MMORPGs are being designed for too many players

OverpopulationI was talking with some friends last night about EQ’s community.  We were discussing how, back in the day, EQ players were extremely cooperative especially when it came to camps of mobs.  For the most part, when you had an area or a specific spawn/camp staked out the rest of the community respected your claim.  Lists would be formed or actual lines would be crated to wait until the spot freed up.  Why doesn’t this happen anymore?  Why can’t our communities be this tight knit?  Why are in-game events where players gather together taboo or even impossible to organize?   Why is the individual suddenly the focus?  This is just one facet of the conclusion that I’ve come to: MMORPGs are being designed for too many players.

This is partially responsible for what I wrote about yesterday.  The world that our characters live and adventure in has become little more than a shell housing the actions.  Why?  Functionality.  It’s no longer efficient or even functional for us to make worlds like they used to be made if we’re going to continue making the games to attract as many people as possible — when quantity is the goal, quality (or possibility) suffers.

Look at World of Warcraft, Aion, or LotRO for a couple examples.  How are the cities and regions set up?  They’re set up to funnel people efficiently.  You enter a town for the first time and you’re given objectives to immediately leave the town, go to an area, finish that area, go back to town, and move on to the next.   At one point in time this might have been a design feature to attract the “casual” player or to reduce the emphasis on “hardcore gameplay” to make these games for “everyone”.  Perhaps Vanilla WoW might get a pass for being the first, but their expansions and all other games released following the same model have done so for one reason:  They’re designing their game world for more people.

The world is now a thing we use instead of this awesome force that can not possibly be understood in its entirety.  I look out over the landscape of a new area I’ve never explored and all I see are people running around doing predictable tasks.  There’s one path that goes down the middle of the zone.  Everything is intuitive.  I may have never been the area, never known what it would look like, but I immediately understand what I’m supposed to be doing and exactly where I’m supposed to be doing it.  It’s not just being a newbie, innocent, or inexperienced that creates that sense of ignorance.

Individuals are now the focus.  It’s a direct result of the game being made for too many people.  The more people you plan to cram into a game (notice I haven’t said this is directly related to the number of people online, which is likely close to what it was even back with EQ) the more the focus will shift away from the community and on to the individual.  It’s a little counter-intuitive since you’d think it would be easier to create an experience for everyone at once instead of the individual.  It’s all about the quests that individuals can do, the groups individuals can join/form, the gear an individual can get, the goals an individual can accomplish, the ease at which a new individual can enter content, etc.  Communities are all but dead and unification/cooperation are now considered a hindrance.

Like my Stats teacher always says after giving us a problem:  “Solution!”  There is a solution to everything.  Start making MMORPGs with a smaller audience in mind.  Create the world so that it isn’t merely a tool of functionality.  Create the systems and mechanics that are interwoven into the world not for large numbers but for a niche audience.  Do not design with the individual player in mind before the world is created or all you have accomplished is satisfying the needs for functional and efficient.    Design for the community — design for the inhabitants of the world.  What mark can the player leave on the world, rather than what mark will the world leave on the player, should be our goal.

When I enter a zone for the first time I want it to be an entire new experience.  I don’t want to know exactly where to go and I don’t want to see a bunch of other people performing tasks or always doing things that are predictable — in fact, I don’t want to see a bunch of other people at all.  There are too many people being herded like cattle through an obstacle course of predictability.  Looking back at a game like EQ or even Vanguard it was not easy to predict what someone was doing if you ran by them.  Are they doing something for a quest, traveling, hunting random mobs, exploring, etc.?   I should have to ask them in order to get the answer.   Does this place I am visiting even have a purpose?  If not, what purpose can I the player create?

The industry is getting too big for its own good and the focus is being lost.  Games are becoming about the big picture instead of the details.   Our game worlds will not be able to sustain us at this rate which is apparent if you look at the turnover rates.  Games are all feeling the same, becoming predictable, losing the spark of life, and people are becoming increasingly intolerable.   Time for a change.  The direction we are going now is not working — open your eyes.  It’s only logical, and common sense, to try the other direction; a direction that would likely lead to increased success and launch MMORPGs beyond the current limits of this design.

  • Noble ideals but as business ventures (with ever increasing creation costs I imagine) the MMO devs need large uptake and retention to even recover the investment let alone make a profit.

    But you are right and I think they should stop trying to be the next WoW, accept they will have a small market but make the game “perfect” for that market. Then have it tick along keeping a small income for the studio rather than the billions some of them dream about.

