[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Why do people like weather in MMORPGs?

Mike Rozak Mike at mxac.com.au
Mon Dec 20 03:59:34 CET 2004

When I read reviews of MMORPGs or MMORPG feature lists, I often
notice a few nice-to-have features that are prominently
mentioned. These include player housing, pets, and the
weather/night. I understand the desire for pets, and can guess at
the attraction of player housing, but why do people want weather or
night-time in their MMORPG?

I have played in games with night-time and weather, but they're
merely scenery. Night-time is just a dimmer version of
daytime. Weather just involves some fog and a different sky
map. (One of the not-yet-released MMORPGs talks about seasons and

Real night-time would involve stuff like requiring torches to move
around at night (which would allow monsters to see the players a
mile away), different monsters out at night, NPCs going to sleep,
and maybe even requiring players to sleep. I've only ever seen a
quasi-night systems that require torches or spells to move about.

Real weather would include warm-weather clothing, armor overheating
on warm days, armor rusting in the rain, slipping in the mud during
combat, river levels rising during rain, rivers freezing over,
rivers too cold to swim in, less cover in winter, mountain passes
being unpassable in winter, different monsters based on the season,
being able to track easier in the snow, shorter days, etc. I've
never seen any of these, and don't expect to since they are
invconveniences to the player.

Do players just want weather for eye candy? Or do the MMORPGs and
reviewers use nighttime and weather as a checkbox item in order to
differentiate themselves. (Just like some sound cards have 20-bit
sound, as opposed to 16-bit sound. Not to be cynical, but the noisy
power supply in a computer only provides 13-14 bits of sound no
matter how good your DAC.)

Mike Rozak
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