This is a PM I wrote to Jon Carver where I tried to summarize the key points of my “dream mmorpg” project. It definitely needs a lot more iterations in order to become more complete (it misses most of the features like the factional system, the mechanics of PvP, the role of the artifacts, the geomancy nodes, the progression trees of magic items etc..) and more concise and precise.
I need to do a lot of work on the presentation and effectivity of what I write. At least this time it isn’t too long.
I need to do a lot of organization in order to build up some sort of clear and schematic plan as you did. For now there’s nearly an infinite list of features coming from direct needs, problems and discussions but all so bundled together that I often forget why I decided about something. Basically I’m really trying to address ALL the problems I see around in other projects since it’s a “dream mmorpg”.
A few points I gathered are (far away from covering everything):
– Problem of catering hardcore and casual players
– Problem of load balancing the server, cross-server travel, factional balance
– Problem of PvP and PvE clashing together (repositioning)
– Smaller, manageable communities – “There were a lot less of us back then, so it was easier to get to know most of the folks around you. Since there were so few players reletive to current community sizes, you become friends of friends of folks and a lot sooner you really end up knowing virtually everyone whos playing, or at least are familiar with guilds.”
The rest is about going back to a skill system that has also lot of depths for “achievers”. Realistic inventory system calculating precisely slots and weights (and the need to use horses, carts etc..). No strict classes nor min/maxed templates. All classes are respecced “on the fly” so that a player can cover a specific role dynamically (and adapt irtself to the need of a group) instead of being caged in a fixed model/spec/class.
Plus the separation of elements of PvE (In instanced “planes”, arenas and odd combinations of events) from PvP.
The main world is completely based on PvP and in the hands of the players. Everything works like in wargames so you can conquer the land, expanding to adiacent zones (and manage your resources). All the world is in the hands of the players, there is nothing with the pretense of being “static”, fixed, given.
The players cannot really build towns but can conquer everything that is already in the world (and update/upgrade it to an extent). From single houses to the biggest cities and castles.
The NPCs will then also be controled by the players. The players spawn them and “program” them with simple schedules. So they are used both for the crafting system and to pruduce resources that will then be used (and moved between towns through a commerce system) at the RTS level.
Ultimately the focus (of these PvP lands) will move from the combat to embrace new types of activites. All the interactions of a medieval world are supposed to be simulated to an extent. So we’ll have farms, mines, sawmills and so on. Similarly to a “Settler” game and with the goal of simulating a deeper environment that is supposed to involve more the players in its fabric and mechanics. Less obsessive about combat and infinite treadmills only affecting the single character. Providing communal goals and shared mechanics that should finally put back the focus in the community as the real “endgame” (and where the fun of a multiplayer environment is supposed to be).
That’s the shape. The implementation idea is to go back at the old 2D style of the early Ultimas (but with an advanced UI) in order to cut out directly the production values (graphic, content etc..) and focus exclusively on the accessibility and mechanics. No infinite text to read, just direct gameplay and feedback. To experiment dynamically with the pure design level and discover what is fun and what is not.
Basically the opposite of a MUD.