MMO that lets players run servers and change the rules


In other words what MMOs were like 30 years ago.


I wonder what this is going to mean in practice. It sounds like a big, ambitious (i.e. expensive) game, which most likely means subscription-based, which presumably also limits how much control players have over the servers. Considering how vague they’re being, and how recently they seem to have formed, I’m guessing they’re pretty far from having nailed down any sort of gameplay or server dynamics. So this represents more of a wishlist than anything, and could turn out to be completely different by the time it’s released, assuming it makes it that far. (Which, sadly, is unlikely, statistically speaking.) Fingers crossed that they end up releasing something interesting.

1 Like

Hilariously, in the beginning this is similar to what some of the original creators of second life had in mind before the creatives and visionaries were chased out of the company.

While I’m ranting I have to admit I enjoyed boingboing’s coverage of the Linden metaverse back when it was still novel, and kinda miss it.

I miss the coverage. Not so much SL.

We more or less have this with Minecraft. Any 10y-old can run their own server, and thousands do. The only limit is your processor and technical know-how - and the technical part just got a whole lot easier. Looking through a list of available mods is stunning. Some simply change the look of the world, while others remodel the whole experience. (For some reason kids seem to like servers modeled on prisons. Yes, really. Figure out what that means.)

The one obvious downside is you can’t bring stuff from one world to the next. Kind of makes sense - some owners hand out rare goodies like candy, and some rare goodies might not even exist in the next world.

They need to let players set the system reqs so my five-year old POS Gateway can run the damn thing.

1 Like

I would also hope that a game’s demise (or simply inaccessibility) wouldn’t come down to a simple schism like keyboard vs. handheld controllers.

What I’ll be interested to see is how scarcity-shards handle interactions with ‘Monty Haul’ shards… Lewt is an…emotional issue… in RPGs (just see this delightful piece on how Diablo III ruined the play experience by introducing alienation from labor product in the marxist sense…) and that’s the obvious pain point where rules are malleable from instance to instance. Yeah, mages will have to avoid gritty low-magic steampunk environments; but the universe where level 1 characters are issued WMDs just for showing up will be a…polarizing… fixture.

I, for one, predict many names and skins for the Material Emancipation Grid. And as many tearful arguments over whether sufficient notice was given for the now-lost loot materially emancipated. Lovely fun!

Why would there be a schism when mouse and keyboard is the one true path, the path of the righteous and the blessed, the path from which all blessings flow, and controllers are for xbox bros screaming obscenities and teabagging each other in Halo like abhuman animals?


There was a… brief… time when Second Life was totally going to be the Metaverse from Snow Crash, man. And everyone is genetically encoded to be excited by that mere possibility.

Then it wasn’t. At all.

1 Like

Neverwinter Nights (2002) had an active modding community, and it was used as the basis for many “persistent worlds” – much like MUDs, or miniature MMOs, these could host a few dozen players and DMs at a time. The community around a good persistent world would be small enough that the regulars could get to know each other, but large enough that there were always some people around you hadn’t played with before. DMs could effectively plan events and the like that suited the actual players, and respond to player actions.

It wasn’t perfect, of course; the demands on those running the persistent worlds was quite high, and NWN hadn’t been designed with this application in mind. But my best roleplaying experiences were on NWN persistent world servers.

So yes, this is an achievable design goal. And I’ve really wanted to see a game designed from the beginning for this model of play, with reasonably modern graphics, user interfaces, admin tools, and map development kits. Somewhere I’ve got notes on the sort of game I’d develop if I won the lottery, and there were a lot of similarities with this description of Shards Online.

1 Like

But it’s the keyboard/controller issue which is exactly why I choose DDO over NWN…

I just can’t get over those non-alterable mouselook settings.

would that be MMUD? MMOO?

Are we talking about the same Neverwinter Nights? I thought the view settings for that were pretty flexible and generally decent. Neverwinter Nights 2 had awful view settings, though – and more relevant to my point, it was very difficult to generate custom maps for NWN2, their file sizes were enormous, and any minor change meant players had to download the entire thing again, which made it almost useless for multiplayer use. There was also Neverwinter Nights Online, which I’ve never heard of anyone actually playing. (For the sake of completeness, there was an original Neverwinter Nights on AOL, in 1991, which I played for about two hours until my parents found out there was a charge per hour of game play.)

So, Calvinball?

1 Like

Civcraft is a particularly interesting example of the DIY MMO culture spawned by Minecraft. It’s a game that’s run like an open-source project, in which the admins are constantly accepting patches and new feature code directly from the player base. There are even forks of the server, to experiment with different rules and mechanics and maybe merge them back into the main server.

The game itself is a socio-political sandbox experiment, so goals, challenges and conflict are wholly constructed by the interaction of players in the world. On almost every level it’s a game that’s created by its players.

I am very skeptical, but something in this idea feels like it could have paradigm-shifting potential. Other than gaming, the internet hasn’t found much use for 3D space. It almost took-off in Second Life; my impression is that when the novelty wore-off, people got tired of paying monthly fees to lug an avatar around the world and went back to the free and efficient strategy of clicking links and search bars (yes, I know there’s more too it than that). Depending on how much freedom users have and how simple the tools are for creating spaces, it seems possible that smart players in a game like this could find just the right balance between the flat and the three dimensional. When that happens, the game features may become only a background for more traditional internet uses: a metaverse-MySpace combined with turning the game’s point system into incentives for business and political campaigns. Combined with its potential as an accessible storytelling medium, I can imagine the “game” becoming a kind of interconnected library of interactive fiction, shopping catalogues, and meeting places; which I suppose is just the world wide web with more game features, 3-D spaces, and a social hierarchy that can be quantified in experience points as well as currency. But, yeah, this probably won’t happen.

I would guess number 2, since it was just last year I attempted to play it during DDO’s “surprise” downtime during the last update.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.