Posted 08 July 2000 - 01:29 PM
I’ve been thinking about all the controversy on this board, and have come upon some rather interesting conclusions to it all. For lack of a better way, I’ll just list the points central my proposition…
1. Effort in Advancement
Character advancement should not be something to be taken lightly. When you’ve improved your character, you’ve accomplished a great task. Correspondingly, the rewards should be great. Instead of gradually increasing statistics as you perform mundane tasks ad nauseum, rewards should come in the form of large chunks awarded for specific feats. If you’re into combat, then you could track down a small band of goblin raiders that has been plaguing a trade route and slay them. If smithing is your thing, then you might want to track down the designs for a rumored weapon of great power so that you could add it to your repertoire—a process that could involve a lot of NPC interaction in finding out just where it is and then hiring a bodyguard and searching it out. Depending on how successfully this task is completed, the game would allow you to advance in different ways. If the warrior successfully kills all of the goblins, he might have discovered a new fighting technique in the process of the combat. If he only managed to kill one before they overpowered him, perhaps he learned a nice new parry. For the smith the reward is obvious—if he succeeds in finding the plans then he would then have the ability to create a powerful new weapon that is not available through ordinary sources.
2. Fewer Baddies
Yup, you guessed it. We can stop players from going on an all out killing orgy simply by giving them fewer things to kill. This is pointless though unless combined with my next idea…
3. Better Baddies
Anything with a decent weapon and half a wit can pose quite a real threat to even the most experienced and hardened of fighters. Believe me, as a fencer I’ve sometimes been bested by some kid not 10 minutes off his first lesson. In real life going up against anybody who wants you dead will have a good chance of getting you there, no matter how good you are. This concept should be carried over, at least in part, to games. As a neophyte, tracking down and slaying a goblin should be a heroic task. Not just some exercise in clicking buttons.
4. Compelling World
The big focus in all this is to make the gaming experience more compelling. In order for a player to want to do something other than kill, that something has to be interesting. It has to be exciting. There needs to be intrigue. This involves exploration in a big part. Make the world a place where the player can always be discovering new and interesting things. This part would require a tremendous effort on the part of the developer, but is most pivotal to the success of all my ideas. There simply needs to be a LOT to do for any player in the world and that requires a lot of time in terms of design. Now I get to what I think is the most radical idea in terms of the status quo…
5. Player Designed Elements
In order for all this to succeed, there simply has to be too much content for any single developer to create. There is only one solution to this. Allow players to create their own content and submit it for addition to the game world. A standard set of editing tools could be provided to facilitate this process. Actually, this is not so new an idea. As it has been pointed out, text based MUDs have been allowing players to create their own adjuncts to the world for quite a while now and THAT is what makes them so successful. If managed properly this could make the world expand rapidly in new and intriguing ways. Players know best what needs to be added to the game, so allowing them to do so seems the most logical choice.
6. No Death
Yes, you heard me. Forget about the concequences of a player dying. Players should not be allowed to die at all. There can be far more interesting concequences for their poor choice in actions. A knight foolhardy knight attempts a raid on a bandit camp in hopes of killing many and gaining wealth and fame. Unfortunately, he is vastly outnumbered and quickly falls to defeat. But no, he is not killed. Instead the bandits capture and enslave him and he must find a way to escape his captivity. This kind of concequence just needs to be hand crafted and relies on my general theory here of making every encounter in the world something of epic proportions.
That’s it. Those are the things that I see would dig the current state of gaming affairs out of a rut. Implementing them would be a monumental task--one well worth the effort I think. But I have a proposition to any interested parties who may be reading this post. We’re all obviously very interested in a multiplayer role-playing system of some sort, and many great ideas have been explored in various posts. What I propose is that those of us who are interested in doing something about it actually get to gether and design a solid cohesive role playing system for computer games. No, I’m not saying we should MAKE a computer game, although that could come in time, but that we craft a new role playing system tailored specifically for the capabilities offered by our computerized medium. It’s time, as many have said, to drop the shackles of our pen and paper ancestors and reinvent the wheel. If anybody is interested in such an undertaking, respond with your ideas and maybe we’ll see if we can start getting something real together. Until then, happy gaming.
PS Any input from Landfish would be overly welcome.
Edited by - Shinkage on 7/8/00 7:34:42 PM