To start, let me say that my project is not a full scale game or an mmo. This post is also not dealing with lore as much, but rather focuses on minor world building and gameplay mechanics. I'm currently working on getting a test server together to implement my current net architecture and try a few others but that's its own discussion.
For world building, I plan on having 3 distinct "zone types". Settlement, Colonized, and Lawless.
Settlements are prebuilt zones that are modeled after real pirate lore/hangouts and cities such as tortuga, port royal, london, etc. These zones will have most basic infrastructure in place, such as crafting stalls, shops, and player housing. This will operate as a hub for most solo or small groups of individuals and is focused more around day to day activities such as crafting, combat, etc.
Colonized zones are pre designated areas that are claimable by factions and require significant upkeep to function properly. Once an area is claimed, the owning faction is responsible for dividing up land to settlers and building resource gathering and defensive infrastructure. As settlers make and spend money the faction will enact an automatic tax that gets stored in the faction vault in the area. This gold is useable for any reason upon deposit, but while in the vault the money will be used for functional npcs (guards), trade and diplomatic relations, etc. Basically once a faction owns land they want to get as many settlers as they can for more infrastructure and growth. Infrastructure includes food and resource production and storage, and so forth to supply the village based on it's population.
Last is the lawless zone. This is where most of the "survival" aspect comes in. It's where one wouldengage in perma/semi perma death pvp, and a lot more fee This is for the hardcore players, since most people don't want any sort of perma death situation, but in my perfect game it would all be reset on death.
Ultimately i want a majority of the content to be doable by any size group and not really letting larger groups benefit from having more members. In a sandbox, no limitations tend to cause larger groups to essentially own the game with little to no difficulty or reason.
As far as pve content there is a ton of lore to pull from, ranging from high fantasy to more realistic engagements mostly centered around other npc factions.
Character progression is based around achievements / required tests instead of killing / skill point allocation. Certain skill trees require lore specific quests to rank up, such as a rank 2 priest would need to purify a rank 3 or above demon, as well as reaching a required mana retention etc. Melee would require more kills and training with higher tiered trainers.
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