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General: New Column: Why Not Historical MMOs?

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  • SarykSaryk Member UncommonPosts: 476

    One word "Prohibition".

    Bootleggers, lawmen, gangsters............this era would be a great MMO.

  • DanaDana Member Posts: 2,415

    *EDIT* Nuked own post to avoid derailing topic. =)

    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • JYCowboyJYCowboy Member UncommonPosts: 652

    MOD EDIT: Removed my post (and your quoting of it) to avoid derailing the thread. :)

  • DanaDana Member Posts: 2,415

    JYCowboy: You're right. While I believe what I wrote, I am going to take it down because no good will come of it ;)

    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • MordacaiMordacai Member Posts: 309

    After force of arms is in a somewhat finished/gold state that was next on my agenda.....deadlands was a pretty cool rpg to play back some years ago and it was that world that I wanted to bring to life next....although buying the rights would probably be out of reach i'm sure i could come up with something different enough to avoid anything legaleze w/ it to make it a fun and enjoyable mmorpg game....number 1 being a skill based vice a level based system...

     

    sorry but ya'll gonna have to wait for a few years while i finish off the mech game 1st though... :D

     

    great discussion though...loved all of the picks for the list...

  • SortranSortran Member Posts: 148

    Great article Dana, I would love to try out an MMO game in several of those eras. With a lot of thought on persistant worlds much could be done (persistant worlds arnt common in the MMO genre as is.) It would be refreshing, and honestly content wouldnt be hard to create. Forget those who say its not historically accurate etc. its more about being able to set down and play as a leggionare, or perhaps be a screaming goth in Rome, or being a knight or crusader, even a longbowman during the middle ages. I think best IMO would have to be pvp centric. Not much can be done other wise with pve, however there could be ranking/ladders/stat systems in place that dont speak of end game needs (honestly while at times end game stuff is fun, its not really something that is needed in any era of historical mmos).

    Perhaps a combo of planetside persistance, mixed in with say rome era or medieval europe, would definately be something I would play til the cows come home.

    Playing: Not much actively.
    Games played: to many to list, been playing MMO's since 2001
    --------------------------

  • AmazingAveryAmazingAvery Age of Conan AdvocateMember UncommonPosts: 7,188

    Neat article. Myself being British, coupled with all those history lessons brings back active and animated talks with old teachers. Take that passion and stick it in a game set in era's you bring up, forgot the turn based army style and there is a good receipe there. Background is ripe and rich and these days with people playing from all over it is nice to play on the "other" side too.

    History is definately not boring. I remember my Irish teacher who was trying to talk about Richard III but it always came out as Richard the Turd hehe. There is so much more rich diversification and background in many European countries, sure it doesn't have to be limited to that particular continent but there is so much there. And a good place to start.

    That spike TV show about the warriors is pretty neat and explore depth of weapons and skill sets of groups from the past.



  • Xondar123Xondar123 Member CommonPosts: 2,543


    Originally posted by Dana

    Again, when I wrote about "historical MMOs" I wasn't talking about historical reenactments. I was talking about games set in a historical period, but that are first and foremost entertainment.
    No one is annoyed that Gladiator took history and turned it on its ear.
    No one gets mad when Hibernia takes Albion castles in DAoC.
    You can make a game with historical context that allows just as much freedom to players as any regular MMO.


     
    Exactly. I don't want to re-enact an accurate representation of Roman history, I just want to bum around in the same atmosphere, architecture and culture as ancient Rome.
  • WisebutCruelWisebutCruel Member Posts: 1,089
    Originally posted by Xondar123


     

    Originally posted by Dana
     
    Again, when I wrote about "historical MMOs" I wasn't talking about historical reenactments. I was talking about games set in a historical period, but that are first and foremost entertainment.

    No one is annoyed that Gladiator took history and turned it on its ear.

    No one gets mad when Hibernia takes Albion castles in DAoC.

    You can make a game with historical context that allows just as much freedom to players as any regular MMO.



     

    Exactly. I don't want to re-enact an accurate representation of Roman history, I just want to bum around in the same atmosphere, architecture and culture as ancient Rome.

     



     

    Which is all fine and good. It just means you want a Roman themed game, not a historical Roman game.

  • revslaverevslave Member UncommonPosts: 154

    Hey Hey

     

    I would not mind playing a game set in an alternative Histroy .  

