2.08.2019

Persistant Open World (POW): New game genre

A new game or simulator genre is defined: Persistant open world.  I think for our type of game to take off like the Battle Royal genre we have to let old lables be old lables.  There was no way First Person Shooters would have hundreds of millions of players.  The genre was simply too dated and the terminology had too much baggage.  When I think of FPS I just think of unreal tournament/halo (they are both the same game anyway). Branding is extremely important and the FPS brand is just pigeonholed.

Battle Royale is really just a normal FPS.  I don't really see any significant difference.  Mabye it supports a few more concurrent players and the playable area shrinks and thats about all.  And they are free to play typically.  So those simple changes really set FPS on fire.

I think a new twist on the RPG and MMO is likewise in order.  Or perhaps in desperate need.  We -players seeking meaningful interaction and long term challenge- are every bit as numerous and powerful as the BR players who love a quick fix.  We just need to mobilize... into a game genre that really brings out what we are looking for.

I think focusing a genre brand on the amount of players the game holds is erroneous.  The type of people who like MMO (massive multiplater online) also like single player games like Skyrim or LAN games like Minecraft.  The amount of players is not what defines our gamer type.  Neither does RPG.  Not all of us like roleplaying like dungeons and dragons and acting out some fantasy role and guzzling mead.

I think what we can all agree on is we want a persistant world.  Persistant means that the world and your achievements don't reset next match like Battle Royale does.  It means you choices matter, not just choices but the values and the character you develop grows over time mostly for better but sometimes for worse as in gaining a bad reputation.  Our type of people are thoughtful, meditative, and want to be inspired.  Many of us want to help and have an honest positive influence on peoples real life.   If we can do something in game that inspires someone in their real life, that is the greatest accomplishment for many like us.

Persistant simply means that the world you come back to is the world you left the way you left it (or slightly different based on world happenings).  You gold is still in the bank.  The item you dropped on the ground is still there (if it hasn't rotted) etc.  It could mean a deformable world, or it could just mean you can save your game.  The point is you aren't reborn as a new charecter every time you log in and the world doesn't reset every 10 minutes.

We also want an open world.  We want to explore.  We want to be the first to find something and share it with our friends.  We want to feel solitude and see a breathtaking view that only you and the game creators have seen.  We want to be immersed in a world that captivates all of our senses, music, visual beauty, a living world.  Open world is not necessarily 3D.  Games like Paper Minecraft and Dragon Warrior embody this mechanic even in 2D.

We want to share the experience.  Whether that is talking about your single player experience on the forums, whether that is with a friend in co-op, a group of friends on a LAN night, or massive amounts of people online.  We want to see and be seen.  We want to have a reputation.  We want to be larger than life.

We don't want our hand to be held and directed through a boring complex story that we don't really jive with.  We want to create our own story.  We want to understand game history and myth/lore (likely fictional, but also real accomplishments of real players that came before) so we feel a sense of place.  But we want to write the next chapter.  This doesn't come by killing what came before (like Deckard Cain) but by embracing it and building on it.

Persistant Open World games are that.  That feeling of first signing on WoW and the awe and wonder of exploring.  That ecstacy of finishing off the boss with your group in Everquest and gaining amazing loot.  That feeling of solitude and magnitude in Skyrim.  We don't need fast paced action.  We need wonder and meaning above all else.

I think Minecraft is the best example of a POW game.  Everquest, WoW, Skyrim, BoTW, soon to be Outward.

To move this genre forward we need new branding like POW, and also to cater to these specific needs that our types of players have.  common things that get in the way of a POW experience are clans, grouping, minimaps, rules, ettiquite, camping, vertical level progression exclusivity, global chat, too loot focused.

To fix these issues here are a few ideas:

1. You are de-facto grouped with everyone in the area.  This encourages co-op playing.
2. No or few EPIC drops.  Important items should be crafted by skill and drops should be raw materials to make various options.
3.  Challenging encounters.  We want to go toe to toe with enemies and if another enemy joins in, we may have to run.  And running may not save you!
4.  No map or player generated maps only.  This encourages the 'I discovered this' feeling.
5.  Some sort of death penalty or inconvieniece...Actually instead of a death penalty give a bonus for staying alive! Positive reinforcement is always much preferable to negative.
6.Massive fights.  Zerg mentality.  All of us verses the environment mentality.  We are all in this together mentality.  No clans and no groups, we are all on the same team.  Combining low levels and high levels in the same zones.  No exclusivity.
7.  New unique happenings.  Not a christmas event with christmas fashion lootboxes.  Actual events like a city getting raided by a new species of monster and everyone needing to work together to retake it.
8.  amazing inspiring music.
9.  Not tooo much difference between a new and high level charecter.  I think its good to shoot for a new player is 1/3 as strong as a high level charecter.  This is to promote friendships and that no one is worthless to fight alongside with.
10.  Engaging survivalish elements like dark nights, dangerous traveling, long challenging travel, need to prepare for journeys, harsh environments, hostile monsters (that attack if you get too close) etc. along with other more traditional survival elements like eating and drinking and repairs and disease if desired.
11.  No de-facto currency like gold and silver.  Let players choose what is universally valuable or barter for what specific people need.  Like SOJ's or Runes in diablo for example.  No need for gold. And this brings us to an imoortant point...
12.  Emergent gameplay is everything.  Never punish emergent gameplay or nerf it.  This is one way players beat your game, for many of us, outsmarting the developers is how we beat the game.  Don't ban us for this.
13.  NEVER NERF.  Improve what people don't like to use, never make something worse that people actually like! Common sense!
14.  Make it free, donations only.  Community is everything in this day and age.
15.  Make it open source.  People want to actually own the game and everything about it.  The biggest game companies in the future will be non-profits.
16.  Extremely limited fast travel.  Fast travel should be extremely special like porting in original everquest by certain classes at a high level.




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