Making an ever evolving multiplayer world is the latest struggle I’m working on, making a system that makes for interesting interactions between the player and game. The goal is to end up with a simplistic way of easily adding new behavior to a character as well as have several linked characters behaving differently to each other.
Most played MMO’s where you go to a quest giving character “kill ten rats and bring me back their meat” they would say. Now you finish this quest and get XP, but you’d also notice hundreds of other players running to this person, getting the same quest, killing more rats and giving him the meat… This guy must have some serious hunger! Isn’t it logical to at least make him a hundred times fatter as more players keep feeding him rats? Or would he secretly own a restaurant that serves the best rat meat? Maybe he feeds it to some wild animals he has running around somewhere? Why doesn’t he just kill the rats himself?!?
It’s simply not logical and truth be told I and I’m certain many others have similar frustrations in games that do this. The way I end up playing most MMO’s now a day is simply follow the quest markers, skip all dialogue and farm XP as fast as possible, not getting immersed in the story at all nor bothering to know why this person needs something as hundreds of other people are also swarming around doing the same thing.
The plan is to add immersion for players, having situations change, if someone kills ten rats for this person he won’t ask someone else to also do this same task for him, he might ask to start a fire while the first player is still hunting, after he acquired the rats and a fire is going he would cook them, eat them with you and anyone else who helped with the fire or getting some drinks, another person might be playing an instrument. This would resolve into a nice small party initially created by an NPC and executed by players, the day after he might want to catch some fish, or ask someone else to do it for him…
The system I’m trying to build is focused on simplicity, this is the hardest to achieve but will make sure I won’t end up with a system like Chris Crawford who build an engine that allowed for similar interactivity. It won’t be a perfect ever changing method right away, but games are more like services now a day than ever before and adding more options to characters over years can build up an impressive immersive game-play experience that might just make players more experimental to what outcomes can be if they don’t do exactly what an NPC tells them to do.