Uru: Online Ages announced, to be broadband-oriented

I found this on Shadowbane’s Warcry site. Uru’s home site is here.

Ubi Soft announced yesterday that the project formerly known as Myst Online is now Uru: Online Ages Beyond Myst, and closed beta testing is supposed to begin in January 2003. They’ve got a signup sheet available.

The main difference between this project and other MMOGs? There’s no pretense that those with inferior Internet connections will be supported:

[quote]
Uru will take advantage of broadband to deliver a continually updated, immersive environment and storyline, with content that grows, changes and evolves constantly. It will also be the first persistent world to support real-time voice communication. Uru is designed to appeal to a broad audience and enable players of all skill levels and interests to experience expansive ages of the Myst universe in a uniquely social environment.

Players of all skill levels, provided they have a bitchin’ Internet connection. As Myst fans have learned, the title is pronounced “oo-roo,” and apparently means “city,” though as one enterprising fan noted, “For example many thought it meant you-are-you, and in D’ni you will be you! Your avatar will have your characteristics - its going to be neat!!”
[/quote]
Discuss amongst yourselves.

Good thing they made the name change. Myst OnLine was definitely too bland. Uru: Online Ages Beyong Myst (U:OABM from here on out) just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it. You would think they’d have learned after UO2 changed it’s name to Ultima Online : Origins, The Second Age or whatever the hell it was. The result: cancellation. Let’s hope Uru: Rubies of Undrentide does not have the same fate befall it.

[size=2]I still say awkward game titles can only hurt sales.[/size]

Good comment. I think one of the reasons why Ultima Online did so well was that the name made it very clear what the game was. It’s Ultima, only Online. Compare that to AC. Who is Asheron? Why does he call? Is the average guy going to ever discover the backstory that defines the name? And at that point, are they emotionally invested enough to care?

Of course, Origin had the benefit of a license, which Turbine didn’t. This makes UOABM all the more mystifying. You can tell that someone somewhere insisted (correctly) that Myst had to be in the name somewhere.

Man, this brings back flashbacks to the UO2 name debates. Just be glad you weren’t in those meetings.

The name even starts with UO now, for heaven’s sake!!! I am not saying it will happen often, but I can see people skimming articles and thinking it is simply another damn Ultima Online expansion.

UO: Ariel’s Beautiful Malevolence

I don’t know how much of an installed base they are expecting, since their customer is a cross-section of “willing to pay a monthly fee”, “has broadband” and “likes Myst”. Those may be viable slices by themselves but I’m wary of how much overlap there is.

And at least under the old name, I knew it was Myst related at glance.

I would say Myst probably skewed older than The Sims Online is now and certainly older than UO/EQ/DAoC. The older you are the less time you have. People on a tight schedule ain’t gonna spend monthly fee type hours online in a game.

And at least under the old name, I knew it was Myst related at glance.

Exactly.

Arguably everything after Uru is just a subtitle. “Uru” is distinctive enough (and short) on its own, and many games have cumbersome subtitles. I don’t often go around calling SFC2 by its full name (“Star Trek: Starfleet Command Volume II: Empires at War”… rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?).

I’m sure the design team would have liked to call it simply “Uru,” but they had to work the franchise title in there somewhere.

I’m really curious to see what they come up with for this game.

I agree that the name is terrible, and I really wonder how it ever came about? Although I would have simply called the game Myst Online, why not at least compromise with Ages of Myst Online or Worlds of Myst Online?

Uru: Online Ages Beyond Myst – what the hell is that?

This is also another online game that I have to play to really understand how it’s supposed to work.

“Of course, Origin had the benefit of a license, which Turbine didn’t.”

Neither did Verant with EQ. To me that shows the wisdom of going with generic high fantasy as Verant did. The player’s already familar with the game before ever playing.

Please note that I’m saying this with an eye towards what would make a game a commercial success and not what would make the most fascinating game.

Good thing they made the name change. Myst OnLine was definitely too bland. Uru: Online Ages Beyong Myst (U:OABM from here on out) just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it. You would think they’d have learned after UO2 changed it’s name to Ultima Online : Origins, The Second Age or whatever the hell it was. The result: cancellation. Let’s hope Uru: Rubies of Undrentide does not have the same fate befall it.

[size=2]I still say awkward game titles can only hurt sales.[/size][/quote]

spluttter LMAO, man that was funny! :D

“Arguably everything after Uru is just a subtitle. “Uru” is distinctive enough (and short) on its own, and many games have cumbersome subtitles. I don’t often go around calling SFC2 by its full name (“Star Trek: Starfleet Command Volume II: Empires at War”… rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?).”

Uru? What’s that? Myst? Everyone knows that. Why even use “Uru” in the first place. All it does is cause potential confusion. Note that SFCII puts the Star Trek first and the Starfleet Command second. Empires at War, which is much more understandable than “Uru”, comes last. You never have to read that far. I really am baffled at their decision to go with a name like Uru: Online Ages Beyond Myst.

