How about making a never ending a game by constantly creating meaningful goals.
Would it be possible to create a game were the world was conscious to the players actions? In this game, the world reacts to the player differently as the player accomplished their goals, be it quest objectives, story driven, exploration driven, or maybe even achievement based? With each new reaction, the world would be evolving in a sense. The NPCs would treat the player differently, maps could be reshaped possibly, and the players goal would be related to the changes made to the world.
(Minecraft maps are famously known for their procedural generation, revealing new areas as the player explores further)
Should this world house massive amounts of players or should it hold a handful? If it housed a massive amount, it could be a metaphor for how everyone’s actions has an effect on the larger picture. If majority of the players make similar choices in the game, the world would respond to it. Like how millions of people rode the bus or carpooled, it would cut down on carbon emission into the atmosphere. Could experiencing these world wide changes in the game from even small choices made make the player feel the impact of their choices? Would they see that every action has a consequence (good or bad) and maybe be able to relate that to their real lives?
So maybe the goals given to these massively online player should relate to how the world evolved (or maybe de-evolved). Would that make the players form factions for certain choices or would it become chaotic impulses for choices made? Should these choices be from completing the goal or simply choices made along the way? Would groups of players have undesirable views on how the world evolved this time? Could the undesirable changes, motivate other players to change that some how?
(MMO’s now a days have Raid events which can shape the story or the world based on who wins in a match)
Would this fun to players? Being a world that is dictated by their choices and other players. A world that recognizes each player, or recognizes all of the players as a group. Reacting to them based on the history of changes to the world. Would players be engaged by having NPCs praise them or despise them for how the world had evolved? In some games just having the world react to the player at all makes it all the more interesting. How many people were excited in GTA when they gained more cops stars and eventually had a city wide man hunt after them. The gradual raising of it all made GTA so good. The thinking was how many more laws do I break until I get cop cars chasing me, then to SWAT teams, then to helicopters, then maybe the military after me?
(The Infamous series is known for having civilians praise the hero or form mobs to attack him if his karma is extremely good or evil)
If the player realizes their choices impact the world, but now which choices, would that make each action a meaningful choice to them? If you knew that stepping ant, would incite an ant hives vengeance upon you, wouldn’t you avoid ant hills then? Could players enjoy an experience while examining each corner for how it may change the games world? I guess on some level, the players need to understand the hidden mechanics on how the world changes. Or even given a small view on a few things they do that affect the world, because then it would be a game about figuring out the game (hmm sounds like a card game called Mao ). There can be motivation in frustrating games, if the player feels they are figuring out the pattern bit by bit.
(Mao, a card game where the first rule is to not tell anyone the rules)
All in all, can a game like this be created? Would it be possible to make a massively online experience were the structures, entities that inhabit it, or NPCs are being changed after the players achieve some major goal. And what dictates these changes are based on the players choices. All the while having the game react to the players based on the changes made after each evolution of the world. Well after so many questions, the vision of it seems clearer.
Any who thank you for reading this thought piece. Please comment below, if it was random, unfinished, maybe heading in the right direction or just a bunch of malarkey~!