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The Future of Persistent Worlds In MMOs

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the i'm-sorry-mario,-xlegolasx-already-saved-me dept.

Role Playing (Games) 302

Zonk did an interesting interview with Ed Stark and Dave Williams, employees for an MMO developer named Red 5 (and experienced tabletop game designers). They talk about their ideas and plans to bring about the next step in MMO gaming: increased persistence in online worlds, where an objective, once completed, stays completed. Williams said, "Right now for most of these games, when the player saves the princess and he starts walking away from the tower — if he looks back he's going to see the princess at the top of the tower again." Regarding their current work, he continues: "If you save the village, it stays saved — you saved it! But maybe now that village becomes an objective for another player; maybe something has to be done now because that village wasn't destroyed. And so on, and so on, and so on. Building those mechanisms to make it a world that reacts to a player's actions instead of existing in a static state. That's the world we're talking about."

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over 9000 objectives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24718861)

But then there would be over 9000!!!11 ojbectives!

Re:over 9000 objectives. (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | about 6 years ago | (#24719207)

More importantly... You could never get sick of running Kara... Because only one guild ever managed to do it.

Persistent worlds? Who cares! (2, Interesting)

gabec (538140) | about 6 years ago | (#24719267)

Persistent worlds? Who cares! How about being able to play with your friends! The mainstream MMOs have no way for you to play with your friends once they've chosen the wrong server.

What's the *first thing* you ask someone when you learn they play wow?

"What server?"

How often has the answer been disappointing? So far, 100% for me.

Re:Persistent worlds? Who cares! (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | about 6 years ago | (#24719425)

I always thought they should make a 'guest transfer' mechanism where you could play with a friend on their server.

Re:Persistent worlds? Who cares! (2, Informative)

Poltras (680608) | about 6 years ago | (#24719911)

Blizz charges for transfering char. But it's possible.

People (1, Insightful)

PakProtector (115173) | about 6 years ago | (#24718873)

Such things would require a prohibitively high number of actual persons playing NPCs, and the amount of coordination between them would make this extremely buggy.

Re:People (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24718933)

Such things would require a prohibitively high number of actual persons playing NPCs, and the amount of coordination between them would make this extremely buggy.

This is the common excuse for why the game worlds are not more realistic and more interactive. Not being all that smart myself I fall into a management style perspective on this issue.

What if the AI was sufficient and robust enough that the issues of people and buggy were solved? This would clearly be a superior way of doing things, however, as any current MMO designer ( read there blogs, start here ) that "fun" of a game is not contained in world persistence ( according to them ). I disagree and think that properly done, it is the next generation.

Re:no problem (2, Informative)

extirpater (132500) | about 6 years ago | (#24718949)

Bot programmer here!

Re:People (1)

jkenneth24 (962795) | about 6 years ago | (#24718991)

i dont play MMOs myself... but what if you assign these to selected players? via some sort of invite. It would sort of be the equivalent of granting someone "moderator" status in a forum. You ask them if they want to play a "role", something fairly long term,(or short, depends on the role and your story if you have one, i guess) and they get a sort of reward or benefit from it. As for coordination, unless you have a particular story you really wanna tell, why not just have the players act out their roles as best they see fit? the last few letters of most MMO are R, P, and G after all...

Re: NPC & other support "roles" (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 6 years ago | (#24719057)

I would actually fall into this category.

I have no desire to create yet another PC to level up through the ruthless grind. 'Way back I played a sort of NPC consultant in the background of other people's story arcs.

I found it relaxing to toss out some InCharacter lines every hour while working on projects.

Re:People (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 6 years ago | (#24719049)

Never played an MMO, ever. So I may be talking out of my ass here...

Why not turn players against each other rather than use NPCs?

"Take this city" is the objective given to one player.
"Devend this city" is given to another small group.

Or if the city is taken "So and so has taken the city, go destroy them" players(rand()).

Re:People (3, Insightful)

Bloodhound Alpha (1335331) | about 6 years ago | (#24719095)

Been done, and it can work. However, players might not always be the best to be trusted with plot and such.

Re:People (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 6 years ago | (#24719511)

It's called Warhammer Online.

Re:People (1)

Original Replica (908688) | about 6 years ago | (#24719637)

The MMO "Pirates of the Burning Sea" works under this concept, but it has suffered under some exploits. Namely everyone other than the maxed out players are obsolete in the attacking or defending of a town, and guilds purposefully orchestrating attacks at low server hours (like a huge attack at 3am on a Tuesday).

Re:People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719221)

How does this require IRL NPCs in any way?

Re:People (1)

smack.addict (116174) | about 6 years ago | (#24719521)

Nightmare LPMud about 10 years had persistent changes, even to the point that the main town was eventually destroyed by warfare.

It is doable, it just takes a hell of a lot of planning into a larger story line, including "what if" scenarios.

Programmers, help me out here.... (4, Interesting)

rockout (1039072) | about 6 years ago | (#24718885)

I never got into these games personally (I liked the RTS and first-person-shooters when I was gaming a lot), but part of me always assumed that kind of stuff, the persistent memory, if you will, was already implemented. I had no idea that was something that hadn't been developed already.

I'm not a programmer, so I don't really understand, why is it so difficult to have objectives that stay completed after you've completed them? Can someone enlighten me as to why that's a step that's still forthcoming?

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (5, Informative)

Negatyfus (602326) | about 6 years ago | (#24718937)

It's difficult, because there are thousands of players with you in the same world. So you achieve an objective. Is that objective also achieved for another player? If so, then he can't do that particular quest anymore. You'd have to present different perspectives of the world to each player, where when player A does something it is done for him, but player B still sees it as unfinished. That's not really a persistent world, I'd say. The hard thing to do is allowing the player to be an epic hero among thousands of other players. Everybody wants to be a hero, right? So how many princesses are there that need rescuing? Another hurdle is content creation. A lot of the repetitive nature of MMO's is because of the fact that players consume more content than the developers can make it, and MMO's never end. So what if everything that needed saving is finally saved? Game over? Wait for the next content update? That's not how a developer wants an MMO to work, and so the quests and boss fights are repeatable. If you have an elegant solution for these problems, the MMO world would thank you.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (3, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 years ago | (#24718987)

Puzzle Pirates is persistent and has no quests. The only non-persistence is brigands/barbarians which sail around for no apparent reason.

