Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Witching hour

This post have noting to do with WoW business or RL business or even goblinish philosophy. This is a game concept that I've been thinking for some time. So feel free to skip for today. Or try to comment "write about WoW gold FFS" and wait until it appears on the blog. Don't hold your breath though!

Since I have no means to create this game, I cannot profit from the idea, so put it up for free to anyone who cares to use any parts of it. My profit will be playing it.

Many people asking why do I play WoW if I see so many errors. The answer is simple: the others are WoW-clones. OK, the "mage" is maybe called "wizard" and the spells can be different, but the main concept is the "farm gear in a persistent world". The only significantly different game type is Darkfall and co, "farm gear and pwn som n00b in a persistent world". My core problem is the persistent world. In Darkfall I can piss some punk off, in WoW I can't even do that, but the world is exactly the same. And it's not just "I want to shape the world" narcissism. A guild or even a whole-server movement can not have any affect on the world. If everyone on the server would go to a war against the quilboars of the Barrens, killing and camping them, including 10 zillion RFK runs, the quilboars would be the same next day. To add insult to injury, the persistence make the lore ridiculous and immersion impossible.

So here is the concept: a tower defense MMO.
The lore is simple: the king wants more iron and more mithril. The only place not under excessive mining operations is the "Isles of the necromancers". There are several such islands (each island is a server). There are lot of ore to mine there and also lot of other resources to gather. It's a beautiful land full of potentials, with only one little negative: THE NECROMANCERS RISE THE DEAD TO EAT YOUR BRAINS!

On every island there is a base camp. Some landing ships and hastily risen walls with towers under heavy NPC protection. The undead doesn't come here. This is the only place where NPCs can be found, outside there are just wild beasts and undead. In this base you can buy beginner stuff, get basic training and run tutorial missions against undead risen by the kings own necromancers. You can also sell iron and mithril to the kings merchants for coins. This is the only way to get coins from NPCs. The coins can be used to player-player businesses (also you can barter), you can buy beginner stuff from NPCs in the home base and you can also buy "badges" from the governor of the base. This is the only coin-sink and displayed as the toplist of the game. At certain badge amounts you also get tabards to show how progressed you are.

To get iron and mithril you have to go out and mine. Mining is nothing like in WoW, miners actually have to build a mine, planning shafts and spend weeks mining the ores out. Of course you can do it offline, you just create the plans and your character, which is always in the game will carry on your plans while you are offline.

To make mining possible, several other things must be done, like crafting tools, clothes, gathering food (characters must eat), building shelters (characters must sleep, and sleep time is affected by the quality of the shelter), creating forges where the ores can be smelt into bars (the king wants bars).

Oh, did I forget something? THE UNDEAD! The mining site must be defended against the undead. The "witching hour" is the hour between midnight and 1 AM server time. Of course there are several servers with different times so every player can find a server where this hour is appropriate for him. The undead rise in this hour and attack. During the day, the necromancers channel "evil presence" on the spot. The "evil presence" serves as a mana pool for the necromancers at the witching hour. The stronger it is, the more and stronger will be the attack of the undead. The players can measure this presence and decide if they want to defend the site one more day. As the undead attack will be stronger every day, there will come a point when the defense becomes economically unprofitable: the battle cost more than the production of the mines and other gathering activities. Also the mines deplete along with the beasts, fish and plants to gather. The ore does not respawn and the natural resources respawn over weeks to months.

So the economy of the game: the miners mine the ore that is used by everyone to buy badges. The other gatherers and crafters provide food, clothes, tools, shelter to the miners and to each other for a fee. The fighters protect the bases and the shipments from the undead, paid by the miners and gatherers/crafters of the base.

The land is randomly generated and huge, about 1 week travel time on foot from one side to the other (much faster on mount). The players find valuable spots, build bases and defend them while the resources are extracted. The resources are transported via player-caravans to other bases to supply them and to the home base to turn in to the kings men. During the witching hour the caravans can also be attacked by the undead so being on a land with high "evil presence" is not a good idea. On low evil presence a few undead can still show up, so traveling alone is not recommended unless you can reach a safe base before the witching hour.

There are no levels, the new player can instantly join the operations, obviously he will be much less effective than the players with high skills. There are classes and one can only rise class skills. Players can be dual or pure classes, dual classes access the skills of two classes, pure classes get a bonus to the skills of his only class. The first is recommended to casual players, the second is to HC players who play in min-maxed guilds. You can re-class in the home base, for a high sum of gold, losing all abilities of the discarded class. The abilities learned while using and slowly forgotten via time, so later joining players don't find all-maxed characters. The learning speed vs forgetting speed is set to let a very active player have around 60% full max, at this point he forgets so much that he can break even by learning everything he can. Of course one can keep a few abilities near maxed with ease.

