Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Path of Exile
March 10, 2013 6:32 PM   Subscribe

Path of Exile is an independent game developed by Grinding Gear Games that was recently released into open beta, and it is getting quite good reviews so far. Its heritage is obvious, and many observe its spiritual relationship not only to Diablo 2 and Dungeon Siege, but perhaps more directly Diablo 1, in terms of tone and feel. It has a number of things that keep it in obvious continuity with other recent games in the genre, but arguably improve on it in a number of ways. Why should you consider this game? Let me count (just a handful) of reasons.

First, the game totally rethinks the idea of gold as currency, and instead implements a system where everything is done via barter, whether with other players or NPC characters. This allows for a deep and rewarding currency crafting system based off of the numerous items that show up in the game. The results can be used to enhance skills and game-play experiences. This design not only creates a compelling and ongoing mini-game of sorts that can encourage community participation (if desired), but it effectively does away with issues of gold inflation that plague other games.

Second, its passive skill development system is deep, flexible, and aesthetically pleasing. Most striking is the skill management tree that reminds one of Final Fantasy X's grid system. It looks neat and is fun to use. Every character starts in a different place on the same map, but in theory can navigate to any other place.This allows you to create characters that are highly unique and imaginative.

Third, active skills are attained by finding and implementing gems into socketed equipment. As you use the gems, it levels them up. You can swap gems in and out of equipment to provide highly flexible character traits, or simply to change up a strategy that a particular part of the game requires.

Fourth, it has a unique end-game component that keeps people coming back for more after the main campaign is completed. End game maps of various flavors can be found that are highly randomized and have unique bosses and equipment to be plundered, either solo or with groups of friends.

There a number of other interesting refinements (including a unique take on competition ladders and hardcore mode), but just a handful of other things to consider: the graphics are more than passable and downright compelling at times; the soundtrack is top-notch; the developers are very involved with the community and implement player feedback; the maps are truly randomized and often times HUGE; the voice acting is top-notch; and they have implemented consumables such that they become part of your overall approach to character development and battle strategy rather than being stackable, spammable items of last second desperation.

Oh, and the game is 100% free to play, with the plan for it to stay that way. Grinding Gear Games is an independent company from New Zealand made up of 19 developers who have been working for free for the last six years. How, then, do they afford to provide a game of such high caliber? Although they are very much against a "pay-to-win" model as part of their development DNA, they choose instead to provide attractive cosmetic and non-game-changing enhancements to your gaming experience, like pets, more stash slots, or non game-changing UI enhancements.

Keep in mind that this game can get very, very dark. Where some game sequels have been criticized for perhaps going too bright (see Torchlight II or Diablo III), Path of Exile intentionally goes down a path that might show up in some bad dreams. It's hard to deny, though, that GGG has done something here that is on par with many big and well funding gaming studios.
posted by SpacemanStix (54 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just popping a note that PoE is windows-only (I didn't have my hopes too high)
posted by nonspecialist at 6:41 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


oh my god, they have a materia system? I'm in.
posted by boo_radley at 6:47 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Finally something to replace the Hobbit as "what New Zealand did most recently".
posted by Wataki at 6:49 PM on March 10, 2013


SpacemanStix: "Its heritage is obvious, and many observe its spiritual relationship not only to Diablo 2 and Dungeon Siege, but perhaps more directly Diablo 1, in terms of tone and feel. "

This is cool. I tried to get into Torchlight but it was too cartoony, in a very 'casual games' kind of way.

I'll have to check this out.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:49 PM on March 10, 2013


Just popping a note that PoE is windows-only (I didn't have my hopes too high)

There's a unofficial mac version!

I will +1 this game. It's a lot of fun (for those who like Diablo-esque games), the skill system is really deep and sometimes overwhelming. Definitely give it a shot though, I've been addicted for the past week or so.
posted by Strass at 6:51 PM on March 10, 2013


"Path of Exile is designed to run on a huge variety of systems, from an everyday laptop to a top of the line gaming rig."

:)
posted by Ardiril at 6:52 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sounds good, DOWNLOADING NOW.
The barter system as described reminds me of Ultima Underworld ... man, Ultima Underworld ONLINE would be such a sweet game.
posted by pravit at 6:55 PM on March 10, 2013


This really is the most addictive fun I've had playing a game in a long time. I'm almost embarrassed to say how much I've spent trying to find that game I'd keep thinking about and coming back to, and the one I find most compelling happens to be very easy on the pocketbook. One critique I've heard is that the story could be stronger, and I think that might be true, based on my dozen or so hours of experience. But it's by no means bad. If you play for the story, though, this is the one place I can say it might not meet expectations (but then again, it might, who knows).
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:00 PM on March 10, 2013


My live-in life coach has urged me to try and work towards some non-PoE habits - reading, meditation, bodily hygiene, regular meals and bathroom breaks - in the hopes of one day reclaiming some semblance of the life I lived before discovering this game. And I was making good progress. Until this post.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:04 PM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


man, Ultima Underworld ONLINE would be such a sweet game.

