Monday, November 5, 2007


Tipa, on West Karana, suggests that it would be a good idea to redo EverQuest as a single player game. I partly like the idea. I'm not sure how well EverQuest would hold up as a single player game, but I have often wished Final Fantasy XI could be redone as a single player game, using some form of the Final Fantasy XII gambit system. In fact, one of the reasons I loved Final Fantasy XII so much was that it basically played just like a single player MMORPG. But it had the added benefit of having a story that you progressed through, meaning your character progression wasn't simply limited to levels and loot. MMORPGs tend to lack that.

Redoing an MMORPG as a single player game might not be as feasible since without some form of story driven progression of missions, there is very little left to the game once you remove the other players.

But what about redoing an MMORPG as a more modern version of itself?

I would like to see a complete relaunch of Final Fantasy XI, or EverQuest, or Ultima Online, but with upgraded, modern UIs, modern high-res art assets, and tweaked game mechanics to be more amenable to "modern" (post-WoW) gamers (more BOA/BOE equipment to prevent twinking and reduce mudflation, less harsh death penalty, more soloability). Take that modernized engine and game mechanics but reuse the existing quests, mob placement, zones and factions and have a sort of "do over." (Of course, its not quite as easy as I make it out to be, since everything is interrelated, and changing one system, such as the combat system, to make the game more soloable, has profound effects on every other aspect of the game, such as appropriate mob placement.... but still, the point is, I'd love to see an updated release of what is mostly the same game, with most of the classic content, except better looking and more solo friendly, as any good modern MMORPG must be.)

Everyone would start over from level one on new servers. Maybe there would be a handful of new quests in the existing zones that imply the story has moved forward five or ten years. Maybe there would be a few changes to existing zones so veterans of the original game could discover something new. But, mostly, it would be the classic content, repackaged.

In some ways, I think that Ultima Online dropped the ball with their recent revamp because while they redid all the art assets in game, they kept the obsolete 3/4 perspective of old. Changing the perspective might alienate existing users, but having a relaunch of the game, reusing all the massive amounts of content it had, but from a full 3D perspective, might have been more successful at attracting new players, because it would have been like a brand new game. A brand new game with ten or more years worth of content from day one. But the same game on the same servers with the same players in the same perspective does not interest me.

Of course, all of this is a pipe dream. Certainly, game producers know better nowadays than to spring this type of change overnight like SOE did when they released the NGE (their Star Wars Galaxies do-over.) Existing players aren't likely to want to give up their existing characters, and they aren't likely to want to see the rules of their game server changed completely, even with advance warning. That leaves making new servers with the new engine/rules as the only option, and maintaining two versions of the same game is probably not feasible. Which is too bad.

A lot of people have never experienced these worlds, and are highly unlikely to, given all the newer games out there. There's a wealth of content in these older games, and I think its a shame to see so much of it go unused when it should be possible to dust them off and make them fresh again.


brackish said...

I think its a good idea and one that I would love to see happen to DAOC. I wonder if a company could truly get funding for something like this.

I contemplated going back to DAOC before I jumped in EQ2 recently and the main thing keeping me back from returning was the lack of players and fear of dissappointment.

When I look back on my earlier days of MMOs, I can't help but want to go back and run through those places with my current friends/guild. Count me in if this happens to EQ or DAOC!

Hechicera said...

With my life and MMOs, I can say that *if* this is done ... its the only way I'll ever see a lot of the content of those MMOs (specifically FFXI and EQ1).

There would be difficulty in programming either AI companions (aka gambit as you mentioned - Sqeenix has the code obviously but not in the online game) and/or scaling the content back so that its single-player suitable.

If they did, how much would you pay to download EQ1 and zip through it single-player? And how many people would? Would it be enough to warrant the retrofit costs? I'm skeptical.

One thing I think would be cool, and they can do now with limited retrofitting: spectator mode. A modified dm user (hidden, unattackable, but with absolutely no game mod powers) would I think be faster to code-up than AI and/or spawn modifications.

I might even keep a sub open to watch people raid/ do other content, even if I am semi-afk. Who cares if the observer is semi-afk randomly? I'd assume since it would have to be on live servers to be worthwhile, groups/people would need to flag themselves as "observable" or not.