MMO Mechanics: Four inspiring indie developments worth watching

The MMO genre has immense sticking power in terms of tenure, staying relevant to players for decades despite such fluid and rapid development in the larger gaming industry and particularly in relation to online gaming. With such an extensive back catalogue of games in the genre, it’s not surprising to see so many recycled mechanics being employed in new releases due to the significant financial risks associated with MMO development. The latest batch of promising indie developments, however, has me sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation — moderated with a heavy dose of trepidation, of course — for what new, reimagined, or creatively employed mechanics we’ll see in the MMOs of tomorrow.

In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll break down the mechanics under the work-in-progress bonnets of some of the indie and fledgling offerings that have captured my attention for all the right reasons. I’ll look at what each game proposes to do differently and why that makes me excited for its release.

lif1. Life is Feudal and realism

This is one that may well have slipped under your radar, but I hope it’ll find a safe spot on your watchlist after you’ve read on! Life is Feudal is a uniquely crafted hardcore sandbox MMORPG set in a realistic medieval world that should see beta release in its MMO form in early 2016. Presently, players are exploring the alpha version, Life is Feudal: Your Own, which is in a more primitive RPG format, and playtesting has gained the team at Bitbox a solid following. Massively Overpowered freelancer Andrew Ross wrote a great introduction to CEO Vladimir Piskunov at E32015 in which he dissected the mechanics of Piskunov’s vision.

LIF is a threefold attack on my mechanical sensibilities, offering up terraforming and decay mechanics, an alignment system, and realistic survival mechanics to the game’s dedicated niche market. I’ll grant you that each mechanic has been seen before in some form in another MMO, at least in isolation, but their combined implementation in a rich, realistic world really sets LIF apart as a standout entry to the genre. The quality of the food you eat matters as much as how frequently you dine, grave misdeeds have a long-lasting effect on your character stats, and the fully 3-D tunnels players create decay over time if they are not properly maintained. All of these mechanics will lend LIF a persistence that will almost definitely enhance the genre, and it’s thrilling to see such a breath of fresh air come from an indie studio.

das tal2. Das Tal and time-boxing

This PvP dark fantasy sandbox by Fairytale Distillery has attracted no more attention than the previous title, and Das Tal unfortunately failed to succeed on Kickstarter recently. I’m still cautiously optimistic about where it’s headed, though, and it’s MOBA-with-a-twist mechanics most definitely deserve a mention here. Das Tal is an open-world battle arena that seeks to end pay-to-win, grindy PvP gameplay with its entry to the MMO market. It promises to carefully balance both risk and reward in order to simultaneously satiate challenge-starved MMO PvP fans and capture the MOBA audience.

Time-boxing and meaningful, skill-based combat have the potential to pair beautifully, making Das Tal‘s PvP appeal to me more than it should as an almost exclusively PvE-focused player. I find that most MMOs and virtually every MOBA lacks a certain sense of consequence for my performance in PvP and my general actions in-game, which puts me off this type of gameplay. With time-boxing, which is the system through which Das Tal servers run for a set duration, players will experience a geographically fresh world with a new ruleset rather regularly, meaning that everyone starts off on a clean slate again. This should help to reduce the endgame grind as it is subject to a strict time cap, and worlds catered to the specific whims of its playerbase are apparently possible, which I’m highly anticipating.

no mans sky3. No Man’s Sky and open exploration

This stunningly presented galactic exploration game is sure to ring a bell after yet another strong E32015 presence and plenty of hype beyond that. It’s questionable whether this will become a true MMO or more of a smaller scale experience, and it’ll likely initially ship without its multiplayer features, but I’ll cheat just this once for the sake of discussing great mechanics. The procedurally generated galaxy is described as infinite in the No Man’s Sky marketing, and it definitely depicts an infinity I could stare at indefinitely. The project is doubtlessly an immense undertaking for the tiny UK-based team, but if the jaw-dropping teasers we’ve seen so far are any indication of progress, we’re in for a real treat with this one.

