Milko started out showing us just what The Ring could do. What can I say but once again we were floored by the power of the tools that Nevrax is placing in the hands of their customers. Milko started off by mentioning that due to server loads bandwidth they would not be allowing players to create their own maps, instead they would have initially have around 200 optimized maps for players to choose from and that they would add more over time. These maps have a huge range in size, shape and environments. He showed us several maps ranging from desert and marine environments to some gorgeous woodland settings. At this I had to ask the size and support that these maps were capable of he mentioned that every map would be able to support up to 100 Objects and 100 NPCs and some were so large that it would take a player nearly 1 hour to navigate across them.
With his scenario created he showed us how using simple triggers the creator can place the game in test mode and even turn themselves into a player so that they can effectively test their newly created scenario. This made me wonder what was to keep players from exploiting the system. Milko informed me that all items would stay in the scenario and no experience would be gained. Instead players would be given consumables that would do a variety of things like increase experience gains in the main portions of the game.
At this point I had to ask how they planned to utilize all this content. We were told that players would store their maps and scenarios on there personal systems and would upload them when they wanted to share them. Players could then either make the maps open to the whole community or just share them with their friends. With the potential for hundreds if not thousands of maps to choose from we wondered how players would find the maps they were interested in. Milko told us that thoughout Atys (the world in which Ryzom is set) there would be terminals that would allow players to browse though scenarios to help them find one to try out. While it’s currently only a plan, they also want to add a rating system to the browser that would allow players to rate the individual scenarios. He also mentioned that since players can skew the results, they would have another rating where the game's developers would also give the scenarios a rating to help players narrow down what scenarios to try. In addition, he mentioned that as players made maps and proved they’re trustworthy they would be giving those trusted people access to more features.
Finally I had to ask Milko the question that had been plaguing me for a while, why? Milko said it was simple like many MMO games they broke under the pressure and launched to early. They felt that their lack of content early on hurt them and like many MMOs that launched with a rocky start they had less subscribers then they had hoped they would achieve. So like many games that had a rocky launch they decided they needed a hook to bring players into the game and decided this would be the perfect Idea. In addition to the hook that this give to the game by creating this tool set that the Nevrax’s level and world designers could use as well they would be increasing their own productivity allowing them to deliver more quality content to the players.
If you’re like me you will ask the important question “how soon you can get your hands on The Ring?” The answer is a simple! The game entered open beta for all paying subscribers on Monday, September 11, 2006. It isn’t often that I see a product enter the market place that has potential to change the face of how we look at games, this is one of those products. For every gamer who ever dreamed of creating their own game, here is their opportunity to try their hand at being a designer. Personally I look forward to trying my own hand at creating a few scenarios and seeing what I can come up with.