Sunday, July 22, 2007

Randomness in MMORPGs

Once again, Tobold initiates some brainstorming, with his much-touted concept of random cards in an MMORPG; the basic concept is that the actions a player can take at any time aren't fixed, but taken randomly from a pool of all possible actions, similar to Magic: The Gathering or other trading card games.

Now, I'm not completely against randomness in gaming, because always hitting for the same damage gets boring fast, and most people will like some randomness, but the concept of random abilities has quite an important limiting factor. Random abilities mean that even a well-built character can get a bad streak of events, and end up dead through no fault of their own; that's not what a fair MMORPG should do.

It's not to say that such a good concept can't happen, though; you just have to put it into perspective. Random powers beyond with inherently random elements; say, Chaos Magic. A caster of Chaos Magic has a much wider and powerful array of spell at their disposal, but they never know what powers will be available next; kind of like the trading card game example. You can add certain elements, like chances of random events upon casting a spell, but that's outside the scope of this post.

The important part is, random powers could be available, but they shouldn't be forced into the player. Some people like to play the slot machines; others want their own skills to matter in the game.

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