When the player-driven economist dreams-he dreams big.
When’s the last time you tossed a stone in a stream? It’s a very fundamental desire, a need we all have. We want to make a splash. We want to feel this movement of the river, that’s always changing, is affected, or disturbed, even at a minute level, by our action.
Ah, but old Heraclitus had never played an MMO when he said we never step in the same river twice.
I’m a bit tired of static online worlds. We’re like ghosts, tossing stones in rivers. The stones break the surface and vanish beneath it, but no satisfying ripples dash out from the center. I want to make a splash.
Don’t get me wrong, the NPC model was good, a necessary starting point. But aren’t we ready to take the reins from our bot masters? Can’t we start calling the shots instead of some pre-written lines of code?
This goes beyond player-driven economies and PvP. We’re talking about the holy grail of the possible dynamic MMO. From physical structures, environments, to political systems. A world where player actions make not just a difference, but the difference.
Am I dreaming too big? Maybe… maybe not.
Here’s a look at some pioneers: past, present, and future, that have started to explore the dynamic player-driven model:
Here’s one you might not be familiar with. Before there were games like Planet Side 2, there was WW2 Online.
Released in 2001, the first person shooter/flyer/tank driver featured a half-scaled virtual battlefield, all in real-time. While the graphics were appalling, even for the time, to accommodate its shear scope, the dynamic war state, and shifting batte-lines, all driven by player combat, were truly revolutionary.
Command structures, dictated by player rank, could issue missions that truly impacted the direction of the war in a major way. Oh, WW2 Online… would that you had given us a sequel!
Guild Wars 2
You’re probably already familiar with AreaNet’s popular sequel to Guild Wars. GW2 wants people to know it’s different, and it is. The game replaces traditional static quest-lines with a more complex and dynamic “ripple effect”.
Players can approach quests in different ways, altering the storyline. It’s a page taken out of many RPGs that have for some time explored the dynamic story-line model. But the concept is relatively new to multi-player games.
Leave it to the Swedish. The same country that gave us Minecraft, gives us the minecrafty MMO Wurm online. If you were a Lego kid(and I certainly was) then this sort of thing is right up your alley.
Everything in game is created by players, from equipment to tools, to castles and land terraforming. The game is open ended, and PvP combat is reserved mainly for players who reside in opposing Kingdoms. The player craft system allows for a truly unique player-driven economy, where items truly are one-of-a-kind. Thank you Sweden.
Could this be it? The holy grail?! We’ve patiently been waiting, and, if what we’re told is true, the wait is nearly over.
Word is, the Korean MMO is nearly fully translated to English and ready for release in North America. The game looks gorgeous, but what it promises sounds almost too good to be true:
A unique player-crafting system, dynamic PvP combat(including an epic naval component), a player-driven economy, malleable terrain, destroyable player-built structures… oh I could go on. You build castles, plant trees, raise livestock, found cities, capture and destroy them.
Alright ArcheAge, you’re on the clock. We’re waiting.
You may say that I’m a dreamer… but as you can see: I’m not the only one. While a truly complete dynamic MMO might be a pie-in-the-sky city in the clouds, there are at the very least, some steps being taken to get there. So log on, and give that stone a chuck. You might be more satisfied than you think.