Friday, 24 August 2007

Turning back time

Tobold made an interesting post today on world persistency, and as I started making a comment, it started getting far too big as my ideas started spawning lots.

In a nutshell, Tobold proposes that a reseting game, where the game ends and starts again every $period_of_time, could more interesting and less stagnant than the current persistant worlds.

What if it was both? What if, as part of the persistant meta-plot, there was some kind of temporaral cataclysm every so often (not that that makes a lot of sense when you think about it, but work with me here). Your character gets shunted back to being a newbie again every time the reset occurs.

Let there be a low level cap, and a class structure that branches out depending on your choices. Have epic quests that unlock a title/ability/whatever each reset. In fact, you could have several quest lines like the Ahn-Qiraj stuff in WoW: a great big quest line to unlock a Big Bad Evil Guy, who defeating unlocks you 'the Dragonslayer' or whatever. Have doing that three times give you ', Dragonbane'. And another dude who's a giant elemental (or whatever).

Also, it makes a lot of MMO tropes make more sense:
  • If your game resets every, say, 2 months, then your dev team has a patching schedule laid out right there: in addition, any changes to gameplay can be explained in game as something changing when the temporal slip or whatever it is happens.
  • Bosses respawning: well, if you do, then so can the bosses. Also, if the Biggest Bad Evil Guys only spawn once per two months, and are downright hard enough, there could be actual competition between guilds/servers/what have you to actually kill the boss before the end times come, especially given the epic questline idea above
  • I thought I had more things than this. Hmm.

Also, let there be seperate endings. One where the dragon gets killed, but the elemental lord runs rampant through the capital cities. One where both get killed, and the Lord of the Land comes forth to drive the Evil Minions from his land in a huge event. I'm sure enough triggers can be added to do produce all kinds of things.

Perhaps most importantly (in my mind anyway), there would be regular events. See the above for a couple of examples, but my mind is leaning towards end-of-beta style events. If the persistance of the world is ending in a couple of days with the next reset, make it the actual end of the world in game. Lets have fire raining from the sky, the undead rising, creatures invading our capitals.

I think the idea has a lot (lot lot) of potential. I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

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