Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Micro events idea

One thing that really bothers me in City of Heroes is the static groups of enemies that stand at certain locations around map. When I first started playing CoX, I was running along in the streets of Paragon City with my level 1 hero and I saw a lady's handbag being stolen by some thugs. I instantly jumped in, defeated the thugs and saved the handbag. The lady thanked me and I went on my way feeling as though I had done a good deed. A short time later, I was running past the same location and I saw exactly the same crime happening again???

This is where the realism dramatically dropped out for me...

I decided to just watch and see what would happen to the lady and her handbag if I stood by and did nothing. Well, the handbag snatching animation continued over and over and over and over...

After that point, I decided not to bother helping the citizens of Paragon City, since it obviously didn't matter.

Now for my idea about micro events. Let just say there are 200 micro events per map. One of them could be the lady and her handbag. The server knows that you haven't completed this event before, and so it auto spawns it slightly ahead of your path. You are running along, and you hear a scream:

"Help me! He stole my handbag!!"

You choose to stop and help by apprehending the criminal and returning the handbag. The lady thanks you, and you get a small reward (an event token or something). The event is classified as complete and you never see it again. If you choose not to help, the criminal gets away and the lady weeps. You receive no reward, but you don't get penalised for not helping. The server remembers that you haven't completed the micro event and thus puts it back into the pool of random events that could occur in your path.

With micro events, the player would essentially be given a new experience in the persistent world each time and in different locations to everyone else. The event would be relative to your level. This would make the gaming world seem as though it belongs to you, but at the same time everyone else. If you are in a group when a micro event triggers, the event difficulty would scale. In the case of our handbag snatcher, he could have a bunch of pals around the corner waiting. The event would be completed for all players that participated.

Although I'm sure such a system would be rather complex to implement in an MMO, I think it would add that extra touch of realism, making the persistent world ever so slightly better. It would also make questing feel more sporadic and less static.

5 comments:

Melf_Himself said...

Sounds awesome.

I love the name - "micro events" - it sounds like a great hype-creating marketing thing, which I am starting to believe is a kay factor in terms of getting awesome ideas put into games.

Scott said...

I always loved the random events in games like Grand Theft Auto 3 and 4 and Crackdown. The beauty is that those events truly are random, and seem to be spawned ahead of your render range for you. It can be pretty amusing to just stand in place and watch what happens around you. The problem is that the world isn't persistent. If I drive/run far enough that the people/cars are no longer rendered then turn around and go back, there's a very high chance they will be replaced by all-new random events.

Besides, I can already imagine the forum threads complaining that people can't find the lady with the stolen purse because she's always moving around plus she's randomly generated, they want to duo the bad guy with their friends, etc.

Anton said...

I love it!

My biggest beef with MMO's and most games in general is that bad guys and NPC's are really brainless. I'd like to see enemies that are actually doing something. This seems like an artificial way of doing it, but effective nonetheless. What I'd really like is if NPC's actually had business they were going about all the time...It could be broken up into checkpoints and a few possible paths/actions they might take during the day, thought out over a schedule for every NPC and enemy. Then if the old lady happened to take the path past where the robber happened to be scouting that day, the event would proceed and anyone who happened to be around could stop it in action, or arrive later and the lady might tell you what way he went and you could track him to his hideout. But if the lady didn't go that way, maybe someone else did, like Joe the Plumber...Then Joe ends up being the one to get mugged. It could be much more dynamic. But the nice thing about your method is that you're always sure to be there when it happens.

Crimson Starfire said...

@melf
It's all about the buzz words. Public Quests never turned out to be anything special, but it was so well marketed that it didn't matter.

Guild Wars 2, now with 'Micro Events' ;)

@scott
I played GTA3 on Xbox, but never went higher than that. I remember some of the random spawns and it worked really well. If only they could work that technology into a persistent world.

I think as long as the events all give the same reward (i.e. an event token), players won't be too fussed as to which ones they get and don't get. Unless some are more fun than others, in which case you are right about complaints on the forums. Shouldn't be a huge issue though.

@anton
It would be nice to have NPCs that move around and do daily tasks. The static ones are really boring. Now that server technology is getting better, we may see it happen in the next couple of years.

Thallian said...

oooo I wish this stuff was used.. im tired of the same old stupid AS's (Artificially stupids)