Part 3 in my look back at “what MMORPGS have lost over time” series.
One of the more interesting and complex things from EverQuest, waaaay back in the day when the game was new, was the faction system.Â EQ had hundreds of different factions for you to gain or lose favor with as you progressed your character forward.Â Although we have not completely lost the idea of gaining or losing “rep” (as it is so often called now), how it is used has changed and what it should do for the game, and the world, has been lost.
I have so many experiences with the faction system.Â My main character for a very long time was a Dark Elf Necromancer.Â We were haaaated by the Freeport militia.Â Getting anywhere near the city guards, whether in the city or near their little postings in the Commonlands, etc., meant certain death for a low level.Â This didn’t stop me or any other Dark Elf though.Â We had to use the boat in Freeport for transportation to Faydwer (if we didn’t get a teleport).Â We had to sneak around inside the city and memorize guard patrols.Â I remember entering Freeport for the first time and following someone who said he knew the route to take.Â We ended up getting lost and having to dodge guard patrols, feeling nearly petrified as one would start coming our way as we tried to round a corner.
Faction was also complex enough that a Human, in his own starting city of Freeport, would be hated by parts of his city.Â Wandering too close to a certain building as a Human Shadowknight could have you dead in seconds if you were a newb – that pesky Gnome hated Shadow Knights and would charge out the door towards you!Â Certain guilds did not want you anywhere near them if you didn’t have proper faction.Â Figuring out which ones liked you and which ones didn’t was part of the fun.
Gaining faction, and losing it, was a great way to develop your character.Â Â Even for those who didn’t roleplay, raising faction high enough to enter Freeport as a Dark Elf could be seen as an accomplishment.Â Sure, it involved grinding (controversial!) and I’m sure the usuals will make a comment on how horrible it was, but that’s how faction worked.Â It’s not so much about how it worked, but the outcome of the system.Â Troll Shadow Knights, if I remember correctly, were hated everywhere.Â You could return to your little swamp to train and that’s about it.Â Going anywhere else meant always keeping your eyes open for possible aggro.Â It made that combination feel unique.
The faction system operating like this made the world feel real, dynamic, and on a different level from what we see today.Â Having to sneak into areas just to get exp was a pain for some, but an adventure for others.Â Â Spending time raising your faction to be liked by your enemies was a way to feel connected to what you were doing.Â Often times I would want to visit a location but realize I couldn’t because they hated me.Â If I still wanted to go there after learning this then I figured out what I had to do to get them to like me.Â Did I have to donate something to them or kill their enemy enough to prove that I’m committed to their cause?Â Sometimes becoming friendly with one faction meant angering another and I would have to weigh out whether or not it was worth forsaking my heritage to move forward in a new direction.
It also made for a great sense of atmosphere in the game.Â Going to Greater Faydark usually meant seeing lots of Wood Elves, some High Elves, and the occasional “good-like” race.Â You would almost never expect to see something like an Iksar there, but when you did you were absolutely shocked!Â You immediately knew what that player must have gone through, what he/she accomplished, and how interesting it was for them to be there.Â Playing on an Iksar Monk, I once saw a Dwarf running in the Iksar city.Â I didn’t like that he was there.Â For some reason it felt wrong.Â I was quite the roleplayer on my Iksar (I think I was on a RP server then…) and I remember the players giving this Dwarf a hard time just like some of the NPC’s he wasn’t friendly enough with yet.Â We would tell him to leave, to get out, and that he didn’t belong.Â Eventually though the players like this Dwarf proved themselves and oddly enough we started to think of him as a pet.Â He had busted his little rump to get here and it meant something.Â Seeing him a day or two later still working away, mind made up to be liked by Iksar, actually increased my enjoyment.Â That player, doing his own thing, added to the complexity of the game world for me.
