MMORPG Tycoon development timeline

So now that the PCG competition is over, it’s time to consider future directions for MMORPG Tycoon.  Development will be slowish, of course, as it’s really a side project for me.  And I do expect to continue to do occasional “Game in a Week”s, just to stay fresh.

But on MMORPG Tycoon, I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll implement for version 1.1.

More beneath the fold.

My rough list of what I’m planning to implement for version 1.1:

  • Improved subscribed user simulation.  In addition to what they do now, subscribed users will also form bonds with each other, including friendships/enmity, will form parties to adventure together, and will form guilds.  Users will have inventories, including weapons, armour, healing items, and money.  Monster drops will provide these, as will shops in town.  Users will remember which bits of the world they have been to before, and will be happy to explore new areas, or become bored if they spend too long in just one place.
  • Revamped city building.  Instead of placing a single “town” icon as the player does now, the player will place individual buildings.  The full list of buildings will be:  Tavern (resting, socialising, ‘home’), Shoppe (kitting up, selling loot), Auction House (selling/buying loot, maybe crafting?), Trainers (must be visited after gaining a level), and Quest-Givers.
  • The new quest givers will work a little like towns do now;  the quest-giver will automatically select a nearby region for the user to travel to and perform some task.  Unlike before, though, each quest-giver has a finite number of quests.  When a player finishes performing quests for one quest-giver, he’ll have to find another quest-giver, or else grind levels until he’s high enough level to reach another quest-giver.  And users don’t like grinding levels, so players will have to be sure they have enough quest-givers to provide experience.  Additionally, the player will be able to place a “boss monster” for each quest-givers’ final mission.  Users will have to defeat that boss monster in order to clear the last quest.
  • Revamped road placement.  I don’t know how this will work yet, but I’m not happy with the current system.  1.1 will have much nicer roads than the current ones;  I’m just not sure how they’ll work, yet.
  • Number of employees will actually be wired up into the MMORPG simulation.  When the player places city buildings or roads, it will take time for those buildings to actually be built.  Employees will appear on the map, busily moving around fulfilling the player’s build orders.  The more employees you have, the faster your build orders will be fulfilled.  But also the more you have to pay in wages.
  • A real business economy will actually be wired up;  placing buildings will now cost cash, in addition to employee wages.  This will make the whole “paying off the initial loan” situation much less pointless.
  • The player will be able to zone/unzone water regions.  At a very high price.
  • A “Favorite Users” report, which will show you the activities of your favourite subscribed users.  No need to sit on the “Inspect” tool all day long;  this will give you a digest form of what they’ve been up to during the last 24 hours!
  • Raising the subscriber cap to at least as high as the largest competitor MMORPG.  Ideally somewhere around 2 million users.
  • A step-by-step in-game tutorial mode that’ll teach all the basics of the game.
  • Some sort of terrain on the map.  Probably mountain ranges and forests.

Overally, the main notable thing that I don’t plan to change in 1.1 is the “maximum number of users per region” restriction.  That is actually one of the core gameplay challenges of MMORPG Tycoon;  how to keep your users happy, while strategically arranging your buildings and zones to keep from letting your users bunch up together in just a single server.

Of course, I don’t know when 1.1 will be finished;  as you can tell from the task list above, it’s a really big job, and I’m just doing this for free in my spare time, but I’m sure I’ll put up a beta build from time to time to get people to try out the various gameplay concepts.  :)