Bay 12 Games Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Author Topic: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)  (Read 2872 times)

Ethnar

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« on: May 27, 2019, 02:25:43 pm »

Have you grown tired with what modern MMO have to offer? Do you feel thereís not enough role-playing in role-playing games? Do you dream of being part of and have an impact on massive fantasy world? To truly be a part of an epic story rather than have some NPC get all the credit?

I wanted something more from MMORPG experience - a living, breathing world, with players filling roles in all walks of life. A world not unlike those created by the game masters in the traditional role playing games. For a long time I struggled to figure out how this could be achieved and after much pondering I came up with a new, outlandish approach to playing MMORPGs. And thatís when I decided to create Soulforged.


The gameplay in Soulforged is nothing like your usual World of Warcraft. The main way of interacting with the game is issuing actions for your avatar to do and simply leave them to their own devices, where actions can take from a few seconds to hours. The world persists at all times and your avatar is always present in the game world - carrying out action you assigned. The game enables varying game styles which allow you to tailor your role to fit your daily life by adjusting how often you interact with the game. In the world of Soulforged you could take on any of the many roles the game presents:
  • As an explorer traverse the world and survive the dangers all to find new exotic materials or locations;
  • As a researcher you would collect all the different items and produce available and trying to work out how they can be combined to discover new recipes;
  • As a crafter - be it a smith, leatherworker or one of many other - you will use your skills to produce useful items and, as your skill increases, you will get to make some really rare and powerful pieces;
  • As a farmer your character will simply spend most of their day tending to the crops and while you decide what to produce;
  • As a trader you can spend the time travelling between different player-made towns and provide the materials or gear that might be in demand, but lacking due to resources or skill;
  • As an adventurer you will be venturing into dangerous and rewarding dungeons that reward very active and full engaged play style;

At no point you are required to commit to a single style, you can mix, match and maybe find new ways to interact with the game and other players. Whatever the case is, to fully leverage your playstyle youíll want to engage with other players - who will be providing gear, nutrition, materials or other items, all of which will enable you to better perform in the aspects of the game that matter to you.

The game can sometimes be harsh, almost unforgiving. When taking the risks your character may end up suffering serious injury or dying. Death in this game has a serious impact - your character will take with them their skills and drop anything they carried. But that doesnít mean no meaningful progress can be made - you will keep anything you have in your storage and any recipes you have previously researched. In addition to that, your future characters can be customized with various unlockable traits. And while death may look scary, thereís no escaping it - as characters grow old they all eventually depart.

All you need to play the game is having a Google account. As for the pricing - thereís no upfront cost, no fees, no credit cards, no subscriptions, no micro-transactions. In other words - thereís no way to spend any money on this game and there are no plans on changing that in the future. This is a passion project that is managed on a very low budget and thatís what enables this model to work.

Please bear in mind that the game is very much work in progress and it keeps evolving and improving fairly regularly. Iím also very interested to hear feedback, criticism or feature requests for the game - even with a handful of players who engaged with my game so far I already had a lot of useful feedback and many changes were made to the game based on that, all to provide a better experience.

Would you like to learn more? Check out the website and be sure to take a look at the feature list - https://soulforged.net/pages/#/about/featureList

If youíd like to play, then head straight to https://soulforged.net:8443/

I'd love to hear from you what you think about this concept and the execution! I welcome all constructive feedback, criticism (no matter how harsh!) and suggestions!
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 01:16:11 pm by Ethnar »
Logged

IndigoFenix

  • Bay Watcher
  • All things die, but nothing dies forever.
    • View Profile
    • Boundworlds: A Browser-Based Multiverse Creation and Exploration Game
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2019, 04:18:20 pm »

Interesting premise.  It's basically like a cross between an idle game and a real RPG.  I could see this as growing into something quite fun!
I do think that the research system should probably be changed - not only does it take time to figure something out, it destroys the resources as well.  You're strongly encouraging the use of a wiki, which can spoil the fun of discovery.
How about some procedurally generated items that are only available for a limited time, and have their own unique crafts (example: magic plants that produce unique potions)?  Someone would have to figure it out, but the knowledge would stop being useful once the item stopped spawning.

Ethnar

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2019, 04:51:41 pm »

Interesting premise.  It's basically like a cross between an idle game and a real RPG.  I could see this as growing into something quite fun!
I do think that the research system should probably be changed - not only does it take time to figure something out, it destroys the resources as well.  You're strongly encouraging the use of a wiki, which can spoil the fun of discovery.
How about some procedurally generated items that are only available for a limited time, and have their own unique crafts (example: magic plants that produce unique potions)?  Someone would have to figure it out, but the knowledge would stop being useful once the item stopped spawning.

