Originally Posted by User0001
With the advent of MMO, things change.
There might be much better money making skills than fighting, which have to be balanced too. The time factor comes into play, and I suggest the following solution (to lessen the addiction factor somewhat, to ease the stress on the servers, and to balance the game WRT "casual" / "fun" players):
There should be a "happy hour": the 1st hour each day (or one in 48, or on in 72) should feature full income, full +EXP bonus, and full MF. All of the above should be on diminishing returns if you keep playing for more than one hour. 61st minute: you only get 60/61 (~98%) of your MF, +EXP, and income. 120st minute: 60/120, i.e. the values are halved. 300th minute: 60/300, i.e. only 20% of the values are accounted for. I made an Excel spreadsheet to sume up the effects, and it showed that 5 game hours solid are only as effective as three sessions of 52 minutes each, i.e. players are encouraged to play frequently but excessive playing is discouraged.
This is not the Silver Bullet, the Holy Grail, or even the Phaser of Kirk(tm) to online addiction, but it would be a rather simple and easy to implement measure, and more effective than an online time counter alone.
Sorry for the long post...
Something like this might become very unpopular, if not even a game-killer.
Imagine someone who can only play in the weekend, but then 5 hours for those two days. They would be severely punished compared to someone who could play 1 hour each day.
There should never be restrictions on hours played tbh. It is not the game developers job to combat whatever gaming addictions their players might have.
Instead the game (if MMO or heavily based on multiplayer community) should be designed in ways which means people who play 5x as much as someone else doesn't necessarily reap 5x the rewards (whereas if that player plays 5x as good or effective, reaping 5 times the rewards might be okay).
Plenty of ways to do this and most MMOs already learned how to do so. For example:
1) Not basing the game on a 'Gold' (aka. currency) economy.
I believe it is pretty much impossible to make a stable gold economy, where everything can be sold and bought.
While theoretically possible, I just don't see it happen in reality. Farming and gold-selling will have too much influence.
The second reason for failure usually is that no game I'm aware of, has ever managed to put enough gold-sinks into a game to balance out the gold income. It seems like an impossible task. Probably because the more gold-sinks, the more people will farm for gold. Gold is an unlimited resource in these games, which in the end is the cause of all problems (compared to IRL, where money clearly isn't unlimited, as long as our governments don't keep printing them... which they don't do as it is baad
). Having a game with limited gold-income is something I can't imagine how would work though, which might either be due to my lack of imagination, or simply because it couldn't work.
Star Wars Galazies have probably had one of the best economies of any MMO yet, and somewhat disproves my claim that they cant exist.
It was nearly 100% based on currency trading, and nearly everything was tradeable. Also, you could place Automatic mining devices, which did the actual mining for you, so how much you actually played did not have as much impact as it could have had otherwise.
However, it was also a very unpopular game (for good reasons), and all things considered it is easier to have a stable economy in a small community than a big one. As such, it is very likely the economy in SWG would have crashed if it had more players.
Of course that could somewhat be controlled by setting strict rules on how many players each server can have, but more popular games will always attract more gold-sellers/farmers.
Other MMOs, like WoW, Warhammer, LOTRO and most other big ones, has taken a very strict approach to this issue, simply by making the best items non-tradeable (Bind on Pickup, Equip etc.).
It doesn't really fix the economy as much as it destroys it. But since the economy is more or less dead, it becomes less important if it works anyway, so this is considered the best solution by many MMO developers.
The result is that only sub-par items and more or less cosmetic items, as well as some crafted consumable items (and while they can be 'best' items in a sense, they are also consumables, which by itself keeps their prices in check) are traded in the economy.
The question is however, would Sacred still be Sacred if the trading was severely limited?
Personally I wouldn't mind, since I pretty much never trade in any A-RPG, playing mostly alone or with friends, but my impression is lots of fans would hate such a restriction on trading.
It is interesting to follow Diablo 3's development on this issue (as well as most other issues really), as they try to tackle the problems.
Their Devs have claimed they want a stable currency-based economy, and that they have the means to ensure it will happen.
Considering my opinion under 1) it should be obvious that I expect them to fail with such a goal.
However, they seem to have taken one interesting step toward restricting the 'everything can be traded' paradigm. Their current plan is to make high-end items (like lvl 80+ out of 100 lvl's) Bind on Equip, meaning you can trade them as much as you want, but if someone ever equips it, it becomes untradeable.
