Dynamic Missions (CSM)
All this data is potentially out of date, and should be taken with a truckload of salt
See also: Dynamic Missions Part 2 (CSM)
- Raised by: Erik Finnegan
- Submission Date: 02 Aug 2009
- Issue ID: tbd
As we can see, EVE's competitors haven't been sitting still, and two competing space MMOs will be released Soon(TM), with both of them featuring random mission generators. Meanwhile CCP is hiring more mission writer jockeys. It must also be noted that the missions added in Empyrean Age are mostly frustrating missions that are rejected by pilots for various reasons (kills Empire standings, impossible gate restrictions, annoying enemies like Buzz Kill) which only made mission running more of a pain instead of providing much-needed variation.
Eve Online unfortunately features rather weak PVE, with a finite amount of repetetive missions. Despite adding more missions over the years, the weak spot of missioning is their predictibility. Sites such as Eve Survival and the cosmos database feature complete walkthroughs for all missions. The challenge level is not too low due to the encounters being too easy, it is low due to the static and predictable nature of the missions themselves. Missions require no creative thinking and problem solving from the pilots, they have deteriorated into a "Read Guide, Press buttons in correct order, Get your money".
Several games feature parametrically generated environments and encounters, which improves replayability dramatically. Instead of focussing on adding more of the same, CCP might wish to explore the avenue of dynamic content to dramatically improve replayability.
Some examples of dynamic content in games
Diablo and several Roguelikes
Famous feature of Diablo and Roguelike games is the random generation of dungeons for almost infinite replayability. Certain elements in the dungeons are premade, but used as random encounters.
The whole world, history, quests, NPCs, and story is parametrically generated. Creatures have a basic template which is then expanded on with history and stats.
From website: "Jumpgate Evolution offers limitless game play and content with a unique mission generator capable of generating thousands of fresh and immersive missions for players to embark on."
Will randomly generate encounters and whole sectors.
When asking players, they seem to enjoy optional objectives and multiple ways of solving a mission, for example, the Extravaganza bonus rooms and killing optional battleship rats such as the Envoy and guards in the Kidnapper's Strike storyline. Worlds Collide is another example, where the intitial gates can be hacked, having two paths to the final room, and having plenty of optional kills including a possible faction ship. Having some variable spawns which have the potential to spawn additional optional foes would be a great start.
Since missions are often built from several rooms connected by acceleration gates, another solution would be to have several different versions of each room, so each mission is assembled from different modules and thus the experience varies somewhat. Having multiple acceleration gates and thus multiple ways to complete the mission (with a message dropping some hints at what may be lurking on the other side) is also an option, it can even go as far as having somekind of maze like structure with smaller encounters with the player has to navigate through. Keep in mind though that the missions should not be too lengthy due to casual player and downtime considerations.
Fully generating rooms with parameters would be the holy grail as that would result in fully dynamic mission, where even things like universe-wide events can have an impact. With parametric input, missioning can be moved away from the traditional structure of spawned mission locations and be integrated into already existing locations, driven by player action. A simple example for a storyline mission: a Blood Raider base spawns in Malpara (0.5 bleak lands). In the first 24 hours, any storyline agents in the system will have a chance to whine that they are in "need of the player's services" and start offering "a special mission" to get rid of the thing. If it doesn't get dealt with, then the Blood Raider base upgrades, and will start spawning some frigate and cruiser rats in Malpara's belts, and all storyline agents in the Ichida constellation may now alert players of the base's presence. If three more days have passed, then the Blood Raiders establish more of a foothold and the base becomes even tougher, and Battlecruiser rats start appearing in the belts and adjacent systems. The whole region knows the Blood Raiders are up to something. The players will have one more week to deal with the threat, after which the Blood Raiders may start building new bases and infest other systems.
- Dynamic missions would increase the long-time fun of the pilots focussed on PVE
- Dynamic missions aggravate the mechnical isk generation engine which they are for pilots, who are focussed on PVP