The Importance of Conveyance in a VRMMO and Where it is Lacking in Orbus/Reborn

#1

Sorry for the long post, but I think this is super important for the success of Reborn.

In any game, clearly conveying what is happening to a player is critical for good game design. New players rely on this information to learn to play, and veterans use it to track and react to the multitude of events which may be happening around them at a time. In traditional MMOs, what enemies are doing is largely conveyed through nameplates and cast bars, like the ones we see in Reborn. In a VRMMO however, several factors make this system a poor primary means of conveying information. The first-person nature of VR means that cast bars are often above your line of sight for tall enemies, are too far away to see clearly, or are blocked by other enemies between you and the caster. In Orbus, the cast bars are useful, but should be a secondary way of conveying information, with the primary focus instead on conveying information through sound, animation, and particles.

Sound:
In VR, it can be assumed that everyone is using headphones, and so good use of spatial sound design should be a huge part of conveyance. Good use of directional sound cues means players can keep track of things happening outside of their narrow field of view without having to constantly whip their head back and forth. This is the area I think Orbus needs the most work in, as it seems to be almost overlooked (many mobs/attacks/movements completely lack sound), when it is one of the most important tools for conveying information in a first-person game. Adding movement sounds unique to each creature (footsteps/flapping/etc.) would greatly increase the ability of players to tell where mobs are and what they are doing. For example, in Reborn I often would be fighting star(barkers?), the short melee explodey ones, and turn around to realize one has been beating on my back this whole time without any indication to me since they make no sound. Additionally, adding obvious and unique sounds to important enemy abilities/casts would be a much more effective way of communicating to the player that something that may need their attention is happening, rather than hoping they notice a cast bar.

Current good example of sound conveying info: Muskie healing turret. The turret makes a unique and easy to hear sound, so it is obvious when it is healing, and especially obvious when you are being healed by it since the sound becomes a nice ear-massaging noise.

Current bad example: Bard songs. As a bard, the passive attacks and heals just randomly fly out with no obvious feedback to the bard. This leads to a complete disconnect from what is going on outside of the bard’s instrument, and the unchanging bard music overpowering all other sounds certainly doesn’t help.

Animation:
Animations are especially important in Orbus since players are more often aiming at the character model instead of looking at a nameplate. Using animations which are unique and easily distinguishable can be a great tool to convey to players when a mob is doing something different or important. This is especially useful for things that need to be reacted to (interrupted, moved away from), but in these cases the animation needs to start well before the ability actually happens. For example, the big wood-mace wielding guys in Reborn have a smash attack which does massive damage around them. To the best of my memory, the animation of the smash going off is noticeable, however the animation of them charging up the smash is not exaggerated or easily distinguishable from them preparing another normal attack, forcing players to stare at nameplates looking for cast bars instead of reacting naturally to an animation.

Current good example: Tank busters. Bosses with tank busters have a unique animation which cues tanks to put up their shield without need of a cast bar or other cue.

Current bad example: Starfrage. Distinguishing when a starfrage is casting poison, missiles, or just idling, is almost impossible without cast bars, as they are all the same animation.

Particles:
When attached to enemies, particle effects work best when combined with sound and/or animation. They can make otherwise similar conditions much easier to differentiate. Take the starfrage for example: it could be given just one casting animation, and then a different particle effect depending on the spell it is casting.

Particles attached to the player are a great way to communicate important buff/debuff conditions, even if they are only visible to the player affected. For example, if the paladin’s Libram of Blessing caused the weapons of those affected to glow faintly blue, it would be much more noticeable than trying to keep track of a small icon, especially for the paladin’s allies. This system could also be used to better communicate mechanics such as raid boss 5’s pools. Imagine if instead of watching for a debuff icon, players marked for pools caught on fire or something in that vein (even if only the marked player sees the fire).

Sort of an aside, but the ground particles which appear under you on bosses like Reborn’s big tree man could be bigger, so you don’t have to stare straight at your feet to see them.

Current good examples: Paladin hammer lightning, Runeset triggering

Conveying information through sound and motion is important for immersion, as these are the two primary stimuli which humans have evolved to react to in the real world. Designing a game with this in mind would really cater to the unique experience that is VR, making the world seem that much more believable. I’m not suggesting things like cast bars or even hit indicators be excluded, they are definitely useful, but they should not be the primary focus for conveying information in a VR setting.

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The sound of silence
#2

Very well said! Completely agree with everything

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#3

This is a big one for me. If that is going to be used as a mechanic in many fights, there needs to be a pillar of particle effects or something indicating I need to move. Or at least make the circles so big that we can see them on the ground when we are looking forward. I’m not going to give myself neck problems looking down so I don’t insta die from that.

Thanks for taking the time to make this post. I agree with you 100%

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#4

with both the status bars requiring you to look upwards for big bosses like treesus, and also be looking at your feet at the same time, also like treesus, it makes it very difficult to be able to dodge both

the status bars for treesus’s are also very difficult, as he is directly blocking your line of vision unless u get inside of him so you can see through his body

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#5

in honesty I prefer regular orbus because of the ways it does tank busters and AoE attacks are visible (unless the enemy is moving and it skips the animation.) I dislike that they are removing them in the DLC. But currently I don’t think that orbus is lacking in conveying the information as long as you are looking (and the game doesn’t bug out) you will clearly see the attacks take red tails they head butt you see noobs in highstepp blocking them with the big shields they also follow there attack with the purple slash and sfx playing at the same time, Most if not all enemy’s have them. Frankly I think for the DLC all they could do to improve it is to show the bar on the shield when holding agro or next to the health bars on the weapon’s. ( it would also be use full to have a bar next to each buff and debuff to show how long they are lasting.

#6

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#7

I for one am very glad they are moving away from many of the old mechanics. I had a great time learning them, but after having played the first dungeon in Reborn, I’m WAY more excited for the new mechanics. It made being a healer exciting. We just need a bit more visual cueing to shore up what are otherwise very promising mechanics.

Not sure why you keep calling it a DLC. It’s a completely new game on a updated engine.

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#8

DLC downloadable content, its content we download.

#9

Guess we should call ourselves DLCers instead of gamers

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#10

ah but not all games are downloaded :grin:

closed #11

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