Ever, Jane - Pride, Prejudice, and Hope in MMO Innovation
I wanted to take a minute out of your day to talk about Ever, Jane: The Virtual World of Jane Austen. This game is perhaps the neatest thing IÂve seen come across Kickstarter in forlorn and twenty moons. The reason it is neat isnÂt the difficult to look at super early prototype graphics or the sweet Regency Era garb, but the concept - the idea- that an MMO can be something other than a hack and slash adventure.
Now, IÂm not one with a ton of faith in Kickstarter. I honestly donÂt like the funding model. This is one time though, that I have some high hopes that Kickstarter can make a dream come true for me - no, not a Regency Era MMO, but an MMO that is different. An MMO where the goal of the game isnÂt leveling up through slaying Orcs, but is instead something more profound. Some goal, some objective that is determined not through combat, but through adventure. This concept, I believe, is truly what the industry needs. A sandbox game where you donÂt build the game (like A Tale in the Desert), an MMO where there is no combat, something where there is clearly defined rules for success and failure, but those are not dependent on your creative talent or ability to spam 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 on the keyboard.
How is Ever, Jane different you ask? Well, it is an attempt to emulate the Regency era in the United Kingdom. ItÂs a little known era between the Georgian era (start of the Industrial Revolution) and the Victorian Era (what Steampunk is based off of). ItÂs essentially that little bit of time before England passed the Reform Act of 1832 modernizing the government and leading into the Victorian Era. I assume that it is based a little bit off of Jane AustenÂs books, the most famous (at least to me) is Pride and Prejudice.
So Pride and Prejudice the MMO is pretty much what this game is about and what is so neat, at least to me, is that it is aiming to recreate that entire era, manners included. As a matter of a fact, itÂs a manners MMO where the entire point is to adhere to the way society was at the time, including the differences between the two sexes. Men who bow must be curtsied too, or else you lose standing.
I could go on and on about the other planned mechanics, but they do a good job of that on the Kickstarter page. However, what I can go on and on about is that this is exactly what the MMO industry needs. Maybe Pride and Prejudice the MMO wonÂt be a success. Maybe it wonÂt get funded. Maybe the development will break down. Who knows, however, the concept and the idea is critical because we need more variation in how to play games. WeÂve all grokÂd the idea of how a standard MMO goes. For those of us who have played MMOs for so long, we need something new and challenging to keep us excited. ItÂs one of the main reason the legions and legions of WoW clones donÂt succeed - there is no fun in playing and doing the same thing over and over again.
Imagine, if you will, if the concept of Ever, Jane was integrated into a standard MMO. It would be brilliant - not only do you have the combat, but the social intrigue and roleplaying aspects would be amazing. There are two games like this, the first is Persona and the second is the upcoming Vampire the Masqurade game, which doesnÂt focus on combat but instead focus on vampire politics.
This is really though where crowdfunding shines to me. This is a niche idea that the mainstream wouldnÂt buy into, but those into this kind of thing can prove their desire by throwing money at it, in hopes that it becomes a reality. I really hope that more game developers take their inventive ideas to Kickstarter and allowing it to be a true platform for innovative MMO gaming ideas.
With that said, I also hope more game developers start thinking more out of the box and start making interesting and unique concepts to games, like the way it was in the days of MUDs. We lost a lot of the neat features because the development cost and effort was too high, but at the same time technology has advanced enough that we should start seeing some really cool things.
If youÂre interested in throwing money at Ever, Jane, here is a link to the Kickstarter. I would like to say that Ever, Jane has not thrown money at me, nor is this an official recommendation of Ten Ton Hammer that you should throw money at it - itÂs merely a suggestion of something to look into and perhaps, the start of a thing I call hope - hope that the MMO industry innovates more cool things.
I would also suggest reading Pride and Prejudice if you were not forced to do so in school.