Author Topic:  Lets Make MWO Better! (Laundry List Time)  (Read 5826 times)

21 Aug 15

Read 5826 times

Offline GMan129

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Soooo I've been thinking about the little things I want, to add some polish to the game and take some of the frustration out of it. The way I see it, right now is the perfect opportunity to do this stuff, in the lead-up to Steam release, where having a polished game is kind of a big deal. To be honest, I feel like veteran players may have a bit of a biased view on this stuff - we've been playing for so long that we see every little imperfection blown up to 500% and don't notice the good bits anymore - but I do think that this stuff can help add a lot to the game.

Fix the Movement Problems

Moving in MWO can feel really super duper clunky at times. I actually brought this up on reddit before I decided to write an article about this stuff in general (thanks to everyone that commented there), and it helped my ideas to crystallize. I think this stuff should take a few forms:

  • Make it so that any terrain which blocks or jitters movement (small rocks from pretty much every map, small buildings, cars & trucks) is blowed up when you run into it (several options here - little explosion thing, disintegration effects, or just have a squish animation), or even better sorta flattened so you can kinda walk over it. There are a lot of terrain thingies which you can kind of skip over at full speed (new forest colony has a bunch of these) buuut which can stop you full-on if you're like half speed or something.
  • Smooth out the ramps and ridges and stairs and crap which are traversable but require wiggling. Wiggling is just super annoying and doesn't really add anything of value. Some good examples of this stuff are the staircases on Viridian Bog and the I10 "ramps" on Alpine Peaks. Basically, terrain should either be passable for all mechs without issue, passable for no mechs at all, or clearly only passable for jumpjet capable mechs. Grey areas between these just lead to confusion and extensive nettling.
  • Make sure it gets blowed up by everything. Most important is that if you run into it, but also any weapon system should do it - or if you want give each thing health buuuut I feel like that would have bigger performance impacts, maybe. Right now, lasers don't do destroy trees, I'm guessing because they don't have impulse. But if you implement the disintegration mechanic, you could have them do that. Or even give each thing its own visual response - lasers disintegrate, missile explode, and ballistic/mech movement will knock over and/or crush.

Basically, this allows us to keep the same aesthetic value of having detailed terrain that really sets the tone for a map...but also it doesn't get in the way of good and pleasant gameplay.

Diversify the Monetization Model

Gonna start this section off with a quick rant. Charging crazy amounts of money to get mechs early is all kinds of messed up. Just ridiculous. On so many levels.

  • Leads to temporary pay-to-win circumstances (Timber Wolf, Dire Wolf, Stormcrow, Arctic Cheetah). The argument that bitching about this stuff is due to a lack of patience is super dumb. If we didn't have to play with or against the pre-order mechs, then yeah it'd be lack of patience. But since non-paying customers are at a disadvantage to paying customers for months at a time (or really permanently because there's always another pack) that's absolutely P2W. It's phased P2W sure, but still P2W. Which is absolutely stupid and would have led to this game crashing and burning if we weren't all mech junkies.
  • Prices are absolutely absurd. The pre-order packages are cheap relative to the in-game MC prices, sure (more on this later), but those prices are ridiculous too! And the C-Bill prices! The most frequent argument I hear is that the time:money ratio or whatever is appropriate relative to other games, but a big thing that people don't pay much attention to is that in order to get the most out of a single mech, you have to buy three. You just have to. Playing without speed tweak and double basics on a permanent basis is just painful. So really in order to buy a single variant from a chassis with only one valuable variant, you have to pay for 3 times the price. Even if you sell the other mechs right afterwards, you're still paying for double the mech's C-Bill price. And when you think of it that way, it's totally facacta. This is also why the Mastery Bundles are, like, the only thing approaching a reasonable deal in the game.
  • MC is a defunct currency. 100%. Hero mechs aren't worth buying anymore with (I) mechs in the mix, it's completely overpriced for buying normal mechs (champion mechs are a joke), and visual customization options are so limited. I've had 10k MC in my account since March, and I haven't had any cause to use it on anything but CSJ camo. That's literally it. Before that, I'd had about 15k since December. I realized I wasn't using it so I got a Sparky and some more premium time. There's just never any cause for me to buy more, and not emphasizing micro-transactions in a F2P game isn't really the with that in mind

Let us buy more visual customization. COOL visual customization. My issue with the Camo Spec system is that it's just re-colorization. If you look at other F2P models where skins make bank, there are 2 types of skin - things that have new colors and patterns and crap, maybe with a theme maybe not (standard skins, still cost $$ but not that much), and unique looking skins that have their own thing goin' on (premium skins, cost more $$).

