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sunandshadow

A Linear MMO

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(Disclaimer: I have a cold and am writing this on 3 hours of fractured sleep and cold medicine. So if it's insane or spelled very badly, that's why.) This past few months I've been taking a tour of some MMOs. I had already played Neopets and Gaia Online, then I tried A Tale In the Desert, Flyff, Maple Story, and Dofus. I have never liked free-roam RPGs, and the more MMOs I played the more I realized that they are all free-roam, except that you keep finding players of the same level in the same area of the game anyway - because those are the highest-level monsters they can kill, or because that is what they have to do for the quest that just became available when they attained that level. ATItD, Maple Story, and Dofus all had a quest check list, (rather similar to a honey-do list of chores IMHO) which acted as the players guide through the game in the same way story objectives act as the player's guide through the game in a linear RPG. (I am using 'Linear' here to include branching, modular, and any other kind of game where the plot progresses toward some climax/ending. Actually that's a terrible way to use that word - so let's call it a Teleological RPG instead.) Since the level grind which males up the fabric of the average MMO can be considered to move in lock-step with these quests which are a (poor) substitute for plot, it occurred to me that a 'level' of an MMO could be considered equivalent to a 'chapter' of story, and also equivalent to the older gaming sense of 'level', a room or group of rooms in which play occurred until the player progressed to the next room. Chapters of a story often take place in the same physical location but a different time. In a free roam game you often end up coming back to the same area levels later and seeing it in a different light because of your different relation to it. Linear RPGs like Final Fantasy have often represented this progression in time by changing NPC dialogue and position/existence of NPCs, and also changes in music. MMOs generally fail to do this because they are attempting to have one consistent version of the location for players of every level, resulting in the infamous reaction "WTF I worked hard to do what this NPC said would fix a problem, they said the problem is fixed, but it doesn't look fixed at all to me." Talk about breaking immersion and sense of disbelief! So, I was thinking about how one would build an MMO around a teleological progression through chapters of a story which equated to physical levels. An immediate and interesting effect of this would be that players would be surrounded by other players who were at the same place in the story, the same level. This would encourage more discussion about how to do things in that particular level, and limit spoilers by people who were farther ahead in the story. This could also be used to balance the economy between new characters and high-level characters, because there could be resources which were only available in the early levels of the game which new players could sell through a world-wide market to high-level players, as well as the normal opposite flow of hand-me-downs and crafted products from higher-level players to lower-level players. As I was getting at above, players progressing to a new chapter of the story might find themselves revisiting an earlier location but with small changes made to show the passage of time and completion of earlier quests - this helps the game not need an impossibly large amount of art assets to be created for a long progression of new locations, and also fits nicely with avoiding the heavily cliched "hero's journey" type story which is the only kind which makes sense with continually traveling to new locations. In a game with a limited number of locations it would even be possible to fake the feel of a free-roam game by allowing players to travel freely between level-appropriate versions of all the locations they had been to. At these locations they could do freely-repeatable crafting or mini-game playing including party quests, or repeatable quests unconnected to the story such as a time challenge to 'tag' each NPC in the location as quickly as possible. Now the question I am pondering is, how to make it equally possible to progress through the story by combat only, or by avoiding combat and doing crafting instead, or by a mix of the two. Probably the world-market could again be used to balance this - monster drops would be crafting supplies, crafting results would be combat equips, and fighters and crafters would sell the fruits of their labors to each other. All monsters would thus have to be avoidable, and PvP contained to specific areas where non-combatants would not need to go. The story would be like harvest moon in that the plot progression would end but that max-level character would remain available to play minigames, craft, and fight with. It would also be like a new game+ in that the player would be encouraged to create a new character and use the abilities of their maxed-out character to help the new one achieve a different/better path through the branching story to a new ending. These paths through the story would basically replace classes/races as descriptive rather than prescriptive classifications; although there might also be bonus races or weapon types which were only available to a player who had already completed the game with one avatar. So, thoughts...? Would you want to play a game like this, would you want to make a game like this?

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Original post by Talroth
Question: If it is highly linear, what is the point of playing with other players if everything is basically the same?

What impact will other players have on this?


