As we all know, there are many MMORPG's floating around the internet today and more are coming out. However, none seem to be any different from the previous other than a graphical enhancement or combining existing 'new' ideas found in others. It's just tradition! What I want to do here is look at the traditional concepts found in our MMO's (let's keep it short formed) and see how we can break away to create a new kind of game.
Be warned, this is my first blog ever and writing is not my strength ... so please bear with me as we look at what I feel to be a sort of unique perspective regarding the online world and I will share my idea using these ideas. Also, I ask that you read with an open mind which is hard to do, especially in cases like ours where we are so used to traditional way of doing something.
The World – Let's explore!
For a bit.
You just started your 'life' into a new online world and are excited to get under way. The world seems massive, and behind every corner you (and perhaps some friends) find breath taking landscapes. But how long does it take before the novelty of this new world becomes the routine travels. Not very.
Now this is not really a concept need discussing, but for the sake of my idea lets do it anyways.
I believe, and I hope that you agree, that exploration of a new world is one of the key features that should be backing an MMO. Developers spend so much time creating a beautiful place and what do players do, they simply spend the time grinding. Maybe it's due to lack of content, but I also believe it has to do with lack of adventure ... exploration!
So for the sake of example, lets imagine a vast world filled with life and is graphically stunning. It's so huge that crossing it would not be possible in a day. This'll give players something to explore for sure. But what else would we be able to do? Well ...
Quests – So much to do!
And nobody cares.
Well, that's not to say nobody likes doing quests, but how many MMO's have you played in which you found yourself grabbing all the quests available and reading nothing but the reward experience and loot you gained from finishing it? The lack of story is another downfall in MMO's (even paid subscription ones) that goes hand in hand with what I mentioned above about exploration.
And again, we resort to grinding.
If you're playing MMO's, I'm assuming you're into the RPG genre in general. Breaking away from the concept of hundreds of simple and silly quests, there should be one main story in the form of a traditional solo RPG. I mean, you ARE someone of importance out saving the world, do you really have time to kill a few chickens for that random farmer?
Okay, I know what you're all thinking at this point. All MMO's have some sort of campaign story (although weak in most cases) and mini quests that are seemingly pointless are a form of gaining experience and loot to prevent the hours of monster grinding. Well that brings me to concept number three ...
Character Leveling – Reaching the level cap!
But there isn't one because there are no levels.
Yes, I know what I'm suggesting is absolutely unheard of. What is an MMO (RPG) without any levelling? A lot of MMO's have what we all call 'end game' content or a heavy focus on PVP. But to be good at either, you need to reach the level cap quickly which means endless hours of grinding ... so you can spend your time ganking (I love PVP).
So here we are in a traditional MMO grinding mobs away and running quests to gain more experience and loot so that we can reach the level cap as fast as possible in a world that is now memorized within a few weeks and all the 'mob camping' spots are laid out.
And now we're breaking from that into this new idea where we have a massive world where you journey on a quest (to save the world ... cliche, but example) and where locations are not spoon fed to you, but rather through your exploration you complete the story. You don't spend your time grinding, because there is no need to level.
But wait, where's the challenge?
Well, because your character may not level that doesn't mean that the monsters you encounter during your journey won't become stronger. But then that raises the question as to how exactly you're supposed to progress any further if you don't have the strength?
Loot, the better gear you have the stronger you become!
But then that itself raises the next question as to how you're supposed to get it if there are no quests to grind for rewards. Well, I'll discuss that next in ... concept four!
Loot – Give me more!
So we're without any quests that give any real loot and since we're avoiding the possibility of having to grind mobs for some rare drops, we'll assume that mobs don't drop loot. So where do you get it from!?
You make it!
Making equipment is simply this. Gathering materials on your journey and creating and combining them to create (hopefully) something better and stronger. By trial and error, combining materials found will give different bonus stats on the weapon or armour you're trying to create.
Not much to say about that. Let's move on.
Guilds – I want in!
How many of you have been in a guild before where you felt misplaced simply because of the enormous size of it. Or on the other side, how many of you were the 'high level' players in a legion and recruiting lower level players meant baby sitting them and helping them reach a level worth noting?
But since we are now without any levelling system, joining a guild won't make you any lower than the veterans of that guild ... you'll be of use the moment you step in. Except perhaps with regards to your loot which now that we specified are made and in which the guild can easily supply you with since weapon and armour have no level restrictions. If you can find those rare materials and know the right combinations to make strong weapons, your guild will rise to the top!
Back to the idea of feeling misplaced, what if each player had a role within the guild itself? No, I don't meant the traditional idea of a guild captain and some officers. I mean actual roles that are fulfilled within the guild to keep it strong. I can't really explain it without the use of an example, but my idea will be written after, so please keep the idea of 'roles' in the back of your mind as it plays an important part.
Well, I think that wraps up my views on some of the concepts we have come to know (and love) in the MMO's we play today. To sum up what exactly I rambled on for the last few pages, we looked at some concepts and how by changing them we could create something new. This included:
World: creating a vast world in which exploration and the visual appearance was an important aspect to the game.
Quests: breaking away from the traditional many quests and focusing on a more solo-like RPG story that took the player on an epic journey from start to finish.
Character Levelling: to avoid mob and quest grinding, there would be no levels that increase the strength of the character.
Loot: to become stronger, weapons and armour would be crafted and made from materials found across the world and by combining them through trial and error, creating new gear.
Guilds: each guild would have a huge focus on the 'roles' each individual played, and in by creating gear for members, would allow recruiting of new players to become an asset rather than a chore.
I would like to thank you all for reading this if you have made it this far. Of course some of this might not have made sense, or you may be wondering in what context would this all work out? Well, I'll write the next entry with my actual idea that incorporates all these concepts ... I hope you look forward to reading it!
If you have questions regarding anything I've said here, please feel free to post comments and we can begin some sort of discussion. I'll post my idea soon, so please keep an eye out!