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The "Not So MMORPG"

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I don''t know about anyone else, but I can''t stand MMORPGs. I''m a HUGE RPG fan (CRPG and Pen-and-Paper), but there are several problems I have with the MMO variety (and I''ve tried many if not all of them): 1) Quests are worth virtually nothing. I first saw this in Everquest, when I ran around trying to complete this quest, finished it, and realized I got more Exp and gold killing 2 low-level monsters. I uninstalled that minute. 2) Too many idiots. I know that in later levels it''s possible to find people who actually LIKE to role-play, but early levels are chock-full of morons (and, quite frankly, I just don''t want to deal with those people to reach the worthwhile players) 3) Too many battles. OK, so fights are generally my LEAST favorite part of good RPGs, yet in DaoC, I end up fighting about 5 million beetles just to gain a few levels (but wait, those beetles are in ORANGE, so they''re tougher) 4) You have little to no impact on the world. In classic RPGs, you''d have at least SOME impact on the world/country/town, even in non-world-destroyer quests. In MMORPGs, everything is generic and your greatest challenges come from, you guessed it, tougher battles. This hardly is incentive to play. Anyway, my point is not to gripe about MMO''s -- many people find them very fun, so I don''t want to detract from their fun any (whatever works for you). But, I came up with an alternative (and, as I think I''ll be busy on other projects for quite some time, it''s up for grabs -- but, if you come up with anything, I want a free copy ). This would be the "Not So MMORPG" (Working title. There''s GOT to be a better one) The concept is simple -- rather than have 1000/2000 people to a "world", you have 20/30/50/? max (depends on how large the world is). Each server can host many many copies of the same world, and people would join them in much the same way you''d join a hearts game or something online. Basically, since there wouldn''t be the need to make the game generic to suit so many people at a time, players could actually have a real impact on the world itself. They could kill a Count and overtake his kingdom, become rich and create their OWN kingdom, a town could be destroyed by a dragon, etc. Once something happens in the "world", it STAYS happened (and a history of important events in the world could be kept, so anyone wanting to join that particular version could see where alliances lie and such). I''ve got work to do, but I can explain the concept and details in more depth if anyone''s interested. I''ve thought about it for quite a while, but don''t think I''ll get the chance to implement it any time soon (which is why anyone who wants it can have it). -Chris

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Does anyone remember an old old old BBS MUD.. called mutants? It was a big one here in victoria BC and was popular among alot of people. One thing i remember about it was that you could warp to any time, presumeably because each time was its own universe. All you had to do was type in "warp

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I two was hopeing for mmorpg where the player mattered instead of mindless hack and slash but im sure there is one or two out where u build you own citys and compete against others.

My main gripe with yours is the low numbers of people. I want game where thers 1000s of people at once because the only npc soldiers would be town guards.

So in order to have an army a player would have to hire anothe player which would provide for interesting coups and whatnot.

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That''s a fantastic way to explain the "same world" separation, and to allow players to travel between worlds (It''s also relatively obvious -- how the heck did I miss that? This is all best-case scenario, of course -- dimension traversal definitely would NOT be an easily-achieved thing in game terms, requiring at very least some sort of quest to complete). Your orb idea is an interesting one, too.

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How about a world which is totally void empty space until a player visits it, so the world is of infinite size, so u can conquer a map and dethrone a king and take his kingdom. but the server will create this world when u come into it from another map, itll autogenerate it and save it for when u come back or when another user visits it. So every time u visit a differnt place as u explore this world, and it would randomly create places like wildernesses and volcano areas with fire monster and so. the difficulty will be varied but u can turn back to an easiers map if you want, and some hard map would have safe roads to walk across so that u can keep on advancing.

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There is one MMORPG out there that is what you are talking about. The full review can be found here. It is an amazing game, and something we need more of.

Overview:

It''s an MMORPG but there''s no combat. Instead, you work to unlock technology and learn new things. There are different disciplines, each with different tests to take and pass. You work to build things great and small - from a chest to a tent to a master forge. There is a legal system that is controlled by the player base. I think this game has something for everyone. People looking for PvP may not be as impressed with it as I am. However, this game is a free download, I suggest even they give it a try.

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OK, the number of problems that you're going to run into are widely varied. I'll start at the easy problems to fix.

