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Michalson

Pure content MMO[RPG]?

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In response to some of the replies in this thread regarding the repetitive action and general feeling of MMORPG's being too much like work, I'd like to discuss another kind of MMO[RPG?]. Rather then make the objective of the game to level up, get Sword+98 to replace Sword+97 and in general kill a limited stock of respawning creatures over and over again, what if gameplay was almost entirely focused on exploration and puzzle solving (battles with new creatures that require new tactics or methods to defeat count a puzzles). Using the Kings Quest (or Peasant's Quest) games as a basic example, how would you apply the gameplay to a MM, persistant environment. For actual story/goal you could make it an exploration quest with no end (for example the goal is to reach the top of an impossibly high fantasy tower that literally reaches into the clouds). The "score" element, combined with what level of the tower you had reached could effectively be your "ranking" (raw score, raw level, best score out of max possible score for current level). The biggest challenge, outside of devising a cheap content creation mechanism (so that you could always stay ahead of 99.9% of the players), would be how to make everyone's play experience different enough that you couldn't have "spoilers", at best people could offer hints based on their own experience. Well anyway, discuss MMO Kings Quest

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Hello,

I had an interesting idea surrounding this quite a while ago. The idea focused around a net-hack like game, that could randomly generate stratigic locations and such, place enemies, and generate room puzzles. As long as people are in the same "room" the room remains the same, once everyone exits the room entirely, the rooms "resets" and is "regenerated". This way, the expiriance is fairly unique. Shut down the server maybe for 30 minuets every day and have a unique reset regardless.

Just my 2c

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It's an interesting idea, but honestly, I would not play it, nor do I think most people that normally play MMORPGs would. People generally LIKE playing in a level treadmill MMORPG because of the immersion factor, the social aspect, or maybe even just the eye candy and excitement of killing fantastical beasts with fantastical weapons and spells. Other people, like myself, play MMORPGs/MUDs for the PvP aspects, which also entails some character building. While I don't play any MMORPGs at the moment because of money, I previously played Dark Age of Camelot, which is a PvP-centric game. I did not spend much time levelling up, because it is possible to have fun fighting other players even at lower levels (though it's practically suicide) on the "PvP server".

However! I think that you could possibly attract a market of gamers (or non-gamers) who enjoy puzzle-solving and fantasy, but not numbers. I suppose one could cite the record-breaking successes of the Sims, Myst, or Tetris as examples of how non score/combat based games can be wildly popular.

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An important point you brought up there was social interaction, which is a real sticky point for the intended game type. You don't want a player to go around ruining the game for everyone by blabbing solutions, but you do want it to be possible, and beneficial for players to talk with each other about the puzzles - perhaps instead of purely "single player" type puzzles, the puzzles could involve a combination of multi-user puzzles (for example two levers, on opposite sides of a room, must be pulled at the same time) and multi-viewpoint puzzles (user A can see X information, while user B can see Y information, both of which are required to solve their respective puzzles). Without all out generation of a seperate world for each player, perhaps the players "class" (race perhaps more fittingly in this environment) could affect how they played. For example one race may be able to see in the dark (information X), another understands ancient languages (information Y). One race might be small and able to fit through small holes, while another might be very strong and thus fufill a strength aspect of a multi-user puzzle.

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Expanding on that race idea - what if players learn "skills" (I immediately think of the "skills" shown on ST:TNG CCG personal) as they play the game. As you gain "experience" (from solving puzzles and advancing through the world) you can choose skills from a large list. With a large number of skills you can have many, many different combinations, so at higher levels most people are "unique". A party might determine how to solve a puzzle, but need to go "recruiting" to find someone with the one skill they are missing (perhaps requiring a trade of services between two parties - more social interaction).

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What if players and groups of players could use items they found in the game to create puzzles for other players? You would need a wide variety of items and some sort of gating system to control the difficulty of the puzzle (relating to treasure cache size maybe?) but you'd sidestep some of the problems you've mentioned.

Maybe your goal is to storm other people's lairs, grab their loot, and take it back to your own. Loot itself doesn't do anything (unless you want an item buying system) but the more you have and the longer you have it, the higher your ranking rises, attracting more devious and inventive players.

I would be sure to clearly communicate that it's all in fun. You'll be more likely to draw a more literate, sociable crowd like some of these online cardgame / boardgame communities, where people can be remarkably well behaved.

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The idea about other players create puzzles for you remembers on the initial idea I had on how dungeon keeper would work: Someone builds up a lair, and other players try to storm it and rob your treasure.
With enough treasure you can build your own lair, recruit monsters (or ordinary guards for the good aligned player) and buy traps, and for sure other players are attracted to raid your lair.

Basically this game could be most player driven and I would have a big hell of fun playing it.

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hmmm. i believe this was called "Uru", from the makers of Myst. didn't turn out too well, i don't think.

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I'm going to turn the question a bit on its ear:

What is the core beauty of the MMO model? For some people, apparently, it is the actual gameplay (the mind boggles, but whatever). For others, it is the social aspect. For me, the most compelling thing about it is the ability to deliver content episodically to a large audience, in a manner very similar to a TV station. I think this is where Michaelson's question eventually leads, as you become more inclusive wrt play styles, etc.

A lot of time is spent trying to get around spoilers, but the thing about spoilers is that most of them are on the web, not in the game. Lots of folks will avoid all mention of a particular TV episode until they've had a chance to watch it, and I think a similar effect could hold sway with a well-tuned content-centric MMO game. The thing is, you're not limited to puzzles and creatures here - you could introduce arcade elements such as racing, for example, or even virtual sports.

I don't know if a ranking method is necessary, however. Working through interesting games tends to be its own reward.

On an unrelated note, just noticed this:
Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Current Project: Straylight
- The galaxy's first roleplaying empire game


w00000000000000000000

If you ever need an extra programmer, sir...

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While "good" players will tend to stay away from spoilers, I still see them (in a puzzle or similar "solution" based game advancement) as cheats. While they don't hurt a single player game (just like spoilers don't hurt the single player "TV Watching" game), I think they would undermine a multiplayer game. Players (who may be paying players) will feel cheated when others who just looked up the solutions on the web can easily pass them. While clans that would use cooperating skills/items would work, clans where spoilers are possible would be useless, since you'd really only have a measure of the best person (or combination) in the clan, assuming he himself didn't download spoilers.

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