Ideas for future Avala: Spirits of the Mindscapes MMO - Episode 1
Welcome to another blog post for Evelon II Studios. Today I will be talking about my ideas for an Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) for my series. These are simply ideas; I do not have the actual means to put them into production… yet. If you have yet to read my first book you can buy it from the FriesenPress Bookstore, Google Play Books, and Kobo Store. It will be available on other platforms in the coming weeks.
Currently I have a 111 page document on the game mechanics alone, so its far too much to talk about in one blog article, so this is going to become a bi-weekly posting of ideas. However a lot of things about the game are still secret. By the time Book 4 in my series is out, it should be easier to talk about some things. Today we’ll be focusing on two main subjects, mindscape warfare, and dialog choices.
Mindscape and Mindscape Warfare – The Basics
People who have read the book will have seen the recurring theme about fighting in mindscapes. Because this is so important, players playing certain advanced classes (such as Yajixa), will be able to have mindscapes which they must defend against others who can attack these mindscapes. Every living thing (and some non-living things with souls) that dies near a player with a mindscape has that creature absorbed into their mindscape, the only exception being other players, or other beings capable of mindscape warfare. These souls can then aid the mindscape, either in labor tasks, to build, repair, and gather resources; in defensive tasks, to defend the mindscape from intruders; or in offensive tasks, to aid the player in fighting in enemy mindscapes.
One of the many things different about my MMO from others is the aspect of Mindscape combat. A player will sometimes being fighting in reality, but then have to switch to defending themselves in the mindworld. On a technical aspect, the best way this would work without lengthy loading screens is if all mindscape resources are already loaded no matter where the player is. Mindscapes are very much sandbox in nature, so there is very little pre established terrain that must be loaded. In PVP combat there is better rewards from defeating enemy players in mindscape combat than simply doing it in reality.
A thing about PVP and mindscape combat though is it’s the great equalizer. Say a group of five players ambush a single player. All that player has to do to get into one on one combat is attack an enemy mindscape, sure lower levels must leave their body behind, but higher level characters don’t. Once in the enemy mindscape all they have to do is win, then they can pick off the rest of the attackers. Ganking looses its appeal if a single player with just a bit more skill can take out your party just by themselves. For a really fair fight, a group must attack people of their own skill, or of the same group size. As someone who has always hated PVP for reasons such as Ganking, this feature gives me hope that maybe I’m making a game where PVP will be fun. Of course though not every advanced class and starting class has a mindscape, meaning that there will still be Ganking, but this is a good balance. Do note this wasn’t designed this way to combat the problems with PVP, but rather fit with what can happen in the world of the story.
In Game Dialog Choices – The Basics
So my MMO will works similar to how many Bioware games work when it comes to dialog and choices. (if you haven’t played them I suggest you do. They have problems, but their great. Anthems the only exception. My favorite is Dragon Age Inquisition.) All throughout the game players will be able to have conversations with the NPCs of the world. This takes the form of the NPCs saying things, and when it’s the player’s turn to speak it gives them a series of dialog choices. These choices affect both the conversation and the quests. However I am hesitant to say they have a true lasting impact on the world, because unfortunately others have made that claim, but few have ever followed through with that promise.
In my MMO I’m going with 5 different conversation choices that will be there in most situations. There are:
Altruistic / Hopeful / Positive / Brave
Angry / Aggressive / Defiant / Evil
Hopeless / Begging / Sad
Silly / Humorous / Crazy
Emotionless / Calm / Logical
These five choice categories should give the player a large set of ways to Role Play their character. There will be other special choice types that rely on skills or traits. Many of these have the ability to succeed or fail, but its not based on random chance but rather meeting a certain hidden requirement. These types of choices only appear in certain circumstances. Some of them are things like: Persuasion, Intimidation, Flirting, Seduction, Bribery, Knowledge Checks, and Iron Heart checks. In total all these choices should give the players lots of roleplay-ability.
I’m also aware of the problems with Bioware’s MMO that have to do with conversation based game play while in groups and I am working on ways to mitigate that and allow enjoyable group play. However I am unwilling to share these methods as of yet.
I know that any AAA company to eventually pick up my game will be more willing to do things my way if I do a lot of the work upfront. Thus I am planning on writing as much of the script as I can myself. However my first attempt was riddled with layout problems and is in the process of undergoing a major overhaul.
That’s all for this week. Join me next week and I’ll talk about something to do with the Avala: Spirits of the Mindscapes book series. Join me the week after and I’ll talk about the Avala MMO again, this time about the four starting classes.