This week I haven’t been playing any stealth titles. I haven’t even been playing a game with stealth elements. In fact, I’ve been playing something quite the opposite. I’ve been logging in online to play with thousands of others in plain sight. I have been playing the resurrected MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Real Reborn.
It is the first MMO I’ve ever purchased, and other than a tiny bit of a free trial of WoW back in the day, the first MMO I’ve ever played. I’m a big time loner gamer. Multiplayer modes do not entice me in any sort of way. I get turned off when companies detail the tacked-on multiplayer modes, and am delighted when online play is scrapped in certain games like BioShock Infinite. Much like the genre I love, I prefer to go it solo. The only time I ever fell for an online multiplayer game was, no surprise, Metal Gear Online, and honestly, was entirely because of the Metal Gear skin that the game was designed with. Call it by a different name, and I would not have touched it.
So, you’re probably wondering why in the hell did I pick up FF XIV? Well, I’m not really sure. Every once in awhile I get a bug up my ass about a certain game, and the name of this bug happened to be A Realm Reborn. I didn’t play any of the beta’s trillion phases, rarely followed the game, and as little as a month ago, had no intention of buying it. Maybe I picked it up because I liked what I was hearing. I liked the phoenix story of the game. I also liked that it was an old-school type of Final Fantasy game without super cool dudes and dudettes wielding gun-swords and racing motorcycles. Whatever the case may be, I’m happy to report that I’m enjoying it.
I have no real clue how to play it other than treating it like an online single-player adventure like Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. I go questing, upgrade my armor and weapons, and advance the little story that there is, thus far anyways. I’m digging my journey in Eorzea thus far, but as my brain is wanton to do, I can’t help but imagine, how cool would it be if a developer designed a stealth-based MMO? Now, that would be an online game I’d be all over.
Imagine an online world where there are thousands of players in a shadowed world and it’s dead quiet. MMOs are always bustling with players jumping, thumping, and humping the air. I’d love it if you log on, and if you aren’t in a stealth guild and clan, you could go hours or days without seeing a single person, but you are always careful as there are enemies lurking all around just waiting to pounce should you make yourself seen.
You would have to level up by eliminating other players or random enemies in secret. You could better gear and gadgets via black market dealers under the cloak of night. A simple trip to the market could be costly if you don’t take precautions. The higher the level you obtain and better equipment you get, the easier it is for you to trek across the game world.
You could take over entire villages and towns and set traps for unsuspecting players with your own wicked designs. Raid other guilds and clans without them ever having seen who you were. You could craft weapon and gear that no stealth game has ever seen. You could mess with other players minds through the text chat and fool them into death, or help them along in secret if they’re starting out or unsure what to do.
This may sound terrible to a lot of people, but these are just the musings I was conjuring up during my playtime this week, and I think this would be a pretty rad game. I know Assassin’s Creed games have a few stealth modes, and those are fun, but they’re just timed chaotic modes in addition to a single-player stealth game. There are also MMOs like WoW and Aion that have stealth classes, and the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online will have stealth mechanics (which sound somewhat similar to Skyrim‘s stealth mechanics), but I’m talking about an always-online, forever evolving stealth world.
The ideas I have sound rough, and in the hands of a developer would come out much better. I am sure this would also be a financial disaster as it would be a tough game to market in a highly-competitive field. If Star Wars: The Old Republic had trouble making money, what chance would Patrick’s Stealth Game have? Regardless, I would still like to see an earnest attempt at something similar to what I’ve just laid out. Even if it’s a small-scale free-to-play game, I’d check it out, and probably have a blast playing it.
Stealthy Sunday is a weekly column where we talk about all things around stealth gaming. From the latest games, to the annals of its history, we step out from the darkness to reveal the fascinating world of sleuthing, spying, and assassinating.