[MUD-Dev] Winnable MMO

Edward Glowacki glowack2 at msu.edu
Wed Apr 2 09:32:03 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Mon, 2003-03-31 at 15:08, apollyon wrote:

> So, what if you designed an MMO that was made to be winnable?
> Most games are winnable.  No one plans to play a single game of
> Monopoly for the next 5 years, but when the game is over they are
> more than willing to play another game to see if they can win this
> time.  What if you designed a game that was made to be winnable
> over the course of maybe 1 to 6 months and when one side won the
> game would be played again?  The timeframe would not be so long
> that people would feel as if they had made too great an investment
> to think about starting over again, but long enough that players
> could feel as if they had striven against a worthy opponent and
> would be anxious to try again.

I think this is definitely something worth considering, but it's
something you have to design into your game from the beginning and
implement it well to pull it off.

> The biggest obstacle I can see to such a proposal is that it's
> risky.  MMOs are expensive and no one wants to lay down that much
> money for a game that people can "beat".

Companies spend tons of money on games you can beat: Starcraft,
Quake, UT, etc. and people spend tons of time playing those games.
Those games stick around a long time and have excellent replay
value, and they work well because if a player "loses" they can get
back in very quickly when another game starts (or they get respawned
in the same game).

> Another obstacle is the fact that every time a given conflict ends
> there's a finite chance that a given player will simply set the
> game aside and not pick it back up again.  To help alleviate this,
> such a game would need to include rapid power advancement so
> players can quickly get back into the swing of things after a
> concluded conflict.  Perhaps even an advantage to continuing play
> once you have concluded one conflict.

The flipside of that is that after any given conflict ends, a new
game begins and anyone who was sitting out can join back in with
relatively no loss or setback.  Also, when the game recycles,
players will have the opportunity to rebuild and refine their
character to fix mistakes they made the last time around or try
something totally new.

The real question is, every time you start a new game, will it be
sufficiently challenging and enjoyable for returning players who
have essentially had all their property and skills taken from them?
Do you need to add new areas, different maps, a different subset of
skills, or anything else to make the next game as fresh as the
previous one?  Would such a game truly be a MMORPG, or would you end
up with a RPG/FPS/RTS/whatever hybrid which might attract a
different crowd?


Edward Glowacki <glowack2 at msu.edu>

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