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Salem is fresh somewhat ground breaking mmo.
Most new mmo these days target the majority to try emulate Wow's success which in my opinion has led to the genre begining to stagnate.
Salem does things differently and for that I salute the designers.
The game is billed as: Salem the crafting MMO when actually Salem the Permadeath PVP mmo would be a more accurate title.
I am not normally a PVP player I tend to avoid it in most MMOs.
The concept behind the perma death is excellent imho and addresses something that i feel was a terrible flaw with EVE. That is that a group of greifers can smash hours / weeks/ months worth of work (kamakazie a multi billion cred freighter with 100k cred frigates) with no risk to themselves they may loose a clone or a 100k credit ship. if you track them down and kill them so what its just a clone.
in salem you need some relatively high end skills to be a ganker / greifer, trespassing, larceny, waste (destruction of property) and murder are all increasing difficult to learn. So in theory as a ganking sob loosing your character is a fairly big deal. Every time you committe a serious crime you leave a scent, which somebody can use to track you to your homestead (bind point), Once there they can summon you (even force you to log on if your ofline) and kill you permenantly. To me this seems like a wonderful idea as there are potentially geniune consequences for your actions.
In practise there are problems with this environment and the game:
Firstly the UI with the game as shipped is beyond awful. I can't list all the things that are wrong with it as they are just to many but a good example is that the default clients camera angle slowly rotates as you move to ensure that you get totally lost even over small distances. And yet the game allows custom UI like Ender (link below):
This customer client extends your mini map to x 9 size, shows resources as they pop into view on your mini map and many many other things. Its no exaggeration to say that using ender will double or triple your effectiveness over the first couple of weeks of play over somebody using the default client.
I am not sure if its just this type of game attracts a certianly crowd or if all the nice people just wont speak to anyone but it has a very school yard atmosphere where people bully, betray and hurt each other becuase they can. Even some of the moderators on the forums (starjaxx) make posts trolling new people for asking questions. It leads to a general feeling of don't talk to anyone or accept help from anyone becuase it probably a trick and they just want to kill you and steal you stuff.
A case in point is on a new server a new player and his 2 RL friends were murdered by somebody who offered to join and help them within 2 weeks of the server starting. The murderer was somebody was a vet from another server who has specifically started on the new server to try to kill new people while they learnt the game. He did it in such a way there is no come back to him.
Currently it is possible for veteran players to get there stats (humours) so high they are all but immune to any defenses that can be built:
To me this goes against the idea of consquences for your actions.
There is none. If there is a bug or somebody exploited to ignore your defenses and murdered everyone in your town or burnt everything to the ground, then tough. If people are using bots to get ahead and then use the power to kill you, then tough. At one stage people were pulling animals into boston and people were getting murder in the supposed safe zone and moderators response to this was you guessed it : tough luck! Although this bug has been fixed now for the future.
So a really interesting game, I stongly commend seatribe for developing something fresh and new. I am disappointed about the end result (but not in the way I am usually disappointed by new mmos these days).
Some poeple have suggested PVE servers in future. I have to say I cant see this working. So much of the atmosphere and need to build is a response to needing to defend against hostile players. Other than players the only things to fight in the game are rabbits, crickets, beavers, deer and bears, while intially challenging for a new player would not be enough to keep the game interesting.
My suggestions to the developers for improvement would be as follows:
Improve the UI alot or ban the custom UI's but dont hand people who use the custom UI a huge advantage over those who don't.
Improve your customer support, if you dont have money for GM's aleast make sure the moderators you have an freindly and helpful at all times.
Reduce the cap on stats to the point where it needs a large number of people to overcome the best defenses rather than just a few people with crazy high stats who can ignore most defenses.
Investigate and ban people for exploiting, especially when it leads to the destruction of other players or their property.
Do something for new players, perhaps a proper tutorial safe zone with limited buildings and skilling allowed.
in conculsion take a look at this game for a couple of weeks if you want to look at something new and fresh but its not going to be a revolution in its current state.