I adore space and believe that the play-extending properties of procedural generation can make for fantastic MMO mechanics, so No Man’s Sky just had to make my list. The great minds behind this future gem of a game describe the virtual universe they have carved as “truly open,” explaining that anything that can be seen can be explored. Flight shall be a seamless visual delight, and No Man’s Sky touts unique cataloguing mechanics that aim to make travel meaningful. I particularly like that ownership over even the most amazing galactic discoveries lies with the discoverer: It’s up to you whether or not to share your discoveries with other players, giving you the potential to indelibly mark their worlds. Plenty has been promised and relatively little has been seen, but I’m willing to hold my breath until I find out more, hoping that I don’t need to blow this one down.

crowfall4. Crowfall and a loose definition of persistency

The well-qualified and widely experienced team behind Crowfall has managed to raise over $2 million for the game’s development, initially succeeding on Kickstarter before moving pledges across to its own website. With more than 20,000 backers behind the project, this title is almost certainly one to keep on your radar. ArtCraft is as ambitious as it is talented, so expect to hear great things as development progresses.

Player characters are crows, determined champions who travel from world to world to fight an endless War of the Gods. As I described above with Das Tal‘s time-boxing, the strict time limit on each campaign world allows for a clean slate for each player, with the added challenge of vying for a win condition that can prematurely end the campaign. Another mechanic is meshed on top of the campaign world system, called the Hunger, that creates a more deadly and sinister world as the seasons roll on and the time limit pushes forward. The Hunger refers to an insatiable, unstoppable horde of undead, and deadly threats such as the Hunger threaten the players from their first moments in a new campaign world.

Fog of war adds to the sense of unknown that hits players in every new campaign, obscuring the threats and spoils contained there. What makes Crowfall unique is the eternal kingdoms, permanent worlds that are player-owned and managed. Monarch players will rule there, and I can’t wait to see how the fealty mechanics feel when the game is finished. Add in passive skilltraining and we should have an interesting package that feels more horizontal in terms of progression than any MMO on the market currently.

Over to you!

My list is small and I have a rough workpad filled with other very strong indie entries to the genre (honourable mentions go to Camelot Unchained and Shards Online), so I know that you’ll have some more suggestions for my watchlist. Where do you see MMO development heading? Will it be a triple-A smash hit that grabs your attention in future, or are you excited for the indie offerings I’ve mentioned? As ever, I love it when you let me know your thoughts in the comments. Seriously, reading and responding takes up a good chunk of my Sunday, and it’s a boring auld day anyway!

MMOs are composed of many moving parts, but Massively’s Tina Lauro is willing to risk industrial injury so that you can enjoy her mechanical musings. MMO Mechanics explores the various workings behind our beloved MMOs. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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Robert80
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Robert80

CazCore schmidtcapela Robert80 sray155  Yeah, that could work for many.  Of course, there would be some who would be upset (but mostly the ones who tend to make a game a cruddy experience anyway.)  I think your idea could benefit from an option of ‘respawn local’ and ‘respawn home’ there… maybe even only if you didn’t fight back.  Sometimes you really need to get out of an area, and your rng on respawns has been terrible with a system like that.  Otherwise, though, I think that would be a possible system for some games.
That said, I think LiF has a lot going for it there.  Unless you are using steel armor or weapons (which even those in a village are easy to replace if you have a mine) you really don’t suffer.  Honestly, if you are using basic weapons (which degrade over time anyway) you can still do a lot of damage, and can easily hunt and do the rest of your PvE. In fact, about the only point to using steel is that it lasts longer.  It doesn’t really do that much more than solid ironwork.  About the only really valuable stuff to lose would be from remote mining or from caravans… and if you don’t have a guard group running from those (or the entrance to your mine on your private fenced in claim) you aren’t playing smart.
*Note, basic bow/crossbow and 100 ammo is fairly easy to obtain once you are set up, but even the sling is a decent weapon for running around hunting… and that takes <5 minutes to replace from scratch with a solid ammo stack.  I agree it can be inconvenient, but with the limits on murder and theft before you become pathetic, there really isn’t a reason to be a jerk constantly.  Further, if you are doing a lot of crime, the penalties make it easy to evade you, which makes you almost a non-threat.*
I think there may be other approaches that work well too, and I really think that more things like the alignment/criminal system with LiF need to make their way into sandboxes.  For those games that want to let people try to be a jerk, there also needs to be risk involved.  Allow things like recruited guards, house pets that can attack people, a few npc settlements and the bounty system having them hate criminals, etc.  There is a ton that can happen… and the fact that it just hasn’t really been worried about in so many years is why this is exciting to me.  I think the innovation on these parts is something required to reach an eventual virtual world where interactions are far more complex than the current status quo.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