We’ve lost most of what made the faction system great.Â Now it’s used to get items.Â Do you have the 250,000 rep for that chestplate? No?Â Okay, go grind it out until they will sell it to you.Â Want a dragon mount?Â Get Exalted with the people who sell them.Â The faction system has been detached, devalued, simplified.Â It operates much in the same way to an untrained eye, but the spirit of the act is gone.Â The connection between faction, character, and world has been severed and now it simply ties the player to an action.Â In a way, today’s MMORPGs lack the consequences, for good or bad, of the faction systems of old.
Faction brought great depth to EQ.Â It was another rung on the ladder of character development and another opportunity to emphasize the importance of the game world (as I wrote about yesterday) and the choices players have to make their own way or take a new and different path.Â I would like to see the emphasis on faction brought back in future MMORPGs.Â How faction is gained will, perhaps, need to be rethought for the proponents of accessibility.Â Rewards and incentives will likely need to be added for the loot whores.Â As long as the system impacts the player, has consequences based on the factions he works towards or against, and then connects him to the world then the rest should be able to work itself out.
I’m sure many of you have great stories about faction in EQ or other games.Â Share them with us!Â Those who never had the opportunity to experience something as dynamic as this in their MMORPGs can live vicariously and those who did can enjoy recalling similar experiences.
Good article! And I agree totally. Meaningful factions have been tossed out the window in the interest of “allowing friends to play together”, even if they pick races that are supposed to be enemies according to the lore.
I remember in Shadowbane beta there was one Irekei NPC city in the desert. Any non-Irekei that got close would be attacked by the guards on sight. This really gave the city and its surrounding area a distinct flavor. But alas, at release, they changed it so that anyone could visit this city with no penalties. So much for meaningful factions and lore. Shadowbane had some of the best lore I’ve ever seen for an MMO, but the devs decided to throw it in the toilet, take a dump on it, and then flush it down.
I will admit, faction/reputation can play well. It often appears cool, and adds story and spice to a game. As long as you don’t _need_ to do it, and you still have access to all the same content as everyone else, hence degrading the value of factions to ‘spice’. Then I’m usually okay with it. Making it required *can* make the whole game experience less fun. I would much prefer that it would not be considered a necessity, and more an interesting element of ‘fluff’.
@Sentack: Agreed. The player should never have to feel forced into grinding a faction. It should be an OPTION and allow players to feel like the world can change for them. Forcing it upon people is a no-no. When it’s forced it’s because your game is lacking elsewhere and you need to do this to create content or put the player on rails.
In EQ there were times that I would not have gone for a faction had it not been for the reward (access to a zone, an item for a big quest, etc), but I don’t consider that forced. Keeping it optional yet full of consequences is the ideal way of doing it. It can be considered fluff, or depth, for all I care. Regardless, doing it right can really emphasize the better parts of a game.
Nowadays we have races where everyone has the same opinion and working for the same goals or the same alliance.
I wonder how long it takes for games that allow players to pick their allegiances and change them over time.
For example, the “Council of Mages” supposedly was meant to be an ally of the “True Britannians” in Ultima Online. Which did not stop them from ganking me and other guys together with the Shadowlords. And every faction was fighting the Minax Faction… hum…^^
Let’s just go back and play EQ! Who’s with me!
I never played EQ so I missed out on their faction but it sound pretty fun to me. I remember when I played Vanguard and tried to get into the first big city I ran across as a dark elf. I noticed the guards were red but tried to get in anyway and was laughing as I got trounced.
Once I found out where to grind rep for the faction I needed I did it and had a lot of fun in the process. I don’t know why but I don’t mind faction that works like that. Not long after I did it they nerfed the amount of rep you needed which would have saved me a lot of time in the grind but I was proud in a way for having done it the hard way.
@ Pseven # 5
As I said in the last blog post, this thread says there are still people who play EQ 2. But I don’t know how different EQ 2 is compared to EQ…
@Steeldragoon: Night and day different. EQ is too far gone now and EQ2 is not a good enough substitute (although a good game).
@Pseven: There is something in the works for those who like the classical EQ.
