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"Atrayo's Oracle" @ MMORPG.com

This blog site will mostly by used as cross posts from my main blog site "Atrayo's Oracle" regarding the games industry in general. Such posts will be on probable innovations if not other generalized points of view. http://atrayosoracle.blogspot.com

Author: Atrayo

MMO Games Concept: Universal Avatar Service

Posted by Atrayo Sunday December 26 2010 at 12:36PM
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Hello All,

For those of you that are PC gamers that have played multiple MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game worlds in the course of your life so far. Will know that in each game world you play on your basically creating your avatar from scratch. What if you don't have to go that route any longer? What if you had the choice to play a "Master Avatar" that is created in your main MMO and can be transferred to other MMOG within reason. How many of you would enjoy such an option offered by a game publisher that hosts multiple MMO game titles? Let's say what if: SOE (Sony Online Entertainment), NC Soft, iJJi, Nexon, Aeria, and a lesser extent EA Games or Turbine Entertainment.

All of those game publishers if not others that offer 3 or more MMO game titles in their catalog. Could offer a value added option of the "Universal Avatar Service" or (UAS) for a shorthand acronym from now on in this description. I'll use references of SOE in my examples since I'm most familiar with their selection of MMO game titles.

Consider SOE that offers a premium subscriber plan called "Station Access" at $30 US each month. That a premium subscriber plan could offer already to its members at no additional charge minus some "up sell" Ala carte charges explained later on. For those game publishers listed above that are F2P business model mostly. Than a "Universal Avatar Service or (UAS)" can be utilized as an account upgrade option. If not for those F2P game publishers can offer a (UAS) feature at $10 to $20 US at a one time fee. Also the game publisher like SOE, NC Soft, EA Games (That owns Mythic Entertainment & Origin Systems makers of "Ultima Online") can choose to offer a (UAS) service plan as an account upgrade option. Can charge the aforementioned $10 to $20 one time fee plus an additional $3 to $5 US dollars each month. (if it wasn't offered via a premium subscriber plan like SOE's "Station Access")

Now that the general pricing scheme has been explained minus the would be "up sell" charges in getting the attention of the game publishers. This is what a "Universal Avatar Service" plan is all about.

First, continuing with SOE MMO game titles as per the examples in which they offer. That a (UAS) player account that creates a player character in their main MMO game world of choice. Can transfer or export that player race to all other MMO game worlds, no matter if the game theme or lore is utterly different. For example, picture "Star Wars Galaxies" where a player creates a "Wookie" as a player race. With a "Universal Avatar Service" plan that player can export their "Wookie" avatar into all other SOE MMO games as an exclusive option. Be it: Everquest, Everquest 2, Planetside, Vanguard, Free Realms, the upcoming MMO's of "The Agency or DC Online Universe". The only difference is how that "Wookie" player avatar will appear due to the different graphic engine's in each MMO game world. But, all the racial traits of that "Wookie" will be maintained in all game worlds that the player wishes to explore within the SOE MMO games catalog they host.

Second, a player with a (UAS) account will create a "Universal Surname" for their master avatar. Where the first name can be altered from MMO game world to game world. But the family name per say would be the universal identifier of such a master avatar played in numerous game worlds.

Third, the (UAS) account will maintain the same gender of their master avatar in all game worlds. If they wish to alter the gender of the avatar in another game world this is where one of the two aforementioned "Up sell" charges is utilized. For a fee of anywhere $3 to $5 US dollars the player can alter the gender of their master avatar for that one particular MMO game world they have just entered.

Fourth, this feature is one of the most important ones that the base player class or skill set can be maintained as a form of continuity across all game worlds. The (UAS) account will have the option to exercise by their choice to keep the base player class or skill set. Which they had in their main MMO game world, when the (UAS) first began.