CazCore schmidtcapela Robert80 sray155 
Nothing against, and I might even take part; I do like Quake-like PvP.
It would basically be a game inside a game, though, which would likely not sit well with many PvP-focused players.

CazCore
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CazCore

WandaClamshuckr Celestia while true and good in theory, the problem is that they are all going for pretty much the same niche now.  rather than having lots of different niches, for lots of different kinds of games.  so its still pretty much having no real choice, just a DIFFERENT one-ring-to-rule-them-all paradigm.

CazCore
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CazCore

schmidtcapela Robert80 sray155 what if the game was in a virtual world, but the PVP was like Quake?  where there is nothing to lose other than your current location in the world?  Not even your weapon.  And you wouldn’t spawn too far away.  And no power progression.

Aglethe
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Aglethe

schmidtcapela Robert80 sray155
I guess the way I look at it, I don’t have any interest in going around and peeing in other peoples Wheeties, so there’s not much upshot for me in letting other people try to pee in mine. 
Nothing against people who enjoy that thrill of constant danger, and it is a niche that has often been under served I suppose. So it’s nice that there may be more variety for the people who enjoy that to look forward to. But none of it really looks like my kind of thing.
I seem to be of a PvX apartheidist… I don’t care for PvP in my PvE games (well outside of discrete mini games anyway, I probably spent more time in sPvP than anything else in GW2), and when I’m in PvP mood I look for purely PvP games where there’s little more at stake than a respawn and some pride. ;)

Arrobee
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Arrobee

Does it feel awesome in a weird way to anyone else when they think about PvE being tacked onto a PvP game, instead of the other way around?
I don’t know why I argue the fact there is some PvE, if a person doesn’t want to try RvR, for what ever misguided reason they have, no amount of convincing will get them to play.
But that’s the benefit of being a niche. Don’t need to please everyone, just your target audience, and what a fantastic audience the CU community is. ;-)

confectionally
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confectionally

I don’t claim to have a clue where the MMO universe is headed, but I wish just one of these promising games everybody’s looking forward to wasn’t so heavily centered around PvP.  I don’t really have anything I’m looking forward to in terms of future titles at this point.  I like what I’m currently playing well enough, but it’s still a bit sad never being able to get hyped for news.

syberghost
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syberghost

“Realistic medieval world” sounds appalling. If I wanted a realistic world, I’d go outside; and if I wanted a realistic MEDIEVAL world, I’d go outside and drive to a good therapist.

EO_Lonegun
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EO_Lonegun

The Repopulation because we need more sci-fi MMOs.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

Arrobee 
I don’t think most PvE players can ever be interested in any game where PvE plays second fiddle.
Besides, in a game where killing the “PvE” players in the opposing faction to prevent them from gathering materials or crafting for their faction, there is really no such thing as a PvE player.

Robert80
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Robert80

schmidtcapela Robert80 sray155  I feel that way about themeparks for sure!  I also detest the typical litterbox (sandbox with complete gank enablement.)  For some reason, I don’t mind as much in games where you don’t need to go off through every nook and cranny of an area to complete content.  Still, I can feel you there… I really hate PvP servers on most MMOs.
Oh well, I do think some of the mechanics from crafting and such could transfer over nicely regardless!

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

Robert80 sray155 
Well, for my part, LiF is still too PvP-oriented for my tastes.

