Fallout MMO

So, a short while back Bethesda softworks successfully bought the rights to a Fallout MMO for a cool two million. This has of course raised the issue of whether Bethesda is going to actually create such a game, or if they are holding the rights for some other nefarious purpose.

I’ve made my views on multiplayer games more than clear, and on more than one occasion. My distaste for them however, extends into the realms of deep seated loathing for their bastard spawn; the MMO.

MMOs typify everything I loathe about multiplayer games. They are shallow worlds with no interesting characters and crappy stories. They require you to communicate with people who are mostly complete pricks, and without a doubt they have the worst gameplay out of any genre. There are specific examples of other games which are of course far worse, but as a genre you will not find a bigger collection of utterly boring mechanics outside of the MMO. The reasons for this are many and varied and will certainly be touched on in greater detail soon, as an explanation is owed to such a complete dismissal of a genre you all seem intent to piss money into on a daily basis.

But today we are going to be constructive. Today I am going to outline certain elements which I think a Fallout MMO should posses- hell maybe even things that would make me want to play the bloody game. So, let’s jump right in.

Human only player characters.
Supermutants work best as antagonists. The atmosphere and pacing of Fallout would be best served as a disparate group of people desperately trying to survive in a hostile world. That pressure and intensity is much lessened if you are able to crush someone’s head like a melon with a flick of your wrist.

Of course it isn’t fun to be cowering in fear for the whole game, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Emphasis on solo and small team quests.

When I think of Fallout, the only big groups I envisage outside of settlements are a column of Enclave troops grinding the wasteland into dust beneath their power armoured jackboots. Or perhaps a ravening horde of supermutants, hell bent on using your femur as a toothpick for the rest of you.

As such, that same atmosphere of survival and desperation is best served by people operating in small, rag tag bands. Maybe it’s just me, but I honestly can’t see massive convoys of forty odd people marching off to go and raid whisperwind cavern. I know there’s precedent with Caesar’s Legion and the NCR, but those are big organizations and have the supplies and logistics. It just strikes me as wrong that mook wonderers would be able to do that. Unless of course they formed such a power base of their own…

Player built factions only.
This is straight from the only MMO I don’t loathe, EVE Online. Big controlling groups are far more interesting when they are established and run by players. Overthrowing the Enclave is fine and dramatic, but imagine how awesome it would feel to do it knowing that somewhere on the other end of an internet connection you have actually beaten somebody. This wasn’t a scripted event, or a storyline someone wrote- you played a part in the downfall of someone’s actual long term plan, took down an organization built and run by actual people.

Of course, to make such a thing meaningful the game would need more than just guilds...

Resources, settlements, colonies and supply lines.

This is another thing from EVE Online. Give player run factions the ability to actually create something- a legacy and a powerbase, resources to fight over and control, manufacturing centres to equip their forces with the best kit (or at least the best kit post war mechanics can build), strongholds to store their goods, old military bases to occupy and ‘prospect’.

This provides two things- one, a feeling of being badass. A part of a machine larger than you working towards a goal. Kind of like how your boss wants you to feel at work, but with more plasma rifles to use and a paycheque in the form of power armour.

Two, it provides a great ‘endgame’. Done questing? Is your level so high that it can no longer be reasonably called a number? Do Radscorpions flee at your mere presence? Then it’s time to show people how much of a badass you truly are- drive them before you, size their lands and hear the lamentations of their robotrons. Honestly, victory over an enemy ‘guild’ is far more satisfying when you know you’ve done their plans and resources some real, actual harm as opposed to just base humiliation.

This also means that you naturally get different factions. Let’s say for example you have control of a military base which drops a random number of high tech pre war weapons every 24 hours. This is great, but you still need to move those items. In accordance with market economics theory, a guild will rise to intercept your caravans. Bingo, you have bandits. Which means you need guards. Which means planning- which contributes more and more to the feeling of authenticity in the wasteland- plotting your survival and your expansion.

This would help make the game far more immersive and entertaining and raise the stakes for all players involved. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Meaningful quests.

One thing I loathe in most MMOs is the utterly braindead questing. Go to point X. Collect Y many bits of monster Z and come back. Gold and XP! Oh please do fuck off and die. It was one of the big reasons I thrashed Neir, and to a lesser extent the Witcher. This is the most boring, banal, utterly lacking idea for a game in the known universe. And it is all over MMOs, often with no attempt to even try and dress it up as anything different.

Give quests some real stories and put effort into them. Add some random content so the quest isn’t the same for everyone. Tie them into the PvP guild warfare so low level players can make a difference, such as completing a quest adding a stat buff to a base’s defences for a few hours.

And Finally
Ron Perlman doing the intro. It isn’t Fallout without Ron Perlman doing the intro.

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