(Ok, it has three non-persistent quests, but those were only added a month ago or so, and they're rather silly.)

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (2, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | about 6 years ago | (#24719807)

Part of why Puzzle Pirates is able to do that is the way very ordinary pirating tasks are made interesting. In Puzzle Pirates you have to engage in the driving activity of the game (completing puzzles) to make your ship more or to reload you cannons or repair your hull or to make rum or to make a sword, etc, etc, etc. By contrast, in Sid Miere's Pirates! you click to make you ship sail or fire or repair. So for a more standard MMO than Puzzle Pirates how do you make mundane things like building a city wall or forging a sword or converting an enemy town into a friendly town, into an interesting gameplay task? Do it right and many players might happily become non-heroes like masons or farmers or blacksmiths, never bothering to attack an enemy town. Now the next challenge in that game would be to keep the percentage of non-hero players high enough and to make them a very valued part of each faction. I think one key to that is minimizing the power difference between low and high levels. A half a dozen level three players, acting together should be able to take down a single player at the level cap. A group of non-heros should be able to chase off any griefer. Combine that ability with skills that make non-heros valuable to the heros and a game should have no shortage of "player NPCs"

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (5, Interesting)

Terwin (412356) | about 6 years ago | (#24719227)

I figured you would have multiple sides and while a given group can protect a town or village from attack by a different group on another team, this is really just PVP with the outcome recorded by the state of the game world. Presumably conquering larger towns or towns farther in to enemy territory would harder because of more NPC defenders of greater power.

An alternative would be a series of generally similar quests for making a given town more or less friendly to one side or another. Team A can make the town favor their side, then team B can come around and do a similar quest to get the town to favor their side instead. (possibly giving the town more or fewer defenders for the next attack on that town by one side or another)

Just because the changes to the game world persist, does not mean that they can not be reversed by the actions of other players.

Also, if one side or another starts getting more and more powerful compared to the other sides, just give some nifty artifacts or other toys out to the sides being trounced to either encourage more players to play that side, or to beef up the players already there. (presumably these would need to be server and team specific)

Just set up a large map with three or more teams starting at opposite sides and having a lot of territory in the middle that can be conquered in small, medium, or large chunks as you work your way towards the strongholds of the other teams.

Even if you don't have any other sorts of quests, you automatically get 'resupply isolated outpost' type stuff by just having reasonable resource consumption, which also gives you supply trains to attack or defend in 'friendly' territory, etc.
(every 100 citizens need 1 box of resources/week and produces X taxes/week to pay for them based on the tax rate, etc)

And if you are worried about one side winning everything, just change the scale. After all, what is that saying about a land war in Asia?

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (1)

Z34107 (925136) | about 6 years ago | (#24719545)

This sounds like the premise of PlanetSide. It's easy to do in first person shooters, or in other games where there is only Player versus Player stuff present. But, it gets harder to do, say, if you want some kind of linear plot or story? (I know, I know, it's an MMO, but Blizzard is really proud of their lore.)

Deviate from 100% PvP and you have persistence problems again.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (2, Interesting)

Dekker3D (989692) | about 6 years ago | (#24719247)

one idea would be to randomly generate most content, and have in-game tools for the story workers to create the good stuff. of course, the good stuff would have to be on a grand scale compared to the random things, or it won't ever catch the attention it deserves.

also, having quests based on simulation (competition between farmers, corrupt merchants, threats to the livestock or villagers etc.) would add a lot of content as well, automatically.

you'd need to create a lot of "unique"-ish rewards, so people have something to work for, and you're all set for the background gameplay. you won't get to fight demons and wizards all the time, but at least you get to knock out a few of the evil overlord's hired goons, and take some of their stuff. should be fun enough :) and there's always the demons for those who have gotten far enough to tackle them.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (1)

zzled (663967) | about 6 years ago | (#24719367)

Hmm, off the top of my head, I'd deal with this by creating quests that are cyclic. Let's go back to the "defend a village" example in the article. Say Player A gets a quest from the village head to defend a village. He kills off 5 bandits attacking the village and the rest of the bandits run off. This can trigger off a number of potential quests for Player B, who's on the side of the bandits. He can get quests to (for example) gather supplies for the bandits, recruit more bandits, kill Player A, and eventually lead another attack against the village. And this triggers off the initial "defend a village" quest again. So no completed quest objective is truly permanent.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | about 6 years ago | (#24719539)

Which leads to an endless, repetitive loop of gameplay. Not my ideal of a fun game.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (2, Interesting)

mrlibertarian (1150979) | about 6 years ago | (#24719547)

One idea would be a MMO that constantly generates random NPCs, and gives each one a random set of goals and relationships. Perhaps an NPC is created who has a goal of making money, and he decides to accomplish this by becoming a shopkeeper. Also, the NPC has a brother and a sister, and if either one is killed, the NPC will attempt to avenge his sibling. How the NPC attempts to avenge the sibling depends on his personality: Perhaps he tries to recruit an army. Perhaps he tries to hire a player to assassinate the murderer. Perhaps, if the murderer has surrounded himself with guards, the NPC will pretend to be a guard and wait for the right moment to strike.

If the developers can create a large enough set of interesting goals and personalities, and if enough of the NPCs are related to each other, a 'never-ending' story could develop. Of course, not every player would be a hero, but is that really a problem? If every player runs into interesting NPCs, then I think every player will have fun.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (2, Informative)

FroBugg (24957) | about 6 years ago | (#24719561)

You'd have to present different perspectives of the world to each player, where when player A does something it is done for him, but player B still sees it as unfinished.

Interestingly, this is something Blizzard is introducing to WoW in their next expansion. For example, when you first come to a certain town, it looks deserted to you. As you complete quests, it fills up with NPCs and changes slightly. It's not instanced, but someone who has completed a certain quest and someone who hasn't will see different things even though they're standing side by side.

It's not a perfect solution, because it breaks the feeling of everybody being part of the same world a little bit, but it does help to give you more of a sense of personal accomplishment.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (4, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | about 6 years ago | (#24719603)

Everybody wants to be a hero, right?

I think that's the problem with MMOGs is right there. That's what developers think everyone wants to be.

