MMOre NNews

by on Dec.07, 2005, under game reviews, games industry, mmorpg


From Terranova, I saw a recent post from Dr. Richard Bartle detailing a new game engine and MMO platform called Multiverse.

Its essentially a “do it yourself” toolchest for online game development. Their idea is to have multiple, singular MMO’s essentially linked to each other by a central registry. This is a serious foray into a distributed model of online games.

Aside from their bluster about “revolutions” in MMO development, its quite interesting. They give you the engine, some pre-canned assets, the server code, and an editor. Create the world you want and voila! Instant MMO. They even host it for you. They make their money by charging you a percentage of your game’s subscription fees.

The DIY aspect isn’t new. Bioware’s Neverwinter provided a dev toolchest with charge-for-use content and they seem to be very successful with it.

Yet, there does seem to be a lot of buzz around Multiverse. Bartle wants it for his research. I think others might like the challenge of making something fun with it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’d like to see what the engine’s capabilities are. Check it.

In other news, I looked at the trial edition of Irth Online, just out of curiousity. Its a brand-new fantasy-themed MMORPG made by a smaller developer in Boston. I would be very tempted to call it an indie MMO, for a variety of reasons. It had almost no press or advertising, which struck me as odd for a brand-new commercial MMO. After looking at the game, I’m not surprised.

Its a complete clone of what we’ve seen already in that genre. Although they’ve obviously worked very hard on it, the most irritating aspects are that its very clunky, confusing and non-innovative. Damn. Every aspect of a typical MMO appears within Irth as if its merely fulfilling a checklist of what an MMO should have, all very hurriedly slapped together.

I don’t want to dismiss it out of hand, but there are quite a few problems with it. Generally, I find it very instructive to look at bad games as well as the good ones. In this case, I’ll suffer through the experience even if its merely to answer the question : is “Irth” an elaborate experiment or a true commercial product?

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