It has been a long while since Massively OP’s MJ has played any Project Gorgon. That’s because this was one of those games she didn’t want to spoil before launch. But she just can’t wait any longer! So much has changed, and she wants to experience some of that. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. as MJ reenters this world.
What: Project Gorgon
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
Enjoy the show!
One of the features that captivates and draws players to Project Gorgon is the quirky indie MMO’s design of infusing the game with a wide and bizarre assortment of skills that you don’t typically see in other online RPGs. After all, this is a game that includes such skills as Flower Arrangement, Beast Speech, Psychology, Civic Pride, Holistic Wellness, Poetry Appreciation, and Howling.
It has me excited because I’ve grown tired of what I see as a limited skill set that inhabits most combat-centric MMOs. I want games to remember their pen-and-paper roots and come up with skills that go beyond “the best and fastest way to murder.” And if that takes the form of poetry, then so be it.
If you were able to add skills to an MMO, what would they be? What skills would enhance your gameplay experience and make your title that much more interesting and immersive?
There’s a familiar situation to players of tabletop games wherein a sidequest becomes more important than the main quest, and you wind up taking further sidequests on in order to advance the original sidequest. And if things go egregiously awry, you start asking yourself what you’re actually pursuing the sidequest for in the first place. The first arc of Darths & Droids does a pretty good job of illustrating this phenomenon.
Anyhow, that’s where I wound up with my last week of Project Gorgon. It wasn’t that I didn’t have self-determined goals, it’s that most of them required a sidequest to complete a sidequest to complete a further sidequest so that I could… start grinding. It was all functional, but it kind of felt like staring at the bottom of a cliff knowing that I had a limited amount of time to actually scale that cliff, and not being able to quite muster the enthusiasm when I know that I’ll never get all the way up the cliff in time.
It’s an exciting time for Project Gorgon as the game heads toward Steam! It’s not happening right now, of course; the game will be submitted for final approval in a week, and it’ll probably be live on the service in two. But when that happens, the whole way you play the game is going to change, and thus the developers have outlined the whole process from now until the game is live on Steam.
Players who have pre-purchased the game will received their Steam keys in the mail after it’s live, while those who have just taken advantage of the game’s free testing will have to actually buy it. Players will still be able to log in with the alpha client for about two weeks after the Steam launch, with the option to link your previous test account to the game so that you can unlock any rewards and the like. You also won’t suffer any data wipes, so don’t be worried about that.
Curious about how the game plays? Well, we’re covering it right now in Choose My Adventure. Hint, hint.
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who offered me some good Project Gorgon advice in the last installment of this column. Advice helped me put together an idea of some stuff that I had managed to miss with my natural explorations, including where I could get a freaking handsaw. It wasn’t even hard; I just misread a certain gateway as an exit instead of a path to another sub-section of the town. So that helped get me back on track.
Second, I’d like to apologize for having to take a mulligan last week and leaving you all without a column; it was totally down to limits of my own time rather than any dislike for the game. If you’ve not gotten the message from the first couple of installments, I quite like the game as a whole.
Third, I’d further like to apologize for the fact that this week my lifelong tendency to be terrible about screenshots struck badly. On the plus side, it’s not like most of my gear has changed, and there’s not much more to be said about the game’s graphics. On that note, in fact, we should probably start talking about the actual game.
Last week, we got a well-intentioned email from a reader named Rick, who proposed a column in which readers tell us what they are looking for in an MMO and we offer up suggestions for just the right MMO. It’d be like Guild Chat, we imagine, only instead of dispensing guild advice, we’d be telling you folks what to play.
The email prompted some discussion among the MOP staff about whether that would be an effective column to write (or to read). We do answer some questions like that for the podcast from time to time, for example, but I seldom get the impression we’ve actually helped. Most times, the listener has already tried everything and is hoping for a game that simply doesn’t exist yet, so we’re destined to fail. And even then, it’s really difficult to recommend MMOs to people without really knowing their full history with every studio and game. Some of us can’t even find an MMO we want to play!
So we thought we’d open that discussion up for everyone. How do you go about recommending MMOs to other people? What are your criteria? When your sister says she’s done with WoW, your co-worker requests input around the watercooler one day, or Some Dude On Reddit asks for pointers – where do you start?
As soon as I knew I was going after something called “brain bugs” in Project Gorgon, my mind immediately jumped to images of the infamous intellect devourer from Dungeons & Dragons. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what they are, and I can think of no finer place for these creatures to show up. They’re a perfect example of the stuff that D&D generally seems to be backing away from over time but that serves as a lovely legacy of the days when it would churn out new monsters to kill no matter how silly the remaining concepts were.
This is where something like that belongs. A brain walking around on four legs and using psychic powers while slashing at you. Silly ideas taken very seriously. Thank you.
