Reply To: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games

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“… (by Chris Williams)
So, just to say what would need to be done to make a MMOAG:
No levels or skill modifiers. No dice roll
Does not require more than arrow keys and the mouse <- Opinion
Player would be able to advance through a story (or perhaps several stories) and a multitude of subplots within each
Completing a story would give only the reward of a nifty animation sequence and perhaps open up a new story

Of course on top of that you would need to figure out how to make it multiplayer and a way to make enough content to satisfy millions of people for several years and provide in-game stuff to do when you just want to putter about.


Hi, Chris. I just have a few comments on your post. Consider that every online game out there, big and small, is generally about fighting other players and/or building up your character. The majority of the content of MMPORGs is fluff. They keep respawning monsters and have their players whack them so they drop the magic booties. Repeat ad nauseum to level 50. What you are proposing is to eliminate the RPG aspect from MMPORGs, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it effectively guts them. But if that is done, then one must think of a way to make it worthwhile to play with other players other than for the sake of it being a glorified chat room…Otherwise it’s just another adventure game whos online component has no point. I think Myst: Uru tried to do something like this, and I played it. It was a dismal failure. Let me put it this way – The online play was so boring that the players were trying to kick as many of the various construction cones from all over the map into the central fountain as possible. Also, one of the things they had to do to get to another map was to run all over the place finding these little tokens. If you got enough of them, it unlocked a new world for you to experience new levels of boredom in. That is not fun. And those were pretty much the only two things you could do in Uru, other than be ragged on for being “out of character”, which also happened to me.

So the question then is, what can be done differently? How could you whip up so much content not centralized around fighting each other (not that there’s anything bad with a little competition, it’s just that the game shouldn’t be centered around killing things) or pushing up stats that it keeps everyone busy and happy? The answer is: You don’t. You let the customers do it. That’s right, you give them a piece of the development engine and let people do their own thing, and build your persistent world for you. A real life example of how this works can be found with Second Life (; ). Just read through the site, it’s pretty crazy what they have done. The difference between this and what you are proposing is that a MMPOAG would be centrailized around quests and puzzles, instead of opening shops and buying useless junk 🙂

I remember a long time ago I played a text-only game called British Legends – I guess you could call it a MUD – on CompuServe that was kind of like that. It was very Quest-Centric. You increased your rank on the system by completing them – You’d get so many points for each one done. As you got more powerful you could take on more difficult quests, usually involving slaying some high level monster or some such. I can’t say much more as I never got a chance to play it that much (I can’t remember what I paid for CompuServe, but it was per-minute and a lot to rack for a 14 year old), but overall I thought it was pretty fun.

Update: Looks like someone took British Legends and put it on the ‘Net. I hope my memories about it served me as well as I thought they did…See for yourself: