Sunday, September 9, 2012

If I were to design an MMO... Part II

Part deux go. (No I didn't expect to write this today but I've got time so whatever)

Ok so, so far my imaginary MMO I'd design so far is f2p, has a hybrid of EE's and DoMO's multiclass system, a level cap of 30 and is built on the backbone of micromanaging goals to carrot on a stick people into going further and further, thus making themselves more attached to the game and likely to spend into the game and to remain there.

I could decide to go on about classes, but those aren't really that important - they'll mostly be cliche, honestly. The one exception is that there will be a musician/bard class, that's the only class that matters as far as I care. So instead, let's talk about combat, combat dynamic and the planned "grinding" scheme.

First, from experience in TERA, "action oriented combat" seems to be the new thing now and for a good reason - it's a lot more immersive, you feel like you're actually doing things. It's also not very hard to design around, at the end you're really just making every skill a limited range self-centerpoint AOE and setting in a limiter on how many targets it hits(and its preference in proximity or via cursor tracking), the only con with this system is you lose out on targeted area AOE's unless you turn them into an enemy centric targeted AOE or you have it fire a set distance in the direction you're aiming. Well, actually, I suppose it's possible to have it run on seeing through everything and landing exactly where you aim at the floor(think of it like how a rocket launcher functions in an FPS), so I guess that works.
So with that, we now have that this will be an action oriented MMO. Neat. But let's move on to that whole grinding dynamic. DoMO did one thing amazingly well - it was an entirely party centric grind for a very long period of time, and it made the game so much more than it was originally for that. For those not versed in how it worked, your party would be made up of 4 different types of roles within 6 party slots. There'd be the tank, there'd be the support, there'd be the AOE  classes and then there'd be the puller - of course, pending skill level some players functioned in more than one role. Mobs in the game had no set run distance, if you pulled aggro on them you'd have aggro the entire way until you either changed map, "trapped" its tracking into running into a wall where it couldn't follow you further, killed it or died yourself. This system made the party dynamic that much more since you could actually have some gigantic mob pulls, which meant more XP by the end of it. Now, clearly, I'm enamored with how this worked, so I'd definitely run it similarly. Only real difference is unlike DoMO, there'd be more than a single channel for areas if it weren't entirely instanced.

Ok so, we have action oriented combat and extremely party intensive grind. What about mobs? Well, I think I'd honestly take the non-lazy approach and have unique values for every mob type. In terms of HP, stats, XP payout, etc. DoMO did this and when it worked well it worked amazingly, but had a flaw in area design. Primarily, while regardless of whether you copy/paste values between mobs of each level or make them unique per mob type, there'll always be a "best" place to grind. There's a way to counteract this with proper design - if there's a mob type with a lower XP value, there should be tons of them in a clustered area and a slightly increased respawn rate, while larger XP value mobs would be slightly more spaced with a slightly slower respawn. If nothing else, it would create the dilemma to players to figure out which is faster, which is fantastic for community cooperation.

And with that, part two is done. Part three whenever I'm bored enough.

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