Project Gorgon Review 1
Every gamer has their first. The first game that they really got sucked into that ended up leaving a lasting impression on their gaming tastes and preferences. They fall victim to nostalgia for the old game, the old mechanics, and the old way of doing things. Some say that gamers are looking back at the older days of gaming with rose colored glasses and not remembering just how bad the grind really was or how annoying some other underdeveloped mechanic was that has since been developed, simplified, and in a sense made easier. Personally, my game was EverQuest. It’s nickname “EverCrack” certainly lived up to its description and I put a huge number of hours (days, weeks, and months really) into this game over the 4-5ish years I played it.
Because of this I, like many others I assume, fairly regularly look through the upcoming and developing games out there trying to find that magic hidden gem that will quench my thirst for gaming days of the past. Every now and then I find something with bits and pieces that take me back for a short while. Other times I end up just relenting and returning to the old classic from my formative gaming days in the form of emulated servers. Finally, my seemingly never ending search for something new that reignites my old spark looks to have paid off. The other day I stumbled across a post on reddit suggesting a new “classless” mmo. Project Gorgon was revealed to me and I must say, after only a few days of tinkering I am hooked. I really think that this game has some serious long term potential and that the devs are headed in all the right directions.
I have seen Project Gorgon described as a “Sandbox PVE MMORPG” and so far that seems to be a reasonable description. The game is in early alpha stages of development so there are clearly things that need to be worked on, added, fixed, balanced, and so on but the parts of the game that are in play so far are wonderful and a breath of fresh air. The game is being developed by industry veterans who have went out on their own to develop the game they want. It is is described on its website as “Asheron’s Call crossed with EverQuest crossed with the emergent gameplay of NetHack.” You start the game choosing between 3 races. Humans, Elves, and a race of cat people called Rakshasa. There are some cool racial mechanics being worked on that I may expand on at a later point as I learn more about them and they get more fleshed out in development but the gist is that there is no real need to obsess over which race to choose to have a good character. The main differences will be things like humans getting lonely if they are soloing away from civilization which will give them a very small stat penalty. The elves, who are apparently sex obsessed neat-freaks actually have an ability to see how dirty player characters are and receive a small penalty for themselves if they become to dirty. Beyond the initial race choice there are actually a number of in game skills that are essentially related to shape-shifting allowing you to develop “beast forms”. These will allow you to transform into and fight as animals such as cows, deer, wolves, pigs, and spiders. Don’t worry about this too much at the start.
Ok, so now you have created a character and started the game. What should you expect? For starters, you begin in a newbie dungeon/cave system that will begin to introduce you to the gameplay and the mechanics. You’ll be given some quests, be introduced to combat and skills, you have an opportunity to do some crafting/trade skills, begin to work on some gathering skills, solve some simple puzzles, and explore. One of the interesting aspects to the game that you may be introduced to is the death penalty system. There is currently a hardcore mode that can be toggles on in the first city you will encounter which essentially requires you to do “corpse runs” like in the days of EQ past, but lets ignore that for now. The main ways in which the death penalty system will impact you have to do with normal death and cursed death. Normal death is what it sounds like. You will die and resurrect at the starting point of the zone with all of your equipment on you. Cursed death is where things get interesting and open up some interesting directions to go in the game. In the newbie dungeon, if you explore enough, you will eventually end up triggering a big warning to flash across the screen (not to mention there is a warning in a book that you start with in your inventory) about consequences worse than death if you proceed down that particular arm of the cave. If you push on you will eventually come to find a big room with a cow in it and a bunch of grave stones. This “boss” monster will almost certainly be too much for you on your own at this point and probably even with a few newbie friends by your side as well. However, if you choose to press on and give it a try and lose you will become cursed when you resurrect. I don’t want to spoil this too much but lets just say that its somewhat related to the “beast form” skill set mentioned above. Now, all curses in the game, as far as I am currently aware, can be broken either by some quest or by coming back and killing the monster that cursed you. Interesting and fun mechanic that has a lot of potential for integration into the game longer term. Maybe a boss monster that has a weakness to a particular beast form that can only be achieved by being cursed by another monster somewhere else in the world. Monster A hates monster B so he curses your group to be X beast. The only way to break the curse is to kill monster B. Monster B is maybe weak to the beast form you are transformed into so he would be uber difficult without first finding his nemesis that will “curse” you.
Skills are interesting and still in development. Currently you can level skills up to 50 but there is a plan to open that up to level 100 with quests to break through limits at 50, and 75. Sometimes when you level up you get a new skill, sometimes when you level up it unlocks your ability to learn a skill from a book/tome, and sometimes you need to “research” the new skill through the crafting system somehow. There are currently 9 battle skills in the game including archery, Battle Chemistry, Fire Magic, Mentalism, Necromancy, Psychology, Staff, Sword, and Unarmed. Further, the Beast Forms described above all count as a skill set and carry with them their own abilities and whatnot. On top of this there are 10 other miscelaneous skills that range from “dying” to “pathology” (which has its own huge set of subskills for each creature type). Beyond this there are currently 24 trade skills implemented some of which facilitate combat skills directly and indirectly.
The game currently has 3 zones implemented with a combined total of 7 dungeons spread throughout + the newbie cave which essentially brings the total up to 11 “zones” to explore and defeat. There are already a few dozen mob types spread throughout the world and the dungeons ready to be challenged. There are also a few dozen NPC’s in various places, some more hidden than others, ready to befriend you, buy your treasures, and teach you skills. Essentially, each individual NPC has its own faction system rather than big racial factions (which I expect would be implemented at some point as well). The better your “faction” or favor is with an NPC the more useful they will be to you. The perks of increasing your favor range from extra information, requests for help (quests), better deals for buying and selling things, and access to certain things they will only sell once they like you enough.