My Thoughts On How To Build A Great MMO

MMOs are everywhere with millions of players logging in, grinding mobs and getting gear for their online personas with numerous titles leading the charge like World of Warcraft, Tera Online, Aion, the currently in development MMO ArchAge and countless others, it’s easy to see the appeal of joining the ranks of millions of people already playing and enjoying these games.

This is not going to be a rant in any shape or form because I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart, game development plus I thought it would be a topic of discussion for us all to take part in.

You see writing is my kinda my hobby and backup career, what I really want to do is become a game developer but I unfortunately lack the education and of course the financial backing to go do such a thing since the software and training costs an arm and a leg (yes that was a Full Metal Alchemist reference) so when I am not busy writing, I take notes on games that I play and games I am familiar with and think to myself  “What would I do if I was the designer” and “how could I make this better”.

I had about half a dozen notebooks filled with ideas, most of which were pretty good but onto the the part about building a great MMO, first up is what I consider to be the most annoying thing about MMOs and that is the grind mobs, loot stuff and battle players cookie cutter routine that everybody goes through.

MMOs tend to stay to the same combat oriented gameplay that just gets boring after a while because it's kill and that's about it

MMOs tend to stay to the same combat oriented gameplay that just gets boring after a while because it’s kill and that’s about it

Millions of players play these games but the only interaction you actually have with them is either questing or fighting each other to the death, in games where you can fight ungodly huge creatures and wield weapons that are impossible to use in real life, why the hell can’t you invite someone over for a nice meal in these games.

I like to think after a long day of questing and defeating insanely huge bosses a warm cooked meal would be well deserved don’t you think but a system like that is nowhere to be seen and that is what I would add to the traditional MMO formula, I would make a MMO with more social elements on top of combat like having the ability to invite your companion or guild over for dinner.

Imagine after a fight with dragon, it drops a rare food item that can be split with a friend or guildmember, you go to your in game home or guild hall, cook the item and invite them to join you for the meal, it sounds really dumb and I know alot of people probably won’t do it but it would be to have the option there to do so.

Next up is the bad player issue that every MMO  has unfortunately

Next up is the bad player issue that every MMO has unfortunately

Another thing I would add to a MMO if I could is a reputation system for the users that reflect on their in game character, no matter what the game, there are always players that ruin it for somebody for some stupid reason like saying something racist, homophobic or sexist or just being plain nasty.

So how would I stop this or at least make it easier for the good players to notice the bad ones and avoid them, well if it was possible I would make a system that gives every player a rating and a diamond above their avatar, the rating drops if they cause trouble for other players and once it reaches a certain level the diamond above their character changes colour from green to yellow then they are given a warning, however if they ignore the warning and continue, the diamond turns from yellow to red and well they have to appeal to get their rating back since a player’s rating would affect NPCs if I made a MMO.

The same concept could work for guilds aswell, if players in a guild act nasty then it will affect the guild reputation and so on, I don’t really know how I would punish bad behavior but it would be quite good as a warning sign for gamers that don’t want to run into any bad apples.

Just adding things like the social things like inviting a friend over for a meal and the reputation system would make a huge difference and make the game more enjoyable for everybody so now onto a few other things that I would change or add.

Female armor done right, stylish, attractive but also functional and form fitting

Female armor done right, stylish, attractive but also functional and form fitting (since when did I become the video game fashion police *laughs*)

So this would make every woman who plays MMOs happy, that’s right another thing I would change is not tie the sexiness of female armor together with armor stats and mechanics because I find it rather stupid.

Now I love sexy warrior women as much as the next guy but when a female wearing armor that is not much better than a bikini can take damage like a tank from a insanely huge boss but a guy in full heavy armor gets wrecked by the same boss because the stats were way better, it does seem rather dumb doesn’t it that this happens in MMOs, armor is meant to be functional even though its a virtual setting.

There have been a tonne of games that got amour for female characters right like Fire Emblem Awakening as seen in the pic above, its still attractive but it is also functional and she won’t have to worry about freezing her backside off or getting disemboweled because there wasn’t a gaping hole in her armor.

This would solve alot of the problems that most MMOs have in the press when it comes to representing women in MMOs, remember the amount of hell Tera Online got for the female armor designs like the Ellin and Castanic races, yeah I really wouldn’t want a bad image over something so little even thought my game is kickass and loads of people like it.

So now on to the tough question, would I make it free to play with micro transactions or pay once and play forever

So now on to the tough question, would I make it free to play with micro transactions or pay once and play forever

Now micro transactions are often branded as bad but that doesn’t have to always be the case, if I considered a free to play MMO with a transaction model it would only be for cosmetic stuff and skins not in game items that give you an advantage or anything like that, maybe optional bank space and character slots but those could also be earned in game.

They would be an option NOT a necessity and that is where most MMOs tend to slip up because they let the micro transaction monster run amok and refuse to stop it thus leading to alot of players becoming unhappy and annoyed, I grew up with games where I had to earn my stuff and that is what most games forget…..play to win not pay to win.

So that’s roughly my thoughts on things I would change and add to make any MMO better, I am not a game programmer or anything but if somebody made a MMO with these things thrown in on top of having great gameplay and world to explore I would seriously consider taking MMOs up.

Note these are not all my ideas they are just small bits and pieces I thought of here and there, I would however like to hear what you guys and girls have to add to this, how would you make the perfect MMO ?

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