There will be cooperative mini-games such as party quests, and diceless roleplaying between players will be encouraged along with other social interaction. Seeing other players take different paths through a branching story than you are taking could be quite interesting, as could discussing whatever bit of story has just happened with them. Perhaps the community could be organized around a messageboard open to all levels of players, as is the case with Gaia Online, and the topics of discussion restricted to exclude spoilers for future parts of the story.

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But so much of the interest in story-writing comes from changes in the world, in addition to changes in the character. If players at different points in the story had to be able to interract, you could never kill any NPCs, never change any political boundaries and never alter the landscape in the course of the story. What fun is that?

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As a prelude, I think if you are seriously going to put a lot of thought into MMORPG development (and it seems like you are), you HAVE to play some of the big ones. Honestly, I feel like anyone who is legitimately going to try to develop an MMO should have played WoW for long enough to understand what the genre is about, and what some of its common pitfalls and successes are. Reading about WoW is not going to cut it; you need to experience a game genre firsthand before you can try to outdo it.

As cplusplus said, Guild Wars is the main linear-story MMORPG on the market, and it creates some problems. I think you had an earlier thread on this where I brought it up, but:

-The more you segregate your players into time-specific areas, stopping them from being able to go "back in time", the more you stop older players from being able to interact with younger players. You are perceiving this as a good thing because you think it will stop twinking and balance the economy, but I would mark it as a very bad thing. MMO's are first and foremost social games; the primary influx of new players is when Johnny convinces Timmy to join his guild so they can play together. If Johnny has to tell Timmy, "Oh, but you won't actually be able to interact with me at all until you get through 30 hours of story, assuming I just completely stop playing for all that time", then you will have a problem. You would have a lot of trouble having a concept of "guilds" at all in the majority of the game, since it is very hard for people of different levels to meet up or support eachother in any way.

-The more you DO allow your players to jump back and forth "in time" and/or rebranch the story, the more your world loses any sense of immersion. You claim to be more brought out of versimillitude by boring or unimportant quests, but if you haven't played Guild Wars or another game that does allow repetition of "dramatic" quests, I'm not sure I believe you. I, for one, can not roleplay much at all in an environment where the laws of causality and linear time are so broken. I can't stay in character talking to someone saying something like "So, the other day, I found out that I was the last remaining Jedi, and then I blew up the death star. Did you find out that you were the last remaining Jedi yet? Oh, you will within a day or two. And let me know how it goes when you blow up the death star. I was talking with a strange man in the tavern who told me that next week we'll both find out we're actually Darth Vader's only son." If you use branching, it's bad too: "Woo! I just burned the entire city of Stormwind to the ground." "Oh really? Cool, I just saved it from being burned to the ground; I'm going to head over there in a minute, want to come?" Now, this isn't so bad; I play a lot of RPG's where I don't roleplay at all. But I really think it's a stretch to claim that a non-shared world would encourageroleplaying.

-As a consequence of the first paragraph, the problem with not being able to maintain contact with your friends unless you both purposely play through each section together by appointment, you will have a similarly hard time meeting any actual friends at all. You will be left with something like Guild Wars, where everyone is constantly rushing through each mission to try to catch up to their friends, and is standing around in the closest social spot, using it like a Gamespy lobby to get a pick-up group going for the next mission. Guild Wars DOES let you go "back in time" and redo most missions, so your friends can go back and help you, but the fact that they usually get nothing out of it and that repeating a linear quest can be more boring than nonlinearity for a lot of people means it doesn't happen much. As soon as the one nice person you meet turns on his computer and starts playing the game a few hours before you, he's now permanently a few quests ahead of you, and you aren't going to run into him at all that day. This is somewhat of an issue even in nonlinear RPG's; in WoW if your friends play over the weekend without you, they'll be a higher level, and there's less incentive for them to hang out with you now, so you'll need to rush to catch up with them. But at least in WoW you can still see them; you can still hang out with your entire guild or give them items or help them with their other quests. If you're purposely being segregated to maintain world verisimilitude then you'll never see them again.

