The Pumping Irony Rockstar Game

Only one of many, really, that’s the trouble with we armchair designers – too many ideas rolling around, but no means to do anything about them.

Chris aka Scopique from and I were riffing in a discussion today that brought to light an idea I’ve had for the past two years. There’s zero chance of it being made, so I’ll just spell it out here since I have no fear some enlightened investor will run with it and find a development team. Chris did a similar post with his own online game idea, as well.

Being a jaded MMO junkie in partial rehabilitation, this will be a persistent world online game. You’ll notice I have not called it a role-playing game, because I don’t want the extra baggage that entails in this one game. It will feature most of the elements associated with role-playing games, however, just done a bit differently.

I’m a huge fan of virtual worlds. It is unfortunate that the MMOs that attract us so eagerly always disappoint due to the dependence on the vertical progression scheme of advancement. That, specifically, is what I wish to avoid with this game concept. I want a world where all of it is relevant all the time, not just the level-bracketed zones you happen to qualify for or the handful of level-cap dungeons.

Multiplayer. Minus the Massively.

Despite my unhealthy addiction love of designer drugs MMOs, I feel too many concessions have to be made under the current MMO paradigm, so I’d like to hearken back to earlier days: Neverwinter Nights, but not for the same reason Chris also mentioned NWN in his post. I am using NWN as the seed (and then discarding it) for the idea due to its (flaky, usually) player-created “persistent” servers that supported (if memory serves) up to 64 players. My game will support somewhere between 64 and 128, ideally. This is to foster smaller, more dedicated and tightly-knit communities as well as to increase so-called “immersion” by not having thousands of adventurers standing at mailboxes.

Virtual World Inspirations

As I stated above, I  have been greatly displeased with the worlds of MMOs in recent years. Oh, to be certain, they are absolutely gorgeous to travel through, but they’re all semi-guided tours to the destination of the level cap dungeons. That’s why they’re called “theme parks” – we’re guided along by glowing punctuation marks beckoning with the lure of gold and XP. They end up being a mosaic of disconnected landscapes we may or may not remember fondly but have no reason to ever return to. We’ve already seen that attraction, and the guided tour is going the other way. Beyond here there be XP!

In the past two years, only two games have really made a distinct impression on me for their creation of virtual worlds: Red Dead Redemption and Skyrim. In each title, we are free to go anywhere and there’s always something to explore or some type of content to do. In short, they were two of the most immersive games I’ve played – ever — and there are always adventures to be had.

Red Dead Redemption dropped the ball, from my perspective, in its multiplayer game by only focusing on “multiplayer activities” such as gang hideouts or PvP. Other than the Survivalist Challenges, there was no use to gathering plants, where in the single-player game we could make medicines in addition to buying medicines, etc. from General Stores. There were never any “dynamic content” in multiplayer like the appearance of a “Friend” NPC who might need assistance, or who might be a bandit in disguise. There were no stagecoach robberies to foil in multiplayer. The only Bounties were against other players who were killing everyone else, there were no Bounties for Gang Leaders or Outlaws in multiplayer. That would have been fun to ride around with a few friends and suddenly some form of “dynamic content” appears. The six co-op missions that were part of the “Outlaws to the End” DLC were all instanced content completely separate from the world, so while they had their entertainment value and challenge, once you’ve done them, you’re done with them.

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