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My Next Generation MMO

Posted by ycluk Monday January 7 2008 at 7:12PM
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I played few MMO games for long while,.. Ultima Online, EvE online, WoW, Planetside, World War 2 online.

I also tried many trials or short period play,... Lord of the Rings, EQ2, Tabula Rasa, Guild War Factions, City of Heroes, Ryzom, Voyage Century, Rappelz, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Jumpgate, Vendetta Online, Entropia Universe, Age of armor, Heroes Online, Anarchy Online, and probably few more...

Ultima Online and EvE online was the 2 that has closer to real world environment (compare to other games) with enough complexity in the game features and sandbox style, open-ended game. However, each has their problem. UO lag as hell, EvE action is too slow.

Most MMO these days are pretty much cookie-cutter, easy mode style, and click to move. They mostly are character level, with quests (go there do that style) to rise your character level. This gets more and more boring when more of this style games come out.

On the other extreme, 2nd life and Entropia Universe is like virtual life that lives in another world. One life is busy (and sometimes trouble) enough for me, so getting a 2nd one doesn't interest me at all. Also, these games don't have pvp excitement as appearing as other games.

Planetside and WW2 online are MMOFPS game. Planetside has less subscribers compare to when it first came out, and WW2 online has some (I will say) technical issue, like crash to desktop and connection to host lost, and they could happen frequently. But both games get repetitive over time cuz they only kill and kill and kill, so there is not much Role-play element in there.

Neocron 2 is an MMO game with FPS and RPG together, but it has so little population, and I don't like the user interface HUD.

After playing games for these years, I am still waiting for my "ultima" MMO game which has first person 3D view (UO's 3D look, but 2D overlay graphic ain't acceptable) like a real person to move around (not click to move, but WASD style move like FPS) and interact with other people, but it must have some role-play element to make me feel that I am being somebody.

However, as long as the game's 3D engine makes decent graphic, it is good enough. Games like Crysis and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes that cost a bloody fortune before you can play the game will not make my list. Gameplay is more important than graphic, but the graphic has to be decent to allow players to interact with the game easily and feel like in a virtual world.

The game must have pvp element built-in to allow intensive pvp actions. Dealing with other people is the most complicated and the most exciting, especially when it comes to pvp actions. When there is pvp action, there will be people grouping up, so the game must have in-game party voice chat. Don't tell me to type and shoot, this DOES NOT work. Using TS or vent won't work well because people may not always able to party up with their guild/clan members.

If there are group, they need leaders, when there are leaders, there will be someone commanding the group(s), so real-time strategy need to be put in the game for better coordinated actions and communication. The leaders should have a 3D interface on screen for assigning short-term objective to defend or attack who/where.

Also, it can't not be completely instanced MMO because MMO game should not only have massive amount of players, but also a massive landscape to form a massive spatial environment. When games are instantiated, players in one instance can NEVER see players in other instance, and that takes away the massive landscape environment feeling. That's why I always feel Guild War and Fury should NOT be called MMO.

But on the other hand, there is no one single server can host infinite amount of people & action, so I would suggest using multiple server to form the final game world. Just like UO, there are multiple servers to form a shard, when players moving to a different area, their character are transferred to another server to continue their actions. This chained-servers formed persistence world would enable all players playing one single persistence game world, and that will make the game truly MMO.

Games with space as background theme would be able to make biggest "potential" game world because universe is the biggest possible place that we know today. Also, if players can actually take their character and walk inside their ships, stations, or even land on a planet and walk, it would be a real huge universe.

For character level or skill level based issue, I will say neither of them. If you ever played America's Army, some of you might have scored 90% in the marksman rifle test before you can go for sniper test.

If the game has some kind of examination server that enforce players to take tests before using any equipment, it will be truly skill based, not only based on how long the character in the game has " do something repetitively ". It will measure how good the player is for using any particular tools. Also, this way can eliminate the countless hour of grinding for experience, plus players can get from 0% of a skill to 100% instantly if they are really good at something. This way will have the most effect in team work because the guy next to you in your team tells you that he/she knows how to do something, really knows how to do it.

The next game that I will call a good game must combine FPS, RPG, and RTS in an chained-servers MMO world environment with player's own skill to determine their destiny. However, it may not come in any near future because the hardware support would be high for the massive 3D world environment, but I will wait for it.

Some of you might think I am crazy because all these ideas together will make the game too complicated. BUT, I mean, these day's MMO are all look alike. They might have different background, using different weapons, having different class and skills, but essentially they are almost the same in gameplay style. I mean, there are no significant difference between driving Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, right ?

For MMO game industry, it is time for a change, it is time for some innovation, also base on all of our game making and playing experience, it is time... for Evolution.

All that I have said above will be my next generation MMO. What is yours ?

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