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Old 05-07-2007, 02:27 PM
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Default My Thoughts on MMORTS

I chose to make a seperate topic for this because I have a history of "hijacking" other threads unintentionally.

The idea of a MMORTS is one that's been floating around for a couple years now, but no developer has had the guts to go ahead and do it. I've had plenty of time to think on the subject since I first heard of about it, and I would like to share my view on the subject.

In my thoughts on the subject, there was one stumbling point for the longest time. Clearly out of fairness a player should not be vulnerable to attack if offline, but if players are not allowed to attack each other while one is offline, then concrete boundaries and geography in the MMO world is unworkable. The solution may seem to be a "cyber nation" approach where individual kingdoms do not have borders, but rather just an abstract quantity of land without any defined shape. From the trailer, I got a sense that this is the solution that Reverie has chosen to overcome that issue. It is my opinion that this "cyber nation" approach to compromise the the traditional idea of a MMO game with the traditional idea of a RTS will, in fact, doom the hybrid to mediocrity.

In the time that I've had to consider the problem, I've come to think of an entirely different solution: instead of giving each player their own kingdom, a large group of players could instead control a single faction (with many different factions for each race). These factions would have a feudal hierarchy based on merit; if you win battles, you rank higher in your faction, if you lose them, you rank lower. The idea is that you share an empire with many other people, and work together to expand and maintain it. At any given time, a sufficiantly large faction should have enough players online to defend itself (with contingeancies to account for a rare fluke where almost everyone is offline simultaneously).

This approach has three primary advantages over the cyber nation approach. Firstly, there can be a definite world with permeanent geography, and borders and landmarks which follow it. This is important since it allows the world to gain its own history, and different regions to have varying types of importance. Secondly, this allows for a deeper level of connection between players. In addition to long-term grudges of enemies which may occur, players will have an opportunity to form cooperative relationships with others in their faction. Most importantly, however, this setup allows the world to flow. Battles and other events can happen, and players can step in and out of these ongoing conflicts at their leisure without halting the progression. This compromises the RTS and MMO aspects in that it allows players to build a lasting influence in the world, but does not require them to maintain it constantly.