RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#21
10/11/2016 4:37:07 PMAdvonKoulthar Wrote: [ -> ]Way to go landon, just keep bumping up threads I'll find interesting....

Anyhow, question for RexZ as a game designer, and anyone else who has thoughts on the matter.
Has anyone ever thought about balance in an MMO without a level cap? I tried finding some info on it for the story I'm writing to help nail down the progression rate, but I can't find many places where it's discussed.

So far I've been developed it as being a roguelike-some items/spells for revives, which would mean that high level players can be killed off and one person isn't guaranteed to stay at the top. The other thing is that I guess I may have added 'unbalanced' classes as a metagame balance, that is a build that would do tons of damage but could be killed by anything to remove high level players, but also not pose a long term threat; or has tons of defense, so while they would be tough to kill, they would have a difficult time affecting the world with impunity(outside of a social role I guess).

Since you're a game developer, I was just wondering about your thoughts on the idea in general. The description is just to help describe the context of why I'm asking.


My game design is that there isn't a hard level cap, but the experience curve gets so steep that there's pretty much a soft level cap that starts making grinding miserable after level 100, 120-ish. It's to the point that nobody will get to level 200 until 8-10 years after the game release, and this is with time accelerated 3x in the game.

In my game, you can gain stats outside of levelling up, so a difference in level between two players doesn't necessarily mean anything. Also, skills themselves level up by repetition. You can also join multiple combat classes. There's so many factors that determine who has the combat advantage that the level difference only plays a small role.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#23
10/12/2016 4:28:56 PMAdvonKoulthar Wrote: [ -> ]@Unice
Well at that point why have a leveling system at all? I get having abilities and strategies that can let you surpass someone above your level, but it seems like level should indicate something. It's a bit tautological, but if your levels are diminished in importance, than they are diminished in importance.


If a level shows anything, it shows one's familiarity with the game. In unice's game, I think it's a good system. It literally tells the player at some point, "Stop grinding. The world we developed is much grander than the level number shows it. Go out there and explore, while taking a look at the strategy depth of the game as well."
It's in fact a pseudo-level cap system.

So, level cap is definitely the new good trend. It prevents unhealthy competition, while forcing players to make decisions and take part in social events to get better rewards.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#24
Hey, levels are still levels. You get five attribute points for each one, and every 10 levels, you can learn a new class skill from the trainers. It's just not the ONLY way to become stronger. It would be really boring if a duel were only determined by levels, but I think it would also be boring if there weren't levels at all.

I just like levelling up. Many hours of my youth were consumed by button-mashing. There's something really satisfying about being able to quantify your avatar's progress, even if it's not the only way to become stronger.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#25
@Unice
Eh, I guess I just feel as though it's a little redundant to put level in if there are other ways to show its results. If there's no other way to get class skill points then I can understand that, or even if stat gains from outside levels were incredibly rare. My point wasn't so much that fights should be solely determined by level, but that Level should represent something. Otherwise if you already have skill levels and stats from training as the main sources, Levels are extraneous.

@Out of This
We're just going to have to disagree. Death to all level caps!

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#26
Levels don't mean nothing. They just don't mean everything.

I realize I described my game system incorrectly. One level is worth 10 attribute points, not 5.

If one player is 30 levels higher than the other, you can bet with 75-85% certainty that the higher-levelled player would win in a duel, fatal class vulnerabilities aside. The only exceptions to this would be if the player deliberately chooses to gain stat points outside of levelling in order to be underestimated by opponents and if a player were simply very not cut out for virtual reality combat (i.e. physically clumsy, freezes under pressure, etc). The effort it would take to get 300 stat points while avoiding levelling up (as in, no fighting monsters) would take far longer than to simply level up, even at fairly high levels.

If a player is level 150, you know for certain that they've been playing for at least four years and they're very dedicated to the game. Basically, the level doesn't tell you exactly what their combat power is, but it is a reflection of their combat experience.

Level is also the only thing other players can see. They're not allowed looking into your skill menu and stat menu. Gotta leave some mystery as to who would win in a duel, otherwise why even bother challenging someone in the first place?

Anyways, that just how I did my no-level-cap game system; you're free to go in a completely different direction. The main reason the experience curve is so steep is to give the game developers time to create new areas as the average player level rises. I just always felt that playing after reaching max level was no fun (I'm mostly talking about Pokemon here, so bear that in mind).