1) Too much variance in the world means that plot changes won't apply to all worlds. If the Orcs won the war on this world and the humans won on another, then the worlds aren't paralell and things would eventually be impossible to design for all worlds. If you make it to where the same events happen on all servers then you're still making it where the players have no *real* impact on the world. What they did was destined to happen, whether they did it or someone else did.

2) There are too many different play styles. While you (and admittedly many other people) want to not play the "kill lots of stuff" style of game, a lot of people do. PLing gets around this in EQ. It's not what the game makers wanted, but it's the solution to mind numbing mass murder that the players came up with. You need to find alternative methods of play in addition to mind numbing mass murder. Perhaps force people to achieve x character points before gaining a level, no less than 25% in role playing and 25% in combat, so that the player is more well balanced and knowledgeable in the game world. So, for example, if someone needs 400 points to hit 10th level, they can do a variety of quests adding up to 300 points, then kill enough critters to get the remaining 100 points. Players who want to hack and slash do the basic quests to get 100 role playing points, then go slaughter 300 points worth of critters. If you don't accomodate all different styles of play, you're setting yourself up for some level of failure. Everquest failed in the RP section, but succeeded like gang busters in the socialization aspect.

3) No real society in the games. The number one (and possibly only) reason that these games are so successful is that the players create their own social entities, whether guilds or just common areas that they hang out in. With only 50 (or even 200) people in a world, there isn't enough to bypass that 'critical mass' where the players go from people socializing with each-other because they have no other choice (because there is nobody else there) to socializing because they want to (common goals/interests/whatever). You need no less than something close to 1000 active players per world to actually create this critical mass for the ideal of chosen socialization.

Those are your 3 big problems that I see right now. When you can get past those, you'll have a better chance of making a long term, financially viable game.

[edited by - solinear on April 5, 2004 2:58:18 PM]

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Are you still playing ATITD now, boolean? I heard good reviews when it first came out, but then I started hearing about how new people began to leave because they found it hard to get ''in good'' with the higher-ups.

That said, I have no idea how you''ll set up this kind of thing and make it work, OP. I''ve thought it over a few times, and the only solution I came up with was to take away character "levels" and instead to make them become proficient in certain areas...or something.

I don''t know...but I''m gonna give this Tale in the Desert a shot to see if they got it right.



"TV IS bad Meatwad...but we f***in need it"

If you''re a girl under the age of 12, and you''re high on marijuana...don''t ride your bike. -TRUTH

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In theory you could do something like this with Neverwinter Nights. I don''t know if anyone has actually successfully set up a system of servers like this, but based on the engine specs and the mod possibilities if someone wanted to do it they could.

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One possibility I've toyed with is to limit the time each iteration of the 'world' lasts for. I know this puts paid to any persistence stuff, so please ignore this suggestion if that's what you're gunning for. If you say that a world will exist and persist for a time period of, say, a month, and limit the amount of simultaneous players as you suggested, then each player will surely have a large influence on the events and outcomes of that world. Then at the end of the allotted time period, you can tot up the scores/kills/influence/whatever, publish the scores, and start again.

To sort of play my own devil's advocate, I think this would promote more risk-taking and audacious ploys on behalf of the players (after all, if it all goes pear-shaped, it all gets reset soon anyway). However, you might be in danger of players deciding a little while in that they can't win this 'round' and so don't bother much until the next reset.
Hopefully, if the game has enough scope and options available to players, each game would be different enough to remain interesting.

What do people think about this sort of arrangement?
Would the fact that in a certain amount of time you were going to tear it all down and start again give you a sense of almost reckless freedom to experiment with different tactics/classes/styles etc, or merely feel like you were just throwing away all your hard work? And how difficult is it going to be to ensure that each game is different enough to make players want to come back for more?


[edited by - BiggerStaff on April 5, 2004 6:35:30 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Boku San
Are you still playing ATITD now, boolean?


Actually I just started playing the other night. I might see you in there :D

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quote:
Original post by boolean
quote:
Original post by Boku San
Are you still playing ATITD now, boolean?


Actually I just started playing the other night. I might see you in there :D


What''s your name on there? I might pop up, I still got that free 24 hours thing...

Anyway, if you haven''t played it, it''s pretty damned boring IMHO. I don''t think I''m gonna buy it, I think I''ll save that money I would spend for a while until I can buy a car.

And it''s $13.99...I mean, COME ON! I can''t even find people to socialize with anywhere but the Nile!