So, in conclusion:
I like MMORPGs. I like single-player (sometimes with LAN-multiplayer) linear story-driven RPG's. But I would not like a linear story-driven MMORPG. I liked Guild Wars somewhat, but it is because it succeeded despite its weird use of linear story. It only succeeded because it completely gave up an attempt to preserve its linearity or plot making sense at all to ensure fun, and because the game is primarily about plowing through the story part to unlock cool skills and use them to PvP with your guild.

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I also wanted to add one last thing; because I think you're missing the primary draw of MMO's for most people. For most people, it has nothing to do with watching an interesting story written by some developers. The draw is "Live another life, in another world." They want to feel like they "are" their character, interacting with a bunch of other people (real people, not NPC's) in a world that's actually "real".

When people talk about a game like WoW, they imagine Azeroth as a real place; they imagine themselves running around and meeting other people in that world. You seem to want to purposely break down that facade, and present the game to encourage everyone thinking of themselves not as actually "being there", but as being a player who is playing a massively server-linked single-player story-driven RPG who also has access to other players if he wants to team up for certain quests.

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
But so much of the interest in story-writing comes from changes in the world, in addition to changes in the character. If players at different points in the story had to be able to interract, you could never kill any NPCs, never change any political boundaries and never alter the landscape in the course of the story. What fun is that?


The player could kill an NPC resulting in a different political side taking over by the end of the story. I personally hate it when other players screw up my game world, especially when the story has started without me when the MMO started 2 or 3 years ago, and when world events are always decided by the few highest-lvl characters and are not affected at all by little lvl 20 me.

As a writer, I'm more interested in personal growth/transformation and romance, not particularly interested in world politics.

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
But so much of the interest in story-writing comes from changes in the world, in addition to changes in the character. If players at different points in the story had to be able to interract, you could never kill any NPCs, never change any political boundaries and never alter the landscape in the course of the story. What fun is that?


The player could kill an NPC resulting in a different political side taking over by the end of the story. I personally hate it when other players screw up my game world, especially when the story has started without me when the MMO started 2 or 3 years ago, and when world events are always decided by the few highest-lvl characters and are not affected at all by little lvl 20 me.

As a writer, I'm more interested in personal growth/transformation and romance, not particularly interested in world politics.


but then why do you insist on it being a MMO if you dont want other players to have any interaction at all in your game

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Original post by makeshiftwings
I also wanted to add one last thing; because I think you're missing the primary draw of MMO's for most people. For most people, it has nothing to do with watching an interesting story written by some developers. The draw is "Live another life, in another world." They want to feel like they "are" their character, interacting with a bunch of other people (real people, not NPC's) in a world that's actually "real".

When people talk about a game like WoW, they imagine Azeroth as a real place; they imagine themselves running around and meeting other people in that world. You seem to want to purposely break down that facade, and present the game to encourage everyone thinking of themselves not as actually "being there", but as being a player who is playing a massively server-linked single-player story-driven RPG who also has access to other players if he wants to team up for certain quests.

o.O No, that's not at all what I want to do. I see the ideal RPG as an interactive novel, another world which is as immersive as possible. I see current MMOs as unsatisfying because their worlds are both inconsistent and stupid, and the other characters are obnoxious teenagers. What I'm trying to design is a world where the NPCs and story create a strong enough immersion that the other players can't mess it up to badly - and specifically I want to keep the players in groups which are all equally clueless, all trying to solve the same problem at the same time, and yes all the last Jedi. Nothing would irritate me more than if somebody else got to be the last jedi and I couldn't be - we should all get to be the heroes of our own stories. 'Cause we're all unique snowflakes. [grin]

It's funny how you don't see that you are so trained to ignore all the stupid stuff in current MMORPGs that you don't see that they have problems as bad or worse than anything I could design. I do think you have some valid points, it's kind of a problem if people can't go where their friends are. Although vastly higher level players training new ones is destructive to immersion and consistency too. Personally I was thinking that with some resources being only available to noobs, and the playing time of a noob thus being equally valuable to the playing time of a high-level character (unlike in any game with leveling) that this would encourage players to either keep a beginner character around or create a new character whenever they wanted to help a friend start the game. Many MMOs currently have a n00b island full of tutorials where higher-level players aren't allowed to go, but that doesn't seem to harm their ability to attract new players.