I’m sure the design team would have liked to call it simply “Uru,” but they had to work the franchise title in there somewhere.
.

“I’m sure the design team would have liked to call it simply “Uru,” but they had to work the franchise title in there somewhere.”

Why wouldn’t they have wanted to simply call it Myst Online?

I would say Star Trek being in that title makes that a bad comparison. If you say the “Star Trek” game you are going to get a lot more recognition than when people say that “Uru” game. Now if people say that “Myst online” game, that’s a different story, but then why did they not stick with Myst Online in the first place.

In my mind, the name catches your attention then you investigate the features. If I am at EB and see a big Star Trek header on a box, it is going to get a lot closer look from me than a big Uru header. That’s all I’m sayin’. BTW, this is not how I buy my games, this is just a for instance for the “average gamer”/Myst player that I assume will be the target audience.

Ben I am sorry we are clashing over Myst, yet again. :wink:

EDIT: From here on out you can use a “what he said” immediately after Mark’s posts as we seem to be echoing each other. :)

Damion when you said “discuss” you meant endlessly argue over the name and not actual gameplay elements. Right? :wink:

Gameplay elements? I’m with Mark, it seems nearly impossible to get a feeling for what this game is supposed to play like without actually testing it out. I mean – that’s if it’s good. If it’s junk, then I’m sure some wag can sum it up in a sentence or two.

I could see cooperative adventure solving being a draw if they continually add new adventures. It could also be boring if you’re in a group and you’re just being dragged along by others who already know the answers are who are better than you at puzzle solving. If you don’t really contribute, you probably won’t find it fun. Even in the combat-oriented games like EQ and DAoC those characters who feel they contribute less to the group usually end up angry at the limitations of their characters.

Well, what I’m not sure of is just what puzzle solving really means in a mmorpg context anyway - that’s why I say I don’t understand how the game would “play out”. When I think of how many 10s of hours you can spend on hard adventure game puzzles, and then how those games only take 1 1/2 hours if you’re using the walkthrough and that’s only because of busy work of moving from loc to loc and picking up things – either they have some sort of puzzles that don’t work the way I think they do (where somebody can just blab out the answers), or they have a lot of busywork.

My only guess is that it works something like watching the Mole on television. People spend a lot of time trying to figure out the hidden clues to a mystery, then eventually that mystery is revealed, you say “aha, I knew that because that guy’s name was all glowing and then they flashed a picture of a fish!”, and then you move on to new mysteries.

I could see the game appealing to players who like solving adventure puzzles and who want to do so with friends. It would be a way to chat with a friend and do something interesting at the same time. How many people who have broadband this description fits I don’t know.

As you say, it’s not easy to guess what kind of adventure game elements will be in the game. Maybe you form your group, get your adventure/quest, and the game creates a private virtual world for your group to do the adventure in.

Heck, for all I know you may kill monsters, build houses, acquire items in Uru as well.

My understanding is that that’s exactly how it works. I think there’s supposed to be a common massively-multiplayer D’ni city from which adventurers spawn off in small groups into private copies of other ages running on their own machines. But all of this was still in flux while I was at Cyan, so don’t take it as gospel.

You definitely don’t kill monsters. There’s no dying of any kind in the game.

You probably don’t build houses. The designers at Cyan are very picky about the look of things. You can probably expect every location and every item in the game to be a unique model. Making a house for one player would take about as much development time as creating an entirely new level. Of course, they could let folks model their own spaces in gmax, but they’re picky enough about the look of things that I don’t see them opening the world up to the mod community.

I’m pretty sure you don’t acquire items. They were still dickering about whether or not to have an inventory in the game when I left, but I’m pretty sure they came down on the side of not.

Also no experience points, no skills, no leveling, or any of that typical RPG stuff. Expect to have an avatar, a mouse cursor, the arrow keys, and an action button, and nothing else.

As for the name, I’m suspect that’s Rand Miller’s doing. Rand’s the one who insisted that Riven be called Riven when the publishers wanted to call it Myst II. The subtitle on Uru is probably a compromise with the publisher, just as the subtitle on Riven (“The Sequel to Myst”) was.

Despite having worked there for a year and having read all the painfully bad books, I have no idea what an “Uru” is.

“Despite having worked there for a year and having read all the painfully bad books, I have no idea what an “Uru” is.”

Ha ha – that’s funny.

What you describe sounds a bit odd as far as MMOGs go. What are the persistent elements in the game? Where’s the character building? It sounds like a game of multiplayer mini-adventure games. Without persistent elements and character building, it might be a tough sell to get players to pony up a monthly fee.

I guess what we fail to do when thinking about games like this and Sims Online is that “character building” and “persistance” are terms only the hardcore know or care about.

Whether they can put a name to the concept or not, a newbie is still going to realize that massively-multiplayer game with no development or advancement is simply not compelling enough to justify a monthly fee.