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Impossible

Multiplayer with a storyline?

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Currently most multiplayer games don''t have any storyline. A lot of people say that it''s not practical to design a multiplayer game with a complex story, but why not? Here are a few possiblities: COOP Cooperative gameplay isn''t very popular in action and strategy games, but it is in RPGs. Currently (as far as I know) the only multiplayer storylines are coop. This is basically playing the single player game with partners, not the most interesting option. Competitive Something like standard team deathmatch or CTF, except far more complex. Instead of playing unrelated games everything (at least for a few days or so) runs as a connected story with two sides. Maybe short cuts scenes or mission breifings between rounds can be used to give the game more of a sense of narrative. Players on different sides can plan their missions to win certain goals, so instead of just trying to win a specific round, you''re playing to change a whole world. Flightsims with dynamic campaigns use a similar system to this, I think it would be cool to add to multiplayer action and strategy games. Massively multiplayer This is the trickiest one, many people have tryed, but I''m not ure if they''ve succeeded in adding stories. A good enough quest generator could probably solve these problems, as well as using a system like the one above (except individuals would have less influence.) comments?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
That''s what Anarchy Online is trying to do. We''ll have to wait until the story line is started to see if it''s succesful or not.

I do think than it''s possible to have a storyline in online games, especially MMORPG, as long as the players are given the opportunity to play an active part in the said story. However, I wonder how good of a story you can make if all you can do in MMORPG is kill stuff, kill stuff and... Kill stuff.

Therefore, my wish would be a good, solid storyline that involves more than just combats (I''d love something with complex politics a la Dune, as long as it''s not a complete ripoff). Give the players a real role to play, allow them to alter (sp?) the story as it is going, and I think it could be succesful, if done in a proper way (I used to hate events in UO where the issue was already planned and there was nothing to do about it).

My 2 cents.

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serious sam ..

try playing cooperative with serious or mental difficulty ..

wowoowowow .. super fun ...



{ Stating the obvious never helped any situation !! }

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There was a game for Nintendo 64 called Armorines. It had the best cooperative play I have seen yet. If there is ever a game like that for PC and playable over the internet, I will most surely buy it.

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What about a realistic massively multiplayer game? Realistic damage, perma-death, etc. This probably wouldn''t work well for a fantasy setting, so I''m thinking either a modern or futuristic setting. Because of the realistic damage players would be more likely to try to avoid combat instead of looking for it.

The goal of the game would be to gain money and power through various channels (business, crime, politics, etc.) Characters wouldn''t gain so much in skills or stats (although an experienced assassin would be better then a newbie, he wouldn''t be invincible in comparision), but players with strong influence would have a big advantage over newbies.

I''m not sure if this would lead to a better storyline (seems like the intrigue it allows for would), but it sounds cool anyway.

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Hey guys! What an interesting topic, mainly because I''ve already covered the idea myself.

I agree that storytelling in mutliplayer games is a pain in the ass, but the challeneges are welcoming I think. MMOG are just about impossible, but it can be done in certain ways. I really can''t say how, cause I wrote an article for a book coming out next GDC and I''m not allowed to talk about it - but it covers storytelling in MMOGs among other things. You may wanna check it out. However I will give out one clue and see where the conversation goes from here.

Tribal Warfare

Now think about that for a while, and tell me how you think that setting would make for a good MMOG storyline.


==============================
"Need more eeenput..."
- #5, "Short Circuit"
==============================

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Have a look at Adellion - that will be a MMORPG with a storyline. The easiest access is on the stratics pages.

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Dont know if this would work, but how about letting the game run for a few weeks, logging special events or major character interaction that have occurred and then generat a story form what info is collected. That way when the story is put into effect, the players feel that they are already immersed into the game. I dont know how well this would work, and for it to be truly original the stories would have to generate around the characters...... something I am trying to figure out how to implement well in my own game. The way I see it everytime you start to play you have a week warm up time to define who you are to the world and these actions help put you in some sort of direction depending on the story generated. This will allow for a new experience every time. Also this will allow character classes to be more tailored to exactly how the person plays the game. (example: steal a lot and your considered a theif class) Tell me what you think.


"There is humor in everything depending on which prespective you look from."

Edited by - chronoslade on August 2, 2001 3:17:14 PM

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Chronoslade:
Tailoring the story to the players is a really excellent idea if you have a small player-base, but it would not work so well when your players number in the tens of thousands, and you can''t guarantee they''ll be online when you need them.

Impossible:
If you want to make a story for an MMORPG, it most certainly cannot be competitive. Players will almost invariably side with the most powerful party, and this will further disrupt your game''s balance. Starfleet Command 2 is having this problem bigtime right now.

The only way to avoid this is to balance each side with NPC''s, but players are going to rue any administrative decisions that work against them, and they will complain very loudly. Those sides that are getting new over-powered NPC''s will probably love it, until those NPC''s start stealing kills, at which time your complaint department will demand a raise for overtime.

If you''re going to make a well-developed story, you will definitely want to keep it cooperative. There will be a class of players who get off on challenging other players, and this class should not be diminished or overlooked, but your focus should be on cooperative play just to be safe. The best players enjoy cooperating with each other, and these are the people who will make your game world thrive.

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The competitive storyline was really more for teamplay games (like Counter-Strike or Starcraft with a dynamic campaign, and a semi-persistant world), so it doesn''t really matter what side players are on. People don''t always side with the winning team in competitive games now (alot of the time they don''t have a choice.) Players choosing sides shouldn''t be a problem, a forced autobalance, or other incentives (like better oppurtunities for cool weapons or a higher position in a MMORPG) should be able to balance any competitve game. Also if the game is designed well enough, one side becoming way to powerful and completely taking over shouldn''t be a problem (and if that does happen you can introduce new plots or just reset the story.)

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