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“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”- Henry Ford
OP 8/10/13 4:16:26 PM#1
First I want to say a couple things that will get those not in the know on this up to speed:
To be Clear This thread is about a Social MMO and some changes that have been made to it that may make it worth playing (if not right away, at least in time). A Really old one. I would not be surprised if it were the oldest of it's kind that is still running (I think it started in 1995)....
Given that Active Worlds started in the mid 90's and has ran uninterrupted until present, it is one of those games that shows it's age. The Graphics are not great by modern standards. And, the interface (especially for a social MMO) leaves a lot to be desired. But, even with it's short comings, for some time it had held a place as a favorite amongst social MMO's in a time when there were not many to choose from that were all that good. And, then second life released. Within a couple years of the release of second life AW saw it's numbers drop significantly. In it's prime it had around 30k users (which was a lot for a social MMO back then). As of a few months ago (last time I popped in to see if it was still there)...it had about 30 (there will always be die hards).
One big contributor to AW's downfall was that it charged (even though only a low monthly amount) for things that other Social MMO's gave free by default. Such as the ability to have a friends list, or communicate with people outside of your chat range, or even customize your own avatar. But, the paying users that stuck with it did so because of the homestead attitude towards building (as in, if you area citizen of active worlds -paying member- then you can teleport to one of their massive build worlds, find an empty tract of land, and just build, and what you build is yours...forever).
So, why am I mentioning this?
Because, this morning I received an email from AWI. All citizenships are now free. This means any one can make an account, customize an avatar, and build what ever they want with a homestead aproach (you just find a big empty spot, hike your leg on it by laying ground pieces, and that is yours until you decide otherwise).
What has made this possible is the installment of an item mall. Apparently now you can buy credits in order to get more things for your avatar. Given the avatar customization is pretty limited, I am not sure this will see any huge profits in the near future...the good thing is that AW is not limited by mesh weights, land impacts and all that bs. This is why the more advanced users (people who have the skills to build an actual MMORPG) have used it as a platform in the past. Because, they are really given no true limitations as to what they can create. Although to get true full control you woul;d have to buy a world (as apposed to building on public domain lands).
At one point there were a couple of worlds within active worlds that were real MMORPG's, they had player rule, politics, cities, vast (and I do mean vast) game worlds, combat, questing...Maybe there may be a return of this now that AWI has opened things up a bit.
Now, I make AW sound like piece of junk. But, while the graphics are not the most amazing, they are crisp, clean, extremely low lag and AW sports some building techs and features that are unrivaled such as:
Lighting - What you can do with lights and shadow in AW is more impressive then any where else I have seen.
Zones - You can creat zones in which you change the very physics of the world within them vs. the defaults outside of them.
mirrors - Like... real mirrors, you can even make them trippy like ina fun house.
Cloth - I was flying one time and hit a flag, I thought I would ghost through it but my avatar got wrapped up in it, it took me a minute to figure out how to uncoil myself.
True massiveness - Alpha World (AW's main world for general building) is virtually endless. You can make a mountain top castle, a whole town (of which you are the undisputed ruler/tyrant of course). Or something as simple as a cottage. There is no real end to the available land, and so there is no real limit to how much you can take up.
Truly creative community - Okay...on AW, I have been to arles...Van gough's Arles... a town built as he saw the world, sourced from all the paintings he did of it...So, I have busted a mary poppins and taken a stroll through a picture. If bringing one of a famous painters most beloved series to life in full 3d isn't creative I don't know what is. It's like some "what dreams may come" stuff, lol.
Were I once thought this was a nice platform for building and exploration that had it's day and would soon die off...I can now see a brighter future for this relatively ancient beast...And, I consider that worth mentioning. I will be building my own vision on alpha world. And, I am actually very excited to do so. Any who want to try AW out can add me and drop me a line on there (IGN: Helleri).