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VoidSpace - The Future of MMORPGs?
Did you know?
At the height of its power in 2010, World of Warcraft commanded a player base of 12 million players! It has since dropped to 7.6 million. Star Wars - The Old Republic, who earned the world record for fastest growing subscription base, saw their subscribers drop to the point where they were forced to convert to a F2P model.
The Decline of MMORPGs
Ever since the humble beginnings from Neverwinter Nights, MMORPGs have risen to become one of the most lucrative domains within the gaming industry. From World of Warcraft to EVE Online, there is no denying the popularity of the genre.
Recently however, we've seen an increase in cookie-cutter games. Titles like The Elder Scrolls Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic, offering the same experience we've been subjected to time and time again, with no unique style of form of innovation. This has left many gamers (including myself) distrusting of MMORPGs, observing each new release with a mix of caution and distaste. Even the popular titles find themselves losing more and more subscribers.
It's safe to say that this genre isn't in great shape. However, there may be a new title on the horizon that could provide us with the fresh and enjoyable experience we've been waiting for. VoidSpace.
What is VoidSpace?
VoidSpace is an upcoming MMORPG that dares to push the boundaries of what is possible in a game. It takes place in The Void, a sandbox world filled with possibility. It describes itself as a game with no starting infrastructure, leaving it up to the players to build their own world.
VoidSpace presents itself with several interesting concepts that, if applied, could result in a gaming adventure like no other. Most players want choices and openness, with the feeling that their decisions actually matter, something that isn't present in most current titles. VoidSpace attempts to remedy this with some extremely ambitious ideas, which we're going to take a look at now.
The Answer to Our MMORPG Troubles?
An Untouched World
This is a direct quote from the Kickstarter page for VoidSpace:
"The very first person to enter VoidSpace, upon its release, will see a vast untouched world filled with nothing but raw natural resources. Like Minecraft, players will need to create their own infrastructure to survive."
What we have here is the basis of a world that will evolve with the players. Whereas other MMORPGs feature respawning veins of materials, VoidSpace (presumably) will have a limited number of resources, forcing players to either trade with others or travel further out into the deep and unexplored recesses of The Void, searching for what they need.
No NPCs, Just Players
No NPCs. No annoying traders who only sell you items fit for low levels. No ferocious beasts who assault you simply for standing by their favourite patch of grass. The world is populated by players and players alone. Whilst this must break several unwritten laws of MMORPG development, it certainly does add an interesting layer of gameplay.
For instance, think of all the times where cities were guarded by soldiers who's only job was to stab anything that wasn't human. This job now falls to the community. Players could offer their services as guards for hire, or maybe set up their own security firm. Self-proclaimed pirates may attack poorly defended outposts, or clans may lead a full-on assault on an entire empire.
VoidSpace Pre-Alpha Gameplay
The Invention System
As the player defeats enemies, mines resources and experiments, they may develop an idea for an invention. It could be more powerful lasers, capable of tearing through pirate shields, or perhaps a self-repair system of sorts. This idea will be unique to the player, with a set of characteristics not found anywhere else.
If they please, the player can create a prototype of this item. Upon doing so, the object will be ready for mass development. The player can choose to sell the item, or even teach the blueprints to somebody else so they can build it, There's even the possibility of earning royalties should other players fabricate your invention.
There's also the choice of researching new technologies, so you can develop something specific that will aid both you and your friends. Expanded cargo containers capable of holding more resources, efficient ship engines to increase speed and use less fuel, improved hulls capable of withstanding more damage. The possibilities are quite literally, endless.
The Dogecoin MMORPG
We've already stated that there are no NPCs. This means no form of Auction House or existing economy, which is where the players come in. If we look at games like EVE Online, we can see how a player-run economy can work effectively and efficiently. All sorts of services, from bounty-hunting to security to mining, are offered by the player base. It is then safe to assume VoidSpace can pull it off as well.
An interesting difference from EVE Online however is that VoidSpace allows you to use Cyrptocurrencies to buy and sell. If you're not too fond of mining the stuff in real life, you can hop onto VoidSpace and, well, mine it! The primary Cyrptocurrency that will be used is Dogecoin, though Bitcoin, Litecoin and other forms of virtual money will be available to use.
Variety of Platforms
Most (read all) MMORPGs can only be played on the PC. VoidSpace's design allows it to be played on almost every device out there. PC, Mac and Linux will of course be the standard, but the game will also be playable on iOS, Android and Blackberry, and there are even plans to introduce it to console systems, such as the Xbox One, PS4 and PSP.
VoidSpace Kickstarter Trailer
The Universe Project
VoidSpace is actually the precursor to a much larger game, known as The Universe Project. Whereas VoidSpace offers merely a world, The Universe Project offers a, well, universe. The idea is for players to start on a single planet the size of Earth. There, they will have to make tools, learn skills and survive a harsh, untamed environment. The game is supposed to simulate the evolution of society, eventually leading to space travel where players will be able to explore other planets!
The Universe Project Concept
Too Good To Be True?
As much as it pains me to say, this isn't the first time we've been offered a helping of promises and dreams, only to never receive. Kickstarter is known for projects that have been successfully funded and are either never heard from again or deliver a mess of a finished project. Most crowd funded games are I'm afraid to say. Cube World anyone?
This doesn't mean you shouldn't support VoidSpace. From what we've seen so far, it does seem decent enough. My advice to you would be to wait for some proper gameplay and trailers showcasing a more complete project. If they can provide that, then I'd be willing to stick my hand in my pocket.
VoidSpace could be the revolution we've all been waiting for. If it proves to be a success, then we can say goodbye to the old 'Gather 10 Basilisk Brains' system and welcome a new era of MMORPGs. If it fails... Well, I hope you all enjoy grinding.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed, I'd appreciate a follow and maybe a comment. I'll see you all next time!
Take a look at VoidSpace: https://startonate.appspot.com/new/index.jsp
Same website, but with my referral link: http://strt.cc?r=cHN5Y2hvdGljZ2FtZXJhaG9saWNzQGxpdmUuY29t
Read more on the wiki: http://universeproject.wikia.com/wiki/Voidspace
Support VoidSpace on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2078503895/voidspace
Learn about Dogecoin: http://dogecoin.com/