Anyway, I don't even know if WOW would run on my computer - second life doesn't, or I would have tried that one out. I'll look into its minimum system requirements, and whether there's any way to get a free trial. Ditto Guild Wars. I suspect I would have a totally different take on that game then you since I don't like PvP combat and would not see doing that with a guild as being a motivation to rush through anything.

That standing around in a social area trying to pick up party members has nothing to do with linearity, it's been an obnoxious part of every MMO that I've seen which has party quests. Ditto with people standing around shouting what they have to sell. The _only_ way to clean up that sort of thing is to create an automate party-forming and market stocking/searching/buying system. Some people think that takes away from the immersiveness of the game - I don't agree, the lag and frustration of a room full of 50 shouting people trying to sell their junk breaks my immersion way more effectively than have good game utilities does.

Anyway - if you like MMOs as they are, there's definitely a good chance you wouldn't like this one. But that's okay, I'm not aiming for people who are alread happy with the pap available, I'm aiming for people who are dissatisfied, who want something different. That's the joy of design, as I see it - to identify a stupidity which is usually overlooked because everyone is used to that being 'the way things are'; to take that problem and come up with a solution which isn't quite like anything ever seen before.

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Original post by Kaze
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Original post by sunandshadow
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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
But so much of the interest in story-writing comes from changes in the world, in addition to changes in the character. If players at different points in the story had to be able to interract, you could never kill any NPCs, never change any political boundaries and never alter the landscape in the course of the story. What fun is that?


The player could kill an NPC resulting in a different political side taking over by the end of the story. I personally hate it when other players screw up my game world, especially when the story has started without me when the MMO started 2 or 3 years ago, and when world events are always decided by the few highest-lvl characters and are not affected at all by little lvl 20 me.

As a writer, I'm more interested in personal growth/transformation and romance, not particularly interested in world politics.


but then why do you insist on it being a MMO if you dont want other players to have any interaction at all in your game

o.O But there's lots of interaction between the players. Social interaction, economic interaction, and in group activities, strategic interaction. The whole point of an MMO is to create an environment for social roleplay, on an individual level not a factional one, and I think my design does that well.

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o.O But there's lots of interaction between the players. Social interaction, economic interaction, and in group activities, strategic interaction. The whole point of an MMO is to create an environment for social roleplay, on an individual level not a factional one, and I think my design does that well.


how can you role play when your barely playing the same game as everyone else?

basically the main problem i see is that you introduce all the pitfalls normally associated with MMO's but make it so the MMO aspect adds almost nothing to the game play.

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First, I think a couple of the criticisms are a bit ridiculous, but makeshiftwings has some great points. I don't think I can elaborate on those any better than (s)he did, but I wonder about the 'end-game.'

What happens when you reach the 'end' of the game? Most MMOs don't have an end, of course - you are simply allowed to continue repeating dungeons or killing high-level mobs. Plotlines that end simply end; there are others to play, and if you complete them all, you can simply continue helping other people with the same quests and dungeons.

I think that there is a way to handle the last chapter(s) so that they are either extremely time-consuming to complete, incompletable, or replayable. It might require that you graduate into some other form of play that would allow you to keep on playing, or maybe the game can simply end.

I like the idea of dividing the game into chapters. At first glance, it doesn't seem all that different from a system of quests, except that you are locked into certain quest chain. But then... that's the point - recreating the genre into something different. I think it's cool, and would be fun to flesh out more.

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Why do you want it MMO? and not simply multiplayer?

MMO is used for 2 things: Marketing (the bad one) and to allow large numbers of player have some effect on the game and interact with each other.

So, if you don't want them to impact the world, then your MMO status becomes nothing more than a flashy buzz word.

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just to be a little more concise on what i meant,
the thing i don't understand about role playing is how would you play a role if its the typical rpg unlikely hero that saved the kingdom or something, but playing with 10 other unlikely heroes that just saved the kingdom.
Im just a little critical of this because you say were trained to accept the nonsensicalness of MMO's but this seems at least equally odd

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just to be a little more concise on what i meant,
the thing i don't understand about role playing is how would you play a role if its the typical rpg unlikely hero that saved the kingdom or something, but playing with 10 other unlikely heroes that just saved the kingdom.


