One of my least favorite parts of blogging is presenting a topic and having people directly apply it to the now. The best example of this is talking about item loss, and having WoW players say it would never work because of how many runs it takes for Rag to drop his legendary weapon. “Losing that to a gank would make me unsub!” Derp…
Yesterday’s post had a bit of that, with people looking at Skyrim and just inserting thousands into the existing game and declaring that it would not be fun. No shit.
The challenge in blogging here is to write enough detail to set people down the correct path, without spelling out every single step and turning each post into a novel. Perhaps the post yesterday was my fault for not providing enough of that detail, but honestly I’d much rather blame the readers. It’s not me, it’s you people.
Blogging mini-rant aside, lets continue down that path.
In the MMO genre we often debate just what the ‘massive’ part means. From solo-instances up to EVE’s null-sec mega-brawls, just how many people are involved in something varies greatly.
I think scale matters. Those EVE battles are epic almost on sheer numbers alone, and that’s important. It’s a bit like watching a sporting event in a giant stadium versus at a local field. Simply by having so many like-minded fans around you, the experience is enhanced. It’s one of the core principles of the whole genre, and often justifies the otherwise simple gameplay (like harvesting for example).
That does not mean bigger is always better. There are some advantages to an instances 5-man experience versus an open dungeon for all. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m designing the MMO I’m going open dungeon and making that work, but that does not mean the entire concept of the instances 5-man is total fail.
Skyrim the MMO would be very much that 5 man experience. But rather than going half-way like DDO, go full-blast. The entire game is small-scale. You can even select the scale. Want to play all the content as a duo? Go for it. 20 man guild? It scales to that as well.
“Cool Syn, but that’s not an MMO” you say? Bah to that! Are you honestly telling me you would not pay $15 a month to play Skyrim on a Bethesda server with your buddies, and that subscription ensured you get Dawnguard-like content updates and fixes but more consistently? Of course you would. I’d even venture to guess a few hundred thousand people would.
And here is the thing; Skyrim has a silly amount of content, so clearly Bethesda can do what EA and SW:TOR seem so incapable of, and that would make the sub model work. Even the broken systems, like magic, would be ok since you are playing just with your buddies. Want to break the game and ‘win’? Knock yourself out. Or maybe because the game would have a team supporting it full-time, those things get fixed. Either way, it’s not a game-breaker like some have suggested it would be.
I’m sure there are a lot of details to iron out here, no doubt. But I think the base concept is solid, and again, I’m surprised we have not seen a more solid effort made in this space (but I’ll just go ahead and blame the WoW-blinders as per usual).