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The State of MMO's

MMO's are currently always in development, but the discussion around them is a maelstrom. I want to sort out some of the ideas and give some of my own. This industry definitely needs improvement.

Author: lifesbrink

The Powerful Uber lvl 18 Kingdom!

Posted by lifesbrink Friday February 6 2009 at 11:00AM
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In the game of Everquest, there is a little place called Crushbone.  It is a magic land, filled with desperate orcs, and it was lead by Emperor Crushbone himself….a magnificent orc who crushes all opposition.  Did I mention he is only lvl 18?  Did I also mention that his kingdom was apparently plaguing Kelethin, the nearby wood elf city?  Did I also mention that despite the fact that they were *under siege*, the common lvl 50 Elven guards could go in and wipe the place out over and over again….or that the common brownie skipping around the forest could also wipe out the kingdom of Crushbone?


Ah yes, the conundrum of lvls in an MMO.  Over and over, we have every world filled with kingdoms, dungeons, and other places that have monsters anywhere from lvl 1-1000.  Yet overall, the way that they are designed makes little sense.  Progression is something that is maintained at such a linear rate, but at the cost of making no sense at all.  Time and time again, we have every game plague you with endless quests to kill off leaders, armies, monsters and whatnot that could always be easily taken care of by some lowly guard that sits at the gates waiting for an attack that won't come.


What games need are dungeons and kingdoms and armies that adhere to some basic principles:

  1. Skill Levels:  If a kingdom is taking over or a threat to another, then their leaders, generals, and such should be fairly powerful, and as such, should be progressive in the quests to hack at them.  At lvl 10, you should be striking at food supply chains guarded by lowly militia, at 30 you should be taking out their battalion of flying drakes and at 50 you should be going after the King himself.
  2. Sensible placement of these places in relation to the city you are fighting for
  3. Ensure that the character's city guards could not easily take care of the job, whatever it is.


Although these are not the only ideas that could ensure more meaningful questing, these are a good start for a game to follow.

Quizzical writes:

In some games, the city guards need to be powerful to prevent players of another faction from coming in and wiping out the guards.  But even if the guards aren't powerful, having everything in one area of the world much lower level than everything in another area makes no sense.

A partial solution is to have a "hard mode" that puts everything around the level cap as Guild Wars does, and think of that as the "real" game world.  That's not entirely satisfactory, though.

I outlined another fix to this on my own blog:  have becoming "higher level" correspond to the passage of time, so that it makes sense for the whole world to get stronger together with more advanced technologies.

Fri Feb 06 2009 5:29PM Report
Kurai3 writes:

It kind of makes Sense to have higher Level Guards around the main city of a Race, both for Ingame reasons (Enemy Faction attacks) and for Lore Reasons (The Home city would have the Elite guards in place to guard both the King and the Majority of the Citizens) Sides, what makes more sense, sending the Elite guard to fight a weakling army pushing around the Villages nearby while leaving the King in the hands of a bunch of Low Level PCs or the other way around? Literally I think they leave Crushbone (Or Whomever) Alone because it simply isn't worth their time.


On the other hand, I like your ideas for solutions and I have wondered about this strange placement of power myself.

Fri Feb 06 2009 11:43PM Report
axlezero writes:

The problem is lore.

In a blog I mentioned lore needing to be more of a factor to the modern gamer, because as game mechanics become more polished the more we will knit pick on other details.  If lore is in place you can do anything you want,  you can have a baby orc being raised by a teenage high elf princess.  What happened there? hmm.  You get the point.

If the lore is correct, and sensible, then you would not have random stuff that doesn't make sense or isn't laid out correctly.  Such as two races that hate each other so much and yet they live across the world.  It would be like saying the American Indians and Egyptians were mortal enemies, when they probably didn't know each other existed.  Mortal enemies are usually located near each other where actions made by either race would affect the other one and start wars constantly.  Without the friction, there is no reason why they should hate each other.  (The area of affect obviously changes with better transportation)


Sat Feb 07 2009 5:41AM Report writes:
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