The MMORTSES Cometh

By Jim Rossignol on June 16th, 2008 at 5:52 pm.


Egad, the Massive Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy games are coming! First there was Saga, which we long-ago decided was a bit flimsy and without the detail, colour, or bombast to really grip us. (Contemporary experience may differ.) Now two more strategies claiming to be “massive” have appeared on the RPS radar, and they looking quite different in both tone and execution.

First up is Beyond Protocol, which sets you up in the stars with armies of glowing ships which will make war on your enemies, apparently whether you’re there to oversee them or not. I’ve not had a chance to play with it yet, but it claims that “players will be able to wage wars in real-time, form alliances with other players, explore the universe, exploit the mineral wealth of thousands of planets, launch espionage missions and gather intelligence and engage in an unlimited number of activities in an ever evolving online experience.” Sounds promising, presuming they can get enough players in there. Anyone had a go? Report in comments if so.

Then there’s the free-to-play fantasy-lookin’ MMORTS Dreamlords, which is apparently “a massively multiplayer game that combines the accessibility of a web game with RPG character development, RTS battles and long term tactical strategy.” The dreamlords, of which players play the part, are apparently “magical entities that spawn from the nightmares of the Dreamer himself.” Not only that but “the Dreamer is the centre core of the universe, fuelling all things with the power of life, the gnosis, the focused attention of the Dreamer.” It sure looks like Mr Dreamer likes his magic knights and special battle horses. He also seems to like his three races, roughly analogous to human/elf/orc variations seen in other popular fantasy gameworlds. Still, I’m downloading it right now from here and I’ve also created an account here. Will I have time to play it this week? Probably not! And the game launches for real on Wednesday too. Exciting times… Anyone able to report back with more information, please do so in comments.

And here’s a punchline: who remembers Sovereign, eh? It’s never worked this MMORTS stuff…

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23 Comments »

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  1. O.G.N says:

    So, how is Stardock’s Society coming along then?

  2. Gap Gen says:

    Maybe rather than directing battles, you could code the AI and let it fight for you. The skill would be in AI programming, and you could let your armies fight while you weren’t there based on your algorithms. That way the ‘aw shit I got ganked when I wasn’t there’ factor isn’t so much of an issue, or if it is, at least it was your fault.

  3. Professor Pyro, Ph.D. says:

    Gap, I agree entirely, the feel of fighting ALONGSIDE an army rather than directing it is much, much more epic.

  4. Al3xand3r says:

    Dreamlords was first launched quite a while ago and was at a horrible state. I do like their concept though and hope this relaunch will fare much better and offer a fun game.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    I guess World in Conflict would be well suited to a continuous RTS a-la Planetside.

  6. raigan says:

    Wait.. hasn’t anyone heard of Boundless Planet?!

  7. Noc says:

    I also like the idea of being able to script in standing orders. It’s something we haven’t seen in a lot of RTSs before, and it’s implementation would mean that I wouldn’t have to whore the pause button as much as I do.

    Also: is anyone else thinking Sacrifice MMO?

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    MMORTSs are the new… Oh I don’t know. But there’s suddenly a lot of them.

  9. Turin Turambar says:

    OGN, Society development was stopped, and won’t be resumend t least for a few years, they are right now with Political Machine 2008, their fantasy TBS game, and with a more active involvement in being a publisher (Sins, Demigod).

  10. Noc says:

    So I just designed a Sacrifice-esque MMO in my head. The core of the game is PVP . . . it would happen in the overworld, and include the same sort of point-capping and banishing. As opposed to entering instanced matches. But capped territory wouldn’t be permanent, and you’d have to weight traveling slowly and keeping some territory to retreat to against moving quickly and having to establish yourself if you get attacked.

    Instead of leveling you’d do instanced, PvE quests to gain access to specific spells and creatures. For instance, you’d find a town of some kind of minion, and either liberate or subjugate it. The method by which you secure the town’s control can affect how they perform: if you’ve established yourself as a tyrant, you can summon creatures for less cost, but they’ve got better morale if they see you as a rescuer. Or some such. The quests for the towns are different depending on which tact you take.

