OK Then, Pt 2: There Is A Civilization MMO Now

By Nathan Grayson on August 8th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

I want to play as a needlessly large statue

SO MANY STRANGE ANNOUNCEMENTS TODAY. What’s next? A Farming Simulator FPS? A Call of Duty art game? OK, OK, onto the actual news: Civilization is advancing into the MMO age, but not as, say, a larger-scale turn-based strategy. No, in Civilization Online, you play as a single character – one churning gear in a civilization’s massive machine of politics, science, and war. It’s not just a traditional MMO with historical trappings, though. Each server can and will end. Once one of the competing civilizations meets a victory condition, almost everything resets. The resulting sandbox of workers, fighters, researchers, and leaders, then, has to pull together or risk getting trampled by the inexorable march of history.

Massively got the full scoop, and I have to admit: Civ Online sounds downright fascinating. The goal is to explore and push your borders ever further on a map that expands week-by-week (via updates) until civilizations bump into each other. At that point, players can go to war or just go on their merry ways and try for, say, a space race victory instead.

All the while, players will be working in various careers of their choice to advance their civilization’s cause. As for who’ll do what and how, well, that’s where the sandbox element comes into play. Cities, houses, clothing, weapons, transportation, and more will all be player-made. But no nation ever made it to the top of the heap without some good old-fashioned internal squabbling, and Civ Online will have that in spades. Massively’s preview explained:

“Leaders will also emerge from the citizenry of each civilization, as necessary roles like mayor and military commander must step up to help create order and achieve objectives. There will also be mechanisms in place for players to oust ineffective or bad leaders. A civilization could forego working together to just be every man for himself, but then it wouldn’t progress and most likely would be conquered by another more organized civilization. [Executive producer] Jake Song called the game ‘a big social experiment.’”

There’ll also be familiar genre staples like leveling and crafting, but ArcheAge developer XL Games isn’t being particularly specific about how they’ll function just yet.

It all certainly sounds ambitious, but I’ll definitely need more details before I’m sold on the idea. Among other things, I’m really wondering how the game will incentivize such large-scale teamwork – not to mention what sort of tools it’ll provide to aid in necessary communication and coordination. There are, theoretically, innumerable moving parts to take into account here. My mind is all a-boggle just considering the possibilities. Hopefully we’ll get a clearer picture of how all the puzzle pieces snap together soon.

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65 Comments »

  1. staberas says:

    I dont want to live on this planet anymore.

  2. Cerzi says:

    This makes me remember A Tale in the Desert. The building part, at least.

  3. ViktorBerg says:

    Now, that’s an interesting spin. Part of me wants to yell “Yet another MMO with a gimmick!”, but another part is genuinely fascinated. If they manage to pull it off, this might be great. I’m especially interested in eventual era transitions – from stone age to classical, from classical to industrial etc.

    • Chalky says:

      I find it difficult to understand how this is going to work at all. How do you wage a war against someone who’s in a different timezone to you? I imagine the only feasible way would be to have one turn per day but that doesn’t really make sense in a game like Civ which has thousands of turns.

      • NyuBomber says:

        There’s nothing turn-based to it.

        It happens in real time “sessions,” where in each civilization starts in its own area of the map, with the rest of the map greyed out and with no contact to the other civs. Each week, more is revealed on the map for players to explore and work (playing as various classes/careers), and so on until they bump into another civ. Then they can communicate/trade/war/etc. From what we know, civs can win from either dominating militarily or completing the space race.

        Once victory is reached, a new session starts. Cities and maps appear to be restarted, and characters will have some persistence, if not retaining everything.

        As for IRL time zone differences, I assume they’d have appropriate servers to minimize that, and they’d hope players will actively be defending. EVE doesn’t appear to have a problem with it.

  4. tnzk says:

    I found a civilization online once. It was called Second Life.

    I was not impressed.

  5. gravity_spoon says:

    Turn based or GTFO

  6. Crosmando says:

    All MOBA/MMO/F2P games be burned and their players sent to concentration camps

    • gibb3h says:

      Stern, stern but fair.

