MMORPG Design Documents

There are many aspects worthy of serious consideration when deciding to embark on the challenge of building a fun game. You will save yourself enormous amounts of time by thinking through each aspect of your vision. We have outlined some of the elements here and offered our opinions and thoughts on the various topics.
There are several Persistent Browser Based Game Engines currently available. Some are free and others cost a few hundred dollars. What is more important however, are the features available. Every game engine seems to be catering to slightly different taste and none seem to be all comprehensive (though a few try). I will list here the most popular PBBG's and the features they implement followed by a discussion of the features I fee are worth pursuing in our own game.
A game design must justify its existence. If you are going to spend thousands of hours on a title, there should be a good reason behind what you are building. Because I want to is not good enough. Like Title X, but better is not good enough. What is the unique need does your game title fill? Why would anyone play this game instead of other games?
It has been said that a successful game is one that your audience can connect with. We want to ensure that players can identify with their characters so that their avatar becomes an extension of themselves. This bond will hopefully make players more engaged and emotionally invested in what happens within the game. To facilitate this we will offer various ways to customize their appearance which should lead players to think of their avatars as "My Guy". This customized avatar will be used for the players profile picture within the Community Builder Component, chat and forum postings.
As part of the signup process, I want to include a graphical character creation tool.
Combat serves two purposes: advancing the character AND advancing the plot. You're weak so you fight monsters in the forest to get stronger. The Princess has been kidnapped, so you must fight your way through and rescue her. In both scenarios combat functions as a meta-game within the larger game. It is a repetitive task that must be performed to move forward in the game, it becomes known as the grind. Too much grinding and the players get burned out and stop playing. We avoid burnout by controlling the pace of combat and keeping it varied while still interesting.
Maps play an important part in grounding the player within the world we are creating. Because there are few graphics used in the game, the maps become even more important for not only establishing the look and feel but also for orientating the player. The map is the game board. When planning their next move or deciding what to do next, the player will gravitate back to the map view for clues. For this reason the map needs to convey a lot of information quickly. The map should be intuitive to use with well established constructs (up is north, scroll to zoom in/out, click and drag to pan, single-click to center). Most importantly there should be a way for admins to quickly update maps and add new ones.
MAP: View Maps / Edit Maps Everything else will be removed. This will just be an admin map editing component. The rest of the functionality is being moved to a different admin component (SocialMUD Admin), that we'll be working on later. "View Maps" is working as expected. It needs to be "1.5 Joomlafied" and generally improved (nav, submit, etc.) "Edit Maps" needs much help. The original mapmaker script included a WINDOWS program AND a PHP script. Prototype component mentioned above is installed.
The world in which our game takes place is immense. To help convey the sheer size of the world, we need to think of how the player will get from point A to point B. If you can magically teleport to any location on a whim then there is no sense of achievement in reaching a location, the whole world gets much smaller. If you are forced to walk from one city to the next and it takes a real 24 hours, then you have to really think about it and whether or not that is something you want to invest the time doing. There is a sacrifice made with the result of making the world seem a whole lot bigger. These are two extremes and I feel a compromise between the two will be the best solution.
I have been thinking about ways to help bring the game world alive, to add another level of immersion. To do this we need to ground the game in a place. Obviously we will create a rich history filled with names and places for this world, but we also want to convey those places visually with key graphics on the website. Another way we can achieve this (or in addition to) is by indicating environmental effects such as time-of-day and weather. At it's most basic level, we can communicate this visually with numeric values and graphics. On a more advanced level, we should find a way to integrate these environmental effects into the gameplay mechanics.
Tragedy, sorrow, and loss define Golarion’s history. Infrequent cataclysms undo cultural and technological advancements, periodically forcing human society into a state of relative barbarism and flux. Earthfall, the catastrophe that brought about the end of mighty Azlant—the most advanced human society yet to dwell on Golarion—marks humanity’s greatest resetting. A thousand years of darkness, fear, and savagery followed Earthfall, during which time the magical, technological, and cultural successes of Azlant and Thassilon were lost.