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News & Features Discussion  » General: Why a Horror MMO Won't Work

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117 posts found

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/06/10
Posts: 525

Feliz seria que hora

12/15/11 10:58:36 AM#41

in order to deal with the endgame issue. this one is also a no brainer. simply put the game into monthly (or weekly etc depending on the feel the devs are going for) cycle. let it happen in somthing close to real time, where the begining of the story happens, people are thrown into disarray and scattered, and must find eachother and organize to survive. let there be several ke key events that happen, like a supply drop, or a dam exploding (perhaps these could be somewhat random) and the whole time, the zombie NPC's are increasing steadily, and being long distance aggro pulled towards the greatest number of humans near to them.

this would create a race to build whatever survival station you and your clan wanted to build or use (you could board up a building, hide in the sewers, survive as a small nomadic band of zombie killers, or solo alone and try to gather items and hide)

each cycle would end in a grande finally, which was extremly difficult to survive. whatever players die, suffer permadeath, but the ones that live get to persist with all their gear into the next cycle and begin again. with random city generator, this would have enormous replayability, as various clans fought over resources and space, and just plain warred with eachother as a zombie horde grew all around them.

surviving characters shouldnt be able to be that powerful, as you dont want some killer elite taking over the game. perhaps a few weapons, and single plus 1 to a stat. enough to reward the player without creating unbeatable bulwarks. perhaps players that die become NPC zombies to add realism



Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/12/09
Posts: 899

12/15/11 11:18:22 AM#42

Horror for me is the anticipation of suffering without any hope of relief. I can jump out of my chair for a bit but unless it's different everytime, it will become mundane.

And as for WoD RP games...

I played Vampire, Mage, Werewolf and even Trinity. The most pressing issue for most seemed to be getting their black makeup correct and being very witty. More like Metahuman 90210.

There is NO miracle patch.

95% of what you see in beta won't change by launch.

Hope is not a stategy.
"This kind of topic is like one of those little cartoon boxes held up by a stick on a string, with a piece of meat under it. In other words, bait."


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/29/06
Posts: 198

12/15/11 11:21:03 AM#43

Also you would see a werewolf in a pink tuxedo and orange hotpants called "mashed potatos".


People would, sadly, ruin it.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3618

12/15/11 11:31:42 AM#44

Zombie appocalypse sandbox game.  It would rock!


I don't care about not being scared in a horror  mmo because I don't scare easily after all these years of scary movies.  And monsters in bikinis or named IDIDURMOM would make me laugh.  Comic relief is always welcome, especially in the horror genre when you need a respite from the nail biting.




Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/06/10
Posts: 525

Feliz seria que hora

12/15/11 11:58:49 AM#45

why dont people get that a monster faction would suck?  are werewolves going to craft? are zombies going to head over to the auction house?

people imagin a stupid idea (monster player characters) and conclude that a horror mmo would suck. 


subtract the bad idea and you end up with an amazing game.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/20/10
Posts: 51

12/15/11 12:03:39 PM#46

I was thinking about PERMADEATH and maybe there is an alternative... We had back when I was a kid what we called "the circle of death" the mecanic was simple when yhou entered the game you were given an ID and a target ID which you didn't know who it was in RL (the game was similar to LARP) but it was your ennemy and sometimes you also were his but not always.


at some point there were so many players that we had to "graduate" some of them to a highr circle, those who won would go up and those who lost would go down.


I an horror MMORPG, this mechanic could look like: you succeed in your PvP task, you go up one ring, you fail you go down... by death 3 rings down or by conceding victory 1 ring down. Of course, the top players would boast having kept their characters in the upper rings for months while lesser players would keep trying.


So your mission tonight could be: kill the zombie lord of town X... whils the zombie lord (a player) would have as an objective to obliterate the resistance in the school of the same town X using his minions... inside the school, another player could be tasked to protect the innocents hiding in the school with a success treshold. This is how players could group up or maybe you could piggyback on a friends task... the mechanic needs to be thought through but you could have hundreds of mission templates randomly distributed to players of the same circles of death.


how to include PvE in this game... well, some tasks could be PvE, those would not make you climb up the ranks but give you the supplies you may need for PvP or you could set-up shop and sell the supplies to PvP players... do some crafting, I need to sit down with ArenaNet or Btehseda and brainstorm this whole thing with them.


Anyone got their phone number?


Steed of Tardcore

Joined: 8/29/08
Posts: 5637

Confident, cocky, lazy, dead.

12/15/11 12:15:02 PM#47

Great write up once again. <3


Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 17509

12/15/11 12:26:04 PM#48
Originally posted by warmaster670
Originally posted by Loke666

It is true that most monsters all have turned into Casper, the wimpy ghost and wusses in makeup

If all you look at is twighlight and other crap sure, stop watching garbage.

The still gory stuff is just about insane serial killers and similar stuff. I don't think I seen a scary monster movie since "The thing".  Even Bruce Campbells funny but not cute movies are a thing of the past now.

