Travels with Troy; Episode II

Travels with Troy

Episode II

I want to thank Brenden, over at anotherhere, for his funny little show’s bumper. Head over to Brenden’s site to read about his interesting and often funny stories. He draws and has his own graphic novel; check out his artwork at his web page.

This week in the Travels with Troy, we continue to discuss the use of Multiplicity a program from stardock.com. We discuss the general use of the program and how I am using it to two-box in Everquest II. I have recently received some emails from people that have not had as good experience as I had with the program, and next week we will talk about issues and control schemes in using the program.

I then move on to my discussion of my theoretical game called Advanced Phantasm Adventures. In this week’s show we delve into the secondary and teritiary attributes: Hit Points (and Death), Hit Point buffer, Shock, Bleeding, Recuperation, Food, Drink, Height & Weight, Size Codes, Movement, and ending with a brief discussion on Experience Points.

Within the TMOG segment, my first discussion is about Hit Points in the game and how we must break away from the paradigm of levels and ever increasing Hit Point scores. One of the primary reasons characters within an MMO game cannot journey with each other is the abstraction of HP (Hit Points) within the progression growth of a character’s career. As stated in the show, new characters often have low hit points and as they experience the game, they gain levels, and increase in HP. The monsters of the game follow the same rule set and thus start a practice of forcing long time players onto tougher and tougher monsters.

Instead of making the monsters more lethal with special abilities, armor, buffs, and debuffs, designers simply add more HP to the monster and have them do greater amounts of damage. This then complicates the issue of new characters playing with veteran players because their statistics are wildly different.

In Phantasm Adventures, all characters and monsters have a fixed set of HP that will not vary much over play of the game. Two identically created characters, one that is two years into the play of the game, and another that is freshly made, will more than likely have the same HP score.

Of course this begs the question, what separates the two characters then? We will address this with much greater detail in shows to come, but as a overview characters that have played longer will be better equipped, will have better skills in the use of weapons and defensive talents, and veteran players will have a greater social status so they are able to wear better armor, use better weapons, ride faster mounts, own more land (to obtain more money), and travel to places where the younger characters can not go.

I also talk about a number of other attributes owning to a character, such as the ability to heal and recuperate. Unlike modern day MMOs, Phantasm limits the amount of magical healing that can be performed on a character and thus changes the overall tactics of the game. No more can a group of characters rely on a single tank, but will have to alternate tanks and front line combatants as they run out of Hit Point Buffer.

I also briefly talk about Shock and the need to add another layer of complication (to me complication adds richness to a game’s mechanics) thus allowing more versatile play in solo, groups, and raids.

Food and drink in the game is talked about briefly and I discuss how one determines the amount of food and water one needs to consume to be sated — we will talk more about sustenance in later shows.

We move on to a discussion on how to determine the Height and Weight of a character, and what Size Code the avatar has. Size Code is a very important attribute that will affect a character in both a good and bad circumstances throughout his play.

Smaller characters will benefit in a low Size Code because it allows them easier access to expensive equipment and gear, but is a determinate to the use of their skills and combat and magic spell ranges. Large characters suffer greatly with big Size Codes because it scales all their gear and equipment costs, weight, and construction materials — but they gain bonus in many skills, combat and spell ranges, and often leverages themselves with more physical threat in the game overall.

I often look at older fantasy literature and movies and see these giants swinging a tree limb or a boulder and wanted to make a logical reason why they would do so — with Size Codes, it makes sense very quickly why giants would or could not gain access to the materials to fashion weapons and armor for their size. Ultimately, I have always envisioned smaller fey races to be decked out in shining metal chain and plate, with the most outlandish and crazy looking weapons.

I end this week’s discussion on some basic ideas of changing the way characters gain experience points in MMOs — divorcing ourselves from xp gained through killing monsters and doing quests. One thing that has always caused me great aggravation was the designers of the game forcing me into a path of growth that I may not have wanted to take. With choosing three out of thirty (perhaps less or more) Goals each character can fashion their own ideas of how they want to progress.

Each goal would have their own benefits and penalties, but would allow the players to explore the world anew from different view points. Exploration in the beginning would be give easy and fast experience, but as the world is explored, so the Goal of exploration slow. One of course could choose Combat as a goal, but at the start of the life of the character, it would be slow and methodical until the character gained enough skills to survive battles without as much downtime.

With the discussion of acquiring XP also we briefly discuss how to spend it. There would be many areas of a character to develop such as attribute points for statistics, sensory scores, devotion to a deity, learning and mastering magic and magic spells, and developing a social (faction) level within a particular region or kingdom.

I round out the show with a discussion on a new show I discovered while poking around in my Netflix library called Torchwood. The first time I watched the show, I must admit, I wasn’t overally impressed with it. It is a british production and reminded me of an updated version of Doctor Who — which I found out was basically true. The characters of the show grow on you quickly, and you will truly fall for the main star of the show; a girl called Gwen played by the mysteriously ravishing actress Eve Myles.

Torchwood, an anagram for Doctor Who, is about a group of dedicated detectives and scientists — and some mysterious characters as well — trying to apprehend aliens visiting our world and also reclaiming lost alien artifacts that often end up in the wrong hands. Some of the stories are a bit silly, but the acting is good and the stories are very engaging.

I hope everyone who reads this will at least watch a couple of episodes and give the show a whirl.

Until the next episode, I thank everyone who listened to the show and who has stopped by the Emerald Tablet to read it.

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