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So, I have been spending time talking to role players, mostly ESO role players but also others who have role played on other games, on both regular servers and role play servers. I have gotten a lot of information from some very passionate people.
Most of them tell me the same thing. They do not care at all about mechanics. They play the game just to get what they need to role play. So they use mechanics to gather resources and craft and decorate houses.
Other than that, they do not want combat mechanics. They do not care about min/maxing or questing or any of what you expect in your average MMO.
So what do they want? A true sandbox.
I have spent a year a year or more now playing with several groups of role players on ESO. On my very first mission I found myself swinging my sword at invisible mobs. I was very confused. DM gave great descriptions about the monsters coming out of the swamp. It reminded me more of a DnD pen and paper game than an MMO, but…with no dice. The game play was completely consensual, one could end up falling into the swamp (via DM description) and then the player emotes that they clawed there way back onto dry land. I also played with a group that did use dice and the roll was meaningful to your actions which you then emoted. So rolled a 20 and I saved the captain of the group from getting killed.
I found two groups..one that likes dice, one that does not. I enjoyed both…and I admit that the dice surprised me more than the emote from the DM but still lots of fun.
Our game currently has been built as a regular mechanics heavy MMO with battles between different cultures and among nobles and houses. As our game has always been skewed to role players with no numbers at all and a huge amount of lore.
I came to realize that it will be impossible for heavy mechanics vs role play to exist in the same world. Yes, ESO does it, and many people play the game as intended. Imagine a Sala siege where the Populists attack the homes of the royalist nobles. The event could announce as Only Pure Roleplay, with dice. Or without dice, or with combat mechanics. This would be confusing and require three different events. I had another idea maybe to put them each in different instances. But again, is one world, so having three different outcomes will not be able to affect the world.
I sat down with my team members and we made a decision. We will create LoA for pure roleplayers and include some light mechanics for crafting and resource gathering and house building. We will add some mechanics to support role play with or without dice.
This will mostly affect combat mechanics as rather than the computer driving the combat, it will be the players and their Dms and their own missions. Death is consensual so a player can choose to die or not. Role play groups can create their own rules concerning death and injuries.
Of course all of this will be tested thoroughly with players in a portion of the map. If we find many people who prefer the mechanics we can create a second shard using what we have now and adding the latest changes. However, that will not happen unless we feel it is worth the time.
So one thing we will doing in the next few months is sending out surveys to gather more information from people interested in LoA. I will posting it here and sending to some game guilds where I have contacts. I would appreciate you filling those out regardless of whether you are a role player or a “gamer”. Feel free to send me feedback.
Apart from that, in a few weeks we will be moving into our new bigger and better office. I am excited about that and I think it will help us moving forward to have more space and equipment. Now that I can see again, I can finish my client work (which helps fund the game) and move on to finishing the starting area.
I am saving some surprises for the testers, such as some already finished rp features that we have added.
If you made it through this post, thanks! If you are a role player….feel free to add your opinions.