Saga of Lucimia has made a name for itself during its long development as a hardcore old-school indie MMO with a focus on grouping (there’s no solo content at all), corpse runs, and no LFG tool in sight. So if you thought the game would kindly tell you where you are with a minimap, you’ve got another thing coming.
As dev Tim “Renfail” Anderson explains today in his latest forum post, he thinks minimaps are bad for MMORPGs as he believes they cause players to not bother to learn (and therefore, recall) specific places in the game world.
“At no point was I ever invested in the game world with my mental faculties,” he says of his time in Star Wars: The Old Republic. “I never had to learn my way around the game world, commit anything to memory. Convenience was (and is) the name of the game, because convenience sells lots of copies to the masses and makes games accessible to the everyday person.” That’s in contrast, he says, to older games, like EverQuest, where “players eventually created and posted maps up in EQ Atlas, but prior to that point, we all had binders where we drew our own maps to help us get around.”
Ultimately, Anderson says Lucimia will eschew minimaps in the service of his brand of immersion, which apparently demands that you hone your real-life skill in cartography and/or print things from the internet rather than look at them on your screen.
“Some might label these games ‘hardcore.’ We disagree. They aren’t hardcore; they simply mirror reality. The focus on realism to the point where they ignore many of the modern-day features that players have become reliant upon, like instant travel and minimaps and glowing trails leading everyone from point A to point B. Because these old-school games focused on realism, they engaged our brains in a way that no other modern-day games do. For us, our primary focus while building the Saga of Lucimia has been immersion. This isn’t just a game. It’s a living, breathing world. And as such, we want players invested in that world. We want them engaged. So from day one we knew we weren’t going to include a minimap in our MMORPG. No glowing trails leading you from point A to point B. No flashing icons over NPC heads telling you who you need to talk to. You’ll have to immerse yourself in the world if you want to get around. You’ll have to actually pay attention to conversations and dialogue because there will be valuable clues and directions, landmarks and waypoint that you need to look for.”
Last week, Anderson spoke out against lockboxes and free-to-play in general, telling future players that he’d turned down multiple publishing agreements out of a desire to stay subscription-based.