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The Lunch Break Blog

For those of us who would rather be leveling right now.

Author: cmagoun

This is NOT a Post About Darkfall

Posted by cmagoun Saturday August 1 2009 at 8:35AM
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Another evening of trolling Facebook, checking email and logging into WoW to check my auctions and  an exciting message comes in -- I have been accepted into the beta for Dawntide!!! Woohoo Dawntide!!! Goodbye WoW!!! Hello Dawntide!!!

Yeah, you're right, I'd never heard of it either.

I learned about Dawntide while reading through another MMO news site. The article was brief, nothing more than "Hey look, another indy developer trying its hand at the MMO market. Good luck with that... closed beta starts soon."  But there were links to the Dawntide Webpage (which is a little sparse at the moment) and the forums and the information there intrigued me so I signed up for a beta account.

At which point, the tiny Jack Emmert on my shoulder cried out, "Nooooooooooo!!!"

"What is it now, Jack?"

"You don't want to sign up for an MMO beta now. Not with Champions Online just around the corner. How you will enjoy OUR open beta? The preorder head-start? Those crisp new Cryptic Bucks? Dr. Destroyer and Foxbat aren't going to defeat themselves, you know... well maybe Foxbat, but in any case you know with great power comes... "

Jack had been on my case for a couple of months now. He screamed when I contemplated buying Darkfall (just to see what all the fuss was about, honest). He yelled just as I was about to hit the "Preorder Now" button for Aion. He wept silently when I restarted WoW (because WoW is inevitable). As the release of CO got closer, he just got worse and worse. This past week he had taken to screaming and tearing at his eyes everytime I got undressed to take a shower... though come to think of it, that might be totally unrelated to MMOs. Nonetheless, I was getting sick of mini-Jack's living arrangements and so I stuffed him into a drawer.

Unfortunately, he is tougher than he looks and I was reduced to wrestling him one-handed, because just then, Blizzard Customer Support called.

"Mr. Magoun, we here at Blizzard hope you enjoyed your latest 2 week stint in World of Warcraft and would like to ask you to kindly forget to cancel your subscription again in December, so we can bill you well into next year..."

It was a short call. Between the unmistakable sounds of hand-to-hand combat with a figment of my imagination, and me periodically shouting, "Shut up and get in the drawer, Jack!!"  The Blizzard rep hung up reassured of my mental incompetence.

With Jack in the drawer and Blizzard ringing my credit card company, we are finally alone and able to talk about

Dawntide is the latest in a line of attempts from a small development house to create the next great freeform, sandbox MMO in the vein of Ultima Online, old SWG and Shadowbane. Their website contains a one-page blurb about their goals and lists some intriguing key features:

Open ended character development
Completely player driven economy
Complex crafting and resource system
Territorial ownership and warfare
Epic end goals for every type of player
Innovative research/technology mechanics

Exciting stuff, but I think we have heard all that before. How does Dawntide play and can it reach its lofty goals? I have no idea. I do know two things however. First, beta is scheduled to start sometime today and I have a patched and ready-to-go client. Second, the developer of Dawntide, Working As Intended, is not enforcing an NDA on its testers. In fact, they are doing exactly the opposite, they want people to talk about their upcoming game. No really... just ask them

"You may be wondering where the NDA that comes with most beta tests is. There isn't one, because fundamentally we want people to talk about Dawntide and show things off, and we need to know when something is broken. If people find something wrong with the game, they're going to tell other people it's a bad game regardless of any NDA. Feel free to take and post screenshots and discuss the game with your friends."

I think that is a great move on their part. It gets people talking about their game which would otherwise go unnoticed in the sea of high-grade releases coming soon and it gives the impression that these are devs who aren't interested in spin. Good or bad, we are going to know what their game is about.

So... what does that mean? Well, it means that as often as I am able, I am going to chronicle my new adventures through the world of Dawntide. Once the beta servers have started, you guys can follow me around as I see if Working As Intended can deliver the sandbox they have hinted at.

Just as soon as I figure out how to post a screenshot on this blog :P

Recant writes:

 Thanks for the heads up.  This game does look interesting, but then I guess all of them do to begin with.  Indie-game development has always brought something fresh to all genres, it will be interesting to see how a well-made indie-MMORPG can impact the genre.

Sat Aug 01 2009 8:54AM Report
haratu writes:

Their website has much less hype than others (which is good), I have however signed up for too many other betas at the moment, which is a pity. I will keep an eye on it, thanks.

PS: nice writing style

Sat Aug 01 2009 7:37PM Report
Inktomi writes:

 I signed up tonite, left you as a reference. If you are interested in other indie studios I found Divergence through Killtenrats.com

Link http://www.divergence-online.com/

I always support indies, they work hard for it and take ALOT of risk.

Other than that, how are you digging wow?

Sun Aug 02 2009 2:20AM Report
cmagoun writes:

Hey guys, thanks for the comments.

Recant & haratu: I am cautiously optimistic about Dawntide. I think their ideas are good, but unfortunately, good ideas are worthless in the MMO space because the high hurdles are almost always technical with this kind of programming. It is one thing to imagine a dynamic world with players building stuff and signing treaties and so on. It is another thing to implement all of that after you've already implemented the graphics engine and base game system and unfortunately, you've hardcoded a few things into your program architecture that preclude building, or treaties. Now, to change your program to work in the new features will take an additional three months and inject dozens of nasty bugs into the system...

Ink: Congrats on your new gig! Thanks for the link, I also have a soft spot for indie dev houses and wish them all well.

WoW is ... WoW. Overall, I like WoW. It is a fine game with a lot of good points and I think it gets more forum bile than it deserves. A lot of companies would do well to emulate certain features of WoW as much as possible. The UI and general ease of use of the client and the sacrifice of graphics for smooth play being three things I wish all MMO devs would take to heart.

The only problem I have with WoW is the fact that ultimately, it isn't the game I want to play. I want to play Shadowbane or UO with WoWs interface. Now, the fact that we always have a group of 3-4 people on voice chat helps immensely. We are pretty much doing instance after instance with the occassional break to solo level if need be.

Sun Aug 02 2009 9:36AM Report
Inktomi writes:

Thanks Cmag, Its kinda lonely over there. Not as much drama, now it's just about doing the work. I'm do for a new article, anyway, wow isn't bad. It plays well and has some really good aspects to it. 

Having a gaming group really helps, makes it alot of fun. Make the most of it, my gaming group is scattered to the four corners of the gaming universe. Most have joined the console wars and I don't think that playing L4D for 5 hours straight is my idea of a good time. Fun game but... theres only so much zombie mashing I can do.

Drop by anytime and hit me up with a comment.

Frank

Mon Aug 03 2009 2:51PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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