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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

The Future of Persistent Worlds In MMOs 302

Zonk did an interesting interview with Ed Stark and Dave Williams, employees for an MMO developer named Red 5 (and experienced tabletop game designers). They talk about their ideas and plans to bring about the next step in MMO gaming: increased persistence in online worlds, where an objective, once completed, stays completed. Williams said, "Right now for most of these games, when the player saves the princess and he starts walking away from the tower — if he looks back he's going to see the princess at the top of the tower again." Regarding their current work, he continues: "If you save the village, it stays saved — you saved it! But maybe now that village becomes an objective for another player; maybe something has to be done now because that village wasn't destroyed. And so on, and so on, and so on. Building those mechanisms to make it a world that reacts to a player's actions instead of existing in a static state. That's the world we're talking about."
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The Future of Persistent Worlds In MMOs

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  • by Negatyfus ( 602326 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:34AM (#24718937) Journal
    It's difficult, because there are thousands of players with you in the same world. So you achieve an objective. Is that objective also achieved for another player? If so, then he can't do that particular quest anymore. You'd have to present different perspectives of the world to each player, where when player A does something it is done for him, but player B still sees it as unfinished. That's not really a persistent world, I'd say. The hard thing to do is allowing the player to be an epic hero among thousands of other players. Everybody wants to be a hero, right? So how many princesses are there that need rescuing? Another hurdle is content creation. A lot of the repetitive nature of MMO's is because of the fact that players consume more content than the developers can make it, and MMO's never end. So what if everything that needed saving is finally saved? Game over? Wait for the next content update? That's not how a developer wants an MMO to work, and so the quests and boss fights are repeatable. If you have an elegant solution for these problems, the MMO world would thank you.
  • Re:no problem (Score:2, Informative)

    by extirpater ( 132500 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:36AM (#24718949)

    Bot programmer here!

  • by Dreen ( 1349993 ) <> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @12:07PM (#24719163)
    Wurm Online [] is a 100% persistent HUGE world where you can feel your actions change the world, and collaborative player effort can change it into something entirely different it is. Apart from that its indie, dirt-cheap (5 euro/mo), cross-platform, with beautiful sceneries, and very immersive. All you need is Java and a little patience. Wurm Online Wikipedia Entry []
  • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @12:54PM (#24719489) Homepage

    Well, Planetside [] (an MMOFPS) has done this since the beginning. When you capture a base or a tower it stays captured and becomes a spawn point for your side. Then because of the lattice structure between bases, it opens up new bases that are vulnerable to attack. The lattice structure is there to cause a front line to the battles.

  • by FroBugg ( 24957 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @01:04PM (#24719561) Homepage

    You'd have to present different perspectives of the world to each player, where when player A does something it is done for him, but player B still sees it as unfinished.

    Interestingly, this is something Blizzard is introducing to WoW in their next expansion. For example, when you first come to a certain town, it looks deserted to you. As you complete quests, it fills up with NPCs and changes slightly. It's not instanced, but someone who has completed a certain quest and someone who hasn't will see different things even though they're standing side by side.

    It's not a perfect solution, because it breaks the feeling of everybody being part of the same world a little bit, but it does help to give you more of a sense of personal accomplishment.

  • by ezh ( 707373 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @01:39PM (#24719777)
    player owned stations (POS)
  • by Poltras ( 680608 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @01:56PM (#24719911) Homepage
    Blizz charges for transfering char. But it's possible.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2008 @02:05PM (#24719979)

    ...certainly don't make the player feel like a hero...

    Well, that's kind of the problem though, isn't it? You can't all be the hero.

    If some giant monster is coming to destroy the world...and you kill it...then you're done. One monster, one world, one hero. Unless you're going to come up with a new monster coming to destroy another world... But how long until that becomes a boring mini-game?

    ...All the persistent (but changeable) content is player-generated/-owned...

    Isn't that exactly what we're talking about? Letting the players change their world? Letting the players create something that persists beyond the scope of your current quests... Letting the players destroy something that stays destroyed...

    If you've got the game randomly generating an endless stream of new objectives, how is that any different than just completing the same objective over and over again? take a flag and it stays yours until the enemy takes it...

    Well, there's no flag to start out with. You have to team up with a bunch of other players to slowly gather the resources in order to build the flag. And then it takes a while to construct the thing. And once you've built the flag it acts as far more than a simple placeholder - it offers docking bays, defensive weaponry, places to conduct research or build new ships, possibly a steady stream of income... And it takes a sizeable force to capture the flag from you...

    ...It would be nothing without the player personalities and interactions...

    Isn't that the whole point in playing an MMOG? I mean... If you aren't interested in the other players you could just go play a single-player game. If all you want is objectives that stay completed you can go play something like Half-Life 2 or Portal. The whole point in an MMOG is the player interaction. Creating communities and virtual worlds.

    EVE has done a tremendous job of creating a persistent virtual world. The complaint that the PvE isn't very impressive is valid, because EVE isn't about the NPCs, it's about the players.

    The players are able to dramatically shape the universe around them. You can be a hero, if you want. There are some very well-respected members of the community. You can also be a villain. Or you can sit on the sidelines and play both sides against each-other. You can conquer a galaxy and build outposts to defend it. Or you you can rampage across the galaxy destroying what others have created.

    The NPCs just kind of sit there in the background providing backstory for the folks who care about it, and an easy source of income.

  • by kv9 ( 697238 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:34PM (#24723793) Homepage

    But it really wouldn't be difficult at all to blend PvP and PvE in EVE. You already have four factions, each with their own faction space [...] A Gallente in Amarr 0.9 space would be chased down by Concord, even if they had high Concord security ratings when they were in Gallente space.

    the Faction Warfare patch released this summer, does exactly that. well, almost. if you are working for one of the factions the enemy's navy (and not CONCORD, they are just for crimes not politics) wtfpwns you in their space.

    Make it possible for Alliances or large zergs to overthrow the sovereignty of a system and you have a workable blend of PvE and PvP (a system being overthrown would bring in a lot of attention from players in nearby systems)

    again, done. a new region chock full of systems has been created where the warring factions can conquer and generally fight over territory.

    Right now EVE storyline is PvP because instead of NPC factions all the story is between the big alliances. But it's better story than anything that content creators would ever dare put in a game.

    right on. all that has proven interesting because the big alliances in the game have interests in controlling various pieces of space (resources, strategic positions, etc.) while on the other hand the Faction Warefare thing consists just of aimless fighting. but at least you have the choice (and many others). EVE wins again.

  • Re:Afraid to lose (Score:2, Informative)

    by hellop2 ( 1271166 ) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @04:06PM (#24728947)
    "YES! Again, achievement and exertion of control over the game-space."

    Sorry to be contrary, but I think that the parent is saying that if 1000's of people complete the same quest, that makes the player feel like they don't have much "control over the game-space." He also pointed out that if someone belittles your quest that detracts from your sense of achievement.

    I don't know what book you are getting your ideas from but, "25% of purchasers will get past hour 4" is just plain false. Trust me, kids play their games more then 4 hours. Have you seen kids play video games before?

    I agree with the parent's point that losing once in a while can be exciting, and that MMORPG makers should consider it.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley