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Friday
Jul132012

GameBanter's Dream Games - Yu-Gi-(MM)Oh!

A feature in which we think about the most perfect games we could possibly imagine, but that will never happen, and put that vision into words.

I've been a pretty massive geeknerd for a number of years now, even before I got entrenched in this wonderful prison known as the internet. When I was in high school I had 2 big loves which stand out to me looking back: Super Sash Bros. Melee, and Yu-Gi-Oh Cards. Super Smash Bros. Melee was what me and my friends did literally every Friday night. They'd come over, we'd get loads of snack and we'd just kick the shit out of each other for hours on end. It was glorious. Yu-Gi-Oh though, was something I spent almost every day doing for atleast an hour. Some other guys in school were also into the game and so we had a little Yu-Gi-Oh club, then when we got a bit more serious about it, we started going to tournaments on Saturday mornings, even travelling to other cities for their tournaments from time to time. I was good at the game (helps to know Wayne Pinkney, ex UK Champ!) but never took it seriously enough to actually make the deck that was winning tournaments, I just stuck with my good old deck and had fun with it.

Unfortunately I fell out of the game when I: A) Started getting girlfriends (they usually wanna take up your Saturdays... and a lot of your free time), and B) When money was becoming an issue for me because I was jobless. I never stopped enjoying it, I just didn't really have too much say in stepping away from the game. I always had a lot of fond memories of playing Yu-Gi-Oh, and the game's rules are engrained into my mind like the alphabet, so occasionally, over the years, I'll dip into the newest Yu-Gi-Oh game that's coming out, whether that be for DS, PC or XBLA. These games are never good. Well okay, that's a little unfair, they contain loads of cards, and let you make a deck and play the game with automated rules and tutorials and opponents and the ability to unlock new cards... pretty standard stuff for a trading card-based video game. What I want from my trading card experience though, is something to keep me coming back. Sure, in those other Yu-Gi-Oh games I make my deck, battle the computer a bunch and maybe do a little multiplayer, but then I grow weary and stop playing it. What I want, and am about to describe to you, is the perfect Yu-Gi-Oh experience. The Yu-Gi-Oh MMORPG: Yu-Gi-(MM)Oh!

Playing Magic The Gathering: Duels Of The Planeswalkers This character creatir is from Yu-Gi-Oh Online. Nothing about Yu-Gi-Oh is good.2013 forced to think about how I would best want to experience playing a card game, and I concluded that the coolest, most engaging way, would be to have the duelling system dressed up in an MMO's fine, silk suit. You start off in Yu-Gi-(MM)Oh! by making your character. There's an incredibly robust character creator, much better than the "Pick 1-of-3 faces. Now pick if they wear a hat" approach of other Yu-Gi-Oh games. You customise your character as thoroughly as you want, giving them cat ears, or designing your own logo for their duelling jacket, plus this is a world where straps can just be worn on your arms for no reason, so the sky's the limit. Once you've made your character look either cool, or ridiculous, depending on your sensibilities, you get to buy your first deck. Seeing as how it's the very start of the game, you start the same way you would in real life: By going to the card shop and buying a starter deck. You're given enough money to buy 1 starter pack, but you only get to choose between a choice of 2 or 3, so that everyone starts off on similarly weak footings. MMO 101.

Once you have your deck, it's time to use it! You can duel other players straight away at duelling benches, or just start undertaking quests for NPCs. Most of these quests will involve you having to duel someone at a duelling arena, obviously, but others could be to give them a specific card or set of cards. When you win a duel you get money. No exp in this game, only money (you get less money for losing duels but you still get money, so don't be discouraged by losing! You can still save up for a new booster pack!). Money will buy you booster packs, new cards, or other equipment like a Dark Magician broach or something daft like a Blue Eyes Helmet (though that'd have to cost a tonne of money). There's a starting area, in which you can only buy the earliest booster packs and cards that were available in the game, but as you leave the starting area and explore you'll find new card shops that have different booster packs and new individual cards for sale, as well as new quests and all that good MMO jazz.

Finally getting your own duel disk would be cool as hell... Maybe not a pink one thoughInitially you can only duel other players at duelling benches (literally just a picnic bench with a playing mat on it) but eventually, after you've done a bunch of quests and beaten a few strong NPCs, you gain your duel disk. You can upgrade your duel disk to look cooler, or do fancy stuff (like make fireworks when you summon a monster, again, this'll cost a lot of money) but the important thing is, now you can duel wherever, whenever and with the awesome holograms we're used to from the show, so you could be running around Domino City and, whilst running past an alleyway, spy an epic duel with 2 huge dragons fighting each other. It would be epic!

One thing that would lend itself well to an MMO from the Yu-Gi-Oh universe are the abundance of tournaments. There are loads of tournaments, and they're always pretty cool. An in-game event, for example, could be for all duelists of a certain skill level to get on the boat to Duelist Kingdom, and all fight it out there Battle Royale style until the champion fight Pegasus, a mod in the game who can see the other person's cards the whole time. Could be super cool. Also the Domino City tournament from the show, a tournament where when you lose, you lose your deck's best card, could be really crazy to be a part of. If you lose in these tournaments, what's cool is that even though you can't duel anymore, you can still walk up to any duel and just watch. With the hologram system from the show, you see everything! You walk up to a duel in the middle of the city square you know how many monsters are out, how may cards face down, what equips are out, what field spells. It would be so easy to spectate and chat about the duel as it happens, it would be awesome.

I think the most important thing to note about Yu-Gi-(MM)Oh! that I've yet to mention, is that it has a monthly subscription... and that's it. No micro transactions, no "swap real money for in-game money!" bullshit, it's all balanced and everybody has the chance to get the best cards even if they don't have a lot of money in real life. A good system to borrow would be that of FIFA Ultimate Team. In ultimate team you can get money through taking part in lots of mini player tournaments or even by cleverly selling cards on their auction house, both of which would be features I would want in the game. Imagine you're just sat there bored and you decide "I want to try and win some booster packs or money right now!" and you go to a building in the town and suddenly you're in a 16-man tournament, where there are various prizes for top 8. That's a freaking cool as fuck idea, that is for some reason only done in a football game, and NOT in a card game! Absurd!

It's kind of fucked up that when I think about card games This is how Yu-Gi-Oh games usually look: Boring. They can do better!with solid economies and incentives for taking part in the community, the only one I can come up with is a FIFA game, but so few and far between are decent video games based around cards that the guys behind Ultimate Team is really the only innovators out there in the genre. I think that by encouraging community, and incentivising taking part no matter your skill level, you keep people engaged for a far longer period of time, and as an MMO there's money to be made there. People will be constantly playing in tournaments, watching episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh on the big screen fitted above the main square (did I not mention that earlier?) and having fun playing virtual card games against one another. If you got all of this for, I dunno, £5 a month on top of actually buying the game, that would be an amazing proposition for fans of Yu-Gi-Oh cards! Entering a real life tournament costs about £5 anyway, and a real booster pack is coming mighty close to that as well! I'd be worried that they'd feel compelled to let you buy extras for real money, but I would hope that they would see that in the long run, this kind of integrity move creates so much good will that people will stay with the MMO for years longer than they would have otherwise.

Sure it's a pipedream, and sure it's a ridiculous notion for an MMO not to contain micro-transactions, but such is the life of a dream game in one's imagination. It shall never get made, and I shall be forever flacid. At least I still have my real cards, I guess...

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