Also Notchian: Scrolls Details, Video

By Jim Rossignol on August 29th, 2011 at 9:31 am.


Or should that be Mojangian? Probably, as this is information from exciting Jakob Porser, rather than boring old Notch. And will it still be called Scrolls after the Bethesda lawyer-machine is done with it? I don’t. I just don’t know. What I do know is that details have emerged about how the game will work (via VG247). Speaking at PAX the Scrolls designer explained that the game would allow players to sign into a persistent character from a number of formats, including a browser. Although exact pricing hasn’t been settled, the game will apparently feature a subscription that delivers new scrolls to you each month, while unwanted scrolls can be auctioned away, microtransaction-style in the game’s auction house.

Confused about what it all means? Have a read of our preview. (New Scrolls teaser video below!)

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54 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    AlwaysRight says:

    Scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls! Quick, use them up before Bethesda takes them away.

    • Khemm says:

      In before Bethsda trademark the term “game”. Assholes.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Yes @frightlever, but I don’t think freedom of information is Bethesda’s game. It’s a squabble over the ownership of a word in the context of videogames (how anyone can buy that right is beyond me, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue).

    • Unaco says:

      @Khemm

      Bethesda haven’t trademarked the word game, and are unlikely to do so. They also haven’t trademarked “Scrolls”, a single word. That’s what Mojang are attempting to do… Mojang are attempting to trademark a single word.

      Bethesda have taken exception to this, because “Scrolls”, that single word, is already used in one of their trademarks in the Video Game field, and it’s a pretty unique word in the field of Video Games. It’s not like “Space” or “Star” or “Night”. I think TES and this Mojang game are the only 2 I can think of that use it. IF Mojang are allowed to trademark Scrolls, it could threaten Bethesda’s current trademark of “The Elder Scrolls”… that thing where if you don’t defend it, it sets precedent.

      So, to repeat, Bethesda are NOT trying to trademark “Scrolls”, a single word in the English language. Mojang ARE trying to trademark “Scrolls”, a single word. Bethesda are trying to prevent that.

    • BurningPet says:

      Really? that sound totally different then what was said even here on RPS. if thats true, bethseda deserve every credit for trying to stop that act.

      About the game – looks boring.

    • Jumwa says:

      Notch did admit he submitted a trademark petition for the word “Scrolls”. And that was what triggered the lawsuit. He also admitted his trademark law research consisted of a quick google search.

      I’m always quick to (shamelessly) side with the little guy, but upon further inspection it seems like Notch just provoked Bethesda into action by trying to supersede their trademark.

    • Unaco says:

      Third time I’ve tried to post this…

      Here’s a quote from an RPS article on this:
      “Notch reveals that this all happened shortly after Mojang tried to trademark ‘Scrolls’, which rang alarm bells for the rights-holders of The Elder Rolled-Up Papers.”
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/08/bethesda-and-notchs-scrolls-off-explained/

      Bethesda didn’t object when the game was announced, and when it was called “Scrolls”, when it was talked about on websites and blogs etc. It was when Mojang tried to trademark the word that Bethesda stepped in. Also, follow the link in that article to Jas Purewal’s blog. He is a Lawyer, and he discusses the case quite eloquently.

    • Xocrates says:

      Yeah, it’s not like bethesda is associated with a company that owns trademarks into single words like Doom and Rage

    • Jumwa says:

      Plenty of companies own single word trademarks. Is this news to everyone?

    • Starky says:

      It amazes me how people just don’t have a sodding clue on this issue, despite it been explained over and over, and over again in past comment threads, and twice right above here…

      It’s not about Bethesda wanting to own scrolls, or about other game companies owning 1 word trademarks… It is about Bethesda trying to prevent another company from gaining a trademark that supersedes and damages their own. Simple as that.
      Notch is borderline trolling them, and acting like a fucking child, he’s threatening a companies billion dollar trademark and hasn’t the good sense to apologize and withdraw his application.

      Hell Bethesda probably don’t give a shit if he calls his game Scrolls or not – if he asked them they’d have probably given him free usage in writing (because by doing so they’d both protect and enforce their trademark), but by Notch trying to trademark “scrolls” (the stand out and fairly unique [in gaming] term in their 3 word “the elder scrolls” trademark), notch is actively threatening Bethesda’s future business.

      I just don’t understand how anyone could side with Notch at all, when this is all his own fault, and his own doing. Frankly I wish Bethesda would call him out for the dick he clearly is – but they won’t as that would damage them in court – and Notch is doing well enough himself showing how much of a petulant child he is.

