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|The Toa's Hideout > The Clipboard > Challenges & Obstacles for a Bionicle MMORPG|
|Posted by: fishers64 Jan 3 2017, 12:08 AM|
| 1. Nobody is making any money off of this thing. Unless they work for Lego. And Lego is never going to make this. Also, if the fans make this, and it is a success, Lego will try to buy it out and try to ruin it. By ruining it, I mean hide features behind paywalls and destroy the chat system. Terrific.
2. The amount of complexity involved, namely:
A. Seriously, the amount of environment design that goes into this thing is going to be absurd. Even if we just do Spherus Magna post-robot fight, it's going to be a load of matchsticks designing the world.
A. 1. Someone is going to want Mata Nui to be playable though. And Metru Nui. And the entire giant robot.
A. 2 And Okoto. And someone is going to want to have canon romance and to play their protector in the other parts of the map.
B. The amount of 3-D model design. There is no generic Toa model design that can be pallette - swapped.
B. 1 Don't even get me started on the masks and weapons. The more the better and seriously people are going to expect all of them to be there and gameplay design for all of them.
B. 2 The amount of playable races and Toa options is absurd. I still want to play as a Vortixx. I hate my life. Also Makuta characters would be OP and imbalance everything.
B. 3 Even NPCs have to be 3-D designed.
C. There probably should be some kind of story mode. It is possible to retell the official story as a campaign but that would be kinda lame. (Despite the fact that it could be really cool.)
C. 1 If Okoto is a campaign it would have to be expanded, obviously.
C. 2 Spherus Magna needs a kind of story otherwise playing as Glatorian/Agori is lame. Also, something to do once the story campaign is over...but most stories there really suck by default. There's not much beating a Giant Robot fight. sorry. The best I thought of was some sort of territorial battle system, which is BORING.
3. Not really worth the effort due the low number of potential players.
At least, this is what I tell myself at night when this silly dream of mine keeps coming back from the dead. Thoughts are welcome.
|Posted by: Kitania Jan 3 2017, 04:34 AM|
| A Bionicle MMO would be pretty hard of a task to accomplish, yeah. It'd likely take years of development (okay probably a lot longer) if fans did it, and you'd need concept artists, world design/maps, need people who can do rigging, animations, etc... on a 3D scale by and large (I mean, a 2D MMO is not unheard of -- see; Tree of Savior or Ragnarok Online or Maplestory).
If fans did it, I'd imagine fans would go for 2-D since it'd likely be easier to design and develop than say, an entire 3-D version created from scratch. There are people out there within the fandom itself who are skilled enough to do each task, though I wouldn't expect them to necessarily appear (since, to be honest, most would likely prefer to do their own projects) not to say if it was done and made in a way where it did not infringe upon copyright, it would be a pretty neat thing to say "hey, I was ___ for this" to companies within the gaming industry.
Making money off a fan product is... iffy insofar as legality goes. And Lego itself likely wouldn't want to claim it as their own unless they gained control of it (ie: They control the chat censors, they hire their own GM's, have their own forum, etc... since they would want the game to be in line with their overall company values and, while there are great Lego titles, Lego itself probably isn't going to be the premier MMO curator).
There's a big rule with MMO's: You don't need to cater to what -everyone- wants. Someone will always be upset with direction or decision, instead of overloading a world with so many places to go, it's often best to start with one continent and grow out from there over time. This way it keeps players together, in hubs, seeing each other, and feeling as if the world around them is actually alive. If you spread people out too much, it could end up where everyone feels isolated from each other, and that drops retention in MMO's.
(So like, for instance: if it went with the post-robot battle Spherus Magna, there shouldn't be a Mata-Nui island to go to, at least, not immediately).
MMO stories are often told from the perspective of the player character, some games do it better than others, though I always liked the approach wherein many, many "heroes" are needed to conquer an oncoming storm and the story essentially takes players through the game, walking through it, bringing them into dungeon content if that'd be a thing, etc... it's how a lot of players are ultimately taught how to play the game. The story itself would have to be present and growing, otherwise it's sort of bland, unless you went for a more sandbox approach than a themepark approach (themepark can be harder, since there's more -stuff- to do, but sandboxes seem to end up with the most bugs due to being able to interact with so much -stuff-).
(I'd figure veritable god beings wouldn't be playable. It'd be like... playing Gul'dan in WoW, probably not gonna happen. Or the Mursaat in Guild Wars 2).
