Author Topic: Dryken Plane, again...  (Read 188 times)

gonger

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Dryken Plane, again...
« on: June 08, 2024, 07:42:57 am »
Dear all,

The Dryken Plane remains a critical element of PlaneShift, especially for newbies who often complain about it, saying it is like something more from a jump 'n' run game than from a RPG, and too hard in general. There have also been some established players who on the Discord channel said things like, "If that had been my first impression of PlaneShift [after character creation], I would have quit right away."
Remember that nobody gets a second chance for a good first impression.
But there is no reason why this should be the first impression: Why not insert between character creation and Dryken Plane something that is more typical for PlaneShift, and will give a better first impression of the game and the world we all love? This could be a small RP scenario, or a first quest...
I was thinking of something like this: There is mention of this dreadful adversary, and this adversary could have a nemesis, a benevolent entity that speaks to the newly created character, providing more background information, and maybe some items like an armour and a potion of healing.
This is just an example, and if somebody has a better idea, please let us know about it.
A second point: Right now the Dryken Plane is a stand-alone thing, because there is nothing similar in the game. Why not make it more like a feature, starting with a more simple version of the Dryken Plane? Then in later parts of the PlaneShift story there could be other instances of increasing difficulty.

I said it before, and I say it again: I like the Dryken Plane, but as a first impression of PlaneShift, it is a disaster. I have tried to point out some ways how it could be better integrated into PlaneShift, and I hope for a good discussion.

Thank you for reading!

Travel safely,
Gonger
« Last Edit: June 09, 2024, 03:15:34 pm by gonger »

novacadian

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Re: Dryken Plane, again...
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2024, 10:39:08 am »
What/where is the Dryken Plane?

gonger

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Re: Dryken Plane, again...
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2024, 10:55:13 am »
The area between character creation and tutorial.
This is a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6DrS3wSBvw
But best create a new character to experience it for yourself.

Damola

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Re: Dryken Plane, again...
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2024, 04:57:07 pm »


Drawing from the conversation during the Dev Q&A today:

I wonder what if... Dryken Plane does not need to be the first thing that happens after character creation? But as you mentioned before there could be some flash back kind thing? And a way to hook this up could be a quest line where the char is either having visions or is told some of the the original happening how their ancestors or for Kran and Lemur and Ynnwn how other races came to Yliakum.

Means remove Dryken Plane from the new player experience and have the new player experience go like this:

1. Character generation.

2. The specific intro for the race of the characters. For a Nolthrir for example how their ancestors left their home world. For Kran for example how Talad created them. Based on the intros that are already there. I really think those short intros serve nicely to introduce new players into the lore. They are a valuable addition for immerson.

3. Spawn into tutorial area.

Dryken Plane could be hooked into the game through a quest line - similar to Menita's puzzle or the Lava Cave. It could even already start in the tutorial area with a char explaining, that one can go to someone to learn about how exactly people came through the portal... and there could be a way to hook up the Dryken Plane either as a vision of the player or like Menita's puzzle as a magical creation consisting of a lot of Azure magic and probably some other ways combined with some kind of dungeon magically altered to match a certain experience. In this case it could be kind of a magical recreation of what the ancestors would have experienced when coming through the portal to Yliakum. As a magical exploration to make boring history lessons more enjoyable and instructive. The more I think about this, the more I like this magically aided history lessons idea.

Hooking the Dryken Plane up like this would solve several issues with the current approach:

On one hand it would fix the frustration during new player experience. Directly to the tutorial like in other games. Then players who want can move their chars through a quest line where they get to move through Dryken Plane as a magical recreation to experience history. There can be some nice rewards for doing so in addition to the experience. Also it would be possible to extend that Dryken Plane idea if so desired. It is not at the beginning of new player experience and there could be several experiences in that quest line. So for example the labyrinth experience can be added into that quest line as well. For experiencing what ancestors experienced after the leaving the Dryken Plane. Also it could still be that occassionally someone comes throught the portal for whatever crazy reason. But it would not be the norm for new characters anymore. Having characters spawn in the tutorial would give players more freedom to invent how they came to Yliakum. Whether they have been born there or probably where lost in labyrinths for a longer amount of time. And those who choose so could still go for the travel through portal took several hundreds cycles idea. See below:

On another hand the current approach does not really match lore as I understand it. All those catastrophies, the acocalypses in the home worlds happened a huge long time ago. Hundreds of cycles actually if I remember it right. A dying world... how would it make sense lore-wise that still many people arrive through the portals... how would they have survived on a home world that died hundreds of cycles ago? Yeah, travel through the portals could have taken different amounts of times due to some crazy quantum anomaly time thing. Sounds like bending things into place to force them to fit into lore. Especially if traveling through a portal could have taken a moment for some and several hundred cycles for others...