Don't bad mouth garbage, all the really great horror movies are garbage, but great gargabe. The problem is that all the stuff now is either pathetic Scy fy movies (don't ever see "Mouthman") or stuff for teenage girls.

There was a time when people like Carpenter and Craven knew how to make nice and bloody movies, now we at best get Joss Whedon...


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/05/08
Posts: 109

See no evil...

12/15/11 12:33:13 PM#49

in all honesty, the steve jobs zombie would've made me lol if i had seen it in a horror mmo.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/25/11
Posts: 894

12/15/11 12:33:23 PM#50

I know this is not what the topic is about but since others are giving ideas of how it could work ill share mine


players as only humans (not the zombies) skill based system.

i think permadeath IS needed, it has to happen this way for players to actually fear going into a fight.

resources need to be extremely rare, ammo, clean food and water should be hot commodities. ammo should be so rare that in most cases players would rather hide/run from zombies rather than blast them.

food/water is needed to be consumed

a dread system - you may be sitting behind your computer eating nachos loling at the zombie horde running your way ... but your character isn't. it should make your camera shake, throw your shooting off and other actions.


basically overall is this game wouldn't be about leveling and grinding, it should be about surviving and more often then not getting resources without direct contact of the zombies.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/03/07
Posts: 509

12/15/11 12:41:23 PM#51

An excellent article. But every problem can eventually be overcome with some effort, ok a hell of a lot of effort.


Those morons with names like L33thaxor and crap like that.


Random name generator for all players, giving everyone a unique first and last name that sounds like a human being's name. (Can be options based on your gender/race/nationality.) No player made names.




Story/Atmosphere being lacking due to large numbers of asshats, or watered down due to too many people. (Aka respawning mobs, quests/missions with no notable impact.)


Large scale instances. (Yes I know I used the evil word, let me explain.) I don't mean 1-24 man instances. I mean several hundred players instances over a very large area. Say for example you have this city that acts like a quest hub of sorts. A mission sends you out on a insatnced quest zone where the story involves that quest hub being partially destroyed. After the quest you return to a seperate instance of that same quest hub, but where half of it is actually destroyed, and you can never go back to the old one, giving you and anyone else that's done this mission a sense of progression and lasting effects, at least somewhat. Want a friend to help you but toof ar apart? They can still travel to other zones with you, just not the same hub.

Not exactly solved I know, but it's a bit better, keep in mind this was just off the top of my head, I'm sure several developers with time on their hands can come up with better.


Finnaly trying to give a real sense of danger/fear in a MMO is indeed impossible unless you limit the number of players to just a handful. There isn't a damn thing thats frightening about a zombie apocolypse where humans are all armed, trained, experienced, and utterly unafraid of death or pain. As well as numerically evenish to the zombies.

Let's face it, if a real zombie apoclypse happened today, it would be over rather quickly with modern weapons/military.

You want to make a horror MMO REALLY SCARY? add Permadeath, poof! Now it's scary. :P

To find an intelligent person in a PUG is not that rare, but to find a PUG made up of "all" intelligent people is one of the rarest phenomenons in the known universe.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/08
Posts: 4889

12/15/11 12:41:45 PM#52
Originally posted by Cruoris
Originally posted by ArEf

Easy way to fix all this:-

Only allow the players to be humans. They get killed, they get killed for good.

AI is endless swarms of zombies, massive zombie-horde summoning whatevers and creepy mofos who'll climb up walls and then eat your brains.

Players are bastards who'll kill you and steal your stuff.

Why is this so hard?

this is the perfect idea for a zombie mmo.  it captures all the actual elements that are scary, challenging, and tense of about zombie horror. letting people be zombie just wouldnt be fun, and would be totally missing the point of the genre. 


but no zombie players.

unless someone wants to name all those zombie movies that focused on a single zombie ambling around and chasing people.

I have an IDEA! You have to pay to play to be a human but free to play players can be zombies. Faction restricted chat so they can see what each other are saying but the other faction only sees meaningless gibberish. 

Free to play players would unlock other creatures as they level up instead of leveling up their toon they would be leveling up their account to get access to bigger and badder creatures. 


This way pay to play players get plenty of pew pew fodder and those that want to play as a creature get to and those unable to pay a monthly fee can still get in on the action. 


Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 17509

12/15/11 12:44:38 PM#53
Originally posted by NMStudio

I've lurked around these forums for a while and I've noticed several mentions, both by yourself and others, about a Lovecraft MMO.  You're comment about fights that you can't win is intriguing, and I'd guess that you've put a lot of thought into it.  Have you ever put all your thoughts into one place?  I'd be curious to see what you had in mind...

Once upon a time there was a pen and paper RPG made by Chaosium called "Call of Cthulhu".

It was very different from other RPGs in many ways. Players were playing investigators who fought cultists and foiled the plans of the evil old gods (In the city of Rlyah dead Cthulhu awaits dreaming), all based on Lovecrafts Mythos.

