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PAX East 2018 Destiny’s Sword is an MMORPG Where Mental Health Matters

Previews By William Murphy on April 12, 2018

PAX East 2018  Destiny’s Sword is an MMORPG Where Mental Health Matters

2Dogs Games is making something that’s never been tried before in the MMORPG space. Destiny’s Sword is a futuristic combat/strategy MMORPG.  But what sets it apart isn’t that you control a squad as a commander - it’s that your characters will feel, suffer, and deal with real emotional issues and strife caused by the war you fight in.

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About six months into development, with a staff of 22, 2Dogs Games expects to ship Destiny’s Sword in 2019. There will be a main solo-campaign to play through to get a feel for the story, and why the factions are at war, and then once that’s completed the player commander will take his squadrons into the greater online and never-ending war.

Ken Hall and Ramin Shokrizade sat down with us at PAX to talk about the idea of changing what player progression means and feels like in an MMO. Characters don’t just get new levels, or gain more HP - they change, evolve, form relationships, PTSD, phobias, and so forth. We didn’t see the game ourselves, but you can watch Ken talk about the design and show off an early prototype (pre-pre-pre-alpha) build of how combat might look.

With an in-depth injury mechanic, characters in Destiny’s Sword can be wounded and even killed, but they can also suffer persistent mental health issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety and addiction.  The goal is for players to gain empathy for their characters as they shepherd them through recovery. In a lot of ways, it’s akin to Darkest Dungeon, only that game was about despair where Destiny’s Sword is about hope and triumph of the human spirit.

Throughout the game, the choices players make will have far reaching impact.  They will not only shape the future of their own squad, but the decisions players make will also affect the game’s emergent story for everyone else.  In Destiny’s Sword, players will shape the game’s narrative. Your choices, not in a black and white / yes or no way, will decide the fate of the game’s wars, its story arcs, and more.

Destiny’s Sword will also be free to play, and 2Dogs is more than aware of the fear that comes with such a design. They note that they’ve been in the industry long enough to know what’s greed and what’s good in F2P. To that end, they promise:

  • No Pay to Win or Pay Walls
  • No Loot Boxes or Gambling Mechanics
  • No Bait and Switch or Reward Removal Monetization

Monetization will instead be focused around optional subscriptions that allow you to tailor your gameplay experience around your own wants - allowing you to get more of what you like, in addition to providing additional access to value-added content like our backstory comics, soundtracks, and artwork

While Destiny’s Sword is funded, the team will be doing a Kickstarter as a means of testing the market for their ideas, and avoiding the need for a publisher coming in and messing up their F2P model. In the meantime, while we wait to see and learn more about the game’s mechanics, take a look at the back-story comic here on Google Drive.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.