I would love to create an ideal MMORPG (though, I don't have skills or money to do so). So, if anyone who can make them is reading this, here is an idea for you. Let me explain (features first, then the concept):
- Crafting and gathering: just like in Runescape
- Questing: mixture between Runescape and Guild Wars 2
- Race system: just like WoW
- Class system: mixture between Rift, Lineage 2 and Elder Scrolls Online
- World: mixture between Dark Souls 1/2/3 and Runescape
- Combat system: mixture between Guild Wars 2, Aion and Black Desert Online
- Story/Lore: mixture between WoW, Skyrim and Secret World
- Setting: mixture between Requiem and Secret World, but medieval
- Leveling: mixture between Guild Wars 2, Aion and Rift
- Additional Gameplay (excluding combat and endgame): mixture between Trove and Archeage
- Business model: buy to play with a cash shop
- Cash shop: just like in Path Of Exile
- Story building: done by both devs and players (via creating towns/dungeons, choosing fate of the lore events)
- Endgame PVE: there is no endgame, but technically world bosses
- Endgame PVP: world bosses and world PVP, castle sieges (like in Lineage 2), town defense
- Endgame other activities: gathering, crafting, building, trading, discovery of lore and completion of special quests.
Now, with that in mind, let me pain you exact concept of MMORPG I have in mind: Imagine something like Dark Souls, huge maps with all sorts of secrets, all sorts of enemies, bosses and hidden bosses, special gear, unique gear and so on. Now, expand those maps and made them massively multiplayer. Each massive map would have points players will need to reach and ring a bell. After ringing the bell previously hostile part of the map will turn friendly and then players will be able to safely progress further. Only wild areas would have PVP-on mode, so PVP players would fight to keep zones as hostile, while PVE players would fight to turn zones friendly. However, each zone of the map is progressively harder to complete: first zone could be completed by a solo player, next zone would require about 5 players, third zone would require 10 players, forth zone would require 20 players and so on until you reach something like 100 players mark. After completing whole map and turning all zones into friendly zones, a new map will open with the same progression system, but much higher skill-cap for players. After second map gets fully completed – third map opens. And so on with (potentially) unlimited amount of maps for players to complete. HOWEVER, here is a kicker – after turning a zone safe all hidden bosses will go away and player will not be able to return them or get their unique loot. So, some PVE guilds will try to maintain hostile zone as hostile for as long as they can until they kill all hidden bosses at least once. So, massive amount of people will band together and work against each other for all sorts of goals:
- Some will try to reach "the final map" and thus they would try to turn all zones safe as fast as possible;
- Some people will try to find all hidden boss and thus would try to maintain hostile zone as long as possible;
- Some people will simply enjoy PVP in relatively easy zones and wouldn't want to do PVP in dangerous zones;
- Some people would try to progress through zones without turning them safe;
- Some people would try to establish their own miniature safe-zones, like player made cities deep down into hostile parts of the map for people who want to move through maps without turning zones safe;
- Some people would try to prevent people from going through maps and thus they would try to destroy player made cities.
And lets not forget one of most important, yet, simple aspect of the game which would turn this game into something none of other MMORPGs are. All lore of the game should follow the story-telling model of Dark Souls, meaning big pats of the lore are left for interpretation while other parts of the lore should be left for players to make. And I don't mean to discover or make for themselves, I mean actually allowing players to set segments of the story however they want. If DudeMcDudeface is the first one who have killed Soulscreamer, then DudeMcDudeface will be allowed to decide what happens to Soulscreamer in the lore: death, revenge or redemption.
Now, lets expand on features:
- Crafting and gathering should be similar to Runescape: all these profession should be open to any players and the more time you spend on those profession – the better you get. Of course, all professions should be interconnected: if you want to mine more advanced ore, then you need to increase your mining level, create better pickax head via blacksmithing and create better wood shaft via woodcutting and woodworking. And so, there should be loads of different crafting and gathering professions, all sorts of quest associated with them. All the best non-boss gear should be crafted, so it would encourage players to craft and trade, but just like in Runescape – to level up any profession it should take quite a lot of time;
- Questing would be a bit more difficult to meaningfully implement, as the nature of the game would solely depend on progress of the players, so entire quest system should be divided into two parts: dedicated quest and quest events. Dedicated quest would be long, a bit hard, multilayered and fun (like in Runescape) – these quest would demand you to thing, come up with solutions, find secrets and so on. None of dedicated quest should ever be "go collect this or kill X amount of this". However, quests events would be those simple quests of doing simple things. They should work very similarly like quests work in Guild Wars 2 – everyone who are in certain location would be able to participate in quests event whenever it happens, and it could be some zombie raid against peaceful town or a search for some magical apples in nearby locations;
- Race system, as in what race you could play, should be something like World of Warcraft. It shouldn't affect your ability to play or experience the game, and it should give minor benefits based on the race you chose. Each race should be tied in the story, but not bound by it. Thus, gameplay-wise, race should matter only to player who want to min-max;
- Classes should be whatever you make, but your creations should be semi-permanent. So, think of it like this: you create a fighter, at level 20 you can turn fighter into a warrior or a knight, and after you choose whatever you class turns to – that's final. However, you would have a talent tree and you will be able to tinker your warrior or knight however you like. So, that would make class choices meaningful, but not limiting. Even if knight players like a TANK, you would be able to build it like a DPS. This class system would work more or less like a guide what you should be, but not what you have to play;
- I already described the world: huge open world maps, connected with each other, but segmented into zones. Each zone is progressively harder and require more (and better) players to open for all players. Only players would be able to decide how big the world is, as long as DEVS will be able to design and and new and harder maps to the game;