     

    The Years of Rice and Salt 

    The book is set between about A.D. 1405 (783 solar years since the Hegira, by the Islamic calendar used in the book), and A.D. 2002 (1423 after Hegira). In the eighth Islamic century, almost 99% of the population of Medieval Europe is wiped out by the Black Death (rather than the approximately 30-60% that died in reality). This sets the stage for a world without Christianity as a major influence.

     

    Could be an Interesting way to go ,  Simial to the way the new Starwars MMO , is not set during the time line of the Movies , they can make up Cannon as they go , as long as it fits the restrictions of the historical universe.  I know that the Author Harry Turtledove has a few books in this realm as well,  Some dealing with e Civil War and other with the Revolutionary war. 

     

    Welcome Home

    Rev

    image

  • severiusseverius Member UncommonPosts: 1,516

    History is filled with vile and violent acts by one group of people on another group.  Unless you want to rewrite history you are bound to tick off one group or another lol.  Like the American Revolution themed game... how are you going to get a game developed and released where one ethnic group actually enslaves another group?  And if you just don't include slavery then you are not playing a historically based game at all.  The same thing with Rome and Japan.  There was a great deal of raping, pillaging, plundering, and enslavement of people that went on.  Again you are bound to offend someone, or make a game set in a psuedo time period that is a vanilla representation of the time period.

    Caveman time frame sounds nifty, but really.  You want a game where you run off to hunt with a few friends on one day, then sit around and pick fleas and ticks off each other for a week?  I do realize that some revisionists have tried to say how harsh and brutal the hunter gatherer society was but generally speaking they worked about 1/10th of the time that we currently do and were, in many ways, a helluva lot healthier than we are.  Sure they died young but its not really the quantity of life we get but the quality that should matter and watching my 78 year old father slowly waste away is pretty frickin pathetic.

    There has been a wild west mmo in the works for several years now, but you do realize that historically speaking it wasn't nearly as cool as hollywood likes to make it sound right?  Every day was not filled with gunfights at the OK Corral.

    Basically an historical mmo would be the Sims Online with different costumes, and we all know how well that game faired.

  • tapeworm00tapeworm00 Member Posts: 549
    Originally posted by WisebutCruel

    Originally posted by Xondar123


     

    Originally posted by Dana
     
    Again, when I wrote about "historical MMOs" I wasn't talking about historical reenactments. I was talking about games set in a historical period, but that are first and foremost entertainment.

    No one is annoyed that Gladiator took history and turned it on its ear.

    No one gets mad when Hibernia takes Albion castles in DAoC.

    You can make a game with historical context that allows just as much freedom to players as any regular MMO.

     
     

    Exactly. I don't want to re-enact an accurate representation of Roman history, I just want to bum around in the same atmosphere, architecture and culture as ancient Rome.

     



     

    Which is all fine and good. It just means you want a Roman themed game, not a historical Roman game.

     

    After reading the thread I think that's what people around here want. Reliving history in game form is impossible - you can't make a real time-based game without constraining the rules so much you end up producing a non interactive movie. What people here want is a "what if" game, an alternate take, a fantasy similar to the one feebly portrayed in Age of Conan: more people, less monsters n' shit.  We're no longer impressed by creatures, so we need to be impressed by ambience. I agree that people need to be clear on their concepts, though.

    A fantasy game of that ilk that could be based upon a current model of MMO is the conquest of Mexico; based on DAoC's three-way open war for control of something, we could have Mexicas (Aztecs), Tlaxcaltecans (the people who would help Cortés carry out the conquest of the empire; it's basically thanks to them that the Spanish were able to defeat the Aztecs in military terms), and the Spanish themselves duking it out for control of something in the super varied terrains of 16th century central Mexico (you got swamps, plains, beaches, etc.). Each "faction" could have different objectives and so on. Since we're talking about fantasy here, the Spanish and Tlaxcaltecans don't necessarily ally and win; the game's designers and writers can come up with any "what if" scenarios they want and deploy new content that way: new cities, new locales, new classes, whatever. Also, that way time only needs to pass in the way the designers want, like in regular MMOs, and it's no longer real.

    As for the guy saying that you need supernatural fantasy to make shit interesting, I strongly differ. You only need it if you're basing your game upon the old "kill things and level up" model, because yeah, there's only so many real creatures you can kill, but if you establish another type of character development, I think you can do away with supernatural fantasy altogether. I'm not advocating skill-based games or anything, and I don't have a solution either, but I'm just saying we gotta start thinking outside the box. Maybe games like Champions Online can shed a bit of light upon how other types of character development could work...

    Regarding the political correctness of things, well, I believe the farther the theme is in history, the better. Westerns with indians could be problematic because, well, they're still there, and still indirectly suffering the consequences of those dark times, so any representation of them in game form must be really, really careful, or the result will be parodic and stereotypical.

    In any case, I think this whole fantastic take on history is a really interesting idea. I'd play, and I believe lots of others would as well :)

     

  • DeeweDeewe Member UncommonPosts: 1,980

    Interesting...

     

    The first question I would ask is are you speaking about historical settings MMO or historical MMO?

     

    In the first one you use clothes, architechture, technology, customs and why not mythos.

     

    In the second one not only you use all the above but you also make sure all things implemented reports to latests and accurate researches.

     

    The second ones adds lots of constraints like very few people owning a weapon, even fewer able to have a horse. A few wounds that don't kill you on the field might surely kill you from infection. Skills would be very limited you would be either a skiller crafter or a fighter or a politician or an actor but not all at once. So... sandbox?

    Also forget the classic questing concept. Most people would be doing daily boring things... like in real world.

     

    It could work but more like for a learning ground for students and a fun environment for fans.

     

     

    Now the first concept is interesting as it uses "well" known environments with polished game mechanics. Also it could help people see how it was like in ancient greece, egypt, babylonia.... etc. so in a way you are helping historians ;)

     

    I think Stargate could be that kind of game as you are jumping from locations to others that are like rewind in the past.

    So a game with all of them in one is possible but isn`t it better to focus on one historical setting at a time?

     

  • yukumoyukumo Member Posts: 86

    Mr. Dana you are God to me.. what you posted up there is what me and some of my gaming buddies have been wanting for years! I hope some developer reads this article and takes it to heart!

     

    Thank you

  • ColaCola Member Posts: 402

    Cowboys & Indians,

     

    Historical stuff like that would be great if done in a sandbox style.

    PvP would be cool with constant battling over land areas and such.

  • TerranahTerranah Member UncommonPosts: 3,575

    I would love to see some historical mmo's.  I think some of the examples the OP uses are intriguing.  But ultimately, these games take a lot of money to develop, and business people tend to want to see comparisons to gauge success.  Right now the only comparisons are fanstasy mmo's.

     

    So, how do you convince a group of businessmen and women to sink tens of millions of dollars into a new concept?  I imagine it's pretty hard.  The only way to do it initially may be to go with known licences, like Star Wars, like Star Trek, or even another gaming entity so long as it has a devoted fan base.

     

    If Star Wars and Star Trek succeed in the mmo space, I expect the copycats will come out in full force just as they did with WOW.

  • OddjobXLOddjobXL Member Posts: 102

    I don't think it'll work.  If you say, "I want a historical MMO that's not historically accurate" the obvious comeback is "Well, if you want a Civil War MMO where either side can win and there's no permadeath why not make it a civil war between mutant tribes with cybernetic enhancements?  Sure, blue and grey uniforms and battleflags - that's cool - and period music.  It's historical and it has giant mutants with implanted gatling guns!"

    If I took a poll among the current crop of MMO gamers I think my mutant civil war game would win over a pseudo-historical games with boring old regular humans with boring old single shot rifles and them newfangled repeating carbines.   Heck even a sexy devil like Mosby would pale in comparison to the literal devils in my fictional Mosby's Raiders complete with feathered hats, sabers and glowing eyes and bat-wings. Hell, let's make them female succubi!  The kids love that.  Mosby's Raiders with boobies and brimstone.

    As fun as an MMO about 1930's Chicago mob wars might be remember making it about a 1930's Chicago that's populated by vampire mobsters is going to be even more fun in terms of pure mayhem and how players would respond. Look at tabletop RPGs for example. The only "big" historical settings have a supernatural edge to them. Purely historical RPGs, like many GURPs sourcebooks, tend to get used only as resources for other more fantastic settings. Robin Law once wrote that if you ever want to make an original setting take any three GURPs sourcebooks at random and create something from that. I don't think anyone actually uses them straight. The one historical series GURPs did was based on WWII and it ended up with Wierd War II - how to incorporate fantastic science and occult horror into the game.

