Greedy Goblin

Monday, July 3, 2017

Survival MMO?

It is not a game, but a rebuttal of the common theme that the popular survival games can't be formed into an MMO. On the face it looks true: the survival game is about finding food, supplies, managing hunger, thirst, temperature, illness and trying to survive. It ends when the character actually dies, replay-ability comes from trying to live longer.

Sure, you could make survival games take place in the same universe, but that would be just a bunch of single player games plus some chat ability. For an MMO players need to interact and help each other.

How could that be implemented?
  • Players are identified with a family name and have guild membership and storage after that family in the persistent and hostile world
  • Players play with one character at a time
  • No character lives forever, death is inevitable. As the character ages, it loses abilities making it unable to complete challenges that he could in his prime. New characters start at the age of 18, in the highest of their primary abilities, but without crafting and combat skills. Even a total noob can survive until 25-30. But only the best can make it beyond 90.
  • Upon death, the character is lost. The items carried are lost with him. The player starts a new one which starts as a newbie, but he has the items in the family storage.
  • Having more knowledge and more items, the new character has better chances to live longer.
  • The guild is permanent and based on mutual help. A guild of established characters can help a recently 18 character to learn combat and crafting skills faster, being able to take on the world earlier.
  • The main competition of the game is guild average life expectancy. A guild where characters live up to 75 years is better than the one where they die at 45. To avoid exploiting, qguit/gkick counts as a death for the statistics (you kick a 22 years old is like losing one member at 22).
I'm not sure this would be a good game. But it would be a viable game and considering how popular the hardcore survival games are, it could have a shot.


Smokeman said...

Only you could turn Survival Games into a competition.

People would simply game it by using multiple accounts to "help" their main. Or... more likely, simply not play at all.

Gevlon said...

@Smokeman: this is why I didn't mention character age, just guild. Only guildmates could help each other (alt or not), so the booster and boosted would be averaged. Also, some characters could get very old or die young just out of good/bad luck related to random events.

Shalcker said...

Why guild? Just make it a tribe. Stone age one would do nicely. Human psychology is perfectly aligned to hunter-gatherer societies.

- tribe maintains fire for cooking, and if you lose it you either got to wait for lightning strike or "steal" it from other tribe using torches, no silly on-demand fire-making "tech"; you also get dedicated role of fire maintainer this way for those who cannot hunt or gather.
- without fire you cannot cook, severely limiting your food options, as well as lose some crafts (like fire-hardened spears)
- creating tools is full-time job - finding good stones then making perfect cuts (look up how stone tools were made). Every tool wears with use rapidly (especially unskilled use).
- Everything you have belongs to your "family" after death (as long as they can retrieve it, or had it at tribal location rather then carried by you when you die)
- you got no family? no respawn for you then (got to make family required, after all); you can adopt some children if others cannot support them with what they have though
- no silly 18 start; you spend some time as toddler (where you got to make noise when you need to be fed, warmed, or when something is threatening you - and can die there too quite easily without tribal protection and attention), then some time as child (practising basics of whatever you feel should be your role - plants, crafts, hunting and so on), and then comes adult life. Obviously somewhat sped up.
- other tribe is natural enemy - they gather your food and hunt your prey! Of which there is never enough to feed all children (and some always die from hunger, neglect, or disease)
- lone wanderer? he is probably plotting to steal your women for respawn! (M for mature!)

Stone age also has lots of lore that can be used from archeology; as well as some modern-day projects recreating stone age technology that can be used as reference.

maxim said...

There is a good amount of "Medieval Misery Simulators" out there.
Most of them single-player so far, but i think they have the biggest chance of evolving into the kind of MMO you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you're describing "Chronicles of Elyria" to me. Currently in developement.
It's more a MMORPG than survival, but the developers do like to emphasize their focus on survival aspects.

Zyan said...

The problem with survival games is, as soon as you have a basic income of food you have survived. (plant enough wheat to bake bread not to starve).

ether you make it damn hard to build such a easy "Income" so that even tribes have a challange (but then for solo players it would be nearly impossible). Or you make it aceptable for solo, but then it's no chalange for a tribe.

