I had this idea the other night and it has become somewhat of an obsession. I realize that things like this take time, so I am just sowing the seeds of ideas in your minds to get gears turning. Also Blender Artists has some of the most creative individuals I have ever met and an idea like this needs creative people.
I have never really been able to get into MMOs for several reasons. First of all I feel that in general they are sub-par visually and mechanics-wise and are simply riding on the fact that they are MMOs to draw in players. Another reason is that the game worlds seem perpetually dead. Now let me explain that, because most people would argue that MMOs are the closest thing we have to living, breathing virtual worlds, and I agree. But they are simply not alive enough. In an MMO, all the way from World of Warcraft to the humblest of free to play ones, actions by the player simply have no bearing in the whole scope of things. For example: you get a quest from a village that pleads with you to rescue them from a wolf pack. They ask you to kill 10 wolves and bring back their hides as proof. You get back to the village, get reward, get experience, all is good. Except, you can go back to the same spot where the wolves are infinitely spawning and they are all still there. The village is neither better or worse off for your actions. Additionally, an immeasurable number of players have and will do the exact same quest you did.
This gets back to the fundamental problem I see with MMOs. They are merely an attempt at mimicking life, and not anywhere close to life itself. Rather than being an epic drama being played out on a stage, they are more akin to a set of animatronic robots performing the same actions over and over again. This is nowhere near the potential that an MMO can reach in my opinion.
Thank you for sticking with me for so long, I realize this is a long post. One thing I have always longed for is more control given to the player and less being handled by the computer. I dream of a day when there are no more NPCs, and quests and shops are all run by other players. There would be a dynamic market based on supply and demand, rarity and usefulness. The world evolves through the actions of the players. In a system like this, one person could rise up as a military and political leader and convince other players to join their cause, perhaps through money or maybe they are just a charismatic leader. This sort of thing happens in EVE online, but not to the degree that I want it. A system that could allow players to dictate where they build cities would give way to huge land wars and factions spontaneously rising up due to player’s new-found love for their city-state.
The idea that came to me was a caveman MMORPG, where essentially the evolution of society would be simulated and controlled by the players themselves. Initially, as a server started out, there would be no cities, no NPCs. Just the players, wild animals, and their will to survive. It’s debatable whether or not to include survival needs such as food and water, but I think it could add an interesting angle to the whole thing. Players would start off fending for themselves but soon find out that it is near impossible to survive on their own. Animals are too strong to be hunted alone, so small tribes would quickly spring up near water sources and herds of animals. Also, dinosaurs! Think of it! Populations of wild animals would wax and wane realistically, up to the point where entire species can go extinct and players will suffer for it. There would be a simple crafting system allowing people to make spears and bows. There would be an economy based on bartering, unless players figure that some small item is common enough to be used as currency, and manufactured and gathered goods would start having set values. People would haggle over prices. I also toyed with the idea of language. A player is initially given a language, and if he tries to chat with someone of another language his text will be garbled or voice chat would be muted. This would lead to tribes of the same language rising up. Maybe there would be some system of learning other languages? I have also had this idea for a long time of semi perma-death. Basically, if you die you’re dead. However, if you have a child your skills will be passed on to them, but at a reduced level. This is analogous to a gold or experience penalty after death. You, playing as the next generation, would be able to go find your parent’s body to recover items. Also, this would stimulate players of opposite sex to get together and make said children.
Again, thank you for reading this super long post. I realize that this is so ambitious, and I am nowhere near the skill level to even make an attempt at this, but I just wanted an outlet for my brain bursting with ideas. I also wanted to just get this idea out so that others have a chance to improve on it. Thanks for reading and let those creative juices flow!