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Discussion: How would you change the Gameplay Mechanics of MMORPG’s?

Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) outlines how he would like to see MMORPGs in the future.

Hey everyone, Shaun Meyers here with a question for all you Calm Down Tom readers out there: How would you change the mechanics of MMORPGs?

Since I first started playng MMORPGs back in 2006 with the game Shadowbane, it’s become fairly obvious that the MMO market has yet to see any major technological improvements or any changes in the way we play them. Over the years the market continues to get flooded with MMO’s that are more and more of the same with little to no innovation besides slight improvements. I will admit that I sort of blame World of Warcraft for this stagnation, but nobody can say for sure if the MMO market would be any different without it. I think it’s about time for the market to embrace a new way of playing in massive online worlds. The point and click and skill bar mechanic is old and stale at this point and here’s how i would change things.

Firstly movement has always been either W,A,S,D key movement or the standard point and click movement and this has worked fine for many years, but this mechanic is one of the many that needs to be changed up. I would like to see movement moved from the keyboard to the mouse directly. Switching the movement to the mouse also opens up my other idea that I will cover shortly. My proposal is to use the left and right mouse buttons to run and use mouse movement to look around and turn. While holding the 2 buttons down you run forward, when not holding them down the mouse just moves the camera around and using the ALT key allows you to switch off the camera temporarily to allow the use of the cursor to open a window like the Friends menu. This style movement would also allow easier integration with controllers. Despite this, I myself prefer keyboard and mouse however.

The second part I’d like to cover is the use of skills. As most players of MMORPG’s know the skill bar has always been the main way to use skills, but i propose a different solution to this problem and it doesn’t look to RPG’s to solve the issue. I suggest using the mechanics of a fighting game instead of the standard number key and skill menu. Using the mouse for movement allows you to have the keyboard completely open for buttons to use in creating combos for skill activation. For example, take a skill like cleave. Instead of using a single monotonous button click constantly, this system could allow you to create your own combo to activate the skill much like Street Fighter and could open a more engaging and fun MMO experience.

The third part is overall combat. Since we’d be using fighting game mechanics, I would like to see an MMO play much like a fighting game. With the ability to run through an enormous open world like this, you could have the ability to charge an enemy in PVE or PVP and when close enough, grapple the enemy (be it Troll, Demon or Dragon) and pummel it into submission or execute a killing move, like snapping it’s neck for example. Fighting game mechanics open a lot of possibilities with combat and would make the game more skill based rather than relying completely on armor that has high stats.

These are but a few ways the MMO mechanics can be changed and the market definitely needs more innovation and to move on from stale and overused control schemes and layouts. As well as more variation in game world layouts, it would be great to see more games branch out from the overused fantasy setting.

What are all of your thoughts on the matter? What would you all do to change MMO’s for the better?

Thanks for Reading everyone and Happy Gaming!

Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) Out!

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