Gevlon said...

@Zyan: there should be other factors that you need to manage besides food. For example:
- hygiene: if you live by a fire next to the swamp you get more illnesses than in a proper home
- security: if you are camping in a bad place, monsters or NPC thugs can attack you, while proper homes are strong and you can also afford weapons and NPC guards
- health care: you get ill rarely even if you watch your hygiene, then being able to afford a doctor increases your chance of healing

Anonymous said...

>it would be a viable game

Let's say that I have a 90-year-old character. That's a huge bragging point for me. But it's very difficult to actually *play* the 90-year-old guy; he takes huge damage even if I accidentally bump into a chair, he needs to constantly eat pills to avoid cardiac arrest, and he can't actually do anything useful for the guild (except for "bequeath his stuff to the next generation and then die"). When I'm logged in as this character, the game simply isn't fun. My guild is going out tonight to raid the homebase of a rival guild, and it's shaping up to be an exciting battle ... but you can rest assured that they're leaving my geriatric ass at home. I'm not allowed to have fun with my friends anymore.

I kinda want to attain the high-score by getting my character to age 95, but it's really stresful and unfun. On many days, I'd really like to be able to just enjoy some low-stakes play on an 18-year-old newbie character. I want to just fuck around, eat all of the poisonous mushrooms, and start fistfights with grizzly bears. But I can't do that, because you've setup a 1-character-per-account restriction. I don't want to just suicide my grandpa toon because I'll probably regret it later (as I'm grinding the next guy through the mid-40s).

Do you remember how Titans in EVE Online became coffins for their players? Well, at least those players could log into a different character to do a fun cruiser roam. Your survival game makes that impossible. If I get a character to 90 years old then why would I bother to actually *play* the game anymore? I've already learned everything that the game can teach me. My 90-year-old isn't going to get a cool/memorable/heroic death. If I continue playing then I'll probably just get him killed in some stupid way (or die to lag/bug/hackers/whatever) which will make me ragequit the game. Why not just unsub and thereby leave my 90-year-old character as a permanent "trophy" of my accomplishments?

Marek Zaborowski said...

Gevlon, what You think about games where world resets? Back in my old day, I played text-rpges with "seasons". Each season was ended with the heroes finishing the final quest. Obviously the guild which champion beated that quest was considered "winner" for that season. But in the new season, everyone started from 0 (mechanically speaking). Old guilds were left only with their community as a resource, but no inherent mechanical advantage, allowing other groups to competete for winning the next season.

What do You think about such formula for pvp mmo? World bound to end, players retain their guilds, but no assets, PVP is focused around accumulating resources while denying said resources to competition.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: this can be mitigated if the (competitive) guild play needs everyone to perform in different tasks and the game is properly versatile. Sure, you won't be raiding the lair of the big monster (PvP would be a nightmare for a permadeath game with griefers who suicide gank with no regard of their own character). But how about a "strategic wisdom" skill that accumulates slowly during one's age and allows a minimap view of the battle? I mean the youngsters who are low on this skill have very blurry map that is barely good for not being lost, while the wise old man who watches the battle from hiding has perfect minimap and can lead the raid on TS.

@Marek: if the game has resets, it resets and ends. In WoW it stays, just becomes trivial. I can go back to lvl 70 and lolstomp Illidan, get his warglaive and peacock around with it. There is no official topchart or nothing. WoW doesn't properly reset, it's periodically nerfed.

A Concerned Minmatar said...

Some of these ideas sound similar to the mmo game "Realm of the Mad God". In particular, loss of all carried gear and items on character permadeath, low life expectancy and saving up items in a vault to make your next character better. However, I cannot recommend playing that game, as it is pretty shallow.

Anonymous said...

A game like this (with the aging) is "currently" made.
However it is low budget and in Development since ~4 years.
Playerbase seems to be awefully small too.

Can´t remember the name sadly.