One Player, Multiple Parties

Discussion about the upcoming Wasteland 3!

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Zombra
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One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by Zombra » September 28th, 2016, 12:43 pm

tl;dr:
Allow a single player to experience all co-op content
by letting him play as "both" players in "multiplayer".

Ahem. Now for the long version.

A year ago, Larian Studios launched a Kickstarter for Divinity: Original Sin 2. Listed among its groundbreaking features was "competitive multiplayer" - the ability for two different multiplayer characters to approach a quest from different perspectives. It was hinted that this feature would be available in single-player as well, and the developer team has already created a mode in which a single player can use this mode (for development purposes). To me, this sounded incredible - a new frontier in role-playing. However, it has recently been revealed that the game will ship this as a multiplayer-only feature, not because of any technical limitations, but because the devs simply feel that players will be happier playing from the perspective of a single character - a "Chosen One", if you will. Playing multiple characters with different goals and perspectives will be too complex, they believe, for their audience to enjoy.

Needless to say, my main reason for backing Larian's game went down the toilet with that announcement.

inXile has taken a cue from Larian with their multiplayer model for Wasteland 3 - allowing two players to run full parties in the same gameworld, parties which can interact directly and indirectly. They are even allowing asynchronous play, meaning that the two players don't even have to be online at the same time to enjoy the interaction of multiple teams. Which is a great idea by the way. Also, they are introducing content exclusive for the multiple-party model ... which, again, I think is wonderful and makes good sense. It hearkens back to the original Wasteland, in which party splitting was allowed and even encouraged in some cases. Two different teams, coordinating efforts on different parts of the map? How could that not be cool?

What does not make good sense is restricting this content to multiplayer! A single player with multiple teams is already a proven gameplay concept, not just in Wasteland (1988). Anybody else remember Jagged Alliance 2 (1999)? Hell, what about Adventure Construction Set (1984)? Simple vintage games and complex modern ones are able to make this work, no problem. I'm not even talking about an appreciable design investment here - inXile is already building the architecture for asyncrhonous multiplayer! Enabling the exact same gameplay for single-player would necessitate very little effort.

There was some talk about a multiple-team format (party splitting) in the early days of Wasteland 2's development, but it went by the wayside in favor of a more traditional party-based format ... which was OK. This time around, the game is being built ground-up to support multiple parties - why make it multiplayer only? Let's focus now on not repeating Larian's mistake and needlessly alienating a segment of inXile's customer base.

For any system where the theory is "but such-and-such can only work in multiplayer", I'll be delighted to shoot that limiting notion down and explain how it would be fun in single-player as well. I'm serious. Let's talk. You have my email address.

By all means! Make multiplayer work for those who will enjoy it! Fine! ... But don't shut out your single-player customers, or insult us by implying that multiple party management will be too complex for us to enjoy.

I think I'm just repeating myself at this point. Multiple parties = good; multiplayer-exclusive = bad bad bad.

tl;dr:
Allow a single player to experience all co-op content
by letting him play as "both" players in "multiplayer".
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Grohal
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Re: One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by Grohal » September 28th, 2016, 12:48 pm

"Multiple parties = good; multiplayer-exclusive = bad bad bad."

You have my SMG. :D
Hell is no place, hell is a condition.

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Ranger1
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Re: One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by Ranger1 » September 28th, 2016, 12:58 pm

And my Bazooka!

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Jimmious
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Re: One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by Jimmious » September 28th, 2016, 1:11 pm

I'm also supporting this noble cause
Float away, little butterfly. Just flutter away. I got a gig in Vegas. And the wastelands ain't no place for kids.

Nekot-The-Brave
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Re: One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by Nekot-The-Brave » September 28th, 2016, 4:52 pm

Thou support is earned.

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dorkboy
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Re: One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by dorkboy » September 29th, 2016, 3:23 pm

I really like this idea; not just because controlling multiple parties sounds like it could be fun*, but because MP only content sounds a bit yucky.

(*Especially with the stated focus on reactivity & stuff)
marmelade & jam

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undecaf
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Re: One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by undecaf » September 29th, 2016, 3:44 pm

Could be interesting. And certainly better than multiplayer exclusives.
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Stuurminator
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Re: One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by Stuurminator » September 29th, 2016, 4:34 pm

I can certainly see myself getting some perverse glee out of intentionally switching from one party to another and intentionally screwing up everything for the other party I can.

Hotseat multiplayer support (which is basically what this is) sounds like a good idea, even if most people won't take advantage of it.

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Zombra
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Re: One Player, Multiple Parties

Post by Zombra » September 29th, 2016, 5:08 pm

Stuurminator wrote:I can certainly see myself getting some perverse glee out of intentionally switching from one party to another and intentionally screwing up everything for the other party I can.
THANK YOU. I fought this fight for a year with DOS2, and so few people can comprehend the appeal of a player pitting his own characters against one another.
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