MMO & RPG Crossover

Wednesday, 15. December 2010

WoW - Lich King

There are some interesting questions posed at Beyond the Black Gate regarding MMO and RPG crossover.  If you’re too lazy to go look, the specifics are regarding setting customization, rules customization, and character development driving the game.  The assertion is that MMO’s will get there eventually, simply because there is so much money involved. World of Warcraft is a good one to pick from since it’s currently the giant, however it doesn’t have all the distinguishing features of some of the other MMO’s.

Now admittedly some of these have already happened efficiently in games.  Neverwinter nights with it’s GM’ing tools did a pretty good job with rules and setting customization, within a limited frame of what the tool set could do.  NWN 2 improved on this in some ways and fell away in others, namely the ease of using the GM tool when it was released.  Rules tweaking.. not so much so.  Some of the physics and other mechanics of the game could be programmed however in Second Life from my understanding.

As far as MMO’s, City of Heroes/Villains has a pretty good generator for making custom adventures.  The tool offers a lot of flexibility in setting up an adventure from dialog to various combat scenarios as well as, however it doesn’t really allow for the setting “mood” changes that a GM can impart.  The genre is that of an action superhero game and its hard to shift that dynamic to anything else.  Moreso, the game has the standard MMO drivers to continue playing, which I will address below.

For rules customization there has been something that you could tweak spur of the moment.. but to instantly adopt something, you’d really have to look at some of the more “classless” games, such as EVE.    True, it’s impossible to implement anything at more than a newb level, but that’s possible to change.  Final fantasy was able to implement class games, but as mentioned it requires a lot of outside input to make it happen. 

Character development driving the game?  I think it’ll never happen. Never ever.  At least not in the sense of character development being “further developing the character in terms elements unrelated to pure advancement of power or other advantages.”  Play in MMO’s revolves around 3 concepts:  entertainment, social circles, and character advancement.  If you remove the MMO element?  Well, then you can put some character development in, but from what I’ve seen otherwise it is mutually exclusive.

I think at best that this is something that can be filled partway, but the real crossover of why people enjoy role playing games.. the same reasons that Al mentioned aren’t going to be fulfilled anytime soon.  I’m going to leverage that character development as one of the main tabletop advantages, and something that it will keep the crown for a long time.

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