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First up – thanks to Nils for pointing me in the direction of the reveal of Wizardry Online at E3

If this game delivers on the description in the article, it should be everything that a vocal section of the player community want – corpse runs with a risk of perma-death, player killing with looting rights, no maps or fancy quest “helpers” to do all the thinking for you, raids of up to 100 players. That’s real old school – it’s the bitter, vicious offspring of pre-Trammel UO and original EQ raised from birth with Gevlon’s contempt of “morons and slackers”. It’s a game that demands not only respect, but abject fear from those who cannot rise to the challenge.

And that might be its downfall (for some reason I nearly typed Darkfall there 🙂 For all of the complaints about easy-mode games, I’m not sure how many players will actually take to a game where the hostile dial is stuck at 11. If they aren’t careful, that some genuine advances in usability and game design get ditched along with the excessive hand-holding. There are very good reasons why MMOs don’t tend to feature perma-death (even though it’s one of the most frequently requested features) – unlike a single player game, it’s too easy to die through no fault of your own due to either network problems or the idiocy or malice of fellow players, and actively having player killing on top of that seems a bit too much. Most risky of all, the game is going to be free to play with a cash shop – in a world where you can easily lose your character or their gear, that could very easily become a “pay to win” game and be the antithesis of everything the hardcore gamers want.

Still, I applaud Headlock Games for going down a different design path from the “fluffy loot pinatas for everyone” approach that’s dominating the field currently.

One Comment

  1. This is exactly the approach I take, too.
    If I were to make an MMORPG, I would be very, very carefull with permadeath. There’s a lot of middle ground. We don’t need to jump from one extreme to the other.
    On the other hand, I certainly look forward to such a game and applaud the courage of the investors.

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