But then, after a decade playing MMOs in PvP-enabled servers, I flat out refuse to ever again play any game where I can be attacked by another player without my explicit consent. If the devs want me in their game, it has to either be pure PvE, or else to have some kind of PvP toggle that allows me to completely and absolutely ignore anything PvP.

(That is for games that have PvE elements, though; I eagerly play pure PvP games, though for those I prefer instanced matchmaking-based Arena PvP without persistence or any kind of power progression.)

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Arthwyndar While I personally am not all that enthused about the ones mentioned as my comment below indicates I still do not want them to fail or flop and wish them every success.
My reasoning is that any game that fails whether it is personally palatable to me or not reflects on the whole mmo genre and will make it harder for types of mmos that I like to be made or get money.
Kickstarter can be good but there are only so many people that can or will donate to them (KS fatigue is a real thing these days) and so the genre still needs corporate / big company investors. While some may be savy enough to distinguish between the sub-genres such pve / pvp / sandbox etc my own feeling is that many just see mmo as one whole thing so if all they see are mmo closing down they are less likely to want to risk their money on the genre.  
We need success and a lot of it as we have seen a lot of bad news in recent past and that is not good news for anyone whether you personally like the games or not.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

breetoplay WandaClamshuckr Celestia I’ve used this before but game development seems a lot like a school of fish. Everyone sees it’s time for a change and they all change the same direction. We’ve gone from all wow clones all the time to all pvp sandboxes.
The biggest problem these murder boxes are going to face is there is no wow to bring in huge numbers of people and huge money. So far from what I see,  it’s going to end up a bunch of crappy under funded under developed games fighting over victims not customer.

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Robert80 BalsBigBrother the thing with Ark is that it’s PvP is not its only option and I personally think it works better as a game when set to the pve cooperative type.
Actual PvP in Ark is not really PvP because gamers take the path of least resistance so the PvP village raids tend to happens against people who are not actually present or even logged in  and are unable to actively  defend themselves.  The fact that you can still be killed as your body doesn’t despawn when you log is just an extra kick in the coconuts.  That to me represents the worst type of non consensual PvP ganking I have seen.
Yet when played as a pve experience that people are actively cooperatively helping each other then its a whole different more enjoyable experience and its certainly the latter that is the reason I play Ark.  If LiF can capture that too then it may be of interest to me.  Granted I have not been following its development at all closely so I may have unfairly pigeon holed it but I will try to keep your comment in mind in the future :-)

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

WandaClamshuckr  I don’t really care that much about the seedy stuff.  I just like the idea of the karma system and how they claim that player actions will impact the world quite a bit.

Robert80
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Robert80

Arrobee  True at least in part.  RvR tends to run into ‘Zerg mode on!’ issues, and as far as I am concerned that isn’t valuable gameplay or teamwork.  It does have some measure of success depending upon some variables, but in general that is what I find as the end result.  *Granted, most PvP I have seen where numbers aren’t highly limited results in zerg mode, and I really think we need things like aoe insta-kill from siege weaponry.*
And yes, CU will have ‘PvE’. Excuse me for not being excited about that.  It just doesn’t sound worthy of much consideration.  Granted, they may make it important and fun… but it really seems like it might just as well not be there at this point, given what I have seen and heard.

Arrobee
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Arrobee

I like to explain to people the relationship of PvP and RvR with an Euler Diagram. Not all PvP games are created equal, and I prefer the RvR variety.
I sometimes get annoyed when people blow off RvR as just another PvP game. (Not at you, just in general.) RvR focuses on team work, to the point that it forces it, you know who your enemis are. PvP games like Crowfall have guilds and such, but it’s still a Gank box at heart, where anyone could stab you in the back.
And Camelot Unchained will have PvE, for resource gathering and minor defenses, you just don’t progress abilities and stats while doing it.
/endrant

Jacra
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Jacra

I’m waiting for Shards Online to see if indeed the whole UO-free shard thing can be brought into a commercial space – with very user friendly, highly customizable private shards. I’d love to see that, wondering though if it can become what freeshards offer even technology-wise. By now there is even the Ultima Live system on one UO emulator available which allows to modify map and statics etc in live mode – and stream the changes to the players. Or a full 3D client. Unthinkable for the commercial version.

