Especially after seeing how poorly the last Game of Thrones (non-MMO) title turned out, I'm disappointed 1) If it turns out to be low budget at all. To make a Game of Thrones/ASoIAF game worthwhile, one shouldn't even be thinking of a shoestring budget. It will require a complex, incredibly detailed, fully realized virtual world to keep with the spirits of GRRM's writing. 2) That anyone decided the browser was the way to go for this. Browsers are changing quickly and lets be honest this isn't even a "browser" feature so much as it is a proprietary plugin that will work in some browsers that Unity has an 'exporter' for web content created 3) That they picked what is known to be one of the more limited but "easy for new developers to create and ship a game" engines out there, which currently does not support Linux. To be honest, with the kind of budget that a Game of Throne MMO project should have, it should not be limited to any particular engine. If they didn't want to write it from scratch (which, I feel would be the best possible way to do something new that is designed exactly for what they intend to do. Think about it. Game of Thrones. You need the ability for dozens to hundreds of players to clash in real time against massive backdrop , plus free roaming cities, and the ability for "information" warfare and players to choose a ton of choices, that end in everything from edicts kingdom-wide to a single rider's decision to take a contract or become an outlaw), they could choose from the very best industry-available engines and mold them to their needs (ie. Bink video + Speedtree + CRYEngine3+ etc...) rather than depend on a single, somewhat limited engine that is designed primarily for getting a product to players as swiftly as possible, if you're willing to give up a lot of control (similar to Microsoft's XNA). The fact that they can't create Dwarves because of Unity's sputtering says a ton here about this decision, and the fact that they only talk about the handful of Houses means this is being made to capitalize on the next season of the show coming out in April. So much for being a Troshi pirate or crewing a Quartheen merchant galley!
With the first game being designed so haphazardly, I don't want to see what could be an excellent setting pressed into shovelware again, meant only to be a name that makes the yokels out there remember the HBO series so they'll get involved, spend some cash, and move on to the next licensed thing.
I am none too happy hearing of the whole "Browser Based" thing, and the Unity engine in specific. For quite some time, Unity engine games have been enrobed in the sort of proprietary lockdown that I was hoping, with help from the mobile OSes such as iOS and Android, in addition to the vocal Linux and Mac users, proving to be loyal and ready to contribute when their platforms were taken into consideration, at least had a chance of being snuffed out. Unity quite simply as an engine, doesn't support Linux. Much like Microsoft's XNA, its a way to enable a dev team to start with a lot of the work done for them, but with the rather large price of losing platform control to Unity's whims. Unfortunately, since Unity has been expanded to cover the iOS and Android platforms (For a price of course; developing with the right licensed version of Unity. See the comparison) as well as the major consoles, amounting in them pretty much supporting "everything but Linux", its an uphill battle seemingly to ask for proper support on Linux because now the Linux community pretty much stands alone, without the benefit of say... Android/Wii/PS3 development also lacking which would use the same tools in most cases. This also makes it more frustrating they don't support Linux, because obviously in supporting Android/Wii/PS3 which are more "Linux-like" and rely on platform independent tools like OpenGL, it would be easy to just go the extra final step and support compiling under Linux itself!
I've encouraged many of the dev teams on Desura and elsewhere that have started too far with Unity to turn back, to voice their displeasure with the lack of Linux support on the Unity engine, but we shall see what happens in the end. Worse still , with a product like the one listed here, it doesn't just use the Unity engine but the proprietary web plugin, which has been linked to vulnerabilities. No matter how enjoyable the game itself may be, I'm not happy that it is being built on an engine hostile to Linux and user control, and will require a proprietary platform-locked web player as well.
Edit: I am aware that there have been bits here and there suggesting future Linux support at some time, but until I am assured that doesn't mean "Only games available as Google Native Client apps will be supported on Linux", my wariness stands. I can hope that Unity truly embraces Linux as both a design and publishing platform, especially as they use many Linux and open-source community tools (ie Mono/MonoDevelop to transfer their Windows-alone .NET implementations and tools to hardware that doesn't use .NET - pretty much all platforms save for Windows and X360). If I see that and that games on the Unity engine completed for other platforms can be easily compiled for Linux instead I'll feel much better, but I will still worry about the web-player issues...even if said web player was available for Linux based Webkit and Gecko/Firefox heritage browsers.
I would very much like to know about the persistent conflict features and bonuses, as well as any building - be it "scenario" only base building during matches, building of persistent features in conflict areas, or "home base" building for an individual player. The biggest MMORTS "proper" at the moment is Age of Empires Online, which for instance has "non-combat home city" building as well as "combat mission/scenario" stuff, where the former affects the latter (ie. Build the right building in your home city to have access to talent trees that affect what you can build in battle.). However, I am very happy to see that in the FAQ there's a metagame mentioned so its just a matter of time before we learn of its specifics.
I'd also like to know about itemization, if any - in AoEO for instance you may be able to find/buy/win (from another player or against CPU) varying quality "Spear" items that can be equipped in your home city Gear Hall on any unit that uses spears (such as basic Spearmen, or something like Camel Riders). Each unit that you have unlocked can be used in scenarios, and their stats and appearance will differ based on what equipment you placed on their archetype in the Gear Hall (ie. I place epic swords, armor, and accessories on the Hyspatist unit type in gear hall, when I actually go into battle and create the Hyspatist unit, they'll all look different and be equipped with graphics for that particular armor and weapon etc.).
