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Humble Hobo

Tearing Down the MMO Boundaries

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So... let's all pretend that I can actually accomplish this idea. Let's pretend I have millions of dollars and a team of 200 professional MMO specialists. Tell me if you like the idea, then you can tell me if it is possible. I call it Continuous Content. In this MMO, if you kill some rats as part of a quest, the rats will stay dead. This means that you, and only you can complete that rat-killing quest. The questgiver will offer the quest to the first person who accepts, and no one else. After that, he will probably brood in his cottage and think up some new quest to give people. I'm talking abut every action that you take has an effect on the world around you. I mean that once an NPC or Mob is dead, it's dead for good. This means that there has to be quests being generated all the time in order to keep up with the people completing them. This means that the guy next to you is not going to get the same quest, or the same reward as you. This means that pretty much all reward items will be one-of-a-kind, and they will be economically rated based on worth, not rarity. This means that your experiences will always be different from the person next to you. The world will generate plots, people, places, and events whenever developers did not. This would take some of the burden off of developers too, so they could concentrate on the big scale content. Basically, the MMO is a new experience every day, and there would be much less grinding. This is just my breathless explanation of the basic concept: I haven't thought of all the details, but please give me some feedback. Do you even know if you would enjoy such an MMO, or would it frustrate you. After you have given me some thoughts on the idea itself, feel free to throw me the technical aspects (I realize this is an extremely difficult thing to actually produce). Thanks!

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You'd have real problems with extinction and exploitation of the environment, since a sustainable play style would be either PvP (since toons will always be a renewable resource) or really boring (unless you have a very sophisticated farming system and a way to keep griefers from burning your fields for shits and giggles).

Edit: The theory is interesting, and I'd like to see such an environment implemented on a much smaller scale. For instance, looking at the Crysis technology, I am filled with pipe dreams of functioning tropical ecosystems, and multiplayer environments where people can build structures, harvest resources and affect the world like a spectacular 3D verson of Clonk Planet. But would it be fun? Even in Clonk Planet, you can't run a multiplayer game without some jerk cementing over your mine entrance or lobbing explosives at your windmill just because you have a windmill and he has some spare bombs.


An MMO game with consequences to actions would be a griefer's paradise.

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Original post by Humble Hobo
So... let's all pretend that I can actually accomplish this idea. Let's pretend I have millions of dollars and a team of 200 professional MMO specialists. Tell me if you like the idea, then you can tell me if it is possible.

I hate to contradict members with much more experience than me, but honestly an MMO is not hard to create at all and doesn't take any money. WoW costs millions to create and maintain, but there are plenty of MMO's that might not be as WOW (forgive the pun) but still aren't terrible. You wont have 10,000 subscribers, but honestly, I find 200 average users to be more than excellent. Remember that Ragnarok has private servers running from average joe's computers, and the server emulation software that wasn't stolen (I wont mention names of software, but there were at least two, one stolen, and one developed) was developed by unpaid developers.
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Original post by Humble Hobo
I call it Continuous Content.

In this MMO, if you kill some rats as part of a quest, the rats will stay dead. This means that you, and only you can complete that rat-killing quest. The questgiver will offer the quest to the first person who accepts, and no one else. After that, he will probably brood in his cottage and think up some new quest to give people.

This isn't an unheard of idea (all of my pipe dream games incorporate this, for instance), but it's an idea I love. Like I said all of my MMO pipe dreams have persistent content like this.
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Original post by Humble Hobo
I'm talking abut every action that you take has an effect on the world around you. I mean that once an NPC or Mob is dead, it's dead for good. This means that there has to be quests being generated all the time in order to keep up with the people completing them. This means that the guy next to you is not going to get the same quest, or the same reward as you.

Some quests can be repetitive. For instance, if the ARMY needs food, but doesn't want to be seen buying from any one source, they might have you procure five pieces of bred and pay you for it, then have the next guy and the next do the same. Now, "I need rare potion ingredients to finalize my very specific potion," "ah, thank you for this, with this I can finish!" *next player* "I need rare potion incredients..." is unacceptable in this model.
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Original post by Humble Hobo
This means that pretty much all reward items will be one-of-a-kind, and they will be economically rated based on worth, not rarity. This means that your experiences will always be different from the person next to you. The world will generate plots, people, places, and events whenever developers did not. This would take some of the burden off of developers too, so they could concentrate on the big scale content.

