I've been playing Lord of the Rings Online since my WoW account expired and it's now free to play. They use a trait system instead of talents for customizing your character. These traits are earned by doing things in game as opposed to as you level. You get empathy for completing quests. you get justice for killing brigands. Etc.

What if these traits were more than just stat bonuses? What if they also affected how you speak to NPCs? There are already things like text options and dialogue wheels that let you choose (in a limited way) what you say to NPCs. Why not have these traits affect what options are available, allowing the dialogue to go in directions that others wouldn't see? This could open up entirely new quest paths, allow players to negotiate better quest rewards, or even open up new skills to be learned from trainers. There could also be "negative" traits as well, allowing a wider range of bonuses and even changing the way the game is played. Ruthless would grant pets and hirelings higher damage (because you push them harder), but causes them to be more willing to abandon you after taking enough damage. Evil would grant a bonus to shadow damage spells and abilities and give you greater control over undead minions. And so on.

The main thing here is that I'm trying to come up with ideas that bring an RP play style into the main part of the game. Playing on RP servers basically since I've started playing MMOs, it seems that most players regard RP as something that is done in town. When you are out questing or doing instances, RP becomes impractical. I want to bring about a game where a character's actions have impact on what happens to them and where players have to consider their actions' consequences before leaping into the fray. A paladin who is an upholder of all that is good and just running into the forest to slaughter squirrels and bears en mass doesn't really seem like it would be in character.

I know a lot of my ideas would make for a game that is extremely niche and not very widespread, but I think it would make for a game that is highly immersive and rich.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 10/01/2010 03:29:00 PM


Syl said...

Some interesting ideas there. I certainly would love to see more impact and 'rpg elements' adopted into MMOs, I don't see why it can't work!
I am playing Dragon Age:Origins at the moment and absolutely love how they managed dialogue options and good/neutral/evil paths there - you should give that game a go if you haven't yet, it's stunning in every respect! :)

Glyph, the Architect said...

I actually did give it a go, but now the game just crashes to the desktop and I never got far enough for any of the choices to make a real impact. Still can't figure out why it does that, but when I find a workaround for it, I'll definitely be continuing that game.

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