Not sure why the idea for this didn't occur to me sooner as it is my favourite type of mod and play style. It occurred to me this morning and has sort of grown in my mind since. At first I was wondering if it might take a post to the feature request/suggestions area just to see if it would be remotely feasible, but the more I ponder it, the more I think it could be done.
This post and thread isn't about any specific world or theme, it's more about the play or mod/map style of having a Persistent Online RPG sandbox.
At the most basic level, it could be done with an fairly minimal amount of actual coding. At the most basic level it would be possible to do with a large set of custom tiles placed on a hand crafted map to give the impression of wending dungeons or city scapes or whathaveyou as opposed to the more typical entire world/continent view.
I'm thinking I may have to do an illustration later to show precisely what I mean, but I'm thinking on a large or huge map size, you could fit a very large number of disparate areas and connect them rather nicely, having different adventure areas and perhaps a level/difficulty progression going across in one direction along the map, with perhaps some spikes in difficulty in terms of boss creatures at the end of 'dungeon' areas and the like.
Getting more advanced, could:
Mod the sovereign so that the background classes selected actually become current classes, with differing skill sets and spells/abilities from the outset and as they progress.
Could script out the ability to create cities (since it is of course more a focus on the RPG rather than the TBS aspects), although may want to include static nodes or spots on the map that can be controlled by players if they're able to take control of them.
Would need a way to have encounters respawn, and even wander (within certain ranges), preferably also with some randomness to the spawn, and perhaps with loot tables to boot.
Heroes/Champions? Perhaps may wish to provide them, but only within a party with the sovereigns, and with a cap on how many can be within a party, after which would need to swap out one to bring in another.
etc, more ideas welcomed!
Putting icing on the cake, possibly could:
Change fog of war effects by area? Can we add reduced/increased visibility effects to tiles and regions? Can we change the visual effect of the fog to emulate darkness by tile/area?
Include prestige classes at certain level thresholds, or perhaps unlocked by quests, can we include quest chains where completion of one allows another to trigger?
Again, etc etc, plenty of ideas could think of here!
With a maximum of 32 players in a world, I think this could be a rather exciting way to play. Will other players befriend you or battle you? If they befriend you, will it be possible, as it was in Age of Wonders, to bring people in from adjacent tiles to a battle, and not just the direct attacked/attacking units? If this isn't standard game behaviour, can we mod that in? Will the engine allow for 3 way (or more) tactical battles?
Would tactical battles even be feasible in such an environment, or does it force all players to go in and watch the tactical battle regardless of what they're doing? Or can the rest of the game continue regardless? If not, how can we make the 'autoresolve' combat more exciting?
So many ideas and what not floating around in rather nonspecific ways presently. I'd love to recreate some of the adventures had in NWN PW mods in a new format.
Anyone else also interested?