Massively Overthinking: Unholy MMORPG hybrids

Massively OP reader and frequent tipster Gibbins wants us to play match-maker.

“I love the wonderful world that Bethesda created with the Fallout franchise, not too bleak but very post apocalypse with a very kitsch ’50s feel from the time of duck and cover educational films, but I wish it were multiplayer. The huge volume of mods for Fallout is also is a massive bonus, giving the game great variety and replayability. On the other hand, I also love the satirical in your face style of GTA Online and its no-holds-barred multiplayer experience, but I wish there were more to the story and more support for mods. Both games offer so much, and I would love to see how each studio would add to the other’s game. Which two development teams would you like to see married… and which game would be their love child?”

Let’s complicate Gibbins’ request and say that the love child game must be an MMO! I’ve posed his question to the team for this week’s Massively Overthinking.

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Nintendo with SOE circa 2010-2014 for a Smash Bros-esque MMO. However, the game wouldn’t be a fighter but a mash up of popular multiplayer modes and franchises, including EverQuest and PlanetSide. You’d start in an Animal Crossing styled world with a house and debt. Rather work for that blasted tanuki you’d work for (wait for it) Princess Peach. You’d pick different “missions” to unlock other playstyles, not in lobbies but different “dimensions. For example, maybe the princess has a party to prepare for. You could start growing food on the Animal Crossing world, or go to the Splatoon world for PvP to earn cash to buy from other players, or take a job at Cooking Mama world to learn how to make it and trade raw materials for finished products. Rather than levels, players would unlock additional game worlds, housing objects, and skins. For example, upon finishing your cooking mission, you’d get a “Cooking Mama” costume, kind of like Legends Avatars in DC Universe Online.

Combat enhancements should be more lateral than vertical, like in PlanetSide 2 or Splatoon. For example, there’d be a more traditional EverQuest world with more simplified abilities (i.e., Mario-esque players can shoot fire balls, bunch, kick, super jump, and butt-stomp). Players could unlock an ability to shoot a larger fireball but with slower movement. However, that would remain in the EQ world, so when going to the Mario Kart world, they’d still have a similar option but need to earn/unlock it.

Yes, it could be lobby style matches, but it could also have flavored open world options. I’d love to do Zelda style exploration and Mario 64/Galaxy style puzzles in the same area. I’d think it’d be hilarious to get knocked out of Smash Bros world and land in middle of a PlanetSide invasion, suddenly needing to help those players take a nearby base so you can get a ship and go home… or maybe help build a base on the spot!

Both companies have a wide variety of genre experience, and while I feel like Blizzard and Nintendo probably have more in common in general, 2013 SOE seemed to be juggling multiple IPs while innovating. I loved PS2, Landmark, and I actually liked a lot of what was going on in SWG despite only experiencing the NGE long after people claimed the game was dead. As SOE had experience with games that mixed, say, a traditional MMO with the ability to include a TCG while both were relatively well balanced (from what I remember), I’d trust them to get Nintendo into the online space. Just maybe leave a Pokemon mode outside of this one.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I wanna mash together Ankama and Blizzard. Ankama is the studio behind Dofus and Wakfu, two highly underrated (here) French MMORPGs. Wakfu in particular is outrageously creative and funny, with unique character classes like Sadida’s Shoe and Xelor’s Sandglass. And Blizzard, of course, brings an unparalleled level of polish and bling and fixer-upper skills to the MMORPG genre with World of Warcraft. So I’d like to take Wakfu’s creativity and classes and underlying sandbox orientation but replace the real-time strategy aspect with traditional 3-D fluidity and the popular appeal of WoW. World of Wakfu! I’d play it. Bonus: Maybe we can get an anime out of it. Warcraft deserves it.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): I don’t generally tend to have a grand attachment to _studios_ over _games_; a good game is such a product of the team working on it, after all. That having been said? Volition and Square-Enix. Imagine Saints Row mashed up with Final Fantasy XIV. Verisimilitude, character-building, steady content, accessible gameplay… all in a playground of destructive atavism.

Or maybe I just want to jack some Garlean war machines in FFXIV and paint them purple. To-may-to, to-mah-to.