"TV IS bad Meatwad...but we f***in need it"

If you''re a girl under the age of 12, and you''re high on marijuana...don''t ride your bike. -TRUTH

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If you had each world as a "Time Zone" you could use "loose" time.

Say you have 12 epochs. You build a castle in the first epoch at grid 12,12. Now say no one has build anything there till the 5th epoch, where a hut was built the day before (real time). This castle you just build in the first epoch suddenly (or slowly) appears in epoch 2, 3 & 4. Because the hut existed in epoch 5, the castle is assumed to have been destroyed some time between 4 and 5. The next day (real time) and army attacks and destroys the castle in epoch 3, now the castle suddonly dissapears from epoch 4.

An alternate could be that you build the castle in epoch 1 then have to travel to epoch 2 and accumulate enough material to maintatin the castle (quarter the total cost of materisl to build maybe) at which point the castles is assumed to have been maintained between epochs and suddenly appears.

This would give you impact on the world and possibly other worlds at the same time. You could still have battles but you could also have guild whos only goal is to create a shop/chapterhouse in every epoch.

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quote:
Original post by solinear
OK, the number of problems that you''re going to run into are widely varied. I''ll start at the easy problems to fix.

1) Too much variance in the world means that plot changes won''t apply to all worlds. If the Orcs won the war on this world and the humans won on another, then the worlds aren''t paralell and things would eventually be impossible to design for all worlds. If you make it to where the same events happen on all servers then you''re still making it where the players have no *real* impact on the world. What they did was destined to happen, whether they did it or someone else did.



I had considered this and came up with the ultimate solution -- "who cares"? Especially with the concept of dimensions added, basically. there''s a "main" timeline/storyline, and the individual "worlds" spin off when created. That''s where the history of each would come into play -- when you click on a world to join, it will give a history of the world as it stands when they''re entering it (well-written -- they could have some "flowery text" generator to make the mundane facts sound like a history).

Another thing that could be done is "global logic". Say that on the main server, King Blahblah just lost a large part of his kingdom to Lord Sneezle to the west. To propogate this to the worlds, there could be logic that would check the conditions necessary for this to apply ("if BlahBlah is King of Dinkleberry and Sneezle is Lord of Snoo and Dinkleberry and Snoo are at war, then...")... Obviously the logic would be relatively complex, but multiple conditions could be written depending on the things most likely to happen (or that the creators see has happened in the various worlds) -- and it could be complex, since it wouldn''t REALLY be real-time (unless a battle needed to take place or something, but even then, the logic would just wait for the outcome of the battle to see what happens)

quote:

2) There are too many different play styles. While you (and admittedly many other people) want to not play the "kill lots of stuff" style of game, a lot of people do.


Then this style of game wouldn''t be for them. Remember, this isn''t a game for people who like MMORPGs -- they already HAVE their games. This is a game for people who don''t like them but want to play in an online world, so why would MMO players need to be kept in mind when designing it? I don''t keep people who like playing Sports Games in mind when developing a puzzle game, so why would this be any different?

All of the rest of your ideas (about the XP division and such) are interesting and have merit, BTW -- don''t take their lack of inclusion to mean I''m bashing them.

quote:

3) No real society in the games. The number one (and possibly only) reason that these games are so successful is that the players create their own social entities, whether guilds or just common areas that they hang out in.


See, what I envisioned when I first came up with this is more of a "you''re exploring on your own and come upon two other people who are also exploring" type of thing. Granted, this may take a lot of the "get to know people" stuff out of the game, but that''s what chat rooms are for. Since everyone could have multiple characters in different worlds, there could be a "help wanted" section of the game where people could search if anyone in any world needed a Ranger or whatever. Then, the player could check the world history, and, if he likes it, enter and track down those other guys (each "world" would have multiple entry points, if they need to get close to the other guys -- or they could always send a message saying "Meet me in the tavern in Blingingham")

quote:
With only 50 (or even 200) people in a world, there isn''t enough to bypass that ''critical mass'' where the players go from people socializing with each-other because they have no other choice (because there is nobody else there) to socializing because they want to (common goals/interests/whatever). You need no less than something close to 1000 active players per world to actually create this critical mass for the ideal of chosen socialization.


Again, this applies to an MMORPG -- I''m not specifically looking to find a party right off when I play a game -- that''s why I like games like Morrowind -- but I tend to like the "eventually cross paths" style of play, where having a pal or three will make the larger acheivements, well, acheivable.

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