TBT: Listen To Raph Tell The Tale

Raph Koster has been answering a series of questions about Galaxies and giving a rich background of how it all worked and came to be.

Hardcore Galaxies person that I am, I am thrilled to hear these behind the scenes stories, and see the thinking that went in to everything.

In the first post he talks about the TEF (Temporary Enemy Flag) system and how that came to be, and why it didn’t work.  A fascinating look at the structuring of PvP within a game system.

I read that last night and went to sleep remembering raiding Imperial cities on Lok and Dantooine with guildies and Rebels from other cities.  Having my Architect get a TEF riding too near an Imp town with mines.  Having to coordinate where you’d clone and where you’d fly in to get close but not set off alarms with the opposing side.  How you could choose to be either Imperial or Rebel, but with my folks, once you were Imperial you could never be trusted, and they were very very serious and fierce about it.

In today’s Post he talks about the design of the game, and the inclusion of Jedi and the problems that were caused throughout the life of the game because they existed. 

I knew the game was “rushed” and released too soon.  It is fascinating to see how much was juggled in the air, what was kept and what not as time grew short. 

This was my first MMO and I played because it was Star Wars, and because I read that you could do non-combat professions, and that you didn’t need to PvP if you didn’t want to.  It seemed to me at the time there were many games which notoriously had high level people hanging out in newbie areas and killing newbies as soon as they spawned.  I didn’t want any part of that.

Luckily I met people pretty quickly who came from Everquest, Asheron’s Call, and Final Fantasy who knew the ropes of online games and they helped me learn how to play.  I note Raph saying how heavy the game was on player interdependence, and for me that was everything, and the best system that could have been in place.

It all looked so different to us, the brand new MMO players who were all about Star Wars, and traveling to the far planets in search of adventure.  We didn’t see the flaws that people who had played other games saw, I don’t think.  We just loved living in that world.

Are PVP Oriented Games Easier to Design and Make?

This came to my head as I was drifting along in Rift this evening. 

I have limited experience with PVP, only playing some in Galaxies and having tried all the types in World of Warcraft, maybe a tiny bit of Monster Play in LOTRO.

You don’t have to write quests. 

Maps are pretty limited in what they contain, right?  World building isn’t a big deal, and nobody cares how big your world is and if you can walk across it in a half hour.

You don’t need many classes.

Armor and weapons can be your focus because everyone is looking for the next Big Bad.

Nobody has to think about too much about anything.  You set things up, people go toe to toe.  Somebody lives, somebody dies.  Rinse, repeat.

You don’t need lore.

Not really any need for writers, little need for artists. Cheap to run?