Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What MMO's need more of

Too much time at the office? Yessir, that's right sir!

While I was sitting here pondering the way things have gone I got to thinking that MMO's in general have very little that is... unpredictable or exciting. I think Tabula Rasa tried to dice things up with drop ships and such and Aion with its portals for pvp. But that's not what I was thinking about. I'm talking about unpredictable and exciting events the likes of which are so varied and exciting that your event that happens to you may not ever happen to any of your friends. It'd be ok if say, it happened to one in a hundred people on the server, it'd still be rare enough that it'd be really exciting. Some of these could have special loot drops and some could be just for the excitement or terror of something fresh, new and (Gasp) unique. There is precious little in MMO's I would call "story-worthy". They should make more of it.

Maybe at some random time at night, a thief sneaks into a certain inn in some city and can be caught or might kill you while shopping or sleeping at an inn. Maybe there's a dog you can follow who digs up a rabbit hole if you give him a bone and the hole opens to a wonderland 'pocket' dungeon that few have ever seen? This kind of thing has sort of been done before, but I'd be more interested in an MMO if almost ALL the "agents" who give quests and interract with players moved around and had a daily routine, majora's mask style where not only the time of day dictated their life, but the day of the week too. Maybe so and so's only out shopping on Tuesday, and such and such is only patrolling the west bank Mon-Fri. Maybe the gatekeeper is only gone to get the new one for a half hour late at night and that gives you time to sneak in somewhere? Lots of potential things start to happen as soon as you make this simple design choice to make the world full of "pseudo living" npc's instead of "psuedo statue" ones like we have now.


Tesh said...

So... more dynamic content. I've argued for this for quite a while now.

Yes, please!

Thallian said...

Maybe I need to read the backlogs on your blog more:)

Anton said...

Play Neverwinter Nights with meeeeeeeeee. This kind of thing can happen with a DM on board!

Thallian said...

I can vouche for Anton, he's a good DM. I did a couple of nights with him so far and its been way fun.

Anton said...

I set up an email if anyone would like information about playing NWN 1 in a dm'd campaign with me, just send me an email:


Cap'n John said...

I was always an Explorer first & foremost and the static'ness of the World of Warcraft always bothered me, but I think for the most part the average player loved knowing that if NPC Jones at loc. (X,Y) offered Quest #123 then he could come along on his Main, and all of his subsequent Alts, and NPC Jones would still be there, at loc. (X,Y), still offering Quest #123.

Of course there are a few semi-random wandering NPCs in WoW, too. Antonio Pirelli can be found anywhere along the path running a loop from Lakeshire to Goldshire to Sentinel Hill and Darkshire. There are also several NPCs wandering around Stormwind, two in particular whose names escape me but they're a Dwarf and a Human, they're always together, and they're regularly discussing events from the past where (IIRC) the Dwarf almost gets the Human killed, or at least maimed. But it's still not really a static world because if you're looking for those NPCs you do know that you'll find them, sooner or later, if you follow a prescribed route and keep your eye out.

Judging from the harsh reaction Blizzard are getting in relation to their RMT-only Vanity Pets, it looks to me as if players don't want exclusivity of items (or events). If Player X can go through the rabbit hole, fight a rare boss, and obtain the rare White Rabbit mount, than damn it! I should be able to get it, too!

Thallian said...

but wouldn't you rather find your own rabbit hole that was unique? That is kind of where I was going with this. I liked the wandering npc's in Wow, especially the Defias messenger who is sometimes very hard to catch and others way too easy. He helps you create your own adventure story. Randomly generated dungeons are a step in the right direction but randomly generated named NPc's that wander in surprising and never the same places would be great too!

I do hear you on the fact that many players find extreme comfort in "knowing it all" so you might cater to them by having a certain percentage of static content and certain percentage of unique stuff.