Don't get too carried away. I've been considering the logistics behind it, and honestly you're better off comming up with "believable" quests as apposed to everchanging ones (like the one I mentioned above). Certainly when, say, 2000 players complete the quest something major should happen, but you'll run out of quests long before you would otherwise if every quest is unique.
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Original post by Humble Hobo
Basically, the MMO is a new experience every day, and there would be much less grinding.


This is just my breathless explanation of the basic concept: I haven't thought of all the details, but please give me some feedback. Do you even know if you would enjoy such an MMO, or would it frustrate you. After you have given me some thoughts on the idea itself, feel free to throw me the technical aspects (I realize this is an extremely difficult thing to actually produce).

Thanks!

Here's an idea I never intended to share, but will because your idea is like mine. Whenever a mob kills a (different) player of sufficient level, increase it's difficulty by a large degree (exponential decay in this increase!). When a mob kills enough players, automatically generate a "hunt the manslayer" bounty quest. When a player kills it, that player can collect the reward (even without knowing about the bounty), and all other players who actually collected the quest automatically fail.

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Original post by Zouflain
Here's an idea I never intended to share, but will because your idea is like mine. Whenever a mob kills a (different) player of sufficient level, increase it's difficulty by a large degree (exponential decay in this increase!). When a mob kills enough players, automatically generate a "hunt the manslayer" bounty quest. When a player kills it, that player can collect the reward (even without knowing about the bounty), and all other players who actually collected the quest automatically fail.


Counter-Strike already beat you to it with all the bounty mods. One time I had somebody get 32,000 dollars for killing me.

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Original post by TheKrust
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Original post by Zouflain
Here's an idea I never intended to share, but will because your idea is like mine. Whenever a mob kills a (different) player of sufficient level, increase it's difficulty by a large degree (exponential decay in this increase!). When a mob kills enough players, automatically generate a "hunt the manslayer" bounty quest. When a player kills it, that player can collect the reward (even without knowing about the bounty), and all other players who actually collected the quest automatically fail.


Counter-Strike already beat you to it with all the bounty mods. One time I had somebody get 32,000 dollars for killing me.

Not to hijack the post, but that's a bit different. Imagine a <insert generic enemy> that leveled up greatly whenever it (by some miracle) managed to kill a player. After one, it'd be easier to kill another, then another, until eventually you have a boss-level monster (not player, this is not a bounty system like Eve Online or any player based system) that needs to die else it will savage the poor newbies (this will probably happen to them most, as they are most likely to die to a monster). Adding a quest (and a generated boss name like <adjective> <noun> the <noun> <verb> not only makes the world feel dynamic, but also encourages higher level players to help out newbies, which opens the door to communications between new players and older ones.

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Yeah I think the hardest part would be sustaining what is basically a consumable world. Every minute a player spends in your world, he is eating up the current resources. You would have to have a pretty frisky rat population, or rats would become extinct. If you have a good dynamic ecosystem it could work I guess, just make the untamed or wild part of the world vastly outnumber the players and even if you have people trying to burn areas, there will be many more after that.

Other than that I am not sure what benefit this really adds the game. Whether I am the only one doing a rat-killing quest, or whether everyone else does it to, so what. With higher level quests that would be cool, but I think a mixed system would be the best. All the low level grinding would be handled as normal, but higher level quests, such as assassination, or dragon-slaying for instance, could be one time use (or maybe more if the quester gets killed ;)). That way your actions still influence the game but there isn't as much of a problem with extinction etc.

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You're not going to be able to hardwire in every quest if they're only being done once, so really you need some kind of procedurally generated mission system. You can tailor the missions available to the world stats, so for instance the rat killing missions dissapear for a while whenever there's been a huge cull, and you can entice players towards more unpopular missions types with better quest rewards if you want players to try them.

I'm not sure quite what you mean when you say a monster stays dead when you kill it. Surely unless you have respawns you'll end up with nothing left to kill before long. That's probably not what you mean so perhaps you can elaborate. Something to watch out for: lets say you have a mission where you clear out a town full of monsters, and from then on the town becomes a standard safe zone with shops etc. The trouble is, that's creating content that will only ever be enjoyed by the first people that play the game. WoW would not have had the same long running success if newbies didn't enjoy the same game as the older players. I started playing WoW years after its original release and yet my enjoyment was not hampered because of this. If you want missions to really change the world then you'll need a fully dynamic system, so that for instance the town you "rescue" gets taken over again at intervals so newer players get to play the same content.

