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Could a game like this succeed?

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I am not looking to create this game, since I know how difficult it is to create MMO's, but I'm just curious what you think of the idea. Basically, the game would be an MMO, with no NPCs and no quests. Pretty much the game would provide a world and content for the players to explore and interact in themselves, and it would be up to the players to create an economy, build towns and houses for themselves, possibly set up a government. So the story would not be prewritten, but would be created entirely by the actions of the players. This means that RPing wouldn't be necessary, since each player would be doing what they wanted to anyway. The way I personally would implement this would be to have the world be something like an unexplored continent, and have new players "discover" it by landing there and starting out with certain tools and resources from their "boat". Some developers might have to start the game off by overly RPing at first, but by the end I think players might even be giving other players quests for rewards that the two of them negotiate. I see it as somewhat like Wurm Online, but far more polished. I'm not sure how I would want leveling/combat to work, or if I would even want leveling. If I did, I would want it so that each player starts off equal, and then becomes more proficient in certain skills as they use them, but in a way that's completely transparent to the player. Edit: Combat - if stat based, then it would be kinda like Oblivion. Otherwise, it should be more based on the skill of the actual player, and more like a fighting game.

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That's good, but without NPCs to give a frame to the game, the game just relies on player interaction for its content. Which doesn't work. Why do you think table-top and live role-playing games have game masters and plots?

Also, how do you expect players to set up a government by themselves? People won't agree on who gets to do what.
It's best to have a pre-existing structure in place but where all NPCs can eventually be replaced by players.

Also, if your unexplored world is empty of any NPC, what's the point of visiting it? You might as well stay in the city where there are things going on rather than walk around in empty forests or mountains.

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I like the idea of starting out with NPCs, but then as more players join slowly phasing them out, actually. That way things like government coups could happen, but there's still a starting point.

The point of exploring the empty world would be to make it not empty. Like if there's a forest with nothing really going on that a player finds, he'd be able to clear out a chunk of it, build himself a house using the trees he cleared, and settle there, maybe hunting for food in the woods or maybe traveling to town more often to trade things.

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I hope a game like that would succeed! That's what I'm trying to design.

I'm thinking of having VPC*s who do lot's of the boring stuff to allow Real Players to do the interesting stuff.



*Virtual Player Characters.

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By NPCs, I meant just people - I thought that was implied in the character part of that, but I guess not? Idk, I don't play enough RPGs to be sure of the terminology.

But yeah, there would be various animals and monsters, of course, otherwise it would just be a big open world with nothing to do other than fight other players and do things you could do in real life. It only becomes interesting when there's other things to do and actual threats to the player's lives to motivate some to take action.

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Quote:
Could a game like this succeed?
Basically, the game would be an MMO, with no NPCs and no quests.

Yes.
It's called an MMOFPS.

Now, if you meant to ask:

Quote:
Could a game like this succeed?
Basically, the game would be an MMORPG, with no NPCs and no quests.

No.

Can it be made and have people having fun playing it?
Yes.

Will it succeed at a profit gain?
No.


Here's a way to test your idea out.
Seriously.

Go get about twenty people.
Find a gym somewhere
Tell them this is the game
For every ball they collect, they get 10 cents.
For every "mission" they complete, they get 2 dollars (write up some "obstacle tasks" on note-cards ahead of time and put them at "stations" in the gym)
Make sure some of those missions require teamwork to finish.

Watch them go.

Now.

After they are done with that, then tell them there's a new game.

For every ball they collect, they get 2 dollars.
That's it.

Now go.


You will immediately see teamwork go out the window and you will also see no one trading with each other for anything.


This is pretty much what tends to happen in a free for all player only RPG.

If you aren't sure about that...then just grab any RPG game you like.
Then get some friends together to play this pen-and-paper RPG.
Scrap missions right away...they just get to do whatever.
Anytime there's an NPC in the game, just hand it to one of the players and have them play the NPC from that point on.

And there you have it.
An NPC-less, non-questing RPG.

Now see if they like the world as much this way.

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In my opinion it will not work. The major problem is the human natur. In a virtual environment like a game there's nothing to gain and nothing to loose when it comes down to "real" life properties. So, gamers tend to do things they would never do in real life.

One of the most feared characteristic of some human players is to bully others, destroy the environment, or just plain destroy any fun game experience of other players. This happened in every single multiplayer game I have played so far (Quake,HL,BF,EQ,EQ2,WOW,DAOC,AOC,LOTR,some RTS,EVE....). It is a sad story, but as game designer you have to deal with it :(

So, a open sandbox game without any ingame "law" (enforced by i.e. guards) or undestroyable tasks (quests) will result in chaos and anarchy. Maybe some "good" gamers will try to enforce some kind of law, but most players will just leave and play some other less "stressful" game to have some fun. First the noobs will leave, then the frustrated part of the gamers, then the hard core gamers and at last the bullies :/

--
Ashaman

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The existence and success of Second Life seems to refute suggestions that this sort of idea can't succeed at all, but I do wonder if the fact that the players are being placed into a significantly more fleshed out and developed world would have a significant impact. It's worth noting that Second Life is most definitely not a traditional "game" as such however, and participants may have more trouble establishing any stable sort've systems given a more restrictive framework with rules and boundaries to what they can do.

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I hold to what I said, if the question is in regards to an MMORPG, then it will not work.

Simulators, such as Second Life, are not the same thing as an MMORPG remotely.


However, I should rephrase somewhat here because I do so much dislike such rejection of radical attempts and risk.

I should rather say that it will not work by taking a normal MMORPG structure and simply removing the NPC and Quest functions out of it.

If, on the other hand, you drastically and radically approached the game with a complete understanding of what the task was to build an MMORPG without quests and NPC's and knew that the game had to be constructed from the ground floor up entirely different than any MMORPG to-date in it's philosophies of identity, ownership, and community, and strove to form every small detail to enhance the fusion of player society within the constructs of a fantasy gaming environment with flexible goal setting systems then you might have a shot if you can find a market strategy for it.

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