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Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done. -Lao Tzu
OP 8/18/11 8:11:35 PM#1
It was during a performance of Mozart's Don Giovani that I realized how much a part of my psyche Vendetta Online had become. The word Vendetta, translated from Italian means "Vengeance." This was part of a line from the opera, displayed in English on the screen above the performer's heads. So, the game could be thought of as "Vengeance Online."
Whose Vengeance, exactly?
The answer to this comes easily enough; those that play. Revenge takes place as often as on a Call of Duty server, but of course Vengeance has a deeper meaning within the cycles of action that make up the daily goings on in that virtual world. It is something more consistent, more constant. Romans 12:19 "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
I think of Vengeance as holding to an ideal above all else, and in that sense Vendetta Online has earned its name once and again over the years. To log on to the Vendetta Online server is a memorable experience, neither pictures or video do it justice. It was well ahead of its time under development as a twitch based mmo with intensive 3d graphics in a market still dominated by isometric views, and remains ahead of its time to this day with its early port to mobile platforms, more of which I will describe later.
Being thrust into the virtual cockpit of a futuristic spacecraft from a first-person perspective, 2000+ years into the future with a detailed history of How We Got There is an impressive experience. Never before had I been put in to a game the way I dove in to Vendetta Online. It's odd because although you've probably never played Vendetta Online if statistics are to be believed, it's most likely you have heard of it if only on a subconscious level:
This is a game that has to be played in order to be believed. It was once described by an outsider as a "literature mmo" because there is a lot of reading involved, but the real game takes place out in space, with an unlimited viewpoint of the celestial disposition. By this I mean that as Vendetta Online has cycled with its seasons of development, so too has my understanding of the game and where it is headed.
Vendetta Online does not pull any punches, and yet manages to avoid many of the pitfalls of other mmos to hear players tell it. You will get killed any time, any place, yet death means little. Credits can be earned easily, and yet the most difficult objects to acquire take months if not years of planning and execution. You pay the same rate as everyone else, and get access to the same game. The cost of a monthly subscription was something that almost caused me to balk, and probably would if I were considering joining this as a new player, yet looking back I barely even notice it. I was one of those players encouraging the devs to take their product live so that they could continue to develop it. Now I pay $160 every 2 years, which breaks down to roughly one trip to Starbucks per month.
But that is the mundane side of the experience. I am more interested in how your twitch skills, 3d spatial awareness and knowledge of equipment match up against my own in combat. Vendetta Online is getting a lot of press these days because it is one of the first native mobile MMOs, however it is first and foremost a PC (and Mac, and Linux) game. All in the same galaxy together. I nearly quit my job so I could drive to Orlando (thankfully my boss was understanding) and meet the devs at a conference. When getting my copy of the backstory signed by John Bergman, the lead developer, and explaining the concept to a neighboring vendor I said it was like neuroscience kung-fu. These were the first words that jumped into my head, but learning to fight is akin to learning a new martial art. Combat is epic in its simplicity and its depth.
You see, the physics engine is roughly based on Newtonian Mechanics. I say roughly because certain limits have been put in place to enhance the gameplay. You can move in any direction and fire in any direction, but the motion feels more like you are swimming than anything else. It's dream-like in its impact. The Mass of equipment affects the responsiveness of ships ala Force over Acceleration, and the concussion from an opponent's weapon can spin you right around.
But I digress. The real reason I have stayed with Vendetta all these years and why I feel confident that it will end up as a ubiquitously played social phenomenon is that I have found in it a place to tell my story. I am not a developer, or a game master, just a regular guy with a vested interest in creative expression. I hope you find it interesting as well, and perhaps you will come join the fun and we can spin some tales together.
9/20/11 9:59:14 AM#2
Great post man - thanks :)