The classes and skills are listed below. Every class have the following abilities. Abilities with "#" can be planned, and the character carries them out while offline. Weapon skills increase hit chance, damage and parry chance, magic skills increase mana efficiency, damage. Damaged players and enemies have their skills decreased.
  • Blunt weapon fighting: melee DPS, inferior to sword and axfight
  • Sling shot: ranged DPS, inferior to archery
  • #Cooking: crafting food from meat, vegetables and fruits
  • First aid skill: stops bleeding but does not regenerate any HP. HP can be regenerated mostly by resting. The fight is tactical, not button spamming.
  • #Teaching and learning: characters can gain skill points without risk or using resources by learning from another character who has higher skill. This takes time and a willing teacher
The classes and their abilities:
  • Miner
    • Surveying: determining what's under the earth
    • #Digging: creating the mine, mining up ores, earth and stones
    • #Mine-supplying: crafting wooden supplies, measuring air quality and such
    • #Stoneshaping: crafting stone blocks for stone buildings
    • Operating war machine
  • Hunter/gatherer
    • Seek plants: the valuable plants (alchemical herbs, plants with strong fibers and eatables) are more visible, sparkling a bit
    • Track beasts: the path where animals went becomes more visible. Note: animals are pretty rare, it's not "grind 1000 wolves/hour", it's rather, "find one wolf in a day, defeat it, skin it, prepare the meat and bring it home"
    • Horseback riding
    • #Dog taming (you have a hunting companion, a dog, who fights and improves your tracking by sniffing)
    • #Beast preparing: skinning, separating eatable meat from other organs, preparing meat to transport
    • #Fishing: catching fish with nets
    • Archery: fighting with a bow and arrow against beasts and undead. Inferior to fighter classes against undead.
  • Tailor/leatherworker
    • #Prepare leather: turn a skinned pelt into usable leather
    • #Linenweaving: turn a gathered "strong fiber" plant into thread and cloth patches
    • #Leatherworking: crafting leather armor and leather covered boxes
    • #Saddlecrafting: crafting horseback riding equipment
    • #Tailoring: crafting cloth armor, ropes, bandages, fishing nets
    • Operating war machine
  • Smith/blacksmith
    • #Smelt ore: crafting bars from ores using a forge
    • #Craft tools: crafting various metal tools used by everyone
    • #Craft chainmail: crafting simple iron chainmail that can be worn by anyone over his armor, increasing his defense but also weight
    • #Craft plate armor: crafting pieces of full plate armor usable by footmen and knights
    • #Craft iron weapon: crafting iron swords and axes for footmen and knights
    • #Craft mithrill weapon: crafting the best, and most expensive swords and axes for footmen and knights
    • Operating war machine
  • Builder/toolcrafter
    • #Craft blunt weapons: clubs, maces, war hammers
    • #Craft wooden tools: various tools, furniture and housebulding parts
    • #Build wooden building: wooden walls, gates, homes, wooden towers
    • #Build stone building: stone walls, stone towers, forges, grinders
    • #Craft war machine: catapults, ballistas, traps
    • Operating war machine
  • Footman
    • #Meditation: the warrior contemplates on the upcoming battle, plans his moves. This gives him a stackable buff that increase all fighting skills. The buff diminishes during fighting
    • Plate armor wearing: the more proficient he is, the less movement penalty he has for walking in 40kg of metal
    • Shield fighting: blocking and bashing with a shield. A footman with a shield can stand his ground against several undead if the wall would be breached
    • Swordfight: you can parry with swords
    • Axefight: the axe damages more than sword but cannot parry
    • Dual wield: decreases penalty for fighting with two weapons
    • Two hand specialization: increasing damage if fighting with a huge axe or sword
    • Archery
    • Operating war machine
  • Horseman
    • #Meditation
    • Horseback riding
    • Plate armor wearing
    • Swordfight
    • Axefight
    • Lance-charge
    • Archery
  • Mage
    • #Gather mana: the mage is meditating, collecting mana essences from the surroundings, creating mana potions. Mana essences can be found everywhere but there are strong and weak spots. Good mana-farming spots worth building a base. Mana is a limited resource, so if more mages channel on the same place, their individual gathering decreases. During fights the mana potions are chain-consumed aka Diablo II
    • #Meditation
    • Cast arcane spells: main offensive spells against individual undead, only magic can damage incorporeal undead like ghosts. There are long-casting mana-effective and short casting burst DPS spells
    • Cast fire spells: patch of fire, fire wall, ignite cloths, AoE and DoT spells
    • Cast ice spells: douse flames, slow enemies
    • Enchant weapons: cast short-term buffs to the weapons of nearby fighters to increase their damage
    • Archery: hey, one does not always has mana!
  • Cleric
    • #Gather mana
    • #Meditation
    • Heal: slowly regenerate lost HP of an ally, channeled
    • Cleanse: remove curses of the undead
    • Enchant armor: cast short term buffs to the armor of nearby fighters to increase their protection
    • Holy bolt: very mana inefficient burst DPS spell against undead
    • #Cleanse land: decrease (or rather decrease the buildup rate) of evil presence in the site, making the upcoming battles easier
The characters cannot die, as they have a magic amulet that teleports them to the nearest safe location (unbreached base) on use. No cooldown, so if that base is overrun, he can jump away. If the character's HP would fall zero, the amulet automatically teleports him back to the start base cathedral where he is healed. Too bad that the amulet teleports the character naked. All gear, buildings and equipment is left where they were. If the fellow characters win the battle, the teleported guy can reclaim his (most probably damaged) goods, but if the undead won, they spent the remaining time before the witching hour is over on systematically destroying every items they found. So choose your battles carefully!

Items can be stored in several bases if there is a warehouse (built and ran by players). No players can steal your goods, but the warehouse owner can retain them if you don't/can't pay the fee you agreed. There is a free NPC warehouse on the home base.

Items have weight and size, you can't walk around with 50 tons of iron bar in your backpack. Items can be transported on a mule or via caravans. Carts are built by toolcrafters and pulled by oxes. They travel at walk speed and unless they can reach the next safe spot before midnight, they are better been escorted. The owners of the base can charge you for letting you rest in the base they built. While it's not explicitly told, a base is usually run by a player guild. Bases are visible on the strategical map, with fees if any (it can be economical to let people in for free, as they will spend in the shops). Crafters can offer their wares and repair services in their shops while offline.

If player character is attacked while offline (the player did not log in for witching hour), AI tries to lead him and press teleport at 20% HP. The wild beasts don't attack you unless you walk into their nest, which is not done by offline travel routine. If you are planning a longer offline period, you'd better travel to the home base where you can stay for free.

