-Enforced servers, where PvP is not just available, it's encouraged.

You kill players to take over hunting spots. Leveling is solely based on grinding, there are no traditional quests. Quests themselves are few and spread apart, old-style with a equipment or monetary or access-to-an-area or service reward, with some quests requiring hundreds of very well geared players to clear. (There are Quest Services, hosted by the top guilds in the server, where you pay to have them clear it for you).

It's a very hardcore and unforgiving game. There's 20 years worth of content to explore. Overall, great game.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you read your comments, but Albion Online is probably your next best bet. It is huge on the pvp. Like you buy/take over towns and you build it up by making building. This is late game but people who use your town has to pay tax(kind of like archage), Its huge on Player based economy. And I can see you making money without grinding again which I would like to see!

Albion Online

Should be your next Project!

I say all these things but I don't own the game, I just read up and watch others play, waiting for it to get out of beta :|.

Currently playing: BDO

Excited to see your next post!

-Windiana

Anonymous said...

DOTA2: Basically the same as LoL
Heroes of the Storm: Basically the same as LoL (most differences, best of the bunch, but nothing you can influence much)
SMITE: Basically the same as LoL
Guild Wars 2: Grindy before anything else, though Realm PVP might be interesting.
Overwatch: It's a shooter first.
Path of Exile: No.
Ultima Online: No.
Blood Bowl 2: Basically solved by strong players.
Offworld Trading Company: Most interesting of the bunch.