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PaulCesar

Counter Quests

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Hello, I normaly dont contribute much to the MMORPG community. Mostly due to the fact I figure it will never be published. Anyhow, It seems every single day people drop of the "new" idea of an MMORPG where you can be or do anything, completely missing the idea that its a game. Well, at one point while working on my RPG (semi rouge actualy) I came across an idea that would work wonders in the MMORPG scene... Counter Quests. This would add a competitive edge to the game playing, perhaps as a member of the theives guild you are asked to steal a wand of sneak from the top tower of a member of the mages guild. Whereas their is a quest to capture the theivs party, availiable to upper level mages... In most cases partying becomes more of a requirement, people gain grudges and seek revenge against other players, etc. Its adds a whole new sense of drama to the concept when PVP is encouraged as part of the general gameflow through counterquests I think. Well ponder that for a bit Richard

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Not an entirely new concept, just unimplemented as of now. Back when I was trying to head-up the "Rifts"-based MMO, we planned on basing our *entire* mission structure on that very concept - with and without PvP.

The basic idea was this nice little C# app we called the "Story Engine". It's actually a nicely planned AI expert system that monitors the game, and generates missions dependant upon what happens. These missions aren't "booth" based either. They are "issued" via an in-game medium - radio, "breaking news" tv broadcasts, emails, radio, IM, and even PA systems. Some are targeted to factions, career/character types, etc. It allows 2,3, and even 4 missions that have been completed (successfully or not) to determine what additional missions spawn upon completion. This was meant to save us time by creating the game story, without setting the players destiny.

The item retreval quest was the basic implementation. It would spawn missions for it's recovery, collectors/bounty hunters could attempt to retrieve it, and 3rd parties can place their own bids to get the item.

However - this got out of control fast. Creating content for the story engine is a monumental task. It requires someone with excellent understanding of databases, a rather lavish browser app that shows the story structure, an army of creative writers to cover all the story's "what ifs", and more hooks into the game clients than you'd wanna know.

The biggest hook was the "knowledge" hook the engine required. The idea was to encode into an embedded (SQLite) database who/what the player "knows", where they've been, and what they've seen. The players can even "rate" their friends (like, dislike, trust, distrust, etc.) Being a murder witness/accessory/participant, a theif/kidnapper, etc. Were all made possible by using this meta-tagging system. It also *greatly* improved the game's NPC AI. As they can now use a database to react properly to an event. They could know that if they see someone they like in a fight, they should join in. But if they dislike or don't know that person, they can still act with discretion.

Our game was originally gonna be based on a neat P2P algo that's supposed to be reasonably latent - with distributed servers, and just a few central parts for login/content/such.

The problem is that implementing an MMO this-detailed is unbelieveably expensive, time-consuming, and hardly possible if you have a day-job (IMO). The story engine took 4 coders to build and alot of advice. But I won't be the only one to mention *that* I'm sure.

The killer MMO is coming someday. But right now, it simply can't. The market is too flooded, everyone and their dog wants a big successful MMO. So we had to hang it up awhile.

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Ah yes, I did not mean it was a unique concept, but one that I havent heard many of the people wanting to start the next MMORPG even touching upon. Instead they do "more of the same". I dont think its quite so unachievable though, just your approch to it was more exorbant. I thought of it along the lines of a point system for clans, groups, etc. Everything produces something, different people want different things that only rival groups have. There are also "races" towards getting quest items, etc. The problem you had with this would have probably been that you are making story line systems your comp. quests. I meant this more along the lines of smaller quests just to get people involved. Create some tension. You are right it would demand way to much content to allow all the branching for important co-quests involving in the story that directly. I suppose you could have one or two though, which switches on or off different quests availiable to certain groups.

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