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#27
@AdvonKoulthar: Even when there's no strict cap for the level, you're bound to reach a "soft cap" in some way unless you design a very unique system. In Unice's case this happens due to how hard it becomes to level up, but let's say you have a system which can bypass this limitation. For example, you have areas where the monsters' levels scale together with you and whether you're level 100 or 1,000 - you can properly earn exp there.

Even if you allow this, your stat system must be very well planned to not render level differences unnoticeable at higher levels. This is because of how stats scale in most games, with relative proportions being what truly matter. Usually, a Lv.10 gonna screw over a Lv.1, a Lv.60 most likely gonna defeat a Lv.50 and... a Lv.110 is just kinda stronger than Lv.100?

I hope you already see the problem here. As you level up, the impact of a 10 levels gap becomes less and less. When you're at level 3,000... I bet even a 100 levels gap would be "meh", even though it'd take time and effort to level up. Eventually, you'll reach a stage where leveling up is useless compared to how hard it is; that'll be your "soft cap".



Of course, you can solve this too and I can suggest some rough ideas. But, down to it, you need to answer this: What purpose is "no level cap" going to serve for the game and/or for the story?

The answer should be your guideline for making decisions.. You can't just say "I hate this aspect of MMO!" and simply remove it, expecting the rest to work flawlessly. I don't like the sound of "level cap" myself, but from game design perspective it has tons of benefits for MMOs.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#28
@Unice
Alright, so the way you describe it makes more sense to me now. I know we're taking different directions on the idea, I was just interested in how you did things; thanks for clarifying.

@DarkClaymore
Maybe the point of 'no level cap' is because the game designers didn't want there to be a level cap. A game is still someone's creation, so it makes perfect sense to form it around what they would want in a game. I am aware of many of the oddball things that crop up in a game with no levelcap, which is why I was wondering what other people's thoughts on the matter were in comparison to how I dealt with them.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#29
10/13/2016 4:14:23 PMAdvonKoulthar Wrote: [ -> ]Maybe the point of 'no level cap' is because the game designers didn't want there to be a level cap. A game is still someone's creation, so it makes perfect sense to form it around what they would want in a game. I am aware of many of the oddball things that crop up in a game with no levelcap, which is why I was wondering what other people's thoughts on the matter were in comparison to how I dealt with them.

You're right that it's possible for such a thing to be part of the game just because "the developers wanted it". But you need to consider how this is going to serve your story, since that will determine other aspects of the game you need to adapt and change. That should determine the "direction" you need to take this system to.

For example, if the MC never gonna reach a very high level... you won't even have a problem to resolve. You can simply claim "there's no level cap!" and never actually explore that any further. May sound a little silly, but I'd say totally legit.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#30
Talking about benefits, a system with no level cap tends to be bad for a game in the long run, it's something that feeds on gamers' bad habit of button mashing. Sure, the game might make quick bucks out of people, but it won't last long. Most MMOs out there can be an example. Difference in grinding time can destroy the competitive aspect of a game pretty badly. Most games like this fall into the Pay-to-win category. If you want to have a decent strategy playground, like in an eSport, you should establish a fair foothold first.

Moreover, level is an important tool used to direct the flow of the game, so I don't think developers would just do whatever with it. With games that developers suddenly extend a tons of things after the original plan, these elements usually feel quite ill-suited. The easiest sign to see is that every time these come out, you tear a hole in your wallet just to keep up with others. The players still play, but it's a bad design overall.

In the end, I was only talking about games, so if you're taking ideas for a novel, I wouldn't know. But I'd say, a game is a better game with level cap.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#31
To Out Of This's point, yeah, I think level caps are probably somewhat necessary in games that have a lot of PvP because otherwise, new players to the game simply can never catch up to the ones that have been playing since the game release. My game is much more focused on the adventuring/PvE aspects of things and to a limited extent, the Sims-like developmental aspect in terms of land owning and urban expansion.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#32
To answer your question Rex and this is just my opinion on the idea, I think that the VRMMO genre comes from the idea of being the best in a game, of being the legend of the game that you would hear on forums of great raids and clashing guilds. This is a fantasy that many people have, they want to be the best, or maybe they don't,  but I think that the genre appeals to this type of person, it could apply to other as well though, but I think that is the most prevalent.

