Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Adventure Camps

There is a featured article on about something they call adventure camps. These come in many forms, but the most typical is the little group of tents that make up a gnoll camp. Each of these camps will spawn a number of encounters, and if those encounters are all cleared by a group of players, something "interesting" will happen.

Typically, a group of more challenging gnolls spawns, and when they are defeated, the camp disappears, and something more appears. some other reward appears. In one case, we've seen this be a merchant who sold a book quest that I had not otherwise seen. Maybe this book appears elsewhere, who knows? The story he told was that he had been captured by the gnolls. The merchant would also let you sell. After a period of time, he disappeared, running off back to town.

The article specifically mentions another sort of reward. A chest, that when opened, casts some sort of beneficial spell on those nearby. This happened to a couple of my guildies, Phritz and Imhotep, once. I was there, but not as close, and so I think I was unaffected. We are still stumped as to what this magic spell might have done.

Adventure camps solve one of the problems of creating a large outdoor zone. Mobs which are placed with static spawn points and respawn timers produce play that tends to be repetitive. Camping, we call it. There's no story to it other than a grim relentless grind. No beginning, middle or end.

Using probably similar mechanics to harvesting nodes, camps can spawn anywhere in designated areas. They in turn spawn their first-line encounters. Then they sit there waiting for someone to take them on. Even while you are fighting them, they will respawn first-line encounters, so you have to be able to defeat them rapidly enough to get the camp boss to spawn. This will only happen if you clear the camp, although I'm not sure that all camps have bosses.

And when the camp boss is cleared, the camp despawns. You could think of it as an encouragement to move on and do something else, since the camp will definitely not respawn in exactly the same place. Your adventure had a beginning, a climax, and a reward. That's a big improvement over the way things used to be. You feel more like you're having an adventure than attempting genocide.

Adventure camps might be a very good way to slyly introduce some interesting lore, or quests into the game. It might be wise to check into them more thoroughly.


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