Characters must eat every day, can do it offline, just plan what food you want to cook/eat, or order meal from the inn (player run). Also must sleep 8 hours (+1 for every 10% HP to regain) every day, will do it offline, just plan where you set up your bed. If you don't have proper shelter, you can sleep on the streets, just it takes 50% longer.

Oh, almost forgot. The undead and the beasts doesn't give loot that they don't have. You can gain meat from a boar, but no money or weapons. Boars usually don't run around with rare recipes you know!


Alltogether it's a high-immersion high-impact MMO. It's still can be played casually if proper, non-fighter classes are selected. What do you think?


Some clarifications after player comments:
- the necromancers can't overrun the world, as "evil presence" is local, and decay over time. So there is always untainted space
- players don't just "have to redo everything over and over again", unless they are stupid. If the base is destroyed, yes, they lost it. But if they disassemble it when the defense becomes uneconomical, but not impossible, they can transport the resources away. They evacuate the livestock, furniture, spare materials, disassemble the houses, and the last day they disassemble as much from the defensive walls/towers as they can in a day
- Yes, more than one miners can use the same mine, strike that, it's encouraged that there is one big mine below the base, used by everyone.
- No, I don't think that 1 beast/day is boring, if that beast is hard to track and hard to kill. WoW topguilds often kill 0 boss/100 tries and still don't get bored
- If most players want to fight, it's available to be dual-classes as I mentioned. So you can be tailor/horseman, you just 20-25% weaker than a pure horseman and 20-25% slower tailor than a pure tailor.
- No, I don't think most players want to fight, if the mining and crafting system is a good and fun game itself. If it's just a "create" button on the interface, it sucks. But if you actually can drive your hammer as a blacksmith, forging custom-shaped and sized sword that might be better than the normal sword recipe says, than many people would like it.

54 comments:

Wildhorn said...

I like it, but I think it would not attract social people who like easy stuff, so the game would not be economically viable.

Treekat said...

Just a quick question for you, Gevlon. Have you ever considered trying EVE out? It has a vastly superior market/crafting system, and you can still be as big an asshat as you want to the M&S.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed something, but while your concept has many good ideas, I don't really see how it solves one of the issues you raised about WoW: the fact that the world doesn't change no matter how many undead/elementals/bad guys you kill.

Yes, in your concept, the world changes in that players can build mines, villages, and what not, but if the necromancers eventually overpower any settlement you create, then it's just a constant back-and-forth between the players and the necromancers.

Ideally, wouldn't you want the players efforts in mining and so on to aid in their eventual quest to take complete control over the islands and defeat the necromancers? IE: Once sufficient materials have been harvested, weapons created, soldiers trained, etc... you could attack the necromancers' settlements, and if you win, take them over (and whatever valuable resources they have).

If that's not the case, then the game you have described would be one where you slowly strip the entire island of all its natural resources and that's it. The world has changed in that you can't mine in X area because there are no more resources there. To get to the point: you would be doing the same thing over and over again (mining, crafting, hunting, etc...) with little noticeable change in the world. Sound familiar? That's basically how WoW is. I doubt many people would feel that they made a change in the world if all they did was strip an area of natural resources.

Baliwag said...

This sounds very interesting. I would definitely play this game.

Alessandro said...

Great Game, i would like it a lot =).

But i would still prefer a non-presistent world where if a king is slayed, then the whole world changes.

With great AI and immersion.

Kinda hard in the moment.

Smeg said...

could be economically viable, if it was made in china.

Anonymous said...

The idea seems fun for me, and it's worked out quite well. Still I don't think most WoW players would like it. The point about WoW is for most players the social part. The part missing here. Even if you wouldn't see it the social way, wouldn't it be profitable to be able to make groups so you can have two characters defend the mine, while two others make food, and some other people do other stuff? That allows specialization, witch might just make the game a lot more interesting.

akin said...

oh there's a game i used to play online. Archmage, the world was ever growing until 1 player a day for 7 days would cast their Armageddon spell and after the 7th player got there cast off the server would reset. Every one was back at square one. look it up i think its still out there.

Miztickow said...

The persistent part of WoW is actually slowly changing. They introduced "phasing" in WotLK so you can change the world from your own perspective. In the Quel'Delar quest chain, players revisit a "phased" conquered version of the Isle of Quel'Danas and Sunwell Plateau. Cataclysm is changing old Azeroth so some creature encampments are wiped out or reinforced and the two player factions are expanding their territory. Also water level can be phased in Cataclysm.

Arbi said...

If you want a single player version of something similar to Gevlon's idea, there is an absolute gem of an ASCII game out there called Dwarf Fortress.

If you can look past the DOS-based ASCII, it is a treat to play.

thenoisyrogue said...

"...Yes, in your concept, the world changes in that players can build mines, villages, and what not, but if the necromancers eventually overpower any settlement you create, then it's just a constant back-and-forth between the players and the necromancers."

This is actually what the original Warcraft was like when it was humans versus orcs.

Anti said...

have a look at www.shattered.org

its a texted based MUD (multi user dungeon) which were the precursors of graphical MMOs. i played it in the early 90s.

because the development time of text based games were so short lots of different ideas could be tried. players could even advance into development roles.


this particular one was hosted on the ecconomic faculties servers at Monash University in melbourne australia. it was used for post graduate research projects into ecconomics.

it has:
zero sum ecconomy
player owned / run ecconomy
player run / enforced legal system
in depth resource system

from a game perspective there are:
8 races
11 classes (with player controlled multiclassing)
skills are lost upon death but dont decay over time without death.
PVP is completely freeform with it possible (although illegal) in main towns.

this game is where i got my love of ecconomic playstyle. at one point i owned about 60% of the worlds ecconomy. the game developers instiuted a one of wealth tax on me.