Actually the story of Damola is that she has been born by her parents in the lower planes. Damola has not come from the home world. Her ancestors some generations before have. That is always how I understood lore. Damola has not been through Dryken Plane ICly. And I am not willing to change that now that Dryken Plane is at the start of new player experience.

So Dryken plane does not make sense for all of the new characters to begin with. It also does not make sense for Kran, Lemur or Ynnwn. But hooking up the Dryken Plane in an interesting quest line about experiencing what ancestors or certain races experienced can make sense also for Kran, Lemur or Ynnwn to for example learn how Klyros or Nolthrir came to their world. Also in extension to this there could even be a quest line to experiencing how Talad created the Kran for example.

So far this evening. Maybe that can serve as an invitation to further exploration how "fixing up Dryken Plane clashing with new player experience" could work out nicely.

Love,
Damola

Talad

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Re: Dryken Plane, again...
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2024, 09:59:42 am »
Hi,
good to see people reasoning on how to improve the game!

I want to point out the experience of the game intro is not the same for everyone, example we had a new player in Discord saying:
"this was  by far the best atmospheric intro to a mmo I had in YEARS! I might manage to get out of these mine one day"

He was in the mines, so after the Dryken Plane.

The sequence of
   char creation -> history of races -> Dryken Plane -> Stone Labyrinths -> outpost -> main city
is not something I'm very willing to change, as it's exactly how I want it to be. The character should feel he is coming from another planet and travelling, then finding himself in the labyrinths and trying to find an exit, and then the outpost to understand the city is sealed to outsiders. All this should bring a very intriguing start. For Kran/Lemur the story is slightly different (create one to know), Ynnwn they are not player characters anymore.

I'm not buying into "all other games start with a tutorial", or "the start should be easy". It's nice to make something different.

Having said that, I agree the Dryken plane looks more like a puzzle/platform game, but I think this can be fixed by adding more RP/history elements there. Adding more interaction and creatures. The question is what to add there. Generic suggestions are not going to help much, so let's discuss here specific elements to add.

About the "not all players are not coming from the portals" or "this is timewise incorrect", I can say that while you can roleplay a character born in Yliakum, I expect the majority of the characters to be coming from portals, exactly as the story explains, the Dryken Entity (the guy with 3 eyes) says explicitely the time and space are warped in the Dryken Plane, and so you may end up in a different time in Yliakum, compared to when you travelled from your home planet. This is exactly to explain RP-wise how a "new character" exists in-game, something that no other game can do. Maybe this part can be explained more within the plane.

About the initial Labyrinths, I'm planning to simplify the navigation, by adding some "one direction" only passages, so when you made it to 30%, 60%, 90% of the area, you cannot go back. This can be done with slopes you cannot climb backward. I think this is going to avoid people getting lost for long time there.

I will be happy to see a community effort to suggest elements to add to the Dryken Plane, please be specific. If it's a creature, describe it's purpose, how it looks and write down the dialogues. If it's a puzzle/mini-quest, describe the steps/items/locations in detail.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2024, 06:18:02 pm by Talad »

Talad

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Re: Dryken Plane, again...
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2024, 04:23:16 pm »
I just added a drop into the StoneLabyrinths, which means you can drop but you cannot go back up, this should simplify the navigation, as it's a one way only. I added two drops at the moment. We can go up to 9 total drops if we want.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2024, 04:25:26 pm by Talad »

Damola

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Re: Dryken Plane, again...
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2024, 10:11:39 am »
About the "not all players are not coming from the portals" or "this is timewise incorrect", I can say that while you can roleplay a character born in Yliakum, I expect the majority of the characters to be coming from portals, exactly as the story explains, the Dryken Entity (the guy with 3 eyes) says explicitely the time and space are warped in the Dryken Plane, and so you may end up in a different time in Yliakum, compared to when you travelled from your home planet. This is exactly to explain RP-wise how a "new character" exists in-game, something that no other game can do. Maybe this part can be explained more within the plane.