First objection to this, in truth there is a large amount of the gaming community that loves to be "the faceless storm troopers" or the lowly grunt because they can relate better to them than the hero. And its not like most people role play a hero in MMOGs anyways, but just some random dude looking for loot and XP.

Secondly, its not truly feasible in the current state of MMOG so that everyone feels like their the hero because even now it still doesn't feel like it.

"Gee... I just killed the boss of the whole game but it really doesn't feel that important because he's coming right back for the next guy in line"

See, no mater how you look at it, you will never feel like a hero if everyone can do what you do or that the fate of the world really doesn't hang in the balance.

The solution, IMO would involve a pretty complex system of quest generation that are one off quests and scenarios that affect the world in someway slightly.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#24720057)

[Everybody wants to be a hero, right?] First objection to this, in truth there is a large amount of the gaming community that loves to be "the faceless storm troopers" or the lowly grunt because they can relate better to them than the hero.

I like being a table leg: stiff, stately, strong, helpful, and quiet.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (1)

Bloodhound Alpha (1335331) | about 6 years ago | (#24718965)

It is not directly a programming problem. Enemies respawn, and saved princesses are unsaved, so the next player in line can do the quest. Not having them do so runs into the problems mentioned above, as having a new player do a different quest requires new NPCs, and overall more load on the game.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (2, Insightful)

MikkoApo (854304) | about 6 years ago | (#24719091)

In single player games persistency is generally easy to implement. Most games are based on linear plots, where the gamer can't go backwards. If they can visit the places they've somehow changed, it's also pretty straightforward to save the state of things. No problems in that area.

In multi-user games it isn't so simple anymore. Since most game content (plot, tasks, quests, NPCs etc) is still generated by humans, there's a limit to the content that a single game can contain. If one player completes all the content in the game, what's left for other players? The quests must be somehow reverted back to their initial state. Like in the example, the princess has to be returned back the castle so another player can save her. The easiest way to implement this is by reseting the state after a while. Handling the reset gracefully is the difficult part.

In the example's princess case, graceful reseting might be that the evil king kidnaps the princess again, maybe with the help of a player representing the "other side". Designing quests like this takes more time and resources than the naive "reset after a while"-approach, but maybe we'll start seeing games that behave more naturally.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (3, Insightful)

pcolaman (1208838) | about 6 years ago | (#24719169)

Unfortunately, having resets leads to boring and uninspired gameplay over the long run. What would be a much better idea, IMO, is to have a story arc, but the only issue with that is the game has to end at some point or you get to the point where you are so weary of grinding towards a goal that seems to keep just out of reach (I'll call this the Gilligan's Island Paradox) that finally you just give up and quit. With something that had a story arc where the players actually effect the story, it would require a finality in order to be truly entertaining, and then perhaps sequel stories could keep the game going.

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (2, Interesting)

fitten (521191) | about 6 years ago | (#24719763)

The big problem is the sheer volume of content that a company has to come up with if every single quest in the game was, in effect, usable by a single player only.

Play 1 does the 'quest' to chop down the tree on the hill. Now it's chopped down for everyone and all the programming, artwork, etc. that went into making that 'quest' is 'used up'. No other player will experience it, they'll just see the stump of the chopped down tree.

Now... multiply that by the millions of people who play WoW... assume each player wants to do one quest a day... how many developers do you think it would take to support that many quests? (8 million or so quests a day) and not simply turn it into some parameterized quest system (first person: go kill the Goblin named AAAAAAA, next person: go kill the Goblin named AAAAAAB, next person: go kill the Goblin named AAAAAAC, etc.)

Most people like the quests to seem meaningful in some way... to have some effect on the world. The above goblin killing quest system doesn't provide that and just gets old real fast. You can only tear down a castle once... (unless you do things like have another quest, maybe from a rival faction, to rebuild the castle, then your faction could tear it down again and it just flip-flops like that).

Re:Programmers, help me out here.... (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 6 years ago | (#24719997)

There are several games that have it, and in a really large-scale style too. See EvE Online where players can conquer star systems and put up permanent bases.

It is more a question of "how do I offer the same series of quests to thousands of players?". The easiest way is to reset the objective after a while, so the next player can do the mission. It is also the most unimaginative and immersion-breaking way (among other things, the player who just killed Oog The Apeman might meet him again an hour later). Most MMOs use it.

Of course a smarter way to do that would be nice, but that sort of innovation is rare in the MMO genre.

Would be bloody hard to pull this off (1)

atari2600 (545988) | about 6 years ago | (#24718905)

Even with the current state of things, griefers have a field day annoying the bloody fuck out of casual gamers and serious gamers alike. I can only imagine what will happen if 10000 casual gamers sign on and see all the collection and simple rescue quests are done and what remains is an epic battle requiring 300 players to complete (LFG 299 PST). This is going to be really hard (to balance enjoyment, leveling progress and eliminate griefing) if worlds are persistent.

Re:Would be bloody hard to pull this off (1, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 6 years ago | (#24719053)

I can only imagine what will happen if 10000 casual gamers sign on and see all the collection and simple rescue quests are done and what remains is an epic battle requiring 300 players to complete (LFG 299 PST).

And you missed the point entirely, once "Drive the orcs from the town" was done, it'd be replaced with something like "Help farmer bob from newly rescued town rebuild ...." Or like: "Collect $foo $bar for $baz" gets replaced with "Help $quux steal $foo $bar from $baz"

Once the quest is done it's not gone forever, the entire point of the story is that there will always be quests, but not the exact same things.

Re:Would be bloody hard to pull this off (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24719297)

And, indeed, you don't even have to have an equal number of "bad" players. You can run it like "America's Army" and assign people goals and sides based on need.

"Steal $foo from $bar for $baz" looks awfully similar to "get $foo back from $baz for $bar."

Similarly "Defend the town from Brigands" vs. "Rescue the town from brigands."

USE the computer. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 6 years ago | (#24719447)

Who says that EVERYONE has to appear the same to EVERYONE else?

Your quest (team Z) is to kill 5 orcs in village A then 10 orcs in village B then 20 orcs in village C.

The other players (team Y) have a quest to save village A from invading orcs. etc.

So team Z appear as orcs to team Y and team Y appear as orcs to team Z.

The same with the inhabitants of the villages.

There, cyclic quest problem AND AI problem solved all at once.

And the orcs have decent treasure on them for once.

Re:USE the computer. (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 6 years ago | (#24719571)

That's the America's Army model of identification.

Do they appear different to themselves? (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about 6 years ago | (#24719727)

I haven't tried America's Army. Do the players on one team appear different to the opposing team than they do to themselves?

I suggest that while my character appear as a normal human character TO ME that to anyone assigned to an opposing quest I appear as a regular orc.

That way, you would never know whether the monster was machine AI or human driven.

You can also extend this to larger groups. The Knights of X appear as human to each other and themselves ... but to the Heroes of Y they appear as various monsters. And the reverse is also true. Even to the various villages and castles that they occupy.

The only problem with this is that a quest to kill 5 orcs can be VERY difficult for new characters. Those "orcs" could be veteran players with years of experience (and items).

Re:USE the computer. (1)

Yosho (135835) | about 6 years ago | (#24719779)

Who says that EVERYONE has to appear the same to EVERYONE else?

While that solution might work for a game like America's Army (or any other team-based action game), it won't fly in an MMORPG, unfortunately.

One of the things that differentiates MMORPG players from other online gaming fans is the pride they take in their characters. They lovingly customize their characters' features at character creation time and then choose clothing and equipment that makes them stand out. Somebody who has an orc warrior with black plate armor and two flaming swords wants all the other players to see him as an orc warrior with black plate armor and two flaming swords. If you change things around so that the other team always appears as the bad guys (or vice-versa), then players no longer have control over their appearances, and a very important part of the immersion is gone.

So, no, everybody doesn't have to appear the same to everyone else, but I'd expect any MMORPG with long-term character development that tried that to fail miserably.

Re:Would be bloody hard to pull this off (1)

Grave (8234) | about 6 years ago | (#24719581)

And you entirely missed his point. His point was, what do you do once those storyline quests are done? There is only so much content you can create as a game developer, and with thousands or millions of players, it won't take long for that content to be totally completed if it's done like that. For there to always be quests means they would all have to be repeated anyway, and in that case, you invalidate the entire idea of the world being dynamically changed by quest outcomes.

It's entirely unfair to not have the entire storyline exposed to all players - yes, this means there will be an element of "unrealism" for the players, but it will at least be equally enjoyable for all concerned.

But works against grinders (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 6 years ago | (#24719743)

But, on the other hand, if you world is constantly filled with newer quests (either randomly generated - like in most modern economic simulators -, or with newer content written by developers) replacing the older, this make it really hard for the grinders / farmers. Instead of repeatedly killing $arch-demon until they got the all the pieces of the precious epic armor to sell on e-bay, they can only do it once. They'll have to move to another quest to get the rest.

This "always changing quests" will both make it very difficult for bots coder, and will also make it much more enjoyable for players who subsequently will be less interested in outsourcing the grinding to Koreans (they won't have to repeat the same quest all over until they get to an interesting level, but always have newer and varied adventures to experience in an universe that seems a tad more believable - where not everyone is called "the chosen one" and where you feel that every one has a small role to play in helping the overall setting advance)

This problem has killed Roleplaying imho (4, Insightful)

TibbonZero (571809) | about 6 years ago | (#24718929)

Not that anyone is under the illusion that actual Role Playing was ever strong in MMOs, but the fact that the world is mostly static really has always killed it for me. There's never any tension that the armies will fall, towns will be taken over, or some epic thing will happen. Even in the upcoming WotLK, surely the Lich King himself will be defeated time and time again (with no worries to the storyline) by several groups of players. How could a bard sing a song about great conquests done if everyone has done the same thing, and nothing ever changes?

Re:This problem has killed Roleplaying imho (1)

Bloodhound Alpha (1335331) | about 6 years ago | (#24718995)

The main reason I can never quite convince myself to play WoW. A truly persistent world would be amazing, and it would be amazing to see the amount of work needed to do the story, and to program it.

Re:This problem has killed Roleplaying imho (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | about 6 years ago | (#24719127)

Not that anyone is under the illusion that actual Role Playing was ever strong in MMOs, but the fact that the world is mostly static really has always killed it for me.

Originally, Ralph Koster (whatever happened to him after SWG?) had this idea for Ultima Online in which the world was completely dynamic. Animals and monsters could go extinct because of player interaction and they would interact with each when none one was around. You would walk around in the forest and see a wolf attacking a rabbit or a cat eating a rabbit and so on.

Natural resources were limited and you could mine a mine out ore.

Of course there was a period of time when UO got quite barren because of this but I don't think they thought it through.

Suffice to say Ralph went on to other jobs and the Ultima Online live team kind of turned his vision into something else not as interesting. Despite all that UO still remains fairly non-static in his AI behavior in its NPCs. I always enjoyed having to talk to my vendors instead of using a graphical interact (I like muds like that) and all the other MMOGs seemed quite gamey compared to it.

Shame no one is trying something as bold again instead of making another EQ/WoW clone.

Re:This problem has killed Roleplaying imho (1)

TibbonZero (571809) | about 6 years ago | (#24719171)

Oh I think that Ralph Koster (Designer Dragon?) had some killer ideas. I really loved playing in the Alpha and early beta stages of UO. Not all of these ideas were in there, but at least you could tell that the free-flowing sprirt of it was there. I loved that it was very no-holds-bar. There were no PVP flags. You could attack anyone and suffer the consequences.
I've always been upset that Ralph's ideas never came to fruition. I do wonder where he's at now. Off to Google.

Re:This problem has killed Roleplaying imho (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | about 6 years ago | (#24719199)

I always enjoyed having to talk to my vendors instead of using a graphical interact .

And now localization has mostly killed that.

Re:This problem has killed Roleplaying imho (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719215)

"How could a bard sing a song about great conquests done if everyone has done the same thing, and nothing ever changes?"

Special once-only events added to the game. Once the quest has been solved, it's solved.

Re:This problem has killed Roleplaying imho (2, Interesting)

TooFarGone (841076) | about 6 years ago | (#24719507)

How about a game where the player that achieves the great status becomes the next target for the player behind him? Good/evil alignments would fight each other for mobs/quests and higher status players become higher level targets. Roleplaying could become a bigger deal and make more sense. Keep track of everyone that has anything to do with _MOB_X_ and if those players associated all quit, bring _MOB_X_ back into the game, recycled like. heck, have quests where you bring 20 healers with you and resurrect _MOB_X because you are aligned the same as that mob. I think there are numerous ways to handle it,but I suppose it comes down to development time/cost..

