Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Infinity: The Quest for Earth +

Originally posted by Aiten:
The killer for me is 'you're a ship'. Not for me I am afraid. I like being organic with 2 arms and 2 legs. It does sound impressive, but I can't see it working out. The world is too big, and if there was 1,000,000,000 planets, and say 50,000 players ... its easy to imagine how isolated this game will make players feel.
I know what you mean about the "no avatars" decision. You're not the only person to question it.

The general answer (which I phrase in my own words, not those of any Official Infinity Person) has been:

"It's hard enough to make a functional, deep MMOG. Having to also create code/art/sounds for avatars would add too much complexity without adding equivalent gameplay value since we've already decided this isn't going to be an RPG."

That's actually a pretty reasonable answer, so I'm on the fence. I think the technical arguments have some merit. OTOH, there's no question that most current MMOG players want and expect to play as characters, which means RPG, which means avatars.

On balance, I think there are probably enough MMORPGs out there that it's worth trying something different. Even if I might go a different direction, and don't really want to play Infinity-the-game as currently described, I'm curious to see how a no-avatars game that's otherwise fun will do.

As to the question of isolation, that's another concern that's been brought up many times. Here's the condensed version of the official Infinity response (again, just in my admittedly subjective words, not theirs):

"There are ways of getting players to congregate. We've already thought of everything. You worry too much. LOL"

Leaving aside the "you're dumb for questioning us" attitude that I perceive in many official responses to reasonable questions, the idea of being able to play in a massively multiplayer persistent-world universe where I'm not penalized for not grouping actually sounds pretty good to me. What's wrong with preferring to contribute to the game world in an indirect way? Why should I be shut out because I don't want to be Member #2351 in an uberguild and don't feel like spending hours trying to find a pick-up group that doesn't include l33t kiddies?

I really like the idea of a game where I can contribute indirectly, such as by roaming the edges of known space, charting star systems and stellar phenomena and cataloging the chemical, plant, and animal life of planets. Avatars or not, Infinity might offer me that kind of game. I continue to watch it to see if it will.