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Wysardry

The passage of time in multiplayer CRPGs

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Handling the passage of time can be problematic in multiplayer RPGs (networked or massively multiplayer). Most single player games allow the player to "skip ahead" in time when waiting, sleeping, training, fast travelling or doing anything else that takes an hour or more of game time and/or would be boring for the player to wait through in real time. In a multiplayer game, allowing this would cause the characters to become temporally out of sync with each other. For this reason many (all?) ignore the passage of time entirely, which makes the world seem too static in my view. I would be interested in hearing/reading about any other solutions people have encountered and/or considered.

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Have a global day / night cycle, and then have every player play in their own time. Let one player sleep for '8 hours' in the middle of a bunch of players who are doing something else in their own time. It doesn't really matter. Focus more on fun in your game then little things like this, because the only solutions to these things end up being convoluted boring ones.

The players will only want to be concerned about logging in and going after any quests or items they need. They don't care about these things, and sleeping and such is only ever done to heal their player anyways. Don't put any artificial obstacles in their way because you want to keep up with some kind of real time.

[Edited by - Vampyre_Dark on August 11, 2006 7:43:55 PM]

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Although it isn't fun in the amusement park sense, some players do enjoy immersing themselves in a consistent and detailed game world.

NPCs that stand in one place all day without resting, "instant" training and long distance travel, shops that are open 24/7 etc. make the game less enjoyable for such players.

They also make it more difficult to roleplay certain chracter types. For example, it is more difficult to rob or assassinate a person that never sleeps.

Players who do not care about such things are already being catered to by existing online games.

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