Anti

Jana said...

I have been also drafting some ideas at design document level about MMO, where basicially there is just random generated map, and everything from a hammer to a huge city is 100% player built.
Therefore I really like the idea.
Only I am more for full-blown pvp, a.k.a. huge scale warfare where players raze/capture/pillage other players (guilds) cities, therefore the world is changing all the time.
But then again one thing is idea, other thing is the resources needed to implement it....

newauctioneer said...

Think you are going with that 'the world doenst change' a little too fast.
Look for example at phasing and the upcomming world changes in cataclysm...

just saying :)

Anonymous said...

if you want a changing world and business possiblility, then why not use one of the ultima online freeshards? there should be a few good ones in english.

Rem said...

Some interesting ideas, but as Anonymous up there pointed out, you're not really reaching your declared goal, i.e. you still can't change the world. To use your own analogy, you can wage full-out war on the zombies today, but they'll be back tomorrow.

Draining resources is not really "changing" either - the land is vast, you move on to somewhere else and come back when the opportunity arises. On a macro-scale that's no different from gathering respawning nodes in WoW, only slower and more involved.

In the end, you collect MacGuffin-tokens, which serve to empower you to collect more MacGuffin-tokens and to place you within a virtual ranking. Also very familiar from WoW, and sadly not world-changing at all.

Again, some of the ideas regarding structure and mechanics are very interesting, but not yet sufficient to get away from the concept of the immutable world.

Anonymous said...

Idea sux. Reason: player generated content, no real goal. "I search, I build, I farm, I move on" is kinda boring and have no point in it. Player generated goals will fill that niche, but there are like 1% of people who will play it to be the richest player or something. Player interaction could make this game fun, but noone wants to do something for the game (RP content for example), most people like to take and not give. To sum it up: this concept suits some free donation based mmo with crappy graphics and 1000 diehard folowers.
/rev

Gevlon said...

@anyone with "wow is changing": it does WITHOUT any player affect. If in a server there would only be morons who don't do any raid content, the Lich King would be dead still.

@anyone with "you just mine and move away, it's not a change": In WoW you can alter NOTHING. In this game you could build and lose cities. I think you don't want to CHANGE the world. You want to END it by destroying the necromancers, ending the game for everyone.

Dudes! You won't end any world, not in ANY game, not in RL. But you can change it.

Anonymous said...

Just to say I would not be interested in such a game. I don't say the idea is bad, but what prevented me from playing pre-WoW MMO was exactly the "nothing is granted" state, you'd lose 10% XP upon dying, and could be reduced in level, also another player could kill you and "loot" you taking all the possessings.

So basically what I like about WoW is you CANNOT "forget abilities" or "lose items from dying in bad spot", I'm little afraid about those upcoming guild heirloom recipes that you can lose upon leaving the guild.

I like playing the game because I can forget about real life. In real life you can die, be robbed, have your possessions destroyed in a fire and so on.

Actually in single-player game where you can load a save I was more afraid of experimenting than in MMO, because well, in MMO if that doesn't work at worst I have to run from graveyard. Same why I don't like "permadeath" concept games, would be too scared to try out something risky because loss is too high.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that extended change to the world (fully conquered areas that have been redeemed from the dark spawn) would easily lead to expansions . . . true conquering is only available once the expansion pack has opened a new area that pushes the fight further to the heart of the enemy. While in the old world, midnight battles may not exist, and large player cities could be built, only to find the natural resources dry up, forcing exploration further afield. And perhaps a new evil could arise, changing the strategies that once worked in the old world.

Xyras said...

i like the whole idea of player made villages/castles and mines...
tho same enemies at the same hour every day seem a bit boring...
maybe if there was PvP perspective withe real siege machines to destroy castles and battle over valuable resources/mines
and maybe hunter interface should be FPS like... and mages and clerics should cast their spells with figures made by mouse...
and about building castles there could be architects that would give out plans to build cities and forts...
if there was war between 2 ”nations” with multiple thousand players that would be epic and strategic (ofc all players wouldnt fight at the same time and place)

the PvP perspective and gameplay i mentioned above coupled with gevlons would make a great game id love to play

Okrane S. said...

It certainly would be a better step towards what you imply: changing the world.

However, it would still involve lots of grinding, and more precisely the boring kind of grind: farming.

What makes wow fun is raids and pvp, as in the ultimate fight. I believe that in order to be successful a game must have a preparation part (grind) and then the combat part (raid-pvp).

with your choice, the raid part would be replaced by the witching hour but the problem is only the fighter classes will truly participate in this kind of event.

The cook will spend his whole day clicking on the make food button, and at the proper hour he will just hop into a war-machine and spam his one button "shoot" spell.

Which will imply all kids will roll fighter, knight, mage, cleric and cooks and stuff will be scarce.

Make it all players able to choose 2 classes : one combat class and one crafter class, and as some suggested players to go after the necromancers and dragons and all those monster thingies, with wow-like raid encounters, but in which the consumables you bring are way more useful, and you might have something here.

Add some gladiator fights and you got yourself a nice template

Chiana said...

there are some things i like about your concept, but i also see a few problems.
one example: "the inn (player run)"
i guess that means there are some service professions in your game - for players that don't want to venture out into the wild but make some "safe" profit (for goblin players maybe?). if some services can only be provided by other players i have a feeling that there will be a lack of those. after all, who wants to log on only to sit in their tavern and maybe prepare some food or clean up rooms?

also there are a lot of players in mmo games that don't like to specialize. there are some hardcore players out there that farm >all< achievements wow has to offer, even if they don't enjoy the activities involved in this (pvp haters that try to win 100 alterac valleys for example). i think losing some of the already gained "progress" would not appeal - even less so to the real casual players.

in a way your game sounds really hardcore to me. it seems like there is a lot of planning, thinking and theory crafting involved. as sad as it is, but i probably it will be hard to gain a player base with a game like this. other people commented before me: it is not easy enough ;-)

and in a way it might be "too real". nothing consequential can happen in wow, but in witching hour if you lose your internet connection in a critical situation for an hour possibly all the gear you had on your person is lost and also the base you built, your mine (your investment, etc).

enough complaints already! i also think that one of the real advantages of single player games (there are also roleplaying ones) out there is that you can often change the world around you, really affect it. sometimes even to an extent where you feel god-like (black & white anyone?) it would be nice to see something like it in a mmo

cheesewhiz said...

