Hi, MMORPG Redditors!
I am currently doing some research on designing a single-sharded MMORPG that is mostly driven by player content.
After many iterations at the whiteboard, I came up with the following summary on how to approach my goal, and I'd like to hear all you negative and positive critic about those mechanics. You see, I am actually unknowledgeable considering MMORPG – the last thing I played was WoW classic as a teenager. However, I kept on playing MORPG afterwards ("Life is Feudal: you own" for example). Still, I seriously lack the ability to draw experience from existing MMOs on the market, which is why I ask this subreddit.
So here are a few points that I consider core mechanics, and everything else would be built around those ideas:
Command NPC servants
You can command your NPC servants to trade merchandise with other players, guard a location, gather resources and craft items. Your NPC dialogues can also be customized and tied to specific actions in the world. The NPC servants are going to be mostly stationary. There are no other NPCs except for the player´s servants.
A player contract system allows you to form complex relationships with other players. You may declare trade agreements, loans, employment, items or properties leases or even issue laws. It will actually be a piece of paper that you carry around, and can even trade if the contract was written in a way that makes it´s ownership transferable.
The player can decide whom they respect as an authority, which can be another player or player group. Your obedience may include privileges and obligations. The village´s residents might pledge fealty to the local ruler and thus gain the protection of his guard NPCs (servants) while paying taxes, while a bandit disrespects the local ruler, thus neither receiving privileges nor obligations. Those privileges and obligations can be dictated by the player with the higher authority (supported by the contract system).
Controlled by players
To showcase what I mean with "controlled by players", a few examples: – Players control all NPC servants by giving them a work schedule. – Players can create their own currency or accept the currency of other players; otherwise, you'll need to barter goods or services. – Players create and sign contracts with other players. – Players may pass laws or verdicts upon other players that recognize them as an authority, as well as providing them with services (e.g. protection by city guards, governance, town management, etc…).
Please don't fear criticizing too harshly – I am not yet "married" to those ideas and there isn't any other work derived from this (yet). I am currently implementing the backend to support basic functionality not affected by game design (client/server synchronization), but slowly and surely I am reaching the threshold where I need to define more about the game´s design before continuing any implementation.
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