  • I don’t agree with a lot of your thoughts…but 100% agree with this one.

    Which is why i’ve just about stopped looking at those large budget games in development and hoping it is the next holy grail- because i know they are going for the most subs they can get. And in order to do that they will design the game much like you described above, for the masses and focused on ease of gameplay, which is a game i will not enjoy playing.

    Some games though are being designed for a niche crowd, and indeed some games are already out there, which do not follow the McDonald’s theory of game design. Darkfall is one of those games, but we all know how you feel about that one ;). Dawntide is a possibility coming down the pike, Heroes of Telara (although i have my doubts with that one because of, again, the large dev budget and their goal for massive subs which will equate to design choices and mechanics i simply can’t stand in a mmorpg).

    I’m just thankful for the small indie dev teams out there willing to give this genre a shot. They may not all succeed, and indeed most will not, but at least they offer a chance for a niche game not aimed at getting 15 million subs and therefore the potential to provide the type of challenging “no hand-holding” wide open gaming experience i’m looking for.

  • Well open world (sandbox) MMORPGs are going to be few and far between. What I think would resolve this is less static and pre-designed worlds. Games like Vanguard and SWG (pre-NGE) had open worlds where the players themselves could actually modify. You build a house and you change the landscape. Players created new cities and hubs of activity.

    Also I would like to see a less level dependent system so you don’t have to have tiered zones. This is one area where AC did so well. Level was far from the end all and be all. Also players of highly different levels could easily find a common area where they all could benefit.

    Put those in and you can get rid of the railroad leveling of zones.

  • So true. If only MMO fans would support indie studios a bit longer, accepting the given trade-off of polish for new ideas, and not jump ship to become flying fairies at the first chance they get, maybe we would see more creative titles. Got to hate those impatient gamer huh Keen?

  • Ignoring the narcissistic jab…

    I’ll disagree that it’s the MMO fans’ fault for not supporting some indie studios. New ideas are a problem when they’re bad ideas. Polish will always be more important than new ideas so long as the old ideas are still good ones. We’re participating in an industry that is failing its fans, not the fans failing the industry, because the industry has moved forward in completely wrong direction.

  • The future of MMOs lies in smaller games, definitely. I look forward to games that put an emphasis on the virtual world instead of mind-numbing direct-play rehashes. WoW remakes are doomed from the outset. The best way to make a good and profitable MMO isn’t to compete with WoW, it’s to try something different. This includes experimentation with mechanics we haven’t seen in mainstream MMOs, as well as slaughtering the sacred cows and trying a different paradigm entirely.

    (Sorry for the link storm, but my blog is entirely focused on the kind of thinking that Keen’s post engages.)

  • The problem is that you often don’t know if a new idea is really good or bad until it’s been implemented. Also, an idea can be good for one person and bad for another (isn’t this almost always the case?).

    Most design mechanics are subjective even though a lot of people like to pretend they know what is “good” and “bad” for everyone. For example, i think the BOP mechanic is one of the banes of mmorpg design. Same for instancing…can’t stand it. For other people it’s a key mechanic to their enjoyment of the game.

    This is another great reason to have a number of indie developers making different games for different folks.

    As for your statement, “Polish will always be more important than new ideas so long as the old ideas are still good ones”…le sigh. With thinking like this how would this genre ever evolve? You can have old ideas that are still good ideas, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an even better idea out there.

    I’d much rather have people push the envelope and come up with a stinker once in a while to move the genre forward rather than everyone add polish to old but good ideas. That’s a great way to stifle innovation in an area of entertainment that thrives off it and we all end up playing essentially the same games with a new skin over and over…

  • I think the reason most games have moved toward a focus on the individual with funnelling and inane quest-based objectives is that it gives players direction and purpose. I certainly need that to distract me from the realization that the gameplay is generally shallow, predictable, and repetitive. If devs want people to traverse a wide, open world, hunting in groups for goals of their own devising, the gameplay and, especially, the group dynamics of the classes, have to be more engaging.

  • “We’re participating in an industry that is failing its fans, not the fans failing the industry, because the industry has moved forward in completely wrong direction.”

    And I’d say anyone who uses the one power they have, $$$, to support a clone (Aion) has little room to complain that the industry is headed in the wrong direction. You’re $50+15 for Aion sends a very loud and clear message to future devs: “More of the same please, with wings!”. To then turn around and complain that you think the genre is headed in the wrong direction is hypocritical.

