Why Isn't There A Good MMOFPS?

Hey

During another uneventful day working away I was wondering why there isn't a good MMOFPS(RPG) (Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter (Role Playing Game)) A mouthful I know. There are a couple out there, but being inquisitive as usual, I though up what this game would be like and as a result I am going to share my ideas of what such a game should include. I'm going to throw some ideas of what this game should be and how I would make it. Please leave a comment with your thoughts on what you think of my ideas and anything else you think you should add.

General

At the moment there isn't a huge MMO with millions of players. There are really two distinct type. For example at the moment the biggest game is WWII Online it is currently (i think) the biggest of its type. The problem is that its not that popular, i've never heard of it till now and as a result it hasn't got the millions of players that one would envisage, I cannot find any hard numbers. The other type of massive multiplayer games for FPS's are big maps found in Call of Duty, Battlefield and Counter Strike to name just a few. But, these involve finding a server etc. You cannot as easily roam around as you do in MMO's.

What is needed is a big game where any user can roam around complete missions or quests but it is in the style of an FPS preferably in a war setting. I like the experience of MMO's but I also love FPS's, and a mixture of both would be awesome an RPG element to this would make it even better.

Possible Gameplay

When I originally envisaged having a war MMOFPS, I didn't realise about World War Two Online (as mentioned above) there are a couple of similarities from what I have read from wikipedia but that is as far as I have looked into it so if the ideas I have said appear in the game, good for them.

The most of the general ideas are influenced from the style of World of Warcraft. Many people know this game quite well or have at least heard of it. With around 8 million players it is definitely popular and as a result some of my ideas have steamed and are linked to this type of gameplay.

Maps

What is need in any MMO is a large map with lots of very small very detailed section for the user/player/gamer to be involved and immersed in. For example take a battlefront war scenario (all the ideas will be linked to this). There needs to be a large front line. This needs to be the forefront of the game, all players want to be in this part and experience it. The major overall story line takes place here. On the other hand there wants to be small detailed areas like villages, towns even cities that are not on the front line but are still part of the battle. Take the whole world as one massive player vs player, but with teams. I've explained these bits in a bit more detail.

War

Every little kids wants to play war. Big kids also like to play war (real war isn't fun though) and as a result this wants to be the main focus. All the players on either side (or sides if there is more than two) want to be battling and fighting each other out. There needs to be key strong holds or areas on the giant map that are key to winning the game. Every one playing is in same part of the overall map, all the smaller areas count up to the big picture. Once as one side wins by overtaking the enemy or controlling all of the map the whole game the server resets and every one has there original land back (and the war game starts again). It is a bit similar to game types in Unreal Tournament but take a lot longer and include thousands upon thousands of players not just a couple of hundred at best.
Areas

For example the areas the could be fought over include the battle front but also coastlines, cities, villages. Taking into account a small area you could have a mission in a part of the city. If you complete your mission you gain extra rewards, if as a team you take over a whole city and keep it for a period of time it counts towards you winning your side of the war, the better your whole team does overall the better chance you have at winning the war.

Another example of areas are "level areas". Any new player doesn't want o be thrown into the fray with veteran players. You wouldn't last very long. But again level areas could come into it to seperate the newbies from the older players and as a result the difficulty level can change.
Fast Pace/Low Pace

A good game (from my experience) needs fast and slow areas. Fast areas you want the adrenaline rushing and the heart pumping your are moving fast, getting left behind gets you killed. On the other hand some players want things to slow down and have some time to get things done. This is where the RPG parts comes in. For example the main object that never goes away is to win the war, simple. But there are smaller sub missions set by NPC's (No Player Characters) and possibly other players that you take to contribute to your team winning. The slower past parts could include going back to HQ, there are a couple of fast bits in between. Currently The Crossing is a good example of this.

Levels

No MMO or RPG is anything with a bit of leveling. An idea that I came up with (this has been done in great detail) is that you can pick the options you want. Class if you will (classes are explained a bit better below), but you go through the gaming leveling your character and as a result you get better armor, weapons and can use certain stuff etc which is present in most RPG, especially World Of Warcraft. For instance if you are a sniper, the first level you start if a sniper rifle that isn't very good, it doesn't have a sight, its probably more effective at killing people by throwing the bullets are people. But as you level up you get a better rifle with a better sight, longer barrel, big bullets shoots further, faster, quicker etc. This could be a way to get you character better.

Of course as many games have more than one level class, for example as a character you could have three options, a general fighting class (sniper, heavy infantry, where you can retrain at any point) but then there are other "sub" classes such as camouflage, speed etc.

Levels could also have another meaning. Each new level or set of levels bring a new rank. The higher the level the high the rank. High ranking players could have added bonuses of being able to directly parts of the battle and "command" other players.

