A MMORTS game in theory
Just come from visiting wwww.mmorts.com where found an... interesting "article", so here it is:
Original post by Rodia
A MMORTS game in theory
Lately I'e been looking for a massively multiplayer online real time strategy game (MMORTS) to play that is not a browser game, and I see there is a lack of them in the market, and those that exist don't seem that interesting to me .
What would you include/exclude in a MMORTS game if you had the money and the means to make ones?
I think my perfect MMORTS game would be set in a persistent ancient times/medieval world that was not directly based on real countries of this world. The game play would be much slower than a normal RTS, making a game round taking around 1-2 years to finish.
General game play:
Each player would start with a nobleman and some villagers. You begin with exploring your surroundings and deciding where you are going to establish your first village. After the village is built you have to make the population grow and save up money to train an army. It should be impossible to conquer the whole continent by yourself though, thus giving every player the options to establish a realm or join an existing realm (realm/kingdom/tribe, the name doesn't matter that much but you get the idea).
The objective of the game is simple, carry out the the plans and strategies of your realm with your teammates and conquer the continent with them, or die trying (well the third option would be to betray your realm and join the enemies ).
Some players will always be selfish, but the heart and focus of the game would be the realm and not on single players. Each realm would have an in-game chat and forum to make planing, organization and bonding within the realm easier. Everyone would want to win, naturally, but ideally players would make friends in their realm and have fun playing with them even if their team eventually loses.
1) The game would have tactical aspects, because battles would be fought. You're only in direct control of your nobleman, your other units will follow your orders but you can't micromanage them. You can only lead the battles your nobleman takes part of, the rest of the battles your generals (AI) will lead for you and you'll get a report of the result of these battles.
2) The game would have economical aspects, you'll have to feed your people and armies and make weapons for your recruits, and you'll need resources to do that. It would be interesting if some resources only exist in the north, some only in the south etc, so each realm will have to trade with other realms to get access to every resource they need, which would also make it possible to effectively boycott your enemies in war, or kill their caravans in attempt to destroy their economy.
3) The game would have political aspects, leaders have to be charismatic to attract members to their realms and to retain them. It would be up to each realm how they would want to organize themselves, some would be democratic, some would have a dictator. The leader won't be able to "force" anyone to carry out his orders, but he can kick out anyone who doesn't. Organization and bonding within the realms would be vital for the realm's survival, and power struggles and fights within the realm would weaken it. Realms would also be able to make diplomatic contacts to with realms and make allies with them, and propaganda would become a natural part of the game.
4) Building the infrastructure (bridges and roads to facilitate transportation within the realm), founding new villages, establishing safe trade routes would also be important.
New players would get some beginners protection, where they can't be attacked the first days. If a newbie joins a realm he'll probably get some protection from them too. The soldiers of big players attacking much smaller newbies wouldn't fight with full capacity because of bad moral (if a smaller player attacks a bigger player though the bigger player won't get any penalties).
1) What will protect a player when he logs out?
I don't like the idea of having your empire disappear while you're logged off, and reappear only when you're online, or that enemies can only attack you when you're online. If you have built a big empire the game play should be slow enough to make it impossible to conquer all your land over just a night or something like that, but slow game play isn't enough I think, so these additions are the only things I can think of:
A) AI takes control of your empire while you're not online. Perhaps you can give your "right hand" (computer AI which takes over when you're not online) basic orders of how you want him take care of things while you're gone (in various situations).
B) The realm could have some built-in system where the whole realm will be notified when enemy armies are approaching the borders of the realm, and of the basic movements of enemies within the territories of the realm. This way other players of your realm may help and stop the invasion of your villages even if you aren't online to see this yourself.
C) The realm should be able to build fortifications and walls that are properties of the realm and not of a specific player, buildings that are there to protect the realm as a whole.
D) There may also be some built-in system where you can agree to letting the realm/teammate temporary give orders to your armies while you're offline, if they find it necessary (there would have to be some rules, restrictions and limitations about that though so the method doesn't get abused).
2) How do you make casual players stand a chance against nolifers?
I think it's a pretty given that a casual player won't be the best realm leaders of a MMORTS game like this, as more activity would be required of them, but I would like if a casual player could still make a meaningful contribution to his realm, as long he's not totally inactive.
A) I think having some sort of a cap of how much you can do each week could make the advantage of nolifers smaller. Perhaps the citizens of your towns are only up to building perhaps 10 buildings a week in every town. Armies will take time to move around and will also need to rest once in awhile, so there is only so much they can move around and fight, and the nolifer can only directly control the battles his nobleman personally takes part of.
B) The player should be able to give the computer some basic orders to carry out while he's not there, so being online to set your workers to build things won't be as vital (there must be some good balance though so being "offline" won't get more effective than being online ). You should also be able to rank different priorities to your different armies, and give them situational orders so the generals will know how to react to different situations even if you're not online to tell them, like setting an army to fleeing mode if it's outnumbered, or letting them hunt down nearby enemies, protect a castle, follow another army etc.
A problem for players with less time are that they would be more likely to miss out their chances to directly control the battles their nobleman participates in as they don't have the time to "wait" until the army has reached it's target. I don't know any good solution for this. Perhaps they can ask the computer to time the attacks to reach the target at a specific time (if nothing unexpected happens), a time they know they can be online. Or if they don't know when specifically they'll be online they can point out a place close to the target where they want their army to set a camp, and when they get online again their army will hopefully already be at place for the attack.
Another problem is that a slow game play will leave more active players not much to do after they have set their building orders and their armies to march. It'll leave them with plenty of time to make up strategies and talk and discuss plans with their teammates though, but there should probably be some mini-games to play with friends or alone if you get really bored.
What would your ideas be to protect offline players?
And how would you do to help casual players to stand a chance in a MMORTS game?
Thanks everyone who took their time to read my wall of text And sorry for any grammatical or spelling mistakes I may have made, English not being my native language.