  • I can enjoy polished games that are fun, even though they’re not ideally what I want, while still urging and even criticizing the current state of affairs.

    I’m not as one dimensional as some.

  • Once again, this is what I read, “Get off my lawn!”

    All nice intentions but you can’t get that ‘old school’ feeling again. It’ll never happen. And that’s what you’re sort of getting at. Today with Wiki’s, forums, and blogs. There’s no mystery anymore. Anything you can think about in a game is explored and documented within the first 6 months. By the time you log in, the first ’10 hours’ of game play have already been published on a dozen web sites for your viewing and everyone has already mapped out exactly what they want to do. Gone are the simple days of exploring around and trying to poke at everything yourself for hours on end.

    I mean it’s a noble idea, but you just can’t wave a wand and make it happen. I see hopes and dreams here but I don’t see you breaking down and starting your own game to ‘do’ these sort of things. I say, if you think this sort of game can be made. Then make it. That’ll be a more impressive feat then writing out these constant “Get off my lawn” speeches.

  • Definitely not going to happen overnight or with one game. In fact, I believe it will not happen until we go so far down this road that this model becomes unprofitable and people quit the MMO gaming entirely. I predict the RPG will make a comeback in a big way.

    I’d certainly love to make a game like this but the reality is that it requires money, more than one man, and more money. If all good ideas required man to take immediate action then many great movements would never have ever gotten off the ground. This isn’t going to be an overnight thing — it’s going to take a long, long time but we’ll never get there by continuing down a different (wrong) path.

  • Great write up, and this is the main reason I don’t log into Aion anymore. I try, but I just can’t get excited about it. I was fooling myself into thinking I’d stick it out, but I’m not ready for another theme-park MMO. Probably ever again.

    Funny you mention Vanguard, because that’s probably what I’m going to resubscribe to. I always loved that game, even in it’s buggy phase.

    I was just telling my better half the other day how happy It would make me if Havok was forming and getting all excited to jump into the current state of what VG is today. (I know,I’m dreaming) , but It’s a nice daydream. There’s so many great classes that just taking a poll to see what everyone would play when we all jumped in would give me perma grin.

    It’s been a few months and the recent patch has gotten that spark in me ignited again.

  • Well put, nice read, and I agree. Being a longtime EQ vet myself I know exactly where you’re coming from. It’s funny looking back because the people who experienced EQ in it’s fullest understand just what made the games aspects great. Saddly alot of these aspects would be called design flaws in todays market. Things like a fully connecting world for example. Which in my personal eyes I see as one of the most important parts of a MMORPG. Somewhere along the evolution line this concept was lost. Why? To design for the masses and make more money, plain and simple. Everytime a player is disconnected from the rest of the world I feel there is a problem in calling yourself a true MMORPG. By disconnected I mean instanced content such as instances/bgs/arenas in WOW, zone copying in aion, you name it almost every MMO today has a form of it. It’s a simple concept for designers, but I really don’t think these companies realize how it takes away from the experience of an actual WORLD we are supposed to be in when we play these games, or how much it affects their games.

    A quick example that I like to use when I describe my hatred towards instanced zones or zone copying is a simple one of item distribution. Individuality. That aspect is a direct casualty when this happens in these games. Example is lets say cool item “X” drops off “A” mob in the game. It’s a really nice item for it’s level so alot of people want it. Now how many of these will be released into the world if it is an instanced or cloned area than if it were a dynamic or timed spawn? Think about that for a few moments. In your WOW or Aion world, infinite numbers of this sought after item get released into the world, thus losing all of it’s individuality. Am I saying that I want one of each item in the game or crazy long camps on sought after gear, no, what I am saying is that multiply that situation times 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 items and you see every player in the game looking the same. Hi WOW and soon to be Aion, I’m lookin at you. This is just a tiny part of the big picture though that Keen is referring to. These games today are like riding a bike with training wheels forever.

    You know those games, rail shooters, somewhere along the line these MMO’s have turned into them. Your goal, maximum experience and level cap. Your means, many quests, oh yea and many more quests. As Keen states these quests become individual small goals. Key word, individual, in an MMORPG? Somewhere along the line designers figured we like to play with ourselves in massively multiplayer games….:O because that makes sense right? What’s really funny is that single player games aka Oblivion and Fallout 3 for examples produce 100x the fun factor that you’re MMORPG can provide as a single player experience. Think about that for a moment as well lol. The whole reason these games were created was to allow massive amounts of people to play, wait for it……TOGETHER! Not in our own little separate world within the big world. That is NOT the way to create a community by the way.

