I freely admit that I am a bit leery of ambition in game design. Not because it’s an inherently bad thing, mind you, but because it often seems to indicate that the development team for a game is writing checks that it can’t cash. Overreaching ambtion often leads to ideas getting trimmed back, and when the defining element of a title is ambitious design principles, that results in far less of a game than we would have had if the developers had planned more reasonably.
I admire the goals of the team behind Rebel Horizons, for example, but I’m dubious that anyone could pull it off successfully. I admired the design goals behind EverQuest Next, and I see where that ended. The goals behind Ryzom were commendable, but they were trimmed down into the game’s current state, which has very few dedicated adherents.
Of course, saying “ambition is bad” consigns us to a world wherein everything is just slightly iterative improvements on what already exists. But there are certain sorts of ambitions and certain far-reaching plans that do give me pause when considering whether or not a game will launch successfully. What about you, dear readers? Does ambition make you skeptical about an MMO’s development?