Looking forward, the Realms of the future?

In my last post we talked about an achievement system and saw more comments on that post than any other. Overwhelmingly people thought it would be a positive thing for Realms. It has been proposed to TS and we’ll see how it goes. Without waiting to prove that the idea can work the Guild of Origin will use this technique to finally get our Assassin’s Run Council up and running – a tool to encourage people to adventure and get more skillful at mob kill.

I continue to reflect on what things might improve the Realms. I say might because I do not consider my own opinion to be the only one out there but by having the discussion in this forum I think at least I expand my understanding of what others thing, so please keep the feedback coming.

Once I started thinking about the achievement system I started to question whether or not the character is the right basic unit for a player. For example there’s no simple way to create an achievement that says “Level a character of each class to avatar.” because our basic unit is a single character.

Why might we want to create a higher level grouping than a character? It seems that the idea of character bound items is very popular to encourage people to go out and adventure on their own. I fully support it. It instantly conveys to me that someone has actually done some playing (except for those who pay someone to get the item on their character … but no system’s going to be perfect). The frustration comes when you upgrade the character with a replacement and now want to use that item on the new character — or if you’ve decided to switch the build on your character and won’t be using the character bound item on that guy. You can’t use it on your own characters.

One solution to this is to create an account level login that acts as a master login to all your characters. Character bound items become account bound items and problem solved. Account level achievements now become trivial and happy days.

So … is it even possible with the way SMAUG is designed today? Perhaps. I don’t think it’s a trivial change but I do think it’s possible. The question becomes what behaviours should be allowed regarding accounts? Can we trade characters out of accounts? Believe me that there will be a segment of the community that will say NO … and it is by far the simplest solution. An end to character trading means you level your own toons and no more paying someone to do it for you. If we say yes then we need a mechanism to disassociate a character from an account … again not a big deal. The later is probably the simplest political sell because it does not signal any policy change from today.

As with most things Realms this could be opt in. You get to the login prompt and type a character name that isn’t associated with an account and bang you log in as a single character.

There are lots of details that would need to be worked out especially around how character and/or account bound items would operate but I think that this would be a road forward that allows players a more rewarding experience.

New account oriented features could be discussed … we call our groups of characters armies but what if a new semi-pkill kingdom style of play was introduced? That’s a different idea for a different post and maybe even a bad one but let your imagination run away with you and see if new ideas crop up when you travel this road.