Welcome to Project: Gorgon!


Project: Gorgon is a 3D fantasy MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game) that features an immersive experience that allows the player to forge their own path through exploration and discovery. We won't be guiding you through a world on rails, and as a result there are many hidden secrets awaiting discovery. Project: Gorgon also features an ambitious skill based leveling system that bucks the current trend of pre-determined classes, thus allowing the player to combine skills in order to create a truly unique playing experience.

The Project: Gorgon development team is led by industry veteran Eric Heimburg. Eric has over a decade of experience working as a Senior and Lead Engineer, Developer, Designer and Producer on successful games such as Asheron’s Call 1 and 2, Star Trek Online and other successful Massively Multiplayer Online Games.



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    Administrator Citan's Avatar
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    Dev Blog: Let's Brainstorm about Housing

    (This started out as a forum post but got too big and became a blog post. The Fairy race blog post is about a week away, I expect.)

    Let's Brainstorm About Housing
    We're deep in the middle of coding the playable Fairy race, and after that we've got a new dungeon lined up, and after that there's a major city to add! So why talk about housing now? Because that city, Statehelm, is also where we'll introduce housing later in the year. Now is the time to brainstorm housing, to let the wild ideas percolate, to figure out what might be fun.

    And if you're thinking "housing isn't fun", then that's exactly what I'm talking about. I'm not adding housing to check off a feature list. I'm adding it because I think it can be amazing!


    Landscape vs. Instanced? Already Settled
    First, let's get the landscaped-vs-instanced question out of the way: we won't be using landscape housing. That's when the houses exist in the regular, non-instanced world, and each house can be bought and owned by one player. This design seems the most immersive at first. Who wouldn't want to own part of your favorite game city? But in practice, landscape housing is always terrible. (Except in pure PvP games, where landscape housing has a different function and can work well... but this isn't a PvP game!)

    The most immediate problem with landscape housing is that it doesn't scale. We'd start by adding hundreds of homes to the game, filling every nook and cranny of the existing world with houses... but that wouldn't even come CLOSE to letting every player have a house! It would only let the richest players buy one.

    What about the thousands of other players? Well, everyone who plays must eventually be able to have a home, so we'd obviously need thousands more homes. We'd need to add new areas to the game just to have a place to stick their houses. You may have seen areas like that in other MMOs: for practical reasons, they're not very fleshed out. They're just places to stick houses. At that point, the houses might as well be instanced. It's not like their home is in the "real" game world anyway!

    The second problem is that landscape housing eventually creates barren, empty game areas. At first, there's a decent chance that some of the homeowners will be in their houses while you log in, so the place might seem bustling and active. But after a year or two, that's never true. Players who own those homes will eventually stop playing... but they won't give up their homes. They'll log in just long enough to pay the upkeep costs of their house, then leave again. This creates ghost towns.

    The only way to fix this is to force players to lose their homes if they don't keep playing - for example, by having arduous rental requirements or minimum play times. But that feels kind of like blackmail to me: "Keep playing every month or we'll take your pretend house away." This really isn't a great long-term retention strategy, either, because MMO players tend to take breaks from their favorite game before returning a year or two later. They'll log in to see what's new... but if they realize that their beloved house is gone, they're likely to just log back out again. I want returning players to feel welcome.

    (Old-school MMO companies generally LIKED this design, because it meant homeowners had to keep paying a monthly subscription fee forever. But we don't have a monthly subscription fee. We'll eventually have an optional VIP plan, but I want it to feel truly optional, not something you'd need to own a house!)

    The third problem of landscape housing is that it "locks in" parts of the game world. As these games mature and housing areas slowly feel more and more empty (due to all the homeowners who never log in), why don't game developers take steps to fix it? Because that would upset those homeowners!

    Even adding monster-spawns to quiet areas will piss people off. If someone bought a landscape house because of its safety, they're going to feel betrayed if it stops feeling safe! There are a few other things that can be added, but for developers, it's mostly just too much work with too little reward. Instead of pissing off homeowners, devs are much more likely to create new areas instead. Those old barren areas are left to rot forever.


