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A Civ MMO?

March 27th, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 4 Comments · MMO

Quite a few blogs are pointing to a Take Two presentation that reveals that the company is considering potential of a Bioshock or Civilization online game/MMO. Here’s Stephen Totillo’s take.

The presentation slide points to World of Warcraft as evidence of the potential size of the market. Which is sort of like pointing to the 1927 Yankees and saying that that is what baseball teams have the potential to be.

The slide also has Bioshock in every category – Online/MMOs, Mobile Games and Movie Tie-In. Great to know that they have such confidence in their other games.

So what would a Civilization online experience look like? With Warcraft – a standard fantasy world – it was easy to see how it would look in an MMO. Just take Everquest and make all the characters Blizzard IP. But Civ would require a total rethink.

Armchair designer suggestions welcome in the comments.


4 Comments so far ↓

  • Vic Davis

    Well this chair is pretty comfy so here goes…. I think I know now what kind of character I would have been during the Gold Rush. I’d have been the guy who stayed in the old same plot after everything was all played out and making enough money to go into town and play cards and do other things….

    I’d get letters from all my old buddies who followed the gold and silve to the next boomtown. Most of them would be dead broke, or dead.

    If I had been smart I would have followed them and sold the gold pans and shovels and whiskey.

    Maybe the analogy isn’t quite correct but to switch metaphors just because you are in the big leagues you don’t have to swing for the bleachers every single at bat. You will strike out too much and get send down to the minors before you know it.

    I guess I should just be glad the giants don’t ever want to eat the small fry anymore and just be happy that I can.

  • thk123

    Hmm, a Civ MMO, difficult how that could ever even begin to work. One idea, although I don’t have any clue if this is at all possible, is for the “massive” to be more close to 100 players and each player controls a, get this, civilization in a really big world map. The games are more drawn out than Civ, but still end. Basically, a giant version of Civ, but maybe more focused around diplomacy. It could work similarly to EndWar where all the results are added together to get the overall winning country.

    I think if you just made a traditional role playing game and stuck the Civ franchise on it, that would terrible and may even put me off future Civ titles. Bioshock, on the other hand, could work. The game could be set near the start of Rapture and it plays out like a traditional MMORPG. Collecting plasmids and exploring the near-perfect city etc.

  • Alan Au

    I’m just thinking “out loud” here, but I imagine the first major problem with trying to adapt a Civ context to an MMO framework would be account for variations in time-scale and player activity. On the one hand, you want to allow for “active” players who want to fiddle with things in real-time. On the other hand, you want to allow for players who maybe can only play for a few hours a week. With single-player (or even PBEM) you have a situation where a player is fiddling in real-time, and the game is on-hold otherwise.

    I guess it’s the same problem as any empire-building game. With turn-based, you have periods of high-activity, separated by lulls. With an MMO, you need to make the high-activity periods occur essentially on demand and offer some in-game bonus for doing so, without excessively penalizing people who don’t want to make that same time investment. It’s like an ongoing RTS, but with some level of autonomous governors who can manage things if you’re not managing things 24/7.

    The overall time scale of Civ might potentially be a problem, unless you had “global” tech advances and the like. Otherwise, I imagine it might be preferable to rework the time scale to something like History of the World and its system of eras. Of course, if you offer era advancement, eventually you’ll have to reset. Maybe a good performance in a previous round would give you some starting bonus or award to make subsequent restarts more palatable.

    Alternately, you could make players individuals in a world which “advances” at its own rate. You could become a “great person” by contributing to the world-state or something like that.

    Okay, I’m just rambling at this point. It’s an interesting problem, and making a “Civ-themed MMO” needs to be more than just flavor text and a digital coat of paint.

  • Vic Davis

    One of the gang at RPS had a good entry about giving up on some medieval themed persistant MMO browser based game. In the end I remember thinking that the take away lesson was “Hell is other people.”