• MMOs

    Bringing Storytelling Back to the Game: Revival

    Revival is the rebirth of the player-driven, sandbox, fantasy role-playing world. Player agency, world persistence, and absolutely zero compromises are the cornerstones of our quest for a living, persistent, dark fantasy role-playing world. – Revival mission statement

    There is a lot of discussion in the MMO world about sandboxes versus themeparks and what each term means. To most people the phrase “themepark MMO” would be illustrated by by Warcraft, FFXIV or really any other MMO where your characters’ class, story and progression through the world are on rails with few (if any) choices that impact that world. A sandbox on the other hand usually denotes a less restricted world where you can create your own game experience. EVE Online would be one, and to a lesser extent games such as ArcheAge. Unfortunately to a lot of players that simply means that open PvP is allowed and one can run around low-level areas killing new players and generally being as big an asshat as possible.

    What I’ve always dreamed of is a proper sandbox environment that can be used to tell your character’s unique story. You want to open a shop, or raise cows? Go for it. You could be a courtesan, a spy, an assassin or a mercenary bodyguard protecting vulnerable travellers from robbers. The world is defined only by the limits of your imagination.

    This is what I’d hoped for with World of Darkness, and why I’ll always see that as being a massive missed opportunity for a truly unique game. Although I’m generally not a vindictive person I will forever and always hold CCP responsible for this; they took WoD, treated it like a redheaded stepchild, ignored and starved it, and then abandoned it in the woods for the wolves. You bastards.:D

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    Revival just might be the new hope for a something really different: if they do even a fraction of what they’re promising, if the game actually launches in anything like the form that they are hoping for. They have such big plans, and everything that I read ticks those sandboxy, RP-based, story-centric boxes for me.

    Although the website suffers from tiny grey text on dark backgrounds, making the wall-o-text blog posts painful to read, there are a lot of Big Dreams therein, such as their description of the concepts around building a living world:

    “Revival’s Theleston is a world that both responds directly to the players and evolves over time, both naturally and through direct player action. We accomplish this with the following features:

    • The game world changes organically over time
    • Changes are caused by the actions of the denizens of the world
    • Powers of the world, including players, attempt to advance their agendas, further driving change
    • The Karma system interacts with agendas, influencing and being influenced by the gods and great old ones
    • The live storytellers act as agents of the gods and major powers, adding content to the game in response to player actions and playing key roles on gold servers for maximum impact”

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    Intriguing. I know that I have a tendency to get excited waay too early over games, but I’m so feeling this one.

    Other elements of real life will be reflected, such as the ability to have sex. Interesting…possibly. There will be a real death penalty, the consequences of I’m still not sure I understand, except that players may spend time as a ghost in the spirit world, where you may or may not be interacted with by other players. There is (fingers crossed, ERMAHGERD!!!) taming and training animals. Ships and naval combat.

    All of this gets my tired old RPer’s heart aflutter…and I am thinking of characters and their stories. I bought a tenement, which I can’t do much with at this time. I’m actually wishing I’d invested in a larger house. And I have my fingers crossed so hard that all of these dreams come true. :)

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