Out of the blue, I started thinking about the now defunct LEGO MMO LEGO Universe. And the more I think about, the more disappointing it seems that it got closed and that it was a MMO.
I think that game could have worked, with a longer life, if it were not a MMO but rather a 4-player Co-op somewhat open-world LEGO game, with or without online capabilities. That is pretty much the maximum amount of people you could go into the minigames/psuedobossfights with.
Also: no subscription fee - because it would no longer be an MMO. I think that was one of the things that killed the game before it started. Instead, a one-time purchase. Maybe some things would have to be reworked, but the game didn't really seem to ever need more than 4 players doing something at once.
There are a few things about LEGO Universe that weren't fixed that really should've, IMO. If any of you played it in the latter half of its life after launch, you'll know that the game's balance went completely out of the window. The game had four factions with three 'sub-classes' (initially two) and in at the start of this second half, the first eight sub-classes got these things called 'valiant weapons'. For the most part, they were decent and balanced well enough. And then there's the Chainsaw Gun thing one of them had that was pretty much infinite and did far more rapid damage than anything else in the game. It took this 'resource' called imagination to use (one of your three stats along with life and armour) but literally everything dropped more than one sphere of imagination, so it was effectively infinite. I think the subclass it also applied to may have been able to regain life or armour via smashing enemies, can't remember rightly if that was it or if it was a different subclass. Actually, while we're at it, let's go over the factions the game had.
There was Sentinel, which I believe was one of the two more popular factions in the game and probably had the most well-balanced subclasses in the game. (when you joined a faction you could be any subclass as long as you had the gear for it) These subclasses were the Knight, Samurai, and Space Ranger. Mostly, they were the ones that filled the role of tank. The Knight was the most tanky, the Samurai I believe had a slight bit more damage for a slight bit less tankiness, and the Space Ranger had a bit less tankiness for a bit more crowd control.
There was Assembly, the other of the two more popular factions. I think. The Engineer, Summoner, and Inventor. These guys mostly served as the support via extra stuff like turrets and creatures, I think? They weren't really made for the game's combat as their weapons had two-hit combos instead of the usual three. I think they were mostly well-balanced but the Inventor subclass was apparently quite overpowered.
There was Venture, not as popular as the other two factions but still reasonably common. These guys were mostly the crowd control. Again, three subclasses, this time the Daredevil, Buccaneer, and Adventurer. The Buccaneer used to have an awesome coat in the beta but they changed it to a much less cool bandolier. Never understood why. The first two subclasses had a unique thing to them until the last four subclasses were added to the game, which was that their weapons were 'two-handed' instead of one separate piece and had four-hit combos of 2-2-3-4 instead of the usual three. Daredevil was one of the more popular subclasses in the game - when I played, I was one. In fact, the Knight, Engineer, and Daredevil were the most popular subclasses in the game, I think? The Adventurer subclass was perhaps the weakest in the game, too.
Finally, there was Paradox, the least popular faction. But also undisputedly the most powerful, and that's all thanks to one of its subclasses. Its three subclasses were the Space Marauder, the Sorcerer, and the Shinobi. It was the damage-dealing faction of the game. The Space Marauder was tanky with splash damage, the Sorcerer was high area damage with not much armour, and the Shinobi, well, the Shinobi was also apparently a slight bit overpowered. Then the valiant weapons came and the Space Marauder became a tank that also did very high damage very quickly. Balance kind of went out of the window after that.
Those valiant weapons, all of the first eight subclasses got one. The last four - the Space Ranger; Inventor; Adventurer; Shinobi; they never got theirs, really. The valiant weapons pretty much increased the damage of every subclass over that subclass's normal weapons. I can't really remember most of them, but IIRC the Knight and Samurai got spears, the Daredevil got the front half a motorcycle, and the Space Marauder got the chainsaw gun thing I already talked about. Honestly, while I talk about things being a slight bit overpowered, the moto-ripper (the morocycle) was definitely up there as one of the more overpowered weapons as well. An ability it had had the potential to do 35 damage over 5 hits (each hit being 7 damage eat) to a single target, which was huge in LEGO Universe because most weapons only did at a max a combo of 4-4-4 damage, and the only things that beat that were the valiant weapons that did 3-3-3-4/3-3-4-4 damage. Still pretty high.
If the game was balanced a bit better, and was tweaked so it was a 4-player co-op experience instead of a MMO, I think it could actually work. The only thing that could have more than 4 players was the racing, which could have up to six, but... it's not really much of a loss.
