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8/19/12 8:59:18 PM#1
This is going to be a long post so just read whatever you want or just ignore the whole thing.
I've been playing MMOs since the word "MMO" was invented back in the UO/EQ days. No single game ever kept me playing for long with the exception of WOW, which I eventually got fed up with after 4 years of playing.
For many years, I dreamt of the ultimate MMO that will keep me playing all day and never ever think of trying anything else. I game that will make me forget the real world at least while I'm playing it. I dreamt of a game that had the stuff I really want and do it well.
Anyway, today I decided to stop dreaming and just write down my ideas on a paper and introduce it to you in this forum. I know that many aspects of this game will not appeal to some, but I'm sure many will enjoy it.
The game I envision is a futuristic game. but I'm sure most of these ideas can be used on a fantasy MMO as well.
So here goes>>>
World full of lore:
Many games today rely on a simple story fit for teenagers. There is usually little else other than that main story. A game developer will need to hire not just one writer but dozens of good writers and ask them to create the world and fill it with stories fit for different audiences of different ages and historical events which helped shape the game world. If the stories were well written, I imagine that it could lead to the creation of a whole saga that can be introduced as books and movies as well as the game itself. All of which are worked on at the same time. I dream of a game where I actually look for things I saw in a movie or read in a book.
Skills and Attributes:
Let's start with the leveling system that dominates MMOs today. In most games, reaching the maximum level does not mean your xp grind has ended. It only means that you completed one part of the game and it is time for you to start the next part of it. I hated the leveling system and the talent/ability/attunement etc... trees because they limit your progress and forces you to stop trying to get better skill wise and just start grinding for gear.
What I would like to see is a limitless skill progression where skills will increase as you use them, but these skills will need certain attributes to be raised. I suggest the following attributes: Strength, Constitution, Perception, Dexterity, Agility, Intelligence, and Charisma. These attributes can be raised by completing missions, killing bosses, earning achievements etc... (This is to prevent power skilling). To increase your melee skill for an example you will first need strength. If you had 10 points of strength you could raise your melee skill to 100. This will only be a soft cap however, and you will be able to go beyond that but it will be many times more difficult. As your melee skill progresses, it will require other attributes such as perception, so at 200 melee skill as an example, it will be influenced 90% by strength and 10% perception. At 300 melee skill it will be 80% strength and 20% perception. Other attributes will be needed to raise the melee skill even further. While this method does prevent players from becoming too strong too fast, it does not prevent them from skilling up indefinitely. It will also prevent players from beefing up a single attribute and ignoring all else. Also, certain skills appose each other, so for an example if you try to raise you firearms skill while wearing heavy armor, your heavy armor skill might increase a point or 2 but it will drop again the moment you start shooting with your gun. This will also greatly slow down your firearm skill progression. You can lock a limited number of skills to prevent them from dropping while using apposing skills to provide some variety.
Realistic Combat mechanics:
A lot of people want combat to be skill based (not in game skills) instead of gear based. I disagree. Not all of us are dexterous or have a $100+ super mouse or know exactly where every key is on his keyboard. What we need is a combat system where the character can automatically use any skills or abilities you have taught him, and your character's skills (not your) will determine how good he is in combat. You are playing the role of a certain character. You are not that character. If your character is charged by a bull and your character had high agility and gained an evade ability, you will see him role away from the bulls charge path. You can still move around and queue combat abilities for him to use, but you will periodically lose control over your character for a second or two while he does his own thing. You can decide how automated your character is, but if whoever develops this game succeeds in developing a flawless AI combat, a fully automated highly skilled character should be able to defeat even the most skilled player controlled characters. At the end of the day, if your highly automated character wins a duel, you will feel satisfied that you have created a character who does very well in combat. This game should be about tactics and strategy, not nimble fingers.
Also, I'd like to see a mob fall to his knees when I break his kneecap and not just keep charging towards me. If you engage in melee combat you will see a lot more than just swords swinging and mobs dropping dead. Melee combat should be highly engaging, and those engaged in it could, push, shove, kick, punch, and even hold their opponents while fighting (Saint's Row III did quite a good job at it).
You can build anything you want anywhere you want. Certain areas will require you to build on specific lots (let's call it the white zone), but in other areas (green, yellow, orange and red zones) you need to map a certain piece of land and access a special structure planning window (think the Sims?) and create your structure (architects will do a better job at it (and yes there should be a skill called architecture). You can then hire a NPC company (or a player with high construction skill) to build it for you. All structures can be attacked and destroyed by either opposing player factions or even mobs. The white zone will be the safest, while the red zone will require a powerful guild to build and protect any structure built there. You will need to protect the structure even while it is being built. You can hire NPC mercenaries to protect it for you and even construct turrets there. The building site will be covered by a building screen or cover until it is completed. You can manually modify and enhance a structure yourself later on as you wish. Outlaws (yes you can be an outlaw) can build hideouts and use them as a base for raiding and looting other players structures or even NPC towns and villages.
You don't need to fight:
You could work on your combat skills or completely ignore them and become a miner, fisher, architect, construction engineer, merchant, crafter, industrialist, politician etc... If you are afraid of being mugged by other players then hire some mercs or get some guards (politicians will be given free guards) to protect you. Also, you can wear a shield generator that will protect you from harm but doesn't let you do much else. Every profession is well detailed and could easily keep a players occupied and not think about doing anything else.
Most items you craft are made of different parts. You can shape it any way you want by simply choosing what parts you want. You want a pistol handle on an assault rifle loading mechanism using a shaved off double barreled shotgun? go ahead do it. The quality of the product will be determined by the quality of the raw materials, the material processing and your own skill. If you create a successful weapon, you may be asked to produce it in large quantities. You can then build a factory to produce it.
A huge world:
The bigger it is the better. I suggest using true world maps that covers a very large area 100k sq/miles or more. Just tame the maps and adjust them as necessary. That will save you from having to create a totally new map. This will let players explore this huge world in search of randomly generated content, to mine, fish, chop trees, plant trees, build structures, kill mobs, find treasures, kill outlaws, be outlaws, etc...
Open world pvp with a twist:
You can attack anyone anywhere. The only problem is you might become an outlaw and be attacked on sight. Other players can be bounty hunters and look for you for the bounty. You could get jailed for many days, but don't worry, you'll find things to do to keep yourself busy behind bars.
Three different Graphics engines:
The world should be highly detailed, but everyone should be able to play regardless of his PC hardware. I believe 3 different graphics engines could work side by side and each require different hardware to play. A tree will have the same exact dimensions but it will look different on each engine. If you are lagging bad, then either upgrade your hardware or uninstall the game and reinstall it using another graphics engine.
So you kept running until you hit a wall? Nothing happens in other game. I want to see my character get hurt and say ouch!! I want things to be realistic and fun. I know it takes a lot of work to animate and calculate everything, but I believe that a game that could do it will stand out and make us feel that every other game is garbage.
A lively character:
I don't want to play a character I totally control and has no real character at all. I want him to moan if I work him too hard, I want him to suddenly stop running and look back at me and tell me he is hungry. If I click on a powerful boss while he is alone I want him to tell me: You are a suicidal maniac.
Download on demand:
The world is huge and is full of content. You will not need to download most of it unless you visit it. If you get close to an area which you have not previously downloaded, the game will start downloading that area. Also, if months go by since you last visited an area, the game will automatically delete the game files for that area.
The world changes due to players behavior:
Whatever you do will impact the world. You threw a bottle of beer you just drank? It stays there until someone else picks it up. This will also provide dynamic events, such as someone picking up garbage and then receiving an automated email thanking him for it and receive a reputation enhancement. If you mine a hill, it will change to show that it was recently mined. If you chop down a tree, the tree stub will remain there for good or until someone removes it. If you kill a named mob it stays dead for good. The same mob model can be used (with a different color perhaps) but with a different name.
Intelligent mob spawning:
One of the biggest problem with today's MMOs is that a mob could just spawn right on top of you. That is totally unrealistic. In this game, if you kill a bear, another bear will only come out of a bear cave nearby. You can access that bear cave and clear it out. New bear caves might show up and that might just create a new dynamic event. The idea of farming mobs for skill should be totally removed by imposing a cap on how much skill you can gain from killing a specific type of mobs, hence there will be no reason to fill the world with mobs.
Missions and events:
There will be introductory missions to help learn how to skill up and play the game. There will also be "randomly generated" missions which can be done by single players, groups or even raids. These missions are generated by a well developed AI and can be accessed through the missions tab. Missions should be the only way you can do instanced raids or group dungeons, and no 2 instances are the same.
This is an ever changing world. The developer will need to developed an intelligent AI that knows how to generate events throughout the game world. These events can be engaged by either a single player or might require hundreds of players to complete successfully. Giant ants might just come out of a hole they just dug up in the ground right in front of your eyes and attack you or a farmer neerby, or a gigantic titan might just appear and start ravaging through villages, towns, an player fortresses, so it might be a good idea to make sure you structures are well defended. You also need to be ready to lose a structure or two from time to time and have to rebuild it.
Off map/offline exploration:
I'd love to see us able to send our characters anywhere in the world to explore while we are offline. If the real world map was used, and only Los Angeles and the surrounding areas were accessible, then it will be possible to send you character to San Francisco to explore there. Beware though, if you send him too far you might not be able to play your character for many days. The reward might be well worth it though.
Ok I'm tired of writing. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I will need to write a whole book to put all these ideas on paper. What is important to know is that such a game will be a huge project that only the biggest companies can do. Some of these ideas might not be doable at all, and others might not appeal many players, but if at least some of it is done right, it will define the MMO genre once and for all. Movies, books and many other products can be produced within the same project. I already have a story involving an alien invasion which went wrong but shaped a new Earth where human went back to fighting against each other (as usual) to acquire what little technology the aliens left behind while preparing for a possible renewed invasion at the same time.
If a company could take on such a huge project, I believe that this will give us players renewed hope for the future of MMO's, and will give us something to look forward to.