Happy holidays and all.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): For ‘ships and giggles, let’s smash together Funcom and KingsIsle to make some sort of unholy hybrid of The Secret World and Wizard101. Naturally, the adult themes and visuals would have to be toned down, but it would definitely be interesting to see a cartoony-style game handle complex mission types, conspiracy tales, and apocalyptic showdowns. In a weird way, both games share a world structure in which they skip around to non-connected, tonally different zones. It might also be interesting to have a build-your-own-class system that’s streamlined and made much more adorable for all audiences. TSW would get the housing it so sorely needs, and W101 would benefit from a vastly improved outfit system. Plus, C’thulu! C’thulus everywhere!

…OK, my mind has left me on this one.

Patreon Donor Archebius: I can’t stop at just one – though you’ll notice a theme. First, let’s take the excellent RPG craft of a company like Larian Studios or Obsidian Entertainment. Then, let’s combine that with the massive tactics and nation-building of Paradox. I imagine a game where players take control of small city-states, built on the ruins of an older world. These city-states have armies, but still chiefly rely on the strength of their heroes. The heroes – the avatars of the player characters – are the research and development wing of any city-state, delving inside ruins to learn of great powers, recover fantastic treasures, and learn how the world was built of old. Cities would specialize, via type of government, civic policies, religion, economic structure, and trade, to give their heroes certain advantages. A highly religious and deeply feudalistic oligarchy would lead towards more Paladin-type characters, who would view all discoveries through a religious and defensive lens; an open society built on free trade, where coin is the ultimate authority and the central government is just a series of guidelines posted on the local signboard, might create more roguish characters. Heroes could explore the continent outside their city for typical PvE action, developing their heroes and bringing back resources. Dungeons and raids would result in exciting new discoveries. PvP would be territory-oriented, as in EVE, with individual characters taking part in small skirmishes, or larger armies fighting in semi-abstracted battles. City-states would need to form coalitions to ensure that their armies had a balance of technologies and tactics.

Or, if we want to get a little more personal (but maintain the strategy front), let’s bring a game like Kingdom Under Fire from Phantagram into the mix, combined with Capcom’s Monster Hunter – heroes leading units in big-battle skirmishes against both creatures and enemy companies. Again, advancement would be on a larger scale, as you would need to properly outfit and maintain your own little personal army. PvP battles would not be abstracted at all, but would only involve 2-6 players at a time. The hero can go out and explore the world alone; larger monsters and monster groups, however, might require a well-outfitted company of soldiers. This would also mean that questing would have real costs – your well-equipped, well-trained army of knights is great, but that dragon is going to kill fifty of them before you finally bring him down. Is the reward worth the cost? Or do you need to bring other players in to help you? (Also, base building mechanics for upgrading gear! Dwarven runemasters! Elven smiths! Taverns for recruiting!)

Ooo, ooo! Or, you could combine XCOM (Firaxis) with Ambrosia Software, makers of the Escape Velocity series. Players would take control of an independent captain just starting out with their first ship. Free to choose their own course across the universe, players could focus on combat or trade or simply explore the galaxy. There would be strange worlds to claim, stellar phenomena to avoid like the plague, and governments with missions for you. But when fighting boarding actions, brawling in ports, or freeing colonies from mercs, players would switch to tactical turn-based gameplay involving their captain and marines. Gear progression would work in a similar way to traditional MMOs, and group battles would be entertaining (if certainly not fast-paced) affairs, especially if the hardcore feel of an XCOM skirmish was maintained.

Mostly… I just want to see a well-done MMO with more tactical options. I’m OK with whatever form that takes.

Your turn!

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34 Comments on "Massively Overthinking: Unholy MMORPG hybrids"

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butterpanda888
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butterpanda888

I LOVE and would totally play the heck outta Bree’s, Justin’s and Archebius’s ideas.

I came up with WoW+ESO+BDO=World of Warcraft with ESO’s customizability (you have classes but they arent that strict) and housing and BDO’s Graphics and Character Customization (I want to choose the curliness of my dwarves beard or the length of my trolls tusks, as well as physique) and naval content. Throw in EQ2’s crafting game but with more discovery and Warhammer Online’s trophy system, as well. Finally, add subraces for each pre-pandaria race as well as mounted combat.

If they ever make WoW 2 I want it exactly what I have described above.

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Jesse Wan

I want Anet to acquire The Matrix Online. Mx:O’s missions feel a lot like dynamic events, the writing, balance, and aesthetic are all pretty similar…

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Bryan Correll

Dungeon Keeper plus any themepark Western-style fantasy MMO. Design dungeons that are as hard as possible to complete and listen to the lamentations of the invading players as they accuse you of cheating and/or violating some unwritten ‘rule’ by placing that trap there or putting together some ‘unfair’ combination of monsters.
Edit: I think Dungeon Siege was originally pitched as being something along these lines.

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Sleepy

XCom and The Secret World. They already know how to do a mid-apocalypse MMO with decent writing and acting, just make it an alien invasion instead of a….whatever the filth actually was in TSW.

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Vunak

Whatever MMO’s I have to smash together to get what EQ: Next was supposed to be.

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Castagere Shaikura

Westwood studio and Red Devil comes back and team up with Blizzard and creates three mmo’s. One based on Command & Conquer and Auto Assault and brings back Earth & Beyond.

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Pedge Jameson

More mod support for GTA? Hahahah!
How about they offer NO mod support and they outright ban you for using any, I hope you knew that. They detest mods.

They have since this edition of GTA for the fact they don’t want you to have access to anything easily.

Why? They wanna sell in game money for real cash of course. Last GTA game I will ever buy.
Love how they went from being anti-establishment to being “the man” as soon as they saw micro transactions.

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Pedge Jameson

And sorry if that sounded obnoxious, wasn’t directed towards the author of the comment, just I detest Rockstar’s new attitude.

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Cassandra Drake

Interplay, not zenimax, not Bethesda. I really wish Elder Scrolls Fanboys would stop crediting Bethesda with creating something they had no part of. Fallout was created way back when interplay was still a thing. Everything fans love about the Fallout universe, the dark humor, the twisted sociopaths, the kitsch of the fifties World of Tomorrow gone wrong, everything about it that people love was created by interplay.

everything people hate about it was created by Bethesda

pepperzine
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pepperzine

I know this article only briefly mentions it, but please, for the love god Bethesda do not make fallout into a MMORPG. I know a lot of people enjoy playing ESO, but it really doesn’t feel like a true Elder Scrolls game to me. Developing and maintaining ESO has slowed down the development of a new single player Elder Scrolls game, and I would absolutely hate if that happened to the Fallout series.

I know someone’s about to reply to this “but Zenimax Online Studios is not Bethesda”. You’re right, it’s not, but it’s under the same umbrella and is a subsidiary of the same parent company Zenimax, which Bethesda Softworks is as well. For that reason, it makes no sense for one subsidiary to put out a product that will be in competition for sales with the other subsidiary. Sure, there are a ton of people who enjoy ESO for the MMO nature of it, and there are also a ton of people who are playing ESO strictly for an additional Elder Scrolls experience because they are burnt out on Skyrim and Oblivion after playing through them so many times. It would be bad for the future sales of DLC for ESO if customers had another option that may scratch their Elder Scrolls itch better.

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Daniel Miller

Square enix ffxi staff up to before trust added. To rake all pve concepts. Job like blue mage hunting. And skills to make decks out of the jobs.

Add that with bless online open world. Mass pvp and game you could end up with a runaway game.

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Drainage

Daybreak and NCSoft, with Trion publishing.

Now that is unholy.

You would pay just to boot the game. You aren’t in Tatooine anymore!

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Pedge Jameson

Drink that milkshake Plainview! :D

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Drainage

I drink it up!

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Sally Bowls

1) EVE & CU – all the wonderful crafting/economy from EVE and empire conflict but without being griefed from your own faction
2) SWG & Blizzard – the 95% best of SWG but without the compromises that the SWG budget and schedule forced (e.g. Raph’s post-mortem posts)

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Steven Williams

WildStar and Jak & Daxster.

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Rumm

Naughty Dog combined with Square Enix or Blizzard. The combat of Jak and Daxter mixed with a themepark PVE/PVP Hybrid. We would call it Starwild.

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Bannex

Dark souls and WoW. A wide open mmo style world with dark souls combat… I mean this wouldn’t be unholy, it would be the second coming.

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Fred Douglas

Funcom and really any competent software company. Funcom’s creative, other companies production.

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Robert Mann

I want to mash together one of the early Gothic games (strategic timed combat, resource management, direct trading, enemies that respond to you hitting their friends, and a world on the cutting edge of NPC behavior for the time) with something like, say, one of the early Master of Orion games (politics, changing the universe, custom design aspects, random events, and exploration bonuses.)

Add in a little dash of survival genre open world crafting/building/housing. Sprinkle liberally with modern graphics.

Finally, make certain that the economy is important from the smallest village to the big city, such that all roles and players are important beyond just playing together no matter how experienced.

Put a world with all that together, with the NPCs capable of running the world on their own within their social structure, then throw players into the mix with the ability to struggle against all those NPCs. Watch the chaos with glee!

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Ysayle was right

Sounds like Andrew pretty much just wants Free Realms back.

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

Except with the Nintendo shine, because Nintendo can be family friendly without threatening my masculine image. Now, please excuse me as I get back to some cookie eating.

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Greaterdivinity

@Eliot OH GOD YES.

Personally (and keeping it to MMO developers only, because otherwise holy hell)…

Chocolate Rift dev team in terms of the quality, size, and pace of updates. Also, probably the strongest “traditional” MMO design around.

TSW team for their writing/narrative, ability to pack tons of atmosphere/character into the world without being “in your face” (thinking along the lines of WildStar), and willingness to break from (some) MMO tropes and try non-traditional shit.

WAR team for class mechanics. The rest of the game was deeply flawed, but holy hell did WAR easily have the best individual class mechanics around and I long for any other game to come close to how great WAR’s were.

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strangesands

TSW and LOTRO. Would love to see the storytelling chops added to LOTRO, and a scarier experience with Tolkien baddies.

Age of Conan and ESO. Apply the graphics of ESO and the cool systems with AOCs great lore and combat feel. Maybe do an Eric of Melnibone game while they’re at it!

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Pedge Jameson

Hate to be so 1999, but “OMG Kill it with fire!”

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Witches

Funcom and SquareEnix, Funcom has great ideas but nowhere near the budget they need to maximize their potential, on the other hand SE is well funded and is very thorough and methodical, also they know how to properly create character animations, something Funcom is yet to master.

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zyrusticae

“[…]the wonderful world that Bethesda created with the Fallout franchise”
Sigh. I know what was meant here but Black Isle being forgotten in the face of Bethesda’s bastardization of the franchise still hits me pretty freakin’ hard.

The Fallout universe is only a shadow of its former self in Bethesda’s care. They did a decent enough job with the aesthetic, but so much of the atmosphere (and the decent writing) is lost in the transition, to say nothing of the massive differences in gameplay and roleplaying options. If you liked what Bethesda did with their games, I can only imagine how you might have reacted to the old games.

Going back on-topic, I would love to see how Blade & Soul’s combat would translate to other games like SWTOR or TESO, though it may not be possible in the latter case due to the unique way they construct their classes.

I’d be way more into PSO2 if they had XCOM 2’s armor design (and general technological aesthetic, for that matter). They know how to keep things simple enough to not be overly busy or laughable, but complicated enough to be visually interesting. It’s a good look that I far prefer over the mess that PSO2 is today. Combine that with a combat system that hews closer to Metal Gear Rising and I’d never stop playing. Alas, the potential…

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Xijit

I have not bought a single game from them since Oblivion … How much they dismembered the foundation that Morrowind built was sacrilege.

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Xijit

I just want a hame that lives up to its potential of a vibrant & interactive world, while dodging the typical “3 month past launch hyper nerf patch” (sometimes called “the bait & switch” patch) that fucks up all game balance & relegates all crafting / non combat systems into redundancy … All in the name of RAIDS!!!!!!!!

…. Combine whatever games it takes to get that.

vikaernes
Reader
vikaernes

Give me a mash up of rockstar and swg-era SOE, for an mmo that has the rich systems and class system of SWG set in the old west of RDR. That for me would be just about the most perfect MMO I could think of.

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Xijit

I always liked the idea of mixing GTA with Harvest Moon.

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Jon Sleeper

Red Dead Rebellion?

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Pedge Jameson

Red Dead Riveting Radish Raising

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