[MUD-Dev] The Future of MMOGs...

Talanithus HTML talanithus at mindspring.com
Thu Jun 13 16:46:57 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "Brian Lindahl" <lindahlb at hotmail.com>

> What is needed is the flexibility of the world's history and
> environment, not the landscape, structure and physics of the
> world. When game developers design a MMORPG, they often design it
> as a static world. Things are only structured in one view; X does
> Y and Y does Z. I think the solution to the dilemna you proposed
> is breaking this mold. When game developers design a MMORPG, the
> design should have direction, not completion. Design the world so
> that it has a living history, so that new situations arise. Plan
> out epic storylines months in advance. Flesh out these storylines
> so that they have options in them. Make it so that the players
> themselves, decide the outcome of the storylines, which branch out
> to significantly different and derived storylines.

I completely agree, the world level fiction should most definetly by
dynamic and affected by the outcome of the players.  The current
batch of MMORPGs is aspiring to do exactly that, with varied
examples of success.  My article pretty much completely ignored the
dynamic world level fiction of the lands, since that is really not
what I am interested in.  As intriguing and interesting as being the
"Hero of the Land" might be, I find it far superior to aspire to be
the "Hero of MY Community".  Even Hero is a misleading term, as
these sort of quest creation tools could easily allow someone to be
a villan, or whatever they can imagine!  The real key is allowing
players the ability to create and build stories within their own
communities, thus providing a creative outlet for them to literally
build their own little niches within the worldset.

Now these should go hand in hand with your own concepts, but since I
feel the existing MMORPG community is already moving towards more
dynamic and player active fiction on a world level, I did not
address it within my article.  The real key would be to find ways to
integrate both the player crafted fiction and the world level
fiction, and allow them to affect each other.  However, if that is
*ever* possible I think it will be along ways from now.

> A MMORPG extends beyond the lifetime of it's game designers, so
> therefor, the history of it's world should too. Naturally, since
> game designers come and go, players should take the role of
> design. Not structurally, but along the lines of storyline, plot,
> history. The excitement is in the unknown and actual creation, not
> the planning of a design (something which allowing for world
> creation would lead to). In the game genres you mentioned, none of
> the players have any anticipation of forward movement of time to
> an infinite point. In fact, conversely, they anticipate the end of
> the round of play. Because MMORPGS do NOT have an end, their
> design should surround the significance of a non-static future.

Again, I absolutely agree, I just don't see where world level
fiction and player level fiction really cross paths to often.  But
thank you very much for your input, I enjoyed your view of the
future quite a bit.  Hopefully, we'll see both of them.

Talanithus Tarant
  UO Lake Superior - http://uols.net
  Tel'Mithrim - http://www.grey-company.org
  UO Powergamers - http://uopowergamers.com

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