Nostalgia is great. There is nothing like the rose-colored glasses of memory to make you feel glad. And, if you’re trying to show off your MMORPG cred, to show off how much you, personally, rock. Any time an instance, event, or even crafting gets changed in an online game, you have people that crawl out from the woodwork to explain that while sure, you can do it now, THEY did it when it was really tough, not this carebear version you have. Nope, uphill both ways, carrying their guild master on their back, blindfolded, wearing their newbie tunic and with only a rusty sword. And they liked it. It’s fun to mock those people, but let’s not talk about them anymore. What I do want to talk about is what was done in EQ1 often enough that I think WoW may want to look into: Revamping Zones.
In my last post I tentatively compared Blizzard’s announcement of The Wrath of the Lich King, their second expansion, to the post-Velious decline of EverQuest. Some may smirk and point out that Verant and SOE would have killed for the success of the WoW machine, or that EverQuest running in its eighth year, is hardly dead and far from a failed development model, and those people would be correct and wrong in the same breath…
I heard about an experiment Everquest did once called “Project M”. It allowed you to take over a random mob in the beginner zones for a little while. This is something that I’ve felt is needed in any MMORPG. What a perfect diversion.
If any current MMORPG out there allowed me to take over a mob and hunt the players, I’d be all over it. I don’t want to play a monster, I just want to take one over for a battle or until a player kills it. Then I could spawn back in a monster lobby and do it all over again.
I think that would be perfect for casual players or for people just looking for a change of pace from the regular grind.
Update: I found the patch notes from 2001 when Everquest tried Project M. Here they are:
** Project M Implemented **
Tonight we have patched something to the PvP servers that many players have been waiting for. The ability to play that gnoll, orc, or the cute and fuzzy rat. On your character select screen you will notice another button in the upper right part of your screen called “Monster”. Clicking this button will randomly place you in a low-level NPC in a random zone. You will be given full control of the creature to do with it what you like. You may hunt and kill other creatures. You may even attack other players.
Some things to remember when playing your own personal monster (NPC).
-You will not be able to interact with players or NPC’s other than moving and hitting attack.
-You cannot speak, trade, sell, or do anything else that a player can do.
-You will spawn with normal loot for the monster you are playing and Player Characters will be able to kill you for loot and experience.
-If you are a spell casting monster you might want to take a moment to memorize some spells.
-Once you die, you will return to the character select screen where you may choose to return as another NPC or play your normal character.
-You may gain experience, levels, and skills as this NPC, but once you die, it is all lost. You will need to start over the next time you choose to be a NPC character.
-You can’t zone as a monster. If you try to cross a zone-boarder you will lose your progress and return to the character-select screen.
-Monster PCs (MPCs) can not loot, sell, or gain items. They only get what they start out with.
This ability to play a monster is being implemented for PvP servers only as we have no plans to implement non-consensual PvP on a non PvP server.
However, we are still working with this system. We may find other ways to implement Project M on the non-PvP servers that are acceptable. We aren’t done looking at the
possible uses of this new feature.