Dark, Dark Wood: Salem Teaser Is Spooky

By Jim Rossignol on August 19th, 2011 at 5:02 pm.

Is pipe smoking going to lead to perma-death?
Salem – the forthcoming free-to-play crafting MMO from Paradox – has teased us with its first teaser, which you can see below. It’s apparently a taste that’s just getting the essence of the game across, and in that regard looks pretty interesting, especially when you consider the feature list: open PvP combat with perma-death, crafting and building as core mechanics, as well as being free. Now we can add “Being Cute” and “Being Spooky” to that list. I’ve also reposted the video of the developers talking about their idea for the game, so you can refresh your thoughts on it, because I think Salem could be genuinely interesting.


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52 Comments »

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  1. Tmoore says:

    Wow – actually, i really like this idea… quite a bit.

  2. nimzy says:

    I’ve been waiting and hoping against hope I might hear some news about this. Salem’s the brainchild of a particularly talented duo, and was spawned from their previous MMO experiment Haven and Hearth. It looks promising: every gain is hard-won and worth celebrating, the environment is lethal, and your fellow players are more dangerous than the wildlife.

  3. xavdeman says:

    Will it have dinosaurs?

  4. Boozebeard says:

    Those animations are awful.

    • imirk says:

      Wait. What? Where were these animations you speak of?

    • Boozebeard says:

      The horses, and the man walking into the forest and the weird creature that followed him…

    • enobayram says:

      That’s a joke, and I’m just biting it right?

    • Text_Fish says:

      I believe it’s called Artistic License. I understand it’s fairly uncomon in these days of hyper-realistic military shooters, but I assure you it’s a real thing and nothing to be scared of.

    • Nallen says:

      Artistically bad? They just are a bit ropey, but it’s only a trailer. Not judging.

  5. sneetch says:

    Open PvP combat with permanent death. Really?

    Sounds like a nightmare/griefers paradise. For me they’re pretty much the same.

    • huw says:

      Don’t panic! I’m pretty sure I’ve read somewhere that the way it’s being implemented is that killing another player will be murder!, and quite rare, and subject to stiff punishment if the killer is caught.

      I really hope I didn’t just imagine that. I’ll try and dig out a link later.

    • Arona Daal says:

      I remember,back at the beginnings of Time itself,i was playing a MUD/MUSH which had the same Mechanics.
      It was usually solved by the Fact that Killers never survived long enough to get high level Characters,and there was always a good Highlevel Character available & willing to punish the wicked.

      Sad thing that Mmorpgs (usually) never try to copy the more inspired Game mechanics of MUD/MUSHS.

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      dirtyword says:

      I shall play a Columbo class… investigating player murders.

    • sneetch says:

      @huw
      Well killing another player is murder. Killing their characters is what I’m talking about. ;)

      The problem is if someone and their similarly assholeish friends can quickly create a mob of low level characters, go on a killing spree with them and log out before the hue-and-cry gets organised. They can delete the characters or keep them for future acts of assholeism. It’s even worse if they can then log in with their main characters and benefit from the carnage somehow.

    • huw says:

      Well I’m sure (OK, hope) the devs are thinking ways around that. I think I read that the act of murder itself will only be accessible to a few who train up to it. And of course, there are plenty of ways they can implement systems to make catching them a realistic possibility. As Arona Daal pointed out, there are (or at least were) plenty of MUDs that handled this really well.

      I really must find that link…

      Edit: Ah, here’s part of what I read. Choice quote:

      “Salem is a free-to-play MMO game that is going to add something new to the genre with the concept of generations rather than just a single character through the game,” said Tom Söderlund, Project Lead for Paradox Connect. “If your character is killed in the game, and believe me it can be dangerous in Salem, their descendent has the ability to pick up where your character left off. The concept of revenge and towns policing themselves and even sanctioning hits on griefers is going to be a really compelling aspect. We know we’ll see some interesting things when the community finally has a chance to play Salem later this year.”

      http://www.paradoxplaza.com/press/2011/2/salem-free-to-play-mmorpg-game-officially-announced

    • Zenicetus says:

      Those are interesting ideas about controlling griefers. On the other hand, I don’t know how well it will work in a game where the art style seems designed to attract kids, which are usually the core griefer demographic in MMO’s.

      Townies gathering together to sanction a “hit” on a griefer, also doesn’t sound too much different from normal guild politics on a PvP server.