Anyway, there's a lot to be said for procedurally generated missions; they would have many distinct advantages. First, it makes the grind less repetative as you can never "run out" of missions. Second, you're never forced into single or multiplayer missions, as both would always be available (for instance, in WoW you got forced to do group missions every so often when there were no single player tailored ones for your level. If you mostly enjoyed the single player missions, this got annoying. Also, if you wanted to play 2-player with a friend, there were never any missions specifically tailored for that). Thirdly, you can use the system to solve the death penalty problem; instead of losing anything like hard cash or exp, you can simply fail the mission (and since the missions are generic, this isn't a penalty in itself, your punishment for dying is simply to not get the rewards of completing the mission). Lastly you can get rid of "rare drops" (which I always thought was a stupid idea) and just have the better items be rewards for uber hard missions that appear at random.

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Original post by Zouflain
I hate to contradict members with much more experience than me, but honestly an MMO is not hard to create at all and doesn't take any money.

0.o Why has no one told me?! Seriously though, I don't have that much experience.
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Original post by Zouflain
Some quests can be repetitive. For instance, if the ARMY needs food, but doesn't want to be seen buying from any one source, they might have you procure five pieces of bred and pay you for it, then have the next guy and the next do the same. Now, "I need rare potion ingredients to finalize my very specific potion," "ah, thank you for this, with this I can finish!" *next player* "I need rare potion incredients..." is unacceptable in this model.

Naturally. I completely agree with you there.
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Original post by Zouflain
Don't get too carried away. I've been considering the logistics behind it, and honestly you're better off comming up with "believable" quests as apposed to everchanging ones (like the one I mentioned above). Certainly when, say, 2000 players complete the quest something major should happen, but you'll run out of quests long before you would otherwise if every quest is unique.

Ah, it seems that people are finding the biggest problem to be that consumable quests will consume too fast.
This would certainly be true if it involved developers making 100 quests in a week, and discovering that players burned through them all in a day. However, the bulk of the quests (in theory) will be computer generated. And no, I don't mean "Person B wants you to kill X rats and collect Y rat bones and bring them back." I mean a generator (that is already in progress, mind you) that generates actual plotlines for sidequests, and generates meaningul quests with different play possibilities. A generator can pump out quests the moment that the old ones are finished, thus no burnout.

Thanks for sharing your ideas and input, everyone!

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Have you considered the psychological problem that the player would always feel totally lost? If I don't have some goal 5 levels away that I'm working toward, how do I know how to develop my character or what gear to buy? If my friend is also playing, how can we play together if I get a random quest to kill 5 thingamajiggies but he gets a random quest to mine 100 iron? Totally aside from the problem that random quests are stupid and IMO quests are only tolerable in the context of a story which makes them meaningful. What little virtual-world feel mmos currently manage to accomplish is a result of players as a community dealing with the same problems, communicating strategies to each other, and competing over the same opportunities.


Zouflain - You can make mine for me then lol.

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Original post by sunandshadow
If my friend is also playing, how can we play together if I get a random quest to kill 5 thingamajiggies but he gets a random quest to mine 100 iron?


In WoW there are very few quests tailored for two people; the single player quests are too easy and the group quests too difficult. The whole point of having procedurally generated quests is that you can tailor them to precisely what the player wants. Go to a quest-giver and say "I want a fighting quest for me and my friend" and he says "Ok, go kill x number of cheesemonsters", where a cheesemonster would be picked specifically because it took two players around your level to kill.

The continuous content described above, so far as I can gather (it's not that clear the way it has been worded), involved taking into account recent quest completions in the way you generate the missions. So for instance, somebody gets a mission to clear out monsters from a village. Once completed, this creates the option of an escort mission (not necessarily for the same player) to let peasants and merchants back into the village. Then you have a spying mission where a player learns more monsters are planning on attacking. This opens up a guarding mission, and then possibly a rescue mission (getting the peasants and merchants back out again) so the whole process can repeat. You could also have the potential of PvP missions when you have multiple factions, so for instance one player or group gets given an escort mission at the same time another player/group gets an assassination mission.

