Hogwarts, the MMO

The article about the Twilight MMO, and all of the related comments, made me think about the viability of a Harry Potter MMO. (You know that one is out there being planned or negotiated as we speak, it’s just too obvious an IP.) Along with all the other fans out there, I would dearly love to see one, but I am uncertain if it would actually work as a multiplayer game.

I’ve played the PC game, which was initially pretty and true to the locations, but ultimately soulless, not immersive and not fun. We don’t have a Wii yet due to our recent financial meltdown, but even the Wii game doesn’t satisfy the need to really, truly be able to feel like a student at Hogwarts – it just makes it a bit more fun to do spells.

The game would be aimed at more casual/social players, by necessity and also because it would fit the demographic better. You’re not going for hardcore gamers on this game – immersiveness will be key.

  • You would probably calculate how many hours you wanted it to take to reach endgame (graduation) and divide out the school years into that – those would form your levels.
  • Classes and homework would form your casual mini-games, and the levelling mechanism – completing basic courses to gain access to higher-level ones, taking your OWLs and NEWTs and so on.
  • More traditional MMO quests would be available in the grounds, the school, the forest, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
  • Hostile mobs would include anything from Death Eaters to giant spiders to dragons.
  • Wizard duels would offer pvp action, as would Quiddich.
  • Harder group quests could follow along the lines of the books – you’d write new ones, but it might be something that a group of friends could do. There should be monsters to fight and puzzles to figure out.

A major problem would pop up early with the arrival of your new character at Hogwarts and the sorting into houses. The people who don’t want to be Gryffindor are going to be Slytherin, and no one will want to be Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. If you arbitrarily sort people into houses, they will reroll until they get the house they want – I would. I have no idea how you would get around that issue.

Would you have the traditional tank/healer/dps classes?  Obviously not, since everyone is there to learn magic. I think it might work similar to Wizard 101, minus the card-based combat system.  That’s always felt like a very kiddified version of Hogwarts to me.

Would it be a game that I would play on a longterm basis? Of course not. But I would dearly, dearly love to be a new wizardling on my first day at Hogwarts, exploring the school, seeing the dining hall for the first time, and the common rooms. I’d be a total fangirl stalker and follow Snape around.

Just don’t sort me into Hufflepuff.  :)

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