Shards Online launches Kickstarter, wanting players to create as well as play
Shards Online seeks to offer players a universe of fragmented worlds, each varying from the others in layout, environment, and even rules governing what is and isn’t possible. And the means of doing this is either the simplest idea ever, or a vastly complicated feat – players will be the gods of their own shards even while exploring others.
With a $50,000 Kickstarter campaign starting today, Citadel Studios cannot be accused of promising something basic. While many features promised if the title is successful are familiar to other MMOs – guilds, housing, crafting and the like – the ability for players to create and run their own parts of the server is not.
Screen shots include a spiderweb of nodes creating an area, and the press release give two extremes of shard rule sets – “[a]nything from a hardcore PvP experience, to a shard where players can only farm is possible”; and if that doesn’t feel like it offers you enough control, it is suggested you can be a live GM for players in your world – although the mention doesn’t cover if there would be countermeasures for exploitation (item creation, for example).
It’s an intriguing idea, being able to not only create live content for an MMO (very few have offered anything like this before, with Ryzom and Neverwinter being among those few); but even then, letting players control the world for other players is near-on unprecedented for anyone without administrator rights. Hopefully it will fuel imaginations, in much the same way that some player-created content in Neverwinter outshone parts of the default game.
Shards Online‘s one-line description it gives itself is “Ultima Online meets Neverwinter Nights”; the Neverwinter Nights comparison seeming to fit as another game with player created content and players as a GM (albeit on a far smaller scale than an MMO), and Ultima Online is a reference to the game’s development team credentials. The project is being worked on by veteran team members from Ultima Online and Warhammer Online, as well as naming Rob Denton, the man behind Dark Age of Camelot, as an advisor.
And if the development team weren’t pressing the Ultima connection enough, one of the Kickstarter rewards is a cloth map.
Shards Online is running as a Kickstarter project from today, 13th November. If successful, it is planned as a pay-once, subscription-free MMO.