The only big roleplaying game that allows players to make persistant changes to the world is warhammer (tabletop not online). After each season they look at the authorised campaigns played and they change the world occording to who wins.

It seems to me that the next big things in MMORPG’s will be a return to it’s purer D&D roots. One thing we’ve seen in software consistantly is that open systems which allow for massive user input will outperform those close systems like wow.

I hope to design a game which allows quest chains, dungeons and even classes to be designed by different users and then players all of the world can play these campaigns much like pen and paper D&D.

Who knows if I ever get it working I may add a trading faction named after Gevlon

@Treekat I don’t know about you but I’ve always found EVE pretty boring to actually play. Reading about it is fun (with all the guild treachery and economic focus) but the game itself is meh.

Anonymous said...

I goldcapped in WoW, got tired of the M&S and have been playing EvEonline for the last 7 months.

EvE has a much more dynamic and interesting economy, without any of the stupid WoW rules of "you can't make a monopoly" or other such silliness.

Want to jack the prices of everything? fine.

Want to set up mutliple bids for the appearance of competition? Yup.

Want to literally blow up your competition? If you can track them, go for it.

I have found EvE much more satisfying than WoW economically. The learning curve of EvE does keep away a lot (not all) of M&S as an added bonus.

Anonymous said...

Well this looks very interesting but the thing that is lacking as compared to WoW is something like the Dungeons. Say this game was made, and I played it... I would get very into the whole gathering factor and base defense but after about two days of playing it, my interest would start to decrease unless a twist was thrown into the game.

Alex said...

A couple things to look at:
1) EVE, already mentioned. It has a lot of the mechanics, however it lacks the 'you change the world' aspect, and no persistence of players.

2) Project Visitor (originally 10six), I honestly don't remember how much you can actually change the world however the basic concept is there. Set up a base, set up static defenses, mine, collect resources, defend yourself from attacks. Only in this case all attacks are Players.

3) LOVE by Quel Solaar. This might actually be the closest. It is currently in beta, you can buy your way in for 3 Euros for 30 days of play (basically to cover server costs). The general concept is that you are on a HUGE planet (I believe it is procedurally generated), currently the main goal seems to be building up a settlement (you must search out and find tokens for buildings and such), defending yourself from the NPC units (they will also build of settlements), and eventually attacking them and, I think, destroying them.

The one aspect that I would suggest for your idea is that a winning condition is actually a valid idea. I have actually been tossing around an idea similar to yours however with some minor tweaks:
1) Zombies (I'm a sucker for survival horror).
2) Resource gathering is done via scavenging in deserted cities, and crafting from whatever resources you can gather.
3) I want to work in some system of perma-death where dead survivors are raised as zombies.
4) A Win/lose condition. I honestly don't know what would work best, but the general ideas I had were:
A) Time. If survivors hold out for X time (months, weeks, whatever) they win as the secret weapon is deployed. Or flip this, if time runs out, you all die.
B) Straight elimination. If one side eliminates the other, they win.
C) A Goal. Similar to the time idea, however actually make the survivors work to some sort of goal (an impregnable fortress, a chemical weapon, whatever), if they can complete it before time runs out, or before they are all eaten they win.

Bri said...

"Since I have no means to create this game"

http://unity3d.com - Free game engine
http://www.blender.org - Free 3D modelling tool

There, now you have the means to make the game. It'll cost you nothing but time. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the concept but it reminds me a bit Dark Age of Camelot. I never played this game so i don't know if i'mm wright ? =)

Micah said...

I agree with others that Eve is probably the closest thing you'll find. The players do change the world. Goon space is only goon space because goons continuously work to keep possession of their systems.

marcus said...

I like that idea.

Persequi said...

There was something similar in the CONCEPT of what you are talking about back in the day before WoW. It was called Planetside. Now, you didn't have the gatherers but you did have cloaked characters that could spy out the competition. You had drivers that could drive people in planes or carriers and you had people that could attack via vehicles or using suits. The object of the game was to take over the whole world. This had been done a handful of times but you were part of three armies. What killed it was the inclusion of very powerful mechs that threw the balance off. This is not like your game but the goals were definitely there.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, almost forgot. The undead and the beasts doesn't give loot that they don't have. You can gain meat from a boar, but no money or weapons. Boars usually don't run around with rare recipes you know!"

I lol'd. This is something I've always been amused with in WoW, that you can get the most random and unrelated drops when you kill something...

I like your idea. A lot. I'd play it.

Vyr said...

I agree that gevlon's idea is pretty good. Coming from a game development background, I think there are many interesting concepts to the game. Will it be interesting? The answer is yes. But then again, games are mostly created with an audience in mind. If everyone wants to play fighting classes, then the miner and gatherer numbers will go down and affect the viability of the economy and other classes.

On the other hand I have played fully text based mmos called MUDs which are very very fun and immersive. That MUD I play doesn't change that greatly based on player action but has other interesting elements. A notable one is their dragon kill system.

