Author Topic: Ghost Champions, giant rats, and flawed game design  (Read 4269 times)

July 04, 2016, 02:52:02 AM

Offline dwthomas05

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First off, I understand that I am not supposed to be able to handle everything I come across.  I've played on this shard long enough to know that some things are just completely out of my reach at my characters current level of skill/gear.  (Mithril dragon quest, Tokuno belt quest, pretty much every new quest that is added lately.)  I understand that some quests are just for end-game players and meant to be a challenge.  But, having said that, I believe that this quest suffers from flawed game design.  No disrespect to the dev team, they do an awesome job.



The adventure that prompted this:
(Lots of complaining.)

I was running around Malas and happened across the champion spawn altar that is in that huge castle south of the pirate skull castle, and it was active.  Yay!  This would be my second attempt at soloing a champ.  The first attempt was yesterday, and I had been successful, to a degree.  I managed to do the whole champ alone, the boss popped up and I ran off to the side to heal up my dragon before taking on the boss.  After healing, I run back to the altar (I was seriously maybe a screen and a half away) and the boss was gone.  I'm thinking, okay, maybe it poofs if nothing attacks it for 30-45 seconds.  But no, some other player had come and led the boss off to the side and killed it and made off with the loot.  That person is a jerk and knows who she is.  So anyways, I was excited to find this champ spawn void of other players so I set off on solo champ round two.

I kill everything, the boss pops and I kill her too.  Pretty proud of myself at this point.  I go to loot the body and then boom, I'm dead.  I had no idea what happened.  There were still some lich lords and rotting corpses around so I chalk it up to player error and maybe I just wasn't watching my health close enough.  No big deal.  I run off to the side, use the self res thing on the help menu, hide, and start equipping my gear.  I decided to unshrink my evo to take care of some of the leftover mobs that are still hanging around.  Temp invulnerability runs out and boom, I'm suddenly revealed and hit for 277 damage.  Okay, something is not right here, I think.  Lich lords and rotten corpses can't do anything close to that damage.  So I take off running and finally notice the ghost champion.  It looked like a ghoul or a specter (meaning it was translucent and hard to see) and had no special coloring or anything else that would indicate that it could shatter my soul in one or two hits.  I make it out of the room and start trying to heal while my evo dragon (level 50, mind you) gets stuck fighting it and also dies in a few seconds.  After healing up, I hide and stealth back into the room.  I just want to loot the stupid champion at this point.  I mean I just spent the last 45 minutes killing hundreds of creatures just for the sake of getting to loot the champion.  Clearly I have no chance against this ridiculous beast.  I just want the loot I'd earned and then planned on getting the heck out of there.

Nope.  The ghost champ reveals me, (silly me thinking that hiding had any real use, right?) and one hits me.  Dead again.  Self res was on cooldown, so I set out to find an ankh or healer.  For some reason, that particular champion spawn doesn't seem to have an ankh anywhere around, at least that I could find.  Which is weird, seeing as how there is usually one about every hundred feet or so.  I proceed to run around the desert for 23 minutes before I finally found a wandering healer.  (I know this because I kept checking the timer on the self res thing.)  Maybe there is one somewhere that I just missed, but I mean I ran around everywhere in that castle, ran up to the pirate skull castle thinking maybe there was one outside of it, ran over to the pyramid where the sphinx lives, no ankh anywhere.  Every shard is different and you kind of get used to expecting certain things.  On this shard, there are ankhs pretty much everywhere, almost always outside of quests and champ altars, so it was frustrating not to find anyone anywhere around.  If I just missed it then my bad.  This was literally the first time on this shard that I have ever had my corpse decay before I could get back to it.  That part is kinda beside the point, but I am venting a little bit.

So boohoo, poor me, I lost my corpse and wasted my time doing a whole champ solo for no reward. 



Why it is flawed game design:

All of that would be fine if this didn't feel so much like a case of the game punishing it's players.  It's current incarnation in the game is only slightly better than those god-rats in Ilshenar.  You know, the ones that look like regular giant rats and are named 'a giant rat', only they have 900hp/800str/80 all resists/140wrestling/130tactics/220resisting spells.  The ghost champs being slightly better only in that they are named. 

In game design, a major point of the job is to train the player on how to play the game.  I know when I am running around and I see a huge dragon with a special color and [Tyrant] beside it's name, this monster is probably going to ruin me if I mess with it, and that is because the game has trained me enough to know - through good game design - to think "Hey this is something huge and scary and it stands out so I need to watch myself around it".  Most quest monsters have things that make them stand out from the rest of the common things we run around killing with very little issues.

If a player is presented with a giant rat that can kill him/her in one or two hits, or a ghost champion that looks just like a plain old specter floating around, why should a player even think twice about it?  Sure, the ghost champ does have a name, but that shows only for a few seconds after it has spawned.  And if you are a new player or an uninformed player, or like me and just concentrating on trying to loot the champ you just killed, it is very easy to miss. 

And sure, you can say, 'Well it's your own fault for not reading the wiki', but you are just wrong.  A wiki should exist only to supplement the game.  It is the games job to teach you -through playing- how to play, not the other way around.  For example, everything you need to know about blacksmithing can be found in the game through the various blacksmithing gumps.  That is to be expected.  Should I want, say, to read list of what skill level is needed to make all bladed weapons without clicking through each item on the smithing gump, I'd refer to the wiki. 

As it stands now, the ghost champions and giant rats could be equated to this:  You give the player two buttons, a red one and a green one.  They hit the green button a few times and receive 100gold each time, whilst the red button instantly kills them when it is pressed.  So now the player has now been trained to expect a reward from the green button and punishment from the other.  That is good game design.  But now, if the game designer makes a change and the green button will now just kill you ten percent of the time, the player has lost trust in what the game has taught him or her.  Why should the player trust anything else that the game has taught them from that point forward?  If a new player joins the shard and is running around killing easy stuff like rats and skeletons, and then suddenly runs into a swarm of rats, that they've already learned that they can handle, but these for whatever reason hit for hundreds of damage, why would that entice them to keep playing on this shard with all of the other free ones out there?  "Okay, so on this shard, random things I can normally kill are just super strong instead.  Time to find a new shard."

Flawed game design is a big detriment to a player base, especially in MMORPGs.  Less players = less people bringing their friends to the shard = fewer donations that are needed to keep the shard alive = fewer other players to interact with = less of a reason to stay here and not find a new shard.  The main reason I joined this shard out of the hundreds of others I could have picked was because it advertised 500+ players online on average.  I know I am not the only person that was enticed for that reason. 



Suggestions for improvement:
(I really don't even understand why those godly giant rats are even a thing, so this is focused on the ghost champs.)

1.  Make the ghost champs stand out more.  Maybe give them a special hue or one of the boss monster body types.

2.  Maybe a 30-60 second timer would be nice instead of just spawning upon the regular champs death.  This could be supplemented with a couple brightly colored system messages.
-You sense a dark force around you
-You notice the air beginning to chill
-You see dark energy swirling around the corpse of the fallen champion
-Death approaches
Then spawn the ghost champion.  That would give players a bit of time to loot and escape if they aren't interested in fighting/can't handle the ghost champ, plus it would be a warning to newer players and people that haven't memorized the wiki that some crap is about to go down, so watch out.


3.  As far as I am aware, the only purpose of the ghost champs is to level up that helmet that the Harrower *sometimes* drops.  How many players even have one?  I know one was sold at the last auction and I think one dropped at the Harrower event the other night.  So I'd estimate less than ten players out of the few thousand that we have?  (Correct me if I'm wrong here.)  To me that seems pretty pointless for the ghost champ to spawn for 99.8% of our player base.  I've never killed one and the wiki has very little info on them so I have no idea if they drop anything worthwhile.  To make ghost champs less pointless to people without the crown (basically everyone), maybe add a small chance (less than the Harrower's chance) to also drop the crown of champions.  That would give a player the reason to stay and try to fight it instead of just running off, because let's face it, why even bother fighting it if it will not benefit the player in some way.  (In a way equal to the challenge it presents.)