    History doesn't have a chance.  At least not with the current market MMOs are fighting over.

    If I were going to make a historical game I'd be aiming at a different, smaller, kind of market that would be crazy about historical period realism.  I definitely wouldn't be focused on PvP.  Therein madness lays.  It's too much fun for some people so the setting would distort entirely around combat.  Good for mutants, not so good for real people living in history.  I'd look for popular eras in history with, maybe, senior citizens who have all kinds of free time.  Make them easy to play, avoid scores and stats and the like in favor of a more holodeck kind of experience.  Maybe have some staff that can create or oversee events for people to participate in.

    Always notice what you notice.

  • yukumoyukumo Member Posts: 86
    Originally posted by Terranah


    I would love to see some historical mmo's.  I think some of the examples the OP uses are intriguing.  But ultimately, these games take a lot of money to develop, and business people tend to want to see comparisons to gauge success.  Right now the only comparisons are fanstasy mmo's.
     
    So, how do you convince a group of businessmen and women to sink tens of millions of dollars into a new concept?  I imagine it's pretty hard.  The only way to do it initially may be to go with known licences, like Star Wars, like Star Trek, or even another gaming entity so long as it has a devoted fan base.
     
    If Star Wars and Star Trek succeed in the mmo space, I expect the copycats will come out in full force just as they did with WOW.

     

    You dont have to convince any of the big cats like mythic,blizzard etc. private investors would be good enough

  • DerrialDerrial Member Posts: 250

    I just wanted to throw in my support of this article.  I've been conjuring up ideas in my head for a WWII MMO for years, wishing someone would make it.  No offense to WWII Online, but it's high time for a successor.  The Revolutionary War is another good subject, and the US Civil War would be interesting, too.

    I think one problem is the lack of magic or technology to explain away gameplay necessities.  Dying, for example -- in WoW, if I die a magical spirit from beyond resurrects my body at a graveyard.  In EVE Online, my consciousness is transported into a clone body.  So what's the explanation for being resurrected on the Civil War battlefield?

    If that's the only challenge, I'm sure someone can get around it.  Even if the explanation is a little hazy, players will look past it if the game is fun otherwise. 

  • AtomyAtomy Member UncommonPosts: 76

    Well, i wonder when a 2D AA/+ title comes up. Seriously...Developers underestimate the strength of 2D.

    I could write 200 pages about the game design...Maybe i should study game design instead of Fine Art. Atleast then i won't have to cut my ear of...

     

  • yukumoyukumo Member Posts: 86

    What i dont understand is how any of these people who say "a historical mmo just wont work" can say that when a true high production value historical mmo has never been made...

     

    So after they release one and IF completely flops, then i will understand - but till then we wait

  • yukumoyukumo Member Posts: 86
    Originally posted by OddjobXL


    I don't think it'll work.  
    If I took a poll among the current crop of MMO gamers I think my mutant civil war game would win over a pseudo-historical games with boring old regular humans with boring old single shot rifles and them newfangled repeating carbines.  

     

    I hate to just flat out say it, but i will.

    I completely disagree and I think the poll would be quite the opposite

  • DanaDana Member Posts: 2,415
    Originally posted by yukumo

    Originally posted by OddjobXL


    I don't think it'll work.  
    If I took a poll among the current crop of MMO gamers I think my mutant civil war game would win over a pseudo-historical games with boring old regular humans with boring old single shot rifles and them newfangled repeating carbines.  

     

    I hate to just flat out say it, but i will.

    I completely disagree and I think the poll would be quite the opposite

     

    Just for fun, I put a new poll in our system to this effect.

    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • OddjobXLOddjobXL Member Posts: 102

    I did ask for that didn't I?

    Edit:  Not exactly the poll I proposed but it works.  I voted for historical, by the way.

    Always notice what you notice.

  • artacqartacq Member Posts: 20

    First off, Great feature! Looking forward to more.

     

    Why no historical MMORPG's?  I'm sure that the answer is very complicated, but the first thing that pops into my head is "death".

    Handling the death of the player is quite easy when there is magic involved (just run back to your corpse and your resurrected). If you base your game on a realistic level of factual history, it becomes more difficult to explain away such things.

This discussion has been closed.