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Open Questions Are OK

Tim Eisen Posted:
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Let’s get right to that pink polka dotted elephant in the room, how about that trailer? I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I’m always conflicted if not saddened by pre-alpha trailers. Why? Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two from following MMORPG development. One of those things is that pre-alpha, alpha and most of beta are wild cards. By launch it may be that not a thing you saw prior is making the final cut. MMORPGs change as they grow, sometimes substantially, sometimes less so.

As far as pre-alpha goes it looked a lot better, more polished and further along than most pre-alpha footage I’ve seen. I liked several mechanics as well as the general aesthetic direction they’ve chosen. Beyond that I don’t think it’s worth too many words for exactly the reasons I described prior. Of course, I don’t want to hype it either. Go go hover mage!

It’s obvious I’ve taken an interest in this game. I like what I’m seeing. Like any game and especially crowd funded games (or games planning to be crowd funded) I have some consumer questions I’m going to pose. I’m not being negative, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I am a MMORPG gamer first and I want every MMORPG to find success if only to inspire even more MMORPGS! I’m being inquisitive. Questions are ok, they are the consumers friend. Remember ignorance kneels, intelligence questions…then kneels if it makes the most sense given the answers to said questions. “Why should I kneel?” “Because if you don’t I will imprison you and torch your village.” (happily kneels)

You ever go to a wedding reception where some drunk guy snags the mic and says something that silences the entire room? That is what I imagine when I read a developer say they plan to do PVP and PVE. There are three problems with such a bold challenge.

First, many crowd funded MMORPG’s have picked PVP or PVE. Even excluding one form of play none of them have launched despite several years in development. What makes Intrepid believe they can succeed in doing both where others have yet to manage one or the other?

The second is gameplay. When I look at the entire history of MMORPG’s a clear trend emerges, it is rare for any game to succeed in both PVP and PVE. Generally, a game does one far better than the other then, as patches come and go, gradually brings the lesser up to pace. Even in those games it’s rare to allow PVE and PVP to integrate; instances usually separate the two. How does intrepid plan to make both successful and integrated?

The third, and most important for any MMORPG, is the technology. PVE can be managed. Its predictable. PVP is an untamed beast that requires one of two options, capped instances or a game built for PVP first; the latter of which we haven’t seen outside of EVE. Why?

Because if PVPers find out your game caps out at X, then they dedicate themselves to finding out what X is and pushing beyond it! Like dogs chasing cars we just can’t help ourselves. The result is mass lag or server crashing. While it’s cheaper to build a PVP game, getting the tech right can be substantially more frustrating. Predicting what thousands of individuals will do is impossible, especially within a MMORPG universe forged with its own laws and physics. Get your PVP tech right or PVPers will bring it down. Making sure that tech works with PVE as well, even harder. How will Intrepid will their tech to support PVP and PVE? I know the secret lies within the nodes but how that manifests itself in tech form I’m not yet sure, but I’m all ears.


Tim Eisen

I roleplay a wordsmith that writes about the technological and social evolution within the game industry