Re:This problem has killed Roleplaying imho (5, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 6 years ago | (#24719929)

How could a bard sing a song about great conquests done if everyone has done the same thing, and nothing ever changes?

One name : Lerooooooooy Jenkins

rotating quests (1)

sunshinekiller (1350005) | about 6 years ago | (#24718983)

This has killed many mmos and mmorpgs, do x to get xp or money. And they are usually repetitive and then a noob comes along and asks for help on one you just did. What about after x hours it rotates and isnt being handed out by that npc or once its done its done for x hours. Becuase i would think it would be very hard to make a mmo where a users interaction would affect the entire world. not only that but other players role playing as well.

EVE Online is persistent, kind of (5, Interesting)

Jogar the Barbarian (5830) | about 6 years ago | (#24718997)

With all this talk about doing away with instancing, I'm surprised they didn't mention EVE Online [] . EVE has *ONE* world for all the players. Granted, it can make it mighty laggy for large engagements, but most of the time it's fine. Missions are "instanced" insofar as they are randomly created when you get them, but they can be discovered by other players using scanners, so you could conceivably have complete strangers swoop into your mission and rob your loot. Annoying, yes, but it adds tremendously to the feeling that you're part of a larger world.

Re:EVE Online is persistent, kind of (4, Interesting)

tnk1 (899206) | about 6 years ago | (#24719093)

Don't forget Player Owned Stations and Player Outposts. Eve player Alliances can declare sovereignty over whole constellations in 0.0 space (non-Empire) and maintain it with persistent stations and construct their own Jump bridges and all of that as long as they control the needed number of POS'es in systems.

Re:EVE Online is persistent, kind of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719713)

What do you mean by "POS"? Neither "point-of-sale" nor "pieces of shit" seem correct in this context.

Re:EVE Online is persistent, kind of (2, Informative)

ezh (707373) | about 6 years ago | (#24719777)

player owned stations (POS)

EVE took the easy way out ... (2, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | about 6 years ago | (#24719373)

EVE has basically no PVE content worth speaking of. The missions are boring mini-games and certainly don't make the player feel like a hero. All the persistent (but changeable) content is player-generated/-owned and while it does make the game interesting, it's not an achievement because anyone could choose to do that in an MMO (just throw buildable content at players and let them sort it out). It's basically a bigger / more complex WoW outdoor PVP map - you take a flag and it stays yours until the enemy takes it. It would be nothing without the player personalities and interactions.

Re:EVE took the easy way out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719961)

Before someone says it, user-created PVE content is also NOT a viable replacement for WOW-style PVE content.

Here's why:

- It would take a cosmic alignment of stars to make any player-generated content as complex and interesting as the simplest dungeon in WOW. And that's even assuming it's theoretically possible, which it pretty much isn't. How is a player going to create new models and animation for bosses? And new powers that the enemies can use?
- Balancing. First and foremost, players play WOW end-game to (a) become more powerful with new and unique rewards, and (b) truly challenge themselves. User-created content cannot match this. One, it's practically impossible to balance large amounts of content, and two, not all users would care to. It only takes one quest with an overpowered reward to ruin the challenge for everyone.
- And it still doesn't solve persistence. If only one person gets to do their content, no user is going to bother making anything interesting in the first place.

Re:EVE took the easy way out ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719979)

...certainly don't make the player feel like a hero...

Well, that's kind of the problem though, isn't it? You can't all be the hero.

If some giant monster is coming to destroy the world...and you kill it...then you're done. One monster, one world, one hero. Unless you're going to come up with a new monster coming to destroy another world... But how long until that becomes a boring mini-game?

...All the persistent (but changeable) content is player-generated/-owned...

Isn't that exactly what we're talking about? Letting the players change their world? Letting the players create something that persists beyond the scope of your current quests... Letting the players destroy something that stays destroyed...

If you've got the game randomly generating an endless stream of new objectives, how is that any different than just completing the same objective over and over again? take a flag and it stays yours until the enemy takes it...

Well, there's no flag to start out with. You have to team up with a bunch of other players to slowly gather the resources in order to build the flag. And then it takes a while to construct the thing. And once you've built the flag it acts as far more than a simple placeholder - it offers docking bays, defensive weaponry, places to conduct research or build new ships, possibly a steady stream of income... And it takes a sizeable force to capture the flag from you...

...It would be nothing without the player personalities and interactions...

Isn't that the whole point in playing an MMOG? I mean... If you aren't interested in the other players you could just go play a single-player game. If all you want is objectives that stay completed you can go play something like Half-Life 2 or Portal. The whole point in an MMOG is the player interaction. Creating communities and virtual worlds.

EVE has done a tremendous job of creating a persistent virtual world. The complaint that the PvE isn't very impressive is valid, because EVE isn't about the NPCs, it's about the players.

The players are able to dramatically shape the universe around them. You can be a hero, if you want. There are some very well-respected members of the community. You can also be a villain. Or you can sit on the sidelines and play both sides against each-other. You can conquer a galaxy and build outposts to defend it. Or you you can rampage across the galaxy destroying what others have created.

The NPCs just kind of sit there in the background providing backstory for the folks who care about it, and an easy source of income.

Re:EVE Online is persistent, kind of (0)

Kingrames (858416) | about 6 years ago | (#24719575)

Not to be nitpicky, but if EVE online only had one world, spaceships wouldn't have many places to go.

Re:EVE Online is persistent, kind of (1)

ezh (707373) | about 6 years ago | (#24719797)

depends on your definition of 'world'. eve world has more than 5k of star systems.

Re:EVE Online is persistent, kind of (1)

shish (588640) | about 6 years ago | (#24720059)

sticking "define:world" into google, the first result is "universe: everything that exists anywhere"

Re:EVE Online is persistent, kind of (1)

ezh (707373) | about 6 years ago | (#24719839)

While EVE has some elements of persistence, it is still far away from it: asteroid belts are regenerated, moons are regenerated, NPC pirates are regenerated, etc. Without this, EVE would not be able to exist - players would mine out all the resources and kill all the pirates within a couple of months. Then there would be nothing to build new ships from.