    • Watered-Down says:

      Please clear this up internet lawyers;

      How can a copyright/trademark on a game called “Scrolls” do anything besides protect them from someone naming their game “Scrolls”, trademarking a name is not the same thing as trademarking a word is it? Obviously Bethesda felt threatened but I don’t see why they would.

    • Jumwa says:

      Quite true, Starky.

      Unfortunately, Bethesda’s playing things by the book, responding to the move against them and waiting things out for the (likely) inevitable court battle.

      Notch, however, is blabbing and ensuring his own legal defeat to win the court of public opinion.

      It’s annoying watching him tweak gamers to get them all riled up on his behalf when this seems to be a problem of his own creation that never would’ve arose had he simply not tried to trademark the word “Scrolls”.

    • Unaco says:

      @Watered-Down,

      Here is a real lawyer, explaining just that…

      http://www.gamerlaw.co.uk/2011/08/trademark-troubles-bethesda-v-mojang.html

      “There’s one more key aspect about trade marks you need to know: once you have one, you need to enforce it. There’s no point claiming a particular word or phrase etc is vital to your business if you then let everyone use it indiscriminately (that’s how the Hoover Company lost their trade marks over their Hoover vacuum cleaners, because they allowed it to become a generic, generally used phrase to describe vacuum cleaners). If you don’t protect your trade mark, you risk losing it. This is why we see these kinds of legal letters flying around from time to time.”

      If Beth let Mojang trademark “Scrolls”, they will have been seen to not protect their trademark (“The Elder Scrolls”). It’s unlikely, but this could lead to that trademark being challenged, and them losing it.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Notch, being Swedish, may not have the same understanding of copywrite law however.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      So why aren’t Sega, makers of the Streets of Rage series, suing id over Rage?

  2. CaspianRoach says:

    Nice music. Card games on a PC though is not a concept I would define as exciting and interesting.

    • Selifator says:

      Have you tried Six Gun Saga, it’s a really interesting card game. Also Armageddon Empires and Solium Infernum.

    • Jumwa says:

      But what about a card game on the PC with lots of new and interesting ways to get you to spend more money? Just like in real life?!

      Yeah I’m not the slightest bit interested either.

      I suppose the interesting thing here to me is that it seems the Court of Public Opinion has made its snap decision, and will be damned if it ever wavers from that. Bethesda is found guilty of being the big guy vs. the little guy, all other complicating evidence that indicates things aren’t so simple shall not be heard.

    • wu wei says:

      Bethesda is found guilty of being the big guy vs. the little guy, all other complicating evidence that indicates things aren’t so simple shall not be heard.

      Really? Because there seem to be a hell of a lot of you who pipe up with “Notch is to blame!” every single time this issue comes up. Is there an option for hiding that that I’ve missed somewhere?

  3. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    >Or should that be Mojangian?

    Mojängad. It’s like Sweded, only more so.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      No, that’s a verb, “notchian” is an adjective. The word you’re looking for is “Mojängsk”.

    • CMaster says:

      Actually, I think Notchian/Mojangian was intended to be a possessive noun.

  4. man-eater chimp says:

    Is it just me or did that video make no sense at all…

    • atticus says:

      This video was hastily made after their original trailer, featuring infinite dragons and cat-people, was put on hold.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Drawings, drawing drawings? It’s worse than puppets and real food!

      I like the art though, and ‘Coming eventually’ teased a smirk from my cold, dead lips, chapped by bitterness and cynicism after a hundred useless teaser trailers.

  5. Eclipse says:

    I’d call the article “Not The Elder: Scrolls Details, Video” :P

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Or perhaps ‘The younger Scrolls’?

      -edit- There’s little we know about this game, but it doesn’t seem to be particularly noteworthy so far.

  6. kwyjibo says:

    Just read the preview.

    Minecraft and other unfocused sandboxes bore the crap out of me, but it sounds like these guys actually know what they’re doing – and that minecraft wasn’t just a one off.

    This thing sounds like a money machine, it sounds like something Zynga might have come up with, and in a good way. There have been attempts to bring CCGs onto PCs before, but none that I recall went for a subscription model, and none with an auction house. Their ongoing updates will keep players engaged, and their payment model will turn it into a recurring revenue cash cow, with significantly better margins than companies which actually have to print cards.

    To all the other indies out there – stop making multiplayer only shooters that don’t fucking sell to anyone.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Something Zynga would come up with.. ‘in a good way’? Does.. not.. compute!

  7. Kollega says:

    Auction scrolls away? How? What does that mean – players selling them to other players? For other scrolls or for real-life money?

