There are already dozens of medieval worlds. Why are we making Credence? What can be done that has not already been done?
Credence competes with other online worlds. The online world has three main advantages over other games: socialization, creativity and cooperation. We will capitalize on all three, in a way that has not been done before.
It is possible to meet players from anywhere in the real world, similar to the way the Internet has made the world smaller. But unlike Internet chat rooms, interaction in our world is directed toward adventuring, sharing hints and encouragement. Properly done, socializing is done “in character” and while players are sharing “personal” information, it is about a fictitious character. We can monitor and mediate socialization, providing many arenas for socializing that encourage appropriate communication.
Other online worlds tell their users to use Instant Messenger for communicating. Instead of weaving socialization into the world they remove it, and when players leave to interact that means giving up real identity information to strangers. It also breaks “out of character” and can trivialize the online activity.
To make socializing important, Credence has a Boon system that lets players give each other tasks and payments. You can say that socializing IS the game.
Credence will have tools allowing players to create various works of art, and then to share them through their character. One may build, paint and decorate their private space in Credence, and other characters will see it when they pass. Character clothing, hairstyles and personal articles can be customized and seen by any other player who is nearby. And actual art objects – paintings, pottery, sculpture, music - can be created, reproduced in-world and traded or sold in virtual markets and shops. We expect that creative people may become popular and famous through their online studios.
Creativity is very limited in current online worlds, especially role playing games (RPGs). While MMORPGs are exactly the worlds that are supposed to allow playing creatively, in fact no real art, music or crafts can be done. In one popular world an artist can “paint a masterpiece” but it always ends up as the Mona Lisa.
The very popular game series “The Sims” involves cut-and-paste custom house designing. No actual artistic expression is involved, just a simple dollhouse decoration task. People desperate to express themselves resort to making mosaics out of lawn flamingos and garden gnomes in patterns. Still this is a fantastically popular series.
An online world can be cooperative in ways impossible in any other computer game genre. Players in groups encounter the same obstacles, see the same situation and by working together can accomplish more than any one alone.
Current single-player games have modes where the play can cooperate with computer-generated characters. But this is no more cooperative than a talking teddy bear with a pull string. There are no real issues of sharing or sacrifice, and no real feelings involved.
Current online games are worse. Cooperation is never voluntary and never involves any personal sacrifice. Anyone who donates anything into a cooperative venture is seen as a sucker, and others ruthlessly take advantage of them. Extra effort rarely results in extra reward. And gifts or sharing incurs no obligation or reciprocation. So everyone acts selfishly, to the point of stealing anything not “nailed down” and taking advantage of any player weaker than themselves.
This is not because current players are bad people. Current worlds just don’t reward cooperation in any way whatsoever. And since it’s “just a game” even normally nice, caring people end up taking advantage because if you don’t do it, someone else will.
Let me make this point very strongly: currently online worlds utterly fail at encouraging civil, decent behavior. They are set up to reward ONLY violence, thievery and betrayal. So that’s all that happens.
All online worlds have broken down into total violent anarchy. Any pockets of civility are only where normal rules are suspended and violence is disabled. Players are never, never required to exercise restraint.
Of course these are “only games”. Everybody knows that you don’t behave in real life like you do online. But you sure do get a lot of practice, thousands of times a year, stealing and cheating until it gets to be automatic. Only the quickest get any loot after all.
Credence is planning to break this vicious circle of violence and reward. We will turn it completely around, rewarding ONLY honesty, reliability and cooperation. Successful characters MUST meet the highest standards of good character. This is at the very heart of our world, and the fundamental reason Credence is going to be fun and exciting to play.
Credence will be successful because it will be entertaining, cool and engaging. It uses time-tested themes from historical drama and fantasy literature, updated. In-world events will glamorize inspiring events from the virtual world, showcasing successful players and encouraging others by example.
We firmly believe that when we strictly enforce consequences for actions, we invest real value in the players’ accomplishments. When Character Counts, really Counts for something in the world, then players will take real pride and derive real enjoyment from their actions.
Finally, Credence will be a profitable project. We expect to get paid to develop the world, and charge a monthly fee to play.
Credence: an MMP world of Consequences
©2009 Credence Software