Revival Aims To Resurrect MMOs With Storytelling Sandboxes

Revival Aims To Resurrect MMOs With Storytelling Sandboxes

Revival

Image Source: Massively

Using live storytelling and an open world, Illfonic plans to revive the MMO.

The MMO seems to be a genre wreathed in nostalgia. Perhaps it's the post-WoW shift to mainstreaming gameplay or simply a longing to relive that first experience players had in these virtual worlds. Regardless, developers IllFonic want to breath new life into the genre with Revival, and non-linear MMO that builds its world with live storytelling events and lots of player freedom.

"The genre has been locked out with a bad taste for a decade," IllFonic told Shogun Gamer. "It's time to rethink it, go back to the drawing board, start from scratch and tell everyone that an MMO isn't a stat-chasing, quest-ignoring snorefest." To do so, it's creating a story-driven world, not by relying on static questlines, but by having GM's play a larger role in the world. "The live storytelling aspect is like playing Skyrim, but imagine someone is playing as the dungeon master, opening and closing things all over the place," IllFonic's Gonzalez told Massively.

"The game is 100% non-linear, so there are no useless quests," Gonzalez continued. "You won't encounter something that's not really worth your time as a character. Sure, we may have some bland quests like the 'kill x for me please' quests, but that's filler, and it's good to have those. Most of our quests will have serious sit-down-and-think scenarios."

Revival will also have an open PvP system with full looting. To go along with that freedom, there will be a karma score. IllFonic wants to make it more than just a linear measurement of player-killing, but a spectrum. Even towns will have karma scores, each with their own benefits.

IllFonic's plans for Revival sound pretty ambitious. However, it is admittedly still in the prototyping phase and many things might change in the meanwhile. It's currently being developed with CryTek's CryEngine 3 for the PC.

Source: Massively

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They were already beaten to the punch by GW2. And SWTOR. And TESO. And every other MMO coming out that claimed it was going to "revolutionize" the genre, only to reintroduce most of the same elements as their predecessors with a better level of execution.

For example, I love GW2 to death, but anyone claiming it's a "revolutionary" game needs their head examined. All of the same basic constructs are still there, they've just been shuffled into a more dynamic and modern design structure. Which is what makes the game fantastic, mind, don't get me wrong....I'm just not about to go claiming that it completely changed gaming forever.

This is more of the same PR speak that every MMO dev these days seems to be spewing. And you can tell just by looking at how broad and silly the promises are. For example:

"The game is 100% non-linear, so there are no useless quests," Gonzalez continued. "You won't encounter something that's not really worth your time as a character. Sure, we may have some bland quests like the 'kill x for me please' quests, but that's filler, and it's good to have those. Most of our quests will have serious sit-down-and-think scenarios."

So there are no useless quests, but there are also going to be 'filler' quests that aren't as important and are, by your own words, 'bland'?

Isn't that exactly the opposite of the "no useless quests" promise you just made a mere two sentences ago? Oh, but it's okay because it's good to have those sorts of quests in your game. Now if it's your competitor who makes them....then they're just useless quests, right?

Honestly, this is starting to get old now. I'm tired of MMO devs trying to pretend their product is different. Stop telling me how different your game is, because if I play it and it doesn't feel different, I'm just going to leave again. Instead, tell me what your game brings to the table that will keep me playing. Stop wasting my time by selling me a game you're not actually going to deliver.

Prediction:

Will bait and switch and end up being just another typical MMO masquerading itself as 'revolutionary' through some changed terminology and lame gimmicks.

OR

Will attempt to create a Sandbox MMO but will fail to live up to even half its promises and will release as a buggy, featureless mess that only the most rabid fanboys will continue playing.

To this day I still haven't had a PvP experience in an MMO anywhere near as tense as what I had in Runescape during 2004-2007. The fun came from the sheer hair-ripping tension of the concept of The Wilderness - if someone kills you, all your gear would simply drop on the spot and be loot for the guy who killed you. Anyone can attack anyone, no group/party system, no friendlies.

You could ask someone to team-up with you (i.e. not attack you), score a few kills, and just as you're coming back with all that enemy loot your "friend" decides to lure you into an ambush where 2 of his other friends are waiting and you watch helplessly as you die, yelling incoherent swear words at that backstabbing asshole and respawn in the newbie zone with all your equipment/inventory gone.