4.  On that same note, another possible solution would be to only spawn ghost champs if the regular champ is significantly damaged (or maybe even killed?) by a player that is wearing the crown.  That would help discourage people from poaching champions like I mentioned happened to me yesterday.






So that's all I've got.  Thanks for reading. 
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 07:25:57 AM by dwthomas05 »

July 04, 2016, 06:44:58 AM
Reply #1

Offline Odareum

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That was allot of words. Being the first person with the helm ive fought allot of these, I do agree with the timer, and maybe a warning like that. Thats a pretty good idea. I dont think they should have a loot table. I pay people to report ghost pops to me. Work with someone who has the helm. These helms are going to take us a long time to level it is only a chance to get a point. The ghosts do not spawn often, it would seem maybe 20%. Ive done about 80 champs since they where put in and maybe gotten 10-15 ghosts and only 1 point.

As for your problem with them just be ready to run once you kill the champ. If nothing is attacking the ghost it will despawn in 5-10 minutes, i think 5. Also nothing of significant value will drop on the corps. Any "rare" artifcats or deco go directly into your bag.

July 04, 2016, 11:48:06 PM
Reply #2

Offline Harper

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I go to loot the body and then boom, I'm dead.  I had no idea what happened.  There were still some lich lords and rotting corpses around so I chalk it up to player error and maybe I just wasn't watching my health close enough.  No big deal.  I run off to the side, use the self res thing on the help menu, hide, and start equipping my gear.  I decided to unshrink my evo to take care of some of the leftover mobs that are still hanging around.  Temp invulnerability runs out and boom, I'm suddenly revealed and hit for 277 damage.  Okay, something is not right here, I think.  Lich lords and rotten corpses can't do anything close to that damage.  So I take off running and finally notice the ghost champion.  It looked like a ghoul or a specter (meaning it was translucent and hard to see) and had no special coloring or anything else that would indicate that it could shatter my soul in one or two hits.  I make it out of the room and start trying to heal while my evo dragon (level 50, mind you) gets stuck fighting it and also dies in a few seconds.  After healing up, I hide and stealth back into the room.  I just want to loot the stupid champion at this point.  I mean I just spent the last 45 minutes killing hundreds of creatures just for the sake of getting to loot the champion.  Clearly I have no chance against this ridiculous beast.  I just want the loot I'd earned and then planned on getting the heck out of there.

Nope.  The ghost champ reveals me, (silly me thinking that hiding had any real use, right?) and one hits me.  Dead again.


I had the exact same experience at the exact same champ altar. Killed Semidar and before I was even able to register that something else had spawned, I was dead. I don't know whether or not these new guys insta-aggro on players. I'm sure that my auto-attack macro was still running and targeted it; I'm just not sure if that made a difference or not. I was completely shocked until I saw the ghost champion, and then I was left wondering exactly how it 1-hit me. I used my free res, re-equipped, and thought to try to fight it. Of course, it flamebreathed me right away again. This one I saw. It was for over 500 damage. I don't know precisely what the cooldown is on their firebreath but I know that it was reset before I could res and gear up again. I have a house in the Malas Desert where a wandering healer hangs out, so I ran there to res and went back to try it a third time. This time I gambled on Evasion. It worked for a while. When the champ was @ about half life, I failed to evade and died again. I ran and ressed for a third time and when I got back, both the ghost champion and Semidar's corpse were gone.


I operate under the assumption that any custom monster that drops something very valuable is designed to wreck pets, so I didn't bother throwing any royals at it.
wrongplanet.net

July 07, 2016, 02:01:35 AM
Reply #3

Offline Smilingdeath

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Good idea about not using the pets on the Ghost Champion. 


They love your pet for about 4-5 seconds, they love it so hard it becomes ghost as well.

