|The Future's So Bright...|
I thought it would be a good time to take a sneak peak at some of the up-and-coming MMOG titles that are currently being developed by a myriad of game developers, some of them by independent companies, some of the by major players in the industry. These games are in various stages of development, and each brings something unique to the MMOG table.
You may be familiar with Gladius Online from a previous editorial of mine focusing on the various alternative revenue models game developers and publishers have been considering. Gladius Online aims to take you back into the heyday of the Roman Empire, when slaves toiled and gladiators were admired for their, well, stamina. The game will feature over 100 skills, and will feature various levels of citizenship: Attending, Free, Aligned (Barbarian), Slave or Citizen. You will choose to be either a barbarian or Roman. From there, your choices are endless, limited only by your skills and any quests at hand. Gladius Online is still in its development stage.
A Tale in the Desert
A Tale in the Desert will be one of the more unique MMOGs on the market when it's finally released. The game will not feature hack and slash at all. Instead, the focus will be on skills and project building for the betterment of the community. The projects that you work on will feature one of the "Seven Disciplines of Man," an ancient Egyptian ideology of what is important for humankind. By mastering a discipline, you will be able to complete a final project in that discipline, and, upon its completion, will affect the game as a whole. A Tale in the Desert is currently in beta, which you may sign up for here.
Official Web site: http://www.ataleinthedesert.com
Stratics Central preview: http://www.stratics.com/content/previews/previews/atitd.shtml
City of Heroes
Every kid dreamed about being a superhero. On Halloween, we dressed as Batman, Spiderman, Superman or even Wonder Woman. I knew this guy once that made a really mean Wonder Woman, but that's another story for another time. City of Heroes, from Cryptic Studios, promises to bring out the kid in all of us, returning us to the Saturday afternoon crime fighting fantasies of yesteryear. In City of Heroes you play one of seven classes of superhero, called Origins. Each Origin has it's own range of skills and powers and sub-powers to chose from. You can even design your own costume! The game is also skill-based and PvP will be limited to specific locations in Paragon City. City of Heroes is still in its development stage.
Or, as I like to call it, Indiana Jones meets MMOGs with a vengeance. Inspired by pulp fiction and movies, Lost Continents will initially take you deep into Africa where you will seek treasure and glory on expeditions ranging from treasure hunting in dungeons to killing horrific monsters. And you won't ever die! Lost Continents has an escape system whereby the hero (you) will escape Death's grip. It will also feature "Private Zones," each with their own episode, where you can solo or adventure as a group without being troubled by spawn campers. The game will be filled with traps and mysteries, providing endless adventure to all that heed the call of adventure. Lost Continents is currently in its development stage.
Earth and Beyond
Space, the final frontier. Oops, wrong story. But space is an important element in Westwood's Earth and Beyond. In Earth and Beyond you will play one of three races, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, exploring the farthest reaches of outer space. You can be a warrior, an explorer or a trader, but be careful: your race and profession determine what skills you may have, so chose wisely. As you progress in Earth and Beyond, you and others may even have the chance to affect the universe. Earth and Beyond is currently beta testing, and you may sign up to be in the beta test here.
Black Moon Chronicles
Originally scheduled to be released Q4 last year, Vircom, Black Moon Chronicles' developer, felt that the product was not quite ready and temporarily suspended the game's release, but not its development. Based on the popular "Black Moon Chronicles" series, Black Moon Chronicles will feature hundreds of quests, PvP, and continuing story lines as a member of one of four factions. Each faction features unique character classes and skills. Black Moon Chronicles is currently in closed beta testing.
EVE Online is another space-based MMOG, occurring in a different time and far from what we call Earth. You will play a ship captain, trading goods, mining or exploring space with the goal of making money and upgrading your space ship. The game is skill based, with dozens of skills and sub-skills to chose from. Skills will be raise by purchasing and using skill kits (hardware), and combat will be enhanced by a huge variety of weapons and ships available to you. EVE Online is currently beta testing, which you may sign up for here.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, you will play one of four character classes: Psi Monk, Tank, Private Eye or Spy. A set of five attributes will be given to your character when it's created, and those will be influenced by your skill choices. Neocron will also feature a wide range of weapons, which you will be able to customize. You will even get your own apartment, which you will probably visit a lot when you die. And you will die. Neocron is currently beta testing. You may apply for the beta here.
Official Web site: http://www.neocron.com
Stratics Central preview: http://www.stratics.com/content/previews/previews/neocron.shtml
Based on the Frank Herbert's Dune mini-series, which was released in December, 2001, Dune Generations is the first attempt to bring Frank Herbert's Dune universe into the MMOG realm. There have been some hiccups along the way, unfortunately, with three missed beta deadlines. However, that hasn't stopped growing interest in this title. As the head a family of one of three classes, you will connive and work that elbow grease in order to make your family the highest rank family in the known universe. The top-most rank will gain control of the highly coveted Arrakis each month. Dune Generations is still in alpha stage, with beta to begin sometime soon. You may sign up for the beta test here.
If you're the type of gamer who loves a fantasy setting, then Darkfall is the game for you. Darkfall will feature elves, dragons, sorcerers and magic in the classic sense. As one of six different character races, you will advance in the game based on skill and skill alone, which is, of course, limited by your racial choice. You can even be a knight or a paladin if you so chose. Magic will feature two to three hundred spells, and yes, you will be able to make magic weapons and items. The game will focus on PvP and clan vs clan play styles, but will also have PvE available. Darkfall is currently still in its development stage.
Originally published on Stratics 3/16/02