Just yesterday, in Independent Thoughts, I looked at the growing number of indie companies, and wondered how many would survive over time. If you thought that was scary, how about anyone – anyone at all – being able to build their own MMOG?

Impossible? Well, Raph Koster doesn’t think so. His company, Areae, Inc., has created Metaplace, a do-it-yourself MMOG kit. This is still in the works, sort of alpha/beta stage.

I’m not going to try and describe what he’s doing; you’ll have to read the article in The Escapist, and then visit the site itself for more details.

On the one hand, it sounds like the ultimate modder’s tool, since you can do just about anything with your world. Create what you like, any way you like.

Of course, just how good any of these game worlds will be, is another story. Naturally, some of them will be excellent. Many will be mediocre, and the rest, well, awful.

Rather like the curve for the NWN modules. After exhausting the original Neverwinter Nights, I discovered the fan mods. Fortunately, NWN had been around a long time by then, so there were a lot to look at, and I did look at many.

And yes, some were excellent, many were mediocre, and quite a few were, let’s be kind, forgettable. Metaplace is a much bigger canvas, however, and I shudder to think about the debugging that will be needed by the individual world builders.

Beyond that, however, is how long people will be likely to stick with it. Good design takes dedication as well as skill. I’ve seen with the NWN mods how some put up a few good mods, then stopped. Just those small scenarios took incredible time and effort to do right.

And that’s working with what was a limited toolset in a limited arena. So I wonder if a lot of people will jump in, and then give up later, when they realize just what it takes to make something that’s good. Not just for themselves, but for others, as well.

Read up on it and see what you think.

Raph Koster Metaplace interview on The Escapist

P.S. Yes, it is “Raph”, not “Ralph”. ;)