The original release will focus on the recent real-world issues of Somali pirates. Players will be able to choose between two sides: either members of an international anti-piracy task force or the actual pirates themselves. It’s a little deeper of a decision than “Alliance or Horde” to be sure, since this one clearly marks the “good guys” vs “the bad guys,” but you shouldn’t feel morally inferior to picking the pirates. There always needs to be at least two factions for PVP play. Task force players will have to come up with ways to safely pass commercial ships through the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden. This includes gauging the probability of a pirate attack, arming ships, and of course the political and financial strain associated with any sort of military action. Pirate players are tasked with circumventing the task force players’ plans and well, to put it simply, jacking their ships. Players are permitted to party up like in all MMO games to work together on humanitarian efforts, raids, and hostage rescues. Players are even allowed to get into the nitty-gritty details of hostage rescue and maximizing the efficiency of pirate attacks. This will all be tightly controlled by game masters to preserve as much realism as possible. They’ll be making sure that there aren’t any exploits that can be triggered, like the Orgrimmar secret room in WoW’s Cataclysm expansion, or even someone pulling a Leeroy Jenkins and disrupting an encounter. You see, combat ships carry costs of hundreds of millions of dollars each, which I would venture is a bit more than a 70 gold virtual repair bill for your 359 epics.
The Navy has a presentation available here with a lot more information on the premise of the game, background and objectives. What they’re hoping for with MMOWGLI is “novel combinations and complex interactions of ideas” and to “encourage out of the box thinking about contemporary anti-piracy issues.” These types of insights, as is documented in their presentation, might not emerge from more traditional wargame approaches. Collective gamer intelligence, gotta love it. So do you feel like playing pirate? You can sign up for MMOWGLI here.