Ars Magica MMO


Pretty please. :slight_smile:


While your enthusiasm is great... I am not sure Ars Magica would really do that well as an MMO given how saturated the market is with them right now.

Its not a game suited for porting to computer unfortunately. The magic system is totally openended and that doesnt really work at all if you try to program it.

In Guild Wars you can design an elementalist with grogs (heroes and henchmen) that are computer-controlled. It is the closest I have seen to something similar to an Ars "war party". I agree with the others that Ars is not the best format for an online version


I told myself I wouldn't respond to this thread, but I can't help myself...

Ars Magica fails for MMO-ing for a whole host of reasons - the seasonal structure, the open-ness of the magic system, the massive discrepency in power-levels for different kinds of action between characters, etc.

These aren't things that couldn't be solved, but in solving them you'd probably end up removing the Ars Magica-ness from it. It may be fun, but it wouldn't be Ars Magica anymore.

In terms of making a computer game that captures a lot of the 'elements' of being a powerful wizard, probably the best is Master of Magic - one of the old Microprose 4x classics.

Doing a singleplayer RPG/strategy game of some sort that was similar to this might work, but even so it'd probably be best done without the Ars Magica license - the license itself is a bit to niche to work as a strong selling point and the developer would need to ensure/work with the existing IP holders to ensure that the game doesn't damage the IP and meets their requirements for quality without damaging or forcing the brand in a direction they don't want.

In truth, given the range of people and interests, such a game probably wouldn't even interest everyone on this board and would probably primarily attract ire - as a lot of core decisions would need to be made about what is 'canon' that are currently left up to the storyguide of each saga. The Ars Magica label wouldn't increase sales - and may even discourage some due to Ars Magica's reputation of 'you need a history degree to play this game' that has crept out into the wider RPG community.

Ars Magica is a classy pen-and-paper RPG and works fantastically as exactly that.

+1 confidence! Yay!

Xavi lazily rests in his couch instead of doing anything useful for a day, like writing a meaninful post like Kid Gloves

+1 Confidence for me as well! YAY! :stuck_out_tongue:


Well anything can be worked out but yea I think it would loose some of its "ars"ness.

Seasonal activites would probably work like eve where your char is rewarded for Not being online.

Closest to spell creation I saw was daggerfall series morrowind and oblivion

You would also have to add aspects from games like darkfall for world creation and physics.

I could see server shards divided by history. I just don't know1 how u would handle npc things like familiars and seeking out mysyeries and mystery cults

You might be interested in this: Magicka. It's not a MMO, but it sure sounds fun!

Hmm - basing ars on the eve model might not be a bad idea... You'd buy lab-texts similar to blueprints in order to learn spells.
In game currency would be raw vis (which you'd get from hunting monsters?)

Unfortunatly, it would end up with a very low playerbase even if it had f2p...

I've tried a few times to get started on giving my own answer here, but each time it ends up coming out more like an essay.

Simply put any commercially viable MMO created based on Ars Magica would end up dumbing down the magic system or deliberately restricting it in the name of 'player balance'. It would also likely be vastly beyond any companies resources to implement even a single tribunal in the depth and colour which I would consider needed for Ars Magica. When it comes to MMO's I can accept the usual series of pve hunting, item gathering and crafting, as well as the lack of any in-depth roleplaying only in intellectual properties in which I have no fandom.

A single adventure game like Planescape - Torment, with a single path for players to follow, now that would be viable to create, I've even seen some Neverwinter Nights modules that had the right tone either as medieval settings or as stories on the infernal or faerie. I'd pay for an Ars Magica computer game like that.

I think an Ars Magica MMOG would be quite viable, and the "seasonal" activities aspect, as well as the covenant "resource management" aspect, would be actually assets rather than problems. People could embark on specific "quests" (i.e. stories), or instead just micromanage their seasonal growth (say, at 1 real world day/game season). And I really don't think you'd need to significantly "dumb down" the magic system; it's not as if there's so many spell guidelines even if you take into consideration all forms. I think the main problem would be that successful MMOGs exceed 1 million users, and the Order only has a thousand wizards or so...


Take a look at the videos there... Overflowing with sarcasm and parody.
-Accidentally get killed by up to three "friends"
-I can see my house from here.
-Oh wait, i dont have a house.