Figuring out a class system and such would be fairly complicated, at least until you maybe had a base species to work with (or at least a handful --I could see Toa being an options [think human], matoran/turaga [gnomes/dwarves/asura etc...], Vortixx [I always kinda think like, elfish with their design, since they're more slender and tall, versus like a Norn in GW2 who is tall, but buff as all shit]. Maybe Skakdi, and some others pending how much work one would want to do. (I'd hold that masks would be cosmetic, since abilities tend to be tied to the class, although if someone actually did this and chose to keep their powers and balance them well that's a nightmare they can do).
Canon romance is rarely a thing in MMO's. As in, characters aren't falling for NPC's except other NPC's in a story being told.
The closest to "canon" romance in games would be like, marriage systems. Which are fun, though there'd likely be some sort of variation that could be concocted to fit within this world, although many games do not have this (ie: WoW). Romantic stories, and a lot of personal development of the character themselves, stories are done in MMO's via Roleplay. Every MMO I've ever been in had a RP community, and it's always pretty fun and adds extra dimensionality, not to mention finding friends.
The amount of players, if this did become a thing, would be low. Very low.
If it was marketed properly, there'd be a decent surge on the opening days (then you have to deal with bugs, server capacity issues, server problems in general, people breaking things you didn't find in testing because there's so many of them). But when I say "decent" I mean for like, a fan-created game.
To be honest, you'd likely ultimately have less than 100 people consistently playing it (Optimistically), and at this point, that MMO is pretty much dead. (Considering in most games, 100 people is 1 guild).
The amount of stuff to put into it overall would... I mean, I could see it being fun if a group of friends did it for like, a project on the side? Maybe for a college course or something. But not like "let's make money off this idea."
It'd also be fun to like, kick around and think on. But like, the BZPRPG (and other variations) are pretty much text-versions of Bionicle MMO's.
|Posted by: fishers64 Jan 6 2017, 02:29 AM|
True, but it would be less likely to be taken seriously that way. Glatorian Arena and the Ghost Animations strongly set the bar at 3-D.
2-D has some nostalgic value in the fanbase, given that there was a LOT of 2-D animation at the franchise's inception (MNOG, but also the bohrok-kal animations, etc - even 2008 game thing Battle for Power was 2-D). However, if you're on Spherus Magna my impression is that you need to go 3-D. Rules are made to be broken, however.
I wasn't imagining a huge game developer recruiting drive in my head. Previous projects have used that (the "cattle call" approach), and I've found that it's a bad strategy. I just figured that I'd do it myself (but that may not be a realistic approach). Kopaka here .
I'm not looking for game developer credit myself, I just want this one project to be a thing. (This is a universal problem for me. "No, I'm not looking for expierience in this! I just wanted this project done, and no one else was stepping up!") Also not looking for money for myself either, though if you're going to hire a team of developers, a business model would have to be adopted. I figured that wasn't going to happen because it's a trademark violation. I suppose you could get permission of some kind, but then you would have to prove to Lego that it was legit, then they would try to claim it, and then you have a death spiral going.
Yup. Agreed here.
Noted. Of note to that end it might be more effective to just put the players on Mata Nui to start, but I feel that island is very very VERY overdone at this point from a gaming perspective. I've seen more fan games set there than everywhere else in Bionicle. Anywhere but there.
Post-reformation SM is just my pet place to set everything - but it does have an excuse in easy faction building - Vortixx, Toa, Skakdi, Glatorian, etc.
The obligatory "tutorial level". Gotcha. I liked the Lego Universe ship crash for being unique, but whatever...
Yarr, it's the same concern the Hero Factory RPG ran into at its end. Running out of story ideas is always a problem. Better to plan the story out from the beginning in some form, at least to the point where it can reach an end at some point.
I always figured it would be some sort of "campaign" system where you could play through a certain story, then when you were done you could play through it again to see if there were things you missed, etc. Or to take your friend through it. I always think those games are best, and it's the one thing you can't do with a TBRPG.
And if the game developers come up with a new idea, they can design a new campaign or edit an existing one. But that way there's less pressure to continually man the story pumps in fear the game will sink.
I like the idea of character flexibility for strategic purposes, however - one player could have a Toa that has a ton of armor and is slow while another is agile and fast, for example.
Probably a bit too much for a fan project made in the basement. I get some of my RPG ideas from the novel Epic, where someone majored in an unusual stat and won the game. Probably unrealistic...
Eh heh heh I'm not a big fan of this. Even for Spherus Magna characters. It's something that I could imagine holding a poll for in some distant imagined future after the game's launch (would you like this feature to be added?).
