For the last week, we’ve been having a pretty interesting conversation about improving MMORPG chat systems. There seems to be some support for voice chat integration, though the inherent flaws in it have been acknowledged. There also seems to be some disagreement on if global chat is a good thing or not, personally I think it’s a wonderful thing, but I think AlexanderDLarge on Reddit made the best point talking about how games today are made to be played solo and that the industry needs to get back to that. Overall though, it seems like the chatbox is here to stay and the best improvements that could be made would be eliminating restrictions on what is possible.
This week we’re looking at how to unlock the special races in our game, specifically the Dragon and Vampire races.
Vampires are perhaps one of the most unique races for our game because they start out as a different race entirely. Vampires start their lives as Humans, Dark Elves, Dwarves, or Hellspawn. This means they will actually be able to change faction, the only race able to do so. But we still haven’t answered how vampires come to be. Obviously, it comes from a bite. But where that bite comes from opens up a lot of options for us.
Ascelin Heinrich considers himself a charitable man. On the 13th of every month, he leaves his mansion to give those he deems worthy eternal life. How does he decide who is worthy and who isn’t? Money. Mansions are expensive and he has an expensive lifestyle to maintain.
So, we have an NPC who will go to a random location in the world once a month who will turn you for a price. He is somewhat similar to Nicholas Sandford from Guild Wars in that he travels the world and appears in a different location every time.
In the beginning, there is a single GM vampire out in the world, playing the game. He or she will only be able to turn one player per cycle. The next cycle there will be two vampires able to bite two more, the next cycle after that there are 4 vampires and so it spreads. After a few cycles, the GM will disappear and it will be up to players to keep vampirism alive on their server. This will create a player run economy in which the players can charge handsomely for a bite. Or perhaps they’ll feel generous and give you one for free. In the beginning, a cycle is 1 week but as more players are turned that time will stretch until it can only happen once a month. Will players be willing to cross faction lines to turn others? That’s up to them.
Getting to Level Cap
Perhaps one of the less interesting and most straightforward options is getting to level cap. Once you get to the level cap the Vampire race unlocks on the character creation screen and you can roll one up to be a vampire from the very beginning. This would be similar to what City of Heroes did for the Epic Archetypes.
Unlike Vampires, one cannot be turned into a dragon. As a result, the options for unlocking dragons are different. You won’t be biting anyone this time.
Getting to Level Cap
Just like with vampires getting to level cap is one way to unlock dragons. They’ll simply appear as an option on the character creation screen once you’ve had one character reach cap.
An Epic Quest
With this option, if you want a Dragon you’ll have to take part in an epic quest. This journey will take you across the world into all sorts of different scenarios where you learn about dragons, save them from danger, and become their friend. Until the very end when you’re given a dragon egg. With the egg in hand, you’re invited to the Dragon’s inner sanctuary and given a title by them; Dragonkin. Once you get this title you are family and dragons will always recognize you as a friend. You’ll also be given a tattoo on your wrist so all can see what you’ve done. At this point, you’ll be able to play Dragons.
With this option, there is the potential for repeatability. This quest could unlock only one Dragon character and if you want to unlock another you’ll have to repeat the quest on another character. This could be interesting, or it could be annoying. So, for now, we’ll say that it is an optional possibility and not call it fact.
Travel the world on a massive treasure hunt where you have to follow clues, solve puzzles, and complete mazes. The clues will be a mystery for the community to solve together while puzzles and mazes need to be solved by each player independently. The treasure hunt isn’t one you’ll be able to complete in a day. It will take a lot of time to get through it all.
The only downsides to a treasure hunt are that they aren’t repeatable and once the mysteries have been solved it could easily be put into a guide or wiki.
One thing I absolutely want to avoid with unlocking races is any sort of RNG element. As someone who permanently has terrible luck with RNG nothing would piss me off more than having to wait for one stupid thing to appear.
There is one faction that doesn’t have an unlockable race at the moment. That’s the one with Dwarves, Shifters, Hellspawn, and Humans. Shifters could very easily be turned into a race that requires unlocking or it could be something that is left to the first expansion. Like in Elder Scrolls Online with Werewolves and Vampires there could be similarities to how you create Shifters and Vampires. They could have similar methods just using completely different quests. That’s something to consider in the future though. For right now Dragons and Vampires are our special races.
Next week will be our 10th Designing an MMORPG article so I want to take a break from the planning and take a look at what we have so far. This will also be when I give the first look at the world map. It will be made by me in MS Paint, so don’t get your hopes too high for master map making skills.
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