You could be part of a big clan, have a massive clan war, escape with a narrow victory, have your inventory packed full of awesome stuff you looted from dead enemies and LITERALLY be whimpering "oh please nobody fucking attack me, please nobody fucking attack me..." at your monitor all the way back as you escaped the Wilderness with all that stuff.

You could have a group of 4 people, invite a 5th player whom you entirely plan on backstabbing, lure him deep into the Wilderness and then turn on him. Occasionally you would end up luring a really small kid (could tell by the english) and just feel really bad, at which your friend bitch-slaps you back to reality and yells "IT'S WILDERNESS BRO, EVERYTHING'S FAIR" and kill the poor bugger for whatever he was carrying or had equipped.

I'm still waiting for an MMO that has a system like that :P

Sounds like what GW2 promised. And then failed to deliver, at least in any meaningful way...

Far be it from me to point out the hubris by giving the MMO the name "Revival". But... yea. Good luck with that. WoW had an established story and accessibility at the time that put it at the top of the hill. Games like Everquest were at the forefront and thats why it is still remembered and played. This has neither. Not even the big budget of SWTOR could make it anything more then your run of the mill MMO with a Star Wars Theme.

Guessing it will end up free to play, if its not already going to, be within one year. Then you have the option to pay $ for a larger share of the GMs attention aka pay to not have bland filler quests.

More sandboxes can't be a bad thing the theme park style of wow and co is boring as hell for me. I would much rather build and destroy cities than go kill 1000000000000 rats then deliver a card to bob who wants me to check out his cellar for wayne who is depressed his crops were eaten by crickets that i must kill..... I would rather log into a sandbox and see what's kicking who's pissed who off and who we are at war with. Problem is usually down to balance and "Zergesque" tactics being too op. Any old school type mmo will be imo 10X better than SWKoTR / GW2 / FFXIV / WoW/ LotRO / Ryzon / ect ect they are all the same boring bland gear grind repetitive Skinner boxes. Where as a real sandbox allows you the tools to create your own content and is much better for it.

I just can't wait for Pathfinder online to come out ^^ only 3 more years it aint long i waited for xiv for longer and that game is pants.

I love pvp, it's awesome, always one of my favourite things to do in mmo's but "an open pvp system with full looting" No thanks. This would just lead to people having a bank full of epic gear that they're to afraid of losing to use.

Instead of seeing someone with epic gear, finding out which bosses drop it and working hard with your guild to reach the same level you could just get your guild to pounce on the guy so you get in a minute what took him hours to earn.

This would just lead to a dead raiding environment because why bother greating good gear when someones just gonna steal at the first chance they get. People will just be crafting some decent gear that they can replace when its stolen and progression will grind to a halt because no one would have the motivation.

All a system like this does is reward griefers and gankers, and they get enough of a thrill from the kill anyway with pvp looting the game would just be gank-city.

Even if they confine pvp looting to a certain area like the wilderness in runescape it's still going to be a problem because either those people with good gear aren't going to use their gear, thus killing the raid environment as i said, or they won't go into the area effectively cutting them off from content.

This system might seem nice and it is certainly more realistic but i think it'll actually be more of a con for this game instead of a pro. However it could be made less annoying for the victims if there was a few changes.

Imagine, you and your friends gank someone and each get a piece of epic gear from them. For as long as you have that gear you have a debuff so that the person you stole it from does massive damage to you so they could have a chance of getting their gear back. This would work very well if the victim was always told when their assailant logged in and where they were in game so they could organise a gank of their own.

To make this better imagine if no merchant would by a stolen item and that they couldn't be traded to other people or looted from you by anyone other than their original owner. Now that i think is a risk-reward system that both sides can be happy with.

"You want to gank me? Fine I hope your prepared to be hunted down forever." and what if, like in skyrim, you could get reported to the town guards so you couldn't enter a city after that, forcing you to live a life in the wild like real bandits and highwaymen.

KoudelkaMorgan:
Guessing it will end up free to play, if its not already going to, be within one year. Then you have the option to pay $ for a larger share of the GMs attention aka pay to not have bland filler quests.