- Combat system, while it shouldn't be like Dark Souls, but it should be action combat with all sorts of combinations. Using certain skill at certain time should open path for new combinations or even new effects for existing skills: "Power Kick" + Shoulder Tackle" -> your next "Back Kick" turns into "Dragon Stomp"; "Back Kick" + "Power Kick" -> your next "Shoulder Tackle" turns into "Burning Tackle";
- Lore and story would mostly depend on the DEVS, however, as said above – the course of it should be heavily influenced by players and their actions. Player discoveries, player creations, internal conflicts between guilds, both casual and hardcore play – all of it should reflect int the story going forward. And while story should be a bit vague and fragmented, allowing players to interpret most of it themselves (as players do not need to be spoon-fed it), it should be for players to find and decide whether they care about it or not. However, even if they don't care for it, it should be shown in everything they do: all location should be meaningful, all quests (dedicated ones) should leave their mark and even unique boss items should tell a certain story. Nothing in the game should exists "just because";
- Well, setting should be pretty simple. I imagine something as: many worlds were facing deaths, so to preserve themselves they opened rifts into other worlds – this forced fragments of those world to split apart and fuse into a new world. These fragments contain certain history of certain location, so in this world there could be multiply copies of the same location, but from different period of time. In this world you could meet a child NPC and then the same NPC in their elderly years. However, in this fragmented world only Riftwalkers (players) can move between fragments freely, so all trading, information gathering, fighting against threats and other things – it all depends on the players and their choices;
- Leveling, as you class leveling, shouldn't be very important. It should be tied to what class you will be, how many talents and abilities you will be able to take, but it shouldn't influence most of the gameplay. Leveling in this game should be seen not as boring part until you reach max level, but instead as a process to open new options and provide new ways to play whatever you want. Players should care whether their level is 55 or 65 too much. Regarding combat – any 30 level player should be able to beat whatever level 60 player beats;
- And the rest is pretty simple. There shouldn't be an endgame. From the moment you start playing – everything you do in the game would be technically the endgame. Combat levels shouldn't matter too much, so there wouldn't be a need to rush to max level. The amount of safe and hostile areas would depends only on players and what they decide. In-game economics would depends on players and you could participate in it from day one. Bosses wouldn't have a level or play cap, so if entire server struggles to beat a certain boss, then they would recruit even brand new players. Gather, craft, build, fight, search for clues and discover mysteries, uncover hidden bosses in still hostile areas – do whatever you want from level 1 and don't worry about "the endgame" as you would be already in the fun part of the since the moment you start playing.
Wit hall of the being said, there is one aspect of the game which would go strong at first, but over time might become problematic. Lets same the game runs for 2-3 years, over half of all zones got turned peaceful, all bosses in peaceful zones are gone forever, and a new player joins. This new player have never seen those old bosses, didn't have a chance to fight those bosses and will never be able to fight them. This might discourage new players from joining after game had run for years, because of "Only older players had a chance to get X item, but I can't, so I don't want to play". And over time time could become a serious issues – as more bosses and their unique gear gets lots forever. To solve this issue, there could be two solutions: a bad one and a good one. I don't really like the bad one, but lets talk about both of them:
- Bad solution – add cash shop items who would allow you to temporary revive a certain boss until it gets killed again which would allow both you and your teammates a chance to try and get unique gear this boss offers. Of course, it would also allow other player to kill you and steal your kill of the boss or the boss might not even drop his unique gear, so you wouldn't be able to simply buy whatever item you want. Of course, this solution would allow DEVS to earn quite a lot of money from people who either want a certain boss drop or want to prevent other players from getting that certain item, BUT this solution would make player achievements less valuable – what's the difference if you got the special items while boss was still alive or 5 years after the zone was turned safe? Also, this solution would be seen by some players as P2W option, even if it technically isn't;
- Good solution – legacy bosses. There could be something like an area in which you and your teammates could take on no longer exiting bosses and get legacy version of unique gear bosses used to drop. Legacy items could look a bit different, could have a bit different visual effects or even by a bit weaker, however, even new players joining after many years would be able to get legacy version of items they want and wouldn't need to pay a single cent in the cash shop. Also, it would still maintain prestige of the original items got by players who defeated certain bosses while those bosses still existed in the world.
And finally, a tiny but significant aspect how to keep game economy alive. There should be two times of items:
- Unique items – weapons and armors dropped by bosses. These items could not be traded, could not be dropped and could not be destroyed. These items would stay with you forever. These items could also offer all sorts of unique effects, maybe even change how you could play your class and/or your build. These items would be very special, but not necessary most powerful. Look at Dark Souls – even a weapon from the first boss could be effective while fighting your 10th boss battle. And a weapon you get from 10th boss is not necessarily more powerful than the weapon you got from your 1st boss;
- Crafted (mob dropped) gear – weapons and armors you either craft for yourself, bought from other players or got a lucky drop from a mob. These items could be easily traded, could be dropped, these items could be damaged and they gets destroyed when their durability drops to 0. Also, when you get killed, either by mobs, bosses or players – you drop this gear on the ground. These items stay with you only as long as you keep repairing them and you don't die.
Thanks fro reading all of this. Have a nice day.
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