I'm not sure story is that big of an issue in an MMO (I didn't once give a damn about the story in WoW), but you could include predetirmined story missions if you wanted. In other words once you've done enough generic missions to gain a particular faction ranking, it opens up a special mission that advances part of the story.

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Player generated content, would be the only way this could possibly be done in my view

one team simply couldn't make enough content and ways of using the content

thought feel free to read thru my post history (i dont post alot)
Ive looked into the idea too

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I think if you were doing something like this, you would need a reproductive system. Meaning that, maybe the rats have somewhere where they can go and hide, and people can't get in. Then maybe there will be a chance that 2 go in, but 4 might come out later.

Also, as for the goal thing, you could still easily have abilities and gear and items to buy. Another thing is that you could add in the "Share quest" type of thing, like in WoW. That way your friends could do the same quest as you. And you could also limit the quests the NPCs give out, like, if you're level 20, and they have a quest designed for a level 40, they'll tell you they don't have a quest.

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You young 'uns should take a look at the fauna/quest generation system in Ultima Online. While the game wasn't without flaws, it's done better at making an inhabited/living game-world than any of it's successors.

Allan

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Well if you have $10,000 floating around you can buy a license from Id for the Quake 2 engine and then get some programmers together (this would be alot cheaper then going from scratch).

All your ideas are bad though and would make for a terrible MMORPG. You'd have to keep on top of quests constantly and NPCs.

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Original post by sunandshadow
Have you considered the psychological problem that the player would always feel totally lost? If I don't have some goal 5 levels away that I'm working toward, how do I know how to develop my character or what gear to buy? If my friend is also playing, how can we play together if I get a random quest to kill 5 thingamajiggies but he gets a random quest to mine 100 iron? Totally aside from the problem that random quests are stupid and IMO quests are only tolerable in the context of a story which makes them meaningful. What little virtual-world feel mmos currently manage to accomplish is a result of players as a community dealing with the same problems, communicating strategies to each other, and competing over the same opportunities.

These are fair points, but there's any easy work around. An ability to share quests between users - one person has the "master" quest, and everyone else has a "replicated" version. When the master finishes the quest, then all of the people with replicated versions get a divvy of the experience and of the loot. Now people really are working together as a group for a single goal.

As for the stupidity of random quests, that might become an issue. That's why I suggested a quest type (bounty quest) that wasn't totally random, and made sense. "A killer monster has arisen; we need someone to take it down." Things like mine 100 iron for a random NPC really would be dumb, especially if Nicole, the nine year old NPC, wants 2,000 iron for... what exactly?

Still, I hate the idea of all of my characters doing the same quests. Suspension of belief is nullified when two different people go through the exact same experience.
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Original post by sunandshadow
Zouflain - You can make mine for me then lol.

I have made scalable MOGS before, the only reason they weren't MMOGs was because I was limited by the language I was using, and by the fact that I cannot afford a server. I said making MMOGs was easy, I never said maintaining a major 20,000+ user game was (200 average users is certainly feasible, in fact whenever I say a MMOG I want to make, this is what I mean).

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The world will generate plots, people, places, and events whenever developers did not.


This is the key problem in your whole system. Procedurally generated random content is never as interesting as human-crafted content. The day that computer AI is able to create equal or better game content than a human designer is the day that all of us are out of a job ;)

Existing MMO's like Ultima Online and EvE Online have procedurally generated quests, so each one is "unique", but really they are all variations on a template, like "Go to <random location> and kill <random number> <random monsters>. In return I'll give you <random number> gold and this <random item>." I've yet to meet anyone who stood up and cheered and declared that he was thrilled that this quest was unique to him and only him. The most you'll usually get is a "meh, whatever" from your usual MMORPG gamer. Uniqueness is only interesting if the thing that is yours and yours alone is actually worth talking about.