Already planning on being F2P. They talk about that in the original interview. I'm not sure anyone's planning on doing a sub MMO at this point. Kinda a dead game.

Because this strategy worked SO well for the TORtanic.

I mean, fuck, at least TOR had a huge brand to fall back on, so it was always gonna keep some manner of a fanbase, even after the game turned out to be an inexcusable turd.

It will be dead on arrival, though, since they're taking the smart route and at least going F2P right out of the gate unlike the TORtanic, they might stick around for a while with a small dedicated fanbase.

The whole GM controlled quests may be an interesting enough twist to get this off the ground.

IanDavis:
"The live storytelling aspect is like playing Skyrim, but imagine someone is playing as the dungeon master, opening and closing things all over the place,"

So not, in fact, anything like Skyrim at all. It's almost as though they were just name dropping something popular and hoping people would associate their game with it.

Revival will also have an open PvP system with full looting. To go along with that freedom, there will be a karma score. IllFonic wants to make it more than just a linear measurement of player-killing, but a spectrum. Even towns will have karma scores, each with their own benefits.

So basically a fantasy version of Eve. So their idea of reviving the genre and getting rid of all the WoW clones is to copy a game that was released over a year before WoW? Not that I'd object to a fantasy version of Eve, but don't try to pretend that you're doing something new when you're over a decade late to the party.

I see a lot of hate in the posts so far, but a sandbox with full loot pvp is something that people have been looking for in the genre for a long time. I am certainly going to keep on eye on this, even though I suspect that it will end up quite different from what they say now or be very low quality.

My concern is that I don't see how a focus on questing, whether it's GM controlled or not, can really enhance an experience that is supposed to be largely open for the player.

Maybe it would be better if the quests could also be player controlled? Like, if my craft is fletching, and I have some extra cash, I could put up a quest for 2 or 3 people to take in which they would go kill enough giant birds to bring me high quality feathers that I could put on arrows to sell to hunters. Make questing part of the economy, in other words.

I can't say anything about storytelling, but when it comes to Sandboxes. There is only one game I know, which did it right. Haven and Hearth, and its successor Salem. The world was completely free to shape and mold. There were no NPC's (Except hostile animals), and it was up to the players to conquer the wilderness and spread civilization. It had pvp, and most importantly permadeath. Meaning that if you die, you'll have to start all over, no matter how much you played.

The only karma there was, was to decide whether you would get murdered by a naked russian or not.

The only "MMO" I liked was basicly some RP servers in Gmod, it didnt had many players but at least it felt persistent and everyone "helped" create whatever was going on.

In what other game can you steal a shop by pilling up stuff to gain access to the window to then actually crouch behind the crates in the storage room with hope that the owner doesnt see you there when he goes to fill up the stock? You can then open your own shop with the stolen goods to make some easy money.

How many MMO's actually let the player own a shop, and have the stuff to sell actually on the shop instead of inside of a menu. I mean, how cool would it be to own a bank and be target of a heist? Them actually trying to gain access to the safe to then runaway from the cops (other players) and hide the proof (with the idea that they can only see your username if you identify yourself or something).

Player generated situations are a lot cooler then "kill X frogs" quests, sometimes nothing happens but when it does its glorious (EVE Online seems to be a good example of that).

Yuuki:
To this day I still haven't had a PvP experience in an MMO anywhere near as tense as what I had in Runescape during 2004-2007. The fun came from the sheer hair-ripping tension of the concept of The Wilderness - if someone kills you, all your gear would simply drop on the spot and be loot for the guy who killed you. Anyone can attack anyone, no group/party system, no friendlies.

You could ask someone to team-up with you (i.e. not attack you), score a few kills, and just as you're coming back with all that enemy loot your "friend" decides to lure you into an ambush where 2 of his other friends are waiting and you watch helplessly as you die, yelling incoherent swear words at that backstabbing asshole and respawn in the newbie zone with all your equipment/inventory gone.

You could be part of a big clan, have a massive clan war, escape with a narrow victory, have your inventory packed full of awesome stuff you looted from dead enemies and LITERALLY be whimpering "oh please nobody fucking attack me, please nobody fucking attack me..." at your monitor all the way back as you escaped the Wilderness with all that stuff.

