Saturday, June 03, 2006

MMORPG ideas

(Written February 7th, 2006)

First an old idea of mine: turn-based strategy.

Those who've played Final Fantasy Tactics have a good idea what I'm talking about here; Battles are distinctly seperate from the normal world (perhaps in their own tiny instance), and during your limited-time turn you must not only carefully consider your attacks, but also your movement and position as well; there is no lag interfering with measuring positions and so it is not only possible but critical to strategy that you try to stay out of the enemy's range or line of sight while setting yourself in a good position, i.e. higher accuracy from the side and higher still from behind. This has barely been explored in single-player games, and I think streamlining the process to an MMO-style character development and skill set would do much to expand the genre to be more accessible to people who aren't big fans of planning things 3 turns in advance with 5 characters.

Speaking of 5 characters, the second idea just occured to me and spurred this topic: parties. Typically in MMOs you play one person and form into short-term parties that never accomplish much together on the grand scale. BUT... what if you controlled an entire party, similar to classic single-player RPGs? The danger is that this would make teaming (or even pairing) with other players obsolete, but by limiting choice so as not to let the party be too well-rounded (i.e. it is socially forbidden for warlocks to long-term party with paladins), it's *possible* that this could be overcome. At any rate, at least it wouldn't be almost impossible to solo, as is the case in several games. Possibilities abound; you could hire/rent and release party members in towns, you could have a "base" where all your members wait in reserve for you to swap them into the party, etc., etc...

I think it would be fun to manage a simplified version of 3 or 4 MMO characters and be able to develop them all at the same time. Even better, just by teaming with 2 people, you can have a dozen little people all taking on a giant beast or swarm of enemies. Obviously both the graphics and interface would have to have much less depth than a typical MMO in order to make it manageable, but IMO the depth in multi-character development/combinations would make up for it.


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