Veteran MMORPG designer Raph Koster has up a new blog post that sheds some light on the many angles of developing an MMORPG. In response to a reader question about “what major things should be included in MMOs and open-world games,” Koster rattles off a massive checklist.
Now obviously we’re not going to copypasta the entire thing; you can go visit Koster’s blog for that. But in addition to the technical honey-dos, like the infrastructure to support AI and physics and weather, it also offers a broad overview of everything that makes an MMO an MMO from somebody who made MMOs what they are, whether you’ve ever thought about it that way or not: characters, races, classes, grouping, buffs and debuffs, skills, customization, inventories, friends, structures, vehicles, items, questing, combat, crafting, travel, chat, guilds, and so on.
Probably my favorite bit is the part where Koster calls for things like chat parsing and moods, ideas that have been seldom borrowed in games beyond Star Wars Galaxies but that actually elevate the level of roleplay and immersion to soaring heights.
It’s worth a look and a bookmark, even if you’re not currently building a game.