    You’d have to maintain these towns, maybe by city-building, maybe by defense. They’d be instanced, and wouldn’t be subject to PvP raiding, but every once in a while they could be attacked by NPCs, and you’d have to do a mission to defend them.

    I’m not sure what the rewards of PvP would be, or how you’d be able to have free-range fighting without worrying about ganking. But it’s a nifty idea.

  11. Testicular Torsion says:

    And what about Shattered Galaxy? Old-school MMORTS.

  12. mechazawa says:

    I came here to speak about Shattered Galaxy, too. It was basically something like a Starcraft clone, but with epic battles, unit customization, strategies, politics, and greatness.

    It kinda sunk into oblivion now, thought, which is a shame. Despite the awful graphics, it was really deep and interesting.

  13. Testicular Torsion says:

    Re: SG: It had a lot of potential, but it ended up turning me off after a while. I was more of a casual player, and there was just no way that any random mix of casual players was going to beat the hardcore, well-coordinated clans that were emerging. After a couple weeks of nothing but beatdowns, I just said “You know what? You want this planet so badly, just go ahead and take it.”, and canceled my subscription.

    I wonder how any future PvP MMORTS games will avoid this.

  14. Stromko says:

    Dreamlords also has you founding and managing cities via a browser-based overworld. Well, over-island, not world, you’d essentially control an island, choose what resources you want each city to gather (efficiency varied by location), research, and do battles that would increase your gnosis and allow you to expand. I think it may have made you island bigger after awhile (or at least your population), and you’d have to fight all sorts of critters that’d appear on your island and threaten your cities via the separate RTS client.

    It felt a bit like work to me after awhile, but I can say that about every MMORPG I’ve ever played so take that with a grain of salt.

  15. raigan says:

    BOUNDLESS PLANET!!

  16. Thingus says:

    Gap, and anyone else interested, check this article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_game
    They’re all quite old, and not RTS games per se, but there’s free conversions of one or two out there, and the code for some of them can be written in Notepad and emailed to others, so they’re great PBEM games. I think a RPS Robot Battle league would be a beautiful thing :D

  17. internisus says:

    An MMO Homeworld has been my dream for quite some time.

  18. veerus says:

    Worldshift… RPS featured a small article about it when the demo came out. That’s mmorts-ish.

  19. Gap Gen says:

    Thingus: Yeah, I heard about at least one of those. I guess one problem is that few people would have the patience to program in-depth, and MMOs live on the size of their subscriber base.

  20. Iorya Dragon says:

    Beyond Control while it has great features, but is very unpolished, from level design, models, interface and most of the game, it a good game, but needs a lot of work.

  21. Havoc says:

    Um, Lorya, pretty sure you mean Beyond Protocol there. I think I remember you from the early days, but I haven’t seen you on much lately. There have been a lot of improvements since the early days in beta, including graphics overhauls, management interfaces and the new guild features. One last thing, Beyond Protocol has no “level design” not sure what you meant there. If you mean the environments, like planets/space etc, then those have been polished as well.

    As you should all be able to tell, I play Beyond Protocol and have played the others, including Boundless Planet (raigan ;)) I love the strategy and depth of play that these titles give. It’s true that in the past, they’ve been in need of work, and I don’t think Saga’s launch was all they were hoping for, but Beyond Protocol has excellent support and a dedicated community behind it, I’m pretty sure it’ll quell everyone’s fears and make MMORTS a more widely known genre, even though it has been around since 1998…

  22. DreamLord says:

    Dream Lords has been taken over by aeria games

  23. The Dreamer says:

    No it hasn’t, Lockpick is still running their version at http://www.dreamlords.com

    They licensed it to Aeria though, as they did with Gamigo in Germany and apparently Akella in Russia too