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

Mark Wedel mwedel at sonic.net
Mon Jul 23 23:58:01 CDT 2007

Juergen Kahnert wrote:
> 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.

  Some other advantage is that there are the chat party chat commands, so can be 
easier to communicate with other people if in a party.

  But how parties should work out is something to be thought about.  Server 
level support (being able to form parties, exp sharing, etc) may not be strictly 
needed.  So it may be more a thing that players should be able to cooperate on a 
single map, and somehow share the rewards.

  OTOH, if classes have more distinction, some classes may need party assistance 
in order to advance.  If you want to play a pure healer, you can't expect that 
character to be going out and killing monsters.  But could be very valuable as 
part of a party, so so want some way for the character to get exp.

  The other more general problem is that if you don't have exp sharing, players 
can to some extent do it unofficially - the fighters weaken the monster, take 
the damage, etc, so that the healer can finish it off.

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

  I don't think there are enough details on that.  In my thought, movement would 
really only be slowed down for high level characters, and in fact sped up for 
lower level characters - in a sense, reduce the speed variance that currently 
exists, so that high level characters don't move 5 times faster than low level 
characters.  Certain things still affect speed - how much junk is being carried, 
etc.  But I think that without magical assistance, no character should be able 
to have a speed above 1.0, no matter what their strength and dex.

> 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
>    version".

  Support for party spells was added, just not many spells use it.  Part of 
redoing spells may be to add more party spells.

  Characters must have a way to heal themselves - but not every spell should 
have a potion or rod/wand counterpart.  I can think of several useful spells in 
that there is no reason non spell versions exist - think things like extra hp 
(basically healing that lets you go above your normal max), a regeneration spell 
(get hp back faster for some time period).

  I also think that even if combat isn't slowed down, many of these spells 
should have longer durations - at least in minutes in real time, so you could 
help out the party before they head to the next level, etc.

> 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...

  Yes - that is a problem.  And it isn't just knowing about when spells run out 
- as an example, you could probably care less if the fireborn doesn't have a 
resistance to fire spell.

  so it may be that when part of a party, more information is shared with party 
members - you can see all your party members resistances, which are currently 
boosted by spells, current hp, sp, grace, if party member is under effect of any 
spells (confusion, paralyzation, slow, etc).

  As said, this would probably have to be done in another window/pane, but would 
give a way to quickly see who is in trouble.

  Perhaps as part of that is tie in the party spells with that - that window has 
some way to make it easy to cast 'heal other' on different party members - drag 
and drop, pull down menus, something.  And as long as the caster and recipient 
are on the same map or close enough, the spell works - don't need to be next to 
the character.

  In this way, the spell caster could hang back a bit and help out party members.

> 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.

  It has been suggested that there should be a way to target creatures not in 
the front row - likewise, monsters should have the same advantage, so a bunch of 
orc archers behind orcs with swords would be pretty deadly.

  At some level, this targetting logic isn't that hard - when you cast a 
spell/shoot an arrow, it is targeted as some specific space.  If by the time the 
spell gets there, the monsters is no longer there, or a party member is there, 
tough luck.  At least for players, they'd probably see the arrow or spell flying 
in that direction, that'd probably avoid it.

  But there are problems with this - good way to do it on the client (clicking 
on a space would work, but is that spell or arrow?  Could use ready skill I 

  This change does have bigger effects - you could now fire things in the non 8 

  I'd say spells that can be targeted in this way should be limited - not every 
spell should be usable in that way.

  It would probably be simplest to say that intervening creatures/party members 
won't be hit by those arrows or spells (this otherwise makes things too deadly 
or too unfriendly to use).

  Movement itself is a problem - acting lik pet move sort of works, unless both 
people are trying to move the same direction and end up swapping places with 
each other and not actually attacking the monster.  Don't have a great solution 

> 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
> point:
> 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.

  But that isn't really the point - just because points 1-4 do not currently 
exist, or are not currently used, doesn't mean we can't/shouldn't be able to 
think about how parties/quests would work if those points did exist.

  It may be like several features - not used by many people.  But it seems to me 
that the above points really don't have anything to do whatsoever about how you 
give rewards - they are completely separate.

  We could certainly say that CF is a single player RPG game and that there is 
no party support, and so yo really shouldn't work with any other players on 
dungeons or quests, because simply put, you'd be disappointed/upset when you 
find you don't get a reward.  That is certainly an option, but I haven't seen a 
lot of people saying that is what should be done.

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