Tobold’s had an interesting post up last week about the concept of a game that resets everyone back to zero as part of a cycle. It really is a nifty idea that I think more games should consider in whole or in part. But the question becomes, how often do you reset?
The first comment on Tobold’s post mentions resetting EQ1 every 90 days. Three months seems a little fast to me, especially given the huge amount of content the game has (not to mention the ridiculous keying and flagging for some zones). Of course, on a reset model, perhaps they could remove some unneeded content (like Luclin), maybe revamp the entire game to focus on one huge storyline. If they’d thought of it sooner, the Planes of Power expansion would have been perfect for this, seeing as how in the Plane of Time the defeat of Quarm results in story text saying your characters are being sent back in time or their memories wiped or something and the defeat of Quarm is being undone since he can’t be allowed to be killed. Three months might be perfect for a game that was only the original world, Kunark, Velious and Plane of Power. In fact, I think that game would rock. Maybe you could still throw in some of those mini expansions like Lost Dungeons and Ykesha, and every three months when they reset the world they’d revamp some zones, maybe add new features, change up the lesser stories. It would definitely solve my “empty world” scenario that happens when everyone is level capped and no one plays the low or mid level game anymore.
But for the casual player, is 90 days too short? If I was the kind of person who only got to play less than 5 hours a week, in three months I’d get in at most 60 hours of play, then I’d lose my character and have to restart. I wouldn’t want to play that game if I were that guy. Wherever you set your reset at, you’ll always be eliminating a set of players below a threshold. Another blog on the subject suggested two months… that short a period would need a very shallow and/or fast playing game.
Perhaps you could just reset the people involved in the final event, or people above a certain level… or maybe allow people to flag themselves as part of the “reset content” which opens up new areas, new raids, but means that when someone wins the final event, all the flagged characters get reset. But most of these limitations come in with level gated content. What if your game had no levels? What if the only progression in the game was in obtaining items and moving through the story?
It is a lot to think about.
For another take on the idea, I posted an idea about generations of characters a while back. Basically, the world resets during expansions, and players would control descendants of previous characters. Instead of just working to accumulate for one character, the player would develop a whole family lineage. Lots of interesting possibilities to consider.