Warning! This post is for gamers [and those who read Otherland and never wanted to leave].
I’m both a reader and a gamer so I am doubly excited by the thought that some time soon [2012 or 2013] I may be able to indulge two of my passions at the same time!
For the gamers out there, check this out : Otherland mmo
Now that you’ve seen the trailers I think you will know why I’m so excited. This new mmovrg [massively multiplayer online virtual reality game] promises to be everything we have been praying for and more.
Graphics : I’ve always been a graphics whore so the sheer beauty of the graphics has me drooling. I’ve played some graphically beautiful mmo’s [Aion springs to mind] but none of them have had this level of quality. Cannot imagine what kind of hardware we will need to run it but I’m very glad I haven’t upgraded my rig yet because I want to make sure that my pc will be capable of displaying Otherland at its best.
Exploration : The sheer scope of Otherland means that we will be playing this game for a very long time to come. I imagine that version 1 will only have a few of the ‘worlds’ available to begin with but that’s ok, just knowing that the rest will be coming in future expansions will keep me hooked.
Music : Music has always been a hugely important part of any mmo for me and Otherland promises to have music as a truly integral component of the game. In one of the trailers the developers were talking about the different ‘bars’ in the central hub [Lambda Mall] and how each one will offer different types of music. How incredible would it be if our avatars could go to these bars and ‘dance’ to specific types of music instead of just gyrating around in some generic dance emote?
The hub : Lambda Mall promises the kind of social interaction heralded by Second Life [and others]. One of the gaping holes in current mmo’s is that there’s not much to do outside of battling, exploring or crafting. Emotes provide some small sense of ‘this is me and I am really in control of my character’ but they don’t go very far. If Lambda Mall lives up to expectations this could all change, allowing us to truly become part of a virtual environment. .. and to interact with each other.
Battling : For me, one of the great joys of playing mmo’s has been the balletic beauty of battling…. Huh? Okay let me break that down a little. All offline games and mmo’s [except for a very few exceptions] have battling but what you see on the screen can range from a stiff hack ‘n slash to some truly amazing weapon skill animations. Now which would you rather see? Given how much time we spend battling I personally prefer seeing my character doing something amazing than just standing there like a lump of wood. So, from what little I’ve seen, Otherland battling looks as if it is going to be interesting to watch rather than just a boring, means to an end.
Gathering : None of the trailers I’ve seen show any crafting in action but I’m assuming there will be crafting otherwise what would be the point of gathering? As a mad crafter I just hope that the quality of the crafting will match the quality of the rest of the mmo.
PVP : I have never enjoyed pvp [player versus player] but if there is some natural purpose to it then I might just change my mind. Again, the trailers do not say a great deal about pvp but what little they do say is intriguing. Lambda Mall has an underworld component to it. Venture into this underworld and you will have to accept the risks associated with it [whatever they may be]. To me this sounds very much like having a ‘bad’ part of town where you know you may get mugged, beaten up, killed etc. If you don’t want to take the risk then don’t go there. But if you do go there then accept that there may be consequences.
Character customization : In the book, anyone can get on the virtual reality net but only the rich can afford to have customized avatars. The trailers for the game show a number of very different avatars walking around Lambda Mall – some very generic and some that are fantastical. I have to assume that earning the right to fantastical gear etc will be part of the game. I could be wrong but that is how most mmo’s work so I’m guessing that we will be able to customize our base avatars in terms of body shape, size, face etc but that higher level customization will have to be earned somehow. Given how incredibly diverse the avatars look in the trailers I am very hopeful that this will be one of Otherland online’s great strengths. Aion and Perfect World International [to name just two] already allow for amazing cusomization so the technology is already available. How much more Otherland brings to the party remains to be seen.
I believe that we will not see the launch of Otherland online until some time in 2013. In fact I hope that it does not launch until it is running as smoothly as a Swiss watch. The days of gamers accepting raw games at launch is over. I would far rather wait until Otherland is as close to perfect as possible than risk having it sour on me because the bugs overshadow the beauty. That said, I truly believe that when Otherland does launch it is going to shake the online gaming world to its core. Virtual reality PLUS gaming is what I’ve been wanting for a very long time and the little I’ve seen [of Otherland] so far has rekindled my flagging interest in the whole concept of mmo’s. I am excited in a way that Guild Wars 2 cannot match. GW2 may well be everything it promises to be but for me the one to watch, and wait for, is Otherland.
Now all I have to work out is how I’m going to survive until Otherland launches…