It's rather inexpensive to rig up a forum, although I'd think topics on existing Bionicle forums would serve for the playerbase's comparable size...
I think the low level of players would take care of the server capacity issues.
I really don't see the problem in reducing the guild size, or not regulating it much. I mean, 6 Toa to a team? The amount of Toa there are is the amount of Toa there are? Yeah.
I do think that there could be problems in not having enough "villain" characters (everyone wants to be a Toa!). So you'd have to load in more villain NPCs, provide incentives for having a villain character like special story campaigns or something, and possibly allow players to have multiple characters.
Yup. That's what I was thinking.
Sort of. Yeah.
|Posted by: Takal Jan 6 2017, 11:54 AM|
I think you may be underselling that point just a little.
|Posted by: fishers64 Jan 6 2017, 12:18 PM|
How would I more accurately reflect my desires on that point, Mr. Takal?
IMMA GONNA DO IT MYSELF! EVERYONE ELSE GET OUTTA HERE!!! - that doesn't accurately reflect my viewpoint. I'm open to having some other people involved, but if the situation bogs down and things aren't moving along, I shall move them along.
I CAN'T DO THIS BY MYSELF!!! I NEED HELP TO PULL THIS OFF AND THIS IS TOTALLY A STEALTH BLOG ENTRY TO GET PEOPLE TO HELP ME - no. I'd expect to have to put in some effort into game concept, story, 3-D models, etc before bringing other people into the thing. You have to prove you're legit before other people will bite into your donut factory.
This is just a hypothetical dream torture blog entry in which fishers blindly considers the extremely difficult and elicits feedback from parties interested in considering the extremely difficult.
|Posted by: Takal Jan 6 2017, 02:22 PM|
|I was referring to the portion in parentheses. I can't imagine that creating an MMO as a personal project is remotely feasible. I'm not entirely sure where all the hidden costs are, but server rental alone must be hideously expensive, and the sheer volume of assets you'd have to create, never mind coding the game itself...|
|Posted by: fishers64 Jan 6 2017, 02:58 PM|
Getting a dedicated server for anything can run you up to $500 a month, sure. Depends on the host. Obviously that would have to be priced out vs. the cost of owning your own web server and getting a good enough internet connection to make that work.
|Posted by: Kitania Jan 6 2017, 07:48 PM|
| I'm sort of surprised to see the dislike for 2-D, there are legitimately incredibly well created games that are MMO's that are 2-D. Tree of Savior felt fun, great to play and it was pretty interesting to go through it -- they shot themselves in the foot with it, due to their cash shop selling items that made your character statistically better than others and the like (and the optimization was poor, it was hard for my dedicated gaming desktop to actually run it properly). And Ragnarok Online, another 2-D MMO, is basically a classic on tier with Dark Age of Camelot or even Ultima Online (And I believed competed with Everquest back in its heyday).
2-D just allows for an art style that's easier on one person to create, ages pretty well provided it's more of a stylized approach versus looking for things to look picture-real. (Stylized games in general tend to age really well, look at World of Warcraft).
For a singular person trying to create a MMO, 3-D is going to be extremely hard to do well. Getting movements to look fluid, not forced, getting light systems and shadow systems and texture and everything is extremely difficult to work well together to create an immersive world. And it can take a lot of power for a machine, CPU and GPU, wise to actually run something like that if it is not actually optimized well.
I mentioned a team of people, not really a true "development" team in terms of companies, because by and large you need a team. One person generally won't be an expert in everything it takes to actually create something like an MMO from scratch -- most games have dedicated developers for specific things because that's what they know (Guild Wars 2, for instance, has an Economist on team to keep tabs of and present way to fix the player economy when it breaks, along with a Player versus Player designer, and a Dungeon Design/Balance team as well, not to mention the story team, the animators, the riggers, the sound teams, etc... ).
The thing about Toa is that, if it's an MMO, there's likely to be a class system, yeah? So it'd be like "Which ones will be tanks, will be healers, will be DPS; what kinds of utility between them" etc... and also whether or not you would want to do a traditional set class system (ie: WoW) or try to make it so people could form their own classes (ie: Archeage) so you could potentially have a Toa of Earth DPS and of a Toa of Earth tank.
Then with classes there also needs to be a breakdown of: "What is melee DPS? What is ranged DPS? How do they feel different and unique in playstyle from one another, while not beating the others too badly?"
