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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EVE Online

Gamasutra posted an article about EVE Online, comparing its content strategy with those of traditional MMO’s (ie World of Warcraft, etc). For those that don’t know, EVE Online is one of the most successful space-themed MMOs. It was released in 2003 by Iceland based CCP. The article suggests that what makes EVE so successful is meaningful in-game interaction between players, something found in OSG’s.

Most MMO’s rely on new content (dungeons, raids, etc) to generate gameplay. In fact, World of Warcraft recently released another content pack, “Cataclysm”. The problem is that players will eventually finish the content, regarless of how much there is, and it is very expensive to create more. Instead of creating linear content EVE Online, and OSG’s, focus on creating a system for players to interact, and let the players create the content. If my Ikariam alliance goes to war again, that’s fluid player-driven content that I don’t have to wait for the developers to release.

Also, purusing the article’s comments revealed this gem: a music video made by the EVE Online Team. It may not be safe for work due to crass language, but it’s very interesting to get a look at the people behind the game. It’s nice to see a game that’s made by actual people, instead of a faceless corporation. The Travian Crewchats accomplish this to an extent, but it would be cool to see a video of them at work.

Cheers,
Oliver