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Skeptimistically Impressed

Tim Eisen Posted:
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(As we join our ragged MMORPGer he is meditating near a gentle stream pondering his current existence within the MMORPG genre.) I’m glad I have the games I do. I’m not a content person but I’m oddly content with them. I have little to no interest in other games and I’m willing to wait for them. Yep, I don’t want anything to do with another game. Being a MMORPG fan is masochistic! I’m not sure my sanity could bear following another MMORPG in development. 

(As the warm wind gently brushes past his ear it begins to whisper a familiar song.)

Open world…housing…sieges…trade…crafted economy…PVP…

No, I won’t! Not again. I’ve heard all this before! I’m stronger than this. Nothing will get me to fall for another, I’m stretching my MMORPG love too thin as is. Nothing, except…


You…my weakness! I can’t resist hauling. I’ve been campaigning for more games to feature it for years. It’s a tragedy that only EVE has been able to recognize its PVP generating magic! It’s all based on…regional resources and economies. Yes! I mean no! (cries)

That dramatization is how I found myself after discovering Ashes of Creation a MMORPG in development by Intrepid Studios. I’m curious but cautious. If writing about MMORPG’s has taught me one thing it’s how difficult it is to produce a respectable MMO! The more I learned the more worried I became. Eventually I decide on a crowd funded strategy. I’m not putting all my money on one company, I’m spreading it between a few. Ideally all of them would deliver but my realistic expectation is that maybe only one or two will. Wait…I don’t think AoC (ducks rotten fruit thrown from Age of Conan fans) is on Kicstarter yet. Sorry Conan fans but on my little corner of internet real estate Ashes of Creation will be AoC.

“As you’ve probably guessed by now, we’re creating an MMO based on our core principles as designers; we believe in choice, organic events, player narratives and massive communities. All of these come together in what we call our “Reactive World.” Players will shape the world we create through dynamic quests, castle sieges, our Node system, an economy that goes well beyond the auction house, and player housing (among many other systems). We’ll set up the initial state, you decide where it goes from there.”

(Checks Kickstarter) This game isn’t crowd funding yet but it looks like they plan to soon. Given “soon” in dev time could mean anytime between now and when the sun burns out. I really wish that wasn’t the case, the sun dying not the crowd funding path. I mean, it’s a great design but the whole I can kill you in multiple ways if you spend too much time with me kind of ruins it for me. Where was I…Oh yeah, crowd funding.

“In Ashes of Creation the world will change on a regular basis.  Zones will progress in a seasonal cycle, which will alter the very nature of the environment around you.”

I hated it, then I fell for its hope drenched spell but I’m slowly starting to sour on the whole concept. On the other hand, I’m not sure I see a path for studios to make non theme park, non mainstream intellectual property MMORPGs without it. Until that path opens, for better or worse, it might be our only way to get more progressed MMOs.

“I want these cycles to affect a wide array of mechanics, including; NPC generation, boss content, dungeons, drop tables, Node progression, combat, skill use, gatherables, trade routes, NPC appearances, and weather.”

Upon researching the game something the studio said stood out. They are embracing what makes MMORPG’s unique, an immersive virtual world, not chasing some hot gaming trend like so many others. That is a long-standing frustration I’ve written about ad nauseam. MMORPG developers don’t seem to want to embrace the unique aspects of the MMORPG, instead they chase gimmicks. I suppose it’s how they convince publishers to back them but it stopped moving my needle a long time ago.

 “Zones can fall under 4 different categories; Military, Divine, Economic or Scientific. The zone type will affect the government type and buildings of the Node, as well as the content generated from that Node’s progression.”

I tried not to break down AoC’s features here because I didn’t want readers to misinterpret this as a hype piece. If you’re looking for me to tell you if you should or shouldn’t get behind this move along do your research and make up your mind for yourself. I’m just talking about a game that intrigued me. Like I said I’m curious but cautious.

After 14 years in this genre I firmly believe being skeptimistic is the safest approach when entertaining a prospective game, crowd funded or not. The crowd funded MMORPG market itself has become saturated with both legitimate MMORPGs and their survival gank box cousins. Every time one crowd funds it makes it slightly harder for the next one. I like Intrepid’s design philosophy but this time around I’ll need more than that to consider backing the game. If any of you guys decide to give it a look let me know what your impressions are in the comments below. 


Tim Eisen

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