Sunday, November 28, 2010

Slow, Harduous Research

What I would like to see in an MMORPG is a system of research for acquirable skills; something that allowed players to spend some time, possibly involving another minigame, and learn a new skill or recipe, or receive a new enhancement, as a passive skill.

On the skill side, this would be akin to intense training, either in general, earning an unknown skill; or in particular, trying to design a skill from scratch. This would be a form of self-teaching, allowing one to gain a skill when no one knows or is willing to teach it. With great effort, a player would discover something new - or possibly understand something they have seen done - and be able to teach it to others. This would allow first-generation players to have something to strive for; and when basic skills have all been discovered and spread, new players will have an easier time catching up to the veterans, making the game more fun for everyone.

For recipes, the system would be similar, but require that the player actually input materials. Experiments using said materials would destroy them, but possibly teach the player some new ways of using them, potentially yielding a working prototype. Again, recipes would eventually spread in the community, if not by teaching, then by reverse-engineering, meaning new players can become useful crafters with less invested time.

As for passive skills, it's all about intense training - one could train themselves to withstand great mental fatigue, for example, hardening them against psychological effects or increasing some related attributes. Even without a precise goal in mind, intense training in their skill in general can yield small but welcome incremental bonuses, something that is always useful to have.

The whole idea here is to allow players to be pioneers in their chosen fields, permanently engraving their names in the history of the world - or perhaps just following the footsteps of heroes of yore, who learned every move people take for granted the hard way.

And darnit, they liked it!