Games could learn a lot from Web 2.0.
Ars Technica had an interesting story today about Grand Theft Auto 4 you can check out here.
To summarize, here’s how it works. In GTA3 and the upcoming GTA4, when you’re in your car you can listen to the radio. Here’s what’s awesome though, it’s not muzak. It’s not elevator music. It’s actually music you’ve heard before, enjoy, and might actually own. If you play GTA3 or GTA4 on your PC then it gets even better, as one of the radio stations becomes your MP3 directory. So yes, you can steal cars and cause havoc to your own soundtrack. I personally prefer the Benny Hill theme song. The big news is this. In GTA4, if you hear a song you like, you can hit a button and it’ll link you to a site hosted by Amazon.com where you can buy a DRM free MP3 of the song. This kind of feature is amazing, and it made me think of how you could apply this to game lore.
Obviously with game lore you want immersion. In other words, you don’t want to be involuntarily reminded you’re just playing a game. So we’d have to be subtle.
What if there was a way to look up lore on the fly? Say, when you saw Thrall you could right click on him and choose “Lore” in a pop up menu that would link you to a website listing his whole back story, books he had appeared in, and links to buy those books?
What if we could not only apply this concept to characters, but to places as well?
Even better, what if we could overlay or own guides in WoW? Similar to the way people can overlay their own information on Google maps for others to see (“Best Coffee Shops in Los Angeles”, etc).
Imagine something like, “Loregy’s Lore Guide of the Eastern Kingdoms”. You download it, log onto WoW, and there on your world map would be the option to turn on Loregy’s selected points of interest and why you might be interested in checking them out.
Not into lore? How about a guide to the best world PVP ambush spots laid right on the world map? Or an overlay map showing you the best route to take in a battleground. Premades could even require everyone to have the same overlays installed. Heck, how great would it be if you could look up someone in the armory simply by right clicking on their character and selecting “Armory” from a pop up menu?
While it’s doubtful something this advanced could find it’s way into way, there are plenty of “Next Gen” mmo’s on the horizon, including one made by Blizzard itself.
Something to think about.