game, game. repeat.

Being A Main Character In An MMORPG

Sat 14 February 2004

I realize that Lucas does not need my advice, not the least because I have no idea what I’m talking about. But that said, I was walking home from the theatre the other evening and I got to thinking about MMORPG and what can be done, taking Star Wars Galaxies as an example. You see, it had come up in an EA interview–a question about why I think some game works or doesnt and then what could have been done differently, so its not purely a random fun exercise. ;)

One of the major challenges with MMPORPGs is that you dont tend to start as a main character in the game. Lets face it, if everyone in the Matrix were a Neo, it would get pretty lame pretty fast–call it main character inflation. On the other hand, starting everyone as a lackey and making them earn their prominence and thereby restricting the important and cool roles to the people that promote the designers plot–its making work for you players. And they are paying to play. If you are out of high school this starts to seem like a bad idea, I suspect. I recall that when I was high school at least, games that I had to work hard to enjoy seemed a little more appealing than they do today.

If you start everyone as a Jedi, they will wreck chaos and kill things, and act un Jedi-like. Its too easy and the people who dont give a rats ass about the integrity of the story world would ruin it for everyone. Plus, they can just start over and do it again–theres no real consequence or indoctrination since they didnt have to work for months on end to earn their position. But lets see, what would you call people that act with reckless abandon and abuse their powers arbitrarily. Id say EVIL. And who is evil, powerful, and takes the easy way to power without earning it in the SW universe? How about the Sith?

I think I would just start everyone out as Sith and let them wreck havoc if they want. Give people that are good the opportunity to convert to good Jedi or give people that want to be part of a plot the opportunity to build, but let the chaos people have their fun too. You still have to earn your wings, but you dont start as a lackey. I mean hey, if they want to go around killing people all over the place why not accommodate them and create a world that reacts realistically to that sort of abuse?

Bottom line is that we need to find a way of making everyone important (i.e. feeling like a main character) from the beginning without screwing up the game world.

Updated on October 10th, 2013

I replaced the broken link with a working link to similar content.