    Not really that interested in the game itself, though. One of the draws of collectible card games, as i see it, is that you get actual physical cards to toy around with. But on the other hand, here you might get pretty animations and statistics… eh, i guess CCGs simply aren’t my cup of tea.

    • Chris D says:

      “I think the relative lack of comments says it all. ”

      From my extensive study of RPS comment numbers I think mostly what this says is that this post does not mention piracy, DRM, sexism, homophobia or that publisher X is rubbish.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Frightlever – you do not need an annual revenue of ~$5M for this to be profitable.

  8. jeremypeel says:

    Sounds like a big investment, especially when something like Card Hunter seems far better fitted to my tastes. Man, am I excited about that game. More power to Mojang though, mos def.

  9. Unaco says:

    What a stupid name for a game.

  10. poop says:

    I for one am incredibly excited for a microtransaction based pretend card game made by an obese lazy swede with a gigantic ego

    • Lazaruso says:

      You chose that username to reflect the quality of your posts, right? You chose well, my friend.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      @poop I can only assume you mean Jakob, not Notch, since Notch has very little direct involvement with this game’s development. That, or that you are illiterate.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Poop I am locking your account. Your comments are not okay.

    • sinister agent says:

      RPS: Tough on poop, tough on the causes of poop.

  11. Mr_Initials says:

    I am glad it is coming eventually, it gives me some certainty in my life

  12. mwoody says:

    So are we sure this will be microtransaction based? If it had a monthly subscription with no other options for individual purchases, and you could only trade cards with other players for other cards or an entirely virtual currency (no cashing out), it might catch my interest again. The idea of everyone who plays getting X number of cards per month, then trading them with each other to get their preferred decks, sounds pretty amusing in a way that “pay X dollars for virtual booster packs!” doesn’t.

  13. shdw says:

    i can’t wait to see how this game becomes something fairly mediocre and proves that the success of minecraft was pure luck. i have nothing against the guy but i think that minecraft is massively overrated and i very much doubt that he’ll be able to repeat the success with scrolls.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Fortunately for him, he doesn’t need a repeat success.

    • shdw says:

      hehe thats true. gamers do want that tho, right?

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Also worth noting again. It’s not Notch’s game, it’s mostly Jakob and Jnkboy working on it, with some help from Jeb (who seems to be a rather busy guy, since he’s doing work on both Minecraft and Cobalt).

    • terry says:

      I’d say its in line with their “make games they’d like to play” philosophy. Not being a CCG fan I’m not sure what this one brings to the table, but I’m sure they’ll find a niche for it.

    • wu wei says:

      Is your own life really that miserable that you can only wish misfortune on others? Are you really that bitter over his success? Did it ever occur to you that Notch got to where he is by doing something more than tear down the accomplishments of others on online forums.

      i think that minecraft is massively overrated

      Yeah, what would the 3 million buyers of the game know about good gameplay, right? Thank god we’ve got people like you to remind us that gaming is about being miserable and petty rather than enjoying something novel and fun.

      gamers do want that tho, right?

      Because subsequent failures from Mojang would retroactively mean that Minecraft wasn’t fun? What?

      I would say the Notch-haters are far more invested in the success/fail status of Scrolls than any of the Minecraft players, especially given the genre differences in the two games. If Scrolls sucks, it will takes nothing away from Minecraft but I’ve no doubt it’ll get added to the sacks of feces-to-fling by the detractors.

  14. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    Online only! Micro-transaction auction house!

    Mojang is clearly the enemy du jour :p

    (Looking forward to this one!)

    • d32 says:

      Irony, sarcasm and all this out of the way:
      Yes, they are. Delivering game content based on regular payments? Fuck off.
      (They have us spoiled with Minecraft doing exactly opposite – regular content, one time payment)

  15. MythArcana says:

    Yeah, subscription-based format. I’m out.

  16. WPUN says:

    Y’all have to read the comments in the Ars Tech post about the Scrolls video. It’s milk-spurting hilarious.

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/08/trailer-for-scrolls-from-minecraft-developers-released-at-pax-prime.ars?comments=1#comments-bar

  17. Bilbo says:

    Looks rubbish. Just because they made minecraft doesn’t make me automatically interested in this. Going to need to do more than just stick the Mojang label on it.

    • wu wei says:

      Why does every single game in the world have to target _you_ as its audience?

      What compels people to let us know that they don’t want something? Can’t you just move along and ignore it?

  18. SpiderJerusalem says:

    I find myself being much more interested in that other CCG that RPS has been giving coverage too.

    The one where, in the interview, the developer directly states that he’s going to avoid a subscription-based card release model.

    I like that bit.