Man, I dunno. One of the things that really made Ultima Underworld for me was the sense of claustrophobic loneliness - there were only a few trapped souls in the whole dungeon, all driven mad, or nearly so. Running into people every other intersection would totally kill the atmosphere.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:08 PM on March 10, 2013


Speaking of which, Lord Moldybutt, or whatever he calls himself, is trying to Kickstart a new Ultima. This rubs me wrong; didn't he spend millions to go to outer space? Why does he need our help now?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:11 PM on March 10, 2013


Because he spent millions to go into space. (And because none of his current studio's kind of silly products have made any actual money. I am fond of the man, but I am much less fond of some of the chuckleheads who he lets call the shots while he marries Frenchwomen and raises babies.)
posted by restless_nomad at 7:13 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Path of Exile! For the record, it runs well on my laptop (Lenovo T430 with Nvidia graphics) unless the university wifi is being really slow.
posted by cp311 at 7:25 PM on March 10, 2013


Dang I was hoping for relief from my pet peeve of inventory management but I see that is one of their vectors for making money. However looking at the store it looks like there is lots of storage potential. Is there a limit to the number of storage slots you can have? 'Cause if I could grow my storage in an essentially unlimited fashion as needed I'd pony up 10-20 dollars a month for that.
posted by Mitheral at 7:41 PM on March 10, 2013


I have playing this since the week before open beta. I haven't touched any other game since. I never liked the Diablo series, Torchlight was okay but I lost interest quickly. PoE on the other hand see,s to be keeping me on the edge of the seat.

As SpacemanStix mentioned, the story is thin but completely not important. The gameplay has been the reason I em enthralled. It's as hard as you could want it to be while being overwhelmingly simple. I find I spend a lot of time messing around with the skill tree and figuring out build ideas then working towards it. That is a large part of the drive and compulsion.

With the common practice of skill resets in modern games, PoE breaks that and makes you stick with the decisions you've made. Sure there are a handful of respec points from completing quests and yeah you can trade for Orbs of Regret, but they are limited and can be very expensive to trade for. Being able to amass over 100 skill points, the cost of a respec would be astronomical. There is a reason that people suggest rerolling if you made a mistake.

While that might scare a casual player (and even some of the hardcore) it brings a level of personal ownership to the character that you don't get with other games. In WoW it doesn't matter what you choose to do because that respec is just right around the corner. In PoE, what you do, is you.

Of course there are some players that have been playing since closed beta and have more of a grasp on gameplay but even then a 'cookie cutter' build won't work unless you go through the process of specifically gearing up for that build. It's not as simple as kill the same boss over and over for the chance of a rare drop. You can (and mostly have to) craft gear from scratch designed to make your build -your play style- the best it can be.

Now all that said, the only seriously lacking piece to this game is a clan/guild system. Randomly grouping is fun but when you have a group of people progressing specifically to work together is far and above the best way to smash maps. Sadly when random grouping, many many skills overlap (without benefits) and even debuffs become a jumbled mess because they are limited and each is overwritten by the most recent application.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:43 PM on March 10, 2013


Speaking of which, Lord Moldybutt, or whatever he calls himself, is trying to Kickstart a new Ultima. This rubs me wrong;

Also, he had a major falling out with Electronic Arts, who bought the IP for Ultima from Garriott in the early 90's. I think he always regretted the way that turned out. This is probably about going back to his roots.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:43 PM on March 10, 2013


Playing Path of Exile has made me appreciate the sheer polish that Blizzard and Valve put into their games.```````````````````````

There's no special networking tricks built in to POE hide the latency, for example - from Australia we're getting 200ms no matter which server we connect to, and the latency is painfully obvious when trying to land attacks or kite. Diablo3 in comparison runs smooth as butter even though it theoretically also has 200+ms to the US servers, with only the occasional rubber banding every few minutes when the server has to adjust your position - it uses a very clever system that is a hybrid of server positioning and local positioning, and only enforces server positioning if it gets too out of sync.