Hello IndigoFenix!

Thank you very much for giving the game a go, really means a lot to me!

Really appreciate the feedback as well! The research system can be somewhat controversial, I know, but I think it serves its purpose. The idea for the research is that while players go around and scrounge for various resources, it's entirely possible that a branch of technology won't be discovered for weeks or months, even thou players have access to all the materials. Or when it comes to extremely powerful recipes - these will require rare materials and I expect that actually finding a recipe that uses them will feel like a major breakthrough.
I am absolutely not opposed to wikis or exchanging information between players - it's totally ok with how the game is designed. If a player chooses to be self sufficient and research everything themselves - they can do that. And if they go for a wiki - chances are they still won't actually be able to learn every recipe, as more difficult recipes will have yet to be discovered.

Please don't get me wrong - I love procedurally generated scrolls/potions/etc. - the way they are included in for example ADOM. You get a red potion - you only know what it really is after you drink it or identify, and that changes between runs. The problem with having that in multiplayer game is that I really want players to be able to communicate with each other as to what they see and to trade the resources between. Simply put, however disappointing it feels to me sometimes, I don't quite see how I could make that particular approach work and keep the multiplayer/community aspect.

On the point you're raising - I actually like having resources available only temporarily and generated procedurally. I'll need to think this through how to make sure it doesn't get repetitive (it can't simply be a 1:1 replacement just under different icon and name). Thanks for the suggestion!

Oh, and please feel most welcome to join us on the Discord server! It's created to help connect players and let's be honest - it's better than any chat I could feasibly add to the game directly :)
Logged

IndigoFenix

  • Bay Watcher
  • All things die, but nothing dies forever.
    • View Profile
    • Boundworlds: A Browser-Based Multiverse Creation and Exploration Game
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2019, 07:07:03 am »

Here's an idea for generated items: the game has an internal "alchemy" and items (like minerals or plants) can be generated with particular alchemical properties that determine how they combine with other items and what effects their combinations have. The game would periodically generate these items, and there would be no way to determine the exact properties or uses of a new item without experimenting.

Example: A generated fruit has "acid +1" and "heal +3". A generated mineral has "acid -1" and "heal -1". For a potion to be beneficial it must have acid = 0, otherwise it just creates an "acid potion" or "alkaline potion". Combining the fruit and the mineral in a flask (perhaps after grinding them or some other process) gives you a potion with acid = 0 and heal = 2, creating a "moderate healing potion".

You would not know the properties of the items beforehand, but you could deduce them through experimenting. By giving the most potentially powerful items the most complex chemistry with the most elaborate processes to make useful, you could create a constant demand for researchers.

Once a player discovered a recipe that the item was useful for, they could inform other players how to produce it in-game, or keep the secret for themselves and sell the products for profit until it became common knowledge. Eventually the item would stop spawning and a new generated resource would take its place, rendering the old secret useless and unlocking a new one.

At some point every basic recipe will be discovered, but this would ensure that there will always be a role for alchemists and keep the sense of discovery fresh.

Ethnar

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2019, 07:47:02 am »

Some really good suggestions IndigoFenix, thanks! I still want the players to have some level of familiarity with the game, but areas like alchemy could see some of the resources generated this way.

I have quite some plans on including some surprising, difficult and rewarding mechanics - what is a fantasy world without magic, right? And any kind of magic where you press a button and fire spouts from your hand - I find that quite uninspiring. I'm currently working through, figuring out how I could include something like this in the game while making it still mysterious and involved. :)

The awesome part about the engine for this game I built is that it enables me to do that kind of stuff easily and not only that - it also has built-in resilience against data mining, so there's only one way to discord how the game works - and it's to play it :)
Logged

XhAPPYSLApX

  • Bay Watcher
  • Making a big thing this time
    • View Profile
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2019, 09:47:05 am »

PTW, my dude.
Logged

Muz

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2019, 08:56:21 pm »

Hey, I can't seem to connect to the discord server.

I get this "Error encountered, please contact the administrator" thing. Web url is https://soulforged.net:8443/api/discord/auth/callback?code=MFbnYZvrEzQqpjoCvSFguncbvsWsde
Logged
Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in my posts will not be mentioned as that would ruin the purpose. It is assumed that the reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between what is sarcasm and what is not.

