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Tert Comments on MMOs

I have my ideas on what the perfect MMO could be and I'd love to see what everyone else thought. Thanks!

Author: Tertiary

Homework is Fun! A Paper for English 100 Concerning the MMO I am Designing:

Posted by Tertiary Wednesday October 10 2007 at 10:43PM
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So, here's the deal.  The doof in class that went over my paper was an idiot.  I have a great deal more respect for the gaming community in general than her and I'm curious if y'all can help me out a little.  I need references, but I can do that myself...  what I need from y'all is to see if I wrote anything that was blatantly wrong or if I defined anything in a manner that can be made even more infantile than already presented (ie. if you see something you can explain more simply, let me know!)  Appreciate the help.  Oh, and ignore the title...  that won't be the title of my game...  I just needed a title so I wasn't writing 'my game' and 'the game' all over the paper.  Thanks again, let the slander begin!

World of Essensia
Games have existed as a form of entertainment since time unmemorable. As technology has advanced, so has the way we play games. The Internet has created a whole new way for people to join one another in playing games, the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG.) In these games the person playing them (the player) creates a role for himself in a computer controlled world through an avatar, or character, that is usually able to do fantastic and often unrealistic things. However, in many of the recent titles in this genre, extended game play becomes boring as the player is forced to repetitiously kill the same creature or participate in the same unintuitive crafting exercise with nothing else to occupy their time. World of Essensia, a title I am developing, will reduce the monotony of the multiplayer online gaming environment by introducing more options to the player: a rich history and world that the players may interact with and change, a variety of actions to perform with or against the computer controlled aspects of the game, and the ability for the players to submit their own ideas on how to improve the game.
The history of Essensia was turbulent, but mostly irrelevant. Whatever the latest catastrophe, the remaining populace has forgotten everything it once knew. There are some remnants in books and other texts that mention aspects of the worldwide war that consumed all but a handful of major cities and the memories of the world. Other texts mention wonders the people can’t even imagine, much less reconstruct. This knowledge is only what has been found in the remaining cities – there is more in the world waiting to be rediscovered.
Currently, the world has recovered. Seventy years have passed since The Last War ended with worldwide amnesia and civilization has begun to tame the wilderness anew. The cities that survived have several outlying communities, and the smarter and more industrious races have built new capital cities. As the heroes of the last seventy years retire, it is time for new blood to venture into the wild and conquer it.
The player’s characters will help shape the course of events from this moment forward. Charting new lands, building new cities, developing alliances or wars, or finding the lost history of the world depends on them.  The old heroes will not leave the world completely and their efforts will be seen, but it is the players who will truly shape the future.
            The key aspect of World of Essensia is customization. From the moment the game is started, the player has complete control over everything they see and do. Every visual aspect of a character can be manipulated. The statistics that govern how well the character can accomplish different tasks are detailed so that it is possible to decide exactly where its character’s strengths and weaknesses are. In a popular game in this genre, World of Warcraft, your character is largely defined by his class, or profession. World of Essensia breaks out of that mold and allows the player to choose what aspects, skills, or abilities will define their role in the game.
            Perhaps this is beginning to sound complicated? Remember, customization is the key feature in World of Essensia! If all the details and minutia aren’t interesting, make the game easier to interact with. The user-interface, or the means by which a player interacts with the game, will have a sliding scale from simple to complex that allows the player to decide how much detail they wish to invest in all aspects of the game, from combat to crafting.
            Speaking of crafting, World of Essensia introduces a never before seen feature that will allow the player community to customize the world more than any previous MMORPG. In World of Warcraft the player opens a menu and decides what object they will create. If they have the proper materials they press a button and, after a short time, the object is made. Simple and efficient, as are most of World of Warcraft’s features, this method is good enough for many gamers. The problem is that those who enjoy the crafting aspect of a game want more detail. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to create a unique item with the crafter’s sign or seal on it? On the simple end of the user-interface, World of Essensia will be similar to World of Warcraft. But, move the slider to make the user-interface more complex and the player is now able to customize the object visually and statistically (the latter meaning they are able to have the item give unique bonuses to abilities and skills.)
            But, how does a character get to the point where they can create completely unique object? As mentioned earlier, World of Essensia follows a less common path for character advancement. Players have access to all the skills, abilities, and spells in the game from the start. How well they can use those skills is initially dependent upon the corresponding statistic (In World of Warcraft: Strength, Intellect, etc.) So, how do skills improve? Use them. The more a task is performed, the better it can be performed - just like real life.
            For those unfamiliar with online gaming, it is commonly difficult to advance because of congestion in ‘starting areas.’ When players begin the game they are sent to an area with creatures or activities that are appropriate to their abilities. The problem is: Everyone else is sent to the same starting area. To combat this problem, World of Essensia’s landmass will be roughly equal to Earth’s. Most MMORPGs use multiple instances of a single world and spread the players throughout those instances. A single world of this sort is called a ‘server’, because it is hosted from a single computer server. While this is a viable solution it limits the population of each server, and that limits the number of people who can interact with one another. World of Essensia will be a world in more than just name.
            Expanding on that concept, World of Essensia allows the players to alter the landscape of the world to suit their needs. Player cities and structures will be an important part of the game. Some areas will need to be unlocked by building a bridge across a terrain feature, as seen in another MMORPG title, Horizons. The players will be able to build mines, lumber mills, and other buildings to help store and refine materials. Housing is available for storing their personal things as well as giving them and their friends someplace to hang out in a setting that they have created. Castles, walls, and other fortifications will also be available to help keep cities safe from intrusion by monsters… and other players.
            While World of Essensia will be employing various means to allow someone to play without worrying about another player killing them, destroying their home, or stealing their things, player versus player will be an integral part of the game. Without player versus player the game can be played normally, without any penalties, which allows casual players to enjoy the experience as much as anyone else. If they choose to participate in player versus player, however, they are able to receive bonuses to various aspects of their game play.
            Realm versus realm is another aspect of player versus player that was introduced by the game, Dark Age of Camelot. This feature allows factions, groups, or guilds to compete in large-scale battles and wars and receive bonuses similar to those available for participating in player versus player. Many of those that participate in player versus player might choose not to participate in this feature, those who participate in realm versus realm similarly are not forced to participate in normal player versus player combat.
            The experience everyone is most likely to have at some point in the game is player versus environment combat. The environment, in this case, is any creature or aspect of the game that is controlled by the computer. In every MMORPG to date the environment has been primarily reactive. The character attacks a creature or travels too near it and it attacks them if it is unfriendly. In World of Essensia the environment will be proactive. Not only do players risk attack if they venture too near enemy territory, if players attempt to build their own settlements near enemy territory then it is possible the entire settlement will be attacked. Friendly creatures might approach players to ask for help, too. It’s important that the players don’t feel like they’re being picked on, because the computer will tell creatures to attack one another, too!
            That brings us to what is, in most situations, the end. Death, in World of Essensia, is permanent. In most games the player faces a minor penalty and then they are shortly back on their feet killing helpless monsters. This is likely to be the most heatedly debated concept with arguments such as how attached to characters people become and how often games ‘lag.’ Lag is when your computer tells the game world something, but the game world doesn’t get the message and it is currently one of the largest causes of death in MMORPGs. Fear not! Player characters are not as easy to kill in World of Essensia as in those other games. And, when they are incapacitated they are not necessarily dead. There are other features in place that will make this aspect of the game less frightening than it at first seems.
            Once the game is released that won’t be the end of its development.  The development team will release regular monthly content updates, the world will continue to evolve, and history will continue to unfold. Also, as in the beginning, so in the end: Customization is the key feature of this game! Every month the player community will be allowed to submit ideas for new content and vote on which ideas should be introduced. The players decide everything in World of Essensia.

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