LEGO Universe had about 7 or so major worlds, two of them being hubs, and about an equal amount of smaller worlds, I believe? Avant Gardens Nimbus Station, Gnarled Forest, Forbidden Valley, Nexus Tower, Crux Prime, and the Ninjago World being the big ones, with the Venture Explorer (return included), LEGO Club, the four 'fan' made' worlds, and Pet Cove being the smaller ones. There's also the 'property' worlds. Not much for a MMO considering how small the earlier maps were, but maybe big enough for a co-op four player game? I could see it working. The minigames the game had work well with four players - the survival minigames, the racing, the battle for nimbus station... maybe not the shooting gallery. Maybe that'd have to be redone a bit. The 'psuedo' bosses that were in their own thing would work since they also required four people (mostly enemy dragons).
And considering I'm already talking about LEGO Universe, and since the game doesn't really exist, I may as talk about the alpha I played close to... six years ago now? Wow. Well, whatever NDA I had to adhere to is probably gone now. So. Right. The Alpha. It might surprise you how little some things changed and how much some other things changed. In the Alpha there were bats on the ceiling of the cave that linked the first area of Avant Gardens to the monument area - brick-built bats on brick-built rocks. They weren't there in the launch version of the game, for some reason I still don't understand. They weren't particularly high-resolution or resource draining. The first 'world', the Venture Explorer? Aside from a few small tweaks and changes, it remained mostly unchanged except for minifig appearances. I guess that would be because it was one of the first worlds. Avant Gardens, the world that also serves as an introduction, well, I think asides from the spider den, it remained mostly unchanged. The Monument area saw a few more changes, but it always had three main paths and remained the most vertically open area in the game for a good long while. But it had more time, so it was less glitchy.
Gnarled Forest, the other area in Alpha... it really was quite different in Alpha, but the same. The general look of the world remained the same, but the enemies... they were changed a bit, especially the enemy gorillas, as were the stuff you could build on the ground. I don't think the racing area existed at that point, either? It might have, but it was quite barren. You could also go to the medium/large? sized property for Gnarled Forest at the end of the area, the same medium/large sized property that was never released because the game closed down. Kind of odd getting to see that, considering that the first time I saw it in Alpha was also the last time I and the others I was with at the time would ever see it. Another Gnarled Forest thing: Parrots were all the rage in Alpha. Everybody who was in the Alpha wanted one, and they dropped significantly more than they did in the beta or launch versions of the game. You could also glitch into the Gnarled Forest survival minigame that wasn't finished yet, which is what I and two others did in the last few days of the (month long) alpha. It was significantly glitchier than anything else in the game. Actually, now that I think about, did that survival ever make it into the final game? Strange if it didn't, it was in a good location from what I could tell.
Might as well talk about beta as well. In beta, at first, we were limited to the first two worlds. Alpha had both them and Gnarled Forest. Wasn't until April we got Nimbus Station, which I don't think was in the Alpha until the last week... (we also glitched into joining a faction in alpha, something we weren't meant to do. We received placeholders of items that didn't exist yet, I think. Oops. Yes, we did a lot of glitching in the last few days of Alpha. A lot of it. Don't judge us - we were testers. It's what we're meant to do.) This time, in beta, the faction stuff had been made, I think? Still early, though.
Should talk about Forbidden Valley, added to beta in May or late April along with a character wipe. Forbidden Valley was by far the glitchiest area in the game, even compared to the others before testing. Imagine elevators going up... through you. Or enemies that got stuck in the ground and in the walls. Or getting stuck at the bottom of a cliff because the bounce pads didn't work. Or not dying when falling because the death barrier didn't exist. That was quite an experience.
Later in May, I believe there was the third character wipe and the last one - characters wouldn't be wipe until the end of the beta. The game was approaching its near-;launch state, so I believe they needed us to test the functionality of the rank 2 and 3 faction gear, something I believe that wasn't implemented before. And we did. Not much changed in this period aside from a few small bug fixes - like I said, the game was in its near-launch state. Honestly, I think the game was at its best in that state, too. I decided to test the Sentinel Knight. Let me tell you, from the late beta period to the end, that subclass didn't really change at all.
Maybe the game could've worked if it wasn't a MMO. Not sure. What do you think? At least, if you also played LU at any point in its life. Can't imagine that'd be many people.