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I think it's neat. You could have quests be procedurally generated in such a way that rats don't respawn, they repopulate. The rat population goes up 1 for every 5 rats every hour, on an equation that would not limit, but slow it or speed it up if the rat population were outside certain boundries. So if there are 20 rats, you get 4 new rats an hour, but if there are 60, you still only get 8 AND a quest comes up that rats are becoming overwhelming, and killing them grants bonus rewards. Every player now automatically has this quest, and once the rats are down to an acceptable number, each player's # of rats killed is tallied, and exp is given out accordingly, and maybe the person who killed the most gets a neat reward. Even more dynamic, is these *rat population is too low* and *rat pop. is too high* numbers could scale based on how many people play the game, how many are on at that given time, and how many are in the level range for rats. In this way, all monsters scale their numbers based on the # of users, thus making it less work on your part (not having to update the equations all the time) and making it overall more precise to the player base (You don't need thousands of rats if everyone is very high level). Could be difficult mathematically, but the programming would probably be simple, and the results could be amazing. This is only one part of what you're trying to do, but it's what I have. I do not, however, see randomly generated *actual* quests being done very feasibly, as the stories would be empty and lacking, and would likely seem artificial. The monster population being this dynamic, though, I think would be a lot of fun. It would create virtual "hotzones" (places players are more likely to congregate) based on whether a certain monster has been over/under populated, and would just be cool.

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Repopulation wouldn't work if the animals were killed off...
and as far as unique quests, you would need a team of programmers constantly making new quests... I mean like 20 quests made a day; which doesn't seem possible.

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I can certainly see where the OP is coming from; the constantly nagging feeling that you actually don't have any effect on the supposedly persistant world you inhabit. No matter how many times the evil duke of whathaveyou is killed, the NPC will always rise one more time. No matter how much gold is mined, there will always be more someplace else and so on.

While trying to provide custom quests given by NPC's for every player is commendable idea, I believe it's ultimately futile. In my opinion, one should look at providing a more fulfilling player-player interaction and one does not have to look further than EVE Online for a very good example of this. While doing missions in EVE given by NPC's is just as uninspiring as in any other massive online game it is however, afaik, unique in the sense that the economy, avaliable merchandise and to a degree even territory is almost completely controlled by the players. This provides very interesting oppertunities for player-player interactions.

Just take something like this as example. That's but one, although uncommonly large, unique incident out of countless that happens within the EVE universe and it's genuinly, in contrary to NPC interactions, persistant in every sense of the word.

</sleepy rant>

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One way that continuous content might work is if npcs were actually more like players. Early Ultima Online tried it, for instance killing npcs would incur the same penalties/rewards as killing other players.

This didn't work too well, however, in part because the npcs were so socially inept. For instance, you would be talking to another player at the bank, and an npcs would repeatedly interrupt the conversation with "I do not understand thee."

Part of the reason quests seem so lame and non-world changing, is the fact we don't really identify with the npcs. Who would want to sit in the same spot all day, hand out the same quest to newbies, give them the same reward, and then tell the next newbie the same thing? Unlike real people, outside of doing this job, the npcs frequently have no life. They just stand there 24/7. They don't eat, they don't sleep, they don't go to the tavern and get drunk on off hours. They don't occasionally go on adventures in-between helping out newbies.

To avoid inconveniencing the no life 24/7 gamers, Shops could be run in shifts, just like real life stores. For instance, the npc Tsena could run the blacksmith shop the first eight hours of the day, then Caldren the next, and then Miko could take care of customers on the third shift.

One game that had a very similar system was Ultima 7. The way the npcs had routines made it seem very alive. We could even improve upon that. Npcs, just like players could occasionally deviate from their normal schedules too.

I don't think perma-death necessarily needs to be part of this however, as long as the players aren't all playing perma-death characters, the fact that the same npcs keep coming back won't really make them seem less important.

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I was hoping that having a plot generator first would help. I want to revisit the rat theory later, but let me give this example first:

In most MMOs, when a group of goblin raiders has a camp in the Blasted Hils, it simply is there, and will always be there, and the goblins will just repop at a steady rate.

I was hoping that in order to create a goblin raider camp, the Plot generator would spawn a leader, perhaps, that actually moves in to the area with it's army. You might be in the spot when the raiders actually arrive and set up camp. They also stay there for a while to stockpile resources and plan the raid on a nearby town. If they are not discovered, they will eventually pack up camp and attack the town. The plot generator would create a motive (perhaps to steal a magic gem). If their plan is not foiled, they will take the gem and return it to some dark wizard who hired them in the first place... and so on.

The plot can keep getting thicker and thicker, and players may interact and change the route of it at any point. It' much more interactive then simply killing the goblin camp leader X and return to point Y for reward.

