One of our readers and long-time community members (Pseudos on Discord) pointed me towards this up and coming game called Legends of Aria. I thought I hadn't heard anything about it, but turns out I had heard of its former name, 'Shards'.
Doing some minor research into the title, it looks like they're trying to make a UO game -- even a UO clone in many aspects. As far as I'm concerned, any MMO trying to emulate one of the greatest -- and truest -- MMORPGs has my interest and if legitimate, my support.
The official website provides some insight into conceptual systems, but little in the way of day-to-day gameplay explanation.
There's a teaser video from PAX east. If you get past half the video being horses running through scenery, there's a little bit of tease toward what could be UO-ish.
The best resource I've found thus far is a Reddit post where an alpha player has provided bullet point information on mechanics. Well worth the read, and I want to comment on a few of the points.
Skill Systems that Make Sense
Skills are point based (use to gain) just like UO. Can lock skills to a certain level e.g. I only want to learn 30 animal taming so I can set the skill to 30 using a slider and it will not gain above that amount. [...] Right now there is an official server which is basically a UO clone. 700 skill point cap, same skills, etc.
I love this point system. It forces people to make decisions on the type of character they want to make.
That Beloved Virtual World Feel
Hunger plays a role with player effectiveness e.g. accuracy and stat regen. Not sure if it does/will effect stat/skill gains or anything else. Meat can be harvested from dead animals and cooked, foraged from plants or bought from vendors. Hunger also effects tamed animal companions.
I love how much this type of mechanic influences the immersion. Other points on the reddit post talk about crafting and repairing/enhancing weapons. Lots of emphasis on the player and their role in the world over the actual items.
Custom player housing with lock downs, storage, and vendor placement. Houses can be placed facing any of 4 directions. Can add fences and decorations and stuff to outside on the property, within the house lot. decorating tool is really nice. you select and object and have full control over it with an interface that allows you to nudge it east, west, north south, or rotate it 360 degrees, and move it up or down in elevation.
I really, really like player housing. I like creating communities of players and having a corner of the world where I can call my own. This added so much value to my experience playing UO. Finding that spot of my own, even if it was a terrible location, felt good.
Fully Modded and Player Run Worlds
Custom player run clusters which can have custom rules, items, npcs, events, monster spawns, and world themes. There will completely custom maps and custom assets in the future. There can be an unlimited amount of shards per cluster, which can be different worlds/maps but must follow the same ruleset/mod of the cluster
Here's where things get questionable for me. There's a decent explanation on the official site about this idea of player-run servers and clusters.
Essentially, there are official 'clusters' which the devs create that have specific rulesets. You can spawn a "world" off this cluster which is like a zone. Your "zone" is under your control if you choose to play it as the owner, but you're bound by the rules of the cluster.
Players can also have their own clusters and custom rules. The whole thing becomes confusing to me when I try to think about how this is all connected. I'm not a big fan of major modding or god players.
I'll stick to official rules, and to the one closest to UO. I might start my own world if it means I can have lots of fun events.
There has to be stability in a world for an economy and permanence to take root. I'm curious how it will all pan out.
There won't be any F2P crap. It's a one-time buy deal. There's a $40 package available to pre-purchase. You'll get access to the alpha. It'll wipe sometime this year and then those who pre-purchased get a 1 week each start on Steam.
I haven't bought in yet because I'm burned my the idea of early access and pre-ordering for access, but the game is now high on my radar.
Any try it out yet? Can you provide further insight/clarification on the clusters/worlds? To what degree will the player modding or being a shard god devolve everything into a cluster-eff?