    • Arglebargle says:

      They get bonus points for trying new stuff. If they can actually pull it off, I’ll be impressed.

      Still, their set up seems a clarion call for asshat greifers. Those folks aren’t playing the same game as everyone else, theirs is the ruin-someone’s-day game.

    • malkav11 says:

      That’s not so much a “compelling aspect” as it is the reason I will never, ever play this game. I can see how the two could be confused, though.

      And FWIW, EVERY open PvP game relies on player policing. It’s never anywhere near as effective as hardcoded mechanics.

  6. theleif says:

    That’s how a comic writer looks, not a game designer. I am confused.

  7. danimalkingdom says:

    The ‘Last of The Mohicans’ meets John Carpenter soundtrack sounds like a good direction to go.

    Despite what little it really shows i can’t help but be excited about what this game could do.

  8. BadHat says:

    That’s the most tonally confused trailer I’ve seen in a while. Horror music set to a Fable-looking forest/village and some stuff walking around. WOOOOOOOOOO! Oh no here come the violins… THE CRAFTING MMO?! HOLD ME MUMMY.

    Also is it just me or is that “No! No!” near the start literally a zombie from HL2?

  9. Lemming says:

    I’m intrigued by this, but the in-game currency buying sounds ominous Considering how free-form everything else is (perma-death, building, farming etc) it sounds player-economy driven, which is the last place you want purchasable currency, surely?

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    sendmark says:

    Sounds absolutely fascinating. Great artstyle as well, mixing cute with gothic. In a way seems to also sum up the gameplay, a real peaceful crafting game but with open pvp.

  11. Cerzi says:

    I wrote about how using generations/bloodlines would be the best solution to MMO permadeath way back in 2004, damn my lethargic self.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I dunno…. Does your descendent get to inherit your dead character’s stuff? Do you get to keep whatever skills were developed in hours of playing the dead character? If the answer to either one is “no,” then it’s essentially the same as permadeath. You’re starting over from scratch.

      If the answer is “yes,” then it’s not really any different from a graveyard run in WoW, except you’ll probably have to waste some time in a character body/face edit screen before continuing play.

      With something in-between and tweaked for balance, it could maybe work. Like inheriting just some of your stuff, and a few of the skills, but not a complete reboot. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.

    • huw says:

      Well, it depends how the game is weighted in favour of skills versus stuff, doesn’t it? Yes, your descendants will inherit the house/land/stuff, so it’s a question of how much emphasis is also placed on skills. I’m still fairly optimistic at this point. I mean, there’s no way the developers haven’t considered what’s being pointed out here.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Haven & Hearth, the precursor to this, already has inheritance after death. You can even decide between inheriting more skills (“tradition”) and faster experience gain for your current character (“change”).

      You’ll lose a lot of skills either way, but stuff is more important generally.

    • Cerzi says:

      Well my idea was that each generation, potential skill caps were increased/decreased based on how you played the game with previous characters. There was also the option of “mixing genepools” to create future characters with more diverse skills available.

      The basic idea was to have pretty easy-to-obtain skillcaps, but the more you play using certain skills, the higher the relevant caps become. So it’s pretty different to either extreme of total permadeath or none.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ Cerzi: That mixing of gene pools sounds cool, but for every cool idea, there’s a player wanting to game the system.

      Unless the game is coded pretty carefully to avoid optimized, min-maxing builds, I could see players choosing to die intentionally at certain points in each character’s development to put together their ideal late-game uber build. So it would depend on a bunch of balancing factors. Still a cool idea, though.

    • Cerzi says:

      Indeed, but there’s enough experience of gaming/min-maxing MMOs to be able to foresee a lot of potential problems. At least, it generally doesn’t take a lot of thought amongst experienced players to iron out the biggest potential loopholes in a system. As for min-maxing, it’s pretty inevitable – the key is to make it so players are minmaxing a “perceived” optimum rather than a proven one.

  12. Zarunil says:

    You have my attention. I hope RPS will follow this project.

    Ooo, shiny!

  13. Dawngreeter says:

    Unexpected. Interesting. Bold.

    Who knew those words would ever go with an MMO title. The future is here.

    • Cerzi says:

      Yeah, it’s good to see developers finally returning to the philosophies that the original MMOs/MUDs began with a decade ago.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Every tech generation, as applied to gaming, goes through the same process of reinventing the wheel. Every time new tech emerges, Tetris happens. I’m still waiting for computer gaming to reach the point indie tabletop RPGs were at a decade ago.

