Monday, August 06, 2007

The More, The Merrier

It's a well-known fact that adventuring parties generally want more people when they can; the guys playing Dungeon and Dragon will happily take another member in the party if that member can pull his weight. Yet in MMORPGs, half the times you can't take someone else, because the instance or encounter is limited to parties of a certain size which, logically, makes absolutely no sense. Why can't more than five people come in to fight Lars the Mean? And why are you limited to 25 people when raiding Melzebut? The short answer is because game limitations make having too many people at one place inconvenient. The real answer should be because everyone wants a go at the treasure.

When raiding the Lost Ark of Neephta, it's a good idea to have a strong party. Let's say that the dungeon or encounter has an Arbitrary Challenge Rating of 6, meaning players should add up to a Arbitrary Power Value of 6. Your warrior's a 2, mage is a 2. They find a beginner rogue for one more, and a beginner healer for a final 1, so they got a 6. They could try it with one less, which would result in a more challenging encounter, but with 1/6th more reward per party member; or they could try with one more, taking reduced treasure per person, but diminishing the risk greatly. This goes right along the idea that casual players should be able to help.

This also goes right along the risk-reward axis so well known to MMO players; you don't go fighting mobs your level when 'green' mobs only give a little less experience, so players don't bother with higher risk, they just take the safe reward; and in fighting without risk, you fight without glory. But at least the XP's good, right?

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