[MUD-Dev] Re: The Future of MMOGs... what's next?

Vincent Archer archer at frmug.org
Thu Jun 20 14:21:41 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

[threading information lost, my apologies]

According to shren:

> I've had this discussion with about a dozen different people in a
> dozen different forums.  What *you* think is the central paradigm
> of NWN is dead.  The shared universe bit, while entirely possible,
> has never been a) the primary focus of the game, b) secure, or c)
> remotely practical.

Then, instead of "central paradigm", I should have said "singular
niche".  The specific point of appeal that makes the game stand out
different from the others (and ensure a better longevity).

The chief appeal of the original Vault was a common set of
restriction on player characters. While each user-written module may
(or may not) impose his own restriction (the scrutiny of the GM
spoken about by Travis Casey) on characters, the Vault was the
ultimate referee on what a character could be in a module.

Even without the linking of modules together in an unified universe,
accepting characters from the Vault meant adhering to a community of
similar characters.

Remove the vault, remove the community.

> One corrupt admin in a closed universe can break the balance of a
> shared universe - the open universe, wandering between games with
> vast links, was never secure to begin with.

Not so. The portaling was/could be subject to Vault rules (your
character would check-in back to Vault). So the best a corrupt admin
would be able to is to create a world where a character can reach
without effort the optimum a character is *allowed* to be. And no

> NWN, as a strongly-network enabled game, can be used to attempt to
> make a MMORPG/MUD like setting.  You can also do lots of other
> things with it: ... [list of various things]

and all of these things... can also be done with Dungeon
Siege. Except the bit about 3rd edition AD&D.

That's the main problem of NWN. The specific niche that could
guarantee his uniqueness (and specific attraction) is gone. Apart
from the ruleset, nothing that NWN offers is really different from
what DS offers.

And Dungeon Siege was there first.

  (*hears mumbling about DM mode*)

> ...Yes, but this [the global multiverse] application of NWN is
> probably one of the most difficult and least fruitful
> possibilities.  Why does it get all the press?  Because a
> significant minority of persistant world online gamers think the
> worst of those who run the games and are sure they can do it
> better, in thier spare time, with the spare CPU cycles on thier
> home box and the part of thier bandwidth that isn't being devoured
> by Kaaza.

It was also the unique appeal of NWN. The Vault was the very best
way to develop a community around of the game. I had seen numerous
projects, half of which were probably doomed from lack of
practicality, revolving about "glue" servers. There were cities
entirely designed to be points where people would meet, trade and
all that.

These grandiose dreams are now poofed. Not because their authors
can't deliver, but because there is no point to them anymore.

Community could have made NWN a game that would still be on the
shelves everywhere in summer 2003.

Without it, I'd be surprised to find NWN except on the bargain bins
come winter.

We peak about evolutionary vs revolutionary in the MMOG.

NWN is, in the end, a tiny bit of the former, and none of the

It will probably sit on my HD for some time, but I doubt I'll be
playing it very often in 6 months.

	Vincent Archer			Email:	archer at frmug.org

All men are mortal.  Socrates was mortal.  Therefore, all men are Socrates.
							(Woody Allen)

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