I'm also wondering what the player's role will be - if you're the Commander of your army, will you have an Avatar (a la Shogun 2) in battles? Will there be Advisors that can be equipped to provide substantial bonuses (Shogun 2, Age of Empires Online)? Will there be any "Hero units" in game (War3, CnC etc) and if so are they leveled up in a persistent manner?
In a related question, I'd also like to know if the different factions available in game and differences between them. We've seen some cool units revealed so far, but nothing on if different armies will have completely different units (in addition to a shared unit-pool as well).
Finally, more info on pricing would be nice. I REALLY hope that with as cool a backer as Trion, there won't be an "Asian grinder" style pricing where there will be an Item Mall and you pay $5 for 7 days of being able to paint your tanks yellow or something, plus an additional $15 to unlock the ability to chat in "open" channels like General/Trade/LFG etc... and tons of boosters all of the place that, without which, make XP advancement really slow. Age of Empires Online and the games from HiRez Studios - Global Agenda and Tribes Ascend seem to be some of the few that do Free2Play (Non-subscription option that is - as opposed to some games like LOTRO and DDO that offer subscriptions to basically unlock everything which is another way to go) right in a way that is affordable for the player, by generally having one-time blanket Elite/VIP unlocks that have lots of bonuses and then selling only XP/Currency Boosts to make your gains even faster, in a major way, on top of the boosts built in to the Elite/VIP system - all of which have been financially beneficial to the companies mentioned. Though, Trion and End of Nations may have a completely different plan in the works and that could be great as well, but I just really hope it will be much more player focused, whatever it is, than the Asian-style grinder/item shop setup. The subscription option is confirmed however, so it seems like things will be headed that way.
Trion has always managed things with RIFT to date with player value as the primary hook, setting them WELL above most MMOs and producers these days, so I expect great things from End of Nations. Especially with a game that is designed with having tons of players all playing together at the same time, it will be important to be accessible so designing and pricing with that in mind is important, and it seems that thankfully Trion and Petroglyph are aware of that. Looking forward to the Beta and the Collector's Editions (Kudos for offering a digital-only version that comes with all the in-game extras!)
Thanks again for the preview!
Unacceptable. Just plain unacceptable. I am totally sick of the AAA industry wide greed that has hurt gamers and gaming as a whole for going on ten years or so. Is it too much to ask to pay a single, reasonable $50 price for a PC game (No, Mr Kotick it isn't acceptable to sell PC games at $60 because you assume PC gamers are stupid enough to think that because Xbox360/PS3 games cost $60 due to hardware/publisher dealings, "that's just how much games cost" and as such, we should put that extra $10 of pure profit into your bloody pocket), and get ALL the content available for the game created and available on release day. I shouldn't be locked out of content because I chose to pre-order from the "wrong" place, or not pre-order at all, or not be willing to pre-order several copies of the game from different retailers. I shouldn't have to buy special editions in order to have access to all in-game content - that means that the $60 standard edition is INCOMPLETE (I will debate this regarding persistent online games such as MMOs, where I find it unacceptable and frustrating but can at least see the argument as a status symbol et.c.. there is NO possibility of this in a single player title or a "non-massive" multiplayer title). I shouldn't have to buy content that was chopped out of the game pre-release to be sold separately, as Day 1 DLC - I dont' care what hair-splitting EA/Bioware is whining about "oh, but the one team finished the game and then another team worked on this after ward and..." bullshit, it is in this case even ENTIRELY completed by the launch of the title and therefore shouldn't be an "extra". I certainly shouldn't have to drink a kind of soda and turn in the caps in order to get in-game content that isn't available any other way. Likewise, I should not have to make sure I pre-order or buy the CE of another title by the same publisher, buy a strategy guide/soundtrack/artbook etc.... in order to get the code for DLC for the game in which I am interested! Its time for all this bullshit to STOP.
I've been rallying against it for years, since I saw the writing on the wall with regards to the shitfuckery of Oblivion's DLC-based approach compared to Morrowind's, which was mostly because Microsoft demanded that the X360 version have something to sell on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and if you did that you couldn't give that horse armor, or warrior/thief/mage tower, or any other small bit of content away for free, especially to PC gamers!. Unfortunately, there are far more people who know no better - a whole generation of those raised where paying $15.99 for 3 bloody multiplayer shooter maps is commonplace - and those who constantly defend the greediest cashgrabs of the industry. Bioware's forums are incredibly sycophantic, for instance. I want to buy Mass Effect 3. I enjoy the story and gameplay of the Mass Effect series, but I will NOT support having the in-game content chopped up and unavailable unless you manage to buy (possibly multiple) pre-orders from the "right" place of only the digital deluxe or collector's edition, buy all the day 1 DLC, then keep my eyes out to make sure that I'm not missing codes from ancillary materials and other games, in order to have complete access to the game content - especially the content that is obviously ready on release day!
Thanks to all who replied with their experiences! I was lucky enough to run the Scannertron again today and not run into the network issue,allowing me to complete my application! I do wish that any server-side troubles that ArenaNet was having would have been posted on their GuildWars2 webpage as soon as they were noticed, especially with such a time-limited signup availability. Happy to have finally signed up and hope that my years of enjoyment in original GuildWars (all expansions etc...) will allow me a crack at GW2 beta!
© Copyright 2000 - 2013 Master Games International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.