Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Blizzard, the MMORPG that has yet to be made

For a while it looked like the only successful MMORPGs would be Fantasy-based. Well most were using a Tolkienesque universe in which to allow players and their characters to explorer and roam.

But then, slowly but surely, we started seeing science-fiction based MMOs, some successful (EVE Online), some not so much (Earth & Beyond anyone?). Now, with Star Trek Online and Black Prophecy soon to be released, it looks like that genre is finally coming into the main stream of MMO games.

But science-fiction is not just limited to futuristic space combat! So many settings have yet to be explored by developer and players a like, that one would think we lack creativity and a need for diversity?

(Image used with permission from Wm. Robert Johnston. Original can be found here.)

Take for example an Ice Age, or Glacial Age since that's really the correct term. Now here's a setting that would be amazing for an MMO. Think of pockets of humanity scattered on cold and desolate continent of ice, where huge pack of 5-feet high wolves roam in packs of 20, 30 or even hundreds. A land where the Mammoth are once again the biggest beast on land, or where the illustrious Yeti walks the land terrorizing human outposts. Hell why not! A world where one has to travel far south to visit the last remaining cities on Earth. Can you picture it?

I could probably go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Now, I no Game Designer, so I have thought of all the details and possibilities, but I just can't fathom that we're going to limit ourselves to Elves and Dwarves or Spaceship and asteroid fields.

There's gotta more out there then dusting off an old franchise and wrapping it up in an MMO carcase.

What other settings would you like to see come to life? I'd love to know your ideas!


Ivanneth Maethor said...

Interestingly enough, I have half the graphics material and most of a written plotline for a demo of just such a game sitting in my HDDs right now.

CrazyKinux said...

@Shae - You are shitting me! Did you ever read The Sixth Winter by Orgill and Gribben? I loved that book as a kid!

@Planetary Genocide - How about a planetary genocide as a setting? Just a thought! :p

As for the word "blizzrd", we've become too accustomed to think of a certain game dev when we see it I believe! IMHO

Rixx Javix said...

Science fiction is full of great worlds and universes that could be used as the basis for developing MMORGs.

I always thought the BOLO universe would be interesting, giant sentient tanks fighting it out on alien worlds.

Or Ringworld for that matter. Or... heck, I could just go on and on really.

I like the post-apoc idea though.

jtyler said...

I smell a killer Blog Banter topic, CK.

"Pop quiz hot shot… You have unlimited budget to create your own MMO. You pick the setting, premise, the mechanics, the lore.What. Do. You. Do?"

Wouldn't be very EVE related I guess, but I'd love to read some ideas out there. I've got plenty of my own.

Mandrill said...

Steampunk, Proper Cyberpunk (a la Shadowrun and William Gibson), We're already beginning to see some contemporary horror with The Secret World and World of Darkness on the cards.

I don't think the settings of the games is all that important though, if the world is convincing enough. The mechanics and actually how the game is played is where the MMO market seems to be getting bogged down. We're surrounded by WoW clones, simply because it works and makes money. Dev's aren't normally willing to go out on a limb and do things differently and until that changes any game that comes out is basically going to be WoW with different clothes on (with a few notable exceptions of course)

Jesse said...

The movie wasn't great, but a world covered in water would be interesting to play in. With floating, flying, and underwater cities; combat at, above, and below sea level; giant squids, mermaids, sentient dirigibles.

Maria Wingtips said...

When I first tried out Eve Online, I thought about this too - an early mankind MMO. I even blogged about it here:

"You could say that the whole space thing is just a facade, a setting for a large political and economical game. [...]The game could just as well have been set in a rainforest: early humans gathering berries or nuts, and hunting animals or enemy tribes instead of future mankind doing mining, manufacturing and space battle. It would have lacked the scifi and tech appeal, but the game could have been, essentially, the same. Come to think of it, CCP could even have used the same name!"

Tom Hoffman said...

Gangs of New York era NYC could be great.

Ivanneth Maethor said...

@ CK -- nope, not shitting you. I was part of a team trying to get into the Dare To Be Digital competition back in... oh, god, 2007? I think? I was in charge of the writing, fixing the mess of an original concept the guys had, and concept art assets. Too bad our proposal wasn't accepted :(

CrazyKinux said...

@Shae - Too bad indeed! D'you know anything about those who were?

Selina said...

Jesse totally stole my idea. So +1 to that idea. I always thought the idea of a water world setting, where the few islands available, would be the ultimate trophy to the water bound clans. And of course you'd have pirates just living off of everyone else. Or go below depths. Anyone remember the tv series SeaQuest? :)

sid67 said...

How about Time Travel?

The Pliocene Saga by Julian May featured a one-way time machine to pre-historic times.

Great mechanic to blend Sci-Fi and Dinosaurs a la Land of the Lost.

What made the Pliocene Saga interesting is that there were gate campers that immediately took all your stuff when you went back in time. In such a way, you could strip people of tech to start, but have a plausible way for them to get it back (since it exists in enemy hands).

Stephen McMurtry said...

Hmm... That idea sounds pretty cool. Two franchises that I would like to have MMO's are Halo and The Wheel of Time.

As for an original idea... I'm not sure, but I know that it would not include elves. Why? Elves are pretty awesome, right? Wrong. Every since Lord of the Rings they've been overpowered (from a literary standpoint) and overused. Elves are always faster, better looking, and immortal. Now, video games balance some of these aspects by giving the elves lower defense or something, but we know that they're still cooler.

Otherwise, I can't think of any specific idea. :(

Anonymous said...

Hehe, an Ice Age MMO? So crazy, it might just work :)

I'd love to see more variations in the MMO genre and I've pondered it many times. One of the types of games I'd like to see would be a proper survival horror MMORPG, something like an apocolyptic world filled with zombies (and permadeath) :)

David said...

What I really want to see is an MMORPG that launches like 2nd life or the sims . . . and then, six months in, without warning to the players, a single infected NPC is introduced to begin the zombie apocalypse. It would be excellent. The emotional shock would be massive . . . Imagine the emo ragequit tears . . . and for the few players who stuck with it it would be awesome.

Aiden Mourn said...

I'm a huge sucker for dystopian fantasy ("After-the-bomb" type scenarios, zombie apocalypses, water-world, mad max, etc) so the concept of an MMO set in something like that sounds incredible to me. I would be so into an " new ice-age" themed game like CK described; personally I'm thinking a "Water World" type scenario set in ice rather than ocean with scattered clans of human settlements, possibly mutated new predator species, roving gangs of marauders...

Damnit, now I really want to play this game ;).


wtfever said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wtfever said...

Honestly I don't think a snowpocalypse style game would be well suited to an MMO. You wouldn't get the sense of isolation, desolation, hopelessness, survival when you have 15 of your clan mates jibber jabbering on teamspeak while killing an ice mammoth. Or while you are doing that, 3 other clans roll up. In that kind of environment you'd expect to see another tribe/clan maybe once in a lifetime. Though I would agree that it would be refreshing to see an MMO move beyond the standard fantasy setting.