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Improving MMOs: Puzzles

monochrome19monochrome19 Member UncommonPosts: 717

Hi everyone,


Me again. This time around I'd like to discuss a way to (possibly) improve MMOs. So what got me here? Zelda. Or more accurately, a Twitch stream of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I haven't played a Zelda game in some time and watching one of my favorite streamers work their way through puzzles was both entertaining and nostalgic. And this got me to thinking ... why arent there more Zelda-esque puzzles in MMOs? When I say Zelda-esque I mean in terms of complexity, of course. When I was younger I remember spending 6 MONTHS in the Water Temple for Ocarina of Time. Can you imagine how amazing it felt to finally leave that place behind? Jeez. That was one of the most satisfying accomplishments of my gaming life.


So how do we use Zelda as a reference to improve MMOs? Currently, the aren't many things to do in your standard MMO. You craft, you PvE, you PvP. That's it really. After you're done climbing the gear treadmill and PvPing whats left to do? Wait until there's more content.  Instead, lets incorporate Adventures/Puzzles into the equation to prolong game life and offer something fun for players to do. Elements of lore could be added to give your adventuring a bit of "meat" if you so desire. But I think the main purpose of something like this would be to fill a void for people who would like something else to do.


Class Roles


You have your typical holy trinity set up but besides combat there are no other distinguishing features in classes nowadays. Adding puzzles would hopefully change that. Imagine this:


You and a friend are adventuring and wander into the depths of a forgotten cave. Inside, you find ruins of an old civilization and you would like to plunge its depths for whatever may be hidden. You being a mage, you expect you can handle whatever is inside, be it monster or obstacle, but as you wander deeper and find more things of worth you hit a brick wall. A chamber you have entered is made of magic-negating stone and you cant cast any spells here. But you need to proceed over a chasm of dangerous water. However, your friend being a rogue and in greater physical condition can scale the walls and open an alternate path for you both to proceed.


Each class would have unique abilities allowing them to solve puzzles in the world. But harder and more expansive puzzles would require the efforts of a party. The agility and litheness of a Rouge to scale walls, the magic of a Mage to trigger certain phenomena, the strength of a Warrior to shatter obstacles, etc...


Quest Items


Ideally, long puzzles would be split from quest. They would be like quest onto themselves but quest items could take on an entirely different significance with the use of puzzles. 


"Thank you for saving my cat Mr. Rouge but as a poor farmer all I have to offer is this useless metal claw."


Take that claw to a tailor to attach durable rope and you have a grappling hook. Not so useless now, eh?


In Zelda you need the right tool for the right job and adding a similar feature would be fun to me.


TL;DR: MMOs should consider adding Zelda-like puzzles to games because it would be both fun and rewarding while encouraging players to explore the world and add more complexity and worth to classes.


So, what do you think? Is this a feature you would be interested in?




  • LudwikLudwik Member UncommonPosts: 407
    My opinion....

    If you want Zelda like puzzles, play Zelda. Keep them out of MMOs
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,621

    Any puzzles would have to be something that changed from time to time and were challenging but not static.

    Kind of like a shifting sudoku puzzle. Where one would know how to solve it but now the solution.

    Otherwise one person will solve it and post it on a website.

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid Member EpicPosts: 10,409

    Puzzles like the one the OP describes with the rogue and mage might be able to work in an mmorpg if they add them inside instanced LFG dungeons. That will guarantee you always have someone by your side to help with the puzzle. However, the big downside to that is that groups will be limited to only the classes that can solve the puzzle, so to fix that they cannot make puzzle solving based on classes/races.

    But like Sovrath said, if they add them then make them change every time or they will get boring.


    As much as i like those ideas, they are meant to be part of single player experiences. In mmorpgs they can be very easily screwed.

  • GdekkGdekk Member Posts: 17

    You would first have to stop people from viewing content as a barrier between them and the rewards waiting behind it. In any MMO I have played recently that had puzzle elements, people will only solve the puzzle themselves if it is extremely trivial. The second they have to put thought into it, it's straight to google. Then you have games that have puzzle elements that are randomized so even though you can look up the strategy you still have to think about what you are doing to complete it. In this case the community will create addons that will automatically solve the puzzle based on its starting configuration.


    I don't know how you would go about changing this behavior or if it is even possible at this point, but until it does these kinds of elements are best left for single player games where people don't feel pressured to rush through content.

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