SOE New Game? Underworld: Evolution Multi Player Online Game

With the Smed talking about a new game, I just got this mail from SOE tied to the movie to become a beta tester.

In the eternal battle between Lycan and Vampire, a new power will arise. And with the beta launch of the new Underworld: Evolution multiplayer game, we invite you to become a soldier for the side of your choosing. More importantly, we’d like to hear your feedback on the game itself. Click here to access the game on the beta site and submit your comments. While we may not implement all of your recommendations, we’ll give you a special cheat code to show our appreciation for your help.

Welcome back to the Underworld.
It takes you to this link, announcing a MPOG: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/underworldevolution/game/beta/index.html

Thank you for your interest in becoming an Underworld: Evolution Multi Player Online Game beta tester. By registering below you will be given access to the beta version of the game, be asked to provide comments on game play and receive a “cheat code” to help you while playing the game.
If this a MMO, than SOE could be ripping the city assets from MxO and changing the skinds to reflect Vamps versus Lycans.

Ofcourse I could be wrong on all of this, as I checked HRose’s blog and saw no mention of this. Makes sense though if this is their seekrit project.

I don’t get these sort of mails. I only leech the internet!

Browser-based iso game?

I’m doubtful, though.

The movie is launching in January and there’s no mention of SOE. While the game that Smed was talking about is slated for a late 2006 release.

“Multi Player” and “Cheat Code” also sound wrong on a mmorpg.

Yeah, that’s not it.

I’ll watch the movie though. I freely admit it. Any venue featuring Kate in vinyl is A-OK by me. I’ll watch the most ridiculously embarassing 12 year old boy target audience (and acting skill) garbage featuring incomprehensible werewolf/vampire/gumby/silly putty mutants if it includes a hot chick. And Kate is a very, very hot chick.

stusser, you poor guy. For the same money, you can subscribe to internet porn and see them without any clothes at all! And yes, even hot chicks. It’s a festivus miracle!

I’m more than a little surprised to see a MMO for Underworld before White Wolf does something for World of Darkness.

Odd though that the phrase “role playing”, as in MMORPG, has been tossed in favor of just Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Maybe this is going to just be an actiony, lite, kind of thing?

Actually, they say “Multiplayer Online Game”–no “Massive”. So I expect this isn’t a MMORPG at all.

Is WW making a come back or something? How would they support such a development? I think the idea is that more people know about Underworld (cringe!) than the White Wolf games. Of course, you and I both know that WW is FAR superior, Brian, but I think we might be a minority as far as the overall public goes.

A WoD MMO would be really cool. Didn’t WW sue over Underworld when it came out?

Also: Underworld was absolutely godawful, and Kate Beckinsale is not hot. But I think we’ve covered this before.

Underworld was awful, but Kate is incredibly hot. I would pay good money to watch her her talk about her menses for 90 minutes if she was wearing that vinyl suit.

A Sabbat MMO, now that would kick ass. That’s just about the one thing that would get me back into MMOs again – provided, of course, that it wasn’t just another tedious Diku grind.

Ideally, there’d be a dash of living world, hunting for prey would be an important part of the game, there wouldn’t be much level progression (perhaps you’d start out as a newly minted shovelhead and then there would be a tutorial, and then a brief learning phase, and then you’d have as many character points as anybody else, but your own distribution of them – i.e., you have five discipline dots and can allocate them however you like among common and clan disciplines, you have x points to split among abilities and y among attributes), and it would be extremely high on social aspects.

Perhaps different servers could represent real-world cities and follow their daylight and weather cycles. When the sun is up, you generally can’t go outside, so you’d want to pick a server where night intersected with your IRL prime playing time.

The Sabbat is the only thing White Wolf has done that explicitly adopts the atmosphere that most large games (i.e., LARPs) seem to wind up with anyway. It also has less of the “boring power structure” problem where half the players are in the primogen meeting and the rest have nothing to do. And the vaulderie/vinculum/coterie/pack thing is a very cool idea for an MMO. For practical purposes (and the prevention of uberguilds or guilds where too many members are just faces in the crowd) there should be a size limit to each level of player organization. Incentivizing monomacy with a bit of a power boost for leaders wouldn’t hurt.

It seems like this setting would be perfect for an MMO where what really matters is not grinding, but rather friends you can rely on. Which cuts out the bullshit and gets to the whole point, right? MMORPGs are only making use of their potential to the degree which they are social games, unless you’re in love with macros and auto-attacks.

There’s a whole new World of Darkness out there that I’d hope WW was trying to leverage. Maybe it’s just the Machiavelli in me but the care that’s been taken to “play balance” the different factions and streamline (some might say dumb down) the gameplay seems like something that would lend itself to MMOs.

Yeah, Unicorn, I’d love a more political MMO. Politics lend themselves greatly to roleplaying because the winners are the clever, interesting and the diplomatic ones (in roleplaying games at least - don’t get me started on IRL). Imagine if we had a game that rewarded that! It’d probably be a sure sign of the apocalypse.

I don’t know if I’d be thrilled, personally, about a Sabbat game. It’s just too explicit, too power oriented, and there really isn’t any element of redemption in it at all. Sabbat are generally vile, power mad and utterly self indulgent. Hmm. Okay so that does sound like most MMOs out there.