@sentack – I don’t know if you and Keen are seeing eye to eye here. Again it is a case of having no consequences. I remember the agonizingly long quest to get my soulfire sword in EQ, only to become hated in FP from it. But that made the immersion better, not worse. If you are a dark elf you should be hated, you should have to grind faction, otherwise pick a different easier race.
This is a big problem for new games… the 2 faction PVP secenario – where every class is ultra-balanced to play at about the same difficulty.
I like PVP at times, but I am to the point of thinking it is this faction PVP dynamic that is ruining PVE and immersion. I would rather play a fast and furious PVP game (Fury had its moments) along side an epic style PVE game, then constantly trying to merge the 2.
The problem with PVP right now is no matter what people say, it will always tend toward gear parity, not skill parity. IMO a PVP game should focus on the combat dynamic and nothing else… make it MUCH more complex. Where as PVE is much more about long term character development. The merging of these 2 has really watered down both.
Let’s face it, real good competitive gamers are playing FPS, not WOW. That is what is so funny about WOW epeen people, they are like the asshole point gaurd playing at the YMCA.
Back on topic, I seem to remember as you made your character in EQ it would rate the relative difficulty of that kind of selection.
I like the choice of class/race having serious consequences.. not all access should be equal.. again it is another way to feel an achievement… not something stupid like OMG I killed 1000 rats.
@ Keen # 8 – I tried my best to find out the exact number of subscribers and if there was a server with a decent enough population on the old EQ (not EQ 2) servers and couldn’t come up with much other than the last reading was 175k players (which is more than what Daoc had at the time I quit).
You may be interested with this announcement from the EQ guys:
Sorry Keen, don’t see your point. Today’s “rep” is exactly the same as EQs “factions”.
Again, the nostalgia trap you’ve fallen into is getting the best of ya.
“@Pseven: There is something in the works for those who like the classical EQ.”
@Keen What do you mean by this? I was going to post the same sentiment as Pseven. If we all go back to EQ we will not feel like we are there after the golden age/after the party. We will express our preference for the way things were, plus we will have each other to play with. ..Though I know EQ has changed a bunch since I last played.
…Mortal Online is perking my interest a little…
If there is something in the works, I want to know! Thanks.
@heartless_: You might not be able to see it. Like I said, there will be people who think “these are identical”, and they are in terms of how they work on the surface. However, how they play back into the game is entirely different and that is -not- a matter of opinion.
@Zentr: Some people are doing a “classic” EQ. Google around and you’ll find it.
I *HATE* utterly hate the whole Faction concept when it includes secluding you from half the population, not being able to talk to them, etc.
There are games that do factions pretty well, Vanguard and Star wars galaxies to name a few. These games do it well because they don’t force you to join a certain faction at the beginning of the game. They don’t force you to choose who to fight and who to be friends with. You can still talk to, trade with, party with, etc. opposing factions in Star wars Galaxies which is how it should be IMO.
Factions for competitive PVP is also a joke. If the game tells who you to fight and who to ally, what is the point? The only fun aspect of PvP is the politics and drama involved. KNOWING who you are killing , actually disliking them because you don’t like them instead of just because the game told you to fight them is what makes PvP fun for me. Fighting an enemy clan who you don’t like and beating them dispite being outnumbered and bragging about it later is what makes PvP very intense, and you just don’t get that feeling with factions when you can’t even talk to them.
Despite all of its flaws, Lineage 2 had amazing player-ran politics. Allying clans, warring clans , deciding who to help at sieges, etc. was all so fun and exciting. I will never have the feeling in a factions game that I had in that game when I killed somebody I didn’t like.
man, people don’t talk about faction much anymore but they added a LOT to eq. I only played eq classic, and those times are my gold standard for mmorpg fun.
I was a halfling warrior, a rare enough sight at the time, and the leader of a small guild of magic-hating short folk who went by the name “Burn Erudin.” We made it our business to be a general nuisance to the inhabitants of that sorcerous city. The Erudites, of course, hated me for it, and we quickly became mortal enemies. My crew would sneak into their city, skulk about the dark alleys, prey upon their citizens and taunt their garrisons (I spoke fluent old erudian, naturally.)
