I, like apparently far too many others, have had an idea for an MMO
stuck in my head for a good 10 years or so now… I doubt i’ll ever get
a chance to make it (as i’m well aware of the resources which would be
needed) but it is fun to dream about regardless. But, if i ever do get
that chance i would prefer that i have everything worked out.
My problem is that I’ve been unable to completely rectify one of the
Part of my concept is that domination would be the goal (as apposed to
killing the same boss over and over…) That is, once one team has
gained control over a substantial amount of land (think age of empires)
the ‘round’ is over - that teams wins.
but the obvious problem here is that MMO’s are about building a
character - no one likes to lose what they’ve spent so much time
building. further, starting all-over is a window to jump ship (would
likely start as “i’m going to sit out a round” and lead to them never
coming back.) At a very basic level for my overall concept rounds are
too key of a feature to eliminate - or i would simply do that…….
so the question here is: how to do a round-based MMO and not lose
my thought with this problem has been to allow the members of the
winning team (or all members) to carry-over some of their earnings (both
money/items and skills) and further lose them if they don’t use them
(some decaying formula.) And considering that part of the theme is that
one could never “max out” a character this would allow players to make
an increasingly stronger character with each round; which would be a
but this would create a problem with having people who have played for
a while being able to completely pwn new players - making it difficult
to earn/retain new players.
this leads me to the thought that the there should be separate
servers/round qualifications dependent on how much of this carry-over a
player has obtained. but the problems there are two-fold:
1. ideally players make new relationships with other players and their
continued ability to play WITH those other players is key to retention
(IMHO at least) and
2. this lends itself to an elitist philosophy amongst the players -
again, not ideal for retainage.
Allowing “qualified” players to invite unqualified players would be the
solution to #1 - but this would only strengthen #2…
so does anyone else have any suggestions?
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One possible solution to using ‘rounds’ and make people have to start
over with their character, is adding trophies and awards.
The round is over, people lose their progress, but they can earn a spot
in a hall-of-fame (Top 10 players, Best teamplayer, ..).
That would be one way. and an award system like this would definitely be
present. but beyond the basic awards, this isn’t much of a motivator for
many people (myself included). any other ideas?
A storyline basis could work: teams complete one “battle” in a[n
That has worked for many animated cartoon series based upon collectible
card games (CCGs).
It also works for a mecha universe.
“Once one team has gained control over a substantial amount of land
(think age of empires) the ‘round’ is over – that teams wins. How to do
a round-based MMO and not lose retention?”
– Gripp (see first post in thread)
This is what I call Conditional Turn Gameplay:
If some condition is true (“Team A Captured 95% of Territory”), one team
is declared the Winner, and the other is declared the Loser (for that
The server then … does what? That’s where the programming happens,
naturally it’s worth plenty of thought. But let’s postpone that
practical question, and first explore philosophical questions:
What we mean by “turn”? What do these “rounds” really signify? In
the broadest possible sense, what kind of rules or principles apply to
all turn-based games? And, how can we use these principles to our
advantage as game designers – in particular, how can we retain players
who lose rounds?
Before the round is over, a losing team may hope:
“More players will join our cause! Current players will play more, fight
harder! The enemy team will fall on hard times, their leaders will get
days jobs and give up gaming! The game designers will take pity and
intervene in our favor! A lucky systems crash will save us!”
But the round itself irrevocably declares:
“Team B: Losers.”
This means losing game points, losing prestige, losing acquired skills
and experience, losing weapons and ammo and other possessions, losing
alliances and trade routes and other group benefits, losing castles and
cities and roads, losing the world you worked so hard to build and
getting sent back to Square One, and so on.
Losing hurts. We want it to hurt, in some hurts-but-good way. What
makes the hurt tolerable is good sportsmanship: the winners, in
particular, must behave like good winners.
Consider a friendly game of softball: the winners congratulate the
losers on a good game, high-fives and smiles all around, let’s go have a
beer. Of course this translates in different ways – high-fives in a
friendly game, victory taunt in a deathmatch – but I submit that the
general principle of good winners and good losers holds true for all
The question for game designers becomes: what game systems can we
implement which encourage good winners and good losers? In particular,
how to we make Losers feel the genuine sting of Defeat, and yet retain
1.a. Make the winning team pay for the loser’s memorial. We’re asking
the Losers to be good sports, by acknowledging the sting of Defeat yet
choosing to stay in the game. Let’s ask the winners to be good sports as
well. If your game has a money-based system, deduct a hefty chunk of the
winner’s purse, and use it to build up these virtual Trophies for the
defeated. Don’t just display some numbers: build it up in the world.
1.a.1. Implement the memorial as a quest that the winning team must
fulfill … a scenario-swap, where the new map or storyline puts the
losing team in a dominant position, and the winning team in an tougher
position than before.
3.a. Spawn a “Magical Consolation Prize” for the losing team – maybe a
big monument as discussed above, maybe a player-carriable object. A team
that has one such object gets little benefit, but the effect is
cumulative and exponential, so a team that loses several rounds in a row
will acquire several of these magic thingies.
3.a.1. Example, magic earthquake: one magic thingie makes your hair
stand on end; two magic thingies, the earth trembles; three magic
thingies, your team can split the earth beneath one enemy city of your
Hope that gives inspiration to somebody out there.
Here’s a link to my game design blog, the Handy Vandal’s Almanac:
so the question here is: how to do a round-based MMO and not lose
After reading your post, I was reminded of a game a played a little
while back called League of Legends (humorously abbreviated to LoL ;))
I don’t recollect the specifics, but the general idea is that you as a
player (summoner) level up after every battle you have played with a
chosen ‘champion’. The champion starts at level 1 every time you start a
new match and levels during this match. You as a summoner level a bit
after every match and then spent some points in a talent tree with which
you can do cool stuff in the battles you play.
Maybe this game can provide you with some interesting ideas? (the wiki
page on it explains the concept pretty much)