[MUD-Dev] Guild Wars ?

Sean Howard squidi at squidi.net
Fri May 20 23:33:24 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


"Don McGlumphy III" <don at trailerparksoftware.com>

> Like many others I have also struggled over MMO classifications
> for various games including Diablo 2.

<snipped for brevity>

>   singleplayer rpg = SRPG
>   multiplayer rpg = MRPG
>   persistent multiplayer rpg = PMRPG
>   massively multiplayer rpg = MMORPG

> thus,

>   SRPG <----------> MRPG <----------> PMRPG <----------> MMORPG

This is a good scale, me thinks, though it does present a few
problems.  Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale had the ability to play
through the game cooperatively over a network. Also, I'm not sure
that Guild Wars is actually that persistant - at least, no more than
Diablo II is. No messy server databases in that game.

You are essentially trying to organize these things by the two
factors.  Single or multiplayer, and persistant and... "instanced"
(for lack of a better word). Perhaps making the scale along the
level of persistance might yield better results? Also, whether or
not is a role playing game or not is misleading, as many virtual
worlds don't have stats or monsters to fight at all, but would still
benefit from a scale like this. I'm just trying this on for size, so
don't think you have to abandon your own observations or
anything. It just got me thinking.

  Save Game Instanced (most single player RPGs)
  Session Instanced (like Quake's multiplayer)
  Sessioned with Persistant Players/Economy/Social (GW, CoH, most MUDs)
  Persistant "World" with Sessioned Missions (EQ2, WoW, AO, DAoC)
  Persistant Everything (some MU*s, SWG)

This scale would essentially put Guild Wars, Diablo II, and City of
Heroes at the same level - which is roughly a single player, small
group game with persistant characters and social groups (and
sometimes, economy).  These are the most gamelike MMORPGs and the
player has relatively little impact upon the gameworld other than
taking up space and chatting with players. Even this has a specturm,
with Diablo II being at one end and CoH almost making it to the
next. I, personally, find MMORPGs on this run to be rather shallow
and uninteresting, being little more than glorified cooperative
single player experiences.

The more popular MMORPGs, like WoW, Everquest II, Anarchy Online,
Dark Age of Camelot belong in the next category. These have
instanced areas (and by that, I mean not only instanced dungeons,
but sort of pre-set dungeons/spawn areas that constantly reset on a
timer). Halfway between a virtual world and game, these guys give
you the game feeling while still allowing you to impact the
world. In many of these, you can build houses, craft, or have more
meaningful interaction with the other players within the context of
the game world. Again, there is a spectrum. WoW would be at the
bottom, while I guess Saga or Ryzom would probably be (or at least,
will be, with Ryzom Ring and the outposts update) the most virtual
world of the bunch.

The last category is basically reserved for virtual worlds. Things
like Second Life or Club Caribe. SWG, though recently trying to move
down a rung with the combat upgrade and new expansion (with good
reason), still stands a brilliantly flawed attempt to make an actual
game at this level.  Off the top of my head, I can't think of any
heavily persistant world that had the game systems in place, rather
than just relying on the imagination of the world's inhabitants,
other than SWG.

Anyway, just some stuff I thought about reading your post...

- Sean Howard
www.squidi.net
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