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My Problem with Otherland

cdhamescdhames somewhere, DEPosts: 26Member

I have to say, I was initially very excited about this game.  I loved the literature and world behind Tad Williams Otherland novels.  But reviewing the news as it exists today, I find I'm getting disappointed.  I generally don't post critical observations as a rule, but I feel I need to speak my mind on this one.  Otherland was a great story, so, to Gamigo and RealU, please don't ruin that by turning into another mmorpg hack n slasher.

The problem I see here is that RealU or Gamigo decided it didn't have enough dynamic "combat", and so they began adding to it, to make it more dynamic.  If you compare the initial news on Otherland to today's stuff, it hardly sounds like the same game.  The initial descriptions had energy, innovative ideas, and a level of "difference" that just sounded completely fresh.  The stuff that's been released this year on Otherland sounds like, "oh yeah, and there's Combat!  Lots of Combat!".  

My concern is that they've taken a beautiful concept, and slowly began adding a little "same old" here, and "same old" there to give the mainstream something to bite on.  I'm sure there's a very real fear of failure after dedicating so many years to a project.  The pressure to add successful, tried-and-true mmo elements into the game must be enormous right about now.  But the more news I read on Otherland, the more it just sounds like the "same old" game now.  

To RealU:  Think back to when you began this project and grasp for that excitement again.  We understand the risks involved in trodding off the beaten path, but that's the only way to discover something new.  Don't fool yourselves into forging a new way, just a few yards out...

 

 

Comments

  • Lord.BachusLord.Bachus Den HelderPosts: 9,436Member Rare

    Originally posted by cdhames

    I have to say, I was initially very excited about this game.  I loved the literature and world behind Tad Williams Otherland novels.  But reviewing the news as it exists today, I find I'm getting disappointed.  I generally don't post critical observations as a rule, but I feel I need to speak my mind on this one.  Otherland was a great story, so, to Gamigo and RealU, please don't ruin that by turning into another mmorpg hack n slasher.
    The problem I see here is that RealU or Gamigo decided it didn't have enough dynamic "combat", and so they began adding to it, to make it more dynamic.  If you compare the initial news on Otherland to today's stuff, it hardly sounds like the same game.  The initial descriptions had energy, innovative ideas, and a level of "difference" that just sounded completely fresh.  The stuff that's been released this year on Otherland sounds like, "oh yeah, and there's Combat!  Lots of Combat!".  
    My concern is that they've taken a beautiful concept, and slowly began adding a little "same old" here, and "same old" there to give the mainstream something to bite on.  I'm sure there's a very real fear of failure after dedicating so many years to a project.  The pressure to add successful, tried-and-true mmo elements into the game must be enormous right about now.  But the more news I read on Otherland, the more it just sounds like the "same old" game now.  
    To RealU:  Think back to when you began this project and grasp for that excitement again.  We understand the risks involved in trodding off the beaten path, but that's the only way to discover something new.  Don't fool yourselves into forging a new way, just a few yards out...
     
     



    I just read about this game today, and i really can't see thsame old again in this game... All i can see is the many innovative idea..

     

    I think you are currently blinded by the ballance, as there needs to be ballance in things... And without combat, no current MMO gamer would come to this world.

     

    Beleive me, if i say this is currently the freshest game in MMO land....

     

     

    Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)

  • munecaroonmunecaroon DuisburgPosts: 88Member

    What do we actually know about the state of the game?

    I've read the book twice and watched the video interview (monologue) of Tad Williams when he was talking about Otherland being shaped as an MMO and why he put some trust into Gamigo "doing it right" (which I'm still clueless about tbh).

    Otherland's main selling point would be the multiverse.

    If factions were involved, I could think of working for A) the brotherhood or B) being an agent of Mr Sellars (and fighting towards the shutdown of the "Otherland")

    I believe though that Otherland the game will have little to do with the books' idea of a cyber odysee as a hero (or group of heroes) to save the people we love - or making decisions based on "clues" to progress our "big quest".

