Metaverse Reloaded - by Julie Whitefeather
Jul 06, 2007 20:34:18

Back in the day - long before there was a World of Warcraft - there was a little game called Doom. Doom came out in 1993, the same year Neil Stephenson first used the word "Metaverse". The game was downloaded an estimated 10 million times in the first 2 years. The immersive graphics of this came helped establish what we now call "fps" or "First Person Shooters". The world, whether physical or virtual changes fast. When I first read the books like "Snow Crash" and "Mona Lisa Overdrive" I never thought I would see the day when MMOs and First Person Shooters merged. But that day will soon be upon us in the form of a game called "Huxley" which is inspired by the novel "Brave New World". Huxley's producer promises a persistent world environment. I am not sure how well Webzen, the developers of Huxley, will be able to merge MMOs and FPS but I am anxious to see how it turns out. Why?

In a word immediacy.

Lately the fun has gone out of the MMO metaverse for me. It's a combination of a lot of factors - guild drama, debates over endgame, the list of debates has become as endless as the game forums that post them. I asked myself where has the fun gone?

We all play in a metaverse that would make the "Neo" character portrayed by Keanu Reeves in Matrix proud. The average MMO allows a person to turn themselves into a "lean, mean, fighting machine". How many people who saw "Matrix Reloaded" and watched Neo fighting hundreds of Agent Smiths didn't see ourselves in that role? Heck, I did and I'm a nun. Try that in the real world with real people and Neo would be doing consecutive live sentences in the Federal Penitentiary.

But the metaverse of MMOs allows us to remove ourselves from a reality that is sometimes very harsh. Yes, it is true, it is easy to overdue that immersion. The same is true with anything. But the realm that lays before the "too much" end of the scales is tipped can be sheer delight. There is a corner of the metaverse where I am hoping Huxley and games like it will be able to reach - a corner where there are no level caps, and no complex virtual economies for gold farmers to ruin (or not depending on your point of view). Such is a place that doesn't have a raid leader screaming "that's a 50 dkp minus" or something of the equivalent. The thing about the metaverse is that it allows us to experience the immersive adrenaline rush of a life and death struggle with hundreds of Agent Smiths that even Keanu Reeves never got to experience. It allows us to feel how the character Neo must have felt.

Even if Huxley doesn't deliver that, eventually someone will produce a fusion of the MMO and FPS that will. Until then...

I will see you online,

-Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Jul 06, 2007 20:34:18 CST (comments: 3)


Comments:


'Looking forward' by brackishwater
Submitted on 2007-07-09 12:03:33 CST
I too am looking forward for more details on this game but finding information on the status seems to be getting more and more difficult.

Lets hope that E3 yields more information.



'Huxley's Fate' by Scott
Submitted on 2007-07-10 16:01:38 CST
I did do some research into Huxley some time ago as I'm a big fan of alternative MMO's, expecially the more action oriented ones providing their gameplay is still deep.

Two things concerned me about Huxley's fate as a MMO.

1. The MMO portion of the game wasn't really a true MMO. It had more in common with Guild War's or Diablo where you have a central meeting area where you can interact with players, and all other gameplay is instanced elsewhere in what appears to be battleground maps similiar to current day FPS's.

2. The interface and game experience seem too tied to the FPS model, their engine based off the Unreal 3 engine appeared to have the same look/feel of a typical Unreal 3 game with fairly low res graphics.

Due to the limitations of resources for large scale battles, especially with FPS style games with so many calculations to make it can be very limiting on map size and the number of combatants.

Most MMO's, expecially korean PvP games max out at around 100-300 when optimized for large scale fights using click based positioning and attacking.

Our best FPS's with the WASD style movement and skill based shooting max out at 64-128 players.

The question I've always asked when presented an FPS style MMO such as Huxley or the pioneering Planetside has been what will the MMO FPS experience bring to the table along with the $15/mo subscription that the leading Multiplayer FPS such as Battlefield 2 or Quake Enemy Territory can provide?

In my personal experience dating back to being a beta tester for WWII Online, PlanetSide, and as an avid player of the newer generation of Multiplayer FPS's that increasing lean towards ranking systems and other persistant rewards and increasing larger player limits... I still have yet to see the benefits of any proposed MMO FPS's.

If Huxley is to suceed in this market it really needs to break the mold and offer that extra something, it needs to show WHY it deserves to be a MMO, and what makes it so different.



're: Huxley's Fate' by Julie
Submitted on 2007-07-11 10:32:39 CST
Thanks for the comments scott, they are very well thought out. I certainly agree with your comment regarding the mmo portion being more in common with guildwars - very much so. The difference between the two (at least in the first 20 levels of guild wars) that made me quit guild wars was that the entire rest of the world outside each city was instanced, but it was an instance you shared with no one else that you didn't bring with you to start with.

I look at this more in line with the PVP system in WoW. You have your choice of battlegrounds to join. When you go there you will find it populated with other players. When the battle is over with you find yourself back in the same city you started in.

To my likeing, at least, what Huxley can bring to the table that other FPS do not (beyond the capability of female avatars which are nearly non existant) is a persistant world, being able to increase in both ability and armaments, and not just within the timeframe of a single game.

Yes, it may not be a true MMO, but as W.C. Fields once said "One must start somewhere".

Thanks for the great comments,

Julie




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