    Instanced Housing Doesn't Have to Be Boring
    We can side-step all of those problems by using instanced housing. Instanced housing is where the door to your home is in town, but when you go through that door, you appear in a private mini-area. Lots of players can use the same door in town, and each enters their own "instance" of the interior area.

    Lots of games implement instanced housing, mostly just to tick off boxes on their feature list. They add the expected features: some storage, some decorations, maybe a crafting table. In other words, they're pretty boring, so you're forgiven for thinking instanced housing HAS to be boring. But it doesn't! In fact, this is a fertile area for new MMO designs, and I want to try some out.

    I want housing to be integrated into the game's systems at a deeper level, so it can be a jumping-off point for high-level player adventures and goals. There are opportunities here for gameplay that wouldn't make sense otherwise. Here's some ideas:


    Meet the Neighbors
    Just because your house is instanced doesn't mean you can't have player neighbors. Quite the opposite! We can avoid the big barren areas of non-instanced housing by using the reality-bending power of instancing. For example, in an instanced neighborhood we could dynamically group players based on who's online.

    Suppose that when you go out the door of your instanced apartment, it leads to a hallway with a bunch of other doors -- each one dynamically assigned to be the doors of other people who are in their homes right now. You can knock on any door and say hi, and maybe come in to visit and look around. Or maybe you can slip a note under the door. Or sneak into their homes...

    Or maybe that hallway leads to players that have been online recently, and who have left their houses in "open" security mode, so you can wander in and visit.

    Or maybe the hallway leads to other active members of your guild, so your neighbors are always guildmates.

    Or maybe we organize housing based on skill choices, so if you move into Explosion Heights with the other wizards, you can expect to encounter wizards... and wizard-related problems.

    Because instanced houses aren't on the 'real' landscape, we can hook them together in ways that aren't constrained by real physics -- ways that create new gameplay. For example...


    The Front Door
    Every house has a door, and we can use this to let adventures come to you. Imagine you come home just in time to hear a knock on your door. It's your neighbor: he asks you to deal with the foul odor coming from your basement. What odor? "The movers brought in those coffins yesterday, so I assume that's the stench!" What movers? What basement?! (Okay, discovering that you have a secret basement may be too far. Or maybe not... the basement door could teleport you to a different mini-dungeon depending on what quest is going on.)

    Or perhaps your apartment in the Statehelm slums is plagued by a mob of rat-men. They knock incessantly, demanding payment in cheese... do you dare answer? What happens if you don't? Do they try to set your house on fire? Or maybe they let pests into your vents. Or maybe they just sneak in and subtly move the furniture to enrage you... "Notice anything different? This wouldn't have happened if you'd left Roquefort on the mantle!"

    Or maybe the visitor is your old friend Rita from Serbule. She's in town to do some shopping and wants to fill you in on the latest gossip. She says Sir Coth has started talking about "invisible intruders" again; maybe you should visit Serbule and see what's up?

    Or perhaps the visitor at your door is just a salesman with a magic mirror to sell. "It shows serene pictures of nature when you're trying to go to sleep!" says the merchant. But after you buy it, something else happens...


    Marriage
    One of the big benefits of instancing is that NPCs can be instanced too, and they can behave differently inside your home than they do outside. This means you can marry an NPC and unlock all sorts of new behaviors. We've seen the beginnings of fun marriage systems in games like Skyrim, but they're rarely very deep.

    Marriage has actually been part of Gorgon's rough design plan since the beginning -- for instance, the internal Favor Level above "Soul Mates" is called "Married" -- But that doesn't mean I've figured out how everything will work. It'll take experimentation to learn what sorts of mechanics are fun and scalable.

    Right now, the exact game mechanics are completely open. Marriage could have its own Marriage Mood Meter, and different moods could trigger all sorts of behaviors depending on the NPC you married. Tantrums, fights, sulking, subterfuge... or lovely gifts, cozying by the fireplace, making you a delicious meal...

    Or your spouse may have their friends over for parties... which might lead to jealousy later if you paid too much attention to their friends...