The thing is that the story is appealing to the people that dream of being the best player or something akin to it, this is just a way to tell a story and help people feel like they are the ones doing that in the story as they can not do it in a real life, I know this may not be the case for a lot of people though, maybe they like the idea of leveling up or just op characters in a game world?

One reason I like VRMMO genre is that it gives a view into maybe what VR will be like real or not, it is more the dream than reality, is that not what fiction is about? I can understand that you don't like the idea that these types of games could not exist in the real world and I can can agree with that, but we can't say for sure, I know that does not really help but it is my thoughts. The other reason I like to read them is that they give the potential for a fake world to mean something more than what it is, such as creating friends and relations ships in a game, this is already done now but VR could take this to the next step, and these stories highlight this idea in some way. The other idea it highlights is should we take them more seriously if they are close to reality, I am not sure on this one but interesting to think about.

One example of more than it is, is SAO I know you don't like the idea of game breaking, but what I like about this story is the idea that the game maker in the story is trying to make a world that he could not make in the real world and less about making a game, this caused a lot of problems for people but it also caused good things to, such as Kaito meeting the main heroin and them basically falling in love this would not have happened if not for the game maker making the game. 

When talking about something that has not been made yet we can only really guess what will happen, and why people play these types of games. I don't think that these types of genre would work in the real world, some might to some degree but most will not. I like to think that this genre can give more meaning to the games we play other than just being games, which I like the idea of. I know the ones where the games is closer to a game and is just about them playing it and leveling up, but the ones I like are the ones where they talk about values and one that have AI'S, and how we should treat them , as this is a problem we will have to answer in the future, maybe? The other part it that it makes us think about our selves and humanity, I know that that is very philosophical but that is what I like about them they make you think in some way about something. This may not be true of all the story's of this genre.

I also want to add on about what you and Enferno where talking about bandwidth and data transfer. I do agree with you on the server only needing to know about relevant data, I also agree that with Enferno that it would take more bandwidth, as there would need to be more references to what the player was doing so the server could relay that to other players, in minimum time so it did not look odd, As to how much bandwidth I am not sure, but more than most people have now I am sure. As depending on if the server sent touch smell and other senses, with that what level of graphics that had to be sent to the brain interpret or if this was done local, could increase the bandwidth needed.

This is just what I think and people may not agree with it but that is fine I would just like to think about this from all sides to maybe better this genre, and our selves in general, so thanks for reading. :)

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#33
7/7/2016 2:02:22 PMFrustratedEgo Wrote: [ -> ]I understand finding logical gaps in the story aggravating. I too constantly wonder how only one person ever has secret class X when 6.2 billion 'everyones' plays - how does one person three months in manage to be the only person finding item X, class Uber, and find secret quest Q.


This isn't quite as uncommon in MMORPGs as you might think -- as long as the game is new and fresh. Waaaay back when Everquest first came out, me and my wife started playing it. As we ran around and explored the game world, we ran into several GM sponsored events. Not scripted events, but events where the game developers actually took control of a character and popped into the game and did things...

One moment Freeport was a clear and safe city. The next moment, it was under an invasion of giant chickens! Chicken Lord Bob was running around, spamming the channels and causing all sorts of disturbance. Me wife and I were lucky enough to log in at the start of the event and our higher level characters were decimating everything in sight. When the event ended, my mage was awarded a "Bloodthirst Chicken" which was based on the cockatrice game models in game, as a pet.

One of a kind, unique game item!

And, it was buggy as heck. As a pet, it was just a novelty item -- cast the spell (yes, it was a summon spell for my mage) and I could summon a Bloodthirst Chicken to fight for me. A whopping level one beast with one point of life, and which could do a maximum of one point of damage! WOOOOO!!!

BUT, it was an unique item which I could show off and brag endlessly about. I always played it off as being uber-powerful and a limited use item which I saved to solo raid mobs like Nagafen and Vox, but it was just a trivial toy award. Thing is, it was GLITCHED. Cockatrices only appear in certain zones in Everquest and the model didn't show everwhere I traveled. Some places it was a chicken, some zones it was a naked NPC, and some zones it was just a squiggle of pixels which followed me and looked completely stupid...