    • Snarfeh says:

      As someone who plays games from the genres you mentioned, any particular reason for the hate? Granted there are some absolutely horrible games in said genres, and the playerbase is as bad as any game that involves human interaction in a videogame, but not all are sinners.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        “granted there are some horrible games”
        Are there any good games in that genre?

      • Tei says:

        The reaction of a lot of mmorpg gamers to “no trinity in everquest next” really sadden me. Is like the average MMORPG player only want one thing: Games like WoW, and hate one thing: Games like WoW. Its completelly perverse, because will attack anything different to wow, but at the same time don’t want more wow clones. Its self-defeating.

  7. petrucio says:

    Take my money!!!

  8. AngelTear says:

    If this is done correctly and the playerbase is not too bad (hard, but it may happen for a game like this) this could be a big step forward towards what I always wanted from MMOs and Multiplayer games but never quite got: Player cooperation.

    The few MMOs and all the multiplayer games I played somehow failed in that respect, unless you’re in a professional team or something. The only one that came near was PS3′s otherwise mediocre shooter MAG, which had this awesome system of command that divided people into squads and teams so that the whole faction had one objective and each squad had mini-objectives. (A little like PS2, but a lot more organized and less messy)

    I wonder how the combat would work. Automated? (I hope, or it’d take away most of the strategy) First person like Chivalry? And would it become an FPS in modern eras?

    • moondog548 says:

      I fell completely in love with the feudalism sim of Stronghold Kingdoms until I realized that the politics meta-game was completely dominated by 12 yr olds, completely ruining the whole thing. I wonder what would be different in CivO?

      Of course the “Korea only” news likely renders all hopes and dreams moot. :

      (I said “completely” a lot. heh.)

  9. Cinek says:

    hm… well… actually: This sounds better than majority of MMOs on the market.

  10. LionsPhil says:

    Oh man, I am going to run around as a tax collector specialist, hoovering up players’ money and funneling it into the treasury (so that it can be paid as bonuses to hard-working tax collectors).

  11. BenAttenborough says:

    I applaud the ambition of this, but I think it’s going to take a lot of work to make it successful. A real civilisation requires the vast majority of people doing mundane activities in order to work. We can’t all be explorers, warriors or politicians.

    Maybe if the mundane jobs are all done by computer controlled characters there could be some scope to make it work? Hmmm, we will have to wait and see.

    • GenBanks says:

      Well the mundane stuff in real life is usually ‘crafting’ in games, which a lot of people enjoy as much or more than the combat.
      My guess is that this will mostly be a crafting game…

  12. communisthamster says:

    Each server can and will end
    SOLD

  13. Screamer says:

    But how will fetch quests work?

  14. Goateh says:

    Sounds like a conflict based version of A Tale in the Desert. I wonder what time scale they’re aiming for with the victories. I can imagine frustration when a few months work is lost because that group over there were better in the first 2 weeks and gained an unassailable lead, which Civ can already be vulnerable to (at a smaller scale).

  15. lowprices says:

    Of all the games that would suit a run through the MOBA-iser, this is surely at the top. Who wouldn’t pay money to see Ghandi face off against Napoleon and Marie Antionette?

  16. Batolemaeus says:

    “Song noted: “We are inkling toward a free-to-play model.”"

    And my interest evaporated immediately. They should have just said so in the first sentence, that would’ve saved me some time.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Sadly, ditto

    • Skull says:

      Opposite for me. I hate all MMO’s ever (except for GW2, but I didn’t play that as an MMO which kind of missed the point) but from the description here, it would be worth a look into if it is F2P.

      GW2 pay for the box & cosmetic items would also be acceptable if RPS and others raved about the game but if it is going to be just “OK”, F2P is fine.

      On a side note, I hope this game doesn’t suck. Civ was the game that turned me into the no life gamer addict I am today and I have been more than happy with every single Civ iteration (especially V). I don’t really want this beloved series to go to the dogs in some ill thought out way of making some WoW cash.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Same here. This sounds like it could be cool, but F2P gimmicks will spoil the fun. I’d rather just buy the game. If it’s good maybe even sub, but preferably one time purchase.