After watching the most recent Dev Vlog, it turns out that the (L) unique geo was like a test for doing more of that, and that they were disappointed by the reaction so probably weren't pursue it (if a PGI dude wants to comment on this please do, but that's the impression I got). I think this is a huge mistake for a few reasons. Goddamn I love me some lists.

  • They were a bit subtle. I understand the gameplay reasons behind this - you don't want to really change hitbox sizes and it's good that you've got that in mind - but I'm sure there are ways around this. FOR EXAMPLE, mix this and the destructable environment thing, and you got mech bits which FLY OFF WHEN YOU SHOOT THEM. I think that sounds ridiculously badass. Sub-component destruction. This would let you do crazy stuff like giving us HATS. But yaknow, even without that and with these subtle changes, I'd totally go for it.
  • We weren't told! Even though I had no idea this is what you were going for, I loved the (L) mechs' aesthetics so much I made a shitpost about it. We were just given the thing. Sidenote - the Loyalty program was friggin badass, my only issue is that I can't sell the duplicate (L)s I got.

If you sat me down, right now, and told me that you'd let me put those creepy-ass tiny Stormcrow hands on my C-Bill variants for the low price of 1,000 MC, I would...I don't know. Probably not like a super dramatic reaction. Maybe like, a high five, followed by me logging into the game to do it? Yeah that sounds about right for me. Anyways, point is, JUST DO IT. DO it. And as for HOW you do it, I've got a few ideas.

  • Make them modular skins (just gonna call 'em skins for now). I think MWO is uniquely positioned to do this thanks to its existing modular customization. But here's what I have in mind. Let's sayy there's a "Dragon" skin, it's got spikes, fangs, wing features (not massive wings, maybe like thin folded ones pressed against the back of your mech, maybe they fold out a bit when you're falling like the Spider), scales, maybe even a fire effect around the cockpit. And then, you got another "Steampunk" skin, where it adds some steam effects, gaskets, goggles, weird knobs...I don't know I'm not that familar. But then, you can pick the Dragon arms and head so it's got like fire and wings, and the Steampunk torso and legs so that it looks, well, steampunk, and now you've got a mechanical dragon skin. That being said, even if the skins aren't modular, I maintain that they would be badass amazingtown times a billion.
  • Monetization - I think there needs to be some reconsideration to the camo spec module in general if this comes out. I would recommend downing the current premium camo prices to 750 from 1250 for unlocks, and make this unlockable for twice that at 1500. At 1500, I wouldn't say that a one-shot price is necessary, but any higher and I would.
  • I trust PGI's art department to settle any issues this stuff can create. The one balance-related thing I would add is to make sure that...gameplay disadvantages from this stuff should be kept to a minimum so people are punished for spending money. But there can't be any gameplay advantages at all, cuz that'd just be P2W.

Make Me Feel Good

I think one of the big things missing from MWO is a sense of charm. The Battletech universe is just chock-full of it, but MWO barely touches on it. A great place to inject this would be in the mech buying process. For example, when you hit "BUY", the window that pops up should have some lore on it, a rating of its abilities, and thennn ask us how we wanna buy it. I'm not saying there should be anything like card packs, but Hearthstone makes buying stuff an experience unto itself. I just think adding elements of that, a little pizzazz, would be cool. I'm not sure if I've ever seen the word "pizzazz" written.

As for the "rating of its abilities" bit...maybe create recommended builds for every variant as part of this (I'm actually working on something like that in MetaMechs so I'll help you out there too). And then let people buy those so they can have a pleasant experience in the mech right out of the box. And then allow people to buy "Hero" and "Champion" customization things on the mech for MC which give you bonus C-Bills or XP. Maybe that last bit is too much to ask for though.