  14. Bubbles says:

    Most of these comments makes me laugh so hard but at the same time they disgust me. Surely enough the tables will never be turned.

    1980:
    – Casual Gamer: “Man look at my high score in Pac Man, I actually made it to the 200th level!”

    -Hardcore Gamer: “Almost made it all the way down the dungeon but then a rat killed me, ohh well, another day another world” (Rogue)

    2011:
    – Casual Gamer: “All of you are f_cking faggot a_s noobs, I killed you all only with a knife and never once called my gunship!” (CoD:BO)

    -Hardcore Gamer: “These are why my kingdom never last:
    1) My people starved to death during the winter
    2) Urist mined into an underground river, drowning my underground colony
    3) A goblin siege my town
    4) My crops died and the trading caravan didn’t made it into time for my people to buy food from
    5) Magma erupted and flowed through the entire map killing and destroying everything
    6) An elf siege
    And so on” (Candya$$es will never figure this out, which is btw the most realistic empire/town/city/nation building game)

    Even though Salem or HnH (Candy@sses play farmville, serious players play HnH) isn’t hardcore, probably this is too intense for casuals

    • Methelod says:

      Please do explain, I’m far from a casual gamer but I’m afraid that I don’t know every single game and is clearly a “candyass” because I don’t know every game on the internet, but do explain what your talking about? It sounds like Dwarf Fortress, but the initials for that are DF and not HnH.

      Edit: Found out what it was, still doesn’t mean you need to be an arse.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      If you lose in Dwarf Fortress you are an imbecile in my eyes.

      No, you are the real casual.

      Edit: Wait, I take it back. You are so hardcore that you still play the 2D version. All is forgiven.

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      You know with all the arrogance and rudeness in your post, I think you’re in the wrong place…

      Shouldn’t you be screaming obscenities at people on XBox Live or something?

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      JB says:

      What? Seriously, what?

    • HeavyHarris says:

      …What?

  15. mkblin says:

    top film and nice see pictures ,shopping
    http://goo.gl/bE88E thanks ……………………………………..

  16. voidburn says:

    In UO the game balanced itself, grievers were dealt with in an organized manner. It beats any for of PvP that players are used to in modern games, and the guy in the interview is absolutely right, nothing feels like earning due justice. With modern features as quasi-instant respawn, no loss of gear / belongings, it makes no sense and grieving become actually worse.

    Go ask a bunch of grievers what it felt like when they met a horde of upset and retribution thirsty players that pillaged their “hard earned” treasures. The sub-game alone of hide and seek that emerged from this was pure adrenaline pumping through veins. Discovering where they held the loot, organizing the attack, executing it, and making sure their identities were unmasked and exposed (in order to keep them away from the public areas of the game). The karma system in UO was an absolute delight, wanna be a bad guy? Ok, here’s how the game will work for you, and it won’t be anything like the rest. Living outside the law was hard, and only the best could handle it.

    Ah, the olden times, no wonder everything feels blah today. We’ll see what this games turns to be.

    • endintears says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m hoping Salem’s mechanics will be able to recover some of that old UO magic.

    • MadMatty says:

      Yeah we want UO style MMO´s back not this infinite WoW-rehash jungle.

    • Ruffian says:

      agreed. As someone who loves rpgs but hates mmos because of all the constant ai grinding. it just seems like you spend all this time building up a badass just to run around in fancy lookin armour and chat with ppl. I want real live combat and conflict. and I want my victory/defeat to matter. Strategic style. no manshooty.

    • Unopius says:

      Haven & Hearth, older MMO from the Salem team, is entirely player-driven and has permadeath. The forums are full of stories of thievery, murders, and revenge, and having myself participated in a few tense situations I agree that it’s immense experience.

      So yeah, I’m looking towards Salem.

  17. haihaiq says:

    i love this game,i hope we can supply for our
    shoping…..
    http://bit.ly/n6SVQy

  18. eselinks says:

    I can’t wait for the new assasins creed to come out apparently it is going to be the best one yet I am going to buy this and MW3.

    http://www.newlyreleasedgamesreview.com

  19. evenflowjimbo says:

    They had me at free-to-play. And will lose me when I see the cash shop.

  20. Turkey says:

    Can’t wait to build my first witch house