    Saddly MMORPGs have gone from fine dining to fast food over the years. What was new, fresh, and worked, is now considered design flaws and inefficient time management. While from a business stand point designers today are probably doing it the safest way possible, but at what cost? Only the purists can understand, unfortunately I think the majority of us were the ones that kept playing, while the others dabbled, found their flaws and became game designers to fix what was never broken. I could rant on for days and I only scratched a couple of topics, but I felt I’d add my two cents after a good read.

  • The problem is that if you design a game for a smaller amount of people, you have probably failed as a business. Because, make no mistake, all businesses are out to make money; WoW is successful partly because Blizzard in general understands that high quality, well-polished game = financial success.

    Incidentally, you should also think, what if you did create a game meant for a relatively smaller audience, and then it becomes popular and then its numbers start booming to way beyond what the initial design was supposed to support. What then? The company isn’t going to want to turn away customers. Open up new servers and potentially fracture this community that they were trying to build?

    Incidentally, the easy way to understand why the MMO market has developed the way it did is to think like a game designer and determine the best ratio of time/money/manpower spent to the most money gained (which is tied to what is fun for the most amount of people), instead of as a game customer and what is the most fun for you, personally.

  • I don’t think audience size or world size is the issue. Games have proven that they can survive with small or large worlds and different degrees of size of playerbase.

    I think your idea of a more personal experience is something Bioware are trying to do with my SW:TOR though but perhaps in a different way. They want the story to be personal but the world to be massive… which sounds good to me.

  • I believe a deeper issue is at work here.

    About 5-10 years ago PC games (incl. MMOs) began to appear with amazing graphics (esp. 3D worlds with avatars). This had profound effects:

    – most consumers would only buy games with these graphics

    – these graphics could no longer be produced by a small group of friends. Only a corporation could manage the large staff and programming demands, with their vastly higher requirements for finance

    – corporation are focused (by their nature) on return on investment to sustain their future. They are NOT concerned with originality or fun. Corporations do what has worked in the past

    – what we get then is endless repeats of Civilization, sports titles and in particular fantasy MMOs. We get much bigger games, but only a few titles (which shut down PC gaming retail shops)

    – the huge financial success of WoW virtually forces all corporations to imitate Blizzard

    My theorizing above suggests that the next generation of MMOs will only occur with low quality graphics.

    Ironically, this is also whats MUDs do ….

  • To be honest I do not see it.. If Aion is clone of any thing it is DAOC. Was DAOC created for community? It was a purely functional game/world with recycled mythology that was plain awesome.. But thats my 2 cents, if Mythic was not stupid and just made a pure clone of it with WAR while putting all the Warhammer content in they would have had a million subscribers right now. Why they messed with a perfectly workable formula?

    Risk of creating what you describe with the expense of the modern bells and whistles is just too great. Maybe if there was a game engine you could license for cheap..

  • I could only think of the game I’m enjoying so much, Fallen Earth, when reading this and comments. Small indy developer, sandbox world, and no desire to compete with anyone only for their community to enjoy it.

    The ability to go anywhere and take whatever path you want has been such a refreshing change. Its actually funny seeing people coming into the game that are so used to being on rails and not knowing what to do. Explore! Discover the world and don’t expect to be driven in one direction.

    The game has its flaws for some: steep learning curve, high system specs, ability to solo the whole game without grouping (thus taking some ‘social’ aspects out), have all been mentioned. But the success and fanbase shows that a small group can make a game that is fun without relying on fancy ‘eye-popping’ graphics, theme park world, or on-rails adventure. As others mentioned the path isn’t out there in wikis and such so people are forced to find their own way which has been so much fun.

    As Jordan mentioned, Darkfall seemed to be a game like this though different genre and more PvP oriented. I think the future is in these small devs and the niche market, just more of them are needed. Trying to appeal to too many in order to make a mass-market game just leads to too many compromises in what’s actually in the game.

    Cheers to Icarus Studios for following the less-beaten path.

  • New ideas are a problem when they’re bad ideas. Polish will always be more important than new ideas so long as the old ideas are still good ones.

    There is a difference between bad ideas and bad execution of an idea or lack of polish for an idea.

    Just because something might not work flawlessly it does not have to be a bad idea. To get a good idea polished you need it to be battle-tested with real players.