    • Fiatil says:

      In a game that seems to be basically competitive crafting, f2p sounds about like the worst idea ever. Yeah yeah some guy in a WoW-like paying for a 60% experience boost doesn’t really affect me much, but when it’s a competitive civ vs. civ game with long term consequences and an end point? Uhhhh

  17. Bull0 says:

    Kill twelve Barbarian Warriors and return to Centurion Gaius in Rome

  18. Turkey says:

    I like that there’s some kind of weird calculated business rule that the MMO/F2P/Mobile Device/whatever lesser edition has to have that exaggerated caricature style. It’s probably “proven” to get like a 30% increase in casual players or something dumb like that.

    • Shodex says:

      Yeah, I don’t know why they do that. Every time a franchise gets a f2p/MMO entry it goes for that cartoony style. Civ V looks great with it’s realistic style, fantastic even. I guess it’s just easier/cheaper to make than a highly detailed photorealistic game, it’s likely the cause of graphics being so fancy and expensive now.

      Age of Empires did it, EverQuest is doing it, now Civ. You’d think maybe f2p games make less money and thus get lower budgets or something…

      • iridescence says:

        I think it’s that those games need to be easy to run even for the “What? I just bought a new computer in 2002! ” or “I wanna play this on my $200 Wal-Mart laptop!” crowds

        Personally, I find most catroony graphics ugly as sin and turn me off from these games more than a little but if the gameplay is really good I guess it would make up for it.

  19. KirbyEvan says:

    F2P competitive PvP Civ MMO!

    groooaaannnnn

    MAY THE TEAM WHO PAYS THE MOST WIN

    • Sunny Boy says:

      This sounds like a rather lame game indeed, but it also sounds like a great business model.
      Sure, you might not have any fun. But I think the same of Farmville etc., and they mysteriously work, too.

  20. Shazbut says:

    Finally we can experience life as an insignificant drone doing pointless busywork for a large conglomerate

    • Shodex says:

      I’d like to see a Sims MMO, where you live your boring ass life, chat with the neighbors, and go to work every day at a super market selling food to other players. Only to eventually come home to find the ladder to the pool missing after jumping in, and now with no way out you inevitable drown.

      In all seriousness though, it’d be neat to see a game try and make something eRepublik in full 3D instead of just on the browser. But I don’t trust MMO players enough to do good things with the concept.

    • Cyphran says:

      This is sort of what I was thinking as well. Everything just screamed ‘grindy’ to me. And in any video game, not just an MMO, the second anything feels that way I’m out.

    • iridescence says:

      I know you’re probably being sarcastic but I seriously do want an MMO like this (other than EVE). I’m so sick of the “OMG! You’re a big special hero! Pay no attention to these 10,000 people all running around doing the same thing as you!” design in MMOs. “Insignificant drone” makes far more sense and is actually far more interesting in these sorts of games.

  21. theoriginaled says:

    I imagine battle might work on a campaign scale. Contested areas go to whoever has the most victories etc after a certain amount of time, individual battles dont really decide anything other than tally in the greater campaign. That way it can account for the flux of people online coming and going. One civilization might be ahead in the fight for a particular area, but then their timezone goes to sleep, the next wakes up and starts picking up victories closing the gap. The area goes to the victor after a day. Just a thought. A chance for players from defeated hometowns to switch sides, etc. could be interesting to see how deep they go with this.

  22. squareking says:

    Dreamworks Studios presents Civilization Online

  23. Don Reba says:

    Dear game developers,

    Please, quit trying to hook me on MMOs. For the love of humanity, have pity. Make more short substantial games that enrich my life without taking it over — I would pay well, honest.

  24. evenflowjimbo says:

    I want to be part of the Civ that still plays with rocks. That way, when another Civ comes by in their fancy machines, I can act scared and throw my rocks at them. Not all of them, because those be my rocks.

  25. David Bliff says:

    It’s possible that wars and battles will be handled like they were in Civilization World, the Facebook game that was released a couple years ago.

  26. Captain Joyless says:

    Did everybody miss the part where this game is Asia-only? It’s not going to come out in North America, or, presumably, Europe:

    http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/08/08/civilization-online-north-america/

  27. Tei says:

    I will play in this game has a Culture Bomb. I have always wanted to be a big artist that die in a frontier city to help his civilization grown his frontiers :D

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