Tuesday, July 29, 2008

IP (Freely)

Intellectual properties are a wonderful thing.
When you are starting a game, there are many hurdles. Too much exposition and fluff and people will get bored. Too little explanation of the why of your gaming experience and people will find it shallow and unmemorable. So IP's with their already established stories, fans, rules and reasons are great right?

Welllll....I suppose it depends on the medium. Take Star Wars. The movie franchise (love or hate the new ones) is hugely popular. The books are fantastic (YMMV). The games are hit and miss and the MMO .... well all I will say on that is NGE.

Two big IPs are coming to an MMO near you soon (for a given value of soon). Star Trek and Warhammer.

First we'll deal with a question on Star Trek.

Originally when Perpetual were running the game, they had decided to move the setting for the game 25 years beyond the end of Nemesis. This was a fantastic move I think. It put it far enough away so that familiar faces would exsist, but still left expansion room for current books, movies and shows. It also put it just far enough in the future for the lads at Perpetual to make up any damn story they wanted.
So far I have heard nothing, though granted I've not yet looked hard, to suggest Cryptic is retaining that story, making a new one or just plonking every new player in the universe ten minutes after the end of Nemesis.

Warhammer on the other hand is being created with huge input from Games Workshop. They are helping the lads at Mythic pick the classes, the look and feel of the world, even having final say on certain things (as far as I understand it) like the removal of the Dwarven beertractor.

I wonder how far the interaction from Games Workshop can be taken, or the creative control that Paramount may exert on Cryptic. Take the other big Cryptic game, Champions Online. Cryptic can do pretty much anything they want as they now own the IP. What happens in their game setting is now lore and the books that will be released in tandem and after the game launch will reflect that. Cryptic can manipulate that IP any way they want. Mythic cannot however suddenly declare that all Dwarfs adore pink and should ride bunnies and that Chaos really isn't that bad, they just need a /em hug once in a while.

What do you think is best for an MMO? Free reign to manipulate the world anywhich way? Or should the companies have a fluff bible and strict guidelines?

Personally I favour the guidelines. As much as I trust Mythic, the majority of my interest in Warhammer Age of Reckoning isn't the RvR or Living Guilds/Cities or any of that. It's the fact that it is Warhammer. A game and universe that I love and enjoy playing in.

Another universe that I enjoy is the setting for World of Warcraft. I am currently re-reading Richard A. Knaak's War of the Ancients trilogy. It's a good fun read I think.
I however made the mistake of looking over http://wowwiki.com earlier.
Blizzard have not retained a strict control of their world and as such I see chaos creeping in. Print media is not agreeing with the RTS which in turn is different again in ways from the MMO. Sure the little separations are that, little. Sure this happens all the time, look at comic books and the Infinite Crisis idea.

For me though, for my immersion in the game, for my stories that I play out and for my own enjoyment, I am glad there is someone there watching Mythic and helping them keep the corners tidy (or as tidy as they ever are in the Games Workshop, 25 years is alot of backstory). An ordered universe can only make it easier for us to play surely?

That said, maybe WoW needs to release the Crisis of Infinite Azeroths and Cryptic release something that tells us what stars we'll be trekking.

Warning : If you click on the WoW wiki you are subject to the wiki effect (link in title).

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