We Will Revolutionize MMO Mining

Two days ago I made a post about the MMO I want to make one day. From that post a ton of ideas have started to pour in about how certain features would work. I have been frantically taking notes as you guys expand upon my thoughts and even take the simple notes I posted and run with them in the exact direction I was wanting to go in-game.

One of our readers named Gringar hit the nail on the head with how I want mining to work.  I mentioned that I want miners to actually have to go into caves and mine, and he already jumped to where my mind was going: Vast cave networks!  Imagine if mining was done in massive mountains with tunnels and the deeper you go the better the resources you can find.  I started thinking more on the idea.

I’m not big into the idea of this voxel stuff where the world itself actually breaks. I don’t like WoW’s (and all modern themeparks’) style of nodes either. I think I would stick to something a little more like UO where you you can interact with various surfaces of the cave and resources can dry up and randomly replenish and rotate.  If you didn’t play UO, think like SWG.

These caves would be glorious to behold. I’m talking massive caverns, crystals, rare metals, super rare artifacts to uncover to be used by crafters to enhance weapons, etc.  The better your mining skills the deeper in the caverns you’ll be able to go.

Here’s where it can get interesting. Imagine how deep these caves can go… in the words of Saruman: “You fear to go into those mines. The dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame. “

Yep! I want there to be awesome enemies to stand in the way, traps and obstacles to overcome, and other horrors to frighten even the strongest miners away. What if certain areas of the cave could randomly be uncovered as a certain amount of ore or stone was withdrawn from deep enough in the caverns.  Imagine after a few weeks the caves have been mined deep enough that suddenly a door appears at the bottom with glowing runes.

The miners open the door and a massive winged abomination comes crashing through.  Adventurers would have to come and save the miners, or else the miners would have to retreat to a less deep and less rewarding tier of the cave.  That might be a neat way to get both gatherers and miners working together since the adventurers want what the demon guards, and the miners want the resources.

So many awesome ways to take simple systems like gathering and make them into a huge features. Keep the ideas coming  guys, this is great!

  • This is what MMORPGs might look like in 2014 if they had continued making multiplayer virtual worlds. Instead they spent a decade refining single player, on rails quest hub/cinematic games where they ensure every player gets the same curated easy experience designed to artificially inflate player egos.

    What a waste of 10 years :\

    (Sorry for the cynicism)

  • @Jenks: You needn’t apologize for your cynicism here. I’m right there with you. I totally agree that this is what MMORPGs might have looked like if we continued making virtual worlds. I’m going to continue posting topics like this with ideas I’ve had to give people an idea of what MMORPGs could be like if the industry ever wants to turn things around.

  • @Jenks totally agree…is really sad that after 10 years we just have very bad copies of older games. The imaginative developers have lost their passion and went straight for the money and the new MMO developers are the suits from big companies that want to copy wow and print billions..

    I think all the art lack imagination and quality. Back in 80s, 90s you buy a music cd and 10 out of 12 songs were masterpieces…now there is only 1 song that is good and sometimes this song is just a remake of old..As for movies? 9 out of 10 movies nowdays are garbage..

    But history go in cycles and I hope that we will once again face a great art era 🙂

    (sorry for bad English)

  • Completely agree with jenks and with all of you really. When I was reading the original post I found myself getting angry. Angry that a fan on a blog that will probably never make a game has to come up with new ideas because the industry has stagnated for a decade. I want to just get my hands on a few of these guys and shake them and say what the hell are you doing.

    Now to get really cynical. Keen. You need to launch some crowdfunding dude. I mean if you can’t beat em join em. And walk away with 500k and a game that never really launches or just becomes 3 monther.

  • What about players mining together? Would this be possible Vanguard style?

    My big issue with the MMORPG industry at present is that cooperative play with groups of friends is either punished or, in a sense worse, just wasn’t thought about as the game was developed (ESO!). Why on earth would I prefer to play with random strangers over friends?

    That said and to relate it to this post would this mining you talk about enable the usual MMO player behaviour – node stealing, ninja miners taking nodes while you fight the big bad etc?

  • When reading these, I always think the idea is brilliant, but I can’t see the implementation work.

    I can’t see this game working if it is succesfull.
    Reason being: How do you make those mines dangerous if there is a large quantity of players that saturate the world? The enemies have to be common enough and aggressive and strong enough to be challenging to adventurers (which makes em unkillable by the pure crafters (this is required to make sure a single adventurer doesnt kill everything)), yet very unrewarding for adventurers to kill, as we want the monsters to stay alive to provide the danger. If they are rewarding to kill adventurers will just keep the zones empty (as happened in UO regularly).
    But with this the miners have to pay groups of adventurers to join them and protect them, which might work, depending on how rewarding adventurer tuned content is.

