The idea of separate server rulesets is not new in MMOs with PVP, RP, PVE and other combinations but they don’t go far enough to offer real player choice. While not released (and just being discussed) I am liking the thought that SOE will give playing players a vote on specific rulesets – and they will create those servers to play on.
I still believe in taking it to the next level and allowing MMO players to rent (and pay for) servers with moddable rulesets.
First Person Shooter server rentals are good and hosts can customize map rotations, community rules, how many players per side (etc.) They are normally rented by clans or guilds and its great – the clan/guild provides the base community and the server populates (or not) based on their choices and base participation. Good servers with fair rules and fun communities tend to be busy. Even “asshole” style teabagfests find solid participation. Why?
Because servers attract different types of people that can play their favorite games the way they want to, and the way it is accepted by the particular community they agreed to join. The premise makes sense. Let people adjust the way they want it. Enough players will flock to what they want to play. Everyone is happy. Publishers get sub fees AND server rental fees, or some sort of combination.
The bullet points from my 2008 post are still valid. I’ll rehash them here. They are WoW centric (and a bit snarky at the time written) but really, insert any MMO acronym and it still makes sense.
Keep public servers still, offer this as a secondary market. All private servers are still hosted and controlled by Blizzard and all core mechanics stay the same.
- At any given time in your WoW career, 95% of the world is unavailable to you anyway. You are either too high of level, or too low, or haven’t grinded X random raid boss 100 times to get the gear to go onto the next boss.
- Could create a persistant world – Guild and individual housing? Why not? You don’t need 20,000 plots of land per server. Since it is a smaller and more dedicated playerbase Blizzard could create the tools to impact the world and leave your mark. World events? You wait until you have your players online then fire them off – every player gets to experience it. Think guaranteed Gates of AQ event. How many got to participate in that? NPC’s can remember you are the hero (as you would be in this realm) and not just chat tag %t “is a hero of the realm!” until the next person grinds the faction, or turns in the quest.
- No Chuck Norris – unless you want that. The Chuck Norris type spammers (who stopped fitting on my ignore list 3 years ago) can all migrate to their own private server and spam away, patting each other on the back along the way, without annoying a single person.
- End to Gold Farmers – Since I have to privately invite you to my server, and flag your account, no more fighting for resource nodes with thousands of bots and illegal farmers. Yes, you still have to go collect the items (preserving the ever so important time sink) but if you have to clear 6 mobs to get to a node, you don’t have to worry about jerkoff_001 swooping in and stealing it right as you kill the last one.
- Characters on private servers can be ported to other private servers (not public). If I have a private server, and decide to close it down, everyone on that server still keeps their characters, items, everything – and can go to a new one. Conversely, if we meet a new friend and want to invite them along into our private little happy world – they don’t have to start from scratch if they have already been on a private server, they can port their characters over and play.
- Wow isn’t really an MMO anyway (once you exclude the inflated-broken AH) and is just a group experience. Why not give me the choice on who gets to play within that group experience?
We could add a lot to that list that are smart and fun ways to enjoy the games, such as vanilla rule sets (etc.) and activating expansions only if the server renters want to, and when they want to.
Why force people onto the same rules when no one can agree which ones are good? Besides a single shard game (such as EVE) are there really any valid arguments against smaller, more specific, tighter knit communities on more varied rulesets? Let’s give up the entire running accepted illusion of “massively” and just let them be the multiplayer online games they really are.