So if that aforementioned player "Wookie" was a "Doctor" in "Star Wars Galaxies" they'll have the option of being a "Templar" in "Everquest 2". One base class or profession in-game if not a skill set for a MMO game world that uses a skill tree system instead. Can be transferred from game world to game world at the players discretion. Of course the player can opt to go with another class or skill set instead. Without feeling the need to being pigeon holed in game play, but at least it is an option for them to explore.

If the (UAS) player chooses to keep their main class or skill set into another MMO game world. They'll have the second opportunity of the next "Up sell" by the game publisher. That for an additional fee say $10 to $15 US a player can opt to be given a player character at a mid level range in game play. For example in a game world with a level cap at 50 can opt for a level 25 avatar in the base player class or skill set that was transferred to this new game world. What this offers is a need to avoid the newbie content at the outset of the game. But not cheating the player out of the high end game content. Which they'll still have to earn via game play achievements just like the general population in that particular game world. This also offers the player the chance to avoid at least up to a mid range player character. From replaying the same base player class or skill set in effort that was already invested in their main MMO game title.

Fifth, SOE had offered for a time a player character service called "Station Players". For their games of Everquest, Everquest 2, and Vanguard which included player stat tracking, leader board's and rankings, personal photo galleries, item database, rag doll profile picture with stats of personal equipment being shown. All of these offerings comes with a "Universal Avatar Service" plan at the outset. It will be offered on a personal web page with tabbed tracking results just like SOE "Station Players" was designed to offer. But, also other players can right click the player avatar's in that particular game world and inspect them. Seeing similar information from that one or more game worlds the (UAS) exists within. It is up to the (UAS) player to offer publicly or restrict the information or pictures that are shown in privacy permissions.

Another secondary offering of this feature is for those online game communities that have game divisions in multiple MMO games. Where 3 to 5 (UAS) players or more are listed in any one particular guild in-game. The guild stats, rankings, photo's, wealth holdings, etc... will be tracked as a courtesy. So the "Universal Avatar Service" players that belong to a mutual guild that plays at multiple MMO game worlds from that one particular game publisher. Will have this added incentive to their game play sessions in many MMO game worlds.

So to recap the "Universal Avatar Service" plan will have a player account the option to export from their main MMO game title. Their player race, class / skill set (if so desired and pay extra for a mid range character), universal surname, gender (a fee to alter a player gender per game title), and a player character tracking stats and progress service across multiple MMO's (including their guild if it qualifies). All of these features can be transferred to any number of MMO game titles that such a particular game publisher offers. Within their present to future inventory of MMO game titles.

This is a shot in the arm of premium subscriber plans for those game publishers that base their business on game subscribers. If not F2P (Free to Play) game publishers offering such an upgrade account option at an added fee via a micro-transaction store front. The days of redundancy in game play can be changed from its current model for gamers into the creation of a "Master Avatar" across numerous game world titles. It is up to the game publisher if they so wish to pursue it as an offering for their installed customer base.

Cyrael writes:

I can honestly say that I wouldn't be interested in this service. As a roleplayer, each character for me generally comes with a character concept. In addition, there's nothing that would ruin my immersion faster than seeing a wookie running around Norrath.

 

This could work for purely social games, but not for your standard fantasty/scifi/etc games.

Sun Dec 26 2010 1:14PM Report
Vrika writes:

Think about what your universal avatar would look. Then think about playing Mario, and replace Mario with your universal avatar.

Mon Dec 27 2010 5:01AM Report
Atrayo writes:

Hi There,

The inspiration for this concept i've had for a long time and never wrote down until recently. It was from the old G4 Television show called "Portal" cancelled long ago. Where they had one human avatar that appeared in SWG, Asheron's Call, and Dark Ages of Camelot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal_%28TV_series%29

Basically all MMORPG's if not MMOFPS have human's as a default race selection. The Wookie example was for those seeking uniqueness in their game play, it could be "X" race inserted into another MMO game world.

Yet again that isn't the only feature in a would be "Universal Avatar Service".

Thanks again for your input.

Mon Dec 27 2010 4:37PM Report

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