Playing POE makes me feel like the technology they're deploying (graphics, netcode) is about 6 years in the past, and I tried to like it but only managed to get about 10 hours of gameplay out of it before I went and reinstalled Diablo3.
posted by xdvesper at 7:48 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mitheral, storage is limited to 4 stash tabs from the start but can be upgraded through microtransactions. So far I have 16 tabs but I do not know if there is a limit. Once they are purchased however they do not go away and they are applied all leagues.

Stash tabs are accessible to all characters within a league but characters from another league will have access to their own stash (such as in Default and Hardcore). Even when making characters for the race event leagues, stashes are individual to that league and after that particular event is over, the used tabs in that stash is available in temporary "removal only" tabs in whichever their comparable original league is (hardcore event stash goes to Hardcore league after it's over).
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:50 PM on March 10, 2013


I'm among the gaming addicts playing this game. It has been compared to D3 (repeatedly) and almost everyone who joins goes through the same motions of saying "This is what D3 should have been!"

My opinions of the game are very high, except for a couple points. I know they're in a minority.

At the moment but I am NOT a fan of the non-gold currency that's kinda gold, but not really. (I tend to think of it as a Standard gold when there's a perfectly good Metric gold available - here are exchange rates, for those interested - it's a guide, as exchange rates may change) There's not a very good way to trade up except by being very lucky and finding someone in the trade channel who's willing to trade exactly what you have for what you want. IMO, it could definitely use an exchange house. The current "trading system" and I use the phrase loosely, is to spam a trade channel (Path of Barter, anyone?), or make a post in the forums saying you have these items for trade. You can link items in this post. For a casual gamer, this means you'll not likely sell because you'll not be online when someone wants to buy your Short Sword of Uberness +3, they'll instead but the Stiletto of Poking Things +3 from someone else.

Another downfall is the Free For All loot system. You have ~ 5 seconds to grab your loot while in a group, then you lose exclusive rights to the drop, it goes free-for-all. So if you're ranged or a caster, you'll not likely be close enough to the drop, and someone who may be a bit more tankish will b-line for the item to "ninja" the item. My recommendation is only group with friends for the time being.

usual disclaimers: IMHO, YMMV
I still really like the game, even with these faults.
posted by Nauip at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2013


"... implements a system where everything is done via barter... " -- Seemed great at first, but the shine wore off for me. I enjoyed the consumable/item-enhancement game it fueled, but instead of just selling gear and getting back to the killings, I had to play a match-3 game or collect 40 points of armor or something to empty my stash (and not a particularly well-themed one, like in Free Realms or Puzzle Pirates, but a boring one! I had to make my own scoring noises.). I stopped playing when I had been logged in for 20 minutes and hadn't yet killed a single monster because I was managing 4 pages of stash inventory that had to be kept around to complete collections of items to turn in for items I found valuable. Housekeeping tasks and other maintenance are time I'm not playing, cue the sad trombone.

"...it effectively does away with issues of gold inflation that plague other games." -- I am not an economist, but this claim seems dodgy for the same reason perpetual motion seems dodgy.

"... active skills are attained by finding and implementing gems into socketed equipment." -- Makes power acquisition random which, now that I consider it, felt very much like the first Diablo to me, in the way that getting a particularly good item could completely shape how you build out your character's abilities. But that you can't just rely on getting a certain power when you level (something that has traditionally been a certain degree removed from randomness) becomes frustrating.

Path of Exile is for people who are looking for a specific kind of game and I found out I wasn't one of 'em. Shucks.
posted by Appropriate Username at 8:07 PM on March 10, 2013


Does it have offline single-player? If not, that's a deal-breaker for me.
posted by straight at 8:15 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really wanted to like this during a beta weekend a while back. It just didn't have a solid feel to it. Then again, I thought the same of Torchlight 2 until I got into it a bit more and it started to feel more smooth, so I'm not sure.

I wanted to like Diablo 3 more too, but I'm afraid that it's just not going to hold me for years like Diablo 2 did.

I'm currently on a big Guild Wars 2 kick, and figure Shadowrun Returns will come along by the time I'm done with that...
posted by Foosnark at 8:17 PM on March 10, 2013


A couple of things that I'll add . Like JakeEXTREME notes, there is less hand-holding here as they want you to commit a bit more to the game, without being overbearing about it. It shows up in subtle ways. For example, a tendency in current ARPG's is to give you waypoints just about freaking everywhere so that you are never too far away from town or getting to a stopping point. In POE, they are spread out a little further so that you have to work for them a bit. You venture out somewhere, it's not an all night affair, but it also isn't a 10 minute coffee break situation, either. It seems that there is some balance that is found between being too casual and knowing that people have families.