Ah, that's not the kind of plot I had in mind, I'm really darn sick of heroes and evil overlords and that sort of thing. Instead I was thinking what is called a 'bildungsroman' - a combination coming of age/personal evolution with (optional) romance. Most MMOs are already built around the dynamic of getting a profession and climbing the tech tree, some allow players to get married, I just thought I'd build on that, maybe combine it with some mystery - you start out who knows where who knows why, and have to figure out what's up. The PvP dueling could also have a becoming-famous aspect, while everyone would be making themselves look more individual and impressive by getting cooler clothes, pets, houses, which is its own kind of fame - conspicuous consumerism I guess. Kind of like a dating sim too, since it seems like everything I design comes out like a dating sim.

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Original post by Talroth
Why do you want it MMO? and not simply multiplayer?

MMO is used for 2 things: Marketing (the bad one) and to allow large numbers of player have some effect on the game and interact with each other.

So, if you don't want them to impact the world, then your MMO status becomes nothing more than a flashy buzz word.


Uh, no. Consider GameDev. While not a 'game', a messageboard of this type could be considered a massively multiplayer community. The 'players' have no real effect on each other (ratings aside). There's mostly a lack of marketing. So why are you here? To meet people with a common interest and talk to them, maybe do a group activity with them, right? If gamedev had a diceless roleplaying forum the way many social communities do, that would be even more purely social play. That's why I want it to be an MMO. If you like, think of it as being like a chat room for people belonging to a personal-ad or networking site to get to know one another.

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Off the top of my head some thoughts which might not be along the lines of what you want for an end result but I think are on the right track:

1. I'm picturing a world something like EVO - The Search for Eden for the SNES . Without evolving certain traits you can't survive long in the environment you're in (or it's just bloody difficult to be there). (Suprised you haven't thought of something like this.)

2. Rather then having an economy based on increased strength somehow base it on an increased ability to travel from one level to another.

3. Character level progression could involve some form of capture the flag situation where one or multiple flags are keys to the next area. Level transition points move (perhaps are quested for) and keys are retained in the level.

4. For some reason I'm thinking have levels in some kind of pyramid setup where each level has access to two new levels of equal difficulty but different qualities (fire levels, ice, water, jungle, other cliches). This would tie into thought number 1. I think this might encourage some backwards exploration as characters increase in level.

As for creating an end to the game... I have no idea. Haven't played any real MMOs so I have no idea how they end or endlessly continue. I do think though that if you're creating something that isn't based on the traditional E4 model
you have a shot at getting something along your idea. The question then is if you accidently end up creating something more second-life-habbo-hotel thingish (which doesn't sound like what you want at all).

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Original post by makeshiftwings
I also wanted to add one last thing; because I think you're missing the primary draw of MMO's for most people. For most people, it has nothing to do with watching an interesting story written by some developers. The draw is "Live another life, in another world." They want to feel like they "are" their character, interacting with a bunch of other people (real people, not NPC's) in a world that's actually "real".

When people talk about a game like WoW, they imagine Azeroth as a real place; they imagine themselves running around and meeting other people in that world. You seem to want to purposely break down that facade, and present the game to encourage everyone thinking of themselves not as actually "being there", but as being a player who is playing a massively server-linked single-player story-driven RPG who also has access to other players if he wants to team up for certain quests.

o.O No, that's not at all what I want to do. I see the ideal RPG as an interactive novel, another world which is as immersive as possible. I see current MMOs as unsatisfying because their worlds are both inconsistent and stupid, and the other characters are obnoxious teenagers. What I'm trying to design is a world where the NPCs and story create a strong enough immersion that the other players can't mess it up to badly - and specifically I want to keep the players in groups which are all equally clueless, all trying to solve the same problem at the same time, and yes all the last Jedi. Nothing would irritate me more than if somebody else got to be the last jedi and I couldn't be - we should all get to be the heroes of our own stories. 'Cause we're all unique snowflakes. [grin]