They, in turn, weren’t going to miss an opportunity to slit my throat. my reputation spread quickly, so that I always had to watch my back – never quite sure when an erudite might come flying out of a shop with murder in his eyes.
seriously, though, it was a really engaging way to develop your character and another great way that eq wrapped you up in its world. I have a lot of erudite stories (both players and npcs) that had significant impact on the entire career of my character, all because of that choice. It was a facet of my character that mattered.
gaining exalted status with the frost wolf clan didn’t matter, don julio be damned.
That is an AWESOME Story Filch! 😀 Halfling Warriors = awesome. On the deity pvp server my Iksar was ganked by a gang of Halflings shouting something I couldn’t understand. It’s horrifying and magnificent at the same time to see a force of Halflings coming your way at the speed of SOW. 😉
Keen, I would suggest that a lot of what you write up to the decline of faction, is actually part of what has been lost in the decline of having numerous cities in the game world. Everquest had a city for each race, and the interconnection between them (with faction) was what drove a lot of the positive things you’re talking about here. I believe that a lot of what changed in future games was not faction itself, but simply the way cities are implemented. Now, instead of a city for each race, a home where you could be safe no matter how xenophobic or unlikable your race is, you simply have the far more generic “good” and “evil” cities. There’s not really a functional difference between Thunder Bluff and the Undercity in WoW, or between Qeynos and Kelethin in EQ2, because even if they are technically cities for a particular race, they are meant to fulfill the role of generic good/evil city. With games like WAR, you’re even moving beyond that limited setup – why have multiple cities at all, just paste in one token good city and one evil one.
Without any need to differentiate between the races via cities or anything else – when they can all be lumped together, no matter their differences, as good or evil, what role is left for faction to play except as another way to get items? I have seen some positive news on this front – Everquest 2 for example, has at least moved from 2 cities initially to 4 now, and with the Rise of Kunark expansion has added a number of good-sized town settlements that are based on the more old-school idea of faction. Show up there initially and they may kill you, but gradually through faction, you can improve your standing until they will tolerate you, then give you quests, then their merchants will sell to you, and finally you are eligible for factional items.
@Anakh: It’s really both. The city thing can extend to the loss of world and atmosphere as well as faction. You’re absolutely correct about the number of cities. It has to do with the number of races as well.
It all boils down to games being streamlined. I don’t know whether or not current developers think it’s too difficult to make a game with multiple cities, different regions, and a true sense of world or what their excuse is.
@Keen – “It all boils down to games being streamlined. I donâ€™t know whether or not current developers think itâ€™s too difficult to make a game with multiple cities, different regions, and a true sense of world or what their excuse is.”
That’s a good summary of the problem. As I said in the last thread, I really don’t see this changing. We’re increasingly seeing massive streamlining in all these areas, and more, and what is worse in some ways – we’re seeing instancing being used as a cheap replacement for a lot of the things that made older games interesting. I personally think it comes down to costs, and a simple desire not to stick their neck out for game concepts that they believe won’t be very popular with the majority of players. If we’re ever going to see old-school gaming again, it’s going to be the work of a smaller company that’s willing to put in the time to create a niche game.
One of my favorite achievements in all the time I played EQ was getting my Ogre SK well enough liked to be able to use the bank in Freeport. It took a long time and you could call it “grind”, but it wasn’t just fun when it was over, it was fun while I was doing it too.
EQ also had quite a few “hidden” factions. For example, the aviaks in South Karana, which appeared to be indifferent to everyone, had an absolute loathing of trolls, leading to many apparently inexplicable wipes as a group added a troll to its ranks and found Avos bearing down on them from all sides.
I doubt it would be possible to go back to that level of complexity and sheer inconvenience in a mass-market MMO, but there is surely a market for a niche game to bring it back.
@Anakh: I’m baffled by why they would feel it a risk to make multiple cities and a real world. It seems like something that no one would hate. “Oh my god you’re giving me all these options for cities and all this content makes me hate your game!” – as stupid as that sounds, it would have to come across that way and that’s ludicrous. As for money, it seems like game budgets are much better than they were 10 years ago. Why did a 10 year old game manage to pull it off but it’s not feasible today?