As Everquest grew though, and more players signed up, the GMs and Devs no longer popped into the game for these unique human-controlled events. The game become more automated and less fluid, with the developers being forced to work on the next expansion or correct glitches in the latest expansion, without anyone being able to pop in and do things on the fly like they used to...

Terris (an old AOL text-based MUD) was the same way. When it was small and unknown, the devs would pop in and interact with the player base. My character there got the "Ultimate Bazooka of Destruction" which had two all powerful effects: 1) It killed EVERYONE and EVERYTHING in a "room". 2) It erased bind points and sent everyone killed (Non-NPC) to the starting city.

This EVERYONE included my character, any GM or mod, and everybody else in a zone. Creatures were erased and dropped no loot. No one lost experience or dropped gear. It was just a USE, and then BOOM! "You have been slain. Your spirit is now standing back at the Hall of Heroes..."




While new, and under development, these MMO games allowed a lot of freedom and interaction with the developers -- even to the point where they would add unique items or scripts into the game just for certain people who they enjoyed interacting with.

That's always how I've considered these VRMMORPG stories -- still in the stage where a game developer could personally add or alter characters, classes, and items to suit their whims. 6 Billion people might play and get a rusty dagger fishing in the sewers at the start of the game, but a GM might decide to alter the script so that "The Golden Dagger of Di'kira" appears for the next person fishing.

Is it fair?

NOPE!!

But it's the type of event which draws attention and interest to the game. Sure, your buddy might have been lucky and gotten that oh-so-powerful golden dagger, but it leaves open the POSSIBILITY that YOU might also luck out and get some truly unique item, talent, skill, experience....

It leaves the hope that YOU can be that one guy who wins the game lottery and comes up with something super powerful, and doesn't just stick you in some cutter-cutter mold where everyone is the same.

And that's what these VR stories are often about: the guy who does manage to be the winner of the "dev lottery" and gets some special power, gear, or magic which makes him stand out and different from all the other players.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#34
I've enjoyed reading this debate and wanted to throw my 2 cents in on the VRMMO genre. So far I have read at least 40 RRL stories and most of the currently translated ones as well.

I dislike the stereotype of the genre that either the game has to affect RL with powers or aliens or some other way to tie into RL, that or the MC needs a ton of cash and is a gold farmer in game. These two tropes have been so over done it drives me batty reading them. Its kinda why I find to aru ossan VRMMO log and Fantasia so great. They either focus entirely on the gameplay in Ossan's case or use the RL as a wind down section from the insanity that is in game in Fantasia's case. I just wonder why so few author's are willing to either make Rl either a minor story arc for the MC or to focus entirely ingame and make the story feel more like an actual game rather than a real life.

It seems like alot of the author's on RRL (exceptions are a round though) seem to try to force the normal tropes of other genre's into the VRMMO and it seems to me that it just breaks the immersion. As stated previously hero's don't really work in MMO's, Villans works as NPC's and antagonists work as gankers/pkers/jerks. I could see anti-hero's working to some degree ala The King's Avatar, but most genre's tropes/stereotypes don't fit with the genre, its kinda why I see the slice-of-life or comedy series of the VRMMO genre being more fulfilling and generally more immersive.


I have yet to see a game where only one person can have X class, I can understand making the class a hidden class that is hard to get but limiting it to one person seems unreasonable. I could understand the MC being the first to get the unbalanced class that's stupid OP for some reason, but no developer worth their salt would sit and watch a character 1 vs 50 and not think to balance that class/skill/item, it's so funny that it's even referenced in Zhan Long with his super op sword being nerfed. An example I would give of a single class being OP by its own merits but having a balance of demerit would be unspecialized from TKA. The MC's character is technically classless and can only use the lower level skills of every class but can never get any higher level skills, he is also limited by his weapon which is selfmade and has to be upgraded on every part for each "form" to level up and thus improve with his level, also post lvl 50 he can only grind to level. It has all these demerits attached to it and is mainly strong due to the players knowledge/skill and the versatility of the skills he can chain together to work in most situations.

I can also understand the idea of the guy who fished up the dagger because of developer RNGesus giving him a good start, but even then I don't see any developer watching some of the incidents in these stories and making 0 changes in a patch soon. I can see a small time mmo having the fluidity but with 6.2 million players shortly after launch the chances that something that unbalanced not being fixed is small especially if the game has a subscription fee because the game would drop like a brick if someone could fight an entire guild solo and win because of items/ op class.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#35
Quote:I just wonder why so few author's are willing to either make Rl either a minor story arc for the MC or to focus entirely ingame and make the story feel more like an actual game rather than a real life.