    Combat should be a means to an end, to experience some sense of danger, but also since the Otherland network worked on the mental level as well and many threats didn't evolve around upfront confrontations, there's a little problem (our 2012 technology simply isn't that advanced like the network described by Tad Williams).

     

    Bottomline about "same old" cropping up in Otherland the MMO

    I would be happy to have an option to chose not to fight and thus to "portal out"when a challenge is clearly over my head. The book has a "1 life only" approach and not a respawn option like in our current MMO standards.

    Let's hope Gamigo has some creative heads on this game :)

  • cdhamescdhames somewhere, DEPosts: 26Member

    Originally posted by Lord.Bachus

     I think you are currently blinded by the ballance, as there needs to be ballance in things... And without combat, no current MMO gamer would come to this world.
     

    I think you're wrong.  There are other ways to create tension and excitement in a game.  Combat is certainly the form applied most in mmorpgs, but I think that's only because the sort of combat you're used to is genre related. 

    And really, you're missing the point entirely.  Otherland was never about Combat.  It had proportional conflict built into character development, and plot movement.  And at times there was combat.  But it was never the central, overriding tenant. 

    To think that a game can only be successful if only there is combat is silly. 

    Market a belief and you'll attract followers. 

  • cdhamescdhames somewhere, DEPosts: 26Member

    Originally posted by munecaroon

    ... The book has a "1 life only" approach and not a respawn option like in our current MMO standards.
    Let's hope Gamigo has some creative heads on this game :)

    I'd personally love to play a game that limited players to "1 life" only.  I realize I'm probably in the great minority on this, but I think it'd be exciting.  The risk factor would be intense; the loss catastrophic.  But that risk would probably bring me back. 

  • munecaroonmunecaroon DuisburgPosts: 88Member

    Found this interview and here's a vid of the team and their idea of the game.

    They seem to be very upbeat and enthusiastic and trying to explore new mechanics for their MMO.

    Quests will be in though, "eDNA" looks like character enhancements/gear while "MyLand" is the customizable cyberspace for each player.

     

    (edit)

    and this interview

  • Pratt2112Pratt2112 Posts: 1,636Member Uncommon

    I dunno. I just learned about Otherland recently, a few nights ago. So far, what I've seen and read has me very interested in checking it out. I've already registered an account on their site and am waiting for the release to come around. Not sure I want to go into Beta. I find Betas tend to ruin the initial experience for me. For one, they're buggy and typically not a full representation of the game (things are deliberately kept unavailable, etc). I'd jump face first into the "finished" game world as a complete newbie, than have cut my teeth on an incomplete version of it, while taking away some of that initial magic come launch day.

    As for what they're doing differently, I see a lot in what they're doing that is very much at odds with what is mainstream these days. I tend to agree with the opinion voiced that the OP is perhaps so far the other way that any move back toward the middle is going to be seen as extreme. Frankly, with how "out in left field" Otherland seems to be, I think even their middle of the road could well end up being left-field to most mainstream MMOs.

    For one, their death system would not fly with a typical Mainstream game. Lootable corpse and xp loss? That's pretty darn old-school right there. 

    Now, on the other hand, I realize the way it's set up is quite blatantly to sell more cash shop items, which made me cringe when I read it. It's well-known that most gamers these days abhore any kind of death penalty beyond a wrist-slap to the point of raging about it at times. So, telling them "yeah, you're going to be losing xp and you'll be lootable if there's no one around to revive you" in the context of a cash shop game, is pretty much telling them "Yeah, we want to make damn sure you're going to be buying a lot of these self-revive items from our cash shop, so we've designed the death penalty to almost ensure that you will".

    It's a very obvious textbook example of how Cash Shop MMOs are designed around selling items as much as (if not moreso than) providing a fun gameplay experience. The need to sell items is a prime motivator in the design of such games, and it's woven into every aspect of the game. I personally can't stand that, at any given time while I'm playing a Cash Shop game, some aspect of it is designed to compel me to pull out the credit card and spend more money.

