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Massively improving

Scott Herrington of Asheron's Call developers Turbine talks about the future of massively multiplayer gaming

Released at the end of last year, "Asheron's Call" remains one of the few successful massively multiplayer role-playing games, allowing literally thousands of players to co-exist in a huge sprawling fantasy world known as Dereth, a world which constantly evolves, with new monsters and locations being added and an on-going storyline to keep players hooked. But as designer Scott Herrington admits, designing massively multiplayer games is "still a fledgling industry" with a lot to learn.

"There are just a handful of games out there that qualify as massively multiplayer titles, and as such, the game designs don't exploit the medium as much as possible", Scott told Planet Xbox in a recent interview, before whipping out the crystal ball for a look at the future of online gaming, declaring that "I think you'll see tremendous advances in gameplay systems in the second generation massively multiplayer titles that are in the works."

"I'd like to see a movement away from simply porting a genre from single player gaming to the massively multiplayer setting. Our big thing is that we don't just make an entertainment product, but we have to make a lasting community. We'll see more advances in social structures in games, and more player-created content in future titles. Because you're in the game world with other players, I'd like to see more 'moral' decisions being asked of the players - something that would have repercussions in the game world with regard to their social standings and situations, and how other players perceive them."

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