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I would really appreciate it if there aren't any answers like "Making MMOs is too expensive", "Don't even try making an MMO!" etc.

I'm trying to point out the elements/jobs that establish an MMO game.

So, Here's what I've come up with:

  1. Server Engine Design -
    some daemon that gets players' actions and returns "what happens".
    e.g Client says: "I hit the monster".
    Server says: "You inflict 2 Damage".

  2. Database Design - The Server also needs to store all the information in a DB.

  3. Client Software Design - probably mainly in charge of displaying graphics,

  4. Game-play Design - Writing the storyline, balancing the different character classes, the game's internal economic system, designing the entire game world - a big one :)

  5. Graphic Design - Creating all the graphics.

  6. Customer Support - To interact with the users, get feedback etc.

  7. Artificial Intelligence - program the A.I for NPCs

Some may not be in low-budget games.
Nonetheless, is there more elements/jobs required for an MMO Game?

I know this is a big question but I hope a lot of motivated Game Designers like me will read this question and it will help them.

Regards, fiftyeight

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Even though some of the answers boil down to "don't even try making an MMO", some of the answers to this question: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/90/… are likely valid here. –  thedaian Jul 21 '11 at 0:54
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Why do you ask? Your question smells a lot like overambitious newbie, in which case "don't even try" is the most sensible advice. –  eBusiness Jul 21 '11 at 1:26
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There are enough pointless MMO questions on this site to create a noobmmo.stackexchange.com. –  Olhovsky Jul 21 '11 at 5:03
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I'd also add a business plan and a budget. –  Raine Jul 21 '11 at 13:49
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-1 from me: this isn't a constructive question because it's asking for arbitrary classifications of concepts across a vague category of software. –  Kylotan Jul 22 '11 at 10:42

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Some stuff off the top of my head. Note that in real game development with large teams, people will often cross roles, so that more than one person does a task and a person does more than one task.

Audio. Voice acting, music, sound effects, and so on.

Graphics programming. Distinct from programming the core features of the client application and drawing/modelling the art. Someone needs to develop shaders and special graphical techniques.

Web design and development. No MMO is complete without a web presence.

Management. Someone needs to coordinate between the different groups and make sure they are able to do their jobs.

Accounting. MMOs are complicated when it comes to money, especially in these days of free-to-play.

Documentation. Hundreds of help files, internal documents, and tutorial bubbles.

Localization. Do you want non-English speakers to play? You'll need a decent translator.

Marketing. Distinct from customer support. Marketing gets players to your game.

I would split "server engine design" into several chunks. The person who designs the back-end data models is probably not the person who focuses on managing the massive data replication and distribution issues with real-time MMOs.

Like Aerathis said, Gameplay Design needs to be split up. Your User Experience person will not be your story writer will not be your low-level gameplay designer will not be your economist (and so on for the mapper, the person who designs and balances classes, and so on).

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I really don't think User Experience should fall in with the Gameplay Design category, it's something external to gameplay. –  Jonathan Connell Jul 21 '11 at 8:05
    
First of all thanx for the detailed answer and I'm glad to see that not every stoned me for asking about an MMO :), I want to ask though: I think I understand the term "User Experience" but does a "User Experience person" actualy do? –  fiftyeight Jul 21 '11 at 12:40
    
@3nixios: True. But it is definitely a design-heavy task. –  Gregory Avery-Weir Jul 21 '11 at 13:47
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@fiftyeight: UX is a better term for what is sometimes called UI; the UX person handles the way that the player interacts with the game. The controls, the information shown on the screen, the layout of the HUD, and so on. –  Gregory Avery-Weir Jul 21 '11 at 13:47
    
@Gregory Weir Indeed! They also make coffee! –  Jonathan Connell Jul 21 '11 at 13:57

The only feature that distinguishes an MMO from any other type of game, online or not, is lots of players that can interact with each other in the same world. Everything else is simply "what are the elements of a game?"

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2  
Actually the term "MMO" refers to games where many players can interact together in the same environment. For example, even though Starcraft 2 has millions of online players, it is not called an MMO. But I like the spirit of your answer, so maybe change it to reflect what I've just pointed out? –  Olhovsky Jul 21 '11 at 5:05
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@Olhovsky Yes, good catch. I've updated the original. –  Patrick Hughes Jul 21 '11 at 5:13

QA. For a project this size QA is definitely worth mentioning, since this is the size of project where it's going to make a very large difference. Also I, personally, would probably break Game-play Design up into several jobs. You are definitely right that it is certainly a big one, but it's definitely large enough that you're going to want separate people doing combat and systems and story scripting, things like that.

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You will likely also have a need for Managing the servers, a sort of SYSADMIN. So when the need arises, hire a new server (hardware) and infuse it with database, server (software) etc., fusioning servers if that need arises + backup strategies, maintaining the OS and so on.

You'd like to have some sort of security strategy too, complicated as it spans several domains (the server soft of course, connections and reliability of the physical server, web services and even ingame hacks and exploits).

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