Thursday, August 28, 2008

Permanence in Persistent World

City of Heroes has just recently announced the eye candy features of Issue 13.

Included in this shortlist of the big stuff is the idea of day jobs. The idea whereby if you log out at a hospital, your character does EMT work, and thus will gain badges and buffs for when you log back in. There are various different buffs and rewards for the various jobs and locations.
Though as an aside, there is only one University in the City of Villains, so expect the top of Cap Au Diable University to be camped by all sorts.

Massively have asked the question, are rewards for offline time a good idea?

I counter with, what the hell has my character been doing while I slept?

In EVE, skills are trained offline in real time. There is the immersive sense that your character, no matter what they are doing in New Eden is at all times doing something. So countering the question with a question is more an exercise in wondering, how persistent should the worlds we play in be?

Time is fluid in MMOs. Certainly in City Of, the sun shoots across the sky at a great rate of knots and as such the day/night cycle is artificial. This is a rather good thing as I rarely am up so late that I'd be playing in EST "night time" if the cycle was realtime. Given that the days we count are our real time days, the in game distinction between night and day is meaningless, what happens to our alternate selves in the dead time?

If the world is to reflect the real, some form of buff or reward for the time spent not playing may well be acceptable. I cannot believe that when Bregel and Orrekai take a break from opposing the forces of Chaos they both, a) do not assist the war effort in some way, b) do not get rested up or c) do not do anything at all.

Rewards like WoW's rested xp gain or AoC's fresh kills are a good thing. They add that extra layer of the real to our virtual worlds.
I'm refreshed, I'm on top of my game, I have that little edge when going beheading.

What I disagree with is the way City of Heroes is approaching it.
"Lads, we have a task force tomorrow and extra regen is a much, everyone log for 24 hours on the hospital"
"Actually we're going to go badge hunting, we'll need extra damage, log out over Vanguard for a damage buff"

While I do think our characters should get a little something for doing whatever it is they do when we arent there to animate them, they shouldn't be able to do it all.
Virtual heroes, space pilots or warriors, everyone real or imagined needs a break from the working world.


Anonymous said...

Zyla's out scouting while those two slackers suck back a few barrels of raw beer. :>

Zubon said...

For the developers, offline advancement is a great idea. What better way to encourage people to keep paying for their accounts in months when they are not playing? A little bit of database work for your subscription fees. How many EVE accounts do you think there are that log on twice a month to switch skills?

Ardua said...

Oh I know there are likely tons. Heck, even the developers of EVE suggested people put on long duration skills for training before they went to maintenance so people would still "achieve" something. My brother played the game for a few months by logging in once or twice a week to get himself ready to actually play. But he's an odd duck.