Muz

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2019, 12:24:22 am »

Okay, so I've been checking out the game a bit.

I love game like this. I've been playing games like Cyber Nations for years, which involves setting up little guilds, building communities, and communication. Honestly, I think the system might be a little more complex than what you need. A lot of good MMOs are quite dumb. But it's great what you have now.

Absoutely love the research system. I've been wanting to do something like this for a while now. There was a game, Faery Tale Online, which had something similar, but it was over several days. Far too slow.

The lag is really, really intrusive IMO, and it's the kind of thing that makes me want to quit when there's a loading screen every other second. Maybe make it less intrusive (with a small circle loading thing instead of a dialog box). Or have a faster server, or some CDN that covers Asia/Oceania. It seems to pop up the loading dialog every time I'm in.

I think it should make characters appear closer to a civilization in the beginning (assuming one exists). People are going to get bored when they realize they have to spend a couple of days to figure out how to craft a stone hammer, with nobody else around to play with. I'm still not at the end of tutorial island after a few days, though I've been scaveging junk off people who have idled to death.

Otherwise, the beginner map/mechanics should at least guide people to travel to some farmland where everyone can cluster together.

It would also be nice if picking up things or research was a "free action", that didn't interrupt heavier things like travelling, crafting, foraging.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2019, 12:30:00 am by Muz »
Logged
Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in my posts will not be mentioned as that would ruin the purpose. It is assumed that the reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between what is sarcasm and what is not.

Ethnar

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2019, 08:38:11 pm »

Hello Muz!

Thank you very much for giving my game a try, you're awesome! :)

I apologize for the issues related to Discord connectivity - it's really crucial and it's inexcusable for it not to work, I'm really sorry about that. I've checked it just now and sure enough there was a problem with how one of the more recent modifications was behaving. That's fixed now, you should be able to join on Discord no problem using the in-game button.

Thanks for providing me the other titles - Cyber Nations & Faery Tale Online - I'll definitely want to read up on those, what they did, what worked for them.

Regarding the server stability & responsiveness - on 24th of June I actually paid for a better hosting package, which if I go by my performance indicators, improved the things a whole lot. I'd like to know how responsive you find the game right now - if it's any better. If you still see any issues and if you played a bit with browser inspection before - getting a screenshot of the network panel performance when loading the page could help me guide me where the issue may lie. As much as I'd like to have a robust infrastructure - it's self-funded project and my budget is rather tight. ;(

I'm really happy to hear that you like the research system. I don't think I myself ever seen anything working like this before and while for some players the initial reaction is that it seems ridiculous, most players still seem to engage with it and some players go really deep into it and seem to enjoy it a lot.

Civilization is very much there. Well, it's a tribal civilization, but it's something! The best way to get the feel on how alive the game is is to check Discord. Again, apologies you couldn't do that before due to a bug, but I hope you'll join us there, where lively discussions are happening on daily basis! :)

Regarding 'free actions' - that's in-game already and actually just today I've implemented a new, slightly experimental system that is much more friendly to preserving the progress of long-running actions like travel or crafting. :)

Hope to meet you in-game soon! :)
Logged

Ethnar

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: A fresh take on Online Roleplaying Game (free)
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2019, 09:43:16 am »

When I initially posted this thread, I still wasn't certain if this idea can work, if players will find this engaging and fun. It's been three months and while I am aware that this game is far from perfect - I believe it's proven that there is potential in this kind of game & storytelling.

The community is still quite small (we have around ~10 active players), most of them have been around for the better part of these last three months. They've been through quite a lot already
- orcish raids, including one where a player town was briefly overran
- a severe winter that had everyone huddling together in towns for warmth, with one character who ventured into a dungeon very nearly dying from hypothermia
- exploring and finding strange greyskin creatures and elves
- discovering a variety of cooking recipes, clothing crafts, drugs and other items and structures
- going through a mildly annoying marsh fever that ended up spreading all across our realm
- discovering the existence of mysterious "vampires", which turned out to be other players infected with a strange disease
And there's still much more to come and discover!

Throughout this time I continued to support and expand the game, adding new items, recipes, dungeons and events. I had a lot of very useful feedback & ideas, many of which were incorporated into the game! It really can't be overstated how crucial player feedback was in getting the game where it is right now. :)

Not too long ago I've also made changes that drastically improve the server responsiveness and performance, which would allow more players to join the game. As such we're looking for more players to join the game!

If you've been on the fence before, why not give it a try? The very friendly community will be there to help you out with your first steps so you can become a part of this world. :)
Logged