[MUD-Dev] The Future of MMOGs... what's next? (fwd)

Ron Gabbard rgabbard at swbell.net
Wed Jun 12 10:19:53 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: "Talanithus Hotmail" <talanithus at hotmail.com>

> Last month the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was held in Los
> Angeles, California. As an avid gamer and fansite reporter in the
> MMOG industry, I made my way there to check out the next
> generation of MMOGs for myself... and I must admit, I was pretty
> disappointed. Now that is not to say that the new MMOGs aren't
> beautiful, the advancements in graphic and online bandwidth have
> allowed Developers to create richer and more beautiful worlds with
> a striking level of detail... but there was something most
> definitely lacking. I couldn't quite place my finger on it until
> Joshua Rowan (of UO Stratics) said something along lines of "there
> are lots of evolutionary things here, but nothing really
> revolutionary." Bam. Nailed on the head.

> People play MMOGs in particular for one main reason... to interact
> with other people. Of course, the guiding motivations of these
> players is quite diverse, ranging from competitive sport,
> socialization, a feeling of belonging, and even malicious intent
> behind an anonymous mask!

<snipped description of player-created content/modules>

> Basically, it all boils down to community. The current MMOG
> industry stresses individualized creativity in their gaming
> worlds, but has not yet seen the greater light of enhanced
> community interaction, and even more importantly, community world
> development.

> But that is just my idea of the Future of MMOGs. What do you
> think?

Personal opinion, the main short-coming with MMOGs is that they are
one mile wide, 100 miles long and 6 inches deep.  Patches and
expansions are released with new content that increase it to two
miles wide and 150 miles long...  but the game still remains 6
inches deep.  If players are given the ability to build their own
content, a game could end up 8 miles wide and 1000 miles long.
However, unless the players can change the core game mechanics, it
will still remain 6 inches deep.  Budget willing, a game could be
made 1000 miles wide and 10,000 miles long.  As long as it remains 6
inches deep, it would be gargantuan but hardly revolutionary.

Each player has tremendous processing power in their head.  Granted,
some players have more than others and some players choose not to
use that processing power.  However, the decision-making algorithms
in the players' brains are a lot more flexible than anything that
can be coded and these algorithms adapt over time as players learn.
'Revolutionary' would be leveraging that power and flexibility to
create a world that is living and constantly evolving... deeper.

It's a lot safer to just add content or have players add content
(make the game wider and longer) than it is to give players greater
flexibility to impact the game world and the game experience of
other players (make it deeper).  But, that's the challenge and why
successfully implementing an 'organic' game world would be
revolutionary.

I agree with you that the next logical step is probably implementing
player-created 'module' systems in MMOGs if only for the reason that
it increases the life of a game for a relatively small investment
with a minimal risk... all things that the business managers like to
hear.

Cheers,

Ron

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