Dragons has set up lair all over the world and I think there are up to 20 dragons at any one time. The dragons have different colours and after killing them you can skin them so everyone in raid gets the hide. The hide is of course pretty rare and can be crafted into decent gear.

One thing to note is that the lair's location is hidden. And every new lair's location is random. There are 2 ways to find a lair's entrance. 1, via a map which will drop off certain world mobs. 2, You happen to stumble upon signs of dragon tracks, droppings etc and after searching the huge area, you find the entrance and note down its coordinates.

Another thing is, you have to form a huge party to slay the dragon. The dungeon is randomly created and on the last level, you reach the dragon. Fight it til a certain % and it will fly off and attack one of the nearby towns. Everyone will then get to the town and finish off the dragon. If the dragon fail to die after sometime, it will simply fly off and make a new lair. And get stronger. I remember there was this dragon which got so strong it became unkillable in game. That was so memorable.

Braille said...

Seems like a decent concept, I just have a few issues with the game, though.

You said in a comment that "You want to END it by destroying the necromancers, ending the game for everyone."

This is true, unless the necromancers are not the only bad guy. That's one of the "changing" things about WoW. Every 2-12 months, there are new bosses to defeat. If your game doesn't allow the players to beat the current bad guys, they have no incentive to continue playing for very long, as it'll just be the same thing over and over. You'll collect resources, build base defenses, move supplies, fight the same mobs. Zombies in your game act roughly the same as those “quillboars” in WoW.

But it gets worse: Not only can I not ever win your game, or even defeat the current big bad guy, I am guaranteed to lose from day 1.

From your original post: "As the undead attack will be stronger every day, there will come a point when the defense becomes economically unprofitable…"

So I know from the moment I first start your game that eventually one of three things will happen:

1. The server is overpopulate, all the resources are consumed, and the necromancers continually increasing power beats out everyone's ability to defend their current bases. Everyone is overrun, server ends.

2. There aren't enough players to completely destroy the naturally respawning resources such as food and lumber, but eventually they use up all the mines, running out of building material. At that point, the undead's continually increasing power eventually overruns all player bases, ending the server for everyone.

3. There aren't enough players to use up all of the resources and they don't get a chance because they get overrun by the ever increasing power of the undead horde. As with the other scenarios, the server ends when the players are all defeated.

Personally, I wouldn't begin playing a game where I knew I would never have a chance of winning against even the current enemy AND the ever increasing power of that enemy coupled with ever decreasing resources guarantees I will lose the game given time.

If the mining nodes respawned, then at least your game would be sustainable for a longer period, but eventually the zombie horde would overpower every base even with infinite resources.

The only solution I can come up with is to have infinite resources (all resources spawn on timers) and a revolving enemy system. Make it possible to defeat this bad guy, then the server gets to work enemy free for a month before a new bad guy comes into play.

The new bad guy won't act exactly the same as the previous, so tactics use before may not work this time. That way you have to come up with a new strategy if your current one doesn't work that well. This means it's not just the land itself that changes, which to me is of moderately low value in gameplay, but the actions of the player must evolve.

Also, the new bad guy will be slightly more powerful than the last one was when he was defeated, but not powerful enough to be server-ending.

Lastly, it would be really neat if there was a way to develop new sciences during the course of the server's existence. Maybe not nuclear or electric power (though electricity is not hard to do), but there's no reason why steam powered machines at the very least can't exist. All the "science" it really takes to make steam power is the abilities to create fire, collect water, and make a pressure cooker with a pipe system leading out. Some basic understanding of pressure systems, which the player's characters can learn with experience dealing with the tech, would be necessary to increase the power of the steam engines.

With new technologies being added to the game world, innovation is possible, and innovation is probably a much more interesting "change" for a game world than simply the ability to strip a forest of it's lumber and food game.

warcraftlife said...

You know, I like some of the ideas you have explained. But as I was reading some other comments, I began to think of a game in my head, and it kinda steals away from other games I have played. So here are a few key points / ideas:

PVP Ground, massive land, opportunities for players, shipments, bases to get jumped. different classes thrive in different types of land scapes. Mages use power of water, fire, ice, to aid them. Rogues and hunters thrive in forest areas. Warriors thrive in open landscape.

-The "win" part of the game is to kill the opponents king, and take over the rest of their city/land. These games take a few weeks, and when a side wins, that faction is awarded gold or badges or something. You can then join the queue again for another game. You will not always be part of the same faction, you will get a player score, and the games will be set up to try and balance the "match"

-throughout the match, you must build defenses in your base to start. Fortifications and mines, lumber yards to advance your player army. Mines are prosperous the first few days, but gradually decrease output (never to 0 though), so you must continue scouting new sites. You need resources to continue building advancements, weapons, fortifications etc...

-Enemy bases are heavily guarded, and are usually overtaken by taking out shipments to the base, reducing its ability to maintain, pestering players supplying it, and eventually large tactical strikes to finish it off. You can then dismantle it for resources, or take over whats left of it.

-The idea of the game is sort of based on dota/C&C/warcraft idea, except its wow style. and much larger scale. Losing a match gets you xp, and maybe some gold. which then you can purchase badges for gear.

-The idea of the game is to change the influence your faction has over the land. Maybe at a certain point in the game, your faction can hold a poll to surrender to the opposing faction, ending the game.

The more resources you have left over at the end of a game, the greater your rewards (long matches will compensate with greater benefits for both factions).

simple building tools are easily crafted at first. you can profit off the game in different ways. Either your guild could set itself up to mine, or to harass the other faction, killing other players or enemy npc's gets you gold. So does mining, lumbering, food gathering. The more are experienced in the above, the more you can profit. except killing another player. The amount you are awarded is based on their player / gearscore. High ranked players will not profit much off killing low ranked, but the chances are low ranked will kill a high ranked is low, thus the high profit he would get would not be likely. Like Your idea, if you die, you are teleported naked. However, you retain all your xp / level / abilities, but you must re-aquire gear. Most players will have a back up set of gear in the bank before they attempt something that would possibly get them killed. You can only teleport back to base with all of you gear if you are above a certain % of hp. teleport is on cooldown (long).

