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My MMO Game Design Blog

Mission : To create a new mmo system and world lore for a new mmorpg. Each of my posts will be continually updated with more details / implemented suggestions from comments posted as well.. I am heading in the direction of an evolution type game.

Author: Artermis

Features you would like to see?

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 10:06AM
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Just a simple post to ask the community what you would like to see in a new mmo.

NPCs with AI

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 10:04AM
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As my focus on the game is to make one that is as dynamic, and not static, as possible I was thinking about npc AI (none player character artificial intelligence).


Now, the few mmo games ive played, they have always either been static as in stood still, or slightly dynamic in that they have a path that never changes, attacks an enemy that has pvp on. Very limited AI indeed.


If my game was to have npcs (and really it will probably have to have as there could be too many pitfalls without them) then id like it to have something like this :


They have basic instructions as default, like attack anything that attacks it, move from point a to point b and back again. But also, the ability to give them commands that they remember. Possibly attack a certain race or a certain player name, give them co-ordinates that they patrol and the choice to deviate slightly from that patrol.


A game being developed called darkfall ( i believe will have AI like im talking about. Nobody really knows how advanced as info given out by them is limited. Im aware of vapourware claims but please do not populate this blog with any references to that. Its an idea they intend using, and i like that idea :)


If anyone has suggestions on how we can expand NPC AI then please post them. What roles can they have? What skills do they have? what exactly can they do...

A more indepth Guild System

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 7:44AM
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In my days playing wow (i still do) I always thought the guild system was lacking in depth. I know the saying KISS (keep it simple stupid) may spring to mind but at the end of the day what do guilds get out of all their hard work? Especially the leaders to keep the guild together. Nothing usually. Considering keeping guildies happy helps to keep the players paying their subscriptions I feel they deserve better than nothing.


One of the things that spring to mind is certainly Guild Housing. Im aware guilds form and break up virtually all the time. But, how about new guilds get the basic guild housing in the town, and more progressive guilds that have been around awhile get a more 'prestige' location for their guild housing.


A guild bank is another thing i would want to have. Relying on guildies to control character guild banks are a bit silly especially if you cant be sure theyre not swindling the bank or suddenly head off on holiday temporarily or permanantly without warning!


So i wanted to discuss here, any features you would like to see in a new guild system.

Player owned shops

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 6:56AM
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I think its imperative in next gen mmo's that player owned shops. Yes i know thats nothing new but im pretty sure it can be expanded on and made more interesting. Honestly, im not even sure how games with player run shops work, and i will check it out in the future but.....


My ideal player run shops wouldnt be just selling items that have been farmed, but also trade skills. For example a player could learn blacksmithing and that wouldnt just allow him to make equipment but also to repair it too. As long as he sets up the anvil and has the necessary tools. Another example being a 'magic' shop that doesnt just sell farmed ingredients to sell but can train other players with spells using the 'new skill system idea by the in-game games' post i made at


Im aware that a player may not want to stand in his shop all day giving this service and for the simple selling of items/ingredients they wont have to, they can employ an npc to do this, or even another player! However to learn other players of new skills, then perhaps they do have to be present, so they could give some time to do this.


My game, i really want to have some kind of community feel to it, far too many times i see games that simply have too many towns/cities/areas that are ghost places. I want people to go to a particular town to do things and make a vibrant community, so that in those circumstances players will want to manage their shops properly, and not rely on 'npcs' to do things for them!!

A new skill system

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 5:51AM
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Ive touched on this briefly in another post but i had a bright idea on how to put two ideas into 1! Lets see, im not too keen on current skill, levelling, class systems, i came up with this idea. This system could easily replace a typical class system mmo.


Skills are on a ladder system, the lowest rung contains the low skill and as you move up you can pick up new skills. Maybe depending on what skills you take determines the 'offshoot' skills you can head for. Top of the ladder being the best skills obviously. Possibly depending on the skills you head for gives you 'class names' or something like that with other benefits. Sketchy on that part really at the moment.


