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Community Forum Spotlight: Insect MMO?

Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at a thread from our forums that discusses the idea of an insect MMORPG, and the idea that the setting doesn't matter, it's features that are key.

Insect MMO?
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This week on the forums, user DruNk_DwArF2 posted his idea for a new MMO genre - an insect MMO, where players play as ants, termites, bees, etc. Seeing this post got me thinking about the whole idea of MMO genres in general.

In my freshman year at college, I remember expressing a love of fantasy to my Creative Fiction professor. His response radically changed my views on all media and entertainment, from books to plays to movies to video games. "The genre is a setting; write compelling characters and a compelling plot, and how they're dressed or where they're from doesn't matter."

While I love seeing new settings open up in the game world - I know plenty of us are tired of dragons and elves - I think that a lot of new games lately have used genre almost as a one trick pony. Instead of developing a cool story, precise balance, engaging gameplay - our game is about pirates! Instead of detailed character creation, world involvement, storytelling - our game is about spaceships! So what would happen if our game was about insects?

Perception has the same worries as I do - "As with any idea, it's far easier to imagine the potential of it, than it is to deliver a fun and engaging MMORPG based on it. Honestly, you could have an MMORPG based on amoeba if you implemented it correctly. IMHO, game mechanics, combat dynamics, and a fully realized world determine whether or not an MMORPG is successful."

Still, some of those aforementioned elf and dragon haters respond to DruNk_DwArF2's idea with a desperate starvation for new content delivery. Zindaihas points out that the game practically comes with built in realm v. realm action, based on species. "Ant colony vs termite colony. Bee hive vs wasp hive. And watch out for the deadly spider, the ultimate ninja class if there ever was one." I also have to give massive props to Zindaihas for mentioning SimAnt; I LOVED that game.

Elgareth doesn't think it will work - "You can't have equipment, you can't have magic, you can't have almost everything..." but if we can have anthro-cat rogues and anthro-wolf shadowknights, I don't see why ants couldn't dual wield (or quad wield, with all those limbs) katanas and cast magic missile.

This also begs the question, though - maybe this idea requires us to develop new gameplay as well as a new genre. Would this game be more successful as a non-combat-centric game? Would it do better as an RTS? Should a player control a single insect, or a colony?

Whether it would work or not, it's good to see discussion about new MMO ideas, be it genre or mechanics.

You can check out the forum thread here.