Project Gorgon is an MMO that packs itself full of activities, all of which it does in its own special way. You can clearly see this in the way that the devs talk about the game’s upcoming Red Wing Casino, which will add even more ways to
waste invest your time playing.
Instead of being a standard video game casino with a slot machine and blackjack, Project Gorgon’s casino is going to feature minigames with more strategy. One example that the devs teased on Twitter was a jewel matching minigame.
“I want every game in the Red Wing Casino to have at least some strategic element,” the lead developer said. “So there’s no slot machines. To clarify, the casino is not just a match-3 game. The Red Wing Casino is a place that you’ll be able to visit in-game. It’s geared toward players with skills in the 40s (both combat and crafting skills), although anyone can visit and spend some cash.”
If you follow the mainstream gaming media meta at all, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of sites, spurred on by Polygon, have been mulling over the concept of the backlog – you know, that pile (or digital list) of games you bought and haven’t finished or even tried. Did we even have backlogs before online platforms like Steam? Because I don’t really remember having one back then – I just played what I had. But then again, I’m also primarily an MMORPG gamer. So I don’t fret tooooooo much about the non-MMOs I bought cheap for a rainy day. Occasionally I’ll blast through my non-MMO list and do a sort of 15-minute speed-dating game with some untrieds, but mostly, I’m content with just having some novelty waiting for me when I need it.
My MMO and online game backlog, though, eats at me. I bought Project Gorgon this summer, for example, and haven’t tried it. Staxel and No Man’s Sky too. These kinds of games have a time limit, and yet they require a certain presence of mind and concentration to dig into properly that I haven’t had this season.
Do you have an MMO backlog, and if so, what’s on it?
Our Daily Grind on exploration last week sparked an intriguing follow-up from MOP reader Miol.
“When asking about sightseeing and exploration in MMORPGs, you also mentioned the lack of rewarding incentives for exploring those worlds, or worse, a poor implementation of such features, as you pointed out by Guild Wars 2’s vistas. Many of Wander’s mechanics also come to mind for me. You and many commenters in that article stated that their exploration mostly happened by their own initiative!
“So what features would you all wish in an exploration-heavy MMO? Is Trove’s Geode with its non-combat spelunking on to something? Would exploring other players’ curation and display of art already be enough for you, a la Occupy White Walls? What would an MMO need to simulate a fun road trip? Would looking for that one place with those until-then-unmatched resource stats, be a definite must for you, as in Star Wars Galaxies? Or is open-world housing more of a priority, so you can find that perfect spot for your porch? Purely just survival features? Or maybe even, as Andrew once mentioned, a certain mechanic for dying, as in Project Gorgon?”
The creators of Project Gorgon are a neverending fount of interesting ideas and unique systems — so much so, in fact, that some days we worry that the game will never even release because they keep adding new stuff to be tested.
“For weeks I’ve been prototyping systems for the next game area,” the team said. “Lots of weird ideas, some of which won’t make it into production. I figured I could at least honor them with cryptic screenshots!”
One such possible idea includes theater lights and controls for player stage productions. Sure, why not? Player housing was confirmed to still be “a ways away” at this point, but other content is in the works for upcoming patches.
Events also continue to roll out on the server, such as the recent Garden Invasion: “Rabbits have come for your produce! It’s a stressful time to grow crops, but a great time (and the only time) to get Bunny/Unbunny Juice and try out the life of a rabbit for yourself.”
Earlier this week, I happened to see a mainstream website refer to ArtCraft as an indie studio, and it jolted me. ArtCraft, as anybody reading MOP knows, is working on Crowfall, which at least in my estimation is a high-quality, graphics-intensive MMORPG from hardcore MMORPG veterans who’ve been in the business as long as anyone alive. The game has raised at least $12M or maybe $15M, at least counting up what we know about.
When I think of indie studios, I think of the tiny outfits working on games like Project Gorgon, Ever, Jane, and Ascent the Space Game. But of course Crowfall is also an indie, right? It’s not running a $500M budget; it’s not ensconced under a cozy AAA publisher umbrella. It crowdfunds.
Then again, aside from the budget/wealth, its profile looks like a bit like Epic Games’ – it even has an engine to vend now. So is it really just about money? Is Star Citizen, with its multiple studios and AAA budget, an indie because of crowdfunding? Camelot Unchained studio CSE has multiple studios – does that factor in?
I’m curious what you folks think. What exactly defines an indie MMO studio? What characteristics must an indie studio have or not have?
According to Friday’s Daily Grind on hype cycles, a lot of folks think they begin way too early for most games. But what about games with the opposite problem – hype that just isn’t loud enough?
