Sunday, February 26, 2012

MMORPG to Book Inspiration

I have always loved video gaming. It started with Final Fantasy I in 1987 for the Nintendo. But when I stumbled upon Massively MultiPlayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG's) on computer platforms, well that took it to a new level for me. I tried a number of them but Dark Age of Camelot sucked me in. It was like being a live person in an everchanging story, all in real time. Imagine building a fantasy player of yourself different from every other "gamer". You chose your name, gender, race, (21 of them!) class, (45 of them!) and various attributes for your Avatar. Of course your real life personality came into gameplay as well. It is way too extensive to explain in a post but the combinations were endless. So besides the various books and movies I read and saw, this gaming world really helped me mold the  characters in my novel, especially after adventuring for years in the world of DAOC.

The main character in my book, Mykleos, a Hunter, came from that game. A half-elf who was taller and stronger that an elf, but not not quite as powerful as the more thickly built humans. Yes, Mykleos' elf lineage gave  him better agility than the normal human, but not quite as much as a full blooded elf. Whereas elves could wield swords and daggers, the two handed swords were too much for them. But not for Mykleos. And Mykleos could wear some heavier armor as well giving him a defensive advantage.

A secondary character in my book named Edge, was modeled after an avatar of a great friend of mine, Sean, who so happens to live across the Atlantic in Cardiff, Wales. His "toon", which avatars are affectionately called, was a Shadowblade named "Pasanda", which is actually the name of a curry dish. As a Shadowblade, Pasanda could "dual wield" both a sword and dagger, use poisons on his blades, and if he hit a foe from behind he could stun them momentarily. While both of us were "stealthers", meaning we could remain hidden from other players until we either attacked them or they got close enough to us to "pop" us into sight. Pasanda had better stealth than Mykleos, so he was much harder to find and we used that to our advantage.

Here was our fun... I would sneak up and smack an enemy pretty good with my huge sword, surprising them with the amount of damage I dealt them. Hunters were known for their use of bows, not blades. Of course, now that they could see me their eyes would widen thinking they could kill me pretty easily now. But they had no idea that I could take much larger amounts of damage than other hunters in the game since I "built" that into my toon. Still, I was no match for a strong Dwarf Berserker or highly armored Ogre Paladin. That's when Pasanda would sneak up behind them as they were fully engaged with me and poison/stun them. Down they would go. I could almost hear the person at their own computer cussing as he saw his own toon die at our hands.

The fighting strategy described above was only a small part of the game. But all of the cooperative experiences DAOC gave me, the storming of the keeps, the searching for treasures, exploration of new lands, along with the multitude of character building the game offered, definitely gave me a huge background to draw upon when writing.


  1. I love the Final Fantasy games! Though I haven't played Final Fantasy I. The oldest one I've played is FF7 where the characters looked like bricks. At that time, those were the best graphics around.

    I haven't heard of DAOC but video games are definitely a part of my inspiration, especially Final Fantasy.

  2. I can see how video games would be inspiring for writing. And fun inspiration, too.

  3. I think computer games are underrated in general - they get a lot of flak for being mindless and violent, but a lot of them have brilliant storylines, complex characters etc that I can see would be inspiring. Sadly I don't have time to play much nowadays.

  4. I had a friend who was hired by a gaming company to write games. Sounds like the most fun job in the world.