Yes, it is beyond our reach right now, but I think it can be done with enough effort.

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There are things like that in games already. Take Eve-online for example, they have the same aspects. Even now, Warhammer is doing similar things calling them "community quests".

The problem with such things is that they are random and you have to be on when things like this happen being they are diverse. Players do not want things like this being they can miss it were as before they know it's always going to spawn at X, X location.

Also to add, live events are also similar to this. That is where you have a group of people controlling the NPC's in a sort of live event that can happen all the time. Kind of makes you wonder if the future of online gaming will include "actors" ;)

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Original post by Humble Hobo
I was hoping that having a plot generator first would help. I want to revisit the rat theory later, but let me give this example first:

In most MMOs, when a group of goblin raiders has a camp in the Blasted Hils, it simply is there, and will always be there, and the goblins will just repop at a steady rate.

I was hoping that in order to create a goblin raider camp, the Plot generator would spawn a leader, perhaps, that actually moves in to the area with it's army. You might be in the spot when the raiders actually arrive and set up camp. They also stay there for a while to stockpile resources and plan the raid on a nearby town. If they are not discovered, they will eventually pack up camp and attack the town. The plot generator would create a motive (perhaps to steal a magic gem). If their plan is not foiled, they will take the gem and return it to some dark wizard who hired them in the first place... and so on.

The plot can keep getting thicker and thicker, and players may interact and change the route of it at any point. It' much more interactive then simply killing the goblin camp leader X and return to point Y for reward.

Yes, it is beyond our reach right now, but I think it can be done with enough effort.


But here you will run into the same problem that Oblivion ran into with its "Radiant AI". You, as a developer looking at server trace logs, might be able to tell that the goblins were generated by the plot engine in order to steal a gem and bring it to an evil wizard, and you might think that's pretty interesting, but you probably haven't thought of a way to communicate this information to the player (just as Oblivion didn't). To an average player, they will walk in at some point in the middle and just see a group of goblins, who probably come charging at them and then are promptly killed. The only way that whole getting the gem and bringing it to the evil wizard will ever succeed is if no players stumble upon the goblins. But if the only person who knows that the goblins brought a ring to a wizard is some admin looking at the server logs, then what was the point?

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I've been following this thread, but haven't had the time to reply just yet. There is a lot of good stuff in here. Deleter pointed out the most important flaw in a system like that. Content is consumable. When you do not want things to be repeated, you then get to deal with the consequence that there needs to be a LOT MORE content than the standard game that does repeat content.

Now, H4L has said exactly what I would have. Its not a new idea, it just hasn't been done yet. That is, procedural quest ideas. I've had a system doing just that designed for a couple years now, as I am sure there are plenty of others who have as well. Its not an original idea. Procedural anything has been gaining momentum for quite some time. Just look at the demo scene. There is certainly much to be learned from them.

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
An MMO game with consequences to actions would be a griefer's paradise.
I am also a believer in the truly dynamic world being a needed step for MMO's. I think consequences are absolutely needed to ensure the future of MMO's. Without them, the spoiled brat mentality is only going to get worse and then ruin all online play for other players. Iron Chef Carnage has brought up a valid point regarding what seems like a weakness of this idea. A large percentage of current MMO players would take advantage of these types of worlds and use them to grief and cause havoc. I think the question that truly needs answering is: How do you make a world that only attracts the type of player that you want to play? I do not think there is an answer to this yet, but I do worry about it. How do we make worlds that do not attract farmers and griefers? I for one would love to only have players who would play my game properly. Reality is not so kind, however, and it is not going to be good enough to design with only them in mind. Griefers, etc. are going to have to have a place in the game. The design needs to account for the riff-raff.

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Original post by sonandshadow
Have you considered the psychological problem that the player would always feel totally lost? If I don't have some goal 5 levels away that I'm working toward, how do I know how to develop my character or what gear to buy? If my friend is also playing, how can we play together if I get a random quest to kill 5 thingamajiggies but he gets a random quest to mine 100 iron? Totally aside from the problem that random quests are stupid and IMO quests are only tolerable in the context of a story which makes them meaningful. What little virtual-world feel mmos currently manage to accomplish is a result of players as a community dealing with the same problems, communicating strategies to each other, and competing over the same opportunities.