    The whole idea seems to be better tuned for a low pop world where there just aren’t enough players to clear areas. But those worlds are unrewarding for crafters.

  • @Caldazar

    It doesn’t have to ‘work’ because it’s not a game. Caves and monsters, now deal with it. We’ve become to used to MMOs adapting to us because they have become games. I believe Keen is trying to imagine up a virtual world. Worlds don’t adapt to their inhabitants, their inhabitants adapt to them.

    In any case, if we are going to imagine up an MMO we may as well imagine the coolest one.

  • When the cave has been fully explored and all part of it revealed, the Golden Door crushed by the heroes of the Mine, what will do the next one ? Back to boring node ?

    This proposition would be great for a Single Player (or Coop) game, but I do not see how it works for a MMO. It is very difficult to have permanent content in a game that cannot be restored.

    If you want to have permanent change, and a MMO, you should create a MMO-Conquest : The first settler arrive in a wild world, and progress to tame this world. THe following player need to go further and further to discover wild part of the world. Each server should be independant, and with a different age, and you have the choice to join a new world (new server) or a civilised one (old server). When a world is fully civilised, the server will slowly die, and be closed or used as a tutrorial for new gamer. That could be a great game – but we have to accept that you cannot see what other have seen.

  • @Ettesiun: The door(s) can randomly appear on various wall surfaces throughout the cave(s). It would definitely be restored at random intervals. Let’s say the door activates for the first time when 10,000 stone are removed from tier 3 of the cave. It might not appear next time until 100,000 stone are removed. I think it’s easy to adapt and see how often people are using the cave to determine what would be considered a good enough ratio. Keep in mind I would see there being a dozen of these massive mining caves throughout the world — at least.

    @TheCrow: I’ve actually held back my Landmark time significantly. I want to experience the game all at once now rather than patch by patch. The world I envision doesn’t have breakable terrain, though.

    @Electrolux: Yep, I’m envisioning a virtual world and not a game meant to be played through.

    @Caldazar: Adventurers would want to vanquish the beast to obtain rare materials used to craft better items. The miners would want the adventurers to remove the beast so they can return to mining. The crafters want both of those groups to do what they do so that the crafters can put to use the items and buy the resources. I imagine that in a game like this I wouldn’t see millions of players. The populations would be a little more niche, and as a result more manageable than zergs of people. Also keep in mind that my world would be so enormous that even if 10,000 people were all simultaneously playing on one server you’d be hard pressed to ever feel it was crowded. I want people to feel this sense of comfort was over them when they find other people.

    @Telwyn: There would be no nodes to steal. I think the idea of cooperative mining could be cool. Consider two people mining in the same area when grouped — they could receive a buff that increases mining efficiency by 10-20% or something. I’m all about encouraging socializing and grouping. Imagine if that could also carry over to crafting.

  • I’ve been thinking about the kinds of things I’d want to see/do in my ideal MMO world too, and you’ve definitely given me some ideas to start the creative juices flowing!

    I think it’s a great idea to brainstorm about specific systems/classes/professions in isolation, you can figure out how they mesh later. In this case, mining, I see the crafting/gathering professions as being minion-based. You have a workforce to help you actually do the mining, carting ore off, building the mine supports, etc. This lets you give the player some sense of importance (being a boss of operations) as well as being a goldsink (having to pay wages, etc). The activities that the player would do during play would be resource management, and some exploration and prospecting. Prospecting is the key in my ideas, as a non-miner would traverse the cave system and just see plain walls, with maybe some different-coloured streaks that don’t necessarily mean anything. A trained miner, though, using skills only available to the class, would be able to detect and mark off the different types of ore and/or gem deposits for their workers to mine.

    To me, that would give the player importance to their faction or guild or whatever, as nobody else actually knows where the riches lie. It encourages grouping up to explore deeper into the cave systems, as the miners need protection while they survey the area. Instead of adventurers clearing out a bunch of areas because they can see massive veins of valuable ore available, they need the miners to tell them whether they’ve wasted their effort or not.

    As the player gains more experience (levels?), they gain both an expanded workforce and get to research the tech necessary to both detect and successfully mine and refine ever more valuable materials.

    Those are some of my thoughts on mining in particular, riffing off your cave system ideas.

  • MMO spend so much time trying to script events when they can do so much more with just some decent mob placement.