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MMO Blender: Jeremy's unholy MMO concoction

MMO Blender: Jeremy's unholy MMO concoction
Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton|@@Jeremy_Stratton|June 22, 2012 3:00 PM
MMO Blender
Have you ever wished MMO developers could put away their checkbooks, pluck out the best bits of their respective MMOs, and weld them together to construct the megalopolis of MMOs? We do too! So today, we're launching a brand-new opinion column, MMO Blender, in which the Massively writers will mix and match their favorite features from existing MMOs for your amusement. But do our choices create a perfectly honed machine or a lumbering, speechless frankenstein of an MMO that deserves to be put out of its misery?

First up: Livestreamer extraordinaire and Contributing Editor Jeremy Stratton with a potent, sandboxy blend of Fallen Earth, EVE Online, Lord of the Rings Online, and more. Wet your whistle after the break and look for more MMO Blenders from the rest of our staff in the coming weeks!

Fallen Earth image
Fallen Earth's crafting

Imagine the beautiful union of Fallen Earth's time-based crafting and Vanguard's rich, hands-on system. Thousands of items and dozens of professions would be used to craft ingredients, tools, and parts, while complete items, weapons, and armor would be assembled and upgraded on Vanguard's crafting benches. Junk drops wouldn't exist. Everything would be used for something. I'd even have a disenchant feature to break down drops and constructed items into new and different resources. Choice and options rule in my MMO, baby!

Guild Wars 2 image
Guild Wars 2's world-events

Despite the gorgeous scenery wherever you look and the awesomeness of PvP, my favorite part of the Guild Wars 2 beta weekends was the many world events that serve as the driving force for progression. I think MMOs should use world events much more extensively. My ego would like to think ArenaNet keeps my house tapped for the wealth of MMO ideas I never write about, but it's likely many other players have felt the same way and that the industry just wasn't ready to take the leap until now. I do love questing and would keep a balanced amount of it as and alternative to progression and a way to dish out story from different angles.

Runes of Magic image
Runes of Magic's customizability

Outfit customization in Runes of Magic is spot on, especially for a not-very-Stabby-McStabalot kinda guy like yours truly. Not only was it my favorite for three years because of its ability to aggregate the stats from one item to the look of another, but you can color two spots on each item and use a brightness slider. Then Runewaker added the wardrobe, which actually managed to create another layer of moist, delicious cake to an already delicious cake by allowing seamless, instant changing between up to 10 different outfits. I'd allow up to four places per item to be colored, though, a a Guild Wars 2.

Eve Online image
EVE Online's economy

Never mind the countless hurdles that immediately make World of Warcraft-plus-EVE Online seem impossible. In my technicolored dreamland, Firefly never got canceled, we finally have flying cars, and my MMO would mimic EVE's economy. It would fit nicely in my huge game world with only slow travel options. The auction house would be accessed from many locations, but any purchased merchandise would have to be picked up from the spot where the seller listed it. Combined with some other game-mechanics, this system would create price fluctuation for identical items.

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EverQuest II's furniture

There's nothing better than the limitless potential in EverQuest II's decorating capabilities. The game has hundreds (thousands?) of items that look great on their own and can be manipulated in many ways; one of those ways allows for combining items to make new items. After all these years, players are still surprising and astounding the greater EQII community with their imaginations, and our imaginations are allowed to go crazy thanks to the flexibility the MMO's furniture provides. I can't think of much I'd do to tweak this system, except to include the precision control that the layout editor provides.

Lord of the Rings Online image
Lord of the Rings Online's fellowship maneuvers

An MMO of my own design should keep a good, smooth pacing with not too much level-curving, and combat needs to be slow enough to allow for a wider variety of attacks over which the player can feel she has meaningful control. Lord of the Rings Online's fellowship maneuvers would fit right in as a fun group activity that could extend the MMO into the land of player skill and be optional, but it would still feel useful if accomplished. I would also toy with the daunting idea of having raid maneuvers for 12 or more players.

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Vanguard's open-world housing

It would be incredible to add EQII's decorating capabilities to Vanguard's open-world housing. I'm hoping that since Vanguard is getting some love, development time will be spent on expanding crafting and housing. I would expand on the idea by allowing a set perimeter around the houses for the placement of furniture. In this way, you could erect fences around your house or create a 10-foot-tall concrete wall that surrounds your abode to protect against the possibility of a zombie attack.

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Runes of Magic's (original) free-for-all PvP ruleset

I feel I'm a rare bird in that I'm not much of a PvPer yet I love the often-frowned-upon FFA PvP option found in some MMOs. I think RoM's original FFA-PvP ruleset hit the sweetspot. It was Darkfall-lite with a dash of Vanguard. There was a cornucopia of incentives, whether you chose to be bad or fight for justice. Players tend to look at only what they stand to lose, but I wouldn't listen to players on that. If you look at this from the viewpoint of any player regardless of level, race, or class, it's nothing but bonuses, rewards, and incentives for participating. I find that when WoW or others have no consequences, the only negatives left are annoyances that become amplified. I would have separate PvE and PvP servers, though.

WURM Online image
WURM Online

All of it. Well, not all of it, but WURM Online would work really well as a projector overlay, adding to many aspects of my MMO. Housing plots could be allowed some terraforming. Dig a ditch to make a basement. The house itself would be constructed using skills and mechanics that WURM uses to build objects. I'd make allowance for digging up dirt and have a bottomless housing inventory to dump it in. Houses and boats would need a lot of time and skill in many categories to allow players to make more elaborate houses, but other players would be allowed to help via a public materials inventory. Having others throw all the best housing parts at you wouldn't be a way to be handed an instant chateau because you'd need the learned skills to assemble much of it.

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Lineage II sieges

Keeps and castles in Lineage II are a tetrahedron of magnets that keep changing shape depending on who's wielding an even bigger magnet. I'd throw in a robust political system that the sieges already seem designed for, allowing more incentive for would-be landowners and their competitors to fight over areas of the map that normally become ignored. I know it's a bit of a cheat, but seeing as how it's related to sieges, I'd also expand the spectator mode to feature near unlimited camera control.

Have you ever wanted to make the perfect MMO, an idealistic compilation of all your favorite game mechanics? MMO Blender aims to do just that. Join the Massively staff every Friday as we put our ideas to the test and create either the ultimate MMO... or a disastrous frankengame!
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MMO Blender: Jeremy's unholy MMO concoction