Thanks for answering, Talad.

I don't find it all that mysterious how to explain that a "new characters" appears in game. To assume that the char was born in Yliakum is not a crazy feat. Especially as the dying of the other worlds happened so long ago. The first settlers appears hundreds of cycles ago. It makes absolute sense for them to have children. It does not seem to be to outrageous to make up a childhood for a char in order to start playing the char as someone who has grown up already. At least not any more outrageous than... I have been in some crazy quantum theory time warp stuff. Sure.. that according to what I got about the nature of our reality that can also happen... but:

I may certainly have missed it... but I have never ever heard of a Dryken Plane before you introduced it in PSUnreal. It is not explained in settings https://www.planeshift.it/Settings for example. It may have been in a book in the library or some other places where you can find in game books, but I read quite a bit in those and I never came across a Dryken Plane. For me, Talad, the Dryken Plane feels like something that has been bolted into lore after the fact. Of course, if Planeshift always had a Dryken Plane and I just missed it, then so be it.

I am very aware of the dying worlds thing, a portal, a labyrinth... from what I gathered the Dryken Plane is supposed to be the portal. However I never read about a time warp thing anywhere in the lore. I read that large groups of people from each race traveled the portal together. Some even settled in the labyrinths temporarily. Someone going through the portal and then especially through the labyrinths alone does not even make the slightest sense to me ICly.  How often did we play out or assume or read in lore that the labyrinths are full of wild beasts or crazy criminals and huge and difficult to find a way out and what not. But a char wanders through the labyrinth alone... without having to put up with any kind of fight. The char does not even have any food with them or more important something to drink at least as far as I can recall. Basically the char is completely unprepared for anything and traveling alone through dangerous labyrinth. Totally does not make sense to me. The part of the labyrinth the char sees after Dryken Plane is basically empty. No beast no nothing.

That time warp thing does not make sense to me ICly for another reason: Consider a family. Father, mother and some children. You would assume they travel together... but due to the time warp thing the father may already be dead as one of the children arrive or the other way around? Just cause everyone took a different time through the portal? Or do they all take the same time cause they have never been more than 2 meter apart from each other. And how about those large groups mentioned in the lore, some of them who settled. How would it even happen that they all appeared in the labyrinths roughly at the same time for them to form a tribe to actually settle in the labyrinths?

Sorry Talad, lore wise it just does not add up to me. I totally get it that adding in the Dryken Plane and the labyrinth and new tutorial area has been a lot of work and its not necessary to do away with it, but from what I am seeing at the moment, lore wise the succession of events how a new char appears in game does not add up. Even in case you as the main creator of Planeshift claim it would. But of course feel free to explain what you think I am missing here. To me currently it still appears that you totally want the Dryken Plane at the beginning of a new player experience no matter what, you already wrote you are unwilling to change it. But to me it feels bolted into what I understood about the world and the lore, bolted into it by force, inventing time warp and other stuff to somehow make it fit. Of course we both are free to agree to disagree here. But this is my point of view.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2024, 10:15:12 am by Damola »
Love,
Damola

Damola

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Re: Dryken Plane, again...
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2024, 10:36:26 am »
The more I think about, the less sense it makes. We have been ICly talking about our ancestors during events with a history lesson countless of times. For all the players it was clear: These are the ancestors.

Now for new players reading in lore or talking in GM events about what happened in the past, what the parents of their parents of their parents... experienced. Saying then: "Oh by the way I have just arrived through the portal... these are not my ancestors. These were the people I started my travel with." I have no idea how to bring this together. It totally destroys in-lore consistency for me. Time may be an illusion, a trick of the universe as much as it may be, but in lore there has been a sequence of events. This sequence of events is telling a story. A story creates immersion. It was the story of a sequence of events or more accurately a couple of inter related story lines that created the immersion and the depth within Yliakum for me. And now new chars appear into the world, totally out of scope.

