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Independence Day: Freeing My
iMMOGination (continued)

Remember that I was thinking
of a franchise I'd like to see make it to the realm of MMOG.

I was
using 3 major criteria:

  1. familiar, tested core system
  2. character customization
  3. prevent griefing

Once I'd selected the core systems, I applied 6 elements of my dream

  1. story
  2. world
  3. combat
  4. quests
  5. character building
  6. diversions

Ogre Battle Online: Play This Game

The Ogre Battle series has been confined to consoles, and its fan base
may be a bit smaller than that of Diablo. The great thing Ogre Battle
Online (OBO) would bring is some innovation to the genre of MMOGs.
Hailing from turn-based strategy roots, OBO would introduce a new type
of MMOG to the market. And if you're wondering about my subtitle for
OBO, previous Ogre Battle games have incorporated Queen songs as
subtitle. I thought no Queen song fit better than "Play This Game!"

Ogre Battle games have a tested core system for those who are familiar
with it. It would take some nifty marketing to get the rest of the
gaming world interested in the concept. Griefing would be less of a
problem than normal becuase of the juxtapostion of the Imperial and
rebel forces; players are suppoed to fight each other frequently. The
bigger issue would be preventing exploits in the battle mechanic that
would make gaining experience too easy. In Ogre Battle games, certain
classes mow down other specific classes with ease (Knight vs. Mage or
Exorcist vs. undead).


OBO, like its predecessors, would feature an imperialistic
government oppressing the working-class. Players would be able to
choose to become part of the rebellion or enforce the law for the
Empire. Though that story breaks no new ground, OBO would present a
MMOG with world with complex political strife. Decisions would be less
black and white.


Ogre Battle games have never really featured an overworld. Instead,
players navigate from plotpoint to plotpoint on a map. Along the way,
players encounter random enemies or major attacks. For OBO to work as
an MMOG, players need some sort of environment, though. Thus, I see OBO
having a full overworld teeming with enemy forces. Near the starting
cities, players would encounter very few enemies. NPCs tend to
sympathize with others in their region. As players move farther from
their starting points, they'd encounter cities that are torn between
loyalty to the Empire and a desire to see political change. OBO players
could influence the political landscape of the realm through their

Thus, in addition to overworld locations such as the Tenne Plains and
Pogrom Forest, OBO would largely feature cities as battle landscapes.
But the world wouldn't be all war all the time. See my ideas for
diversions below.


MMOGs do not mix well with turn-based combat. Wait--do they? Aren't the
6 seconds between quads from a skeleton in href="">EverQuest II establishing
turns? OBO would incorporate turns based on initiative. All players
with the current highest initiative could act in one round. Then the
next. Then the next. Combat would feature the full grid-based movement
system, and players could choose form basic actions on their turns:
attack, defend, cast, items. Players would receive damage bonuses for
flanking, and resistances and elemental alignment would play a huge
role in any battle.

Grouping in OBO would form "Units," which could consist of up to 10
players. Whenever a Unit is short some members, players could hire
Imperial soldiers or rebel vigilantes to fill out the Unit. Battles
would be decided by defeating all enemies on the field. Defeated
players would be sent back to the last headquarters visited, with a
loss of all XP above the current level.

href=""> alt="OBO"
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OBO quests would tend
toward things such as "Liberate the trade city of Velnan from the
Empire" and "Crush the rebel resistance at Lake Jansenia." Even so, OBO
would have room for training exercises that could lead to XP. It is
also possible to envision rescue mission of the type of "Save the
Seer's Daughter from the Gryphons." This would be a great way to
incorporate the wild animals of the Ogre Battle universe. These wild
animals also show up in diversions below.

Character Customization

OBO players would start with a basic character--male or female, Empire
or rebel. At level 5, they would be able to choose a class based on
training completed at each level up. For instance, training at the
Imperial soldier training grounds would yield a Knight or Archer.
Training exclusively in the Arcane College would produce a Wizard or
Mage. As players increase in levels, they would be able to cross-train.
Mix Knight training with Exorcist training to produce of Paladin. Mix
Knight training with Thief training to produce a Ninja. The OBO would
allow for utility of pure classes and hybrids alike.


OBO would lend itself to a couple of no-brainer diversions: Diplomacy
and Breeding. Because of the politically-charged climate of the OBO,
rebels could talk their way into a major Imperial outpost on the
premise of being Imperial spies. Diplomacy would also help those
destitute farmers on the outskirts of the Empire to remain loyal to the
king. In short, the Diplomacy system would allow players to affect the
tide of the civil war. Though the Empire may have a firm grip on the
region known as Zenobia this month, rebel players working hard through
battles and Diplomacy could shift the balance next month--making
Zenobia a dangerous place for Imperial-aligned players to visit.

The Breeding program would allow players who choose the Beast Tamer and
Dragon Tamer classes to hone their skills in controlling monsters. They
can persuade wild beasts to join them, take the home, and eventually
breed them. The resulting beats could be rented for combat and further
bred to create more powerful creatures. The breeding classes could also
choose to take their beasts into combat with them, though they would be
controlled by the game's A.I.

Of course, OBO players would be able to craft weapons and armor,
convert beast hides into gear, brew potions, and build boats and
fortifications as well. When the whole land is at war, everyone must
chip in!

Parting Thoughts

I've set my imagination free this Independence Day to think about some
fun concepts for MMOGs. I first came up with a Diablo MMOG that would
be unique in providing an extremely dark backdrop for typical MMOG
gameplay. I then invented a turn-based strategy MMOG based on the Ogre
Battle series of games. How would you build your dream MMOG? Tell us in
our href="">forums!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016