Thursday, January 19, 2012

Content Post: Player and Org Housing

So, you’re on a post-apocalyptic world, barren of life, and living in a colony that is barely scraping by on available resources. It’s quickly evident that one bad drought or catastrophe would be the end of your life as you know it. So, in a story like this…who’s the bad guy? Do you need one?

Here is the defining difference in MMO’s today. Most, if not all, feel they must have a major villain. Even EVE tried this at one point with Sleepers. However, EVE had completely missed the boat. They already had a massive villain in game. Sovereignty I feel is definitely the way to go when you think of PVP. But what do you do with PVP? How can you take the sovereignty system and turn it into a PvE system?

Well, let’s focus on the facts. Sovereignty works by ‘owning’ an area. You do this via several steps, such as deploying X amount of things. There is a far easier way to see this though, without months of work and research. There is an RTS out there that used the sovereignty idea, and it’s called Rise of Nations. As you built towns, your area of ‘national sovereignty’ extended. As you researched more levels of the ‘Civic’ technology, your reach expanded more. Forts and strongholds expanded this. The goal in expanding your area of control was to reduce the enemies. For anyone scratching their heads trying to figure out how this could work in a PvE pure setting, you’re forgetting the other half of the RTS market.
You can play vs. Computer AI.

So, by making each ‘colony’ its own sovereignty, each building made will expand its region. Yes, I said building. A vastly under-estimated idea in MMO’s is player property. There should be enough restrictions in place however to make sure it doesn’t look like an old UO shard, but relaxed enough to not feel like it’s not worth it. Such as one residential building per account, and one fort per org/guild/whatever, I feel that’s a close proximity to fill things. Now, with the stipulation you can only build on Sovereign Ground, and the fear of loss will keep people from building too far from a fort. Yes, that’s right, there will be environmental variable that will make it useful to build near a fort, rather than off on your own in the middle of nowhere.

For those Asocial, you will be able to build away from a fort, but you do so with the knowledge that there will indeed be many issues with this you will need to deal with. Just because the planet is barren does not mean it’s devoid of life. On the contrary, it’s teeming with life just below the surface. Sometimes, this underworld life comes to the over world, and depending on what it is it could be quite hard for a solo household to fend this off. The only plus side is solo-households would be low-value targets for anything major.

If you notice, though, content right there was made. Not only content, ‘hardcore’ content. Living near a Fort gives you access to higher ‘level’ attacks because a fort is a much higher value target. The more houses around a fort, the stronger the fort, the higher value the target is. This creates very strong enemies to deal with, depending on the amount of concurrent people at the fort. Now, the fort itself can be ‘toppled’, but not destroyed. Toppling a fort would simply remove it from sovereignty, shrinking buildable area around the fort until it’s repaired by the owning party.

See what just happened there? Bam, crafting system that has real world impact. Building creation, repair, and upgrade will be a large part of the system. Also, by taking an EVE ship-fit approach to buildings, you can make it so all building upgrades are viable on all levels, making the market for them always moving. Guards also become a commodity. Initially, Guards will be ‘created’ by these households. The more grouped households, the greater the guards created. However, these guards go to the main colony, not the fort. In turn, these guards ‘mature’ and become novice guards. If left, they continue to get better, though costing more in the long run. A cap would be put in though to make sure a single guard would not become so powerful that it would be too costly to ever buy.

So, just by adding a small feature like player and org housing, you’ve added Over world-raid content (raid is meant in the MMO style of raid, many players against strong mobs), opportunity to add in specialty items from said content, crafting needs for building, and a self-fulfilling protection ability based on pop size in areas and making sure that the guard amount only becomes an issue if orgs don’t buy it, and it makes sure that it’s based on players on to tailor fights to be challenging, yet not overwhelming or destroying things when people are offline. Oh, and of course, this won’t be the only content, this would be a small piece, but a very important piece.

Story So Far:
In a post-apocalyptic universe, the barren world your colony is on is slowly building up, desperately trying to expand its resources by providing incentive to build outside the colony walls. Markets are slowly springing up, along with well-fortified buildings to protect from the denizens below at night. You have the choice to forge ahead on your own, carving out a small wilderness living or staying near one of these large forts for safety and the chance at personal wealth in fending off the hordes of under beings.

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