Monday, January 24, 2011

High Level Content: Take 2

The new NERO season approaches and it looks like I will be running about 5 games, one of them being a 4 day. With that in mind I have started designing my plot lines for the season. A thought has been banging around in my head for some time and I am finally putting it into action, repeatable high end content is lacking in most of the nations NERO games.

The life cycle of NERO is an odd one, players mature, they play as the big dogs until they tire of the content and then they quit. Some try to start new characters and maybe they play as those for awhile but the majority are just done once they have played the top end game. This is not a good model for a mature game. A mature game should be trying to keep its best players to act as models for the new players. It should be rewarding its mature players while continuing to attract new players. The new players should aspire to compete with the older player.

NERO lacks any sort of real competition in the current model. Players can compete for components or wealth but no one displays those accomplishments so others are unaware of the benchmarks for competition. In massively multi player games, accomplishments are measured through content completion, this model is somewhat unsatisfactory in a true, story based role playing game. No one wants to be the third group to kill the Liche Lord Dalgothath, why didn't he die the first two times? What happens on the one hundredth time? Why is he still hanging around waiting to be killed? The International Fantasy Gaming Society runs games with specific level modules that are ran multiple times in a single weekend, writing these types of modules can be complicated. Running a named villain in one of these modules makes no sense but running a strictly generic villain is also unsatisfactory. The advantage that IFGS has over NERO is that their magic system for items is HUGE, they can create almost any item imaginable and the magic item lists for high level characters are more like books. NERO is severely limited by its tiny formal effect system.

The solution that I am going to try lies in a combination of several ideas, the massively multi player repeatable content, and IFGS more advanced creation system. Last year as part of a plot line, a giant castle appeared in the middle of my campaign setting, this castle is going to form the basis for the high level content that I am adding. In addition I am going to take advantage of the one, non nationally mandated, open ended part of the game left to plot people, the transform system. The basic concept is this, high level players will be able to go to specific portals within the castle that will take them to places that are important to the cosmology of the plot line, in those places there will be predetermined modules that will have as treasure resources that are only available from that particular module. These resources can be combined to produce items that make going into the more advanced portals within the castle easier, but have no real effect on basic scaling. The items that can be crafted are made by formalists( making them feel special) and they are only active when transforms are active. The idea is that I will provide reps for all of the items as well so that they are recognizable, though we will see about that last part because that could get pricey.

I am excited about this concept, I am hoping to get Mr. Tobin to help me out with the scaling of the various modules and items. In case anyone missed it Bill it pretty good at math. Players will get to experience some new content, get some new types of treasure and then brag about what they have done. Then other players will be able to aspire to do that same thing. Everyone should come and check this season out, it is going to be awesome!


  1. So instead of formal effects the items will have transform effects or something of that nature?

    I do like how they will only go active when a character's transform goes active so plot has control over their use.

    Hope you run something similar when I get back, would def be interesting lol

  2. Seems like that would exclude any high level characters who choose not to go the transform route...

  3. Nope the items would still be active when transforms were active. They are like a mini transform that can be swapped around.

  4. Mark Henry ~MariusJanuary 25, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Sounds like a really cool and solid idea. Experimentation is the only way to make the game better.

    You mentioned repeatable dungeons/content. Last season you had a repeatable dungeon with a market at the end i think it was? Did many people try this? I failed to assemble the group I hoped for to try this, but I thought it was a great idea. Just wondered how it turned out.

  5. Yes that was sort of a prototype for this, and yes we got excellent turn out for that.

  6. Tim, I think this is an excellent idea. I've got some props for you . . .

  7. Hopefully the reps aren't 2000 pounds though. Every time that I've gotten or held an awesome plot made weapon from differen't chapters its almost been unwieldable at like 15 pounds O.O
    Sounds like a good idea though!

  8. I don't make 15 lb reps, come on man, stick jock.