US Navy MMO to brainstorm new anti sea-pirate strategies

US Navy Aircraft Carrier

A new MMO project being developed by the US Navy plans to use player behaviour to formulate new strategies for battling Somalian sea pirates, reports Gamasutra . The catchily named Massive Multiplayer Online WarGame Leveraging the Internet project ( MMOWGLI ) is set to launch on Monday, and will challenge mixture of military and civilian players to come up with innovative new strategies to combat piracy and kidnapping off the Somalian shore.

According to a planning document , the game will unfold in three stages. In the first move, players have to "Develop a coordinated international, inter-agency plan of action and milestones for the next six months of coalition activity in the critical Gulf of Aden / Somali Coastal region." Should be a doddle for WoW raiders.

Stage two will simulate a number of attacks on vessels in the region. One team will control the pirates, while another will control the response force, which consists of "US combatant commander(s), SEAL team members, other nation combatant skippers, USCG LEDET, FBI Teams, Combined Task Force 151 commander, merchant & cruise ship captains and an on-board security team."

The third stage will see the battles in stage two transition to a hostage situation on the mainland. Locations include a "Gulf of Aden coastal town with deep water port. Controlled by warlords." The situations in the game are based on factual accounts of incidents that have gone before, or are derived from likely scenarios to ensure as much realism as possible. There will also be a "Control" team, responsible for booting griefers, so you won't be able to do a Leroy Jenkins with the entire US navy.

The aim of the entire exercise is to see if the large number of players involved can come up with new ideas that could be applied in a real life context. development lead and director of innovation at the Office of Naval Research, Dr. Larry Schutte told Gamasutra "We hope MMOWGLI will help us to understand what happens when your insights are combined with the observations and actions of another player. Will that fusion result in a game-changing idea or solution, or will the MMOWGLI platform teach us something about our traditional thought processes?"

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.