Every now and then, posters after reading a lot of threads about a particular subject or while gaming, may have an epiphany about game design. I think I may have just had one of those moments. Of course, these are always just ideas or thoughts and may not be very well received but if we don't discuss them at all, than MMO developers might miss out on improving the genre. So here goes...
After a recent forum discussion and taking into consideration the idea behind Chronicles of Elyria's OPC ( Offline Player Character ) design, I thought about how to combat the never ending flaw in MMO's of guildmates who go missing. Say for instance, you're in a guild and after playing for 3-6 months your main crafter either quits the game or has personal life issues that stops him from being able to play for a long period of time. Well, what if this player could log off in their character's home, which then turns them into an OPC, which can even be scripted to act or say things that the player deems appropriate for their characters RP personality. They could set up their OPC crafter to be able to craft anything they have the skill / recipes for. They could even stock up on certain resources, which could be stored in their home. That way, if another player wants something crafted and they don't have the required ingredients, they can choose to pay a little bit more and use the crafters supplies. The overall effect would be...
Player goes to OPC crafter's home. Player interacts with OPC crafter by either choosing a certain item to be crafted and supplying the ingredients or clicking the "Use OPC crafter's supplies" if available to craft whatever item the Player desires, so long as the OPC crafter has the skill / recipe. In return, the OPC crafter can set up their supply costs as well as additional fees however they see fit. I haven't decided if XP gain should be allowed, but that is something that can always be debated.
This is just a rough idea that could probably use some tweaking, but overall, it gives a good premise for combating guildmates who go missing. This would allow guilds or even random players to make use of said skills until they either, A ) they learn the craft themselves or B ) replace the missing skills with another active Player.
We could use this concept with just about every type of archetype, including combat roles. Such as one of your guilds best Tank players is now gone from the game. If they were kind enough to log off in their home, then they too could be turned into an OPC merc for hire so to speak. So a Player in need of a good Tank searches the market for OPC Tanks that are for hire and then tracks the one they want down and goes to their home to hire them. Basically, it's a computer controlled character which makes use of the gear and skills that they have acquired. Unlike the OPC crafter scenario, I do believe it's only fair that the hired OPC Tank should in fact receive their share of XP gained while out adventuring plus a minimal fee depending on length of time. All items looted however would belong to the Player who hired the OPC Tank.
There are a lot of areas not covered, such as, what determines if a Player can become an OPC. Do they need to remain subscribed? Do they need to purchase OPC tokens from a cash shop ( I hate cash shops myself, so I would choose subscription ). Only problem is, with subscription, Players would only be OPC's so long as they are subscribed. I mean, you could make it so there was no real life cost to be an OPC, but apparently game developers only care about money, so that would never happen. Anyways, like I said, it's just a rough premise of what could be done to combat missing Players.
Let me know what you think, even if you think it's stupid or dumb. Just make sure to give a reason at least, otherwise your input will server no purpose, lol.