Also, one thing that drives me nuts and sapped most of the fun out of some modern games for me is the absolutely insane amount of loot that drops all the time that are blue and green or whatever. It's loot inflation. It's to the point where rare items don't mean much because everything is kind of rare. POE stretches it out a bit and makes you work for good items, either as drops or in crafting and trading. I get a town portal in POE, I am actually pretty excited about it, as you can't buy them from NPC's (at least in Act I), and they don't drop super often.

Also, I'm really impressed by how they implement consumables. Health and mana potions can have sophisticated stats associated with them, and they refill only when you kill monsters. And you can only equip five consumables at a time. So, you can mix and match them up based on what you think you will need, say as a mana caster who is wading into difficult territory. Maybe two health potions (one of which provides a particular passive stat), two mana, and one speed potion, in case I need to run out of there? This adds some strategy, too. For example, you are fighting a boss, but you only get a refill on your potions when someone dies. You have to conserve them, this means, so it might affect how you do crowd control with the boss's minions that spawn. I take some of those out, and I can get refills on my stuff.

Anyway, small things that make it a lot more fun than I expected.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:23 PM on March 10, 2013


It doesn't seem to want to run on my everyday laptop. I took the graphics options to mimimal.
posted by Ardiril at 8:58 PM on March 10, 2013


I've always liked playing really squishy mages that can blow everything up quickly. However, most glass cannon builds are a no-go, or at least, very hard to pull off especially starting out without a lot of currency and the ability to get the best gear. This results in a lot of builds centering around obtaining defensive nodes in the passive tree, and good gear becomes ever more important to get a respectable amount of DPS. A lot of people will tell you just play around with your first character and farm currency, because you're going to have to reroll.

I found the healing "consumable" system interesting. The name isn't really quite accurate because they aren't consumed. Think of Lon-Lon milk from Zelda; when you drink both servings (most flasks have around two) you're just left with an empty bottle that you can refill by killing monsters, as Spacemanstix mentioned. However, this makes boss fights a pain if you play an AoE character, or if the boss doesn't spawn minions. I think this also causes the game to lean a bit further towards the defensive.

I also agree with Appropriate Username in that once you get to a bit higher level and are no longer wanting orbs affecting blue items, assembling and organizing the full sets to get more valuable currency are a massive pain.

However, I think the unique approach towards skillsets is well designed; the passive tree really is deep and rewards planning. I'm still playing, because I love the flexibility I have with my characters.
posted by Just Another Entity at 9:11 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ardiril: it can't be played offline, but it is pretty much default single-player. The only time you'll see any other players is when you portal back to town, where you can choose to team up if you wish. Exiting town for any map creates an instance exclusive to you (and any party members). I'm not into multiplayer either, so all my 100+ hrs of play thus far have been solo.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:46 PM on March 10, 2013


I was online. It was purely a graphics problem.
posted by Ardiril at 10:00 PM on March 10, 2013


I don't see much connection to Dungeon Siege. Do I get a mule at some point?
posted by Brocktoon at 10:05 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


As in, I don't have sufficient graphics capabilities to run it at minimum graphics settings.
posted by Ardiril at 10:07 PM on March 10, 2013


(oops - I meant to reply to straight)
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 10:33 PM on March 10, 2013


I don't see much connection to Dungeon Siege. Do I get a mule at some point?

Ha, no. The CEO of GGG said that Dungeon Siege was an influence on him, mainly due to the loot collection aspect.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:36 PM on March 10, 2013


As sales of new PCs plummet, I wonder about the future of this type of gaming environment.
posted by Ardiril at 10:47 PM on March 10, 2013


The skill tree is the big sell here. It's really impressive, and it's fun to just stare at it.

I played for a while after the beta opened, but quit once it started to feel more like a Skinner Box than a game. There's a slot machine quality to loot drop games that is a little dangerous. I'm sure I'll come back though. The creators have a ten-year plan which includes releasing a new chapter every year. That's a strong level of commitment that makes me feel good about playing a bit and then putting the game to the side for a good long while.

Anyway, I'm a little worried that I ruined my ranger by creating a suboptimal build. She's level 50-something and needs to be overlevelled to really get anywhere. I was looking forward to trying out endgame maps, but I'm not sure I can get to them.
posted by painquale at 11:01 PM on March 10, 2013


Speaking of which, Lord Moldybutt, or whatever he calls himself, is trying to Kickstart a new Ultima.