As much as they probably want those excuses to be valid, they’re really not. It’s either laziness or lack of talent. Until a real reason is given, I’ll arrive at that conclusion based on the evidence we have.
What a coincidence, I mentioned factions in EQ during my intro and outro to last week’s radio show: http://incomingpull.blogspot.com/2009/07/radio-incoming-pull-live-episode-8.html
@ Keen & Anakh – Let’s not forget that the reason many of these streamlines happened is to remove roadblocks to people playing together. Too many cities and too many factions means you need more planning outside of the game to keep friends together. I’m with you that both thinking that the pendulum has swung too far in that direction. But the reason for going that direction has some validity.
@Anjin: Sure, but at the same time you have to remember that you can’t walk on egg shells. Is it the end of the world that people start apart or some distance from each other? That’s the price for picking different races. If people don’t like it and don’t want to travel then they should have decided to play the same race.
I’m surprised with all this talk about factions that you didn’t include being able to learn new languages with it. I thought this the most fun when starting a Wood Elf Druid (ahh Kithvaren) and seeing people talkign in other tongues..so much that I would do everything I could to learn as many as possible.
@John – aww man, i’m glad u said it! “Despite all of its flaws, Lineage 2 had amazing player-ran politics. Allying clans, warring clans , deciding who to help at sieges, etc. was all so fun and exciting. I will never have the feeling in a factions game that I had in that game when I killed somebody I didnâ€™t like.”
In l2 my clan and allys had 100+v100+ battles just because some noob in another clan killed a noob in my clan. We looked for any reason to pvp and we always found one. We took it upon ourselves to police the noob areas for any reds (pk’rs that killed someone who didnt fight back) that made us loved, feared, and respected all at the same time.
No game will ever do beautiful scenery, characters and mechanics mixed with ridiculous 200 or more people pvp’s as well as l2 did. Oh and being able to control a minion the size of a castle was quite fun also!
Keen, I think you need to go back and play EQ. You keep talking about what is lost, but it’s not lost, the game never folded. It would be interesting to see if you would feel the same once you are dealing with faction instead of talking about it.
@Poxus: It was a real neat idea. The implementation was wonky but it had its charm. The same idea can be done again but better and it would rock.
@Dblade: Show me a game with these things released in the past 4-5 years. They’re lost with time. I do not consider anything past Velious to truly be EverQuest. EQ is too far gone for me to go back and play it as it is right now. I’ll jump at the first opportunity to play on a classic server – hopefully one day I will. I dealt with faction for 3 years. I like it.
I may or may not have told this story here before, but my gnome mage in WoW actually had an epic horse back when it was pretty rare – not the nigh impossibly rare it was when the game launched (you had to grind out one single accidentally repeatable quest that gave like 25 rep and stopped if you outleveled it), but enough runecloth that very few people did it. Since there were no refunds on your existing mount and this was before the riding skill revamp, you would either have to do without an epic ground mount until you finished with the rep, or you would have to buy a second 1000G epic mount. I would get tells from time to time, riding around on that horse, just because it was such an unusual sight.
Obviously, that’s nowhere near the same thing as EQ1’s faction system, but I’ll agree that we have traded away something that some players may not know they had in exchange for the modern rep reward grind.
The faction system is always something I’ve liked about EQ, and it’s disappointing that factions in the last 5 years have been reduced to unchangeable either/or (alliance/horde) or simple rep grinds for gear. It adds a lot of depth to the world when you can go from hated somewhere (not just a random quest hub or outpost, a huge city) to accepted over time. Your actions and choices in game (rather just when you roll your character) have real consequences as far as your experience of the world.
Eh, maybe I don’t have much productive to add here other than that I support this post.
Yea Lineage 2 had some great aspects.