Too real (3, Insightful)

Joebert (946227) | about 6 years ago | (#24719031)

Don't get me wrong, I've been playing video games since Nintendo Power was giving away Dragon Warrior I for free with the purchase of an anual subscription to the magizine, but games seem to be mimicking real life a little too closely.

I played games because they were simple and allowed me to get away from the difficulty of the real world. I liked it because if I did something wrong I could just try again without the conssequences & I could do the same things over and over again because I liked doing them.

The direction games seem to be heading, I might as well just do these things in real life.

Re:Too real (1)

Bloodhound Alpha (1335331) | about 6 years ago | (#24719043)

Interesting. To me, I play to get away from real life, but not for the difficulty, just to be able to do awesome things. Mimicking real life in play, ys, but I consider that a good thing, creating a better illusion of some cooler world than this.

Re:Too real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719081)

Go for it; do these things in real life. Oh, and let me know how you do as a paladin fighting orcs and other assorted beasties, because I've always felt my true life's direction lie in being a holy warrior using the power of light to heal my compatriots and harm my foes.

Re:Too real (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | about 6 years ago | (#24719121)

Go for it; do these things in real life. Oh, and let me know how you do as a paladin fighting orcs and other assorted beasties, because I've always felt my true life's direction lie in being a holy warrior using the power of light to heal my compatriots and harm my foes.

Join the SWAT team. You can't tell me some of the drug addicts those guys take down don't look like freaking Orcs !

Re:Too real (2)

Dekker3D (989692) | about 6 years ago | (#24719309)

not exactly what i'd call holy. or "warrior", isn't that word usually reserved for those with a sense of honour? police forces, and military folks even more so, gang up on a single person, outnumbering and outgunning him/her. no honour there, really.

no AC, since this had to be said.

also, not saying that it doesn't need to be done, just that it should be done differently.

Re:Too real (1)

Joebert (946227) | about 6 years ago | (#24719339)

And the difference between that and getting a party of 5 together to kick the shit out of some dragon-monkey is ?

Re:Too real (1)

taliesin1077 (1350017) | about 6 years ago | (#24719451)

Dragon-monkeys are notoriously tough to solo. ;)

Re:Too real (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719693)

To be fair, so are crackheads.

Re:Too real (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719861)

Join the SWAT team. You can't tell me some of the drug addicts those guys take down don't look like freaking Orcs !

Plus, the busts have no permanent effect on the world, and next week the site will spawn new orcs to be busted by another team! Just like an MMO!

Re:Too real (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | about 6 years ago | (#24719149)

Although I agree for the most part, there is a really simple solution; don't play games like that.

No one is forcing you to play all these complex games, and there is no shortage of simple Mario style games.

If someone wants to spend 14 hours a day playing WoW, that's their choice (or fault) and if you wanna play Tetris for 45 minutes, thats yours...

Personally, I like to alternate between both, or in some cases games will have an "Arcade" and a "Simulation" sort of setting, so you can piss around, or take it seriously as you wish.

Re:Too real (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 6 years ago | (#24719897)

The problem is that a MMO is by definition a multiplayer game and simple tasks that work fine in a single player game really feel silly in a multiplayer one. When I have to get in line and wait for my turn to kill that very same boar that all those people before me already killed all my suspense of disbelieve goes right out the windows and I would very much welcome some added persistence even when it makes the overall game a little more complicated.

Sounds Like Molyneux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719041)

This sounds great but sounds too good to be true. The number of people playing each objective would be tremendous, new events and triggers would encourage griefers to stay in the same spot, advancing the storyline for their own amusement (and probably killing all the lowbies that wandered in if they can).

This already exists to an extent in many popular MMORPGs such as the farming of materials and whatever else was needed to open the gate to the new WoW expansion. It's also already exploited by high-level clans who strong-arm, bribe, etc their way into being most likely to receive any unique quest awards; I've seen this first-hand on Everquest II.

It's great if they increase these events or whatever, but most MMORPGs seem to want people to pay for new content in well-defined (and long-awaited and delayed) chunks. Initiating something like this sounds like something that would be so expensive and bug-causing that the company would eventually decide all the effort wasn't worth it (when the option of not doing it might result in no real change to the subscriber base).

On the whole, this sounds like something Peter Molyneux would say to drum up interest in his latest game, with buzzwords liberally thrown in with exaggerations and perhaps even an outright lie or two ;)

Sorry for AC post, I don't usually have anything to say.

Players as enthropy (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#24719075)

It's hard to make this work in a way that doesn't allow the world to deteriorate. How does all the stuff that players destroy get repaired? Probably by a huge number of NPCs working very hard around the clock. The NPC AI's need persistent state, too. They need to learn from experience, so they will rebuild better defenses. Walls are built stronger. Weak points are plugged. Overlapping fields of fire are set up. Obstacles to slow up assaults go in place. Towers are built to be mutually supporting. Checkpoints where players must disarm are put in place. NPC guards discover flanking tactics.

The day will come when the NPC AIs get smart enough to realize that the players are ruining their world and band together to exterminate the players.

Re:Players as enthropy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719377)

Yes, we're currently working on an neural net-based artificial intelligence project which involves a lot of what your saying, we've nearly reached completion of a working system but we've had a few non-technical issues along the way which has slowed us down.
The system in question uses cloud computing and should cause a big shift in the current paradigm.

The day will come when the NPC AIs get smart enough to realize that the players are ruining their world and band together to exterminate the players.

Anyway, Cyberdyne System's SkyNET will soon be tested in a live environment near you, hope to see you there! :)

Re:Players as enthropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719583)

Anyway, Cyberdyne System's SkyNET will soon be tested in a live environment near you, hope to see you there! :)

Ah yes, the day humanity is destroyed because privacy laws are finally sane. SkyNET's UberBossWithCheese determines the players cannot be stopped within the world and so needs to resort to alternative measures of killing all humanity since it cant connect the player accounts to the specific humans responsible.

I suppose that makes one anti-privacy argument that is at least plausible.

Re:Players as enthropy (1)

mikael_j (106439) | about 6 years ago | (#24719833)

One idea would be to allow individual players and groups of players ("guilds"/"corporations") to construct buildings and in other ways control infrastructure. Combine this with two or three major factions (like the horde and the alliance in WoW) and you could have a very interesting game.

