Thanks to MoxieDoodle, a new Kickstarter campaign was brought to my attention. It’s called Greed Monger, and it’s a game in which you apparently monger greed. I don’t know what that is, but according to the KS page, it sounds like an MMO for those of us tired of the incessant focus on hotbar-centric combat combat combat. The short list description includes an empty world – no shit, really empty, except for trees and animals and monsters – where you build all the things, including armor, weapons, and most importantly, housing. For $20, you get a plot of land (up to 4 plots!) and you decide what to do with it. Leave it open and charge players to hunt or harvest, or you can add a house and live life to the fullest, making furniture and decorations to sell through your NPC vendor.
The citied influence comes from Ultima Online, which was Sandboxious Maximus in it’s heyday, allowing many of the same perks as are listed above. I also detected a whiff of Star Wars Galaxies in there, but also an overpowering scent of Wurm Online. That’s kind of where I put the breaks on, so to speak.
WO is really one of a kind. It, too, is an empty world which allows players to buy land with real money, and to harvest the land to build houses, raise crops, domesticate animals, and so on. Each parcel is locked to the owner, so if you have a lot of trees on your land, you can prevent folks from taking them.
The idea is that sandbox fans will be so overcome with joy that they’ll link arms and skip down the rainbow road, buying up land and forming in-game towns where each person will bend to a particular task, and will share the fruits of his/her labors with the other players who make up the fair town. There will be hundreds of these player-created bergs, and inter-village commerce will flourish, and everyone will enjoy one another’s company, and learn the true meaning of cooperation.
In reality, there’ll be a land rush where those who get in early and pay the most set up camp in the most desirable locations, bringing along their friends to circle the wagons around the best resources. Anyone coming in later, or without a support group, will be limited to the dregs of the land, locked out of opportunities controlled by the land barons who are more interested in extortion than in creating a greater community. At some point, someone(s) will come along and find a way to specifically grief others through land ownership, and your plans to get your friends together to form a little hamlet end in frustration because you can’t find a contiguous area that allows you all to build nearby one another.
This is not just a Worst Case Scenario. It happened in UO – remember castles, which took up so much goddamn room? I’m sure SWG had similar issues. And don’t get started on my blood-boiling foray into Wurm Online. In each case, the plans look good on paper, when there’s no actual boots on the ground. There’s a lot of assumptions that people are going to both work together, and end up in conflict, but I think the grand plan is that it’ll be on a settlement-by-settlement basis, not a first-in-by-newcomer basis. Sure, there’ll be a lot of people who span the spectrum from kind and inclusionary, to total and utter douchenozzles, but this is the kind of design that’s has a built in allowance for a certain percentage of frustration. I can almost hear the shrugging going on – what do you want US to do?
OK, so it sounds whiney. It is, I admit. This game appeals to me. I like the idea of a game built around self-sufficiency, where you start with nothing and then achieve anything only through your own power. Working with others is additive, and beneficial for each and every one of you. But we’re not new to this. We know how “people” are. The prognostications above will happen, because they’ve happened before. It’s only a question of magnitude, and that depends on the opportunities offered by the game itself.
I pledged my money, enough for two parcels of land. I figure that one parcel was fine, but two is more breathing room. The chances of me expanding to three or four is pretty much nil, since three and four will certainly end up having to be claimed away from wherever I set down plots one and two, because someone else will abut my own property. Will there be enough people I know who buy into it, so we can make a go at starting a village? Perhaps. Will we all be able to find enough local property to not have to build around someone else’s planned settlement? It remains to be seen, I guess.