Crowfall I’m curious to see the whole kingdom-economy-campaign thing, no idea if it will work but it could be interesting.

World’d Adrift I’m looking forward for the full physics engine + voxel thing. Will that work? Especially with all these small floating islands, will it be a total griefer fest or can peaceful, cooperative players indeed “hide” enough?

Robert80
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Robert80

Arrobee  I like the building system they have, as well as a number of other things I have heard from them mechanics wise.  I think you could include them here, yes.
That said, for those who like non-PvP it may be just about the worst option outside Das Tal in the list.

Robert80
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Robert80

BalsBigBrother  The default LiF rules, compared to the default Ark rules… Ark is the PvP conflict centered one.  That’s why so many people focused on making PvE only servers.  Granted, the same happened with LiF, but it isn’t as much a necessity because you already have protections in the system.  LiF as an MMO will strongly require cooperation to do very much.  You can’t really create much without a village full of friends.  Fighting takes a lot of crafting downtime to support, and to heal back up.  LiF is actually rather harsh to the PvP crowds, and they have raged a lot about that on the forums in the past (while the majority of those supporting the game told them to go away, because we don’t want another gankbox.)
Outside that, I agree that a lot of the focus is on PvP in many of these games.  There are others (Land of Britain, for example) with more PvE involved that offer nice new mechanics ideas… so don’t despair!

Estranged
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Estranged

CU articles usually garner much attention.
Seems weird to be left off the list.

Robert80
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Robert80

boredinBC Lethality  You are going to be underwhelmed.  The importance of Albion is only to those who want multi-platform same server integration.  It isn’t going to really hit you hard with much beyond that.

Robert80
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Robert80

Astald  That, and maybe a mention to Land of Britain for the same.

Robert80
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Robert80

blackcat7k BKone  Life is Feudal is essentially funded.  It already has multi-million dollar investees just from early access sales.  They update at least once a month, with a roadmap that they are as faithful as possible to (recently the decision, with community support, to upgrade to DX11 delayed some model updates and the female model releases.  They noted that, but given the update decision it is not surprising.  They releases other things that were on the list.)
The others… well, crowfall is probably the other best funded at this point.  What comes as time goes on, we shall see.

Robert80
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Robert80

sray155  LiF actually restricts PvP highly.  Yes, you can still engage in it outside of full on wars… but in general trying to PvP like in most other sandbox games will result in a very dead, weak as can be toon that may as well be thrown away.  *Of course, the PvE isn’t like in most themeparks… so if dungeons, raids, and static spawns are your idea of fun, you should indeed avoid it.  If you like more cooperative crafting/building, give it a try.*

Craywulf
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Craywulf

Only thing that fascinates me is the time-boxing mechanic. I like the idea of having it last longer than your typical MOBA skirmish, but I’m curious to see how the long term effects of having to restart all over again. Furthermore there doesn’t appear to be any long term benefit of participating in a lengthy Time-boxed game. Perhaps achieving the server’s goals gives you voting power for future Time-boxed features?

Gnomeland Security
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Gnomeland Security

I kinda feel more like a “multi-game player” anymore. I’m at the point where I’m breaking away from the “traditional fantasy MMO types” yet there’s 30 games for each sub genre now (check all the Rust clones which I’m early access to most)
I had major hopes for EQNext but I’m not waiting anymore. Instead of being a star in one game I’ll have to deal with being sub par in a dozen.

schlag sweetleaf
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schlag sweetleaf

breetoplay WandaClamshuckr Celestia niche to niche to Nietzsche?…

Arthwyndar
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Arthwyndar

I hope each of these teams find some measure of success.

boredinBC
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boredinBC

Lethality Is Albion really?  
I was underwhelmed with it during the winter alpha but I really haven’t played at all during this summer one.  I wouldn’t mind checking it out again but I’m not sure enough has changed to make it interesting…especially at the lower tiers.

