Aiming at MMO Roots
You probably haven’t heard of NeoJac Entertainment, but fans of Indie games might be familiar with their first offering: Smoo Defender (a fast-pace action tower defense game). However, I’d be willing to bet that more than a few of you will want to keep tabs on NeoJac after reading this, as the small and fiercely independent team is creating an entirely player-driven MMORPG called Neo’s Land using the Unity3D engine. While the game is currently in development, and has even been taking live developer sessions where prospective players and community members chime in with what they want to see (hosted by none other than Marcus MarkeeDragon Eikenberry), Neo’s Land has been largely under wraps… until today.
Neo’s Land is aiming squarely at the roots of MMORPG design, and will be a High Fantasy game utilizing the Atavism Online Engine and Unity3D. Atavism will provide the server engine, while Unity3D handles the top layer graphics. The beauty of this combo is that Unity at its core allows for cross-platform design. Neo’s Land can and will wind up across both computers and maybe even mobile devices. The Atavism Engine is a proprietary server software platform that ties directly into Unity3D. But rather than just go in blindly and make the game based on what they believe MMO gamers want, NeoJac is actively integrating players and prospective members of their community into the development of the game itself.
Already, based on the “Let’s Make an MMO” livestreams over at MarkeeDragon’s channel, NeoJac and its users have come up with a fairly ambitious list of features, especially for an Indie:
- High Fantasy mix of PVE and PVP content.
- Open world sandbox – Players build the world, with minor narrative input from the devs.
- Affinity Skill-Based system – no levels or classes.
- Subscriptions, with options to purchase subscriptions with in-game currency (EVE’s PLEX)
- Micro-transactions using in-game money or real world money to purchase property and housing. All other transactions will be in-game only.
- Purchases plots of land will be zones for housing, industry, and commercial use.
- All buildings are part of the open permanent world and are not instanced.
- No auction-houses – all economy driven by in-game stores and shops.
- Instanced dungeons for groups of adventurers.
- Players create quests for each other.
- Players can make and share dungeons.
- A robust mount and pet system.
- Players can actually craft items to be placed in the game (after community review).
Now, if you’re reading this, you might be thinking that Neo’s Land sounds a lot like EverQuest Next and its Landmark offering due out this Winter. And you might be right, if it weren’t for that fact that Neo’s Land is aiming to be entirely player-driven. The goal of NeoJac is to simply work with the players to get all the systems and features in place, and then turn complete control of the game world and its happenings over to the players. NeoJac will be right there, every step of the way, to add and adjust new features as they’re voted on by the community, but ultimately they want nothing more than the players to build and guide the world they want to play within.
There will also only be one world, no shards or servers, and no real quantifiable limit to the amount of players able to be housed on the single world. The devs will release the API for the community to use and make apps and other tools as well. When is all this set to release? Beta for Neo’s Land is going to open up in December, with a wide release in Spring of 2014. Today marks the day that NeoJac also opens up their Kickstarter program, but wary readers shouldn’t worry. Whether the KS campaign succeeds or not, Neo’s Land is going forward with development. The $100,000 goal is to help polish the game more before its launch and to add additional features on top of what’s already planned.
All in all, Neo’s Land seems right up the alley of what most veteran MMO gamers have been craving: a player-driven sandbox world where the only limitations are those of the technology behind the tools laid at your feet. We have a lengthy interview with the NeoJac team today as well, so be sure to stay tuned and find out more about this ambitious title.