Game Development Reference
selves, for instance - it may have a shallow feeling. For this type of gameplay
the writers must work with the designers and agree the style and how it is
to be presented to the player.There should be a mixture of quests that involve
single players as well as teams of players.
The world should have an internal consistency which gives the impression
that it is self-supporting. An apparent infrastructure in which farmers grow
and supply food, merchants trade goods, blacksmiths create weapons and
armour, innkeepers offer shelter and refreshment, etc., will make the environ-
ments feel as if they are a living, breathing world. If trade is an important part
of the gameplay, the game world will feel more compelling if there is a sense
that the trade goods originate from genuine sources and have not simply
materialised out of thin air.
Although not in the domain of the writer, the locations themselves should
have a consistency of graphical style so that they look to fit within the same
overall world, even if they are very different in nature, such as desert and
woodland.They should match the internal logic of the world so they do not
look like they have simply been created for variety. Writing within this
structure should complement this overall feeling in a way that makes the
world feel unbreakable. Consistency across the team is vital.
The gameplay objectives, puzzles and quests should have as great a variety
as the world logic will allow in both solo and team terms. Many objectives
should be written and designed to encourage players to interact with other
players and embark on quests as a team, for without this type of gameplay
much of the real purpose of the MMOG is defeated.
Maintaining the world
Once the game is released, players need to feel that their characters exist in
a living world.The writing and design teams must keep gamers fed with new
material - quests, developing stories, new non-player characters to interact
with, and so forth. Without this additional work, the dedicated players who
spend a lot of time online will find themselves running out of things to do
within a few weeks.
Although expansion packs are often released, there is usually a big gap
between the original release and the first of these. The writing team is
likely to split their time between ongoing content creation and expansion
pack creation, although it could be that the developer requires the two
areas to be kept separate and the writers involved in one may not work on