About Morality and Legends of Equestria.
First of all, this text was translated from another language using an automatic translator, so please forgive any possible mistakes.
As an introduction
Playing LoE recently, at some point I realized how the familiar resource extraction mechanics for MMO are not combined with the setting of the world in which the action of this game takes place.
Seriously, the main idea of the MLP: FiM series was this: "Friendship and cooperation, forgiveness and understanding are better than selfishness, malice and exploitation." But what do we see in the game created based on this show? Most of the activity is somehow tied to the extermination of mobs for the resources that fall from them. No, I'll give the developers their due - quests in the game almost never require participation in battle and causing harm to another. There is even a quest rewarding for REFUSING to perform immoral actions towards another character.
However, despite the fact that the game offers a fairly wide range of peaceful activities, most of them sooner or later rests on the need to extract resources by killing mobs.
Do you want to be a craftsman? I'm sorry, some of the resources needed to create equipment of even an average level are extracted only from these mobs (some of which, according to the original series, I note, are fully intelligent beings with some kind of society).
Do you want to be a farmer? Sorry, but the seeds of most plants are not sold anywhere. If you want to find them, go to the forest to beat the monsters from which these seeds fall.
Cooking? The same story, with the only difference that some resources are only grown through farming, which, as mentioned above, also comes down to killing mobs.
Science? The same story as with cooking, but for this skill you need resources, perhaps, in general, every category that is in the game...
The point is clear, I think?
However, this is not the only problem. Or at least I think that's the problem.
The ultimate goal of all these activities, including peaceful ones, is MURDER. Crafting is needed to create equipment that makes the character stronger in battle. Cooking creates healing and strengthening products. Science and farming, mining - create recipes and resources for the first two. Well, those who play RPG and MMORPG know this formula, right?
However, without all this, the game will turn into... well... a chat with pony avatars. And I'm not saying that this is bad, but Pony Town already exists for this.
However, LoE has the potential to become something more, something different, something, perhaps, new.
So. Here I will pause and say that I am in no way a sociologist, psychologist or any other -an ologist. I'll just state my thoughts on how the game COULD work with the chosen setting, but I have no idea if it will ACTUALLY work. Moreover, I am interested in your opinion. Yes, here's yours. I am addressing you, O reader of these lines! Read the following and think about whether such gameplay would be interesting to you as a player and as an armor. And, if possible, leave your opinion.
But let's move on to the thoughts themselves.
We need to give the players a different GOAL.
Any other changes will not make sense if the end point of the development of combat and peaceful skills is the same. Killing the strongest bosses SHOULD NOT be the final goal. Reaching the level cap SHOULD NOT be the final goal. These things should be just steps, a means to an end, not a finale. What is the GOAL?
It should be something positive, productive. The idea should be creating, the creation of something good, not destruction and murder. It will be especially good if achieving this GOAL requires the collective efforts of the players.
Specifics? Well, how about, I don't know... the development of settlements on the Frontier and in the Heartlands? Creation of new settlements?
For example, with the recent update, a construction site appeared on the frontier. So why not tie quests to it to collect a huge amount of resources? Give players the opportunity to participate in the construction by donating resources to a kind of common piggy bank for everyone. And when the piggy bank is full, put a building or two. Even better, if the progress of filling the piggy bank will be displayed as several stages of construction.
In addition, the construction / development of the settlement provides a basis for writing plot and repetitive quests.
You can even go further and give players the opportunity to influence the direction of settlement development through quests! But this has already carried me a little... I'll slow down here.
This, in fact, came to my mind only in the process of writing this text. I'm sure there are better options.
Changes in the combat system.
An interesting point is that I like the LoE combat system. No, seriously. Yes, yes, I know that the LOE combat system is a classic MMO piano game (skill_1, skill_2, skill_1, skill_3, skill_1, flask_of_health, flask_of__mana, repeat_till_mob_dies). But there is one detail in it that has HUGE potential and that intrigues me. Tension system.
In essence, you are offered a choice at the level of mechanics - to deal with the mob "in a bad way" or "in a good way".
The only problem is that at the moment there is a difference between these two approaches, but in the end it does not matter. The poor little animal who was unlucky enough to have what we, the players, need falls dead, and from her cold corpse a bloodthirsty and greedy maniac (the player) picks out the desired items.
The changes I propose to make here are actually mostly cosmetic - make the difference between the approaches more noticeable.
