WOO II An Exploration in Design - July 2012 - By Stoneghost: Dalaran

 

Woo II - Theme Parks

A Theme Park is a "free for all" combat area for players who want to fight PvP. The Park contains a number of combat venues, each of which is staffed by NPCs of both factions. The number of NPCs varies with the number of players engaged so as to maintain a balance between the factions. Fighter Life Path leveling achievements are given for honorable kills and other notable activities.

Each faction's Commons area and the nearby Farmer's Market provide access to a full range of goods and services. Two dungeon venues are provided for those who want a taste of the Raider life style.

The goal of the Theme Park is to create an interesting place for those who want to find some PvP combat "right now", but do not want to join an Arena team and are not interested in the strategic aspects of Battlegrounds. Theme Parks also serve the needs of players who are just learning how to engage in PvP combat, as well as those who want to level their Fighters as quickly as possible.

Theme parks may be set up at any level, and there should be as many of them as are needed to handle the demand. Characters are releveled as they enter the Theme Park, but their gear is not adjusted.

 

Here Is A Sample of What One Might Look Like

 

This sample Theme Park consists of two faction Common Areas, a PvP zone and a number of Attractions.

Access to the THEME Park

The Theme Park can be reached by selection in a character's UI dialog box or from transporters in all major cities. Pressing that same button while inside the Park will return the character to his or her starting location. Exit by transporter from the Common Areas will take the player to any major city. Releveling will occur if needed when the character enters the Theme Park.

themeparkCHAT

A special "looking for group" chat channel dedicated to Fighters links all of the Theme Parks. A second channel provides battle communications within each Park.

Group leaders can use the "lfg" channel to recruit new team members if one of the current players leaves or is disconnected. Leaders have the ability to immediately transport new members to the venue.

Queuing

Players can put themselves into queues for random selection PvP venues from anywhere in the game. Within the Theme Park, however, they can queue for "leader choice" pick-up teams.

An "lcp" team forms when a player who wants to lead a team creates one, in the process establishing minimum rank and/or other criteria for team membership. Once created, the team will be listed on the PvP Board that is located in the Theme Park Commons and is also available within the user interface of any character currently in the Park. Players queue for teams by selecting them in their interface dialog, and leaders build their teams from the queues.

A special "emergency fill in" list consisting of all players currently queued is available to all PvP venue team leaders. Leaders can post invitations directly to players on this list if a place suddenly opens up in an existing team.

The Commons

The appropriate Faction Common Area is the only entry point to the Theme Park.

Many characters will mix here and the space should be large enough to let people "hang out." Ideally, this will be a gathering place for players who have time to spend before going on to some other activity.

Teleport links to a Farmers Market where Crafters offer their goods and services. The Market also contains NPC vendors who offer all the basic supplies and services. Banking, mail boxes, auction houses and various guild services are located in the Market.

Commons areas are faction based. The Farmers Market may be a neutral zone that can be used by all factions. This depends on the eventual implementation of the Markets.

The Commons contains guild services as well as a center for the redemption of Theme Park points. NPCS may give special quests for Fighter leveling achievements.

The Big Screen covers the entire wall at one end of each Commons area. The Screen shows a running total of battles, points, rewards available and other updates about events in the Park. (One of the early rewards for achievements in the Park is an app that lets the character see parts of the Big Screen on his or her interface.)

Players may walk within the Park (thus inviting combat) or teleport to the location of their choice. Upon death, a character rezzes at the nearest faction teleport.

The PvP Zone

Any character entering the zone is automatically flagged for PvP combat. No gear adjustment is performed (other than the releveling that occurred when the character first entered the Theme Park).

This PvP zone has three primary attractions, along with ample area for ad hoc combat. The Hilltop, The Abandoned Village, and The Fox offer more structured play, while the wooded areas and the fields around The Hilltop are available for battle.

The Hilltop

Equidistant from each faction common area and separated from those areas by a low wall, the ground rises, slowly at first and then rapidly to a jagged peak.

At the top of the peak is the Monument, an artifact of alien construction whose top glows bright in the color of the faction that controls the Hilltop ... and dims to a foggy grey otherwise. On the north side of the Monument a recess is shaped to accept a small, key-like device ... the Whatchamacallit.

