“It’s like Minecraft but…” I always feel lazy and petulant saying this. Have we reached a point where we should come up with an actual name? We don’t say “Doom clone” any more (or update it to “CoD clone”), do we? Seems to me this’ll happen one of two ways: one Minecraftbut will be popular yet different enough for comparisons to seem strained, or Minecraftbuts will become established enough that no one cares everyone’s tweaking the same blueprint. Maybe not quite yet.
Meet Oort Online. It’s like Minecraft but servers are connected to each other by portals, and it’s got fancier effects layered over its voxel landscapes. And it’s a lot more expensive to play right now.
The grand vision for Oort is oodles of distinct worlds with giant monsters to hunt, ruins to plunder, shops to run, and so very many things to craft and build. Creating portals lets players into other worlds (servers) which have different landscapes and conditions, and different blocks and species to swipe. It’s a grand vision, but relies on Guildford-based devs Wonderstruck Games getting money to add all these things. Right now, it’s a multiplayer landscape with digging and building.
Features like those combat, crafting, farming, creatures, and those vaunted portals are split up into modules, and players vote to decide which the devs will tackle next. While this does mean folks know exactly what they’re paying for, should funding run dry it’d leave big features missing entirely rather than just a bit shoddy. That’s unremarkable in this crowdfunded, Early Access age, but if I could control my eyebrows independently, I would raise one at the pricing.
$95 (£56) gets you access right now, while $50 (£30) offers alpha access in “early 2015,” it’s $25 (£15) for beta access in “mid 2015,” or $15 (£9) for a copy once the game’s finished, which is estimated as “late 2015.” Star Citizen and Elite‘s high prices work because they target old people who long for a taste of The Good Old Days and have proper jobs to afford it. A lot of Minecraft’s fanbase is littluns who, well, can already play Minecraft with all their friends.