Improving End-Game: Town Building

I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot lately. Many people simply don’t have the time, patience, skill, or dedication to raid after reaching the max level in MMO’s. This leaves several options open to the player. They can craft and trade to earn money for better gear. They can faction farm for certain rewards. They can roll an alt and do it all over again. And the last real viable option is PvP. While raiding can be fun and interesting working with others to obtain rewards, the content will always be the same. While this can be true for PvP as well if you enter battlegrounds, arenas, or whatever else to fight, your surroundings might be very similar, but the outcome can never be certain. This factor of uncertainty is what leads me to the belief that the best form of end-game content has to involve the world your character is living in.

What better way can you be involved in the world than by city building/destroying, leaving a lasting impression on the environment? I don’t know that there is. There are problems with this, however. For instance, how do you prevent an all-powerful group or faction from dominating everything and ruining the experience for everyone else due to a lack of power? Well, you could reset certain areas where you build towns and outposts every so often, but again this begs the question of what difference am I really making if it doesn’t have any real permanence? If this isn’t considered an option, you could simply limit the size or the capabilities of towns that can be built. This way you could leave your mark, you would simply be limited in how big of a mark. The last option (though straying from the PvP aspect) is the ability to built outposts/towns that can’t be destroyed. This would allow you to have your own private/guild space that would be yours, without any of the risks and responsibilities of guarding it.

Whichever of these options (or any others that are possible) you consider, many benefits can be seen. This would promote crafting that had a real purpose. It would promote trade between groups for these items. One the PvP side that would promote alliances between groups to help defend each others areas. Perhaps groups from different time zones could ally and help defend the other while the majority of their players are offline and vice versa. Also, this will constantly give you something to do if you get bored with questing or grinding, either trying to capture a new location or building up the one you have. These locations could also have access to materials not found anywhere else, causing certain areas to be more prized than others.

While this wouldn’t necessarily have to be an end-game activity exclusively, they would likely be the biggest players as they have gotten through all of the content and they will be the most powerful. I’ll probably expand on this later, but here is a (somewhat) brief outline of why dynamic worlds are a must in the near future for MMO’s.

~Kanthalos

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4 comments so far

  1. Rick on

    I was talking about this on my blog a few weeks back, different types of endgames. I was contrasting the EQ/EQ2/WoW raid-style endgames with DAOC’s Realm versus Realm combat, or Eve Online’s sovereignty battles in 0.0 space. I’m hoping Mythic does a good job with Warhammer, building on what they learned in DAOC.

    I was saying that a game world captures me more deeply if there are a couple of elements beyond what WoW offers. First, player housing goes a long way toward making me feel like a game world is more of a home. Second, controllable territory makes your actions in the world seem to matter on a much greater scale than winning instanced Capture the Flag battles in WoW. DAOC used keeps and relics, Eve uses solar systems, there’s no reason why someone can’t figure out a way to make towns controllable. Shadowbane tried.

    You were asking how “how do you prevent an all-powerful group or faction from dominating everything and ruining the experience for everyone else due to a lack of power?”

    I think Mythic’s three-realm solution was pretty effective in this case. If one realm is very powerful, the other two realms can engage in guerilla warfare to combat that power. It’s a challenge to combat a powerful foe, but it’s also a challenge for them to remain that powerful. Great stories arise from fighting an opponent that’s seen as too powerful. I know I have great memories of fighting a supremely powerful Midgard realm in DAOC, and how great it felt to see our realm come together, learn how to fight together and eventually emerge as a legitmate force on the server. There are similar good stories being written in Eve, with lots of corporations fighting against the power of the Band of Brothers alliance.

    I totally agree that dynamic worlds are a must in the near future, at least for me. I’ve been playing MMO’s just about as long as you, starting with EQ in ’99, and I have little interest in static “let’s get keys for the next PvE dungeon, yay” gameplay. That’s why I loved DAOC, it’s why I’m in Eve now, and it’s why I’m looking forward to Warhammer.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts about dynamic worlds.

  2. kanthalos on

    I wish I would have given DAOC a chance, but I never did. I was a bit scared of PvP back then to tell the truth, but it sounds like it was good times 🙂

  3. Rick on

    Ya know, I was afraid of PvP too. I didn’t play UO because I had spent a couple years on PvP MUDs and I was tired of always looking over my shoulder 🙂

    Mythic was really smart about their PvP implementation for DAOC. You could level to 50 without ever putting yourself in a PvP situation, but even the most avid PvE players occassionally joined us in times of great need. It wasn’t solo ganking, you could run with a group, have some support and have some fun while you were learning how to PvP.

  4. Matthew on

    what the fuckin hell is this crap?


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