Richard Garriott, creator of Ultima, creates an NFT-powered MMO

ByJose A. York

Apr 12, 2022

Richard Garriott, creator of Ultimate series of RPGs and MMORPGs, embarks on the gold rush of blockchain games. In an interview with PCGamesN, he and his longtime collaborator Todd Porter announced that they have begun development of a new massively multiplayer online game, one in which players can purchase land to rent to access it.

The plots of land in the pair’s unnamed MMO will be linked to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – receipts indicating proof of ownership that are recorded on a blockchain (Garriott and Porter do not say whether they will start their own blockchain for this game, or using an existing game).

The game will be a top-down fantasy RPG in the vein of Ultimate series. The game will be financed by a mixture of traditional investments and land presales. Once players own the land, they will be able to build in-game businesses or portals that can transport players to custom-built dungeons.

And of course, landowners will receive a share of the currency generated from sales from NPC-run stores.

If there’s one developer who’s ever faced in-game housing shortages, it’s Garriott. the Ultimate online The series was plagued by ebay-run gray markets where players bought and sold in-game plots of land without the developers seeing any reduction in sales. “All of us [got] of people trading items are risks and complaints,” Garriott told PCGamesN.”[Using blockchain] is a way to just clarify the economics in a very fair and consistent way between the players who buy, sell and trade these virtual assets.”

So, as you can see, the prospect of running digital businesses is a key part of Garriott’s next project. But despite that play-to-win flyer, he and Porter say they’ve been very skeptical of NFT-based games to date, and that skepticism supposedly informs how they’re designing this new game. .

Garriott, who is a cryptocurrency investor himself, explained that he wants players to not have to think about blockchain when playing their new game. gas (the price paid to execute a transaction on a given blockchain) are getting higher and can be complicated to execute.

“It wouldn’t be practical for us to design a game where every object existed on the blockchain – it would be prohibitively expensive,” he added.

The pair didn’t explain whether the lands in their new game would be artificially rare or infinitely purchasable. The risks of housing and land shortages weighed on the Ultimate series, and still cause issues in non-blockchain titles like Final Fantasy XIV.

Garriott and Porter’s game development background could mean that this project first fulfills the purpose of being a gaming project, with blockchain components rewarding the “gaming” aspect. Reading between the lines, it’s also worth noting that this pitch seems to partly separate the blockchain components from the main gameplay goals.

Part of the game’s hook seems to be that Garriott, Porter and their colleagues can effectively create a platform for small in-game businesses that allow players to create unique experiences to benefit other players, which means it there would be clear distinctions between playing for fun and interacting with the game to earn an income.

Only time will tell if this nameless land of games ends up being a functional utility for a fun experience, or (as we’re dealing with in the real world) an asset to investment portfolios.