R.A. Salvatore, best-selling author and creator of everyone's favorite dark elf Drizzt Do'urden,took the stage at GDC today to talk world-building and his experiences helping design thefiction for 38 Studio's upcoming MMO, Copernicus.
A veteran of MMOs like Everquest, Saltavore is a firm believer thatdying (in video games) makes you a better person. If you remove "the pain of losing," said Salvatore, "it will diminish the accomplishment of winning."
Above: His exact words. More or less.
As an illustration, Salvatoretold the story of a time when he got hischaracter killed in Everquest by accidentally attacking an NPC, which caused him to lose so much experience that he de-leveled. Though nota real cheerfulexperience, he remembers the incident because of it's emotional impact. "If you eliminate the downside of a game, when you accomplish something, what's the point?"
To that end Salvatore's been pressing designers at 38 to include some form of death tax, or at least explain in the fiction how it's possible that characters can return to life. According to the author, if a player dies, a device called the "well of Souls" will "bring you back...if you meet the conditions." Though he didn't specify what those conditionswould be, he did suggest that the existence of such a device would have serious ramifications.
"What would happen to our world tomorrow if they came up with an immortality pill? What does it do to the king? What does it do to the religions of the world?"
Though we still know next to nothing about Copernicus, the fact that Curt Schilling's got a creative mind like Salvatore's in the stable is promising.Social experiment: can aWorld Series pitcher and a best-selling author with unlimited time/money make a WoW-killer? Time will tell.
Mar 12, 2010