Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Heretical thoughts re: Uru

There are two camps emerging in the aftermath of the MOUL closure announcement;

Side One feels Uru should be given a good long rest, and not revived until it's been given a complete overhaul from the ground up, rethought from concept to implimentation.

Side Two feels that access should be granted as soon as possible to online Uru in some form, so that people can socialize, and build/change their enviroment.

The two ideas are not entirely incompatable.

I have always held the controversial viewpoint that Until Uru (as kick-ass and positive as it was) had a detrimental impact on the immersive potential of Uru Live. We spent so much time playing on the 'set' as it were, that when the play started, suspension of disbelief became difficult.

Imagine that you and some coworkers do a Civil War recreation group on the weekends... there's a different way of socializing, speaking, behaving, because you're putting yourself in that space, complete with enviroment and costumes.

Now, imagine that instead of going home from a recreating weekend, your 'real life' comes there. All the office politics and behaviors and social structure is now taking place in the Civil War area of your life. Eventually, you get used to it.

Then, one weekend, it goes back to being the Civil War, and not the office. All of a sudden, you're back to having to think like the Civil War. And, there's people there now who were never around for the recreation group, all they know is Office while Wearing Uniform. And they think the Civil War is getting in the way of them getting anything done.

The magic, the wall between 'real world' and 'alternative world' gets smashed, and once it is, it is REALLY hard to get back.

It's the same thing that keeps Disneyland from allowing costumed characters to be seen out of character.

The line between 'just a place to hand out' and 'the world of the D'niverse' was so blurred, it was very hard to tell when we'd crossed it.

More people saw Uru-the-enviroment as a social outlet, than a fantasy story world. So story, as sparse as it was, held second fiddle to social interaction. Not a bad thing, but not ideal, either.

So, how to balance keeping the world of the D'ni as something 'special', and not just a hackable, customizeable 3D chat room ala Until Uru, and still provide that UU like space for people to hang out in, and build Ages?

It can be done, and even fit the existing story.

Retool Uru/UU into something new... make Relto, the Neighborhoods, Eder Delin and Eder Tsoghal available. Give N'uru a Nexus that has those places only, and can be customized by the shard admin to allow links to new, player-made areas and ages.

Leave D'ni, and the other Ages, off-limits for now. The places above, and any place new that the players come up with, are the only places 'safe' from the Bahro, for now.

This gives people the Uru enviroment to socialize in, but leaves the majority of the world of Uru in Cyan's hands, to be kept as 'magic' space, so that when the story can be resumed, we can all enter into it with a sense of wonder.

This would also cut down on one of the serious plagues of MOUL: "BTDT Syndrome". People who'd been living off of UU were BORED SILLY in MOUL, right off the bat, because the content was stuff they'd been seeing and gone over with a fine-toothed comb for years.

Cyan could make changes to places like Kadish Tolesa, or Teledahn, in preparation for re-release (which could even happen to N'uru servers...), and they would seem new to people, because they weren't the Same Ol' Scenery.

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