Something like 10 years ago, Brennen, Brent and I spent a full day brainstorming a totally implausible game idea. Drunk on the potential of games like Everquest, we set out to create a completely different kind of persistent, online world. It would be a fantasy role playing game, but not Tolkien or D&D. It would encourage exploration and creation over grinding combat and item hoarding. Players would be given the in-game tools necessary to truly create things, not just collect components and hope for a successful item creation roll. The world itself would grow and change in response to the players’ actions, and administrators and moderators would be free to do high level tasks, not create minor Save-The-Cat quests. No, the game engine would do that.

It was an absurd idea. Impossible. The polar opposite of realistic. I would venture to call it unrealistic. But it was beautiful. The ideas we laid out are still with me, and still seem like fantastic ideas.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is possible. Even if it is, we don’t have the resources, time or energy to build it now. But I can write about it. I can think about it. I can try, desperately to create a discussion about it. Other than that, who knows?

This is a meditation on game design. This is the story of Aenroth.

Part 1: On Being Skillful

Part 2: The Death of All Games

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