Mixing OSGs With RPGs: Hey, Why Not?

Goemon muses about combining the two genres. Global Agenda has done something similar, fusing OSG and FPS gameplay. Perhaps the same could be done with MMO’s, creating more player-driven content and less random quests to kill 15 boars or what have you. Anyway, enjoy!

Mixing OSGs With RPGs: Hey, Why Not?
– by Goemon

OSGs and RPGs, and more specifically MMORPGs, already have a lot in common with each other, and adding more of these aspects could make for some interesting new gameplay. Lord of Ultima doesn’t really count even though Ultima is one of the longest standing RPG series out there- it really doesn’t have anything to do with the series or even the genre at all.

Sorry in advance for all the acronyms.

So what do they already have in common? For one, every OSG is already an MMO. When you log on to Ikariam or Travian, you’re playing with all other real people. Same goes for World ​of Warcraft or Everquest. The world is also persistent. In an offline RPG, the game world stops if you turn it off and stays that way until you turn it back on. In MMOs and OSGs, the game world keeps on going without you.

Plus, Lord of the Rings Online just went free to play- probably due to the success of free OSGs like Lord of Ultima. I don’t think anyone will say no to more free MMOs.

A few OSGs, Evony, Aloriah, Age of Ocean, etc, have started incorporating a hero into the mix. In every RPG I can think of, the hero is the focus of the game. As you progress, you level up your character, get new skills and abilities, and you usually outfit him or her with new weapons and armor. In Age of Ocean, you can hire heroes which are used to lead your fleets. As you explore new territories and finish quests, naturally your hero levels up. You can then lead even bigger fleets and explore further out. The weapons and armor you equip provide bonuses to your fleet when you’re attacking other players. And for the most part it works great; having a hero brings the player a little closer into the game and provides another customizable element that can make each person’s experience a little different.

Let’s try it the other way around- what about putting some OSG elements into an RPG? Many MMOs have a guild war system, and these guilds can often own fortresses or something similar. This could be expanded upon for some cool new gameplay elements. What if every player was given the option to build a city? The game could “zoom out” to the standard OSG isometric view, and a player could arrange and build buildings from there. Afterwards, he could walk around in his town in 3d. Of course, the resources for these buildings could come from loot from monsters, treasure chests, etc. The player could recruit NPC troops to guard his town while he was away, or be able to send them to attack other players.

The typical resource buildings could be used to provide materials to craft armor and weapons for your character. The buildings would also provide a source of resources to use for trade between players, which is a huge aspect of MMOs.

I think I covered the main points, but do you guys have anything you want to add? Disagree with me perhaps? Let me know!

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New Poll: What’s Your Play Style?

Time for another (now weekly) poll. What’s your OSG play-style or strategy? Do you start the game as aggressive as possible, raiding anyone unfortunate enough to start nearby? Do you start upping your production and city walls, knowing that the defender has the advantage and wait for the aggressors to waste their resources on your armies? Do you try to lay low and find some powerful allies to protect you? I think I have a hunch which way this one’s gonna go, but it’ll be interesting to see.

I figure I should speak to the previous polls as well.

Currently, about 50% of people prefer the current free-to-play monetization strategy that OSG’s currently used. That makes a lot of since, as the current system probably inconveniences the greatest amount of players the least. That said, I wonder if other genres (either traditional RTS or more MMORPG’s) will start leaning on the free-to-play model? I know Gameforge’s MMORPG “4-Story” and a dozen others have already gone this route. Still, these games aren’t nearly as profitable as the MMORPG’s that get a constant flow of income from monthly subscribers.

As for people’s favorite aspect of OSG’s, warfare (unsurprisingly) takes the lead with 33%, followed by City-management (27%), then Social (18%), and Browser-Based (15%). People also submitted “able to play on a linux laptop” (which probably ought to be added to Browser-Based) and “economics”. It seems to work out pretty well that the focus of a lot of OSG’s parallel that break down (i.e. a strong Travian player probably spends the bulk of his time raiding and planning his army, followed by upgrading cities, followed by diplomacy). Seems like the designers already knew all this, but I’m happy to reinforce it 🙂

Cheers,
Oliver