You could have a group of 4 people, invite a 5th player whom you entirely plan on backstabbing, lure him deep into the Wilderness and then turn on him. Occasionally you would end up luring a really small kid (could tell by the english) and just feel really bad, at which your friend bitch-slaps you back to reality and yells "IT'S WILDERNESS BRO, EVERYTHING'S FAIR" and kill the poor bugger for whatever he was carrying or had equipped.

I'm still waiting for an MMO that has a system like that :P

I dont think there is a single part of that post that I liked... Yet im likewise quite enticed with the idea.

IanDavis:
Revival will also have an open PvP system with full looting. To go along with that freedom, there will be a karma score. IllFonic wants to make it more than just a linear measurement of player-killing, but a spectrum. Even towns will have karma scores, each with their own benefits.

it'll get decent launch numbers then decline rapidly as the MMO PK seeking locusts discover they can still die and start to drift off claiming the game is "unbalanced" etc, etc...

"srs" PvP doesn't support big number MMORPGs (not many people actually want to play in such a high stakes environment) but unfortunately devs are locked into this mindset that it's what the public wants when objectively it actually isn't.

in wow for example "srs" PvP is a minority activity and always has been and most "it'll have srs PvP" MMORPGs all exhibit exactly the same longevity/numbers problem.

basically the industry is making games for a highly vocal (and fickle) minority BUT they also like making those games because it means they can get away with not having to make making actual content for people to play as opposed to just saying ok here's the "end game": you all hit each other \o/ awesome huh ?

so much for "thinking outside the box" or whatever...

go ahead make your new game...but you better plan to have only about 500k max of a player base in your 3rd year going forward and that's assuming you ace it.

on the other hand there are about 50 million people have been through the gates of wow and who could reasonably be considered as potentially "in the market" for an MMORPG of some sort...but hey, go 500k with the pvpin and one half of the playerbase deriving fun from the butthurt of the other huh ? \o/ awesome -.-

bringer of illumination:
Because this strategy worked SO well for the TORtanic.

I mean, fuck, at least TOR had a huge brand to fall back on, so it was always gonna keep some manner of a fanbase, even after the game turned out to be an inexcusable turd.

It will be dead on arrival, though, since they're taking the smart route and at least going F2P right out of the gate unlike the TORtanic, they might stick around for a while with a small dedicated fanbase.

Thanks to you there is now coffee all over my monitor. ToRtanic.... LOL

Well their ideas will certainly resonate with a lot of hardcore PvP players.
Just don't expect to attract millions of players with this unforgiving rule set.

Likewise I will stay away. I do not have the time to regrind all my gear ever so often because of a lost fight.
To those that enjoy that: Knock yourselves out and have fun!

I think I'll actually enjoy this one. I liked Runescape's PvP precisely because there was so much risk involved, but such a high reward that it was almost certainly worth it. I wondered why more MMOs didn't have that. That said, I didn't end up doing PvP much, but the Wilderness was always filled to the brim till the game tried to implement modern combat mechanics.

So long as the grinding is either minimal or actually entertaining, I think I'll finally get into an MMO for the first time in nearly ten years.

Victim of Progress:
I can't say anything about storytelling, but when it comes to Sandboxes. There is only one game I know, which did it right. Haven and Hearth, and its successor Salem. The world was completely free to shape and mold. There were no NPC's (Except hostile animals), and it was up to the players to conquer the wilderness and spread civilization. It had pvp, and most importantly permadeath. Meaning that if you die, you'll have to start all over, no matter how much you played.

The only karma there was, was to decide whether you would get murdered by a naked russian or not.

I'll second this haven and hearth while basic is a great game and many funny stories have happened along the way. I haven't played it from last reset i'm a bit burned out on it but it's getting better and when salem is finished with and the almighty Jorbtar starts working on Haven full time again I'm sure I will be back ^^

"Revival will also have an open PvP system with full looting. To go along with that freedom, there will be a karma score."

I'm not overly fond of high fantasy to begin with so this was already a hard sale. But that open PVP thing....that's pretty much what killed my interest in the game before it made it out of the gate.

One does not hand the keys to the hen house to the foxes.

Especially when the foxes have a proven history of killing all your chickens, burning down the hen house and then pissing on the ashes.

 

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