Crowns of Power
I ran into quote a number of new (or rather new) online games this week and must admit my bandwidth has been tested a number of times yesterday in downloading several clients. Of the dozens of trials I ran, there's one particular game I’d like to highlight: Crowns of Power by Rampid Interactive.
When I first read this title, my mind wandered of to some of the great games of the past, such as Lords of the Realm, a great medieval strategy game. That would mean it would fit past weeks ranting on virtual history perfectly, but it turned out Crowns of Power isn’t a historic online game, but a fantasy game.
The tease was good enough though to give this game a shot. With all the fantasy games coming online day after day you might start to wonder if they’re serving us out of the box games but Crowns of Power has gone through a thorough development cycle. Early 2008 they finally went into public beta which closed august 2008.
8/17/2008 - Beta Has Officially Ended.
After a long successful open beta test, we are packaging the game for its first live release. Thank you to everyone who participated and helped out in Beta. As a reminder, all beta characters have been wiped. We will be awarding special prizes to active beta testers at the start of the live game. Check back soon for news on when we go live with our first real game world, Synge
We look forward to seeing you in game!
Then you meet the storyteller who introduces you to the world of the game. This world is ruled by magic, which is divided into 5 colors or classes of mana/magic - green (nature), red (fire), blue (mind), white (healing, protection), black (death).
You wake up on a forest floor, naked and cold with very few possessions, if any. You are uncertain how long you were asleep. In fact, you aren’t certain who you are, where you came from or of anything for that matter.
Time passes. You’re cold and think that your safety might be jeopardized if you remain where you are. So you start to walk. It doesn’t take long before you find a group of humans, like yourself. You are relieved. You beg them to tell you what has occurred. Where are you? Who are you? Why are you without possessions?
They urge you not to worry. You are in a state that everyone experienced at what they call… Restoration. The memory loss, the uncertainty, everything is normal. You start to calm, thankful for companionship during this strange state of mind.
Although Arden is also reminiscent of David Farland’s Runelord series in which the world is called Arden, it also sparks memories of Roger Zelazny’s epic “Amber” series in which Amber is the one true world, and has thousands of spin offs.
“To answer your question, you are on a planet called Arder, a planet fortunate enough to be located in the absolute center of the universe,” he begins. “Because of this centrality, Arder is a place of infinite power, where magic is commonplace and extremely potent. You see, the entirety of the universe is divided into five regions. Each region is the creation of one of five Gods, and ruled by this specific God. The names of the Gods and their particular powers, I will come to in time. Because Arder is located in the exact center of everything, all five of the God’s have an affinity for our planet.
Getting into the game it takes a while to discover the unique selling points of this MMORPG but one that stands out is the community feel of the game. In most games, the community sense comes from being in a guild but albeit Crowns of Power also offers Guilds, it is somewhat more subtle.
That’s how it’s described in the “getting started”. As guilds develop isn’t a USP, the thing which attracts me is the smaller world populations. This is also emphasized by the description of the game objectives (also in the FAQ section);
In Crowns of Power, players will have the power to govern themselves in a volatile world where PvP (Player vs Player) combat can be engaged in nearly everywhere you go. With smaller world populations, there will be a sense of community unlike any other game on the market. Players will earn their reputation and role on the server, and be held accountable for their actions. Death will come with a steeper price, and make people think twice before committing acts against the community. As guilds develop, they'll be able to display their power by obtaining Guild Halls that they must maintain and protect, adding another social and contested element to the game.
This is the type of gameplay that brings back memories of Swirve’s Utopia online which I’ve played quite addictively for several years being an alliance diplomat, Battlefield General and King,. Rather than bashing computized beasts it is about interaction, diplomacy and tactics.
The objective of the game is to evolve your character through adventures and quests while obtaining rare and unique items, spells and powers. As you progress, your role in the social and community aspect of the game could take on important roles as people elect fellow players into positions of power. Diplomacy, public relations, and mutual interests of the community will play a huge part in the players experience in Crowns of Power, and provide other means of entertainment that go beyond killing computer controlled monsters and raid encounters. Guilds will also be able to strive towards and obtain guild halls where their guild can meet, train, and even store arsenals in times of war. Guild halls will be able to be attacked and contested by rivaling guilds.