It was the first MMO I really played hardcore and I remember how me and my guild always used to talk about how bad it was. (It has a lot of flaws, botting, bsoe’s, dropping guild to PvE, etc). but as soon as we started trying out other MMO’s we saw how good Lineage 2 really was.
I am looking forward to Tera and Lineage 3.
I would be SO excited beyond words for Aion if it was an FFa pvp game and not factions.
Aion is ncsofts WoW clone and I truly hope it fails as it shows developers to be creative not just clone other games.
@ Keen # 28 – So even EQ has done a DaoC situation where they went too far from the principle game play (ie: Trails of Atlantis in Daoc) and have yet to make a classic rules server such as what DaoC eventually did. Am i correct on this?
I always played as an iksar in EQ, and I remember being scared to death when I first left Kunark because I didn’t really know what was in store for me.
I actually did a lot of faction work to gain friendly status with many cities or outposts. I had to kill goblins for weeks to gain faction with Firona Vie. There was a quest for sarnak whips in the overthere, which I could do by sneaking around and FD’ing to gain faction with the outpost there. Some cities were a bit more complicated like Freeport because they had many different factions associated with it. Handling the faction system was a lot work for an Iksar, but it was an awesome role-playing experience.
It was cool to see players say holy shit there’s an iksar in our city, but I didn’t just do faction work for the hell of it. Being able to bind your soul in an outpost near where you were hunting made your corpse runs much shorter. Being able to buy supplies like food, water, and throwing items from npc vendors was a big deal for me as well. You would do a bit of extra work to make your life a bit easier in the long run. It wasn’t just the faction system, but the game mechanics and the faction system complimented each other so well which made it so great.
Another example of how MMO’s now are all carebear worlds.
Most people want easy MMO’s where everything is handed to them on a platter and don’t want to do anything difficult.
Faction was indeed very well implemented in EQ. I remember taking my High Elf enchanter to Kunark for example and exping in Kurns Tower and the Field of Bone. It was fantastic because we were KOS in the Iksar city but we could still hunt there by avoiding guards and using different routes in and out of the city.
Faction has gone bring a mechanic which allowed the creation and development of fluid, vibrant worlds to just another stat that needs to be ground.
One I really miss from old games are the diffrence between equal lvl mobs.
I remember back in the days there was a difference between what loot and how much xp each kind of mob dropped. So a lvl 20 in one place dropped something very different from another mob in another place. And the xp could be different too. This meant that ppl were looking for the best places to hunt and it made exploring worth while imho.
@Steeldragoon: Yes, you are correct. EQ has their own ToA nightmare. The Kunark and Velious expansions were great, but everything past that was downhill. That’s still years of enjoyment before they messed up.
One of the big reasons games these days are streamlined is because of the cost/content requirements now.
In Ye Olden Days, you could get away with putting down a big, low-poly grassland, chuck some random spawns in there and be done with it.
Now every art resource takes X times as much money and effort to make, with obvious results.
It’s compounded by easy-level-speed. If you make 3 areas for characters level 21-25, and it only takes a few hours in one of them to hit 26, then you’ve wasted 2 areas worth of resources.
Plus, nowadays everyone expects full quest paths throughout each area, which are another level of cost and QA and debugging.
I think the only way you’ll get it these days is to start with a small, streamlined-at-release world that adds areas over time. (and has devs that don’t listen to players who whine that they can’t visit the new areas because they lack faction.)
You missed a major point too Keen, or didn’t so much spell it out. People were very proud of their race and what city they came from because of faction. Racial jokes about each other were very common and people of the same race in far away lands often went out of there way to help one another.
In WoW people could care less about what city they came from, and some races don’t even have cities. Being an Iksar meant being proud of Cabilis and it offered a unique kinship with other Iksar.
It is a bit of a catch-22. To have meaningful factions you need to have a decent number of “cities” and reasons for that faction. However, what you will see is that players will just gradually gravitate to few common cities. For example, in EQ it was really about getting access to Freeport. Very few needed to get access to other cities.
After a while, Places like Kaladim and Ogrook were ghost towns. You started there as per your race but then you never went back. Once they created a “common” area that anyone could get to (the bazaar and later the Planes) even those old hubs became useless.