In fact, WoW with this sort of dynamic would be very interesting and I'm a bit disappointed that Blizzard didn't bother figuring out a way of implementing it. Imagine the horde capturing Stormwind City and Elwynn forest while the alliance manages to reclaim the Arathi highlands and the plaguelands, the game would suddenly be completely different, and changes like this would also motivate players to cooperate within their factions since this cooperation would be beneficial. It would probably have to be combined with a system that made sure that one side couldn't easily be defeated though, "complete victory" (taking over all resources/regions) should still be possible but taking the last few regions should be harder for the dominant faction than it should be for the "losing" faction to capture a region, exactly how to do this would of course be the hard part..


Great... (-1, Troll)

mrbcs (737902) | about 6 years ago | (#24719101)

Now they'll never leave their parents basement. /sarcasm

Anyone I've seen play Warcrack is already hopelessly addicted. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

Old Concept. New Intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719157)

This concept isn't new, I assume the breakthrough they are trying to make is to automate the process.
I know a few MMOs which have persistent worlds but they also have a team of developers and moderators working with and observing the players action and activities using aggregate statistics and other data collection. Mind you none of these MMOs are huge maybe 1000 players give or take a few hundred but that's the problem, resources.
If automated then it would be a hit wouldn't it?

A persistent world? Done. (4, Informative)

Dreen (1349993) | about 6 years ago | (#24719163)

Wurm Online [] is a 100% persistent HUGE world where you can feel your actions change the world, and collaborative player effort can change it into something entirely different it is. Apart from that its indie, dirt-cheap (5 euro/mo), cross-platform, with beautiful sceneries, and very immersive. All you need is Java and a little patience. Wurm Online Wikipedia Entry []

Re:A persistent world? Done. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719873)

5 euros a month? I'm American, that's my whole month's salary, you insensitive clod!

Virtual Theater (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 6 years ago | (#24719201)

Come on, we had this back in the time of adventure games!!

Virtual Theater, remember???

Download ScummVM and go back to Lure of the Temptress. We already passed this phase of evolution in 1992 ... MMORPGs clearly are adventure games + Role Playing ... They are supposed to be an evolution of adventure games, not an involution.

Less graphics, more gameplay.

Persistant player characters (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719203)

I like the idea of persistence in virtual worlds, and I think the idea should be expanded further to a player's character as well. Why should your character suddenly vanish when you log out and stop playing? I'd love a game where you could write scripts to automate your character's behavior so that when you log out it can continue to do things like buy and sell items, perform mundane upkeep tasks, and even interact with other PCs in some meaningful way, like taking messages for you or automatically delivering messages to your friends when they log on.

Re:Persistant player characters (1)

gznork26 (1195943) | about 6 years ago | (#24719755)

This would make it a different sort of game, but how about...

The game-world contains inhabitable NPCs. When you log in, you take over the behavior of the nominal NPC your account is associated with. So, while you're not there, it reverts to whatever mundane existence that you or the game requires of it. Someone else nearby could be ignoring it or interacting with it just as any other NPC, when it suddenly 'comes to life'. Of course, you could play possum and behave like an NPC to lure others into ignoring you for whatever reason. Could be kind of spooky. Doesn't anything like that exist?

the real trick of this (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 6 years ago | (#24719233)

Design a full background for the world then add in the usual suspects and then let things go (tweak things as needed)

You have a King with a Kingdom and Queen there will be a princess therefore some group with enough evil will make a grab for said princess. You have a town with $rare_resource somebody is going to try to grab it. Add in $epic-class beast (with lair/loot) and you have most of your quest stuff just rolling along.

Programming and balancing this is left as an exercise to the reader

Complexity (1)

Derosian (943622) | about 6 years ago | (#24719353)

Depending upon the complexity of it all it would be be done easily with quest chains that loop.

You have two villages.
Village 1 is in disrepair, they give you quests to go gather wood to help them repair the building after enough wood is gathered and some time has passed the village is no longer run down.
Village 2 and Village 1 are in conflict.
Village 2 offers you quest to go kill players around village 1 and then to take their wood and burn it.
Village 2 also offers quests to go destroy village 1 if Village 1 is in good shape.
If Village 1 never gets the wood it needs it eventually gets destroyed, then after a random amount of time has passed a new species or a player guild moves in and claims said spot and starts to build a village complete with the quest to gather wood to help build the buildings.
Village 1 and 2 would both offer the same quests under different conditions though and with different stipulations and rewards.

Of course you could just make things immensely more complex by making this back and forth chain into a AI mapping component. Where you have X number of NPC's who give quests to attack Y faction or support Z faction, if these quests get done then the world changes towns switch control, new resources become available to Z faction and Y faction loses resources. Then because Z faction has more territory they have more borders and thus more enemies, now they give quests to go attack Y, K, J, and L faction. This doesn't even take into account some of the large PVE content but I suppose if a certain faction get's big enough they gain the ability to summon large creatures, which if you wanted to kill would require large number of people working in coordination. Players would act as mercenaries if they didn't have a guild and would work for whatever faction would take them with different benefits for different factions, while guilds could form their own factions by taking over small territories and spreading outward their cities would give out quests of their own, but they could also set a small number of custom quests, to gather resources they need or to kill someone they are not particularly fond of.

Needless to say I've been looking forward to this type of content for a while, although I had hoped it would come from a well known MMO company, I suppose a relatively new company in the MMO world will have to do for now, until other companies start to realize how much this can make a player feel like they are making a difference in a virtual world.

Persistent world = Dynamic World... (1)

Keill (920526) | about 6 years ago | (#24719457)

To do a persistent world properly, and make it worth playing in, means making it dynamic - i.e. it reacts to what the player(s) is/(are) doing.

There are two ways to make a world dynamic:

Either you:

a) rely on player and player interactions to add the dynamics, (such as in Eve Online).

b) design the game world and NPC mechanics etc. to react to the players. (Have no idea if the second one has been achieved yet).

B is obviously a LOT harder to do than A, which is why it hasn't really happened yet (to my knowledge), but can have the biggest impact. The problem with A, is that it automatically means having a PvP orientated game, and making it all work properly etc. does place a lot of limits on what is possible, whereas B can be done regardless, in a PvE only game, or even one with both PvE and PvP. (Though to really get the most out of it, a PvE only system would probably work best).