I’m thinking of games like Project Gorgon here. It saw a flurry of activity when it crowdfunded, and again when it went into early access on Steam, but because it’s such a small studio, it doesn’t really generate much hype on its own, being reliant on word of mouth. It’s a wondrous little game with really unusual and unique ideas, but it mostly flies under the radar.
Which MMORPG deserves way more hype than it gets?
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin agree that two is the best number in the world, especially when it comes to video games! It’s a hodge-podge of topics, including Guild Wars 2’s latest episode, The Crew 2’s launch, Trion Worlds’ Gazillion acquisition, and more!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
One of Project Gorgon’s old-school-made-new-again features is the incorporation of player vendors. And while that’s all well and good to let players sell their own wares, it does present a problem when it comes to browsing and finding the items that you want to buy from others.
Enter catalog golems: “These adorable little constructs will be happy to search the player vendors for specific items on your behalf, and let you know which shops have what you need. The golems can’t tell you how much the price is, and they don’t deliver the goods, but they also don’t demand tips.”
These golems are just part of this past week’s patch for the indie MMO. Other features of the update include the ability for NPCs to install augments for players, more damage-over-time tweaks for skills, and plenty of additional improvements and fixes.
While Project Gorgon prepares some larger content additions for the future, last week’s patch was focused on shoring up the game and tackling some of the bug issues that have plagued the game.
Probably the most significant tweak came with an overhaul to how Project Gorgon handles damage-over-time effects. This transition to the new system isn’t quite finished yet, but players can check out right now the direction that DoTs are heading. These changes include making DoTs stack better, be easier to understand, become more useful, and adhere to a standard two-second tick rate.
“Most DoTs will deal increased damage under the new balance guidelines, although a handful of DoTs that had one-second ticks may effectively be weaker,” the team said.
Feeling particularly holy — or at least, interested in medieval medicine? Then grab yourself Project Gorgon’s newest skill line, the Priest. This new skill-slash-class arrived with Friday’s update. It doesn’t sound that difficult to obtain, either.
“The Priest skill is primarily a healer and is especially powerful in groups,” explained the devs. “Unlocking Priest requires either Compassion 25 or Psychology 25. A priest in Kur Mountains’ inn area can assist you in learning the skill.”
It wasn’t just holy water and communion wafers with the patch, either. The indie fantasy MMO added offhand dirks, made changes to AOE and DOT attacks, reordered recipes to include prerequisites, and added player titles for owners of the deluxe edition.
If you’ve been missing meaty dev blogs from the Project Gorgon team, then turn that frown upside-down: There’s a massive new article up about your favorite indie MMO. Lead Developer Eric Heimburg wrote up a huge article detailing some of the game projects that is making him excited.
So what are these? Heimburg acknowledges that poor framerate optimization and various types of lag are issues and that he will be tackling them step by step. These engine changes should eventually result in better performance, although it’s not going to happen overnight.
Aside from technical issues, Heimburg discussed the many changes to skills and treasure that are coming to keep the game balanced. Allowing players a wide range of skills has created a challenge to keep the game balanced: “There are more ways to boost damage than I originally planned, and the resulting big numbers are causing problems when making content. Those problems aren’t too bad right now; it’s a bit tough to create content that works for lots of builds, but it’s still doable. But it will become a severe problem by the time we reach level 125 content.”
Project Gorgon, the scrappy indie MMO that recently went into Steam early access, hosted an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit to talk about the game yesterday. Gorgon is a somewhat popular subject on MMO boards, and the AMA garnered a lot of questions and responses.
The devs said that they had not posted a roadmap for the fantasy MMO because “we don’t really work that way,” but they did tease major projects including “several new areas, a new animation system, horse mounts, playable fae race, a new dungeon, and (starting soon) player housing.”
There was also an explanation of how Gorgon veers off from the mainstream MMO design and appeals to players looking for that classic MMO feel: “Project Gorgon was designed around the idea of letting you explore deep game systems. The game’s complexity opens up like an onion — and it’s not pointless complexity, because that’s dumb. There’s real complexity that models interesting things, to let you create interesting custom combat builds, or solve problems in interesting ways. You have to learn how to play, but doing so is really rewarding.”
It’s finally time for me talk about Project Gorgon as a released product. As you might have guessed, I was avoiding the game prior to launch. I’ve spoken out against early access a lot and have realized that, at this point in my gaming/career, playing games I’m passionate too early can be a threat to both work and play. I wanted a relationship with PG, but I didn’t want to rush into anything pre-release. I wanted it as complete as possible.
MJ’s streamed it a bunch of times, including the day before launch. Eliot’s comments from his pre-release CMA feel spot on still post-release. However, as the resident old-man Asheron’s Call fan with a review copy, I think I can add a few comments about how Project Gorgon compares to AC1&2, plus how developer Eric Heimburg’s infused PG in AC-esque ways.