The goal is obvious: To take items out of the economy over time.
This is a very good solution in my opinion (as long as they make bound items tradeable between a players own characters at least - as a mean for remaking chars, and giving old gear to alts), but also one which are bound to piss off a lot of people, since it clearly put restrictions on trading.
However, while this will combat the inflation of end-game items, it will not really do anything for gold economy itself, so the main issue persists.
The Diablo guys in general seem very clever about their design, so maybe they will impress me, but until proven otherwise, I believe ALL games are destined to fail when it comes to having a healthy, stable currency-based economy in the long run.
A small note on the alternatives to gold-economies: Players of Sacred obviously knows of the most used alternative, as do players of any other A-RPG really. Item-trading, or goods trading. Since the currency becomes worthless over time, no one wants to trade with it, and instead they trade in items.
In Diablo 2 this resulted in the SoJ-economy, which was no better than a failed gold-economy, as SoJs simply became the new currency.
Even a working goods-economy isn't that good a solution though, as it becomes insanely difficult to put a price-value on every valuable item compared to each other (which is kinda one of the reasons for inventing money in the first place). Also, items can be farmed just like money (also plenty of item sellers in Diablo 2, even if there was no gold sellers), so again, the problem isn't removed, just changed a bit.
2) As far as not reading people who play a lot, way too heavily compared to casually, this does not seem to be huge problem.
Plenty of MMO's have tried to solve this problem, and as it usually connects to the economy aspect, so does the solutions.
One solution, although only for XP, which seems a lot like your idea, is the 'rested XP' you see in nearly all MMOs nowadays.
If you are offline you accumulate a bonus to XP gain, which can then be used when online later. By making the bonus this way, you are rewarding people who log out for 5 days (ie. only play in weekend) pretty much the same as someone who logs out for 20 hours only (ie. play every day), while somewhat penalizing people who plays too much for the rest bonus to accumulate.
However, XP usually doesn't mean a whole lot in MMO's as you get to max lvl before the end-game portion of the game opens up, and as such, the rested XP change very little at all.
Sure, you could change such a system to work for item drops, gold gain etc. But really, all it would do is pissing people off, and make the farmers buy multiple accounts they could switch between to keep their 100% rates on everything.
What MMOs typically do to restrict the time benefits is the aforementioned Bound on Pickup system. Even if you play enough to get X item twice, you cant really use it for anything since you have the item already and it cant be traded.
Also there is the lockout timers for many MMOs, where the best ways to get items have restricted access, ie. if you do this activity, then you cant do it for another day/week etc.
Lockout timers would hardly work for a Sacred game, although I guess there could be somewhat similar methods for discouraging boss-farming for example.
Like reducing droprates from killing the same mob multiple times shortly after each other. Again a question of whether this penalize people more than it benefits the game though.
The purpose of a ranged class is to kill at a distance. Players complaining that a PVP ranger killed a melee player at a distance forget that the ranger just did what it was designed for.
Rangers complaining that a melee char killed them in close combat, forget that a ranger isn't meant to do so.
Even the kind of weapons you use has influence at what you can or can't kill and the more modifiers a char gets, the harder it is to balance.
Exactly. 1 vs 1 PVP is an abomination in RPGs.
It's the good old parody with 'Omg Scissors beat paper, NERF!'.
An actual PVP system in any RPG needs to be group-based in my opinion (which isn't to say the game cant have 1vs1 just for fun, but it has to be clear by the game-design that it is not the way PVP in the game was meant).
That said, all classes can be equally strong, but through different means.
A healer can be equally strong as a DPS ranger. They do two very different tasks (one heal another kills), so they are impossible to compare, but if they are equally useful in PvP it is fair to assume they are reasonably balanced.
Likewise in PvE (Of course pure healers have no place in an A-RPG like Sacred), a 'tank' class, a melee dps class and a ranged class does things very differently, but it doesn't mean you can't have some sort of balance in effectiveness between them.
Also A-RPG classes typically aims for a huge amount of diversity, so one class often have (and should have) multiple available specs, e.g. both tanking, melee, ranged, magic and a little bit of healing. Even if Sacred 2 isn't very well balanced, it represents this diversity pretty good.