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My Space MMO.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:27 pm    Post subject: My Space MMO. Reply with quote

Having played Jumpage and Eve, and then grown irritated with the whole space MMO genre and buggered off to play world of warcraft for a while, I have colaced in my mind what I consider the features the a Space MMO with wide appeal should have.

My general playability principals would be - almost a game constitution - would be.
* Character Death should NOT, by default, be "very" punishing. cash, character advancement, cargo items or gear should not be at risk as that imposes a very high barrier to casual entry.
* All career paths should be equally rewarding. Trade. Mining. Production. Piracy. Privateer.
* Player grouping should be encouraged.
* No boring game mechanics!
* PvP is optional, and choosing PvE should not disadvantage the player.

So, from scratch, lets imagine what such a space based MMO could be like.

First, we go with the general model of "systems" - both a gameplay mechanic as well as a handy way to partition the universe into subsections that can be hosted on separate servers without resorting to the completely separate realms most fantasy MMOs use to partition their playerbase into processable chunks. Systems can be linked by gates (ala JGO and EVE) or reachable via Jumpdrives (ala Homeworld).

Next - general ambient space life. Some kind of mysterious alien menace (ala conflux). NPC pirates. Or perhaps a menace of alien or relic space factories or self replicating probes of various types and hostilites to give players something to shoot (when not each other players that is). Anyway, lots and LOTS of generalized PvE content.

PvP: The basic idea is. players and NPCs are different and it does a disservice to the PvP mechanic to pretend otherwise: Players can be 'PvP' tagged - optionally (by explicitly selecting them, or shooting a PvP tagged target) or less optionally (by entering a PvP system). NPCs are tagged for PvP - or not - by design. PvP tagged NPCs would be NPCs that are associated with player factions, or NPCs that are associated with PvP objectives in non PVP space. non PvP tagged NPCs are available for Players to kill.

Mining. - I really like JGOs economics and production model. Mining however would be a exploration and defend type activity. i.e. valuable minerals would be quick to mine. but hard to find. and would be guarded (typically) by NPCs - either a pirate mining operation, alien critters and/or those self replicating probes would hang out near valuale minerals. Mining would be a good career choice for newbies. I would divide minerals into bulk minerals - low markup minerals that are mined for a profit by high leverl players in specialized mining ships. high markup low volume 'precious' minerals. that can be profitably mined by players with small cargo holds.

Salvage - players should be able to directly salvage raw materials from destroyed NPCs and space objects.

Cargo Trade. Moving cargo from A to B. Cargo could be more specialized than mining - again tho, we could create low volume goods that have high markups and high volume goods that have low markups. I like EVEs market of buy and sell orders that can be placed by PCs or NPC corporations. rather then JGs model of 'sell shit anywhere and the station will buy it'. cargo would always be moved to meet a demand. I liked the Tow in Jumpgate, and its implication of standardized cargo container sizes - i didnt like the follow on ships that did not use Tow Pods. Ships with large cargo holds than the Tow should simply have incorporated multiple Tow Pods.

Piracy / Privateers. An NPC faction that players can choose to belong to. Perhaps located in PvP space. In civilized (non pvp) space, convoys of PvP tagged NPC traders will (a) PvP tag their attackers (b) provide a source of direct revenue in terms of cargo dumped and salvage, and (c) be strongly armored and announce on public channels that they are under attack, allowing defenders the opportunity to engage in PvP by driving the pirates off.
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