Sunday, July 1, 2012

[Design] My Ideal MMO: Part 1 - The World Set Up

The Ideal MMO:


  So, I have had in my head for a few years what my perfect, ideal MMORPG would be, because nothing out there has really drawn me in.  Rift is good, I used to be a WoW junkie (Vanilla -> Cata), SW:ToR was good for a while, but nothing so far has really got me involved.  Everything is too damn standard.  What I want breaks pretty much all the rules of game design, and I want to at least post my idea since I don't really have the resources to design something of this magnitude.  And yes, I tend to think big.  So I'm going to be going through a series of posts detailing each of the areas in the game and the way I would like to see a game some day apply them.

  I will treat this as a pseudo game design document, explaining each area of the game and how it would be set up and why.  In this first post I will lay out the idea for the world, the story behind why the player is there, the starting area for the player and the graphical theme of the game.  In the second post I will go over skills and leveling  which will lead into the third post about crafting, questing and player owned land after that.  Next I'll discuss PvP and then finally end game content and how it will fit into the game, since this is an idea for a non traditional MMO.

  Well let's get started!

The Beginning:
  Story (rough idea):
  Since the beginning, the gods have warred over the galaxies.  Daemonica, the god of darkness and evil, sends his forces to swarm the planets and take control of them, while Zoan, the god of power and light, sends his empowered ones to fight back on each planet.

  You are one of the empowered ones, sent to this planet to establish a foothold and gain the power to stop Daemonica.  Only you and your empowered allies can stop the darkness.

  The World:
  I have two ideas for the way the world is set up:
  The first is a massive continent with various land formations  and all sorts of terrain.  In the first idea for the world, there would be expansive valleys and wide forests leading into mountains, deserts, tundras, beaches and whatever else you can think of.  There would be one main continent with possibly other continents in later expansions.

  The second idea is a water filled world with many island chains, with large continents as well (not AS large as the first), but much more of a sea based adventure.  Think LoZ: The Wind Waker.  Either of these schemes work for my idea.  I personally like the second idea better as it offers a fresh new scene for an MMO.  This idea offers more sectioned areas for higher level monsters, making it easy to zone areas for higher level players.  The first idea would require a more complicated way of making areas higher levels and making them "zoned" despite the persistent world.

  The first one would work, but for now let's assume use of the second idea, even though both would work just as well.  Most of the important features are detailed in the later posts regarding game play and will have some relevance in regard to which of the two ideas is used.

  Level 1:
  The very first players to load into a server would start with nearly nothing to their name.  The first players to start on a server would be stationed in an open field with purchase-able land and one lonely NPC:  The Servant of Zoan, who will explain the game to you and give you some basic starting items and tools for you to begin your journey across the land.  You will be able to sell items to the servant for a very cheap prices, bringing in a source of gold to the game.  At a certain level, you will be able to purchase land from the servant if there is any land left in the area to be bought.  (Note:  Land purchases will be capped and player ownership will be detailed in Post 3)  From here the player will go out and begin forging their world.

  The graphical theme for the game would not shoot to be realistic.  Players would be human looking, but the game should focus on being colorful and aesthetic, rather than realistic.  I am of the strong opinion that a realistic game does not mean a good game.  Most of us play games to escape to a fantastical world, and it does not necessarily have to look real.  Take World of Warcraft for example.  I think that the game did a wonderful job of creating a world with enough realism to draw you in, but enough color and cartoon like characters to keep you drawn into the fantasy.  They sell the idea, but through story and game play, not through crazy amazing graphics.
  Some games do well with beautiful, precise graphics, I do not think most MMOs need to follow this type of graphical theme.  Plus, with simpler more colorful graphics, you save a lot on high budgets and long development times on the art and modeling side.  Also lower poly counts means easier rendering for those with lesser powered computers.

Closing Notes:
  That's all for this post.  The next post will begin talking about leveling up and skills and the type of skills I would like to see and how they apply to the game.  After that I'll talk about crafting, questing and player owned property which finishes up the big portions of the game design.

  I'll work on the next few posts over the next couple days and try to update the blog.

  As it stands now, MMOs try to conform to a set standard for gaming, and I am of the opinion that this standard needs to be broken.  The company that does so, and does it well, will be the next big thing.

Thanks for reading,

Post 2

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