July 07, 2016, 07:50:47 AM
Reply #4

Offline Sagemoon

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Quote
They love your pet for about 4-5 seconds


This! made meh giggle, several times.


IF! one tries a pet against it, make it a fully HP GD as a test subject. But, be prepared for massive heal/vetting & dont try to do DPS yourself.  Kane does love his monster creations, they do keep us vets on our toes, but hes not always about anti-pet.  I do think Kanes desire is for teamwork of players, not soloing.  Its just something Ive heard him mention several times & considering Kane speaks little about important 'details", I consider this tidbit important.


I do like the suggestion about pearances of Kanes godly mobs:


Quote

-You sense a dark force around you
-You notice the air beginning to chill
-You see dark energy swirling around the corpse of the fallen champion
-Death approaches


Ill +1 ya for this!


*hugs*


Sage


August 25, 2016, 02:47:16 PM
Reply #5

Offline Hatchi

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3.  As far as I am aware, the only purpose of the ghost champs is to level up that helmet that the Harrower *sometimes* drops.  How many players even have one?  I know one was sold at the last auction and I think one dropped at the Harrower event the other night.  So I'd estimate less than ten players out of the few thousand that we have?  (Correct me if I'm wrong here.)  To me that seems pretty pointless for the ghost champ to spawn for 99.8% of our player base.  I've never killed one and the wiki has very little info on them so I have no idea if they drop anything worthwhile.  To make ghost champs less pointless to people without the crown (basically everyone), maybe add a small chance (less than the Harrower's chance) to also drop the crown of champions.  That would give a player the reason to stay and try to fight it instead of just running off, because let's face it, why even bother fighting it if it will not benefit the player in some way.  (In a way equal to the challenge it presents.)

I agree with this part. I love Kane stuff but i'm surprised that kane give so much time to create content that are available for only 0.01% of the server. Plus some unique item for ghost point at auction that only one people in the server can have, is difficult to understand too. It even not a 0.01% but a 1 people feature.

So i totally agree to give a other reasons to exist for these ghost because they are more than useless right now.

August 28, 2016, 08:09:11 AM
Reply #6

Offline Kane

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Lets start with this.. at the end of the day.. it is my time and sometimes an idea will hit me that I just want to code.  So I took a few days and coded this.  I did not expect this to be for everyone and knew it would take a while to filter to more players but it does answer a few needs as well.  Gives a use for Tram Champs, know someone who has a helm you can make some gold, just because the champ is dead this doesn't mean take a nap time.  You might need to look out.  I did put a warning message though if the ghost is spawned everyone on the area will get some message.  I am considering doing a helm check,if no one is wearing a helm no ghost.. but I said considering because I do not like the idea. 

Maybe I will come up with something that if you use that.. you will lower the chance of a ghost from spawning as well..  Tons of ideas, I like solutions :)

February 12, 2022, 09:16:54 AM
Reply #7

Offline Virtualcrack

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i see this is older post, but just work justice virtue  allows u 4 rez's when knight, work karma to max  sacrifice to succibus's in tok rinse repeat

February 12, 2022, 09:28:58 AM
Reply #8

Offline Virtualcrack

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Lets start with this.. at the end of the day.. it is my time and sometimes an idea will hit me that I just want to code.  So I took a few days and coded this.  I did not expect this to be for everyone and knew it would take a while to filter to more players but it does answer a few needs as well.  Gives a use for Tram Champs, know someone who has a helm you can make some gold, just because the champ is dead this doesn't mean take a nap time.  You might need to look out.  I did put a warning message though if the ghost is spawned everyone on the area will get some message.  I am considering doing a helm check,if no one is wearing a helm no ghost.. but I said considering because I do not like the idea. 

Maybe I will come up with something that if you use that.. you will lower the chance of a ghost from spawning as well..  Tons of ideas, I like solutions :)
hey kane know old post  but i see the Star of Champions talismen is on my market   u say no helm no ghost    how this ghost champ spawn with items now? say tali +5% so could this spawn the champ?  even if no helm?  and what helm