Monday, May 24, 2010

Semi-Persistent Worlds

Traditional MMO's are persistent worlds. But Players are only Semi-Persistent. We have to do Real Life.

This means traditional MMO's are always seeing a flux of players entering and leaving, and the likelihood of you seeing the same players consistently is diminished.

Also, when events happen, they have to last days or weeks to make sure everybody has a chance to take advantage of them.

I propose Semi-Persistent MMO's.

Imagine upon entering your new MMO, you discover a list of servers which are not only organized by time zone and population, but also by play schedules.

You could choose a server that only plays Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to midnight for example. But there would also be some that play from 8pm to 2am every day of the week. Or even morning servers. If you wanted to play even MORE you could play on multiple servers with different schedules.

Just think...In a world where ALL players are present every time the game is running, you could create consistent rivalries, and player-made factions. In-game events could happen every night. Nobody on the server would miss an event.

Sports teams and clubs have operated this way forever. Why not run a server this way?



Cap'n John said...

Something I liked about Harvest Moon was the world progressing as you played. Apparently A Tale In The Desert is similar to that but not enough so to get me to want to play it.

Anton said...

Yeah, that's the kind of thing that would be great about a schedule-based semi-persistent world server setup. You would be there for all the world's development and the world could be build around an evolution that you would never miss a stage of.

Thallian said...

That is a good point. I'd love a harvest moon online style game. a game with seasons and actual change.

Anton said...

I've always thought an ever-changing world would be great, but I've played on two Neverwinter Nights servers that have taught me about this concept.

In Arelith, you enter a persistent world that never sleeps. When I played there consistently, I would go on 3 hours a night for 3-4 nights a week and STILL I would feel left out of stuff.
Then I just started running my own campaign every weekend, and I never miss a session. It's much easier to keep up with the changes in the world. You don't miss a thing.

Anonymous said...

Or you can learn to accept that you'll never see everything and let the world keep moving. Enjoy the ride, and what you do find rather than wanting to see everything.

But that's tangential. ;)

A world that only "progresses" on certain days might be an interesting experiment. Would you allow players to play in the interstitial spaces during a perpetual "now" like modern MMOs in between progression sessions, or just literally turn the servers off when they aren't supposed to be "live"?

Anton said...

Lots of ways you could go about it. A game can have many servers. Maybe the servers could still be listed even when they're down, but they would just have their schedules listed with them.

I'm thinking in terms of pen and paper rpg's where groups meet together at certain times a week until the campaign ends. Only take this to a massive scale. And players can join multiple campaigns, so they don't have to just stop playing during the off-times.

If it's too horrible to have the server down in the off-times, it could stay up with simple grind-like quests/crafting available, but then we're just back to normal MMO's.