Rather than, or maybe

I was reading Ysh's most recent post, just one of a long line that has been causing this to boil over for me.
I was thinking about giving a long lecture on persistence in MMOs, the three approaches to persistence there are, how most current games (and all the really popular ones) have almost no trace of them. But I'm trying to be positive, and I know that would devolve into a diatribe.

I've been mentally toying with the possibility of a DMO lately, a multiplayer/cooperative experience designed to be consumed by relatively small, 6-24 player, groups. The worlds would be dynamic, so new groups could enter semi-randomized worlds and make completely different choices. Of course the point would be to keep them on the small side and instead expand variety. Strong networking tools and drop in/drop out functionality would be key.
A few ideas for magic systems, one would be to have a system based on ancient words which the player must learn to spell and basically speak in. Of course you can take the easy road out with players being able to simply learn it then cast it at the touch of a button, but mics could be taken advantage of for voice activation. The basic point more simply being having the language have correct syntax so that the player builds the spells effects, size, duration, targeting and so forth by simply saying it right. Of course the longer the sentence the longer the cast.
Another, which I had a few months ago but actually showed up in Fable II, is for players to gain levels in spells individually, but as they gain more, and more powerful spells the power of all their spells increases.
These two ideas were to be the basis of a non-combat magic system, where the players would be effecting weather, creating illusions, summoning familiars, or traveling faster most of the time. The ideal, of course, would be that of very powerful and knowledgeable magi being able to perform veritable miracles within the game world. Growing forests overnight, teleporting massive groups across vast distances, summoning towering familiars that function as buildings in their own right, illusory powers to create and maintain an entire scene indefinitely, or even some mix of powers, like an illusory gypsy caravan where it's always raining that teleports outside a new town every five minutes, and lasts for about an hour.

I have the same problem in WAR as I have in WoW, and really in most MMOs I play. I do not feel like a badass/hero, hell the longer I play the more pussified I feel. I have no problem with solidarity, I ran missions, mined and ratted in EVE without ever doing PvP for a long time... but I knew I had the chance to set myself apart, to become part of the living thriving shared history of EVE. WoW has no history, no future, and WAR feels very much the same, it'll be basically forever locked in time at the exact moment of opening, until a new expansion allows you to start somewhere else. Perhaps it's just me, but I find that, more than any PvE wierdness, to be simply depressing.


  1. Here's food for thought, what if in that magic system of yours it was as powerful as you could be, you do it you level up so to speak. But at some point, someone is going to invoke that spell of Uber Demon that is an uncontrollable force to be reckoned with and will devastate all those in its path. Now kick this into gear, now that you've exhausted that power of bringing forth the demon, you no long can control it and it may very well turn on you and consume you as well as anything else? Do you go through with it?

  2. I'd really like to see a dynamic world with spells that develop like any other skill (no darn levels, please, just increase the elements in the spell) and where it's possible to lose control of your spell if exerted too far.

    Take tabletop RPG's like Ars Magica or Skyrealms of Jorune, where this was already.

    Spellburn ftw. And spells that really change the world.

  3. Hmm, conceivably we could expand the spell system so that certain words increase your chance of blowback and others decrease it, though obviously power should scale with the danger. Likewise a very precise spell has very little chance of going rogue, while a very general spell has an increased chance of moving beyond your control. For instance, lets say you were to summon a demon, doing so by it's proper name, with a defined target or goal and a maximum amount of time allowed in the world, this demon would be very stable though very rigid. On the other hand, just randomly summoning a demon with nothing but a relative power level could well summon up an uncontrollable monster for an undefined amount of time with no real tethers or limits.

    Also, if you want spells that change the world, first you need a world that can change. The rest can logically follow, but that must lead.