If you find another one, let me know! Cause I'm kinda bummed at this too. (I started one more slice of life-y, but I have two other stories that take priority.)
Link if you wanna check out how I started it :P
https://www.fictionpress.com/s/3249092/1/Aphiry

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#36
12/15/2016 12:56:25 AMChiisutofupuru Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:I just wonder why so few author's are willing to either make Rl either a minor story arc for the MC or to focus entirely ingame and make the story feel more like an actual game rather than a real life.


If you find another one, let me know! Cause I'm kinda bummed at this too. (I started one more slice of life-y, but I have two other stories that take priority.)
Link if you wanna check out how I started it :P
https://www.fictionpress.com/s/3249092/1/Aphiry



Some shameless plugging. Getting Hard My story does incorporate the real world and some events are starting to unravel that in the future will affect the game world. Although gaming is still the priority of the story since its litrpg. 

Just giving a warning that the MC of this story is really not the usual one you find in RRL stories. He's more of a likeable asshole. So I don't know how you'll receive a character like that.

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#37
@GD

Dethati was saying he dislikes the trope that you've just described, so I doubt he'd be interested. And the likeable asshole is one of the most used characters in stories on royal road. Well, they usually don't bother with the likeable part, but still.

I agree with Dethati. Why can't people just enjoy reading a story about a game? I mean, countless people spend hours each day watching other people play video games, it's essentially the same concept in story form. I know this one light novel that's just about a guy picking an unconventional class and having unconventional fun. Nothing more, nothing less. And it is still one of my favourite VRMMORPG stories to date. People feel the need to make the story bigger then it needs to be, like it won't impress readers otherwise. But readers just want to read fun stories and enjoy themselves.

I mean, I'm not saying don't do it. I'm just saying don't do it if your only reason is because you feel your story is lacking that something to impress readers. I'm prattling now so I'll end on a high note. Puppies!

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#38
I think it's just very hard for many to find entertaining goals in a pure game setting. There isn't really anything at stake, so there is no real way to build tension. Even if the main character dies, (s)he respawns. If he fails the quest, (s)he tries it again. This probably can work with more comedic stories or really good VRMMO-ideas but this needs a lot more work in the details to be compelling. Breaking rules is only fun, when the rules themselves are interesting enough. Without this extra work in the worldbuilding (and gamedesign) the novel will most likely fail.

There's also a difference between watching a let's play and reading a story about a gamer. Let's plays often have the content of the game and another level - often comedic or skill - added by the player. If you write about a (let's) player you lack all of the graphic inputs - modern games with all their explosions or the facecams in horror games. It's hard to write a story to have a similar effect because a written explosion often lacks in volume.

I had an idea for a VRMMO setting with no effect on the real life. It's just one person exploring her first VRMMORPG most of the time. Trying to understand (and to learn) what is so fun about this stuff. And I never wrote it because I found it too hard to build a setting that can suck readers in. I have quite a bit of experience in gamedesign and I looked over it again and again and found only more flaws. And I think that is a problem, especially for many people who don't take weeks to plan out their new story.
Adding an additional effect to the real life is way easier to write, because you automatically have stakes and tension in a death game...

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#39
(Tiny rant)
A game does not need to be about life and death for it to have tension!

The goal could be about wanting to join a guild or something, but the player needs to prove himself first!
It could simply be about having to get along with someone annoying, who in turn, has his/her own goal within the game!
It could be about gaining sempai's attention!
Could be a inside a battle school where reputation inside the game is EVERYTHING!
Heck, it could be just a laid back 'lets play this game' and the experience playing it (along with meeting new interesting people) is all the tension you need!

You can still take nearly ANY kind of story and apply it to an RPG setting! ALL you need to do is find a way to make the game setting relevant and/or important!

RE: Issues with VRMMO Setting

#40
12/18/2016 7:50:31 AMShiftyCake Wrote: [ -> ]@GD

Dethati was saying he dislikes the trope that you've just described, so I doubt he'd be interested. And the likeable asshole is one of the most used characters in stories on royal road. Well, they usually don't bother with the likeable part, but still.