You can aquire mounts by training, capturing and domesticating mountable creatures (horses, camels, donkeys, or more exotic beasts like rhinos, elephants etc, mostly used for battle)

These are also just some ideas I've thought about in the last 20 minutes or so. Please also let me know what you guys think.

Brian said...

Gevlon,

Go try EVE Online... It's basically exactly what you're talking about, except in space and there are no undead.

Glyph, the Architect said...

I like the concept, but why exactly are the Necromancers on the islands? It seems apparent that they aren't there to mine the ores. So they're raising the undead for some other purpose, such as building an army to invade the mainland? They must have ships and bases of their own or that wouldn't be possible. Would you be able to go and attack their bases and burn down their ships?

The concept is a very good one. Gathering resources has a downside to it which you must decide if its economically viable to carry out. I'm not going to lie though. It doesn't seem like enough for a full fledged game in its current form. Maybe it would be good if it was a part of an MMO which had other things like a traditional MMO. Or maybe if the concept was expanded to something like the kingdoms being at war with these guys and you could raise armies or go on missions against them besides simply gathering resources. Everything would be dynamic of course in that regard where if you kill some necromancers, they're dead forever.

Might be kind of good. Might also get kind of repetitive. I've been trying to think up a way to create a game world where all the questing content was unique and had an effect on the world, but my only solution was to have 1000 or so times the content of other games, which would be nearly impossible to do in any reasonable amount of time. An idea like yours however could possibly work.

zeonz said...

while it sounds good and nice, i just have a few questions/suggestions.

also, as far as i read ( might be mistakken ) once you builded something, you can't recycle it/party retake it. might be a nice thing to.

how about teaming up? if 2 players build a mine, does it go faster/bigger? are the resources automaticly devided by the players who help there ( of course players can change the amount or % amount themselfes beforehand )?

if you don't build a tower yourself, but on the mine for someone else, as who's property does it count?

do player created city's also keep on being attacked by stronger and stronger waves?

is the first attack of the necromancers calculated by the amount of valuabels gainabel, or just a pre-determined amount?

Anonymous said...

No offense... but this game would be boring to most people.

You have very little combat, which is what most people play these games for. You have 1 hour a day of fighting undead, that players have to specifically log in for that hour. And then you have beasts to fight, which you say a player would be lucky to find one a day.

That, is BORING (to most gamers). People play these games to fight things...1 hour +1 beast a day is not enough to entice people to play. Specially if that hour is a set hour a day.

You still have the problem of a persistent world, only now yours just resets everything back to zero and destroys everything you have created. You yourself said eventually the undead will overrun everything.

Who wants to play a game where no matter what you do everything is reset to zero (yes I get that you keep your loot etc, but the world still goes back, all your mines are gone. All your work is gone...it's still a persistent world where nothing you do matters).

Then you have the balance issues, people are sorta dumb and almost everyone would roll miners because hey mining gets you the gold from NPCs...(and yes most people are too dumb to be a supplier to the miners.. comeon you talk about M+S in wow all the time.. you know this).

Nielas said...

Not a bad idea though of course the system as proposed would have aspects that would make the game unplayble to a large segment of the population.

This system requires some pretty serious time scheduling if implemented as stated. Players would have to schedule themselves to be present for Witching Hour or lose a significant chunk of progress. That can definetely be mitigated in many ways but of course the question is whether you would want to mitigate it or you simply do not want those players in your game.

This game would constantly try to reset the players to 'square one'. So the question is how much of my time would be required for me to waste (by repeatign non-challenging activities) if I could not meet my schedule all the time (eg. have to stay late at work, get sick and stay in bed, go on a vacation)?

Anonymous said...

I like the idea, or more precise the idea of a mmo that obtaining anything is actually an effort. But like Treekat said EVE has quite the lovely market system.

ZacharyPruckowski said...

I don't think people are going to like "winning" MMOs via reset. I think the problem is that two of the more enjoyable parts of them are the social part and the advancement part. It's hard to get someone interested in working and grinding and planning and building things that are designed to go away. In that context, you win the MMO and all you get for it is having to rebuild your guild on another server and having to redo all the hard work and grinding to get to where you are. Imagine if every time Blizzard patched in a new raid, you had to re-roll from level 1.

Vernichtung said...

Okay so my first reaction was: this is an archaic version of second life. One needs extensive real-life experience to accomplish anything in it. Would even casual players have to read tutorial after tutorial and NPC suggestions over and over again just to get a mining camp functioning? Also, how does a beginner start up? does he get a laundry-list of tools and food and oxen and manpower to start up whatever he wants to do?
One would also have to implement some type of achievement system, because even in a game that simulates a real-esque world, players have to feel some notion of accomplishment... or they will just feel even more powerless in the world than a beginner may already feel.
My final observation is that no matter how awesome this persistent world seems to be, the ENGINE that the game utilizes, and the method in which the players play is all important. If making a masterwork mithril longsword requires the craftsman to complete some type of God-of-War-esque button-timing thing, or (to top of this absurd depth to which you must know the game world) some incredibly difficult typing sequence that must be repeated for minutes at a time, it would have a better chance to captivate HC people (while denying that ability to casuals).

Overall, i applaud the vision and it would be so amazing if it were to be encapsulated in game form. Although, sadly, there was a game with a somewhat similar depth called True Fantasy Live Online that was supposed to release many years ago for XBOX that never made it to release. Alas, hopefully it will be possible in the future.