My overall results in Project Gorgon were a bit more mixed this week, as it turns out that brain beasts also have ties to the psychic mantises, which are at once viciously difficult opponents at my current progression level and also my new favorite things in the world. I want to play one. If there is a curse that turns me into one, please let me know about that in the comments. This is what I want with a passion.
I want to start this column by saying the absolute meanest thing I have to say about Project Gorgon, and that one is probably pretty obvious. This is not a pretty game. I’m reluctant to say that it’s outright ugly because a lot of effort has obviously been put into making the game look as pretty as it possibly can, but there is a hard limit to how much you can do under the circumstances. The result? Even with graphics cranked up as high as they will go, this game is not a looker.
That’s the meanest thing I’ve got. In every other respect, it delivered on what I expected or actually provided me with a little bit more.
Character customization, at this point, is also pretty anemic and terrible, but I managed to make a character who looked at least halfway decent. Then my character got immediately fireballed in the face with several NPCs standing (or hovering) over her body, announcing sadly that her will wasn’t going to break, and so one of them would need to take her on specifically as a pet project. And then I woke up on an island.
Don’t look now, but Project Gorgon could be out on Steam by the time the Easter Bunny emerges from her hidey-hole.
The project lead took to Twitter this week to inform the community that early access is aiming for February or March: “It’ll be another month-ish before Project Gorgon is on Steam early access, but it’s now in internal testing. Which means I can now play from Steam! Nobody else yet, just me. But it’s a step.”
As we digest this happy news, Linux testers also have something to brighten their day. The team pushed out an experimental launcher for those using a Linux OS on their computers. This doesn’t mean that Project Gorgon has official Linux support (it doesn’t), but it’s a nice concession to those who use the platform.
Curious about this indie MMO? Check out Eliot’s run through Project Gorgon this month in his Choose My Adventure series!
A comment on Reddit about the current size and viability of Kritika Online got me thinking about MMO playerbases in general lately. We all know that there’s a stigma attached to little games; the big games with big servers and millions of players feel safer, and nowadays people just assume a small MMO has one foot in the grave. But it isn’t always true. We could also rattle off some smaller MMOs that seem to be moving along just fine, with bills paid. Sure, they’d like to be bigger, but they’re holding steady and know how to work the playerbase they do have rather than constantly alienate their current customers in search of new customers. And some MMO gamers actually prefer those sorts of titles. After all, if the game has just a few thousand people, it’s much easier to get to know a large slice of them, plus have your voice heard by the developers and actually influence the gameworld.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to reflect on the smallest MMOs they have played, and then consider how big an MMO has to be in terms of playerbase that they’d consider playing it now. What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play, and why?
I’m really glad to be heading into Project Gorgon for the first CMA of the year. Not just because it’s a title which I have absolutely no experience with, although that helps. No, it’s also because Project Gorgon is another installment in the ongoing and non-absolute answer to the longest-running question in MMO history. Now that we have this neverending game with all of these moving pieces to play with, what are we actually here to do?
That sounds like a straightforward question, but I think it’s important to consider the reality that this has always existed and always been an issue. No matter how much you might enjoy an MMO, ultimately, you need a goal of some kind, and thus most of them have made a point of offering one. It’s important to note that “goal” is not a synonym here for “endpoint,” as most MMOs feature a goal of some sort but not a point when you are supposed to actually be entirely done forever.
It has already been a year since one of the oldest graphical MMOs, Asheron’s Call, was shut down unceremoniously following Turbine’s decision to jettison MMOs and focus on mobile titles (how’s that working out for you, by the way?). But have you ever wondered where all of the players went after they were exiled from their virtual home?
PCGamesN did, and one author started investigating and interviewing former Asheron’s Call players to see where they immigrated. While some left MMOs altogether, others drifted toward emulators or other titles like Elite: Dangerous. But it seems like many of these refugees may have found a new home in Project Gorgon.
Guild leader Sasho is one of several who transferred his community into the upcoming MMO: “From a certain point, people didn’t log into Asheron’s Call to play the game, we logged on to see each other — the game was just the excuse. The spirit of the AC community never died, so when looking for a new place to hang our coats, the question wasn’t ‘which MMO is best?,’ but ‘where can I find my old friends?.’ And, honestly, Project Gorgon is an amazing game.”
As our review of the past year of Choose My Adventure rolls onward (a bit longer than originally planned), we enter what I think of as the trifecta of disappointment. Why? Well, the word “trifecta” is fun to say. Try it a few times. Also, because the were three titles among the back end that were pretty notably disappointing.
There are always going to be titles with Choose My Adventure that don’t connect as much with me; after all, the games that I play on a regular basis are not chosen based on a random number generator. But these titles in particular are disappointments, each for their own reasons. And then, in the middle, there’s a game that is far closer to “not mine, but not bad,” which is a different matter altogether. Life, in short, is a rich tapestry.