The players were not powerful and while you could fight the minions of the gods you had to outwit the main bad guys instead of fighting them because that would lead to either you going insane (which would be cool in a MMO, you seeing stuff that ain't there and so on) or die.

So there were times where the only way to survive really was to run away instead of pulling together a raid and kill the bad guy.

CoC were usually set in the 1920s new England and most players were scholars, teachers, dectectives and other rather regular people even if some soldiers and cops also appeared. In the game I fought cultists at the pyramids, found a frozen city with really old evil in antarctica, hunted a vampire killer, joined an evil cult and evil fought a dragon god in the djungle of Kambodja (that was set in the 60s though, and we wiped but it was a lot of fun).

No other RPG system have really been so full of horror, triumph and fear as that one and many old P&P players remember it in a way that would make the most rabid UO follower to blush, it is really the greatest RPG game ever made to any medium.

And I believe you could put it into a MMO, even though it would be a very different MMO compared to anything made so far.

Chaosiums original mechanics is leveless, you have a load of skills with a percentage chance, the higher you have the harder is it to increase in them. Combat is dangerous so strategy and wits are very important even if you just fight lowly cultists. The minions of the old gods are a lot worse but in most case possible to take down.

Sanity is however more important than hitpoints. And I could see a real cool sanity mechanics for a MMO where the game really turns creepy if you are low on it. :)



Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/09/06
Posts: 695

12/15/11 12:52:16 PM#54

The concept of a horror MMORPG would work just fine.  It will not work as a WoW/EQ clone.  It would have to be something different.  Think to yourself, when was the last time you were scared playing a video game?  For me it was Dark Souls, because the game punishes you.  A horror mmorpg would need a brutal death penalty.   Honestly, this would be a perfect candidate for permadeath.  With Permadeath you don't need an endgame.  The actual game becomes the end game.   And dying would sure as hell scare you.  In a zombie game, seeing how long you survived would be the goal.  You could implement a food/drink/weather system, where players would be forced to scavenge to surivive.  It would be great.

Are you a Pavlovian Fish Biscuit Addict? Get Help Now!

I will play no more MMORPGs until somethign good comes out!


Novice Member

Joined: 4/17/10
Posts: 602

12/15/11 12:54:30 PM#55

Include Perma-disfigure, perma-dismember and perma-death with your horror game and now you got something scary. 


Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 17509

12/15/11 1:01:00 PM#56
Originally posted by sullivanj69

The concept of a horror MMORPG would work just fine.  It will not work as a WoW/EQ clone.  It would have to be something different.  Think to yourself, when was the last time you were scared playing a video game?  For me it was Dark Souls, because the game punishes you.  A horror mmorpg would need a brutal death penalty.   Honestly, this would be a perfect candidate for permadeath.  With Permadeath you don't need an endgame.  The actual game becomes the end game.   And dying would sure as hell scare you.  In a zombie game, seeing how long you survived would be the goal.  You could implement a food/drink/weather system, where players would be forced to scavenge to surivive.  It would be great.

That game is in the making right now. It is called "Class 4" and the lead designer is Jeff Strain (founder of ANET, lead designer of Diablo and WC3).

Read about it here:


Novice Member

Joined: 6/03/04
Posts: 581

12/15/11 1:03:05 PM#57

as much as i wanted to disagree with you.


i cant


youre right


we would ruin it


hell in swtor early access the other day, i ran across a jedi named azeroth


i rest your case

Games i'm playing right now...

"In short, I thought NGE was a very bad idea" - Raph Koster talking about NGE on his blog at


Novice Member

Joined: 1/10/08
Posts: 40

12/15/11 1:09:24 PM#58

pointless and incorrect


Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3548


12/15/11 1:16:47 PM#59
In a zombie MMO I would have players as human, with crafting and economy etc, trying to survive against zombie NPCs, when they died they would be regenerated as zombies (unable to communicate in game) getting double xp but needing to feed on humans regularly to avoid death, if they die or are killed they lose a set percentage of their xp before being able to start a new character as a human( with the xp of the dying one) so the game would become a circle of human/zombie characters in opposition.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/06
Posts: 472

Current MMO dev teams = Keystone cops.A pure comedy of errors,sadly its not as intentional.

12/15/11 2:48:31 PM#60


Players "ruin" an atmosphere of a game becuase the game lets them.The solution is ungodly simple,create the game that doesnt let them.

childish names -easily handled.Game auto assigned names.

childish behavior-again easily handled.

* limited actions adjusted by  char status

* limited text "talk" options,again adjusted by char status.No different than when players talk to npcs.


Holding the piss poor designs of the current mmo industry as the "be all and end all" of what can and cant be done in mmos is beyond silly.

You want strong emotions and "fear" to be felt by the player ?Give the player the sureness that he will lose something important when things go bad.Item loss,permanent char injury,and permanent  char death are enough to scare most players with just talk of implementing such.




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