    For me, I won't be buying or using those self-revival items. To me, the idea of being revived by a group member when in a party and avoiding that is a fair enough trade-off. When I'm doing things on my own, I'll take the risks of death. No problem. In fact, given that I miss death having more bite in MMOs, I welcome it. Makes the world feel that much more dangerous.

    In all, I think Otherland looks interesting enough that I'm going to give it a serious go. I'll do my usual routine of spending $15 a month, solid, as a budget for cash shop items. If I need/use the $15 then fine. If I don't, and there's some left over, then great, I'll accrue a nice sum over time, and can even skip spending anything some months if necessary or desired.

    Gonna be interesting!

     

  • Crunchy221Crunchy221 Trollsberg, ILPosts: 489Member

    You know i was a bit excited when this game was in development and little information was known.

    With the advent that its being developed as a f2p cash shop game, and that they are trusting a low budget near-no name publisher...and looking at their list of other mmorpgs they run make me cringe...the onld school type F2P item malls games people were complaining about 5 years ago...ive really just lost intrest in this game as anything that will appeal to me.

    For all the diffrent we keep hearing, a buzz word applied to any and all same-old games, i really havent seen anything that looks all that unqiue other than the lore being applied to a mmorpg.  The portal system seems to be just a portal to another instance ect.

    Im just really having trouble seeing unique applied to the f2p model thats going to be "done right" just like it was done right in such outstanding games as Last Chaos and Fiesta Online (/s)

    Its like they handed over development to the masters of mediocre...im sure the hinting at combat since then is a clear reflection of the grind that will be mediated by their wonderful item mall ect.

  • grimfallgrimfall Missouri City, TXPosts: 1,153Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by cdhames


    Originally posted by munecaroon


    ... The book has a "1 life only" approach and not a respawn option like in our current MMO standards.
    Let's hope Gamigo has some creative heads on this game :)

    I'd personally love to play a game that limited players to "1 life" only.  I realize I'm probably in the great minority on this, but I think it'd be exciting.  The risk factor would be intense; the loss catastrophic.  But that risk would probably bring me back. 

    DDO has plenty of permadeath guilds.  I am sure some other games do as well.

    You do understand that there has to be some way in any game to slow player progress?  There has to be some gameplay element that stretches over 1000's of hours for a successful MMO title.   If they do not use combat and character progression to limit the players running through the game world and exhausting the finite amount of content, what should they use?

  • cdhamescdhames somewhere, DEPosts: 26Member

    Originally posted by grimfall


    Originally posted by cdhames



    Originally posted by munecaroon


    ... The book has a "1 life only" approach and not a respawn option like in our current MMO standards.
    Let's hope Gamigo has some creative heads on this game :)

    I'd personally love to play a game that limited players to "1 life" only.  I realize I'm probably in the great minority on this, but I think it'd be exciting.  The risk factor would be intense; the loss catastrophic.  But that risk would probably bring me back. 

    DDO has plenty of permadeath guilds.  I am sure some other games do as well.

    You do understand that there has to be some way in any game to slow player progress?  There has to be some gameplay element that stretches over 1000's of hours for a successful MMO title.   If they do not use combat and character progression to limit the players running through the game world and exhausting the finite amount of content, what should they use?

    There's plenty of ways to limit player progression without resorting to combat.  And by the way I'm not against combat, but combat should be a function of the mmo, not a central theme.  The Otherland series was always about character vs Environment.  When I say Environment, I mean tangible, physical interaction, but also much of what the players couldn't see.  A lot of it had to do with Hacking and controlling the system.  There was always a great sense of discovery in the process.  Benefactors reached out to assist the main characters..  

    Combat is also used more for player advancement than limiting player progression.  Real Character Death would limit player progression.  They're billing this as a Simulation, as in the book, so I don't see why character death couldn't be incorporated, certain stats maintained as a "user" instead of a character (that can die).  

    The last few trailers have reassured me that they may be on the right path.  I still believe they've lost some of the magic since inception -if you read the older articles from 3-4 years ago, it doesn't sound like the same game; but they sound like they're taking a few risks which is really the only way the MMO genre will evolve.  I'm a big proponent for changing the focus of MMO's away from physical hack-n-slash, and all about the new things.  

