Better integrating mobile devices into MMORPGs

Mobile Realm War

Another amazing idea came out of our forums today.  Thelg and Lokked get credit for coming up with the idea of somehow integrating mobile devices like iPhones into MMORPG RvR gameplay.   The idea makes perfect sense, and for once I’m able to see this type of integration actually happening in a way that isn’t cheesy, gimmicky, or worthless.

What if your mobile device connected you to the realm war?  Imagine receiving a push notification from a herald when enemies entered your lands.  You could then connect immediately to guild chat and alert your guild or alliance.  Your mobile device could act as a real-time connection between you and what is going on in-game on the battlefield, similar to what the DAoC Herald used to provide.

Mobile devices could be connected to a plethora of in-game activities.  Tap to upgrade doors, walls, and placements.  Trigger oil over doors, fire turrets, or even take control of a turret using the iPad’s gyro controls.  Imagine being able to adjust the pathing of NPC guards on the fly to send them in an area where they will be more useful.  Crafters could also access their resources in-game and begin repairing walls as if they were there, and they could be represented by an NPC character.  Characters who are magical could set up scouting orbs that act like cameras (think Eye of Kilrogg) and maintain a constant watch of a strategic point to alert their friends.

Take the idea even further. What if players could participate in a group with their mobile devices?  Let’s say I can’t make it to a siege with my guild because I’m not able to be at my computer.  What if I could access my account, log in, and be with my group in some form to still provide some sort of utility?  A healer’s whack-a-mole style of healing could easily translate to a mobile device.  Maybe your group carries a banner around, or an orb, and when battle starts they place the object and you’re able to micromanage it from your device until it was destroyed or picked up.  Logging in would only be possible via one device, so you couldn’t dual-log.

This type of integration gets players involved no matter their location or circumstance.  It brings meaningful innovation to the idea of connecting mobile devices to MMORPGs, and actually provides a useful new function.  More ideas coming to mind extend mobile connectivity beyond even RvR.  Crafters could manage their shops in real-time, interact with customers, create their goods, and integrate with the game with an all new type of asynchronous gameplay.  The ideas are really starting to flow.


Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Reddit0Share on Google+0
Jean - January 3, 2013

I’d really like that!

Blargh - January 3, 2013

I’m pretty certain SMS notices to your cell/mobile have been around for a while, although that does not count as interactive. (WoW’s AH does though)

That said, a decent integration into a decent game might actually be enticing enough for me to finally get a next gen handheld :p

Gringar - January 3, 2013

The idea is awesome of course. I just wonder how glued to our shiny screens we’ll be. Guardrails and ditches would fill up with cars whose drivers were upgrading their keeps.

Keen - January 3, 2013

@Blargh: SMS that act like intruder alerts into territory, or alert when guard NPC’s are under attack, is definitely a twist on notifications though.

@Gringar: The comments on the forums have been centered around there being some mighty angry spouses.

McJigg - January 3, 2013

I’m against this. There are people out there who can’t afford phones, let alone phones with app capabilities. The availability of such phones also changes from country to country. There are also people who just don’t want a cell phone or try to use their current one as little as possible.

I’m fine paying for a game, I’m fine paying monthly for a game, I’m not fine being at a disadvantage due to the phone I can afford.

Keen - January 3, 2013

@McJigg: I meant to make it clear that this would be an option that wouldn’t replace ANY in-game feature or give ANY advantage over having a player actually present. All this would do is give those who can’t be at their computer a way to participate. There would be no benefit of logging on with a mobile device if a player were able to be at a PC.

In cases where mobile devices performed functions not available on PC, they would be alternative and/or asynchronous events that simply offered a different way of doing things.

Features such as push notifications on phones could be available to users via a website interface like DAoC had with the Herald.

Ragni - January 4, 2013

My main concern with this is that people would be expected to be available to help 24/7 with such a system. Want to enjoy a movie or read a book? Sorry, you’ve got to drop it halfway because there’s something going on in-game.

People have been complaining for some time already that phones, and specially smartphones tie them to their jobs even when outside the office. With this idea you are just bringing the same kind of burnout to games.

bhagpuss - January 4, 2013

Given that I just read the post on a Tablet and am replying on same you might expect I’d be all in favor but I don’t think I am. I tend to agree with Ragni – the potential for burnout and over-investment could outweigh the benefits. The Catch 22 would seem to be that if the mobile options were effective there’d be an obligation to use them whereas if they weren’t effective there’d be no point in using them.

Me, I’d rather just have some really good mobile-only MMOs rather than a mash-up of the different platforms.

Keen - January 4, 2013

@Jadawin: Brilliant!

Thelg - January 4, 2013

@Jadawin this is gold lol We need to make this happen!

Lethality - January 5, 2013

While I think multi-channel/multi-screen input definitely offers some cool possibilities for connecting players to the game when they’re not in it (or even when they are), it represents a potential great imbalance between the haves and the have-nots. No smart-phone or tablet? No gold for you!

I think for the time being we’ll be relegated to apps like this for only asynchronous or benign tasks.

After ArenaNet dropped the ball on their much-ballyhooed “extended experience” I’m sort of soured on the idea that anyone is willing to try.

Blargh - January 5, 2013

Well, to take the pragmatic view, if there’s money to made out of it, it will come — and I see plenty of money to be made out of it for game developers/distributors/etc. So, yeah.

Comments are closed