Saga of Lucimia – It’s Dangerous to go Alone! (Impossible, actually…)
The year is 1999. Spring is in the air as the calendar flips over to March. There are 9 months until Y2K and the possible apocalypse. More relevant to my interests, there were only 3 months until my high school graduation. My friend Mike and I, both had part time jobs at EB Games (remember them?). As a result of this employment, we got tipped off to the development of many new games and had been anxiously awaiting the release of a new kind of RPG. A Massively Multiplayer RPG. Namely, EverQuest.
This was, of course, well before YouTube or online gaming magazines in general; in fact I think while we were following the development of the game we were using a classmate’s family’s AOL account to access the internet via Mike’s Mac Quadra 610. Somewhere along the line I convinced my parents to get a dialup account with a local ISP. Up to that point my online interaction was primarily through BBSes (less of you remember those, probably…). Mike’s family, on the other hand, lived in a town that had access to the fabled Cable Internet and they also had recently purchased a Pentium II 266. This all becomes relevant, I swear. Mostly.
We were pretty nerdy, playing board games, Sega, Nintendo, PS1 and so forth. Not much has changed beyond less free time; we’re both still pretty nerdy; but cool nerdy, seriously… ok, maybe not…
At the time of its release, EverQuest was too demanding for my PC. I was still stuck with a Pentium 75 at the time. Mike however had that shiny new PII system (it even had a DVD drive!). So he went out and purchased a 3DFX Voodoo card, so it was weekends at his house that gave me my first taste of EQ. Many sleepless weekends.
We had a few friends that started playing as well, and we made friends online also; some of whom we keep in contact with to this day. That was the core of EQ – having and making friends and working together to do what would be impossible alone. Some classes could solo, but to really achieve efficiency and get at the best loot and experience, you needed a team. You weren’t getting a high end equipment upgrade by yourself; the group (or groups) would have to work together to get a few decent upgrades for a few group members.
The other thing that EQ had right, which most modern MMORPGs get wrong is there was no “Loot Piñata”, it took time, effort and more time and effort to get anything worthwhile done. This of course forced you to invest time into your character, but also into the community as a whole. For anyone playing at the higher levels, your character’s name and often your Guild tag meant something on the server you played on: getting a spot in groups hunting in Lower Guk, Sol B, Sebilis, Howling Stones, etc. hinged largely upon either knowing someone in the group or being known by someone in the group.
These were the golden days of gaming for me. I was all in from the get-go. I purchased a new 400 Mhz computer specifically to play EQ after getting hooked over at Mike’s house. Shortly after graduating high school, I moved in with a friend in the nearest “city” my state had to offer, got cable internet and basically played EQ and worked with short bouts of sleep interrupting between the two.
I had forged friendships and alliances and essentially felt like I was playing in a living, breathing world, essentially akin to Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. We accomplished great things together, which was the core of many friendships that endure to this day. Reaching max level, gaining a complete set of class-specific armor, attaining the class “Epic” weapons, and conquering expansion content all felt so amazing due to the difficulty involved in those feats.
MMORPGs (EverQuest included) have gradually eroded the difficulty and therefore the camaraderie that the original EQ forged in the fires of difficulty and if I’m honest, occasional rage. World of Warcraft debuted and I believe that the team at Sony felt they needed to “keep up with the Joneses” so EQ2 was released with very similar mechanics and EQ itself started to evolve into a different game. Some of this can be attributed to normal evolution, of course, but it always seemed to me that it was, at least in part, due to the success of WoW – which appeals to a much broader market.
Now that I’m 75% into my normal post length with just my intro, I’ll elaborate on Saga of Lucimia.
Saga of Lucimia – The Spiritual Successor of EQ1
That’s a bit of a bold statement, I know, but I believe it to be true. What the Saga of Lucimia team is working on is nothing short of the embodiment of classic EQ’s embracing of classic D&D party-reliance. They are specifically making no solo content; none, nada, zilch. “That’s crazy!” you say? Maybe a bit, but they realize that there is a pretty strong contingent of crazy people out there that have a longing for group-only content, as evidenced by their recent blog entry “INSANE DESIGN DECISIONS AND BEING CRAZY DEVELOPERS“. It’s a long read, but well worth it if the ideas I’ve addressed speak to you on any level or if you are just generally interested in game development decision-making.
The concept the team is building around is that MUDs and early MMORPGs largely operated on a community mechanic, and they are taking this to the Nth degree. Society in Saga of Lucimia revolves around the tavern, it’s where players gather to form groups, share rumors, and boast of victories while showing off the spoils of their victories.
That is why we have decided to fill the void in the MMORPG community, and bring back a game with a sense of community, a reason to group for ALL content, not just dungeons. A reason to talk to each other, build friendships, create guilds, start caravans and trek across the world to places no one has been before. Create a unique character, and flaunt equipment and skills that no other player has yet discovered.
The idea of content taking days, weeks, or months to complete is absolutely a breath of fresh air to me personally. I won’t get into the specifics of the game beyond that it’s hard, group-only, and highly compelling. They’ve just done an Alpha reveal which I highly recommend checking out.
If this at all strikes a chord with you, you should check out their website at www.sagaoflucimia.com.
Edit: The Saga of Lucimia team are also hosting an Indigogo Campaign with an extremely modest goal of $5,000 – if you want to help bring this game to life, feel free to head on over and back them at some level!