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Community Blog Spotlight: Blog as Design Document

Every Week, Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at one or more of the entries being created in our MMORPG.com blogs. This week, she looks at someone who is using the blog system to create an interesting MMORPG design document.

Blog as Design Document
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Our forums have always played host to a slew of MMO development ideas: players saying what they want to see in the next hit game. With our new blog system, though, blogger Artermis is presenting a full game design document.

The game, called Riftwalkers, is still in the early stages of presentation - so it's hard to tell whether it will all come together - but some unique ideas and idea combinations have been presented. For example, Artermis suggests that players will control multiple characters, a new fad idea that seems like it will be a big hit with the long-time players. Gamers love to multitask, and playing hybrids, such as paladins or shadow knights, are being turned down in favor of multiple characters: a warrior, a cleric, and a necromancer can achieve more than any single hybrid.

Some of the systems that Artermis suggests, while ideal and awesome, I'm not sure if they'd work in a functioning MMO. One example of this is having "no NPCs besides MOBs". While player created economies are awesome, and as Artermis says, "static content is not what we are trying to achieve, dynamic and player created content is the aim," this presents a severe issue for late night/early morning players, and for newbie zones as players level past newbie content.

One very interesting idea that Artermis suggests is a player created quest system; instead of fetching 10 orc feet for Random_NPC_100, players will be able to set up quests for certain resources they need, and this quest could be picked up by a single other player. This allows questing to become more like a trade system, where players can request and fill orders for one another rather than the randomly generated gameworld. The downside here is: what if a player takes a quest and never completes it? If I ask for a certain resource, and only one player can take my quest at a time, they can potentially "grief" me by not completing my quest - though a timer-lock could solve these issues.

Artermis' most recent post suggests an evolution system idea, where players start in a basic "caveman" age and progress by finding food and water, and inventing things from scratch. This concept seems similar, in my opinion, to EQII or Vanguard's player achievements, where a player is credited for being the first to make something or discover an area. Another game with a similar concept is ATITD, where players discover and progress technology and game systems. The problem with this sort of system, in my opinion, is its limiting reward: only one person can discover each thing/place, and if this was the center of the game, it would discourage late starters.

The game ideas are a bit early to applaud or boo, but I think Artermis shows a great deal of creativity in using our blog system for game design. While it is perhaps a bit too public for a serious business venture to grow, the blog setting creates a great way for multiple minds to collaborate on the same interest.

You can read all of Artermis' entries here.

Read all of our Blogs here.