When Breath of the Wild came out earlier this month it got me thinking on how many single player games could excel in an MMO environment, so in this series, I’ll be imagining how some single player games would work if they were an MMO and vice versa. First up we have, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
As is, it would take very little to turn Breath of the Wild into an average, sub-par open world MMORPG. You have the survival mechanics; the open world with different environments; a nice variety of weapons and gear; cooking; and gear customization such as dyeing and upgrading. Throw it on a server where players can connect to the world together and add in a character creation and bam, MMO ready to go.
I mean, the game already has an excellent base for a character creation due to the different races in it. You have the Hylians and Gerudo, which are essentially humans; Zoras, if fish people are more your style; The Rito, if you want to fly with the birds; and the Gorons if you like to eat rocks and be a big burly cute...thing.
But if we don’t want a sub-par MMO, what would it take to turn Breath of the Wild into a fantastic and awe-inspiring MMO? Not much, if you ask me. In fact, I think it could not only be a wonderful and fun MMO, but also a unique one.
Let’s start with the shrines. In the game, there are 120 different shrines spread throughout the world, each with their own challenge you need to overcome in order to get your reward. Many of these are varying types of puzzles, but there are also shrines that are battles; and even some that the challenge is just managing to get to the shrine itself. Many of these, especially the puzzle oriented ones, require you to use different runes.
There are remote bombs; Magnesis; Stasis, and Cryonis. Magnesis is used to move objects around similar to how you might imagine telekinesis; Stasis is used to freeze the time of certain enemies or objects; and Cryonis is used to create ice blocks in water. A quick and easy way they could make these MMO oriented would be to have the need for multiple runes at once. Say, for example, you need to hit three switches in order to open a door. One of these switches may need to have a boulder holding it down, which you could stop using Stasis, while your friends have to make a pathway of ice down running water using Cryonis to get to their switch. This would provide players with a fun and challenging reason to work together, and with 120 shrines you can believe there’d be content for quite sometime
Next, we have the divine beasts. Divine beasts in Breath of the Wild are essentially larger and more complex shrines and have a boss at the end of them. You use your runes and anything else at your disposal in order to activate terminals and ultimately challenge the boss. The goal of this is so that you can have an actual shot at getting inside of Ganon’s castle and defeating him, as the beasts weaken him for you.
For an MMO setting, each beast could become a raid. Maybe instead of three or four friends with you like in the shrines, have seven or eight. This would provide an extra challenge and coordination due to the sheer number of people alone, mix that with the length and adventure of each beast and you have yourself a nice twist on classic raids. Solve the puzzles, fight the boss, get your loot.
Though, how would you get to Ganon’s castle? Beat all four raids and then unlock it? Nah, that’s too boring for my taste. What I could see both bringing the community together, as well as adding a lot of life to the world would be if all these beasts had to be conquered around the same time to get to Ganon’s castle. This would force players to coordinate their strikes on different beasts at the same time. Have group A go to one beast, B to another, etc. until you have four different groups all on the same page but overcoming different trials. Manage to get them all down within, say, a ten minute window of each other and then Ganon’s castle becomes unlocked for a couple of hours.
While I don’t see a Legend of Zelda MMORPG ever being a thing, I really would love to see an MMO following a similar structure to what we see in Breath of the Wild maybe with some changes similar to what I mentioned. It would be a breath of fresh air to get some more puzzle oriented raids in the MMO scene and I think would make for an excellent twist to the genre. Here’s to hoping.