I've had the Minecraft itch for a while, but instead of going back and playing MC for the umpteenth time, I think I'm going to be a little more forward looking to a game I've followed only loosely for a while: ECO.
ECO is a sandbox-style building game that takes the whole "living world" concept to the legitimate next level.
"Every organism in Eco exists as a component in a rich simulation. A disruption in one species can have cascading effects across the planet. Chop down all the trees, and habitats for creatures will be destroyed. Pollute the rivers with mining waste, and your farms will become poisoned and die. The ecosystem supplies materials to the world. Manage your pollution, mining waste, hunting, and resource collection to limit your effect on this system, or you may run out of resources."
They're definitely trying to teach you something here. ECO has some grants and funding from educational sources, and the game itself seems to lean heavily towards teaching the players that there are consequences for how you interact with your world. I couldn't help but remember my Captain Planet cartoon-watching days.
- Over 30 different craft tables, with hundreds of recipes
- A simulated ecosystem with dozens of unique species
- Vehicles and roads to move resources around your world
- Create your own backed or fiat currencies
- Build stores where you can sell your excess items for a profit
- Balance your diet to increase your skill point gain
- Create contracts for jobs that you would like other players to do for you
- Propose programmable laws to protect your world or increase your profits
- Run for office and make global decisions
- View data from your world and use it to back your decisions
- Claim land as your own property, and share rights to it it with who you’d like to
- Give and remove reputation from other players
Scope creep is what I fear most from a game like ECO. Everything from running for office to creating your own currencies, to creating vehicles, etc.
I don't know how they manage to make it all work in a sandbox game, but it certainly sounds enticing enough to give it a try.
Now the big question: Do I buy into the alpha phase, or wait for launch? ECO is currently available for early access on the official website, but not yet available for pre-purchase on Steam.
There are talks of hosting Keen and Graev Community servers, which I think could be a lot of fun if we managed to get a group of people together devoted to making a nice and thriving civilization... though knowing some of my friends, we may need to impose heavy fines on strip mining.