Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle continuing to cover for John "Boomjack" Hoskin's Loading... column this week. Thanks to those of you that wrote in expressing sympathy; John is continuing to decompress following a loss in his family last week. We continue to wish him and his family the best during this trying time.
One of the more interesting MMO prospects we saw at E3 last week was Seed. In case you're not familiar, have a look at our E3 impressions of Danish developer Runestone's ambitious project, but the premise of the game is really interesting. Not only are the comic book-strip graphics unlike anything you've seen before in an MMO, but the game has no combat mechanic. No combat! Nutty Danes. I had to give it a try. (By the way, there are no representations of Mohammed in this Danish comic strip MMO.)
Being a small independent project, the game was available via direct download. That's not as painful as it sounds; between the 3 meg initial download and something like 260 megs of patching, Seed's 14-day free trial is as economical on your wallet as it is on your iTunes-laden hard drive (how many podcasts can you really listen to?). When you log in, there's no formal constucts, literally nothing, to help you find your way around the newbie-oriented Reqspace. Well, except for the game manual and the other players, but this is kind of a shock to the system after playing skads of other games with elaborate step-by-step tutorials.
At the start, you're something like a sociable Mr. Fixit. You amble around a decrepit space station, finding hatches to fix up with one of three simplified tools you have in your inventory at the outset. It makes for strangely compelling gameplay where type-A personalities are concerned, but unless I start getting a clearer picture of what character progression really means in Seed pretty soon, this one's going to be easy to walk away from. Fixing things is great (and I can do it as I work, heh), but what's the point in fixing this same hatch again and again? Where are we going with this, folks? I can stomach the wonky click-to-move mechanic (WASD movement is supposed to be an option, but in effect... well, it's like my keyboard cable's loose) if you'll just clue me in. Sandbox-style gameplay is a whole new world to me (pun intended), so hopefully I won't go into withdrawal as the cravings for directed play leave my system.
All told, the game looks great and definitely has potential. But more on my adventures in Seed as the week progresses.
Questions, comments, or suggestions? Let us know...