Say you wanted to learn basic ranged weapon skill, you would have to find a trainer (or player) who has the skill. Id like to think that players are the main source of learning other players skills and have to actually spend time to train them in the basics at least. Obviously they wouldnt do this for nothing and are maybe paid. Possibly npc trainers would just give the basic skills and the players train other players the higher skills as they learn them (sketchy on this but i hope you can see the potential).


How about, to actually learn the skill you have to complete some 'ingame' games which maybe gradually skill you up until you hit the new skill you were after! For example, for the basic ranged weapon skill you have to purchase the weapon and then throw or fire the item/ammo at a target scoring points based on your accuracy. Maybe you have to run down  a street and target dummies appear at random locations you have to shoot? A player could learn basic paddle boating by travelling down rapids trying to navigate through points. The list could be endless.....obviously these games need making but a great potential for developement here, could also get players to suggest skills/games..

 Id think you can probably still 'skillup' by using the skill as normal but the actually learning of new skills would be the ingame game :) The more i think about this, the more i love about it. Sorry for stroking my own epeen lol but current skill systems in games are just so boring and nothing to them at all.

It's got good potential i think? Would make skilling up interesting and fun.



Linking ingame to outgame

Posted by Artermis Wednesday July 11 2007 at 4:09AM
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Ive read about this in a couple of places and think its a great idea. A mmo that communicates messages for instance to your email or mobile phone, on specific events in the mmo that could affect your character.


Say for instance, the mmo is a world conquest game, you could recieve an email that your town has been layed siege to, or even your market transaction has been purchased, a daily report on how your player run shop has performed. Possibilities are endless. The player could of course make settings to determine what kind of message they do/do not recieve.


The could be an ingame messenger much like msn messenger to contact players out of game. Maybe even an out of game chat linked with ingame guild chat, for those who cannot access the client at specific times.


What other methods / reasons of this type of communication and any benefits to the game as a whole could there be ?

PVE a letdown?

Posted by Artermis Tuesday July 10 2007 at 7:56AM
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So you have just delved into the newest MMO released and your looking for some raiding. As usual, you find out theres 20 dungeons, can only enter them if you have either the correct level, and/or finished an attunement quest line. Whats more theres 5 bosses in there, and drop your equipment upgrades.


Sounds ok, until you start raiding in those conditions. What you find is:


Six months later, you have killed those 5 bosses every single week and has dropped 3 out of your 8 item upgrades. If your not bored yet, you have a mind of steel. I agree, the first 3 or 4 times you have conquered that boss it was great. But it didnt drop the loot you wanted so have to repeat the instance until it does or you get something elsewhere thats better. The fun i once had in that instance disappeared about 8 weeks into the dungeon. Same trash mobs, same bosses....boring eventually.


In world of warcraft my hunter has been going to karazhan for the last 4 months, every week without fail, and still doesnt have the bow drop! Never seen it! How annoying is that. The alternative is to keep underperforming against other classes, or go pvp and get a near identical bow from there. But im there to raid not pvp all day.....and night.


So, shouldnt raiding be a little more interesting than that? There is no dynamic, its the same old same old rubbish. Im pretty sure alot of raiders feel this way.


So how can we make dungeons (or instances) more exciting? Im at work atm so will post my ideas shortly.


Posted by Artermis Tuesday July 3 2007 at 7:36AM
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Recently i have been thinking about an evolution type of mmo. Basically it goes like this:

The player doesnt just play 1 character but a family at the early stage of evolution of a planets life. You could say cavemen but the setting will not be earth. The player does start as either a male or female woman (there will be more than one race but lets stick to humans for now) but they can get 'married' and hence gain a spouse to also control, relatives, and then children etc


Basically nothing is invented yet, no magic has been discovered, no weaponry, no nothing. The game starts with the bare minimum, a player on the world, just like everyone else. Exploring the world they can find themsleves a crude home like a cave or try to errect a shelter.


They will no doubt 'discover' things and 'invent' things on the way. Whether that be by accident or by tinkering with several picked up materials. Magic can also be discovered in this way. Although anything dicovered will be the lowest denominator of the 'skill'. So for instance if someone made a weapon from wood, it would be a club. Later on, someoen might work out how to make a club with spikes or something like that, something slightly more advanced.


When  an item, magic, or whatever is discovered or invented, then this is automatically logged as world lore. Hence the player creates the world lore by their actions.


Thats a very crude outline and leaves many questions.

Crafting and learning new magic, skills

Posted by Artermis Tuesday July 3 2007 at 4:46AM
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In most mmo games character progression is usually down to visiting a static npc and picking up the next available spell,skill etc


Well thats very boring imo. Its just not dynamic enough.


Im thinking about a new kind of cratfing and invention system. Which goes something like this:


You wander the world and along the way pick up several items like candles, bark from a tree, tinderbox. - things like that. You set up camp and are busy tinkering with the items and all of a sudden you realise that by putitng those items together (in a particular order and particular manner - this is important) that this new item can be created. Hence you learn to craft that item.


You do not visit an npc to learn crafting items so easily, you have to learn them yourself. However I suspect I will add in a system where you can be 'taught' how to make some items from another player/npc.


At the start of the game, there is minimal already known crafting recipes (infact there could be none in an evolution kinda game). When a 'new' recipe is learned by putting the right combination of items together, it is checked to see if its the first time that the item has been created, if so, the player is written into the world lore/history that they invented it!


Learning magic could be done in this way too, and other skills.


Something to expand on.....


Posted by Artermis Monday July 2 2007 at 8:35AM
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Questing will be just as indepth as crafting in riftwalkers. They will go hand in hand. There will be four types of quests:


1. Set quests to help build lore and also for the newbie player guide.


2. Randomly generated quests throughout the game.


3. Player created quests. This is where questing gets immersive. Im aware that alot of mmo gamers love questing but complain that they become to repetetive. This is where player created quests will come in. For instance a player could create a quest and give it a reward, an item or gold. The person creating the quest would gain something and so would the successful questor! This will also help drive the player created economy.


4. GM created quests on the fly, to help push lore, new events etc.


Lets take for example, you cant be bothered, or dont have the time to gather some resouorces. Well, you could set up a quest for another player to pick up. You cant have dozens of players picking up the same quest, only 1. Also id think you cant 'duplicate' the same quest, as this would be farming players.


Not only will you be able to create the standard quests found in most mmo's but you will be able to create group quests, for instance if you need a kill a specific monster to get ingredients for spells then you could set this up as a quest and let players sign up to it.


The quest system interface / tools for developers would be prominent here. Enabling players/GMs to set up quests quickly.

Magic and Magic Items

Posted by Artermis Monday July 2 2007 at 7:33AM
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I was thinking about a new magic system of a mmo and came up with this idea, which basically takes inspiration from how magic is done in the stormbringer rpg and magic in dungeons and dragons rpg. Magic not only to 'cast' spells but also magical items. Ok, so basically it isnt a 'new' magic system, just not one ive seen in any currrent mmo that ive played.


This is the system i will be using in my own mmo that i am currently designing. Crafting will be one of the games main features with an extensive system.


Demonic Magic


Magic is based on demonic elements i.e. earth, wind, fire and water. A player has a 'empty' spellbook in which they can populate with their spells. Spells are learned in one or two ways.


1. Copied spell from a scroll or spellbook


2. Spell is discovered while studying in the demonic arts.


Casting Spells requires the player to 'learn' a set number of spells from their spell book. The spells are memorised and can be cast using ingredients. The ingredients are usually pertinent to the actual spell that is being cast. This features heavily in the crafting system.


Magical Items


Magic items are created by enslaving a demon and binding it into an item. For instance defeating the demon to the point where it surrenders to the player. Once done, the demon can be forced to bind inside an item.


There is always a slight chance that the demon can escape from the item, and attack the wearer.


However the type of demon that is binded, determines the magical effect that the item gives. e.g. a low level fire demon is binded into a torch to give it everlasting light. e.g. a high level wind demon binded into a polearm, giving the power of an electric charge on use.


Mixing MMO with RTS

Posted by Artermis Monday July 2 2007 at 7:03AM
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Idea for a mmo/real time strategy mmo

ok, ok im aware that you dont normally think about naming a new potential game until much later on, but for some reason id had the name in my head early on so....

Game name and motto ideas :


motto : from hell demons come
motto in latin : ex abyssus everto adveho

latin : ex abyssus everto
to english : out of hell to destroy


Please note that these are indeed NOTES, AND NOT MY FINAL world setting/etc. Its just to chat about.

Background Ideas:

Riftwalkers is a distant future and mix between a rpg and rts setting.

1. Player Units : Sqaud (humanoids), band(monsters/demons): Basically a player does not play just 1 character, they can have several (amount not decided by likely to be 4+). Which they level/skillup each of them. They can all be the same class or different. Although they have to be the same faction. A player can use all of his characters at the same time. The player issues commands, and typical 'reaction' commands. An AI will also be developed to control the sqaud/horde to make them as dynamic and unique as possible.

2. Factions - a. bio/tech humanoids on earth b. monsters (riftwalkers) from the abyss.

3. There is 2 worlds, one is the home of each faction. Access to the other is gained by entering a rift (rip in space). The 2 factions are heavily at war with each other, with the aim to destroy the other. however, the human faction is attempting to rebuild their infrastructure, starting with rebuilding communities like villages / irrigation/agriculture structers. The monster/demon side is however concentrating on their sole aim of destruction, although they are building outposts/fortifications into newly gained territory.

Hence opening up the player created content side and real time strategy of the game.

4. magic - humanoids have psionics (mystics?), monsters have demonic powers.

5. Weapons - everything ranging from daggers/swords to laser weapons. monster weapons can/are enchanted with demonic powers.

6. Classes - these apply to only the humanoid faction, as the monster faction is 'monster type' and that is the basis to what they can do. Classes will include bio/tech classes, medic classes, psionic classes, soldier classes.

7. Monster types, probably the equiverlant to 'class' but for the monster faction (demons).

8. The earth setting is based into the far future. Normal everyday life is basically at a standstill, as the war wages against the monsters. Humans are developing new and advanced bio/tech weapons and the monsters are gaining more strength as they devour the souls of their victims. There is 'no' typically community areas like cities / villages, the landscape is war torn from hundreds of years of combat. What civil population there is left is based in one of many 'barracks' for protection.

9. Humanoid faction Death - gradual permadeath but dying to a monster (demon) can lead to them draining part of your soul.After loosing a specific amount of soul the character has a chance of 'turning' undead, gradulally but it does happen. This can be reversed by killing demons, thus regaining back some soul, but at a slow rate. If a character is turned into an undead, then they are lost from the player and become 'wandering' undead monsters. These wandering undead monsters retain the skills/abilities they had and can be 'recruited' by a player in the monster faction.

10. Monster Death - permadeath. Which is gradual and similar to the humanoid faction death but dies and cannot be 'recruited' by the other side.

11. Crafting, this will be a large part of the game to enhance the players squad/horde.

12. The game will be steeped in lore and enable players to 'help' create lore in their actions.

13. Although the world will be primarily pvp orientated, there will be lots of places for solo / group pve content including missions into enemy territory.

14. A key and challenge will be to make both factions equally appealing to players. To enable as much an 'even' number of players on either side (that is active) as possible.

15. There will be guilds for humanoids, and Hordes for monsters. Guilds/Hordes in a nutshell are 'armies' of the faction. Lots of player created content here, including implementing ranks, insignia etc. As the game is based around war, the guilds/hordes are concentrated on that theme. Including features such as VOIP to co-ordinate missions more effectively.

16. NPCS - Limited to mobs for the solo/group pve content. Trading and such like are done by the players. Static content is not what we are trying to achieve, dynamic and player created content is the aim. Although this could open up a potential 'aranchy', the war between the two factions is what holds it together.

17. GM created events. Regularly GMs will create and participate in events to enhance the dynamic feel to the game.

18. Resources: The world is completly drained of oil / gas. There is generated electricity and steam/water powered contraptions! (aka steampunk elements). Electronics are rampant (cyberpunk), as is bioware (biopunk elements)

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