Now with that time warp thing new characters would have started on their home worlds at a similar time than their ancestors but just happen to be several hundred cycles to late to the party finding out then "oh all these people I started it are already gone since several generations?" and "I am all alone with no one I have known in my previous life?" reading about their fellow peers in history books? Well they could be happy they skipped a few wars between the races.

I am not sure how to fit that time warp thing into the medieval setting I thought PlaneShift is about. It does not fit. Of course a time warp can be explained by magic. That is not the issue. But it still does not fit for me. Lore-wise it does not fit for me.
Love,
Damola

Damola

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Re: Dryken Plane, again...
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2024, 12:56:26 pm »
Okay, here is another idea:

I stand by it, coming through time warp does not make sense for me for everyone who came through the portal. For all the reasons I outlined above.

However... it could make sense for some: I even briefly played a char - please do not disclose the char name here in case you know or guess it - who came late through the portal. The char was indeed perfectly playable, I admit that. :) Although I had no notion of the char having been affected by a time warp back then. Actually I did not think much about how the late travel through the portal could have happened to begin with. Also we had some events lead by Uadjet about people who newly arrived in Yliakum.

So what if both can be a thing? Talad you already wrote a char could be born in Yliakum. But of course with some strange magic or by the will of some God or rather some other not so well meaning very powerful entity there could be a time warp that affects the portal.

Now what if a good bunch of people, probably the majority, came through the portal in huge groups of people traveling together, probably even creating a settlement in the labyrinths temporarily and so on. Those or most of those have not been affected by a time warp or at least not by any strong time warp. But even with worlds dying somewhat abruptly I think it is within lore that it took several cycles for a world to die, maybe even a decade or a bit more. Like for example with the poisoning of the water in the Noltrir home world. While the decline of the world was not stretched out upon hundreds of years it also did not happen in one major incident over night.

Yet, some, probably late comers, those who left their home world at a time of more evolved cataclysm, where affected by a time warp. This could even serve as a part of a explanation of a time warp. A world deep in cataclysm, who knows what happens to space-time then.

However... implementing that would mean: Give a new player a choice. There are already a lot of questions, for example whether a player climbed on their roofs in their childhood - see there you have it again, making up a childhood is just fine RP wise and also would have to be done for a late arrival about their childhood in their home world. So why not one more?

1. Your character came from their home world. They have only been able to leave it at a later stage of the cataclysm. They have been affected by a warping of time. Your character will go through the Dryken Plane. You will need to solve some kind of puzzle there.

2. Your character has been born in Yliakum. Your character will spawn in Hydlaa.

For starters. Of course it could be extended like your character will spawn in Amdeneir for Klyros and so on. Later on if ever one of the lower planes are implemented, it could be a lower plane for a Nolthrir for example.

This needs more thought to be consistent. Like for example: Will there be a tutorial for option 2. If so how? I think regular NPCs like Harnquist already provide part of a good new player experience. However to support spawning new Klyros in Amdeneir would probably need a new quest line there. Maybe a tutorial is indeed not as important. I just imagined asking one of the heroes in the Lord of the Rings whether they have been learning to fight by killing rats for example. I bet an answer would be "Are you kidding me?".

Also there still is another inconsistency. The labyrinth experience. In lore you have that people traveled through the labyrinths for weeks or better months or even longer. A new player on their own traveling for months through a labyrinth that is guarded by the Squadron so that the many wild beasts and whatever else lurks there does not escape or invade into Yliakum? Traveling alone? Still does not make all that much sense to me.

However... if you have a time warp interacting with a portal, then it would be perfectly imaginable that the portal exit might be at another location, much, much closer to the Eagle Head fortress. Add in some goodies in the inventory of new characters using that route, like some food and water and probably some simple weapon and the new labyrinth experience would make sense ICly.

On the other hand those who choose to have their char born on Yliakum could have another path into the world and receive some other goodies in their inventory. Of course the different paths could affect char stats in different ways as well.

It would be quite some work to get right, but I see several advantages with that:

- New players who feel frustrated about Dryken Plane have a way to skip it for now.

- Different paths into Yliakum means different stories to tell. This could make it more interesting.

An disadvantage would be that it would be yet another choice during character creation. And of course some work to implement.
Love,
Damola