So I have been a gamer most of my adult life, while finding work in computer related businesses, but I also dabble in art.
It's safe to say that I have a lot of experience and knowledge about computers, and computer-based gaming. I have played countless games and have naturally developed my personal “gaming taste”. But, like great many people, I “fell in love” with MMORPG gaming some time ago, and it was almost like a revelation – no single-player game wouldn't satisfy my gaming appetite after that.
I was enthralled, my friends were taken as well. That state took a few years to diminish, through natural means of “getting a bit of tired of it”, but mostly because our games took a turn for the worse.
It seems that every new developer wants only just to copy “the gaming engine” of some successful, previously released game, change a setting and hopes for the best. We have seen plenty of that in recent years, most of them did not succeed in their goals, and looks like we will be seeing of those “copy-cats” even more.
Well, I am personally sick of that. There is no shortage of creativity in today's generations, they just don't get the chance to shine. Blame the economy, blame the lack of courage in investors, blame whoever you want, but until we generally vote with our wallets FOR innovation and courage, we won't get to play really GOOD and FUN and IMMERSIVE MMORPGs like we used to.
In this blog (my first ever blog to any subject) I will try to “rustle up” the stagnation and show that people WANT new ideas and new ways to have fun in a computer game.
Basically, I will throw a bunch of ideas that I think are new and good and would improve our “fun” in a MMORPG – so I'd expect some honest opinions about them from a fellow gamer.
Would you like to have some of these ideas implemented in a game:
Character creation – let's make appearance make a difference - instead of really tiny looking people having the strength of big people (which can hardly be explained in any logical way), how about this:
Body - Small frame: has +5% more chance to be missed by an opponent
-5% on constitution
Body - Large frame: -5% chance to miss in melee combat
Regular body, of course, would not have any bonuses or weaknesses.
Quests – we all played through so many quests, one dude gives you quest, you solve it, go to another NPC, rinse and repeat. If you had done that quest with another character or you saw it when your friend was playing – you know exactly what to expect and it's always kinda “spoiled”.
How about – random quests? Let's say every NPC can give you one of several quests and you never know which one you will get? Everyone loves surprises.
Also, when you are on the way to solve that quest, why not an ambush on the way? I know, it's common in mmorpgs - every mob on the map can “aggro” you, but with some knowledge (and the fact that mobs are usually way too static) you can go around them. Randomness, surprises are needed to get you on your toes and to get rid of that “chore” feeling when you do quests. Basically, my idea is to add a chance for an ambush on you or your party when you are taking a quest. It would add a level of fun, at least for me (you can get this “ambush” from real people on PvP servers in current games, so this idea is mainly for PvE).
Combat (slow-motion) animations – most people love “fatalities” in Age of Conan, it's a solid concept and fun when it works. But why not add even more cool animations in a fight? It's done great many times in single-player games (some beautifully done moves in Batman: Arkham City), why not in MMORPG? I know, while you watching animation, someone may be killing you :) But, it can be easily done in “instances”, boss-fights, you name it... Why not see yourself doing warrior-like crazy stunt, or block a boss with your shield in slow-motion, or... pick whatever combat move in slow-mo you would like to see, it CAN be done.
PvP: I love PvP. But I don't see it done right in recent years. It's all “battlegrounds”, “arenas”... not enough world PvP. We need more zones exclusively made for PvP, with resources in them that are worth fighting for – materials to give to crafters for making better equipment. We seriously need more of that and I'm happy to see it being made in ArcheAge, but we can only hope that game will be released in the West.
Weapons: I would love to see the introduction of “fumble” element in a MMORPG. For example, if you're using a huge-ass sword, you're prone to do something nasty to yourself or someone near to you if you drop it or it slips away from your grasp while you swing it. The chance for fumble can be really, really low, but when it finally happens, can be a moment to remember :)
Repercussions of the said fumble could be a “cripple” effect, where you are slowed or forced to use only one arm, and if you're not healed by a potion or a spell, you would have to go back to town and have it cared for. This is where a mount would be more than useful, and “come prepared” mindset would be advised to players. Maybe introduce a potion of “vanish” so when it happens that you're crippled you can get away from fight and heal (nice revenue boost for cash-shop games? Heh).
What about “racial” weapons? The ones that can be used only by certain races, or easier wielded by certain races? Hasn't been done much in MMORPG, but it's quite familiar in pen-and-paper RPG. Or, the ones that have a “bonus” damage against certain races? Let us have some of that...
I hate “soulbound” concept. I really do. You can't use the weapon someone else used, because it's bound to his soul? Lol. What would I want is to go back to crafter-made weapons and equipment which is damaged by use, can be repaired, but ultimately losing it's efficiency, just like in real life.
Appearance: We all love to look good in our games. To look bad-ass. How about this: by participating in combat and surviving, you get SCARS. BUT they vanish if you die and you're respawned. The more scars you have, it's obvious to every one looking at you that you survived many fights. These may seem unimportant, but believe me, many gamer's hours are spent just looking at your character or others. It would at least somewhat taken away the obsession about person's gear and how he looks in that gear.
Do we feel good in a MMORPG when we take down higher-level opponent? And when we do it alone, without assistance? I know I do. How about a victory shout when you take down such an opponent? Let's say, that “roar” would give you a 20-minute 20% increase in damage. BUT, with a 4-second cast, so if anyone HITS you while you're “roaring” you get +10% on received damage for 10 minutes, feeling very humble about being hit in the moment of triumph :P
How would you feel if you could be in the place of “boss” npcs for at least a while? I've got this idea: what if there's gods, dieties that each race worships, that can enter the body of a worshiper (player character), making him huge and powerful so he can mow down armies of enemies? I think that would be epic. Let's say that each day at random time, for about 2 hours, one player is randomly chosen to do just that – and if he accepts he can go to PvP zone and help the fight for resources. GM help would be probably needed for the possible asshat behaviour (not doing anything, for example), or when the player is disconnected, but those kinds of peculiarities would be easily worked out.
Now to extend this idea further, and to tickle the imagination of those who are familiar with pretty standard races of many high-fantasy role-playing games, I give you this graph:
You can see there 4 main races, each worshiping their own god who represents the forces of Light, Order, Dark and Chaos, and 4 possible more for those who are “in-between”. Races who are opposite to one another would really hate each other and would do 50% more damage when hitting the opposite race, making fights between them really fast and furious, because... deep hate does that. Worshiping another god could be made available, with intriguing possibilities of race-betrayal, deep hate towards betrayers and maybe even physical change mirroring a change in worship.
Those are just a few of ideas thrown about, that I feel could really impact the horribly stale MMORPG market. Implementation of any new ideas can be hard, and also can be done right or wrong. I just feel that I won't pay another dime to play any of the same-old with different graphics. We need something new and fresh.
What do you think? This may seem it's not much (well I have more ideas if you want them, I just want to see if there's any reactions), BUT I bet there's more than a few of you who are thinking the same, and who are even mulling over a few ideas of their own. Feel free to let them be known here (if you're not scared of them being stolen, lol)!