For those of you who regularly follow my column, you're probably all somewhat cognizant of how closely I've been watching and following the development of EverQuest Next, and it's progression towards becoming a true "Next Gen" MMORPG over the past year. Given all the recent developments over at Daybreak Games, I've been extending my feelers out within the genre for other upcoming titles that are also utilizing very innovative mechanics. You might have noticed the past couple column entries talking about Crowfall and Das Tal.
Well... I've just recently stumbled across an upcoming MMORPG that has intrigued me far more powerfully than either of those titles and actually, even EverQuest Next.
Revival: Old-School Roleplaying, Lovecraftian Horror
As an avid roleplayer. This game really resonates with me - even despite my lack of any real H.P. Lovecraft familiarity. I'm not really a big fan of horror themes, but I am learning that Lovecraft isn't the typical zompacalyptic witches, ghosts, and serial-killer tropes most horror bits utilize. Lore and story aside, digging into the base mechanics of Revival is what truly perks my curiosity. The well-themed and crafted story will just be a bonus on top of the planned gameplay. That, in and of itself, is the reason I can feel the game resonating with me, and the hype-monster inside starting to awaken from its post SOELive2014 slumber.
The Return of Socially-Interactive Mechanics
Straight from the horse's mouth, Revival is the rebirth of the classic player-driven, interactive MMORPG experience. The cornerstones of the game design revolve around player agency, world persistence, and an uncompromising stance on delivering innovative mechanics that bring back the dynamic social atmospheres that used to exist in MMORPGs. In this game, all players will have the opportunity to play a starring role - and will have to earn that opportunity by investing themselves in the game (both monetarily, and through participating).
Unlike the past decade of titles, in Revival you aren't going to be touted as the savior of the world, or even your own hometown. That isn't the narrative here. Could you become the hero of your hometown, or even the whole realm? Certainly, but that will be an achievement earned through play and demonstrated organically by your actions. It won't just be some artificial plotline that gets fed to you through the generic quest-text that you know everyone else is also reading. You won't be a generic faceless hero in this game. Here, you will have an identity and role - both of which can be as big or small as you want them to be. You'll be less limited by the content designers, and more restricted by your own effort and ambition.
It is a system of risks and rewards that are much more tangible than artificial; especially if you consider that your very actions will affect the gameworld around you - permanently. That means no more totally instanced, single-player paradise that keeps you totally safe and unaffected from everything that other players around you are doing.
Some of the Key Game Features
Skill Based Combat
Revival is taking aim on revitalizing MMO combat by making you do the same. No more tab-targeting and watching a bar of cooldown timers. Instead you'll need your head on a swivel, and ready to react and respond and fight strategically in the moment - with active movement and precision tactics.
Natural Skill Development
In Revival, skill progression will be something that must actually be practiced to perfect - which isn't reserved to only combat. Everything you do will intuitively strengthen your character in one way or another - and skills you aren't using will actually even decay over time. This means you'll need to actually stay practiced up on those areas you want to remain a "master" of.
Unlike the typical MMORPG's grocery list of crafting materials and automated creation process, Revival plans to require more user decision making. Plans also include different crafting mini-games (that also require skill to master) that must be actively engaged in to produce quality items and materials. The days of farming materials and watching a progress bar will officially be over.
Not to be confused with the system GuildWars2 has implemented, Revival plans to have an actual living world with dynamic AI similar to what has been proposed for EverQuest Next. I'm talking about needs-based AI, where NPCs (ally and enemy alike) will have priorities, desires, and motivations that cause them to act a certain way in the world - treating players differently based on certain triggers and indicators that aren't necessarily "scripted".
Revival doesn't want players to stand on an island, and even their plans for in-game economy reflect that. With the obliteration of fast-travel, goods will need to be physically carried or transported via caravan from place to place (nor more auction house). If you want to buy something, you'll need to physically travel to a player or NPC initiated market to get it. That means purchasing it directly from a player or NPC. This has a ton of implications on how traders and the merchant-minded will need to interact with other players (like crafters and mercenaries) to accomplish their monopolistic goals.
Probably one of the more significant features that most games don't offer at all, the ability to serve in a position of political power is a core component of Revival's gameplay. Players that want to become politicians or leaders making decisions for the masses must use real diplomacy, persuasion, and even bribery to rise to prominence. You could become the most powerful monarch in the game without ever lifting a weapon, if you've got enough charisma, wit and influence to manipulate yourself up through the ranks of others vying for control.
Finally, and probably the most unique of all features, is the live-storytelling team. For subscription-based servers, Revival is planning to implement and in-game team of developers to guide the story and plot and initiate permanent change in the world. They'll be riffing off the actions of players to help co-drive the greater plot and even provide the opportunity for players to commission special GM-controlled events.
Just Scratching the Surface
It's worth noting that in all my short descriptions above, I've merely scratched the surface of the information that currently exists for this game. In a move of transparency and an honest desire to interact with their growing future player-base, the creators of Revival have offered up a wealth of information with pages of content explaining their core mechanics as well as a set of forums that the developers are highly active in. Also, for those willing to contribute and become backers of Revival early on, there is even a live developer chat open daily where fans can ask questions directly and propose ideas to the staff.
Additionally, those bits and features I described above don't even cover everything, as lore, story, player-housing, and many other components of play have gone completely unacknowledged in this short column. The game is certainly worth checking out on your own. You might find yourself much like me, where you can't just keep it to yourself. I am compelled to share what I am learning, and looking forward to watching and waiting with the rest of you.
If you're interested to learn more you can check out the game's official website - which as mentioned above, has a wealth of information. Additionally I will be continuing to produce videocasts with a couple of fellow fans of the game on our weekly Sunday stream through Theory Forge on Twitch. You can see a replay of our first episode embedded below and also get more details on that show from our post on the Revival forums.
The Revival Livecast hosts include myself, Cecira, and AstralEcho (left to right)
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Revival Game Page.