I called it a "cooperatively created world" but that's a bit of a silly term really.
Basically the actions of one player affect the gameplay of all players.
If people are generaly losing to vampires, then vampires control more of the world. That kind of thing.
There are different element acting on a local scale (one event) to a map scale, to a region scale, to an entire world scale.
The kinds of changes that are affected include:
- Which NPCs will be happy to talk to the player
- Scenery and layout changes
- Which enemies are friendly and which are hostile
- Which buildings a player can enter
- What purpose a building performs
Each individual map should have one map level conflict of some sort. That sounds a bit over the top perhaps but that could be something as small as these examples:
- Fisherman successfully overfishing a lake, so now there are no fish to catch
- A bear colony being wiped out so now there are none to fight
- Bandits taking over a town
- A cave entrance being successively sealed or opened
- Players generally pissing off a merchant so now they won't trade with anyone
I'm starting on a small scale and working my way outwards. The first maps work together. Port Tiben, and two maps of the trade route.
Here's an example of scenery changes:
They may be a bit subtle, I dunno. The place generally being dirtier, that sort of thing.
On top of that the town officials will be gone and replaced with hostile bandit enemies. The merchant that runs the cart is gone, and the buildings have been repurposed for the bandits. Other things like fish being scared to come to the surface, and the message board reading different messages.
How is this triggered?
I haven't got there all the way yet but currently:
- A bandit patrols map 2 on a horse, surrounded by a few hostile bandits
- Defeat this bandit and the hostiles disappear; he flees to map 3
- Help the bandit on map 3 and he will respawn on map 2 again
So basically: help the bandits and their strength goes up. Defeat them and it goes down.
I need some sort of heavy trigger to say "the bandits are strong enough to take over the town". So I will come up with some bigger events.
Perhaps some guardsmen are fighting the bandits and if you choose to fight the guardsmen instead, wiping them out, they can take over the town.
It doesn't have to be limited to these three maps either of course. Perhaps far in the distance some bandits are in a boat ready to launch. Aid them and they take over the town many miles away.
On a local scale there are small events that switch for all players. On a map or region scale there is a kind of defcon level. You can imagine the maps being set up like this:
1 - Bandits control the town
2 - Bandits control the trade route
3 - Bandits are retreating
4 - All is calm