[MUD-Dev] [biz][tech][dgn][soc] Ten MMOG's you don't want to do...

Sean Howard squidi at squidi.net
Fri Apr 23 17:11:49 CEST 2004

>From "ceo" <ceo at grexengine.com>

>   3. "Our game is a bit derivative, but we (or our publisher) have
>   a huge marketing dept that knows how to shift product. We'll
>   have a massive launch, and the huge community will have a
>   critical mass that keeps people subscribing even if the game is
>   boring or broken."

In all fairness, I don't think I've seen a released MMOG (including
most non-Diku MUDs) yet that didn't have some fancy new ideas in
it. As far as innovation goes, MMOGs appear to be the only genres
actively embracing it at this point.

>   4. MMG: An MMOG without the online part (no communit; "we don't
>   need to bother, it'll happen itself")

Technically true. I've got a completely non-interactive webcomic and
I've got a community of literally thousands of people. The trick is
pay attention so that you can manipulate that community into the
shape which is most beneficial to you. Perhaps this should be a
warning about ignoring your community and having certain sub-groups
gain power and scare the rest away?

>   5. MSOG: a pure "single-player" experience, only with "internet
>   connection required". Stick the word "MMOG" on the box and hope
>   to sell more copies.

How about the opposite? A game so multiplayer that you are forced
into groups against your will and can never be independant? You
spend the first thirty minutes trying to get together a group.

>   6. Medieval swords-and-sorcery, with, like, Orcs and stuff.

That is such a broad category that it is too general. I mean, one
could easily do a humorous fantasy game like Discworld or Xanth -
which would be interesting. There has yet to be a fantasy MMORPG
where someone could become a dungeon master and design his own
dungeon, or one where all the players play vampires and warewolves
and other monsters. There's a lot of room for some very interesting
new ideas, so long as one isn't particularly influenced by Dungeons
and Dragons.

Besides, a fantasy game is an easier sell than steampunk Victorian
or Western cattle raising. Pretty much the two biggest genres in the
game industry today is fantasy and modern warfare. I typically hate
both genres in movies and books, but as videogames, the particular
metaphors tend to create more in tune gameplay.

Perhaps a better statement would be about taking a medieval
swords-and-sorcery game and moving it into a different genre without
fundamentally changing it. Swords become vibro-laser-blades. Sorcery
becomes nano-technology and Orcs become... uh... space Orcs. Or
taking the fantasy genre and renaming Hobbit to Halfling and calling
it a whole new world, even though mythril is still the best armor.

>   9. Simulationist's dream: simulate everything, as accurately as
>   possible; no short-cuts. Let emergent behaviour rule! (and
>   ignore the inherently unstable nature of accurate simulations)

Ooh, I think you're gonna chewed out for that one :) I do agree

>   10. What's missing? Add yours here :).

One of my pet peeves is a MMORPG where most decisions are either
dominated or inconsequential so that essentially, the game plays
itself. City of Heroes is somewhat like this. LOTS of decisions
before you start, not so many while you play.

I'm surprised you missed the "We need to make a MMORPG because the
marketing department says they are really big right now and the
subscription model means we get gazillions of dollars a year without
doing any more work".

Or "A game so ambitious that all the interesting features get cut
before launch or only half implemented and the game ends up as a
bland clone with no redeeming value that serves only as a constant
reminder of what could've been were not every feature broke".

Sean Howard - www.squidi.net
Webcomic: A Modest Destiny
MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

More information about the mud-dev-archive mailing list