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 12:22 AM on March 11, 2013


Well, my little brother has been pushing me to try it and those Goony people at ThatOtherSite.com have been raving and so my crappy little DSL connection is grinding through the download as we speak (the actual proggie, not the installer).
posted by Samizdata at 4:14 AM on March 11, 2013


Because he spent millions to go into space.

But then he sued NCsoft for $30 million. There's your seed money, Lord Moldybutt, let's save Kickstarter for the GGG's of the world, mkay?
posted by Brocktoon at 8:44 AM on March 11, 2013


There's your seed money, Lord Moldybutt, let's save Kickstarter for the GGG's of the world, mkay?

Don't forget, though, that a lot of whether a game succeeds is word of mouth and a sense of community participation, which sometimes all of the money in the world cannot buy. I like taking part in something that I feel like I actually helped build, rather than paid to license after the fact. If I'm paying for it anyway, Kickstarter allows you to get in on the ground floor and see the development more closely.

Also, community interest can gauge to what extent you should invest in developing a game. If it didn't raise enough money, I wouldn't develop it, even if I was pretty rich. It's a smart way to do market research.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:54 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


But Kickstarter is a finite source of funds. Funds that he doesn't need, funds that GGG do need. Money aside, I just don't really like the guy for some reason. He just doesn't have the same great vibe that someone like Hairbrained Schemes does. I think his ego perhaps turns me off a bit.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:01 PM on March 11, 2013


There's not a very good way to trade up except by being very lucky and finding someone in the trade channel who's willing to trade exactly what you have for what you want. IMO, it could definitely use an exchange house.

I can't stand barter systems. I want to sell my stuff and return to adventuring rather than waste time trying to sell my Bubbles of Joy +7, which are more valuable than most possible drops like Fluffy Animal (average quality) and Trombone of Dispair +3. Makes me think there arises an opportunity for a trusted party to accept items and give in return an IOU. Maybe players who don't want to trek back to said party might even start trading their items in exchange of previous IOUs received. These dealer IOUs (aka dlrz) might become a de facto standard and next thing you know you are wondering whether increasing the dlrz supply increases inflation or has non-monetary effects.
posted by ersatz at 1:41 PM on March 11, 2013


This is just fab. Needs a lot of work but I'm glad to be on board and will be supporting this enterprise forthwith.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 4:29 PM on March 11, 2013


By accounts I've heard, Lord British is extremely mercenary and sees video games only as a means of making more money. He doesn't especially care about making interesting games for their own sake, like plenty of others in the industry do.

These goals don't seem to be in the spirit of Kickstarter. In fact, I'd say he's taking unscrupulous advantage of Kickstarter. Garriott almost certainly does not need to use Kickstarter to get the game off the ground, but doing so provides certain benefits. I'd feel weird backing his projects. It'd be like backing an EA game.

But that seems to be the direction that Kickstarter is heading. The labors of love in need of seed money are getting drowned out by the pseudocorporate million dollar business proposals. Kickstarter's an investment market with no punishment mechanism for companies that fail to deliver, which is just the sort of environment that you would expect to invite abuse. This downward slide toward becoming just a corporate stage is probably inevitable, but to at least help try to keep Kickstarter pure, don't back huge projects that could get off the ground without being Kickstarted, and don't back projects that aren't clearly labors of love.
posted by painquale at 6:54 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


By accounts I've heard, Lord British is extremely mercenary and sees video games only as a means of making more money. He doesn't especially care about making interesting games for their own sake, like plenty of others in the industry do.

That's not a characterization I've ever heard, and I've worked at one of his companies. If anything, he fails in the opposite direction (prioritizing neat ideas over realistic schedules.)
posted by restless_nomad at 7:02 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well if he's coming up with Ultima Underworld then he is the exact kind of mercenary the video game world needs.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 7:30 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Massively had a good analogy. Lord British going to Kickstarter for funding is akin to a professional sports team owner having the taxpayers build a new stadium, and then charge them for access to it. (sorry for the derail)
posted by Brocktoon at 10:41 PM on March 11, 2013


OK, I thought I was expressing a popular sentiment... I retract my characterization.
posted by painquale at 2:46 AM on March 12, 2013


Massively had a good analogy. Lord British going to Kickstarter for funding is akin to a professional sports team owner having the taxpayers build a new stadium, and then charge them for access to it. (sorry for the derail)

Is it? If you support his Kickstarter, you get the game. Kickstarter fans can be inconsistent; Obsidian could have produced P:E on their own, but instead of complaining people gave them $4 mn. No one is obliged to support Garriott or Braben's Elite, but I disagree that big-name commercial projects are drowning out other proposals. They also attract new followers who might go on to support other projects once they've already registered.
posted by ersatz at 9:05 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, PoE is online-only?