    Or maybe one of their friends has gotten into serious trouble. There's a mystery to figure out, and your spouse has stakes in the outcome.

    Or maybe their friends bring over an exotic housewarming gift with some unusual properties...

    I think different NPCs would have very different marriage experiences. Some would crave cozy domesticity; others might have freaky demands for new sex toys every week; some might suffer from depression and need extra support, while others keep inviting their friends over every night and insist that you to keep the icebox stocked!

    Rakshasa have only had non-arranged marriages for a few decades, so they may have a lot of trouble settling down. And surely some elves have difficulty marrying a non-elf... knowing that they're going to outlive their spouse by hundreds of years might make it hard to have real emotional bonding. And if you marry a mage, are they going to feel jealous of your skill when you inevitably out-level them? What are the repercussions?


    Fertile Grounds for Fun Ideas
    None of these ideas are especially well thought out, obviously. This is brainstorming! But I'm excited about the possibilities, and I'd like to hear what ideas interest you.

    Of course, housing will also be an opportunity to decorate, to craft, to store items, all the usual stuff. But one of my goals with this game is to dig deeper than most MMOs do, and find the fun ideas that they don't reach. So what sounds fun to you? What outlandish thing do you want to do in your imaginary home?


    PS - Most of these design ideas could apply to guild halls too! We plan to eventually add instanced Guild Halls, so that every guild can have a meeting spot. (A handful of the most expensive Guild Halls will also have non-instanced lobbies or exteriors, where the guild could set up vendors or signposts or things like that... but the majority of the place will be instanced.)

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    Administrator Citan's Avatar
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    (I guess actually it's both a forum post AND a blog post. Going to route comments from the blog to this forum thread.)

  3. #3
    Junior Member Rojjin's Avatar
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    Achievements First Post!
    Hey there Citan, long time no see.

    I feel one of the major things missing from housing over the decades has been something rather simple... Responsibility.

    Now yes, we play games to escape reality. But even a virtual house can get dirty, infested, You need to maintain your garden, Collect your mail. things beyond just paying rent. I doubt maids and butlers are included in that fee.

    linked instances open up the possibilities for things like: community gardens, art exhibits, parks, farms, pets (menagerie instead of having your pets stabled all the damn time), hell, even geocaching and all of those could be built and maintained by a group, unaffiliated players can have their "online at the time" neighbors, and guild groupings are all well and good, but the ability to establish a housing neighborhood by choice beyond simply grouping skills together. allows players to bond and establish alliances between their guilds and as individuals.

    Group has a discussion and establishes a project. players within the group can use their skills and resources to create say a garden. we survey for viable land, we stake our claim and fence it in with carpentry, till the land and prep the soil via gardening and geology. perhaps uncover a cache of minerals in the land and are rewarded with that bounty. And then the crops begin, giving more depth to gardening than simply planting, watering, fertilizing.. we establish crops, rotating through a harvest to keep nutrients at viable levels. and throughout a given season, everyone can collect from that crop at set rates (think fruit tree timers).

    art exhibits have long standing statues and such, again utilizing many players, resources and skills to fabricate a space and maintain them. effort begets reward, every player within the group can dip back to their house for a refresh of buffs.

    there are massive possibilities but unfortunately that also comes with a commitment from your team to create them, balance them. and then it's on players to create, maintain, and reap the rewards.

  4. #4
    Member Ranperre's Avatar
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    Well first and foremost, I want a slave. Someone to take care of any "responsibilities" that home ownership might entail. I mean what's a domicile without unpaid labor?

    Second, it would be nice if crafting was heavily involved. Let's say I wanted to add another room and 80 storage slots to my house, I'd like to have a flat cost (like 5000 spruce) and then be able to work on building that addition by logging off or giving orders to my slave. High level gadgeteering could also allow people to make their own tanning racks and cotton gins. Tons of crafting based housing additions would be nice. Maybe give us a 5% chance to make high quality cotton gins and tanning racks? Not sure you want to go down that road though.

