Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Endgame Content for a Star Trek MMORPG +

Originally Posted by Botanybay:
The problem is not really what to do after having reached this and that Level, but what incentives remain to play the game, once all incentives are earned and used: Level, rank, abilities, items, credits, loot, etc.
The only incentive that is virtually endless and that I can think of is - surprise, surprise - story content.
As I think about this, I have to wonder if relying on developers to provide post-level cap story content might be too limiting.

What I'm looking at are these three facts:

1. As more time goes on, more of the game's population will hit the level cap.

2. Virtually every online game (even the small or bad ones) has far fewer developers than players.

3. Story content (especially if it's any good) takes time to develop.

Putting these facts together suggests that there's no way any game's developers will ever be able to supply enough story content to keep their max-level population satisfied.

Which is why the new buzzword-of-choice in game design is user-generated content.

There are a significant number of challenges involved in making user-generated content an explicit part of a game, both inside the game world (fairness, griefing, Sturgeon's Law) and outside (copyright). So I'm not going to go into all that stuff at this time; all I'll say here is that, for all its difficulties, only user-generated content would seem to have what it takes to provide enough content for a late-game population of maxed-out characters.

And note that "story" can be one of the things that players can create....