Honor

This is more of a sub idea. But with high level players they will encounter low level players at some point. If this game would ever get made and be hugely popular all types of people will be running into each other. The overall game is like real life so there are not areas where you can take a break and put your weapon down when you are in the field there could be enemies around every corner. As a result of this a sort of honor and mixing in with the level system could be employed to stop mega high levels killing all the new players. A precaution to this could be a way to increase the chances of "flukes" when a high level person kills a low level person in a low level area (bit of a mouthful). For instance a grenade my bounce wildly away in a low level area when thrown by a high level person and as a result even out the playing field. Of course in the high level areas this wouldn't happen so much.

Classes

I have sort of mentioned classes in the previous section, but each player can train (or retrain at any point) a class which can be used in battle. There could be numerous ones, sniper, infantry, heavy, tank, reconnaissance there are many different types. One key feature is that if you get bored of being at the back of the battle field with your sniper rifle you could go back to the training ground and retrain as a new type.

Sides
In any game there are sides. With the sides there are levels underneath as explained above. The sides could include the British, American, French, German, Russian etc. This can be split into sides (e.g Axis and Allies) and be part of the war. A similar system if in place in WOW, you have the Horde and the Alliance with the different races underneath. A idea could be you be a British man (which is similar to the Alliance) and then you train in the game a specific level.

Missions

People need missions and quests to complete. No perfect game would work without them. The missions, as briefly explained before, could be used to help advance your team further into the battle field. They could be general missions such as take out an base along the side where you get extra level (experience) points. Or the missions could be very specific where you get dropped or driving into what could be an "instance" area where you have to complete a very specific task, you can then be retrieved when complete or incomplete.

The general missions could be as you approach them on the battlefield given by a person standing by. Eg "Kill 50 people" or " Investigate that large building". You can do this. To get the MMO part into the game a similar mission could be given to the other team to player playing the game but it could include "Defend this building". You are always playing with other people.

Specific missions are missions that are given by headquarters. By headquarters I am referring to a part of the map that is very secure and not very easily over run by the enemy. Similar to capital cities in WOW. In headquarters you can be given specific missions. These missions take on more of the traditional single player game types. You are more on your own and include behind driven or parachute in. You still face the enemy players but you are more sneaky and don't make a massive impact, your specific mission could include gathering data or taking out a high level player if you are the sniper class. This could be a way to get more balence in the sides controlling the areas. An opposing mission from the other side would include defending the village (for example) if loads of people are doing the same mission. These type of missions could have been gathered from enemy intel.

Here is a funny mock up i've made using the Call of Duty 4 screens.

Rewards

Like every MMO rewards are fun to collect. Rewards could be anything, including money to buy new stuff, or special weapon types or bullets for killing a certain player or number of players. Rewards could be endless.

Clans

Clans are a big part of multiplayer gaming and as a result a good focus should be on clans. For example, a clan could be a squadron or regiment that you find in real life. A clan of people could create a name "21st Warhawks" and can be recognized through out the game. Clans could also bring different missions for the clan that would not normally be available.

Expansions

I've gone into some detail about this. The game would obviously be used to make money. There could be a monthly subscription (for a higher quality game) that people would pay. But there could be added expansion packs the could be used as extra battle fronts. Say for example you are in a WWII setting, the original game could be used as the France - Germany font. Added expansion packs could include the Germany - Russia front. This could be anything, there could be and African pack that lets you play in the African front. Imagine the current settings for WOW a similar sort of thing.

Pulling It Off

Since I like looking into how things work there are a couple of ways this could be pulled off. The idea is that this is a big game with small areas. As a result, server side, there could be one server that is the main brains, it controls the whole underlying structure of the game. Underneath this there are other servers (possibly all over the world) that control the specific areas, these could include the battle fronts, big buildings etc. These are almost dedicated servers which only control small parts of the area and as a result have enough bandwidth to be able to support the hundred or so players on the server.

The only problem that this sort of game faces is bandwidth. If you have ever played a game (especially CSS) where you have 60 players all in one area firing bullets everywhere the game slows down since there isn't enough bandwidth to go around.

Conclusion

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this. I enjoyed writing it. The main idea, to sum up, is a massively multiplayer game in first person shoot (so war based) with a role playing game element bundled in. I would really love this type of game. All that has to be done now is some one make it.

Please leave any comments with what you think, or any ideas you have of your own.


2 comments:

Taiko said...

http://www.massivefps.com

Plenty of info on MMOFPS games. Look into The Agency, and Huxley. You will be pleasently surprised about what you find.

James Powell said...

Oh cool, i'll check that out.