When inserted in its recess, the Whatchamacallit emits a psychic pulse, resulting in an immediate boost in Theme Park reward points for every character in the faction of the character who inserted the key. In addition, the pulse compels officials in that faction's banking system to credit that character with a substantial currency bonus.

However, the psychic properties of the Whatchamacallit limit its insertion to times when the character's faction controls the Hilltop. And, once used, the Whatchamacallit decomposes ... yet, seemingly indestructible, it later reappears ... in a locked chest, in the pocket of a random monster, or just lying on the ground somewhere within the Park.

The Abandoned Village

The Village sprawls across the north face of the Park. Ruined houses and shops contain treasure of various kinds and hide gangs of NPC fighters eager to engage unwary scavengers.

The building in the Village Center are of special interest. The bank is believed to contain a trove of items that was housed there and not removed before the catastrophe, and the Library and Town Hall both contain scraps of recipes and items of significant worth.

The Fox

Years of scavenging in the Village have brought much treasure to the coffers of the Fox. And his maze of hedges and fences has protected him from harm. "Who kills the Fox obtains great wealth" ... so the saying goes. Of course the Fox is pretty quick, and rather crafty. And greedy soldiers from both factions are chasing after his treasure. The Fox gathers things ... so the longer he goes without being killed, the more goodies he possesses.

Balance

What happens when the number of players from one faction outnumbers those from the other? This is the problem of "balance." One approach is to provide a buff/debuff system that enhances the abilities of the lesser side. That requires the application of spells to all characters in the zone, however, and also some method of determining what kinds and how much of each buff/debuff to apply.

The method adopted in WOOII is to place numerous NPCs around the zone. The NPCs should look like, and belong to, the competing factions and should either help or hinder the characters they encounter.

As the imbalance in players grows to favor one faction, the number of NPCs for the other faction will increase (and/or those of the larger faction will decrease). The NPCs are intended to be tough and "smart", in that they will not immediately give themselves away as being non-players, and they should provide a serious impediment to those they oppose.

If a faction is under-represented in the Theme Park, then killing certain classes of combat NPCs will give reward points, though probably at a reduced rate. Note that this is a good thing if it attracts players who want "easy" rewards, because it will help rebalance the numbers.

The Dueling Bowl

The dueling bowl organizes inter-faction and cross-faction arena matches. This is a very simple, get-in-queue-get-a-match kind of system with no filtering for teams, gear or ratings. You may die fast, you may win fast ... it's all in the luck of the draw.

The Dungeons

These are simple boss versus player encounters. One, two or three players join (as a group if more than one), and the game creates a dungeon for them. NPC players are provided to fill out a group of five ... the NPCs can handle the tank or healing role if needed.

The encounters are short and intense. There is no rezzing, and rewards are given for killing the boss. This is a good place to come if you have never done any raiding and want to try it out.

Rewards

Since the goal is to attract players who want to use PvP as a vehicle for leveling, the achievements available in a Theme Park should be on a par with other daily Fighter achievements. And, Theme Parks should offer significantly more leveling opportunities than other PvP venues.

Loot should be voluminous. Any corpse, NPC or player, provides loot ... usually currency. Prizes are awarded for flag captures, boss kills and the like. Currency is a primary reward … time in a Theme Park can provide a character's need for daily revenue.

PvP events and the Dueling Bowl award Fighter leveling achievements, and The Farmers Market awards Crafter leveling achievements. Fighter leveling achievements are awarded for honorable kills. (Theme Parks are the only PvP venue that give points for honorable kills. All other PvP venues provide rewards based only on wins.) No Raider leveling achievements are offered.

All events award Theme Park points that are redeemable for currency and various vanity items and enhancements. Titles may be rewarded for singular success.

Hoopla

The Theme Parks, and the somewhat similar Fun Houses, are meant to be carnivals. They should be upbeat, energetic and interesting. Treasure should be scattered around the grounds. Daily and weekly events should be created and promoted. The goal is to make Theme Parks and Fun Houses the "places to be" when you have nothing in particular to do.