Monday, November 06, 2006

Ten Things I'd Do If I Made A MMORPG

I love running into my friends, it's great to hang with them, whack each other with foam boffers-there's just something about the experience that the Internet can't convey.

The subject got onto video games, and then onto MMORPGs...and how we despise Worlds of Warcrack, which requires, if not demands that you play in packs, groups, clans...and woe betide the lone-wolf player. That you obey obscure and strange rules that get "ignored" when the money is right. And, dictates that the more time you spend in the game, the better the stuff you get.

I find that more boring that than chewing on a log...

So, in the interests of offering an alternative, and that I think I can do much better...here are the Top Ten Things I'd Do If I Made A MMORPG-
  1. No Levels, Just Stats and Skills-Players are built on points. You buy skills, you buy stats. You buy advantages and disadvantages (Elves would be deadly accurate with ranged weapons, but would have other limitations). You would buy equipment on the basis of what your skills would allow. There are no "classes", just what you know, and what you can do...
  2. You Can Do What You Want-Your player can get a job-which is dependant upon his skills. With a job, as long as you're eight hours off the game, you get money and experience in the skills that your job does. If you work for a Crew (kind of like a guild), you get about half-experience with the rest of your crew, to be used as you wish. Of course, if you don't spend some time out (i.e. having a life) of the game, your player becomes a freelancer-which means you have to pay for your living space (where you can store all your stuff and decorate it...)
  3. It's All About Karma-If I remember my gaming history right, D&D intended that hit points about the first level to be a kind of "karma pool", as players take cinematic nicks and cuts, to make them look tough and impressive while they mow through mooks of all sorts. And, that's what the game should offer-you have a pool of "karma" that you use in battles, using it to set up combos, dodge enemy attacks, and keep your fairly fragile flesh from being eaten by a grue. At a high enough karma level, you can use certian special moves that you learn.

    Players can use items to recharge and rebuild their karma pool, which is very useful because the karma pool can do many things.
  4. Pants, Pants Revolution!-Okay, maybe not. But, here's the idea. You have the karma pool...so, you have to recharge it, somehow. There are many means, but the one way that works the best is that you have to dance.

    Yes, dance.

    Set up a DDR-type pad, give each monster it's own music tracks that encourage players to dance hard so that their karma pool can be built up faster...you can tell who the players of this game are. They're the ones that have pasty white skin and look like marathon runners....
  5. Yes, YOU Can Be A Bad Ass-Imagine The Gunslinger. A total, and complete utter bad-ass. Capable of killing everyone in a town, all by himself. Imagine trying to make him in most MMORPGs.

    Or imagine a cinematic Jedi, which you can't do in Star Wars:Galaxies...

    This game will allow you to be all that. Hard to do, nearly impossible...but it can be done. If there are more than 20 on a server, it would be a terrifying thing...but, it is possible.
  6. It's Not A Clan, It's A Crew-What would you do with 40 people?

    Run a massive dungeon?

    In my game, you'd have enough crew for a medium-sized ship. Every position, from engineer to captain to gunners...and all of them will be able to earn experience as the ship travels throughout the game world.
  7. Monsters Are Unique-No more "oh, it's just a re-skinned rat." Our critters will be unique. And the "human" enemies will be just that-human. With all the foibles and flaws...
  8. Politics, Politics, Politics...-All politics are local-or at least human-made. The "higher authorites" in the game are all human, and they are the leadership, and they create the server-wide events. It's like the "Great Game" concept used to create Traveler 2300 and the Ten Worlds setting of Attack Vector:Tactical. There will be the Four Horsemen, causing a bit of chaos, and enough fun events for players to fight and deal with, at all levels.
  9. All Politics Are Local-Players are a part of a faction, which means if they go to a town that the faction controls, life is easier. If the town is controled by another faction, it could be harder...or attacked by all the NPCs...

    And, finally...
  10. Stuff Should Explode GOOD...-Lots of visual effects. Magical spells should be spectactular. Explosions should be visable from orbit. There has to be blood, lots of it, when a target dies. When you invoke a special effect, it should be cinematic in effect...
I'm thinking a steampunk/sci-fi game. Something that is enough off the beaten path that we aren't compared to other games...

4 comments:

Andy said...

You buy the game. You take it home. You install it and spend 15-20 minutes setting up your character. You log in.

The Gunslinger kills you. Again. And again. And again and again and again. It takes you an hour to get outside of town, and that only happens because he gets bored and goes to eat dinner.

You uninstall the game and never get around to paying the monthly fee. I'm sure how you can see that this would be a problem from a financial perspective?

(You're proposing making it possible for a human player to become effectively invulnerable and then giving those humans the run of the game mechanics. Griefing, griefing, griefing...)

At the end of the day, there has to be a pretty complicated system which allows people to get big and burly (because, otherwise, they quit playing and go play something else), while keeping those big and burly guys from killing the rest of the population of the game (because that's exactly what a lot of them do, given the chance, and nobody likes to play somebody else's mobile target.)

zakueins said...

I can think of at least three ways of balancing off the top of my head.

They aren't invulnerable-just damned hard to kill. They don't have Character Shields or any form of Plot Fiat. And, the instant you become Badass, you have a target on you. And everybody wants to get in on the kill, as a part of the possee.

Imagine the troops that finally get Osama Bin Laden out of his hole with his goat concubines. The soldiers involved will be able to get free drinks in every military bar on Earth for years...and, the same in the game. Being in on the kill of Brice The Bloody Handed is going to get you in-game bennies for months at a time (the "social" game mechanic system again, especially in the towns that are rebuilt after Brice has come through them a few times...)

Also, while a Badass is very good-he's not everything. Even Doc Savage needs his Fab Five to round out his skills. And, once you've become Badass...you're pretty much locked into the particular portions of the template you wanted raised to Godhood.

Third thing...the Badass dies, he can't be badass any more. So, if he wants to be one, he has to quest for it. Again. And, it's a different quest to find the mojo.

Will said...

What you've described sounds in some parts remarkably like Eve Online. I've considered playing the 14-day trial, but I'd like to be able to really spend those days getting into the meat of the game. That's just not going to be possible right now.

Given what I understand though, you do accumulate experience and train skills while offline. The game's economy is very player dependent. Corporations substitute for the basic guild format, and are important but not an absolute necessity. It's also supposed to be pretty nice as far as eye candy is concerned.

zakueins said...

I'll have to look at EVE Online, I've heard good/bad things about it.