How I Would Make an MMO

Two of my most played games of all time are MMOs. The first being Guild Wars and the second being FFXIV: A Realm Reborn. I think if I were to make my own MMO I would combine different aspects from each of those games to make my ultimate MMO.

Generally, I don’t like playing FFXIV as much as I liked playing Guild Wars. But, I like how FFXIV looks compared to Guild Wars.

Here’s how I would make the best MMO by combining the previously mentioned games.

Enjoy some pictures of my FFXIV adventures while you read. The pictures contain spoilers for in game characters and areas of the world.

TL, DR: At the end as always.

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Gameplay:

Most MMOs play pretty much the same. FFXIV is pretty much the same as WoW, from my understanding of WoW considering I’ve never really played the game. I’d rather avoid another M MMO addiction.  For the most part, I’m fine with MMO skills and skill dodging. However, I think how we build characters changes how we play.

Starting with builds, I would use the same style from the original Guild Wars. I loved the viability of multiple builds. You could be successful doing a variety of PvE activities from farming to running, or speed clears to a plethora of styles in PvP. I didn’t really play the PvP aspect so I will focus on PvE.

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Regardless, the builds in Guild Wars made it special. You could create builds based on whatever class you want and a unique Elite Skill that defined your build. I think the main class/subclass system made this possible. You looked like your main class and then could include weapons or skills from a subclass. People discovered a great many ways to play the game.

For instance, I made most of the money in Guild Wars by “Running” characters from the starting area, Ascalon City, to Lion’s Arch. You would group with some people with an agreed upon price and different locations for them to pay you. You ran past all the mobs and tanked their damage when necessary while your group just sort of hung out while you did all the work. This run was the fastest way to reach Lion’s Arch as a new character. The run allowed new characters or rerolls to quickly access other campaigns from Lion’s Arch, which was the hub for the Prophecies campaign.

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Back on point, you could choose how you wanted to play the game. There wasn’t a needed skill rotation to be successful. Nor was their an outright “Best in Slot” gear which is common in FFXIV. You picked what gear you wanted and you picked what skills to use. There may have been best gear and skills for a build but you weren’t really limited based on class, which I don’t really like about MMOs. A ninja in FFXIV will play like all other ninjas and same the can be said for all other classes.

Don’t lock people out of multiple classes or branching out. I never got into WoW because it felt like a giant commitment to pick one class and only be able to play that one class on a character.

Let people play how they want without locking them into one class or one role permanently. I appreciate in FFXIV being able to play all classes, being encouraged to play multiple classes based on experience gains on a second class, without rerolling or creating another character.

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Give people crafting and gathering and whatever else outside of combat. There are multiple audiences for MMOs and often people play the game for different reasons. I’ve spent at least 900 hours crafting and gathering alone in FFXIV. I find those tasks enjoyable to just relax to watch some Netflix in the background.

Other times I want to be part of the first group of people playing new content or discovering how to beat new dungeons. And I know I’m not alone. Guild Wars 2 has the jump puzzles and WoW definitely has something that keeps people involved considering its longevity.

Just give people a place to spend their time in a way that they enjoy.

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Graphics:

I don’t think making an MMO graphic intensive is the way to go. You want as many people to play the game as possible. I would avoid hyper-realistic like BDO, Bless, or even FFXIV. Just keep it simple so the game looks good but allows a ton of people to play on a variety of computer specs.

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Sound:

I love the sound in FFXIV. You have great orchestrated music and fitting tunes for when you’re are just relaxing in one of the hub cities.

I think the sound is incredibly important in MMOs. On the flip side, sound can and should not be so important that people can’t do anything in the background. As I mentioned earlier, I like relaxing and watching Netflix in the background of FFXIV. Sometimes, I just want to listen to music while I make some in-game food to be sold on the markets for a random amount of gold.

I think sound needs to be balanced between awesome/need to hear in order to be successful and unnecessary for all tasks. That’s a tough ask, but I think many MMO sound designers understand those concepts and already manage that. So for sound, I say keep doing what they’re already doing.

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Story:

MMO stories are difficult because they often have more than just a campaign or a focus on more than a few characters. MMOs and their immense size almost mandate a lore to rival Tolkien. I’m not trying to be trite, merely pointing out the immense scope of MMO story aspects.

I think you have two aspects to MMOs, story, and lore. Each of which demands importance no more or less than the other. With an MMO you want to feel relevant and impactful of the world around you. The problem with that….millions of other people want that same feeling. There has to be a way to explain the story while keeping it relevant for a vast number of people.

In  FFXIV you are a warrior of light, like many Final Fantasy games before. Throughout Final Fantasy’s history, multiple people held that title so it only makes sense for the same to be true in the MMO Final Fantasy.20170928182501_1.jpg

The lore also has to make sense and contain enough information for people to want to learn more about the world. Apparently, an important character in WoW is changing sides in the newest expansion. People care about this change and care about the world changing because of this event.

Good lore means giving people reasons to ferret out nuggets of information and letting them discover the world without being told explicitly about the general goings on.

TL, DR: Nothing revolutionary, just combine the best parts of Guild Wars and FFXIV, and maybe some Wow stuff. I don’t know, I’ve never played it, but it has to be good from how long that game has been THE MMO of the world.

How would you create a new MMO that people love?

Thanks for reading.

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