Planetside already did this years ago (2, Informative)

RobinH (124750) | about 6 years ago | (#24719489)

Well, Planetside [] (an MMOFPS) has done this since the beginning. When you capture a base or a tower it stays captured and becomes a spawn point for your side. Then because of the lattice structure between bases, it opens up new bases that are vulnerable to attack. The lattice structure is there to cause a front line to the battles.

Re:Planetside already did this years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719765)

Realm-versus-realm combat in DAoC had elements of this as well.

Intelligent questlines (1)

guttergod (94044) | about 6 years ago | (#24719515)

It's fairly easy to make a repeating set of quests that's reasonably realistic. A player quests to save the princess from the tower, once completed another player from an opposing faction gets the quest to capture her again. Naturally it's more interesting if there are a few more stages in the quest than just that basic thing... Like a rogue quest to figure out what tower she's locked up in, a thief quest to steal the key followed by a group quest to get her out. And something similar for the opposing faction.

Ofcourse, the town SHOULD learn that their princess is not safe there, but it would be a shame to make all that work to let just one group of happy adventurers enjoy it.

Doesn't Disney's Toontown do this? (1)

mrand (147739) | about 6 years ago | (#24719565)

With buidings being taken over by COGs, and re-taken back by toons, doesn't Toontown already have a simple version of this?

Pussy Nazi Sez (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719613)

No pussy for YOU!

Too close to the real world (1)

lymond01 (314120) | about 6 years ago | (#24719615)

I drew up a rough design doc about related pieces of the world. Players need food so they hunt deer but they can't overhunt or the herds will thin. So you learn to cook or salt the meat to make it last longer. Wolves can eat both the deer and NPC farmers so you need to keep those under control. Villages will have NPCs you grow relationships with...bit an Orc attack undefended may kill Mary the pie maker and you no longer get cheap pies...

But then it's no longer just the adrenaline rush of hunting and killing that current games's more like life which is antithetical to a role-playing game.

Re:Too close to the real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24720049)

There's actually a single player game called Dwarf Fortress that does pretty much everything you've asked for. Pity that it's very much a rogue like (confusing "graphics") and enough menus and commands to make even the most hard core linux people squirm.

Increasing persistence also = increasing problems (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 6 years ago | (#24719753)

There's already problems caused in MMOs by persistence. The classic one is quest mobs. When another player's doing a quest that targets the same mobs as yours, the mobs he's killed aren't there for you to kill and you can't update your quest until the mobs respawn (persistence resets). When the objective's one with a long respawn time (maximum persistence) and has some value to other players, it gets worse because people will go and farm that objective, taking or killing it as often as they can, simply for that other value, making it difficult to impossible to complete quests (at least without dedicating large amounts of time to camping the objective). Instancing in MMOs (decreased persistence) is a direct response to the fact that players don't like this situation. If you increase the amount of persistence even further, make it more and more common for players to be blocked in their quests because some other player's already taken their objective, you're going to increase player frustration big-time. And frustrated players leave your game for one that won't frustrate them as much.

These guys have lots of experience in pen-and-paper and tabletop games, but those games aren't MMOs. The big difference is in one word: "massively". In a pen-and-paper or tabletop game, you have half-a-dozen, maybe a dozen at most, players affecting the world and they're all in typically one group and all have the same or closely-related objectives. In an MMO you've got several tens of thousands of people affecting the world, and they're not all in one group and they're not all synchronized with each other in terms of what they're doing at any given time. If you want to increase persistence, you'll need to read up on "farmers" and "griefers" and figure out how you're going to deal with them in your game. Spending a year or two actually playing existing MMOs to see how players actually interact with them would be good too.

Already there... sort of (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24719805)

Persistence is not exactly a new idea, even in MMORPGs. Here are a couple examples from WoW:

- Opening the gates of Ahn'Qiraj: A whole bunch of people on an entire server work together to unlock a massive dungeon, and then work together to defeat the massive invasion that spews forth. This happens once - once it's done, it's done forever.

- Halaa: Players from the two factions battle for control of a neutral town. Once you take control of it for your faction, it belongs to your faction until the opposing faction regains control.

But... this is a small portion of the content, and active players just don't clamor for more. Why? Because they don't want more.

Stuff like Ahn'Qiraj is really cool... for the people doing it while it is being done. But for every event made like this, you have to give up a ton of content that could be done by anyone any time (after all, developers can only do so much). In the end, people like a few epic one-time events and a ton of stuff they can do whenever they want. Racing other players for server firsts is a little too stressful to be fun for most people.

Stuff like Halaa is fun... if you like PVP. And a lot of people do like PVP, so games like WoW have a great deal of PVP content in them. But even more people like PVE, and they wouldn't touch Halaa with a ten-foot pole.

In the end, the vast majority of players would rather have to use their imagination (pretend their quest solved a problem forever) than sacrifice quests / content they can do leisurely on their own time without worrying about other players. Obviously some people feel differently, but this is why we have different genres of games. And make no mistake - the MMORPG genre is really very distinct from the classical RPG genre.

Player versus Player (1)

bjackson1 (953136) | about 6 years ago | (#24719813)

I think the answer is PvP, and we're already starting down that path.

The "princess" doesn't stay saved because another group of players from a rival faction doesn't want it to be so, and snatches her back. Of course, a princess doesn't really work here. How many times would a princess be saved and lost, before she decides the tower in the middle of the contested zone isn't a great idea? But in terms of villages, land, etc, it works.

EVE is pretty original in this as well, where essentially the players make the story to a large degree.

To do it without PvP would require there to a lot of company controlled NPCs or incredibly smart AI systems. Why not use paying intelligent people to fulfil those roles? Just make it fun.3

It's a matter of effort. (1)

arthurh3535 (447288) | about 6 years ago | (#24719877)

Right now, a well built encounter and story-arc can take dozens of hours of work to make, even using very generic 'tile-sets' and pregenerated characters.
A.I. has no capability create interesting, cohesive and *meaningful* stories even if you used dozens and dozens of super-computers. NCSoft is actually going to be doing something very interesting in this arena by allowing players to create their own missions using a mission editor in City of Heroes (maybe in as little time as a few months.)
Essentially, instead of trying to create a tool to do it on its own, empowering your players with (hopefully) well built tools and a voting system to let people's creativity be harnessed in their game.

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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>