boredinBC
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boredinBC

Lheiah I have high hopes for the Repop as well.  
With regards to Das Tal, the number of backers doesn’t really have anything to do with the article.  This isn’t a list of games that are “going places”, it’s a list of games from indie developers with mechanics that differentiate themselves from their peers.  In that regard, Das Tal belongs on the list.  :)

WandaClamshuckr
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WandaClamshuckr

Sorenthaz Considering Revival has been very active in selling out their outrageously expensive housing, they’d better get it out there.  <– I don’t care about the housing at all, personally, but I imagine there will be quite a few pissed off customers if they don’t launch.  For myself, I’d like to give it a whirl just for the pure potential of how seedy I think it could be.  I mean, c’mon.. Running a brothel?  Selling yourself for sex?  I am sooo going to undercut people on dark alley handjobs it’s not even going to be funny.

Gavaevodata
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Gavaevodata

Michael18 It’s same day release.

Gavaevodata
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Gavaevodata

Albion Online and the fact you can play it on PC and mobile seamlessly is refreshing to see. Hoping RuneScape gets that tablet client out sooner rather than later.

Denngar
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Denngar

blackcat7k “Life simulation” is closer to what I expect from an MMO than just being a multiplayer game. MMOs should be worlds, not a gaming snack we take on our lunch break like some mobile game. I say this fully knowing that my time is super limited these days. There’s nothing wrong with small scale, but I’d rather log in to, say, tunnel for awhile so my friends and I still have a back entrance into an enemy protected hunting ground that just join up with 4 other randoms to get blues to help me to prepare to get purples until blues become better than my purples.

Sorenthaz
Guest
Sorenthaz

Meh.  The only indie game I’m really keeping an eye on is Tree of Life, since they’re essentially trying to create a virtual world with consequences behind player actions, and a sandbox MMO where PvE will actually be more of a focus than PvP is when all of its features are out.

blackcat7k
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blackcat7k

BKone blackcat7k 
No I realize that they’re indie. However, these titles are going to need serious funding from other sources if they’re ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel and not remain in endless development. There’s a difference between making something take time and drawing it out to hide a gameplay deficiency.Tightening up gameplay does not require the developer to pander to instant gratification.

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

No Man’s Sky sounds great on paper and in demo, but I am still incredibly skeptical on whether vision will meet reality. Still, I am very excited.
Another nod from me goes to both Ascent: The Space Game and Pumpkin Online. Both have design tenents that really appeal to my sensibilities…and at least one of these three mentioned you can actually play right meow.

BKone
Guest
BKone

blackcat7k The MMO players you speak of, the ones looking for instant gratification, are well and richly served. They’ve been catered for a solid 10 years now.
What you fail to realize is, these aforementioned games are one man shows with a few satellite peeps for arts, sound, etc.

sray155
Guest
sray155

There’s nothing on that list that remotely interests me. These indie games all tend to be heavy on PvP focus: there’s nothing wrong with that, and it makes sense on a limited budget to turn players into one another’s content, but that’s not my thing.
Honestly, I’m most looking forward to seeing what BioWare has in store with SWTOR this fall, and Mass Effect next year. I like the idea of moving away from MMORPGs to RPGw/MMOG (RPG with massive multiplayer online gameplay). What appeals to me is getting away from the infinite gear grind to a finite core RPG experience with multiplayer being present simply for funsies, not as some ridiculous requirement to somehow justify a shared world experience in a game otherwise designed to be played solo.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

BalsBigBrother I’ve already come to the conclusion that  I have become a multiplayer gamer not an mmo player. The mmo market just seems like different painted grinds. And none of them are doing anything I think is original or even fun. the quest grind has become so over done and such a part of every themepark they don’t seem to even try and do original. The closest they get is a new skin for it.

Games like ark still have grinds but it’s doing things I enjoy and can see a result. Vrs killing 500k mobs so a number gets up high enough for the next person to send me on another slaughter grind.

Koolthulu
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Koolthulu

No Man’s Sky is the only one I find that interesting. But I have my doubts that the devs can really pull off the game they want. I am keeping a watch on it and hoping for the best though.

As for the rest, aren’t there enough barely-alive “hardcore” PvP sandboxes out there as it is? We’ve already seen that the average MMO PvP player doesn’t actually want these types of games, so who is the market for these new ones?

blackcat7k
Guest
blackcat7k

Hmmm… Many of these ideas seem to say these developers are trying make life
simulators instead of a multiplayer games.  Real life isn’t exactly
excitement and non-stop fun. It’s some really tedious day to day work that
needs to be done. Several of these gritty ideas don’t work, because people
actually need to do things other than play the game all day. MMOs continue to
have one caveat that seems counterproductive to their growth and it was
strangely something that their early examples tried to reduce (at least
initially): Time = Power.
These new MMOs seem to be doubling down on this idea instead of making a
game that people can just jump and enjoy. At the end of the day the player is
chasing meaningless 1’s and 0’s, so by making the player waste even more time
to produce this data… or even worse having the developer charge the player to
speed this data’s creation the developers are hastening their own demise. There’s
a lot of tedium being put in these titles to give them the feeling of artificial
depth and that will always bite them hard in the end. A player realizes at some
point that they’ve burned a lot time doing nothing for a future promised
gameplay reward that never happens. Once that happens then the great falling
off will occur and these titles will start up the cash shop shenanigans to keep
the addicted playing while reinforcing the enormous time wall that keeps fresh
blood out.
Making a world should be the focus of an MMO. However, making a replacement
world for what we’re living in now should never be the goal. It should be a game
arena to jump in, enjoy, share with others and then leave when necessary. Titles
like Tas Dal talk about doing things
to speed up the gameplay, but when looking at things like that you need to read
between the lines. If the MMO says something like that but then it has full
loot, then you’re going to need to find out how much time is taken from the
player in each defeat. How much time is lost when the players loose an area?
What’s the time that it takes the player/guild to become competent and is there
actual enjoyable gameplay on the way to that competency?
 Even if you’re not on the receiving end of a loss, these conflict
focused MMOs main resource are players. If the mechanics are burning people out
due to players realizing how much time they’re wasting just to get back to the
fun, then the MMO is building on a shaky foundation. The lack of making these newer
MMO actually have mechanics not centered on aping real life, or non-stop combat
is definitely coming to bear. With so many games clamoring for attention, it
seems strange that even the newer ideas still seem to be pushing the Time =
Power design harder than ever before.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

I don’t mean to be harsh but… these aren’t things to look forward to, for me. I’m not just being a butt or a contrarian, though I know I can be. It’s more that these screenshots could have come from any of thousands upon thousands of other games.
It’s bizarre. The things I love seem to be, on average, something that the average person has a distaste for. A video game without death, with alien locations and strong, unusual stories to tell, putting you in positions that would remove you from your comfort zones. I’d hire Grant Morrison to make a co-op RPG if I had that sort of money.
We always go to the same places…
It’s a bunch of generic medieval games with no aesthetic of their own, or space games with characterless, brutaliist, pessimistic, purely functional or shiny, soulless, corporate ship designs and aesthetics so bland they could be every other space game. Everything is everything else, it’s all melting into the same melange for me. Is it so hard to dare to be different?

Astald
Guest
Astald

Revival should be on this list for it’s Evolving World and Live Storytelling mechanics.

Lheiah
Guest
Lheiah

My hopes for a sleeper hit still lie with Repop.

Das Tal had 520 backers, yeh, it’s going places.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

WandaClamshuckr Celestia The immediately preceding generation of MMOs was also a niche experience. We’re just moving from niche to niche now.

WandaClamshuckr
Guest
WandaClamshuckr

Celestia Which is awesome.  I think what the previous Age has shown is trying to be a jack-of-all-trades tends to please very little people.  Building niche experiences, and doing it very well, will create thriving populations of more satisfied players.

Michael18
Guest
Michael18

Proud member of the PC master race, here. Never had a console. But no man’s sky is the first game that made me think about getting a console.

Anyone got an idea how much later it will release on PC than console??

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