  • seferzseferz Stockton, CAPosts: 8Member

    I feel I must post a reply to this argument... This game is like crack for my brain, its refreshing, and wonderful, and seems like it has everything in the right amount... But what your asking them to do... Your asking them to ruin their game.

     

    why you may ask? Because if they didn't focus a bit on combat, then this would just be a second life clone.. which I am not a fan of. Why? Because second life didn't focus on combat... so instead, your stuck walkin around, or flying around through hordes of sluts and strippers who are likely men in real life, looking to turn a trick to steal your virtual money, which is actually real money, in exchange for cyber sex... Lets face it, second life is 80% cyber sex. That game would have 3x the population it has currently, if they had a real combat system and not some werid... lame combat system.

     

    And also, consider what they have said... Its not a game about the book, but its based on the concepts of the books. two key words there my friend. 1. Based. 2. Concepts.

    In other words, their making a mmo, based on the concepts of the books. And adding mmo-like features, and many new features that are risky as all hell, especially when investing 30mil into the project thus far. Not just 30 mil, but 30 mil euros.

    So no... Its not gonna be like WoW, or any other industry giant were used too.. But its not gonna be second life, or some lame book clone either, (don't get me wrong, the books amazing, but I hate clones in general... All clones. Clones are evil.. Ehh.. Final fantasy is the only one that can really pull it off... but those are more sequels.)

    Its going to be something entirely new... Something we all have been craving, and I gotta tell ya... its going to be big... This could be the game that ushers in the new age, a new era and standards that gamers will simply not ignore... This could be the game that either makes all future games have to work harder... or it could be the last game, ever, for all games after...will fail in comparison... and it will completely ruin the future of gaming... as nothing will ever stand up to it.

  • Crunchy221Crunchy221 Trollsberg, ILPosts: 489Member

    Originally posted by seferz

    I feel I must post a reply to this argument... This game is like crack for my brain, its refreshing, and wonderful, and seems like it has everything in the right amount... But what your asking them to do... Your asking them to ruin their game.
     
    why you may ask? Because if they didn't focus a bit on combat, then this would just be a second life clone.. which I am not a fan of. Why? Because second life didn't focus on combat... so instead, your stuck walkin around, or flying around through hordes of sluts and strippers who are likely men in real life, looking to turn a trick to steal your virtual money, which is actually real money, in exchange for cyber sex... Lets face it, second life is 80% cyber sex. That game would have 3x the population it has currently, if they had a real combat system and not some werid... lame combat system.
     
    And also, consider what they have said... Its not a game about the book, but its based on the concepts of the books. two key words there my friend. 1. Based. 2. Concepts.
    In other words, their making a mmo, based on the concepts of the books. And adding mmo-like features, and many new features that are risky as all hell, especially when investing 30mil into the project thus far. Not just 30 mil, but 30 mil euros.
    So no... Its not gonna be like WoW, or any other industry giant were used too.. But its not gonna be second life, or some lame book clone either, (don't get me wrong, the books amazing, but I hate clones in general... All clones. Clones are evil.. Ehh.. Final fantasy is the only one that can really pull it off... but those are more sequels.)
    Its going to be something entirely new... Something we all have been craving, and I gotta tell ya... its going to be big... This could be the game that ushers in the new age, a new era and standards that gamers will simply not ignore... This could be the game that either makes all future games have to work harder... or it could be the last game, ever, for all games after...will fail in comparison... and it will completely ruin the future of gaming... as nothing will ever stand up to it.

    Odd...when i saw "based" and "concept"  i envisioned linear quest hubs, instanced pvp, and end game gear grind based on the IP concept...

    Agreed no game should try to emulate the pervtastic secondlife game....that game is beyond creepy.

     

    Anyway, these people are not going to attempt something unique, just a unique "sounding" twist on the same old with the IP penciled in where any IP or lore would fit just as well.

    And its gong to be f2p wich leads me to believe this is going to be a game i never play, desptite the awesome IP.

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