I think there's the root of some great ideas for MMO development in general - branching out into the very Ars Magica concept that a 'guild' should effectively have a character sheet of its own and be able to progress in stats similar to and in parallel with its members. The big risk is that it is a positive feedback loop for the established guilds, and creates an additional hurdle for new guilds to overcome in recruiting when competing against the early adopters. Some form of vassalage-style relationship may be the solution - and it is something that City of Heroes has danced on the edge of with their base system.

The biggest thing that would de-Ars-ify a MMO is you would have to either eliminate or severely mess with aging. Penalising a player for not logging on for a few months is a great way to drive away returning players - something that games like Harvest Moon run afoul of. Fable II took the opposite approach - it -rewards- you for coming back to it after taking a break, which is better.

I'm standing by my original statement: I think you could make a good Ars Magica -inspired- MMO or game in general, but the changes you'd need to make to it would suck out all that makes the Ars Magica setting and gameplay what it is.

MMOs are complex beasties - and a lot of the underlying design of a good one focuses on the psychology of ensuring players stick around. Trying to fit that into a system designed around a pen-and-paper game is a task that is probably not worth trying to solve, when a better solution would be to sidestep the whole issue and design first and foremost for your theoretical MMO.

As a genre MMOs have a very important limiting factor: between time commitments and possible subscription fees most people don’t play more than one at a time. This makes it difficult for a new game to succeed – chances are your target audience is already playing an MMO, so why would they switch?

Lately MMOs have often relied on well known settings and franchises. Cryptic Studios just released a Star Trek MMO, Bioware is working on a Star Wars MMO, Square Enix has another Final Fantasy MMO in the works, and there are rumors that Bethesda Game Studios sister-company is working on an Elder Scrolls MMO. It’s not that an MMO with a fresh setting can’t succeed but it makes the whole situation a lot riskier. All of the games listed above have large devoted fan bases that can be relied upon – and unfortunately the keyword there is “large” more than “devoted.”

When combined with the difficulties of translating Ars Magica’s very flexible rules to far less flexible silicon the whole venture seems far from feasible. I also have to wonder how well the game would survive an explosion of wizards. If a server has too few players the game won’t work but chances are when you’ve reached critical mass Europe will be absolutely inundated with magi.

Rather than an MMO I think an RPG with a strong emphasis on co-op would be a much better avenue to explore. There would still be difficulties with the openness of the rules but I still think it would be more likely to succeed. Bioware’s NWN included a DM option which, at least in my opinion, was largely a failure. However the storyguide has many advantages right off the bat – even if the mechanics were no better the fact that you can easily take turns already makes this more viable.

well if there is an elder scrolls in the works there is most of your spell design kind of things... i just would like to have more openess, the best game like that i have seen so far is mine craft and that is in alpha a right now still again i say the questing for mysteries and the befriending a familiar are hard to pull off npc wise unless you treat the familiar as if it s merely hard to get component and as soon as u find it and have the scores its yours...

I could see (if and a really big and tenable if) it got big enough one of the bigger guilds coming in and trying to claim a entire tribunal

It's only speculation, Zenimax Online Studios hasn't reveled anything about their upcoming game (although they did confirm it isn't a Fallout MMO). However given the name recognition of the Elder Scrolls it certainly seems like a good initial boost to help the game succeed. I have a friend who beta-tests for ZOS but I know better than to ask for a hint, after she was hired she had to sign a stack of NDAs and they still wouldn't tell her what the project was until she started working there. :slight_smile:

The Elder Scrolls does have a very flexible system compared to most CRPGs - it doesn't come close to Ars Magica but I could see something similar being used to translate Ars Magica to silicon. Spontaneous magic would be difficult unless there was turn based combat but I think it could be made to work.

That would be very interesting, and it raises another issue with the flexibility of Ars Magica- enforcing the Code of Hermes, in particular the bit about interfering with mundanes. I suppose you could have some sort of scoring system and any action with mundanes gets you a certain number of points (with successful stealth and subterfuge letting you diminish this). If the score for an individual or covenant gets high enough a quaesitor comes knocking and you need to weasel out of it. That action sounds like a lot of fun :slight_smile:

Tried Magicka for the steam summer camp ticket. Was quite fun to mix five items from 8 elements for various combination ^^.

I've seen a number of my friends playing that and wondered what it was like, although at the moment I've got TF2 to keep me busy. :slight_smile:

You may try the demo and bonus: you will receive a summer camp ticket to buy an item for TF2 :wink:.

(I like TF2 but it's nothing like CSS ^^)