Friday, September 26, 2008

Interesting games we do not play - Ryzom

Since a discussion from a while back about innovation in our MMO's, we left it to Tobold to chide all of us on why we still get the same old mechanics.
His statement? Simple...
"Most game companies produce games for the money, not because they hope to become critically acclaimed starving artists"
Well, thank God bands like U2, or Death Cab for Cutie, and movies like Juno or 40 year old Virgin gave up.../snide off
Who needs "Critically acclaimed". We need to make money.
That is why we get
Rush Hour 3, Britney Spears and Reality TV shows.

Van Hemlock got a hold of this, and saw Tobold mention one game...A Tale In The Desert.

Van has presented his adventure within this game by taking Tobolds challenge of trying something new.

Based on this, I thought I would go in search of the other "creative" games we just do not look at or play.
First up?

Saga of Ryzom

What do you know, an Indie darling, that just does not seem to want to die.
Guest starring a gorgeous graphics engine, roleplay features, unique crafting (consensual PvP...uh oh).

Back in service, and even free to trial.
Why should people check this game out though?

Bullet points ahead
  • Known as the Living Planet- The world changes constantly. Not quickly, but like a real world with certain variations in locale. Creatures migrate, trees grow, why there are even seasons.
  • Battle hordes of creatures - Due to this living world, at anytime creatures can swarm out of nowhere. 100's if not 1000's of creatures can swarm small cities and villages. People MUST team up to survive.
  • Choose your class path - The skill-based action tree allows you to gain experience in fighting, magic, crafting and/or foraging, and you can also customize your own spells and special attacks (thousands of possible combination's!). In so many words, YOU choose your path, and not let it be decided by a Class name (like Tank, Heal, etc.)
  • Create your own weapons - Although NPCs sell basic equipment for characters of all levels, high quality and enchanted items are only provided by player crafters. Even at very low skill levels, crafters can begin creating items with stat increases on them, and the bonuses (extra Life, Sap, Stamina, or Focus) they can place on equipment only get better as the crafters get more skilled.
  • Live events System - Event managers run various scenarios at different times so that you do not live within a static world all of the time. This coincides well with the living planet philosophy,
I could go on.

So, why do we not play?
  • No Elves or Dwarves - We do not associate with the races. They are unique to this biosphere, and as such, we just do not seem to know where to place these races within our visual acuity.
  • Consensual PvP - I still think this is a non-seller issue. A lot of people want full PvP or Factional PvP, but consensual is really not a need for most players. It is simply a diversion...nothing more. Supposedly the other forms exists, but it is either hard to reach (open PvP is underground and only select people may enter) or on set battlegrounds.
  • What is my role? - People have not taken well to games that allow such a non-structured class system. We feel the need for the Tank/Spank/Heal it up kind of gameplay. This goes back to not accepting innovation of any sort.
  • Who are these guys? - No one knows the company and cannot relate to another product they have done. Blizzard, Mythic, NCSoft, etc...all known for their work. And now, a conglomerate of people who wanted to keep this game alive are in charge, no major company has a hold of development.
I am sure I could come up with more. Like the word "Mature" is used to describe the community. LOTRO, DDO, Vanguard and AoC are also noted as "mature" games.

Really, there is no real reason not to play this. But, we do not. And as such, even though the game stays afloat, just how long can it survive.

Why not be your own judge though and just give it a shot.
(PS: The manual is somewhat required as a lof the game does not use convential MMO commands...another strike I am sure).

I have not tried the game since its relaunch, so I plan to take a test drive and see how I feel..
More as I check it out for YOUR enjoyment (and either my pleasure or my pain!)


Bildo said...

I played Ryzom before the first "death" of their servers.

I've got another reason not many play it: It's not very compelling and it's not very fun. But then, that's just me.

It has a lot of great concepts that don't translate into anything very fun for me. Sometimes great ideas on paper, are not great ideas in practice. For a more mainstream gaming reference, see WoW's 1st implementation of the Honor System.

It's easy to say that these indie guys deserve more attention and fan support, sure. But then, what would really make that statement work for games is when an Indie company actually makes a really fun and unique MMO.

Spellborn might be that first game. I know quite a bit about it myself, having been in the beta for a while now, but I can't say more on the subject.

I will say that it's ideas are both unique, and promising... provided they can pull them off. Hopefully Acclaim will toss them enough money to really let them compete in the US. Is Frogster doing their EU publishing? They're traditionally an Asian MMO company, so one has to wonder how much financial backing they can offer. It's up to Acclaim for that I would guess, and they're no behemoth of resources either these days.

Still, Ryzom had promise, and a lot of unique ideas. Was it acceptable for the majority of gamers? No. But Spellborn's more competitive gameplay focus might be, they just need the resources to make it complete for launch... which is finally coming.

Openedge1 said...

First "death"?...sounds ominous.

Anyways... the same argument for Tale in the Desert as for Ryzom.
Not fun.
What would be the issue with the "fun"?
I did not find LOTRO fun, but so many thought it was a blast at one time...why?

Also, maybe we should add "population".
The larger the population, the more fun the game?

You held out for AoC for so long as there were still people to play with.
When that disappeared, so did you.

Maybe this is the main cause of "no fun" in Ryzom?

As to long as it has a unique angle.
But, I am worried about the "No elves and dwarves" situation.
No familiarity with the races may hurt it in the long run.
The leanings toward FPS may hurt also...we will see I guess.
No need to tell me anymore though on that one.
I wish to keep up hope.

Ryzom definitely is a niche game, and I wonder if it can survive again...

Bildo said...

Actually, had WAR not come out, and had I not been moved to TTH's WAR site, I may still be playing AoC.

As it is, the better of the two for my vote is WAR. My leaving had nothing to do with the people in that case as I was part of a large and active guild in AoC too.

Cancellation of my AoC account had everything to do with the game not being as fun (again for me) as another game. I still think highly of it though, and will likely return one day to see how things have progressed with the AO lead.

As for Ryzom, it can survive... so long as they can keep costs down and generate revenue. If NetDevil's original Jumpgate is still running and turning a profit, there's no reason Ryzom can't.

Then again, Jumpgate is a whole other type of game and can handle having just 1 man working on it.

Am looking forward to the more "Wing Commander"-like version next year though. Arcade flight games are more my style than sims.

Ricardo Candeias said...

I played Saga of Ryzom a long time ago and loved it however then it became P2P rather than F2P so I have not played it again, surely they could make it F2P. Anyway what I mean is your site is great, hope you get a chance to visit mine see if you like it. it does have a MMO F2P list and free comp.


Openedge1 said...

Thanks for the post.
I like the idea of Ryzom's free area, and this could help people make a decision on if they like the game or not.
But, it is just one of many games that try something unique and people just do not get it, or do not want it..
So we end up with the same ole mechanics.