I think this is valid when using a WoW-style game as the measuring stick. I, however, do not like the idea of comparing things to WoW. It is not the end-all-be-all. Sure, it is the most successful MMO, but we are here talking of ideas it doesn't use because we think it could be done better. I both love and hate WoW. I only ever played Beta, but I watched enough people play to know all of its intricacies. Right now, there is no MMO that I would play, but thats just because I have no time to spare on playing games. WoW has taught everyone to focus on level and loot. Because of this, most people expect level accomplishments and loot to be what gives people their psychological fulfillment. This does not have to be the case. A game can use any mechanic to provide this psychological fix, as long as it is done properly. The trick is first breaking them of their preconceived notion (which WoW had given them).

Regarding the multi-person quest problem: The fix for this is simple. Allow the player to invite someone to a quest. Much like partying, this would allow the invitee to be envolved in the quest and partake in it. This also allows for many more types of quest than are currently seen in today's MMO's. For example, a quest could be given requiring the player to share the quest with others, thus encouraging community and social interaction. This could also be a way of psychologically convincing players that the quest is more important or harder to achieve, thus providing them with a larger sense of accomplishment once the quest has been completed.

As a side note, I would like to point out that ideas are a dime a dozen. Nothing here is new. Yes, I'm talking to you Zouflain :P. I see those who do not ever want to share their ideas "cause someone else might steal them," but this is just funny. Don't take offense, I am just using you as an example. I am not talking about just you. Its fine to not share them, but what is not okay is to think that noone else has ever thought of the same idea. The game I am working on has already approached many of these ideas, if not all of them. I am not saying that because I think we thought of them first, cause we didn't. Im just pointing out that many of these ideas (and I think we can all agree with this) will start to show up in the next crop of MMO's. They are the next step in MMO evolution. Now, whether or not the ideas here are groundbreaking remains to be seen. This is because no current mainstream MMO's are using them. We don't yet have proof.

@spikes of christ: You are not contributing to the thread. Saying "your ideas are bad" and "it doesn't seem possible" without proposing fixes does nothing to help. How about you wait to post until you actually have something useful to add?

Okay, so I am only responding to the first 2/3rds of this thread up to this point cause I feel my post is long enough. I will be back though :P.

<-edit->
Okay, so I finished reading it. I agree that procedural questing is not the holy grail. I think it will help, but it will not fix the problem. I think Luctus touched on the true fix. He called it Player-player interaction, but I think there is more to it than that. Emergent gameplay is what needs to be available (possibly by means of a player-made quest creation interface). That is, new gameplay (in this case quests), that emerges because the system allows for it, but not specifically designed in. Allowing a world to be so dynamic that a player needs to make quests for other players to get everything he/she needs will help a lot here. If players can quest each other in such a way that they can't rip each other off (for instance, if you promise an item as the loot reward, that item in your inventory is then locked and cannot be sold or moved until the quest is abandoned or completed, thus ensuring you can't rip off the player who accepted your quest), then I think we are making serious headway here. Anyways, I think that this is just the tip of the iceburg. I am excited to see what else you guys come up with.

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I've also been interested in this problem, which is really just how do you make unique "things" without shutting out everyone else? Beyond just quests and experiences, this also applies to items, gear, events, etc.

Some background on the idea I had, so you have some context - I wanted the players who did something first to have some real accomplishment, because after all, they succeeded where no one else has yet. But at the same time, I can't just "turn off" that quest/monster/item, because it's a game - I shouldn't have to be up all hours or play constantly just to have a chance at something cool. Also, I've always really liked crafted items in games - I think it adds so much more than just finding a Super Sword off a monster.

So, the problem is off/on is too extreme. I'll explain my idea with an example, so it makes more sense: There is a temple taken over by Evil. There is an object corrupting it, and to destroy it, you need to kill the boss guarding it. The first time a player/group goes in there and actually kills him, his sword shatters and they each get a Greater Metal Shard (a piece of the sword), which has certain properties, and is used in crafting. Now afterwards, there is still Evil overrunning the place, but you can only kill a Mini-boss for a Small Metal Shard.

The Shards would have the same properties, but a Greater could be used to make a whole sword or shield or something, while a Smaller could only be used to say temper, gild, etc, a sword or shield.

I thought this might be a good approach, since then those who really do accomplish things first get something special - but those who come after still get nice things, and feel like they're doing something.

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