    Third, and this might be the most important: Where do you want people doing their crafting? Right now, Rahu-Casino is BY FAR the most convenient crafting place. You've got several hundred "anything" storage slots and tons of gem storage, not to mention guild storage and proximity to some work order boards. Is the plan for a personal house to be able to outdo this? Do you want people to just sit in their house all the time and craft?

    Lastly, at least for now, do you have any plan to give us a third/fourth teleportation bind? I say fourth because you can use heart's home for a third atm. Adding another city means one of: Kur, Rahu, and Serb would need to go, and even if you're doing three 50-man guild quests a week, that might not keep up Rahu requirements. Could just be a "me" problem though.

    House slaves please. Or at least a dog/Alharth equivalent.

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    Member Delfofthebla's Avatar
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    Looks like you've already got the bones of the discussion sorted out Citan, and I tend to agree with you on all fronts here.

    But the real question is, why should I own a house? Why do I want one? What does it grant me and why should I ever be in it instead of where I reside now?

    As a Spider player, I 'live' in the Red Wing Casino. I do this because this is where all my storage and vendors are. This is where players show up to do dailies and work orders. This is where I place all my most commonly used items. This is the 'hub' that can allow me to access every other part of the world quickly and efficiently. This is where I garden. This is where I cook. This is where I tailor. This is where I sell my dungeon findings. The Red Wing Casino is my "City" and the ease of access with vast capabilities is what makes it my "Home".

    I know there is an animal town meant for my kind, but due to it lacking in many of the above features, it is completely worthless as a home. I'm going to guess that you don't necessarily like this situation, either because the animal town is rarely trafficked or because the red wing casino is "too good", but I like how it works right now. Sure I'd like the animal town to be better and I'd love even more storage & vendors in the casino, but the teleporter to Rahu bridges the gap well enough for me.

    The real question is, how are you going to make me 'move' without creating frustration or cheapening my current experience? Will this house be a better home than the one I have here? Can it be? As it stands, I can see people moving about the area all the time, and I have access to everything I need. It's a good MMO feeling to see people doing stuff while you are in a comfortably efficient hub.

    When I think of player housing in games (instanced or not) I think "Useless prop that is supposed to provide immersion, but actually just worsens the experience."

    I'd be curious if you've thought about the following:
    1) Will I be able to access large amounts (or other city's) storage from inside my home?
    2) Will I be able to access vendors from inside my home?
    3) Will I be able to teleport directly to my home?
    4) Will I have access to crafting devices and gardening?
    5) Will I be able to see players moving about in the halls and between vendors?
    6) If we do have access to crafting devices, will this create isolation inside of a closed room (A big con for Gardening for sure!)
    7) Assuming I still have access to all of this, will I be forced into (one of the many) 1-2 minute long loading screens just to access these features? (This is already a partial issue with Red Wing Casino and Rahu. Loading screens in project gorgon can range from relatively painless to beyond awful.)

    I worry more for what player housing will take away from me than I do for what it could grant me. Storage is one of the most contentious topics in Gorgon, and for good reason. If this has the potential to make my storage situation worse, I'd prefer to stay away from it entirely.

    I'm sure we'd all prefer to talk about all the cool features player housing could bring with quests and neighbors, but I feel like that's all secondary to the aforementioned perks. If I don't "live" in my house, then it's not my god damn home now is it?
    Last edited by Delfofthebla; 02-14-2020 at 01:42 PM.

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    Junior Member Rockdelver's Avatar
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    By all means do instanced housing for those that want it but, based on my experiences with player housing, the sole and only reason I would use it is for extra storage of items. I first encountered player housing way, way back in Anarchy Online, then in Lord of the Rings Online, Archeage and latterly Elder Scrolls Online. I find owning a home in a game utterly uninteresting to me. Inevitably, player housing is just a time- and gold-sink. I'm not going to waste time and game currency in furnishing it, I see no point in socialising with randomly-assigned "neighbours" and I'm not interested in visiting other player homes either. If I was inclined to do socialise - which is rare - there's always Serbule to spend a few spare moments in. I'd far rather see the new races added and more playable zone content to be honest. Housing should be way down the list.