I think I’d rather play a game in which there were more shades of gray and interesting interpretations of what it means to be good or evil. Where power was gathered and measured in more roundabout ways than just a bar that fills up with happy goodness as you plant axes in skulls. That’d be more in line with a structured Camarilla game but even then…too much would depend on the quality of the players. It’d be too easy to fall back on scripting and that defeats the purpose of V:tM itself.

I rather liked Underworld. Perhaps it seemed better because advance word had prepared me for the Worst Movie in the History of Cinema, but I never understood all the vitriol aimed toward it. Couple decent shootouts and some interesting mythology/backstory. Main thing I disliked was all the closeups of people getting injected with needles. But then, I’m not a vampire fanboy so the subtleties of the genre escape me I suppose.

I don’t think good-and-evil stuff comes as naturally or as well to players – especially players of an MMO – as “who are your buddies?”

As for vileness – if the humans are just mobs (I’m picturing a GTA Lite gameworld with cops and regular folks – probably not player control of vehicles because it would be a pain in the ass and lead to frustrating shit most likely, assholes piling up cars in order to achieve unintended effects, and besides, they’re too hazardous and could be used to make a joke of any character combat system) and Sabbat infighting is just PVP, I don’t see how they’re any viler than the Alliance. Due to the impermanent nature of MMO violence, it’s pretty hard to see it as having any moral impact.

Not only do you describe most MMO players pretty well when discussing the Sabbat, but I think a Sabbat game would also emphasize the nicest things about MMO communities: friendship and camaraderie.

I think a Camarilla game would be too easily made as a typical MMO – elders give you quests, you do them, you get XP. The big twist, I guess, would be that players have humanity meters, and the humanity meter goes down if you kill people who aren’t flagged KOS – but there are plenty of people who ARE flagged KOS, so you can still do a lot of killing, which is good because all character abilities, character progression, and content revolves around combat. The humanity meter would promote the sort of “moral choices” that people make in KotOR: “I’m going to do all the evil things, because force crush is the biz-bomb. Then, on my second character, I’ll do all the good things, because I did all the evil things last time.”

Involving morality of the sort I think you’re talking about in an MMO would be hard as hell, especially because of the players. Who makes moral choices in a world where the most ruthlessly efficient ways to do everything are listed on websites all over the internet? The actual moral behavior in MMOs tends to revolve around indentification as part of a group and behavior as a member of that group. The Sabbat DO follow a moral code, it’s just about that stuff rather than “thou shalt not kill.” They share, they respect each other, they help each other out. (An early idea I had for a WoW guild – which we didn’t do, in favor of our orcish demon-hunting purists – was “Gno-com,” a guild of Gnomes that attempted to share wealth equally among all members regardless of level. See, Gnomes are industrializing, so it makes sense that they might develop a communist ideology…)

Anyway, I think the Sabbat are moral in precisely the way that an MMO can actualize moral behavior. Of course, the potential of such a game could always be thrown away. Here’s your questgiver, here’s your quest, here’s your dungeon full of KOS mobs, here’s your loot, here’s your next quest. (An equipment-based Sabbat game would SUCK BALLS. Gear should be mostly cosmetic in MMOs, because otherwise you tend to have everybody wearing exactly what’s best for their class, or upset that they aren’t. If it’s cosmetic, people can use gear to individualize their characters, rather than the gear system crippling anybody who hasn’t got the latest Super Thingy Number One.)

That is why I would go dizzy with glee over a well-realized Sabbat MMO. I would pay a sizeable monthly fee for that, and barring some kind of serious problem with the game (which there wouldn’t be, hypothetically, because it’s postulated as being well-realized) I’d keep playing it for years. It would probably replace both AIM and like half the games I play. Who doesn’t want to hang out with his Sabbat buddies and idly plan the next big score? Street gangs + vampires FTW.

Actually, the things you mention about the Sabbat are exactly what make them uninteresting to me. I love the politics of the Camarilla. However, I could envision a game like WoW, which gave you a choice. Be a good guy or a bad guy (so to speak). It would create a great PvP dynamic, so that the non-primogen (PCs) have plenty to do.

A Sabbat vs. Sabbat PVP system would be (potentially) awesome. Player groups would be roughly comparable in terms of the power the game system gives them. A Camarilla vs. Sabbat PVP system would likely simply favor the more numerous side, and nonviolent interaction would be less of an option.

I’d rather see tons of comparable competing player guilds that manage their own relations and exist in the same paradigm than two big factions alienated from one another whose members fight when they meet. If you’d prefer that, there’s always WoW.

MEH

That’s one of the things I think is brillaint in CoH/CoV – You establish your look from the get-go and that’s pretty much it until you open up new costume slots. Not only does it circumvent the gear envy problem, but by relying on personal aesthetics it gives you a way to quickly assess the maturity and creativity of people you meet in-game.

Any PvP system favors the more numerous side. But in a game like this, there is no reason to assume Sabbat would be more numerous (or less). I’m not sure what distinction you are working with here. Can you explain?