    We’re participating in an industry that is failing its fans, not the fans failing the industry, because the industry has moved forward in completely wrong direction.

    I do not think so. Some players may say some things, but in the end it is what they do what counts – and what they say and what they do may not be the same thing.

    Interpretation of what people do may not be crystal clear, especially when it comes to trying new things or trying old things in a new larger context.

  • Long spawn times and waiting in line to play the game are symptoms of bad game design. I’m glad EQ players made lemonade out of the lemons they were given but it doesn’t seem like a model anyone should imitate. You should make a game that people want to play, instead of a game that makes people want to sit around and talk instead.

  • I’m not sure exactly what you mean by making a game for a community. A community is an abstraction, and has no real existence. Communities don’t seek for parties, they don’t wander around in the world, and they are collections of people with fragmentary and often conflicting ideas. Whether small or large that is the same.

    What I think I’m getting from you is that you want MMO worlds to be inefficient in order to regain some of the sense of wonder the early games had. Current worlds and experiences are very efficient in guiding progression, and to you its a machine-like feeling, and dull. You want to be like what FFXI used to be for newbies: plunked down in your starter city with 10 gil, a coupon to give to a map person for 50 gil more, and no idea what the heck to do beyond that.

    I’m not sure how well that would work, if the goal is to revitalize MMO’s in general. The niche game itself only sows seeds, the ones who make them bear fruit are the blizzards and large heartless companies of the world. Bemania games were unknown and not even localized much by Konami, but it took Guitar Hero to make the instrument genre really stick.

  • @Dblade: You have the gist of what I’m saying down quite well. As I said, the worlds now are too efficient and the worlds themselves have become a tool instead of…well… a world.

    One way of explaining this unfortunate circumstance is that games are being designed for too many people now — to attract too many people — to make too many people happy.

    We differ on the idea of community. Yes, it has become an abstraction, but it should not be — it wasn’t years ago. Communities were the central focus and the core of a game. A server became a community and it wasn’t this imagined ideal, it was a real part of the game that everyone knew existed. You knew almost everyone on your server even if you never grouped with them. There was a familiarity that does not exist on the same level today.

    Games will certainly get bigger and bigger now that the Blizzard’s of the world are in the market, but they’ll also continue to lose their identity completely. I don’t want that. I’d rather play a game that has 100,000 subscribers and feels like the EQ than play a game with a billion people that feels like the future we’re headed towards.

  • Hmm. Well, maybe.

    I’m all in favor of small MMOs with proper virtual world credentials. I do think that niche MMOs are part of the future, and that’s certainly a niche with a potential market.

    On the other hand, I remember the early years of EQ, with camps, lists and lines, all too clearly. There’s a very good reason that those things generally aren’t around any more: almost everyone loathed them.

    You will see much rose-tinted nostalgia on forums and blogs from old-timers (and from some who, I suspect, never even experienced the “old days” they wax lyrical over). But back in the days when that’s what MMOs were really like, the forums were bursting with vituperative complaints about exactly the same things we are now told were wonderful.

    It wasn’t just WoW that moved MMOs away from player-policed camps, lines and lists. EQ2 nearly broke itself in half bending over backwards to eradicate all those perceived design flaws. Every MMOs from about 2003 onwards has tried desperately to avoid putting the onus on players to organise and police their own behavior, and for good reasons. Players are terrible at doing it, hate doing it, and complain loud and long that the powers-that-be should “do something about it”.

    Now, a niche game, clearly and effectively promoted, could have a fighting chance of attracting a playerbase willing to do that work, but for the mass market, those days are long gone, and good riddance to them.

  • You really should try Fallen Earth. Given what you’ve been posting of late you would probably like it.

  • I’m not sure I entirely agree. Yes, the designers have gotten good at streamlining certain activities, but in my opinion most of the game designers still love to offer the depth for those that slow down.

    Many don’t read quest text, but if you do I’ve found it to be pretty enjoyable in Aion. I’ve also found Aion to be very nicely staggered, in that different ‘new’ things happen at different levels. I’ve just hit 25 with my Asmodian Ranger and hit the Abyss for the first time. That’s after having defended the Morheim area from Elyos in the early 20’s (“what are they doing here” being my first reaction to seeing an Elyos raid heading towards me, followed by death!), and even having surfed a rift to Atreia to get my revenge. These things unfolded very naturally into my play experience.

    I also have found loads of lovely little touches in Aion, and some great design.