What you want to do is make sure there are multiple useful “Hub” cities. These have to be places were characters of all levels can do something productive. you can then have faction tied to each hub and as a character get one for free then have to work for the others. Also there should be some unique (but not required) items that each Hub offers.
I would definitely like to see the end of the “Good v Evil” choice that is fixed at character creation. SWG worked where you start off unaligned, but could choose a side (and switch) if you wanted.
I could see “faction grinding” being replaced with epic type quests. The Betrayal quest from EQ2 is a good example. One part is “Kill 500 Gnolls.” But that does not seem as bad as, camp green/greys until you are “friendly.”
Exactly my point. They are the same system with different players and communities. Different times. Different circumstances.
Nostalgia, for a long gone era, is what makes it seem so much different. The same system, used today, results in a COMPLETELY different result and you’ve stated as much in your commentary here.
Stop thinking MMOs have “lost something” with all of these nostalgia posts. MMOs have gained so much and lost very little. If you want to cover the few, important things lost, cover things like seemless worlds and consequence.
@heartless_: But you’re wrong. It’s not nostalgia. It’s the same general type of system implemented two entirely different ways.
Faction/rep may be gained in the same way, but how it is implemented to impact your character, your character’s place in the world, and how the world reacts to your character are entirely different.
If anything, nostalgia would be for me to say “oh I loved EQ’s way of gaining faction but WoW’s is bad”. That would be silly, because like I’ve said all along they are identical in that respect. I’m not being blinded by nostalgia here when I’m speaking to the facts: Faction in EQ was implemented in such a way that it impacted far, far more than “faction/rep” does today.
Look at the biggest difference…
In WoW you’re either Horde of Alliance. You can get rep to buy new items from some group. That’s the gist.
In EQ you’re an Iksar, but you’re not bound to one group. You don’t want to be liked by your own people anymore? Okay, kill them. You’re now liked by someone else. In essence you are the faction you choose to be. Faction allows you to go places you were once hated, far beyond the way it is ‘today’.
If WoW’s faction system was anything like early EQ’s, my troll would be able to gain faction with ironforge and I would be able to group with alliance players.
Warhammer copied WoW’s system and SWTOR is even doing a sith vs empire thing. I don’t understand why game designers would want a system like that. Your cutting the player base right in half and your also doing twice the work. Each side has their own outposts with quests that got you doing the same thing but vary a little. It’s a lot more restrictive.
[…] continues with his look back to the elder days of MMO gaming with his latest article on the importance of factions in old EverQuest. I remember getting my dark elf shadow knight loved in […]
I agree 100%. Faction used to mean something, but these days it either doesn’t exist or its used as a grind tool just to obtain some reward. The MMO’s of today just don’t feel like living worlds anymore.
No question if WoW had the ability to switch sides I would level up a tauren or troll and do it. Would love that option no matter how long or drawn out it would be.
Have you seen Fallen Earth? It looks like it has a fairly well developed faction system.
Guess I’m different in that I envision doing things for your faction as an activity done with others to help build a sense of community, so you get the feeling of working on something greater than yourself, even though you may still be doing it solo. In addition, instead of benefits being applied to just a single individual, they are applied to your entire faction community instead. Thus the more people contributing to the faction community, the more abilities or resources available to your faction (i.e. kind of like WAR guild system but on a larger RVR scale).
For example, in an MMO similar to the RTS game Warcraft II, you could have a miner out mining for ore but what he does with that ore is up to him. He could utilize it individually for maximum profit or he could “contribute” it to his faction community to help with the war effort (maybe getting some payment but at a very low non-profit rate). Depending upon the mechanics of the gameplay, once the faction reaches certain “goals” (i.e. building a new border keep, a new blacksmith building in a town, etc), added benefits would then be available to the miner. Actually you could even give the choice to the miner to contribute where he or she feels it best could be utilized, based upon a “live” faction system that shows what’s required in real time to achieve certain faction objectives.