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Feature: The Blitz Online's Persistent WWII Bombing Raid Proposal

In a new Gamasutra feature, author and game design consultant Ernest Adams proposes a new take on the WWII genre -- an online game that puts players in the midst of German
In a new Gamasutra feature, author and game design consultant Ernest Adams proposes a new take on the WWII genre -- an online game that puts players in the midst of German bombing raids in London. Adams calls the game The Blitz Online, a title that would be decidedly different than other online games, with a primary goal of offering a truly persistent world. "Persistent worlds are great places to play around in, but they're problematic venues for storytelling," Adams explains. "Most of them let players do a vast number of things: make stuff, sell stuff, kill stuff, collect stuff, explore, socialize, and so on." "The one thing players can't generally do is change the world forever, and that's something that storytelling games need," he says. "Most persistent worlds are full of opportunities for interaction, but they offer no sense of agency, of doing something that matters in a visible way. If you accept a noble quest to go kill a vile doom-chicken, it'll only respawn a few minutes later, leaving you wondering why you bothered." In The Blitz Online -- a "quasi-educational, free, historical MMOG," players would take on the role of London's citizens during Hitler's attempt at bombing the city's civilians into submission. Playable characters would rescue workers, ambulance drivers, air raid precautions wardens, firefighters, police and women's voluntary service, who would all combine their efforts to not only help citizens survive, but counter Adolf Hitler's plan to devastate the country's morale. Adams admits there are a lot of technical challenges -- his proposition is high-concept, and not a design document. But he says, "The chaotic circumstances and limited duration of the Blitz make it ideal for a storytelling MMOG. I want to make a game that reproduces some of the challenges and social conditions of the Blitz, to let people get a sense -- in a limited, virtual way -- of what it was like." The new feature on The Blitz Online is live now on Gamasutra, and goes in-depth on several facets of the proposed game.

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