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Do the staples of the MMORPG need to be redone?:

 26 Arilou, Sat, 17th Nov '12 7:23:32 PM from Quasispace
Taller than Zim
I think storytelling in MMO's is, essentially, a false start. At least the kind of storytelling we see in WOW, SWTOR, or saw in City of Heroes.

Don't get me wrong, those can be fun, but it often comes across as an extra, a distraction, or something to be enjoyed while soloing. It doesen't mesh very well.

OTOH some ofthe more sandboxy MMO's managed to have stories of epic proportionjs.... The entire EVE online debacle with the betrayal ad the rise of a new power balance is one thing.

I think we honestly need MMO's to be less like single-player MMO's: Give players the tools to create their own stories organically andlet them do it.
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
 27 Clarste, Sat, 17th Nov '12 7:31:31 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
That strategy has the drawback of making games that aren't very fun except maybe for a few people at the top. And games that aren't fun don't make much money.

 28 Fighteer, Sat, 17th Nov '12 9:18:07 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
I have thought on occasion about a persistent world MMO in which players are the drivers of everything. They guard the towns, build the towns, grow the food, quarry the stone, fight the monsters, form alliances, control territory, act as quest givers as well as receivers, etc.

To make that work, unfortunately, you need a very high quality of player to take charge of these groups, and I'm afraid that the tendency of players to be evil selfish pricks would overwhelm the game. Also, I can't think of a way to make the game newbie-friendly without some means to restrict griefing that would in turn break immersion.

Let's take a very simple scenario: shopkeeping. If a player wants to set up a shop and doesn't want to spend 24/7 running it, but it can be stolen from when he/she is not online, it makes it almost too risky to be worthwhile. You could have hirable NPC guards but no AI can outthink a player. Conversely, if you have a crime system, can a player just go offline to avoid any consequences, or can they be captured while offline? Either way presents a challenge.

edited 17th Nov '12 9:23:34 PM by Fighteer

 29 Recon 5, Sat, 17th Nov '12 11:42:52 PM from Southeast Asia
Avvie-free for life!
[up] EVE Online has quite a lot of things handled by players. Domination by groups of pricks eventually leads to enough organized opposition to take them down. Unfortunately CCP intervention is still quite frequently needed and the game is infamous for the amount of dedication required to get anywhere.

Once again, is a given MMO aiming to be an alternate life or a game? This single question would determine how each of a game's systems has to be structured.

Systems in a MMO aiming to be an alternate life would require lots of effort and planning (and maybe even some real investment) to run properly and to reap rewards from, with the possibility of crushing failure and rage as part of the experience.

Systems in a MMO aiming to be a game simply have to keep a player entertained whether they do so by throwing out thousands of distractions or by dangling carrots on distant sticks. Ideally players should be frustrated or disappointed as rarely as possible because that would mean the MMO has failed to entertain at those times.

edited 17th Nov '12 11:48:21 PM by Recon5

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