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June 11, 2015 at 8:46 pm

So, I had a quick brainstorming session with a programmer friend of mine, @and3r, and have come up with an interesting, albeit far fetched game.

The game will have elements of the mmorpg, action, and survival/horror genres and it’s premise surrounds a tower. This tower will have multiple beginnings and endings, depending on what path the player takes, and will have challenges consisting of puzzles (a la legend of zelda), enemies, and traps. The tower is also in hell and the higher you climb, the more divine and powerful the enemies become. Whether or not it will be a sci fi/medieval – fantasy will be determined later.

The Premise: You wake up with no memory of who you are, surrounded by the dead and dying. You begin to hear the voices of the dead and begin to climb the tower to escape death (at this point, a short tutorial guides you through creating your character, the combat, and looting the first body). Death is a disease (to be properly named), and will affect your characters stats if you choose to linger in an area (there are safe areas from death).

The trick is, the dead/dying are all players. Looting or burying these players will result in renown points determining your encounters with other players. There will be multiple towers with each of these towers housing a different rank of player. The first tower that you climb is a tutorial, much like Runescape’s newb island. You will recieve beginners equipment and will also choose your set of skills (unchangeable). Players may choose to form groups in the beginning (the game will be varying degrees of dark souls difficult), and will begin to climb towers. Along the way, players have the option of specializing in something related to their skills, which they can use to help another player for some gold. Or hurt them.

example: A mercenary type player who’s already passed certain floors may act as a guide to other players. A merchant type player may sell his goods so he can in turn hire a medic player, etc. 

This makes the economy dynamic as players may change their wages according to the task and availability of other types of players.

I will write more/change things if this thread gains some interest. I’ll start drawing some concepts when i get back.

Btw, to give a general feel of the atmosphere, imagine climbing a tower all by your lonesome when you hear another player from 20 floors above you, screaming his head off (with relative volume, it’d get annoying otherwise).

June 12, 2015 at 9:26 am

Overall there are some good ideas. But as you describe it, it seems a very ambitious project. But there is a lot of potential 😀

I see it as a mix between Dark souls, a mmorpg and a horror game.

First the biggest difficulty :

– MMORPG : this alone make the game ambitious
– It would need a lot of level design with for each a frightening atmosphere on each of these level
– Mixing MMORPG and horror is hard, the more people, the less frightening it is.

The good ideas

“the dead/dying are all players. Looting or burying these players will result in renown points determining your encounters with other players.”

This is a good idea, but then a easy way to farm renown would be to kill low level player and then bury them. Don’t forget to put a restriction on this (killing result in losing more renown than burying can bring)

“Along the way, players have the option of specializing in something related to their skills, which they can use to help another player for some gold. Or hurt them.”

This is also good and may be the cornerstone of the experience. By making the player choose a over-specialized classes, it would encourage(force) player to make party.

Some advices, ideas

1. By over-specialized classes I mean that each classes would have only one action-set. Meaning that except the warrior, no classes can fight.
– The warrior : can wield a weapon and fight
– The thief : can lockpick doors and sneak up.
– The explorer : can climb and detect enemies.
– The merchant : can loot corpses and use item.

2. I would also make the combat rare and deadly, preferring traps, sanity slippage and atmosphere. To the point of making each combat a boss fight. With the warrior main job would be to occupy the monster while the other non-combatant try to resolve the enigma (resolving a puzzle in order to light the 4 torches, create a magical circle with a birds bone, goat blood and the ashes of the last incarnation, etc…)

I would also recommend to not create a MMORPG but use a system similar to the first Guild Wars. A HUB where you can meet people and form party and instantiated level where only your party is.

You could add some kind of place where two party would play in the same level for a moment, but only at certain moment.

3. Hallucination

By having player in the same party seeing different things. (ghost, false enemies, treasures, etc..) It could reinforce the creepiness and danger of the tower.

exemple :
Amy and John are trying to sneak past a lair full of monsters. Suddenly John stray out of the path.

Amy : “John where are you going!”
John, seeing a tresure on the ground, : “But there is a loot here!”

4. Sanity slippage : Same as Amnesia : The dark descent, player have a moral bar making them lose sanity if they are in the dark for too long.

5. Also, you could make that if a party fall down, their death cry would be broadcasted to every party on the same level (with some moderation of course)

6. No level : the only way to be better would be : acquiring real knowledge (for the player), acquiring better skills (for the character), finding/buying material possession (gold, relics, items, etc..)

Conclusion : As I said, there is a lot of potential, but may be too ambitious.

It’s only my opinion though 🙂

June 12, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Thanks for the feedback @Navezof.

“– MMORPG : this alone make the game ambitious”

Obviously it’s not like this would be a large scale MMORPG, what may happen is a sort of leaderboard system is created and players can host campaigns on their “tower level” with a limited number of people. At the same time, a ghost of an an enemy/allies, or group of enemies/allies (like dark soul’s summoning system) may infiltrate your game.

“Mixing MMORPG and horror is hard, the more people, the less frightening it is.”

That’s where the limited number of local players come in and the level design. The tower is the main focus of the game and essentially the only environment to design, I do not believe it will be easy but it’ll be do-able.

The difficulty would also play a role in this, the objective: Make the game hard enough to keep players on their toes, but not in a cheap way (jumpscares, too overpowered enemies, etc.)

“This is a good idea, but then a easy way to farm renown would be to kill low level player and then bury them. Don’t forget to put a restriction on this (killing result in losing more renown than burying can bring).”

That’s where the tower system comes in. If you are skilled enough to have passed the trials of a tower, you are moved to the next rank/tower with people of your skill level. The only way to get back to a tower is for a beginner player to hire your “path” (Similar to the ghost system, they will be able to see your ghost go through the trials, but they will have to do it themselves).

The renown system may work like this:

Player 1(host) is adventuring through the third floor when a player(client) infiltrates his game. H is wondering if this guy is good or bad, the renown system will display a personality type based on what kind of renown this guy has (Good Samaritan – Mass Murderer). This is decided by C’s previous campaigns, i.e. If he buried his fallen companions vs looted them without permission, or If he sold items to infiltrated Hosts vs killed them. Obviously certain actions will be worth more than others. At this point, H can change the way he plays out the situation, hiding vs  approaching the person.

 At the same time, burying your fallen enemies should give you a more neutral title than: Mass Murderer.

Hallucinations and Sanity would be akin to the “Death” ailment and there will definitely be no player “level”, but “rank/tower” will show how much the player actually knows about the game/how far they’ve gotten.

Final words: I’m working on a concept right now! 😀

 

 

June 12, 2015 at 11:50 pm

Finished a concept of the tower(s) and atmosphere. Will continue to update as summer progresses with more ideas.

June 13, 2015 at 7:21 am

Yeah please do! That looks great, in an end of the world apolocoplytic way 🙂 Love the reds

June 13, 2015 at 6:32 pm

@fireclay WOW! I love the concept art you just posted up. WAY TOO AWESOME to not be used. I really can’t wait to see what you do with it over the summer. This is like super duper amazing.

Here is something funny to help you imagine what the costs would have been if you were slapping on a budget for production – http://yourgameideaistoobig.com/

😉