Recently in a blog post Raph Koster asked for simple oneliners why worldy MMOs would be better than gamey MMOs, since there was some funny oneliners in support of gamey MMOs in a different discussion.
Richard Bartle provided one answer there, which I think was a bit amusing:
Games are for Dorothy, worlds are for Alice.
Or, more formally, as I pointed out in my player types paper, there are three non-null stable configurations of players. One of these has socialisers dominant (Wendy worlds, like Second Life); one has achievers dominant (Dorothy worlds, like EverQuest); one has a balance between all types (Alice worlds, like Ultima Online).
If you want this summed up as pithy, insulting one-liners:
Game MMOs are for people who haven’t grown up.
World MMOs are for people who don’t want to grow up.
Social worlds are for people for whom growing up didn’t work out.
The paper Mr Bartle referred to is also a good read I think, if one has not read it before. It talks about the sandbox & themepark (worldy & gamey, Alice & Dorothy, pick your choice of words) mix of gameplay.
Just before the weekend Masthead Studios released another beta footage video from Earthrise, which of course led to some at least semi-heated discussion on the Earthrise forums and some less than nice comments elsewhere.
I think the environments themselves looks pretty ok, which is also generally what people say when they say something positive about it. But animations and indications of a less than smooth running of the game have had people tear this thing apart.
The video certainly shows improvements from the previous one they released. The information around the video was somewhat short:
The new beta video showcases dynamic footage of PvE and PvP combat, and displays new areas of Enterra including Sal Vitas square, Seyeen and the Cascade Mountains. The video also presents weapons like the Shielding Device, Leadership Device, the T5 Core Flamer, and many more.
I do think Masthead is struggling a bit to have things working to the release date, so it is most likely not going to be very polished and probably some mentioned features will be missing. In particular since their comments around any open beta has been along “not decided yet” and “no info yet” even a month before release, which leads me to think that they are more pressing issues that a try-before-you-buy open beta, or even a stress-test open beta – the latter is more worrying in that case.
But I am more interested in see how the story elements, exploration, crafting and gameplay in general turns out than how awesome PvP will be, so will still pick up the title to see what it has now and how playable it is. Then maybe continue or let it rest for a while.