Another thing that could help is adding progress-based achievements. For example "Customize a mech", "Master a Variant", "Master 1 Variant in each Class", "Master 3 Light Mechs", etc. Have one lead into the next to give new players a sense of direction, and obviously give some rewards to help them along the way.

Fix Visibility Issues

Already wrote about that, not gonna go over it again.

So yeah.

That's all I got right now. If you've got your own ideas, make 'em known!


Edit: /u/are_y0u_kidding brought up removing unnecessary and super-annoying interface elements, such as 99% of the pop-up boxes (I know that the user was invited to group, I just invited him).

GMan129 is currently an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and recently begun writing at NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider contributing to his PayPal and Patreon accounts!
« Last Edit: 21 Aug 15 by GMan129 »

21 Aug 15

Reply #1

Offline jay35

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Good thoughts, GMan.

So, a laundry list of things to make MWO better, you say? I'd add to it this list from what it should have before it hits Steam:

* Amazing New Player Experience - interactive tutorials, recommendations for first mechs, optional training grounds campaign with c-bill reward for completing it

* Show off a finished, polished UI

* Show off the completed revision of all the old maps

* Diverse game modes such as Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Convoy/VIP Escort, and a real Base Assault mode, with the ability for players to pre-set appropriate mechs for each game mode (assuming we can no longer choose our game mode), and the option to preset camo colors that make sense for each map environment

* Competitive Solaris Arena combat ladders fought in special arenas with prizes for top tier placements, mass spectating, audience participation and c-bill betting, Duncan Fischer voice announcer

* Lore-driven Community Warfare with 4v4 scout missions, planet ownership benefits, mercenary battlefield salvage rights, and creatively tactical map designs (not repetitive MOBA-like 2-3 lane X and Ж chokepoint designs)

* Engrossing single-player PvE campaign - start as a new recruit and work your way up the chain of command. Includes enhanced simulational aspects of mech piloting for the armchair Battletech fan.

* Challenging Co-op lance-sized PvE missions with rewards

* DLC available in Steam, including every mech pack from Phoenix forward, individual mech chassis 3-packs, CW-focused drop deck weight packs, and hero/champion mechs

* Purchasable expansion packs: Single-player PvE campaign, co-op lance-based PvE missions, Solaris Competition package

Basically, I'd like to see a finished game, though that is incredibly rare these days. But they only get once chance to do this right, so hopefully they'll work toward having most of that stuff in before they hit Steam. The single-player campaign is the least likely bit, imho.

There's also this post discussing monetization and this post discussing content and game modes that also have relevance here.

21 Aug 15

Reply #2

Offline Keekat

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I can agree on all these things, especially the monetization. The skins I'm not so sure about...

Something I would like fixed are jump jets, they're really boring. I really want some forward thrust. They're meant to be for maneuvering but since they slow you down, they're only good for jump up on platforms/over cover.

Can you imagine how fun it would be to be able to use your jumpjets to quickly accelerate to full speed in something like a highlander and launch yourself towards your enemy

22 Aug 15

Reply #3

Offline 00meat

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In no order at all, I would like to see:
1- alignment themed hud color, at least for clan mechs.
2- clan hud, torso mounted weapon redicle is an X, while the weapon display on the right shows a T-shaped reticle, they should match.
3-hide the dropships in new forrest colony. It is like the pilots are just sitting there watching, placing bets on who will win.

22 Aug 15

Reply #4

Offline [CW] CyclonerM

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Wait, Dire Wolf P2W?  ???

Btw, i support most of Jay35's points.

22 Aug 15

Reply #5

Offline StalaggtIKE

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Fix LRM - I hate everything about them: I hate using them. I hate having team mates lob them over 800m away. I hate watching my team cower from them.