Yeah, that's sort of what I mean. I understand that the "single player-esque" part of your game will be deep, immersive, and engaging. But the MMO part sounds tacked on; it sounds like it's primarily a lobby system built on top of a single player RPG. Your game doesn't sound like an interactive novel about a bunch of different main characters; it sounds like a novel about one main character, and you have this big library where you can meet other people who are reading the same novel as you. Do you see what I mean? You're sort of adding this extra layer of separation between the world and the players by shoehorning "MMO" into your "RPG". The characters are not acting out different roles in one world; they are acting out the same role in different, separate worlds. Any interaction at all with any other player is going to hurt the verisimilitude, because according to the actual "truth" of the plot, none of the other players should exist. Only you are supposed to be the hero; not the thousand other people walking around town. Only your actions "really" happened; anything anyone else did shouldn't exist. So anytime anyone besides you does or says anything, it hurts suspension of disbelief. This is far more serious a hurdle for RP than a bunch of typical MMO grind quests that don't seem to make a difference, at least for me.

Quote:

It's funny how you don't see that you are so trained to ignore all the stupid stuff in current MMORPGs that you don't see that they have problems as bad or worse than anything I could design. I do think you have some valid points, it's kind of a problem if people can't go where their friends are. Although vastly higher level players training new ones is destructive to immersion and consistency too. Personally I was thinking that with some resources being only available to noobs, and the playing time of a noob thus being equally valuable to the playing time of a high-level character (unlike in any game with leveling) that this would encourage players to either keep a beginner character around or create a new character whenever they wanted to help a friend start the game. Many MMOs currently have a n00b island full of tutorials where higher-level players aren't allowed to go, but that doesn't seem to harm their ability to attract new players.

No, I know there are stupid things in current MMO's, but I accept them because I think they're decent solutions for some inherent problems. The reason most MMO's have "boring" quests that don't impact the world and don't let you become the hero is because of some of the reasons I've mentioned. They want to maintain an illusion that everyone is existing and playing in the same world; and they can only do that by having the world be mostly static. That's why I accept static worlds in an MMO, but dynamic "I personally save or destroy the planet" worlds in epic single player RPG's. It's only my opinion, but I would not be willing to sacrifice the idea of a shared world in an MMO just to be able to have large story-based effects on my own "copy" of it.

Quote:

That standing around in a social area trying to pick up party members has nothing to do with linearity, it's been an obnoxious part of every MMO that I've seen which has party quests.

That's true, but I think it exacerbates the problem when you don't have guilds and can't maintain "friendships" because you are constantly being separated by plot-time. You will constantly be needing to meet a stream of new people on short notice to get through anything; it encourages pick-up-groups and may encourage an attitude of "Why even bother talking to these people; they'll just vanish to a different part of the plot by tomorrow and I'll never see them again."

Quote:

Anyway - if you like MMOs as they are, there's definitely a good chance you wouldn't like this one. But that's okay, I'm not aiming for people who are alread happy with the pap available, I'm aiming for people who are dissatisfied, who want something different. That's the joy of design, as I see it - to identify a stupidity which is usually overlooked because everyone is used to that being 'the way things are'; to take that problem and come up with a solution which isn't quite like anything ever seen before.

Sure, I'm not trying to be negative; I'm just trying to point out some problems that you're going to need to overcome, and maybe give some insight into why current MMORPG's have mostly static worlds and nonpersonalized quests.

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Instead I was thinking what is called a 'bildungsroman' - a combination coming of age/personal evolution with (optional) romance. Most MMOs are already built around the dynamic of getting a profession and climbing the tech tree, some allow players to get married, I just thought I'd build on that, maybe combine it with some mystery - you start out who knows where who knows why, and have to figure out what's up. The PvP dueling could also have a becoming-famous aspect, while everyone would be making themselves look more individual and impressive by getting cooler clothes, pets, houses, which is its own kind of fame - conspicuous consumerism I guess. Kind of like a dating sim too, since it seems like everything I design comes out like a dating sim.


would the romance/dating aspect be with human or computer players though?
because it would kinda suck if you built up a long standing relation with another PC but then were never able to see them again because they advanced a chapter or took a different story branch from you

Im sorry if i just dont understand your concept but i dont see how it could work unless you basiclly ask most of the player to play NPC's
theres a reason why most story's have only one protagonist, in your game world basically now everyone is the protagonist of the same world. As oppose to the typical MMO where nobody is the protagonist, somewhat unexciting but works well with the first two M's.