    I do not ever want to go back to an MMO where I’m in a huge queue camping a spawn. What a waste of time.

  • “I do not ever want to go back to an MMO where I’m in a huge queue camping a spawn. What a waste of time.”


  • An MMO focusing on a specific audience could definitely work. Puzzle Pirates, ATITD, EVE Online, and several others have done it successfully. They built their game worlds within a budget that the target audience could support and they were never shy about saying who their audience was.

    A lot of developers seem to be putting too much effort into creating tools and mechanics that bring everyone together. As a result, you end up with forced grouping mechanics and other nonsense. Utopia is called such for a reason. To create communities that work in a large scale environment, the goal should be to create tools that allow people to divide.


    Seriously. We already know, from multiple studies and research projects, that people function best in communities of 150 or less. That being the case, mechanics that facilitate the separation of players into recognizable subgroups allows for people with common interests to gather and bond. My suggestion is an extension of the ‘guild’ mechanic to a ‘community’ focus that allows like-minded individuals to pile into groups of 500 or even even a thousand. Of that lot, you’d probably have a few dozen to maybe 100 on at any one time. People get to know the members of their community that play during their timeslot (a subset of the community subgroup). That guy next to you very quickly becomes “Danny who just bought a new Mazda yesterday” or “Amy who always dyes her armor green” or… well, you get the drift.

    Once someone becomes a familiar entity to another person, it is much harder to be a complete fudgewad to them. More importantly, it is more likely they will extend a certain level of extra courtesy and respect. The best example I can think of right now is if you are walking down a block in NYC and you see someone off to the side with a sad look on their face. The level of attention you pay to it is, for most people, directly related to your level of familiarity with them. If they are someone you recognize from the office you might do a double take and keep going. If they are someone who you have spoken with a few times or more at the office, you’re going to be more inclined to go over and ask if they are ok or if they need any help.

    One concern people present regarding this is that the communities will show signs of elitism or display animosity towards each other communities. GOOD. It means that the people in your game are functioning like they would in the real world.

    A game dev should remember that he is a game dev, not God or Ghandi. They should create realistic tools that foster community for real world people and not for some utopian vision of how people should be. It’s silly to try to devise the solution to world peace through looting rules and raid mechanics in a video game.

  • I’m surprised some people are holding SW:TORO up as a beacon of hope against the on-rails “massivley single player” mentality; everything I’ve read on it makes it sounds like it’s going to be the definitive example of the sort of gameplay you’re decrying. Instanced based, single-player focused story progression that has no effect on the greater world at large.

    Sure, they’ll innovate with multiple progression paths, but there’s no way they’re going to have enough permutations for everyone to have a unique story..

    WoW style phasing is another thing often held up as the future, but I’m just not seeing it. Two players, one who saved the princess and one who killer her, phased into different versions of the same area, while more immersive in a single player context becomes much less so when you consider the goal is supposed to be “massively multiplayer”. Yet everyone’s clamouring for such a system.

    Maybe at the end of the day most people don’t actually want an MMO, they don’t want to be just an another footsoldier in a thousand man army lining up in formation and performing a small role in a much larger battle, they want to be special.

  • “Create the systems and mechanics that are interwoven into the world not for large numbers but for a niche audience. Do not design with the individual player in mind before the world is created or all you have accomplished is satisfying the needs for functional and efficient. Design for the community — design for the inhabitants of the world. What mark can the player leave on the world, rather than what mark will the world leave on the player, should be our goal.”

    This pretty much sums up why I’m liking the game LOVE right now. No levels (woot!). Very group focused (especially with regards to building your settlement). Lack of ego and selfishness is much more evident in this game because everyone is empowered with the same abilities. Therefore, if you’re upset about something, fix it yourself, because you have the power to do so.

    Best of all, you determine the role you want to fill based upon the type of equipment (called tokens) you carry. So if you want to stay at your settlement and help with building, you can. If you’re rather get into FPS combat, load up with weapons and attack the enemy AI bases. Rather play a support role? Then load up with a config and binoculars to help direct power to your base.

    The most amazing thing of all is that the developer, Eskil, hasn’t even turned on all of the designed features for the game yet. There so much to it that a lot of people haven’t even figured out how everything works yet. For example, I just learned that if you find a radar token and you assign it to the same radio frequency as your map token, it will relay enemy movements on the map. And if it’s the same frequency as a turret, the tracking and targeting of it will be better.