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Independency: Greed Monger & Player Immersion

Columns By Cassandra Khaw on November 21, 2012

Greed Monger & Player Immersion

Regardless of whether you're a consumer or someone working the news beat, it's hard to ignore the presence of Kickstarter in our lives. You see advertisements for the campaigns everywhere. In fact, eight out of ten of the e-mails I receive every day are pertinent to a Kickstarter campaign somehow. Ask anyone who reports on video games. They'll probably tell you the same before going off to a cry in a corner. ("No, no more Kickstarter campaigns! No, please…")

Ahem…

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And while the sheer deluge of Kickstarter-related material has turned me into a bit of a cynic, it's difficult not to get a little excited about Green Monger. To begin with, Greed Monger has achieved something plenty of other Kickstarter campaigns have failed at - they've achieved their goal. They're done. There are ten days left to their campaign period but they're done. Money will, at some point, pass hands between the developers and their earnest, would-be fans.

But, that can't be the only reason I'm grudgingly pumped about Greed Monger, right? Right. Inspired by the likes of Ultima Online, Greed Monger will have, among more familiar features, things like non-instanced player housing, land to purchase, the ability to charge rent to those who would impose on your territory, player-driven lore and even the possibility of evolving into a space-faring community.

For me, however, the most intriguing bit is the promise that NPCs may be more than your average, garden-variety quest givers. They might be dev-controlled monsters.

“Well, let's just say that every once in a while, you may find yourself chatting it up with someone that may not be what they seem. If they happen to morph into a giant demon or monster and attack everyone around you, killing it may just fill the pockets of everyone around...but it won’t be easy to kill any one of the Gods of Greed Monger."

It's a rad idea. Attempts at improving immersion are as old as the genre itself and the concept of being able to interact with the developers of a game is one that is filled with possibilities. It's also a brilliant solution to one of the biggest problems I've had with the genre – by and large; MMOs have a tendency to feel static. After the twentieth quest giver, it's hard not to feel as though you're running through an amusement park as opposed to a living, breathing world.

While I'm completely excited at the prospect of all the other things that Greed Monger has lined up, this is what has me most stoked. I want to be bewildered at my world. I want to have to be cautious. I want to do more than worry about galvanizing elite mobs and server-wide events. I want to be a denizen in the world and the idea that, at any moment, something might transfigure into a death-dealing god is, well, music to my ears.

Of course, it's helped along by the fact that Greed Monger seems intent on having its players help define the very universe they'll be playing in. If it all goes as advertised on Kickstarter, we're looking at a launch day that will have nothing but players and the environment: a barren landscape primed for sculpting. When was the last time that we've had an MMO that offered that?

Will it all go down as planned? It's hard to say. Greed Monger's ambitions are certainly, well, ambitious. There's always a chance that this is going to end in flames. Nonetheless, Greed Monger has my interest well and truly piqued, something that hasn't happened in a long time. And, it's all thanks to that one feature.

What about you? Several weeks ago, we talked about our dream MMOs a little. Today, I've another question: what's that one thing an MMO could offer that would get to you? The one quirk that could get you playing? 


Read more of Cassandra's Independency columns: