Idea for binding another game to an MMO

With CCP announcing Dusk 514, a shooter-based MMO that will interact with EVE Online, Tobold ask’s what other MMOs would work well with a secondary product attached to them. My initial thought was to have player-controlled mobs facing off against players, but with the mobs controlled in the Majesty style rather than the LotRO monster play way.

For anyone who has not played Majesty (which has a sequel coming out soon it seems), the basic idea is that instead of having direct control of your units, they have their own AI that you can influence by placing rewards on different units/buildings/locations, plus they naturally hang around their building, so placement of that is very important. Each unit type has its own behavior, so rogues are quick to chase gold, while paladins require a far higher offer to draw their attention. Berserker units seek to fight other units over buildings, while mages will happily wander around and fireball whatever crosses their path. The beauty of it was that while you had SOME control, it was not absolute, and so tactical thinking was superior to twitch micromanaging. Plus since luck factored into it a bit (if your highest level paladin just happened to wander into your enemy’s town and got himself killed, it was an unavoidable setback), games always felt fresh and on-edge, rather than the more step-by-step stuff that happens in a traditional RTS.

So back to MMOs, what this system would basically be is a Dungeon Master style system, where a player could elect to grab control of an instance, and change it up in some ways. Not a total remake, but imagine someone in control of the Deadmines, mixing up what units control the boat at the end, what units VC uses for his bodyguards, or what abilities a certain boss has access to. Everything would be based on a (hopefully) balanced point system, so you could not flood the ship with all of the bosses, or stack two bosses on top of each other to create an impossible encounter. Other modifications could be different bounties set on party members. So you could select the priest and set a bounty on him, making mob agro more likely to target him (although rules of agro would still work, just that the priest would start with a higher threat level or gain threat faster). To mix it up, a DM could instead bounty a mage to confuse the party who expect the priest to be picked. The higher the bounty, the fewer points the DM has to spend on other areas, so while mobs would be more driven towards the squishy, there would be less of them, or they would be weaker.

A character-based reward system could be given to the DM system. This could reward a DM who designed an interesting instance, as voted on by the players in it. Rewards would likely need to remain fluff-based to avoid abuse (and even then you know some people will just to collect all the shinies), and a ranking system could be added to further reward top-notch DMs. A party could then put in a request for a DM to control their instance, and e-fame could be gained by those who do a good job.

The system would only really work in an instance-heavy game like DDO or WoW, as the population of adventurers would need to be 5x the number of potential DMs, and of course if a party enters an instance without a DM available, the encounter would play out as normal. But just like in Majesty, I believe a large part of the entertainment would be just watching your mobs interact with the heroes, and in this case the heroes are also live players.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, DDO, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EVE Online, MMO design, Random, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Idea for binding another game to an MMO

  1. Remastered says:

    I think this idea is fantastic. In fact, my initial thought is why would this have to be limited to an instance heavy game as you suggest? Why couldn’t this idea be extended to a game like WAR and implemented in an RvR environment? Say, for instance, that once a guild claims a keep the guild could assign the equivalent of a “Dungeon Master” to manage the defenses of the keep? Instead of just choosing the number of guards and whether they’re champ level or not you could allocate them amongst different types of classes and position them within certain parameters? The DM could also have some tacit control over the actions and the archetype of the keep lord.

  2. Anjin says:

    Somebody give this man several million dollars. I want to play this game.

  3. sid67 says:

    I got one…

    There was this Elephant, named Horton. One day, he heard a sound on this mote thing. It turned out to be a whole new world called Whoville.

    Hmm.. No wait, how about this one…

    There are these little puppet things called Fraggles. They live in a place called Fraggle Rock. They have lots of adventures that last roughly a half hour.

    The Fraggles’s favorite thing to eat are these edible structures made by some other small puppet things called Dozers. Dozers and Fraggles live together, but never communicate. In fact, they almost seem to have their own little lives.

    We got one MMO that’s the Fraggles and another one that’s the Dozers. Then in the expansion, we can add Humans who try to kill the poor Fraggles.

  4. Anne says:

    Interesting idea, not sure it can work though, some problems;

    e.g. Interface
    What type of limits will the ‘game god’ have?
    Will they be able to abuse it and grief players via too many mobs, giving mobs certain combo of OP abilities?
    Will they be able to create in abilities for bosses or just have a pool to choose from?

    Either way, if someone can actually pull something like this off and make it work then there are many many possibilities to how stuff like instances work. At the same time, the randomness that can come from it can remove a bit of the progression aspect from MMORPGs, while at the same time if people really get into it then this type of thing can give true hardcore players endless (or near-endless) amount of content… But then again it may just be repeating the same content over and over because it all comes from the same pool of abilities/models/etc.

    Could be an idea for the future anyway. But then again there any many many ideas which mainstream MMORPGs refuse to follow which are good, e.g. the game actually getting harder as you level or storylines actually based on community actions (in the same line as Darkfall) rather then a world based on what the devs decide (WoW, see Cataclysm, or Aion).

  5. Stratagerm says:

    This is such a great idea, a bit like the Dungeon Keeper series. The way MMO instances play out exactly the same way each time has always struck me as boring. While I discovered that I hate high-end PVE raiding, this sounds very appealing in contrast. Going up against a human-controlled instance rather than a statically scripted AI is far more interesting.

    I picked up Majesty Gold last spring and enjoyed it a lot. It’s great for people who aren’t fans of micromanagement. Savage: The Battle for Newerth from a few years back had a commander role for one player on each side that was a bit like the Majesty role.

    Majesty 2 is coming right up, with a North American release on 9/15.

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