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    Senior Member ProfessorCat's Avatar
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    I've always daydreamed about having a friend or guild mate over to my home in game. Perhaps a little terrain, because I'd like to have a small plot of land, with a modest house.

    In this daydream, I have 3 pet loading golems that visitors have to fight if they want my company. I'd even be okay if these golems attack me too. I want to say I'd settle for pets less than a loading golem, but that wouldn't be true to my heart's desires.

    Perhaps we can have the opportunity to purchase a plot of instanced land with a stream or river in it, and the soil is fertile enough to have a small garden plot that one or two players to use.

    I remember reading about NPC marriage a long time ago, and I was hopeful for the discussion when I first saw this blog title! I think it'd be fun for "in-laws" of married NPCs, and the fun dialogue that can come with it.

    The married NPC can have a happiness meter based on interaction, or if you log out or do a "hang out" with your spouse. The effects could be a post-coital buff when you log in.

    It'd be fun to see weekend buff-related events for housing (maybe this is when the in-laws visit) - They have meal prefferences, and their own mini-favor program for a weekend, and if you come out ahead, you get a bonus chance for that Post Coital buff that lasts until the next in-law weekend.

    Perhaps a very happy marriage can yeild offspring. Along with that a title - Worlds's Greatest Mother/Father

    Housing will be a great "money sink", but I'd like to see the money options go beyond just the physical house. Decoration tiers, or rare scroll drops for a forge/tanning rack. A stable to rest your mounts at, and maybe get a happiness buff from that.

    I know not every idea will be possible, and I'm certain whatever comes of the housing release will be a great addition to the game.

    If we could only choose one suggestion to make it in game, though, It'd be the opportunity to have mob-pets that you can kill/farm (maybe a 15 minute spawn time?) But really I just want 3 giant golems to harass me and everyone else with their lock-out rage attack.
    Last edited by ProfessorCat; 02-14-2020 at 02:12 PM.

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    Junior Member Syndriax's Avatar
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    First of all, i think being able to see your pets walk around in your house (realm/domain) would be awesome.

    Other than that it would be nice if we as players could customize our house, not just furniture but if it is for example; wooden house (in a winter landscape, maybe?), old stone house (deep in the woods lightly lighten by the light that escape through the crown of the trees, that is slowly swaying in the wind, just enough to illuminate the surroundings. like a magical curtain of light revealing an, old and humble yet homely and warm, stone house with light overgrows at the side of one outer stone wall giving it a untouched feeling), underground dungeon with hidden rooms or just plain out in the open.
    if possible i would be nice if we could have a little landscape with it like a personal realm (like were described by the 'Pulsing Crystal') to give more immersion like i have tried to describe in the () and give a more personalized feeling so we can show of to each other

    at last, would be to make it so crafting skills can be used to make things in the house like: furniture, room designs, art, garden and special stuff like a crafting stations.

    Edit:
    on a related side note; i have been thinking about the social aspect and who can inter the house. of course there is already mentioned that guild could see and i suspect that we will be able to add names for the ones we like to see and don't, maybe even friends can see the house. But i'm thinking if it would be possible to add options like all druid or lycanthrope can inter? maybe even all with a title that the player them self own? like the player title. depending on the functions of the house maybe even allow chosen players to only see, interact with the house and manage it, like the guild system give people ranks in what they can and cannot do.
    Last edited by Syndriax; 02-15-2020 at 05:18 AM.

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    Member Dibbuk's Avatar
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    When I think of housing, i think of storage. Somewhere to keep my stuff. One thing I would look for in housing was a bookcase that would access ALL storage. Housing would be the ONE place you sit down and arrange and consolidate all the items you have scattered all over the various zones.

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    Junior Member Reikiko's Avatar
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    I remember recently reading a story set in an MMO that handled player housing as instanced, but mostly in large apartment buildings to preserve the illusion of having your own house - it's not strange for another player to walk up to 'your' house and enter it since the instances use the same door if it's a multi-level building; they just live in a different apartment. Are you thinking of something like different floors of a building like that for some of the housing communities?



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