Let the animal, when defeated through the Soothed, not fall limp dead carcass, but run away, for a while, becoming non-aggressive and invulnerable. Well, or runs away into a cloud of dust safely disappearing into it.
Yes, these are minor changes, but they set the TONE. The player will see the consequences of his actions, his choice.
And regarding the consequences... You can add a kind of karma counter, which will be responsible for how mobs will react to the player in the future.
Let's say we have a pony that deals with mobs from the very beginning by purely forceful methods, destroying all living things (as most players are used to doing, yes ...). This hypothetical "karma counter" for him will show a deep negative value, glowing bright red... And mobs will know about it, initially reacting to the player more aggressively. You can even tweak their own "angered-soothed" counter accordingly.
On the other hand, a player who prefers a more peaceful approach and receives a blue positive value in his "karma counter" will face the fact that some mobs will be less aggressive towards him, and/or will even have some progress in the soothed strip at the beginning of the battle.
Well, or make coefficients, depending on what is easier to implement from the point of view of the engine.
You can also go further and reward different mobs with different levels of susceptibility to a particular type of battle.
The same Timberwolves from the series are ultimatums in their attitude to ponies. They are uncompromising monsters with whom it is not possible to agree in a good way at all. Well, display this in the impossibility or extreme difficulty of filling the soothed strip for this type of mobs.
Also, I would like to see more options for crowd-control. You give more skills for aggro control and crowd control of mobs! What for? Well.....
DOWN WITH THE DROP FROM MOBS!
I've said it all.
Although of course not, of course I didn't.
What do I mean by that? I mean that the mechanics of resource extraction in its current form does not combine with the main motive of the Equestria world.
No, seriously, remember Mane 6. Did you remembered? And now imagine how they are going to a cafe on the weekend, and then Rarity is like, "Darlings, I've run out of such and such fabric, and there aren't enough jewelry left... Would you be so kind as to help me replenish my supplies?". Her friends agree and... go to the nearest settlement of diamond dogs, arrange a genocide of this settlement and take everything that has at least some value. FRIENDSHIP, YAY!! Wait...
But that's exactly what we, the players, are forced to do even if (that's nonsense, isn't it?) we don't want to.
What do I propose to replace it with? Well...
The first option that came to my mind looks like this: Instead of falling from the killed animals, resources will be extracted in certain locations. And here it should be noted that it is the basic resources that should be extracted. Ore and precious stones through mining, plants and seeds through herbalism, and so on.
Make some resource collection zones bordering the habitat areas of certain mobs. Exactly bordering, yes. Create the impression that players do not break into the very heart of the territory of certain species, but simply try to collect what they need in places where it just so happens that certain creatures are found.
And that's where the agro- and crowd control abilities that I mentioned in the previous paragraph will come in handy.
Just imagine: several players go on a raid for resources, each with their own specialization. Some of the miners with developed professional skills collect the necessary resources for the group, while the rest - fighters - protect the puny miners from attacking mobs every now and then. In combination with different levels of aggression, which I also mentioned above, this has the potential for interesting situations, as well as encourages collective play. Not?
Further, after the extraction of these basic resources, crafters come into action, which from them will create resources of intermediate and final stages, which will already go into action to create equipment and ... achieve the GOAL I mentioned in the "first" paragraph.
Of course, such changes will require thoughtful study, significant reworking of the gameplay and new skills... But wouldn't the end result be worth it?
You can even put players in front of a moral choice in this way - to extract resources little by little on the outskirts, or to fall with swords naked into the heart of the mob camp, arranging a massacre, but with a bunch of resources at the end of it. However, I highly recommend introducing severe penalties for using the second approach. You know, so that the players remember to do so is BAD.
Actually, I will probably stop here, especially since I have expressed my thoughts. As I said above, I'm not an expert, I'm just an ordinary gamer with some gaming experience behind me. But it still seems to me that such changes will allow the game to be closer to the original idea of the series. Well, or at least, it will shift the moral emphasis of the player's actions from "Rob and kill for personal gain" to "Build and protect for the common good."
Also, I strongly ask you not to take my ideas as criticism of LoE developers. This is NOT CRITICISM and it is NOT AN ACCUSATION of anything. These are just my ideas and suggestions about how LoE could change, becoming something unique. And I am interested in your opinion about these ideas. Everyone and everyone. ESPECIALLY if you are the developer of this game (it would be cool to hear from you guys how feasible this is at all).
Seriously, guys, I'm interested in your opinion about everything that I've wrote.