Thursday, April 12, 2007

URU Live

So, I played some Uru Live today. It's on GameTap.

My relationship with Myst (and it's various successors and offshoots) has always been unrequited. Myst hates me. I have never managed to beat any of the games without basically stapling a walkthrough to my monitor. But I love Myst: the world(s) is/are very cool concepts.

So, I wanted to try out Uru. It's basically a slight update to a four year old game, with a bunch of interesting (on paper, at least) features - including the complete lack of stats, the fact that it's a "puzzle-based" MMOG, and "customizable" worlds.

I think it probably sucks. I can't tell, because it hates me. Crashing, delays, an inability to find a puzzle...

Anyhow, I don't know about the game, but as usual, the ideas are fascinating. In terms of story, the idea that the D'ni civilization (and all its worlds) is being "opened" to random explorers from earth - the "repopulation of the D'ni" - is a fascinating one with a lot of potential. In terms of gameplay, a MMORPG based on puzzles and customized worlds is also fascinating.

Of course, the game can't live up to them. This isn't something I gleaned from playing it, as I can't really play it (it hates me, yes). It's just gleaned from the fact that if it had been done, it would have been blasted across the internet in an instant, and I would have heard about it four years ago.

But, still, a fascinating set of ideas... ones which will probably see use in some other game at some other time, hopefully polished.

Anyhow, nice try, Rand Miller, and what astonishing endurance you have.


Duncan said...

You probably never heard of it because it never made it to public release. Uru Live was initially killed in Beta. The solo game was released along with a free expansion pack of Uru Live content. Later a second, for pay, expansion was also released.

The MMO component of the game was killed primarily on the auspices of financial compatibility with the current subscription model. It is being revived because of money and support being poured in via GameTap.

The interesting thing about the game is that in the downtime between the Beta and the GameTap release (something like 2 years), Uru Live never died. It was kept alive, on the web and in sharded game servers, by the core group of players that had the opportunity to collect around it.

This is a niche MMO at it's core. It found its audience already. It had to find alternate funding and support to find active life. And it has. They have been releasing new content for it on at least a monthly basis. I've had little time to play, and areas are still buggy. But they are improving. It's a game about social puzzles and the gathering of community: Uru.

Craig Perko said...

I had read all of that. As a player with some experience, would you care to describe how it succeeds and fails?