You can do a MMO without dungeons, but no MMO title boasts a campaign system like what you seem to be describing? Most MMO campaigns are done through a primary quest line (like Guild Wars 2's "Personal Story") where you complete objectives related to them out in the world. By and large they operate with Instancing. So if you're on quest A and a horrible event happens during it, and changes the landscape, beforehand you're instanced into zone A of quest A with other players at that stage, and then it zones you into Zone B, Quest A after the event happens where others there and others who completed it would be.
Limiting a Guild to the six of a Toa Team is... more negative than positive. Having guild limits can break up friends who play together, or who want to, it limits finding new friends and making new acquaintances. It does limit RP to a degree (having a Guild Chat is incredibly helpful to schedule things with everyone involved). Now if you want party size to be Six that would work, you might need to create a system where the game brings back the Support role in that case just because, traditionally, that was the Sixth class in a party (Unless you do 1 tank 1 healer and 4 DPS).
Then it's like, okay, so what challenges are there gameplay wise? Are there dungeons? Are there raids? Unique instances that have to mapped out, designed, given an entrance and a story purpose driving them? Or is it more open world with like Guild vs Guild fighting, resource fighting, Player vs Player type of content? (The latter isn't as popular as the former, for a reason).
I'm definitely not saying don't pursue it, but it's a massive undertaking especially for one person to pull it off well.
(I mentioned other species in the world and stuff since some people [ie: me] have soft spots for them >.>;;; )
|Posted by: fishers64 Jan 7 2017, 12:19 AM|
I'm not completely ruling it out, I'm just saying that there is a precedent in BIONICLE that Spherus Magna follows a 3-D gaming system. Now the precedent doesn't have to be followed, I'm just saying that it exists.
All of these are valid considerations that would need to be factored into that decision.
That's par for the course when you get a company involved - hyperspecialization. But since I likely wouldn't be getting a company involved in this hypothetical scenario operating out of the basement...we don't have to worry about that. Right?
(no seriously it's probably a major problem thanks for bringing it up)
Here's the thing. I've played Lego Universe and the Chima MMO, and neither boasts a class system like what you're describing. Do you think that Bionicle needs such a class system or that combat needs to be conducted that way? It would seem weird to demand a class or party system in a game with so few players, as that would be limiting and leave players waiting around for a full party before a game could start.
I have played games with class systems, but none of them have been MMOs.
The Chima MMO seemed to have it. Granted, that was done through an expanded map - the idea is that you find some object or go to the next location or defeat X number of enemies and the next piece of storyline is revealed, either from something appearing on the map or a cutscene or a textbox of some sort.
LU operated somewhat similarly, though it was less story based and more generic.
(I will entertain the argument that the Chima MMO and Lego Universe sucked and that the hypothetical Bionicle MMO should be better than both of those, if that's your opinion. I'm just saying that the game system there seemed to work for awhile, at least, and it seemed to be unproblematic in terms of playerbase size.)
Right. But in this case, the events (horrible or not) would be part of the story of the game, and not be totally random.
You were the one who suggested guilds and guild limits, not me. Again, I've never seen this before and the low player base size suggests that this is counterproductive. I really don't see why groups of players of any size can't be wandering around a map.
I'm okay with the idea of dungeons or raids. Part of my idea was that the Toa/Glatorian, Skakdi, & Vortixx would be fighting over resources on the newly reformed Spherus Magna, which would be Player vs. Player in some cases, but mostly just hunting for objects and finding them before the other faction does. This could lead to temporary alliances between players (regardless of species) and deals. Completing story campaigns or quests (or dungeons, or raids) would give players in-game currency or specific items depending on the task. This in turn would level the player's character and improve their combat stats & allow them to take on tougher dungeons and understand more of the story.
What I'm saying is that the MMO should be released in complete "stories" of objects/gameplay/dungeons/etc - that way players can play through the whole tale to the end without waiting around for the next dungeon to be released. That's bad form.
I know. Just like some people have soft spots for playable masks.
You generally have to have lower level enemies for these sorts of things, like Visorak or Bohrok. Rahi might fit that bill too. Tahtorak might qualify as a boss, along with Element Lords, Makuta Miserix (if you can find him), etc - provided that we're on Spherus Magna.
If the giant robot is a campaign, obviously we'll be fighting Teridax over and over and over again. And maybe some Zyglak. But mostly Teridax.
* * *
I'm glad that you're willing to have this discussion with me. Even if this stuff isn't actually essential, it might be worth factoring into the game so that people understand what's going on. Or, you know, ensuring it doesn't suck.
If I did try it, I think it would be at least a couple years down the road, so I wouldn't be holding your breath.