John Burton said...

I think I would really like a game like that. To be honest, I think it needs some tweaking to give people more long term aims and a sense of progression and perhaps some variety day by day. But I think the idea is a great one and well thought out.

I wouldn't necessarily see it as being a WoW style interface though. I hate to say this but I could see this as being one of those facebook flash games where you log on frequently for a small amount of time serveral times a day. I think it would make a fantastic alternative to all those "Cafe World" games which actually having something in common with them! Ok so maybe that wouldn't work, it would just become a resource management game then, not in any way an MMORPG game.

kardy said...

I'd like to give some input on your boredom "problem". You said that end game guilds don't kill a boss in 100 attempts and I agree to that , but while 100 attempts and a whole day hunting can take the same number of minutes , they don't take the same number of keys pressed. In a boss fight , even if you wipe , you are doing something (mashing buttons). What can you do during hunting that can be entertaining enough to keep even a modest number of players busy ?

I have tried playing some "hunting" games (the first Carnivores game comes to mind) , but without a scanner tool , finding anything to kill at all was almost too hard.

Indeed , that was a single player game and the same scenario in a MMO would be more interesting (at least for me) because I would be motivated to hunt - if I didn't then some other hunter would get the kill. But this brings on another problem.

How would you adres "kill-stealing" ? While this would make room for some innovative pvp strategies (let X track the beasts , I'll just afk follow him and the shoot the beast first when he finds) , this may cause serious greafing problems.

Wyrmbreaker said...

Does "persistent" mean that the world does not change? (e.g. the Quilboar in the Barrens are always there, pre-Cataclysm at least, neither gaining nor losing any ground)

Or does "persistent" mean the player's actions have a lasting effect? (e.g. in Gevlon's game you build a structure that stays on the map, generating resources but also attracting enemies)

Didn't a "persistent world" originally just mean that the world continued to exist while the player was logged out?

When you argue about the value of "persistence," how do you know the other guy is even talking about the same thing? :)

To avoid that word, I'll say that I really look forward to an MMO where the players can change the face of the world.

Gevlon's idea falls short of this, but it actually does seem like a feasible project and I would love to see developed further. (Hear me, big-budget game developers? I would buy this product!)

P.S. -- And YES, for goodness' sake, the way to obtain Axe of Giant Strength +9 should be to kill the guy wielding Axe of Giant Strength +9. MUDs had this right in the early 90's...

Anonymous said...

While I like the idea, it would need to be much more diverse than this to work as an MMO. With the content provided, this would only work as a WCIII map, on a scale of minutes rather than days.

First of all, there would need to be a lot of stuff to fill the hours. Perhaps you could get away with just a complicated economy to achieve this, perhaps not. I'm thinking maybe you can have a battleground like pvp system with the same idea as the PVE system, only much faster paced. Queue for a battleground as a toolcrafter, quickly use the resources at hand to give tools to those who need them most. Work over the course of an hour to help my team to victory. When everyone's got tools, perhaps I help with fortifications or pick up a pickaxe (my own, mastercraft) and do some simple mining. Then, the top guilds could get into rated "battlegrounds"(placeholder name) and fight for supremacy with people of various skill levels. Perhaps if you win a "battleground" you can make everything you do 200% faster for the next hour, with the battlegrounds lasting an hour. During the battleground you carried on tasks as if you were offline.

Just an idea to fill the gaps.

Anonymous said...

this type of game allready exists - just try out EVE online...

oh - no monsters there *snif*

Wiggin said...

I felt the best concept is something we have seen in games before, and to great success. Persistance of progression even when not playing.

Wow may be "immersive" and "persistent" but there is little to no character progression or change while a player is logged out. Even the world changes little. The closest thing I can think of were the old world events: The 4 dragons, attack of the scourge (release of NAXX), unlocking AQ, and these were all vanilla wow events.

The idea of being able to cook/teach/mine, etc while logged out are great ideas. Think of games like Mafia Wars and Farmville, it is because their progression persists even when the user isn't playing that (ironically) keeps people playing. But also ensures that they are likely to return, to see what happened while they were away.

I guess you could liken that to running the AH, you always come back to see what sold :)

I however see a few things that would limit its accessibility and commerical success, but are things that only need tweeking, mostly the ideas of making players do something (eat, sleep). Overall though some good ideas in here nonetheless.

Joe Nothin' said...

Its funny - what you are describing is basicly all the failed mmos that came before WoW, and alot of what you are suggesting are ideas that have been tossed out and losing them is what made wow so good.

You should read and visit some old school mmos, if they are still out there - ultima online was very close to your idea, anarchy online had alot of the same ideas, galaxies was very close...

They all failed, horriably.

Firewielder said...

The concept of your game sounds amazing. An in-depth feeling game like this would keep me coming back.

Taemojitsu said...

Different things...
- MMOs these days are defined not just by how much you like them, but how much your friends like them.
- greatest obstacle to immersion is probably being able to zoom camera to 50m in the air, when 2D display technology with no triangulation makes everything seem tiny at that distance. As well as difficulty of making a realistic scary environment with polygon and lighting art constraints.
- combat is popular because it provides visceral standard of success.
- complaints from incompetent people trying to do something they see no benefit in, see first point. Goals the game sets are very important and how they relate.
- botting and effect on economy and immersion.

"A world in an MMO is large enough if you can do what you want to do..."

eph3merous said...

After playing EVE, i can see players using a menu similar to the "skill training queue" to do their daily preperations, sleeping, and eating. I've been thinking a lot about this concept, and I thought it would be neat if players did some sort of minigame (ie quicktime event, mouse/keyboard accuracy tests, and the like) to accomplish their goal and determine the yield of smelting or whatever.