I agree with Dethati. Why can't people just enjoy reading a story about a game? I mean, countless people spend hours each day watching other people play video games, it's essentially the same concept in story form. I know this one light novel that's just about a guy picking an unconventional class and having unconventional fun. Nothing more, nothing less. And it is still one of my favourite VRMMORPG stories to date. People feel the need to make the story bigger then it needs to be, like it won't impress readers otherwise. But readers just want to read fun stories and enjoy themselves.

I mean, I'm not saying don't do it. I'm just saying don't do it if your only reason is because you feel your story is lacking that something to impress readers. I'm prattling now so I'll end on a high note. Puppies!


I'm actually gonna come out and say your wrong about that one. I really do enjoy Getting Hard, but that's because even with the RL involvement it isn't tied to his actions in game. The MC doesn't play the game because he needs money (He's super rich btw), he isn't playing to get revenge (he just wants to tank existance), and the RL doesn't overly detract from in game. Its even mentioned while at work he's planning builds for his character.

The thing that set Getting Hard apart for me from the other VRMMO stories is its pacing, characters, system setup (aka game mechanics), and how developed and flawed the characters are. If your going to do an overused trope, make it a really good example of how to do an overused trope right. Make the trope character well developed, make the trope setting different in some way. 

GD did an amazing job in my opinion of making the asshole MC different from other asshole MC's in that he's a unique kind of asshole. He is whimsical, crass, "caring" (if giving your secretary things you bought for no reason is caring), Self-centered, and yet charming, and charismatic. His RL actions aren't because of the game and his in game actions aren't because of RL. They are distanced enough that the MC as outlandish as he is, is relatable to an average MMO player to some degree.

Getting Hard and Fantasia are two of my top 10 VRMMO RRL stories list, with Fantasia being #1 and Getting Hard being #2. 

Also another slice of life VRMMO story is Only Sense Online, another JP Light novel that's fan translated, its a gender-bender thats used for comedic effect, slice-of-life in a similar vein of Old mans VRMMO log.


12/18/2016 10:00:58 AMLostLibrarian Wrote: [ -> ]I think it's just very hard for many to find entertaining goals in a pure game setting. There isn't really anything at stake, so there is no real way to build tension. Even if the main character dies, (s)he respawns. If he fails the quest, (s)he tries it again. This probably can work with more comedic stories or really good VRMMO-ideas but this needs a lot more work in the details to be compelling. Breaking rules is only fun, when the rules themselves are interesting enough. Without this extra work in the worldbuilding (and gamedesign) the novel will most likely fail.

There's also a difference between watching a let's play and reading a story about a gamer. Let's plays often have the content of the game and another level - often comedic or skill - added by the player. If you write about a (let's) player you lack all of the graphic inputs - modern games with all their explosions or the facecams in horror games. It's hard to write a story to have a similar effect because a written explosion often lacks in volume.

I had an idea for a VRMMO setting with no effect on the real life. It's just one person exploring her first VRMMORPG most of the time. Trying to understand (and to learn) what is so fun about this stuff. And I never wrote it because I found it too hard to build a setting that can suck readers in. I have quite a bit of experience in gamedesign and I looked over it again and again and found only more flaws. And I think that is a problem, especially for many people who don't take weeks to plan out their new story.
Adding an additional effect to the real life is way easier to write, because you automatically have stakes and tension in a death game...


I can see that taking more work to build tension and such, but your posted idea is very much something I'd enjoy reading. Ideas I've had for VRMMO stories are like, MC starts playing a VRMMO 2 years after release and how he goes about learning and playing in an established game with established guilds/characters/events/history and how his playing the game changes his outlook on games in general. Another was an MC starting a game with the goal of becoming a guild leader of a guild and the trials and tribulations of guild management. Another was an MC who starts a new VRMMO that's just released, but he didn't play in the beta and hasn't looked up any info and how they went in blind and picked a "sub par class" and how the character develops with changes to the game from dev's as well him finding ways that the class isn't sub-par but above average.

I guess its just the amount of work necessary to make a VRMMO world interesting and have enough room for tension is hard for a lot of author's, but its one of the few things I'd like to see done well in a story.

Now if only I could actually write decent stories without failing miserably.