Bare Bones – MMO Dream Game

There are a lot of games I would really love to play. Unfortunately, plenty of them don’t exist yet. I’m going to describe a mish-mash of mechanics that I’d love to see, making up a game that I’d love to play. These are going to be very bare bones descriptions – I’m not outlining an entire game start to finish. As promised when talking about my ideal FF7 copy cat game, I had one other very old idea that I was going to write up. Guess what, it’s time. I’m going to examine the skeleton of my ideal Legend of Zelda-style MMO.

Once upon a time, I played a whole lot of a game called Graal. Graal had started out its life as Zelda Online, but quickly transformed into something a little less illegal/copyright violating. By the time I got to it, it was still very early on (nothing like it is now), and was very much a brave new frontier of ideas in a Zelda-like mold. A friend (Nate) and I worked on our own player server, and while we spent a lot more time coming up with ideas and tinkering with their implementation than actually completing the overall player world, we certainly had some grandiose plans. I suppose I may as well share those plans (particularly my personal ones – we never did have a final unified vision) here and get it over with.

Everyone knows that character classes are a big deal in RPGs – they set the tone of your character, inform you about the setting, and have a massive impact on your play experience. As a result, we wanted to have some really unique classes to make play fun and interesting. First, the Gizmoteers – focused on interesting utility above all else, a Gizmoteer would use strange devices (mostly clockwork punk) to get things done. Rather than focus on damage, Gizmoteers would be all about utility and strange function. Helper ally robots, various mobility tools, that sort of thing.

The Jaro were intended to be the well rounded class – some utility, but mostly a combo of damage, healing, and tanking. Their energy manipulation was unashamedly inspired by DBZ, and you know what, that’s okay. There would likely have been a cool energy versus abilities economy – stay at a higher power level (totally not super saiyan) or use powerful abilities but drop down in power faster.

The capital city of the major empire in the world would have seen characters defined by the deity they worshipped. Each god/dess would have a different set of powers available – meaning healers, tanks, dps, and all that would have been available in this class. I wanted to see something other than the standard priest/mage/warrior/thief groupings, and this made it possible to include aspects of that while also avoiding the things that made each of those groups extremely standard.

There were other classes as well, but I won’t lie, I don’t know where my notes are, and you’re likely missing out on very little (I wasn’t the most creative kid ever). That being the case, let’s move on.

Being a Zelda-like, there would have been a combination of tools for navigating areas as well as combat powers. The world was to be a long settled colony world, much of it tamed but huge areas still ready for adventure. I have a world map somewhere, but I doubt I’d be able to interpret most of my ancient scribbles even if I could find it. Suffice to say it would have been a pretty typical MMO setting.

Things that were a bit odd/different – the first phase of the game’s story would have been a world effort to build up finances to head back to the home world (long abandoned, and it would have mostly been references to our original player world). After that, new worlds would open up to explore, and events on the main world would have changed the map forever (I know this is typical now, but I promise, it was a fairly rare idea back then). One last bit of weirdness – for some reason I thought it was an interesting balance idea to make the status effects system optional. Want to do status effects? Then you can fall victim to them. Want to ignore the whole thing? That was okay too.

You know, looking back on a lot of it now, it’s not so much embarrassing as incredibly incomplete. Maybe some day I’ll revisit some of the ideas and roll them into something else or finally fill in the gaps and fix the less intelligent bits. Who knows?

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