[crossfire] Party Support (was: Priority feature list)

Juergen Kahnert crossfire at kahnert.de
Mon Jul 23 14:42:04 CDT 2007

On Sun, Jul 22, 2007 at 09:37:44PM -0700, Mark Wedel wrote:
>   I consider this sort of a chicken and egg party - people may not use
> parties often because there is not much reason to form parties.

The only reason I know for a CF party is, to level up a lower level
character.  And regardless of the party support of CF, I would remove
the xp sharing for killing monsters.

> There are probably several reasons why parties are not heavily used -
> lack of race/class distinction means everyone is a spell caster or
> fighter or whatever, so you don't have to worry about trying to
> balance out the party.

We like to change that, right?  Not primary for better party support,
but for the race / class distinction.

> Combat happens so fast right now that it is difficult to really
> coordinate anything.

There are also voices for speed reduction.

> I'm sure there are others.

There are a lot of other reasons and so far no real solution for all of

>   So I'm very reluctant to say we don't need to worry about party
> support - I'd be really bad to not think about that at all, and then
> after we make other changes, be in a situation where lots of players
> want party support which has been removed, or at least not improved
> upon.
>   I'd also think that while some things perhaps get deferred to later
> releases, we should at least keep those features in mind, and not make
> changes that are counter to those longer term goals.  It would be
> counter productive to not do any sort of party support for CF2, and
> then when we do CF3, have to redo all the maps/quests because of that.

Yes, you're right.  Let us talk about party support on 2D tiled maps.
We need to know how to make it to be open for later extensions.

>   We should at least have some sort of idea of how parties should work
> and how they work with quests.

First of all, the list of problems with parties right now:

1) very fast combat, no time for group tactics
2) no assistant spells for parties (group healing, ...)
3) no overview of the status bar of party members (How could a healer
   know who needs healing?)
4) party members often blocks the way (either the movement or the target
5) no maps / quests for parties

=> CF is aimed to be a single player RPG in a multi player world.

And now, what's necessary to solve this problems to have a working party

1) Slow down combat speed.  Some player just won't like that, especially
   no slower movement.  So the only chance for that is to reduce weapon
   speed.  May work.

   But on a 2D tiled map with fast moving monsters you could quickly run
   out of escape routes.  Slower movement will help, too.  But I think
   no majority for a general slowdown.

2) There are simply no spells for party support.  Most support spells
   are self directed or combat spells.  Nothing special for the party.
   Protection spells, bless, healing, ... all of them needs a "party

   This shouldn't be that hard to implement.  The easiest part of all. :)

   Besides that, you have to take away all the supporting spells and
   offer them just for special classes.  Who needs a healer if everybody
   has a binding for "apply rod of heal" / "invoke restoration"?

   But if you don't allow everybody to heal themselves, CF will totally
   change and needs parties.  Nobody used to play CF like this.  So you
   have to replace the players, too.

3) If you have spells as pointed out at 2), you have to know to cast
   which spell on whom.  For example, as long as a healer don't know who
   needs help, he can't heal that member...

   Same for protection spells.  Whoms fire protection is running out?
   Or any other of this spell class.  All without chatting or who has
   time in front of a big monster to ask for a healing?

   3D RPGs usually display the status of the party members above the
   character.  This works in a high resolution 3D world, but not on a
   low resolution 2D one.

   Having an extra windows with party members and their stats will give
   you an overview, but you don't necessarily know where "Bob" is who
   needs to be healed.  You just know that "Bob" should be healed...

4) And now the biggest problem for a 2D tiled map game.  How do you
   avoid that party members blocks your way?

   For the movement, you can do something like made with pet monsters.
   You just move "into" them and change the positions.  This may lead
   into some confusion, but should be better than dying because of a
   sleepy member...

   Anyway, not nice.  For example I cast a spell and someone runs
   "through" me so I change the position and I may miss the monster but
   hit the wall.  I won't like that.

   How do 3D RPGs solve this problem.  Easy, you just click on the
   monster you like to hit.  If someone pushes me aside, I won't miss
   the monster.

   What about characters in the second row like archers or spellcasters?
   How do they hit the monster, if warriors do direct melee combat?  How
   do they hit the monster without hurting the warrior? Or if the archer
   stands on coordinates (0;0) and the monster on (2;1)?  Which direction
   key do you have to press for that?  You can hit monsters on (2;0),
   (2;2) and (0;2), but not on (2;1) or (1;2).  And this is just for a
   3x3 square...

   I've no idea how to solve this.

After you solved all this problems without changing the game that much
that most of the current players still likes to play CF, you can work on

5) Create party quests.  In the past year there was some discussions
   about this issue.  Not much, most of the discussion was questions how
   to make it.  And a few ideas like giving xp as a reward to all party
   members who really made the quest instead of joining short before it
   ends.  Or how to give out items to the party members as a reward.
   Something like that, but without a better party support (see above)
   party-quest-maps aren't really playable and thus not important.

Maybe point 2 can be fixed partially with party maps.  But for example
raffle2_u2 isn't really popular.  Ok, it's not really a teamplay map,
because both players are split and need to play their side alone.  It's
just a map where two player needs to be in at the same time.

My suggestion is, CF is a 2D RPG and because of that, party support is
very limited.  That's it.  Fine for me.


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