  • First, remove shared locks without TAG or NARC. Not to be confused with shared targeting; you can still do this, however Joe "Stuck S key" won't be locking targets unless he gets his own los or a teammate paints a target for him.
  • Next, change LRM to self guiding. Yes, I'm talking fire-and-forget. The current guiding system encourages players to fight from the rear because they'll receive concentrated fire to the face if they peek out. Of course such a change may require weaker tracking or we run the risk of making them OP.
  • With the loss of shared locks and weaker tracking, a boost in speed sounds fair. Currently their speed is so abysmal that they're hardly worthy of the name LONG range missiles.
« Last Edit: 22 Aug 15 by StalaggtIKE »
Kapten StalaggtIKE | SoR | 3rd "Svinfylking"

23 Aug 15

Reply #6

Offline quantaca

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also on the subject of Monetization, just more stuff, they apparently have a list of 100 or so cockpit items, make them ... and go through the "serious" cockpit item thread and make most of those as well, give us options.

also warhorns ... on my drive to work yesterday i think i thought up about 50 different sounds for the warhorns, and for me they dont all have to look different visually just sound different :p
some examples:
-classical tunes (no rights on those and some very well known tunes)
-sports related stuff (hockey goal buzzer, baseball ref, soccer commentator yelling kill kill kiiiiiiillll)
-dumb sounds (toilet flush, clown honk, crazy/super villain laughter)
-game parody (may run into rights problems), mortal kombat style "finished him"
-some of those old comedy film/series noises.
-different instruments (bagpipes, alphorns, didgeridoo, ... )
-regional/national dialects (like an english butler style "jolly good shot sir" or a simpsons cleetus style "you dun got im" but also some "foreign" stuff)
and i had a lot more but yeah you get the idea and i dont remember :p
« Last Edit: 23 Aug 15 by quantaca »

24 Aug 15

Reply #7

Offline Midax

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Self guided LRMs are the wrong way to fix LRMs. The current state of ECM and LRM interaction is based on the fact that LRMs were too powerful without ECM to prevent locks. LRMs should only guide to target when spotting equipment is used.  Without spotting equipment LRMs should either reticle track or just dumb fire in a level and straight flight. They should also get a speed buff to match AC5 rounds at a minimum.

24 Aug 15

Reply #8

Offline shr84

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yeah i had to start to sell heroin to be able to master my dire wolf :D

No really, i think it´s a fair buisness model.You can achieve everything by only playing the game.
And the people that won´t wait can have it for mc.I heared there are people out there with actually
enough money to effort this.And the people that don´t have the money for that in most cases
have the time to unlock them otherwise.At least in my country :D

And i think pay2win is not the case in this game cause all using the same weapons + modules.
Again it´s the time factor that plays a big role.But since you dont have repair/rearm cost it´s
a 100% achievable track you went by grinding a mech.
Unlike WOT where you are screwed when you play tier VIII+ exclusively and try to get a better tank this way.

All in all MWO is more then enjoyable for me considering what i have invested so far(not thaaat much;)

25 Aug 15

Reply #9

Offline Marduk

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I kinda dont agree on the skins and camo patterns opinion. I cant think of any F2P game that has similar or even better system for camo patterns and skins.

WoT - you can choose one of few camos for each type of map(winter/summer/city), cant customize it at all only by adding certain decals or certain signs in given positions, for additional price ofcourse.
WT - you can choose one of very few skins,can customize with few decals and signs and thats it. I dont take into account custom skins as they are visible only to you.
MWO - you can choose from plethora of camo patterns or faction patterns and customize their colors to your liking with the color selection ive never seen in any other game.

I think MWOs skins system is one of the best on the market atm or atleast on par with others if you are really against MWO. Could it use slight reduction in price? Certainly but which game allows you to buy camo for whole series of vehicles?
Most games allow you to buy one pattern for only one vehicle so you have to buy new camo for every single new vehicle you get.

Before you propose that we should be able to slap decals and signs on our mechs listen to me. Im playing WT for over two years now and the best thing people came up with using decals and signs was slapping the russian flag over their whole plane/tank making them shine across the whole map...
It went so far that they had to remove national flags because they were used in disgraceful manner, only later to add them for gold(oh poor gaijin...).
I think we dont want that here.
« Last Edit: 25 Aug 15 by Marduk »

30 Aug 15

Reply #10

Offline quantaca

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On the subject of decals, in the mwo forums there's a huge thread where someone has posted dozens of lore based unit insignias he has recreated, now i dont know if using those would run into rights problems like does the mwo licence only cover mechs or can they use everything lore ? But i think if they contaced him (and maybe offered some incentive) he might just send them his files giving them instant acces to a whole lot of customisation options, granted people wont be able to use their own unit insignia but well i dont know how easy it is to implement that technically cuz you havd to get that file to everyone in the game