[Edited by - Kaze on April 9, 2007 4:51:49 AM]

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I'll admit to not having read every post but I would have to agree that making an MMO linear somewhat destroys the point of an MMO. The only way I can think of off the top of my head to MAYBE make your idea work would be to give players the option of playing on either side of the story (i.e. the good guys and bad guys). How this would be done, I don't really know. And even then, what happens if the story ends? If you wanted to make a story line that is self perpetuating, that perhaps might work but it might also get old. You would need away to make the story evolve which would, in the end, mean non-linear. Say perhaps that there are two sides; each side is given a goal (not a story line mind you, just a goal that the players work together to achieve in what ever way they can). After the first goal is reached, there is another goal which leads to another goal, which could, in the end, return to the first goal (or perhaps a naturally evolved version of it). If each goal was in direct conflict with the other side's goal the ensuing conflict between each side would be quiet interesting and (I think) this type of idea could be quiet fun if it could be worked out. However, the only MMO that I know of that works at all like this would be Warhammer Online (the constant battle towards the enemy capitol city then repeat). Though I see what you are trying to say, I don't really see the word “linear” (or in other words, “predetermined”) working on the Massive scale of an entire online game.

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Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
Quote:
Original post by Talroth
Why do you want it MMO? and not simply multiplayer?

MMO is used for 2 things: Marketing (the bad one) and to allow large numbers of player have some effect on the game and interact with each other.

So, if you don't want them to impact the world, then your MMO status becomes nothing more than a flashy buzz word.


Uh, no. Consider GameDev. While not a 'game', a messageboard of this type could be considered a massively multiplayer community. The 'players' have no real effect on each other (ratings aside). There's mostly a lack of marketing. So why are you here? To meet people with a common interest and talk to them, maybe do a group activity with them, right? If gamedev had a diceless roleplaying forum the way many social communities do, that would be even more purely social play. That's why I want it to be an MMO. If you like, think of it as being like a chat room for people belonging to a personal-ad or networking site to get to know one another.


Again, you haven't said anything that supports you GAME being MMO. All you've done is suggest that the game should have a community forum from which you can launch a multiplayer game with the people you meet.

Games like Guild Wars aren't truly 'MMO' games any more than StarCraft or Diablo are.

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Did not read the whole thread, as I am pressed for time right now, but AC2 was extremely linear. You basically had to do each of the 'storyline' dungeons in a specific order, and each unlocked access to the next island. It was pretty boring, and the game as a whole failed and was shut down (not only for that reason). Part of the fun of MMOs is the exploration, a game being linear takes away from that.

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Interesting idea. Similar, but in many ways different from my own MMO concept. I too am constantly disappointed by the lack of story, sense of impact on the world, and implausible situations that seem to permeate the MMO market. As a general statement I realize that there are exceptions, but for the most part MMORPG's grant players the same inconsequential decisions that tend to break the suspension of disbelief.

As a response to this problem I had come up with the idea of gaming seasons, almost analogous to play seasons in sports. The same teams play every year but the outcome and experience is never the same, even if the same team wins multiple years in a row. The idea is this: provide a self-contained world/story that ultimately results in a climax with a definitive resolution that is determined by the players and/or the designer. A gaming season doesn’t have to be a year-long epic story (although it could), but could be as short as a couple months or weeks. Also, all players involved in a season can either be working cooperatively toward one goal, or can be divided into alliances or teams, each attempting to attain a different end goal.

Using LOTR for an example. Early in the story it is established quite clearly that either the ring must be destroyed or Sauron will acquire the ring and all nations will fall under him. As an audience we know that there will be a climatic ending to this struggle for better or worse even if we don’t know what it is. If you’re a playing as a citizen of Middle Earth you will have personal interest vested in the outcome and attempt to do everything in your power as a player to ensure the outcome you desire occurs.

Any mini-quests or actions you do should ultimately contribute to the overall goal you are trying to achieve. The end of the gaming season comes once the impending outcome is determined. I’m still working out how players accomplishments from each season can be carried over to new seasons so as to maintain some level of persistence and not discourage long-time players.

At any rate, if you want a more detailed explanation of the idea I think I already posted a thread about it a while ago. You should be able to do a search on gaming seasons, but I’ll see if I can find it myself.

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