Screw that.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:44 AM on March 12, 2013


Lord British going to Kickstarter for funding is akin to a professional sports team owner having the taxpayers build a new stadium, and then charge them for access to it.

There's a conflation of personal finances with corporate finances that keeps coming up when talking about Kickstarter that I think is really weird. Because if a sports team owner built a stadium out of his own personal money, that would be major news, no? What usually happens is that the sports team is a business, owned by a person or a holding company or whatever, but is managed and run like a business and spends money out of its own holdings or venture capital or whatever. A business where the owner has to keep pumping personal funds in is, well, not a successful business.

Portalarium is a business. Garriott is a co-founder and the executive VP, not the king. The business has raised some money, put out some not-very-successful products, and is looking for more funding to make another product. Garriott could decide to act as an angel investor, I guess, but he's not required to just because he's wealthy. Kickstarter seems to make people think about these things in a different way - until it came around, I had never once heard someone say "He's got so much money, why does he need venture capital? He should let people with less money try for it."
posted by restless_nomad at 3:39 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Massively had a good analogy. Lord British going to Kickstarter for funding is akin to a professional sports team owner having the taxpayers build a new stadium, and then charge them for access to it. (sorry for the derail)

I think that's pretty unfair on many levels. Kickstarter is entirely voluntary. The idea that there's a limited pool of Kickstarter money is predicated on a notion of the average contributer as someone who has (very informally) budgeted a certain amount of money to contribute, choosing the most promising products they hear about. Someone who contributes to a LB project wasn't necessarily going to put money into anything else.

By accounts I've heard, Lord British is extremely mercenary and sees video games only as a means of making more money. He doesn't especially care about making interesting games for their own sake, like plenty of others in the industry do.

I know you already retracted this, but I just want to point out that Garriot has created two of my favorite games of all-time: Ultima 4 and Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams. Everything about those games speaks of boundless enthusiasm and creativity. He pioneered MMORPGs with Ultima Online, which many people still consider to be peerless in that domain. These are not the works of a mercenary. His new project sounds a little dubious at first blush, but if anyone has earned the benefit of the doubt, it's good ole Lord British.
posted by Edgewise at 5:39 PM on March 12, 2013


I know you already retracted this, but I just want to point out that Garriot has created two of my favorite games of all-time: Ultima 4 and Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams.

You may already know this, but you can download Martian Dreams for free at Good Old Games.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:32 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


You may already know this, but you can download Martian Dreams for free at Good Old Games.

Yup, but thanks for mentioning! It's worth posting if anyone else is interested. The interface is extremely dated, but there are so many other excellent aspects like story, plot, setting and writing. The gameplay is reasonable for a turn-based CRPG: reasonably challenging and tactical, if a bit simplistic. Quest design and general adventuring on borderline-Steampunk 1890's Mars is very colorful and fun, with minimal hand-holding. It's not punishing, but it can be fairly unforgiving if you run short on supplies like oxygen, food, ammo or lamp oil.
posted by Edgewise at 1:23 AM on March 13, 2013


Lord British should be commended for the themes of U IV-VI (the Virtues system that tried to make your character a hero not by fiat but due to their actions, how said virtues and a leader's legacy can be perverted, different cultural points of view and racism), as well as for exploration and interactivity with companions and items. It's rather damning that some of his games are more interesting in certain aspects than modern games.

Besides, all FPSs owe a hefty debt to Ultima Underworld. The man had some good ideas.
posted by ersatz at 5:37 AM on March 13, 2013


Besides, all FPSs owe a hefty debt to Ultima Underworld.

And as broken as it was, Ultima IX (which played more like a follow-up to Ultima Underworld than the previous numbered Ultimas) pioneered much of what you see in Skyrim-style open-world, single-character, action RPG's like Gothic, The Witcher, Divinity 2, Two Worlds, Venetica, Oblivion, etc.
posted by straight at 10:54 AM on March 13, 2013


I am Richard “Lord British” Garriott, creator of the Ultima franchise and Creative Director for Shroud of the Avatar. AMA.
posted by homunculus at 8:24 PM on March 25, 2013


« Older With sincere regret we must inform you that due to...  |  Short Song For Justin Bieber a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments