Personally I am a IT tech / consultant. Yes, I get paid to
break fix others problems or implement ways to torture staff in retraining.
Personally I have not played a game since EQ Velious expansion that I have found left me so breathless in its expanse and its freedom. Travel took time, the social network was tight and people TRAVELED together to adventure. This is not to say that the game had it all "right and correct" but it was the high point of adventure and I always measure a game I play to that feeling.
Anyway this little blog is about giving ideas to new games and why it should be changed. Explain yourself for your view as to why it should be so.
Problem 1. Levels / Grinding. It always annoyed me that a person should achieve a level and spend so much time doing essentially nothing to just "play the game". We all have heard from every game we play that the game begins at "X" level. This is just unexceptable.
Why do we bother with Levels as a measuring device to "skill". measuring one persons patience to see if he/she does not get so bored in two hundred hours as to quit a game seems insaine. Killing the same thing over and over, or playing "fetch/retrieve the stick with npc's" is not a game its an insult.
Remove levels. Yes its as simple as that. Create "skill sets" and have people work towards goals to increase those skills. Keep things simple and dont start adding hundreds of skills per character. Or multiple levels per "skill". Lets say four non-combat and two combat skills per character. Think of the diversity and fun of adventuring knowing you are UNIQUE. No more "best builds" ala WoW. or Holy Trinity as EQ. You would still get a Stong offensive or Stong Defensive person but would they be able to do X. Do not make taking of the same skill twice possible.
If you must have levels make it so you can advance by Experience or you choose to advance to the top level but with deminished statistics that you can increase via a hard quest later on that is a solo quest only. Keeping people on a treadmill loses players that can afford to play but refuse to waste time doing nothing. This inturn leaves a pool of adolescents that just drive the social side of a game to the ground.
Problem 2. Downtime / Social aspects of the game
You will be shocked to hear this I am sure but in MMO's people talk. They may not even be raiding or adventuring but they generaly will end up talking. But there is so little for them to do other than talk/raid/quest in any game.
Why not just introduce something as easy as pubs in cities or on main roads that they can play mini games in against each other. Something as simple as Checkers, Chess, Poker, Darts, Dominoes ... anything. Its an option the player has to do and it will be a nice break from spaming the "INC X, is on my ass and its mad because i pulled its tail!" macro key. It will take minimal time to implement and think of the fun people could have playing "gnome pong" against a wall.
Problem 3. To PVP or not to PVP.
This argument has been going on for so long that even I with all my fake arrogance and wisdom do not know when it first started. Although UO seems a likley suspect. Thousands of players, not just kids, like to PVP. the competitive edge is a thrill to some and an annoyance to others.
Mix them. Yes, shocking and it will cause countless arguments. But why not?
Its safe in the civilized world and its surrounding lands but for true treasures you need to adventure into the "wild places". Once your out of hearing range of a local law enforcement officer the knives should come out!.
Problem 4. Equipment imblance.
It never ceases to amaze me how game after game they get this wrong. A character should not be defined by his equipment to the point he is a demi god compared to others.
Fantastic raiding equipment should be for raiding. A dragon bane sword is that .. a sword for fighting dragons. The level of equipment damage of a raider vs a quest / group reward should be the SAME no different. You can make one more attractive to look at but if you create an imbalance of such magnitude the game dates and becomes hard for new players to "get into". For examples I drag into the light of day "Everquest" and "World of Warcraft" both have ridiculous imblances in quest characters compared to raiders. on the magnitude of being DOUBLE the stats / HP / enchantments etc. They are in essence playing a different game.
Problem 5. Encounters
Am i the only one that is bored with "send the tank in, heal heal heal heal" yay we win, or "doh you missed a heal" encounters. they all come down to the same very monotonous types of encounters, some needing a click on a stick you quested for at some point but same stuff really.
How about using the enviroment.
Example: All the magic users casting damaging spells on a mountain while the others buy time distracting a monster until the mountain topples on top of the beasty.
example2: Big fat monster gets stuck in a cave and all slap his bottom till he dies. Watch out for that Fart!
Example: You have to set snares and bait enemies into the traps.
Example: Your team has X time to get an artifact and smash it to make an immortal monster that is heading towards a town mortal. a team of lets say 12 head up a mountain to do so while the rest of the guild runs to fight the monster .. will he be mortal in time for them to save the village?
Example: Your a thief you have to filtrate a lair of killer bunnies, find the X and if you succeed it will lead you to Y! yippee. Just dont get caught and by the way did we not say that if you are seen that X will be rushed away to safty?! no rushing to the end and grabbing the item. bugger.
Your a wandering minsteral and you want to be famous!
Example: you compose a song from a quest system. for example you see a romance (NPC story) and you note parts for a song. You read history books in game and find a story of woe/love/battles. and once a month in game you submit a song and it is voted by all "minsterals" and the winner is made into a "effect" song or your character is celebrated in game by a plaque in the market or some rubbish.
What I am trying to get across to developers and designers is there are more things that could be implemented in a game than just the run of the mill hack and slash, lets try being a bit more creative.
Anyway I have things to do and I doubt anyone is silly enough to read this far so I will stop typing now.
Just as a note: I have played wow, EQ, EQ2, LOTRO, Vanguard, Starwars and so many others that its embaressing to admit. For the time being i have to settle for Civilization games as they seem a little less shallow. Bring on conan and lets get disapointed again imo.