Should MMORPG Players Be Excited For Dark and Light?
What's an MMO player's favorite past time? If you guessed playing video games, you might be wrong. It could be argued that we enjoy the hype train more than any other type of gamer. Even your most hardened player often spends hours sifting through online forums, watching game play videos and diligently reading every word of pre-alpha newsletters to try and absorb all the little details of their potential next MMO overlord.
The rush is better than Christmas morning when we get our grubby paws on a beta key. We know the next four or five hours will likely be struggling through technical issues and server crashes, but c'mon, we're practically game devs at this point. So charitable, so patient.
But in some games, after we scrape away the issues we can make excuses for, in creeps the crushing realization that this game was not the game it was portrayed to be. Sure, our expectations often outpace reality, and early access should be a launching point, not an endzone. There is, however, a fair share of flat out lying done in game marketing, and sometimes it's enough to tank the fledgling MMO all together.
My new obsession of choice, Dark and Light, came across my radar as an open world, survival MMORPG. True to a seasoned MMO player's nature, I was hesitant to get involved, and then quickly wound up completely engrossed. Among the promised features was a massive realm, no quests, plenty of tamable pets and mounts, non-instanced housing, purely action combat, interactive biomes and intelligent AI.
Do I think all of these lofty promises will make the cut? No, I know better. Even half of them, combined with the survival aspect they seem to prioritize, will make for an interesting MMO. Unfortunately, the primary concern only a few months before (a delayed) early access, is that this game will not actually be an MMO.
When the Steam page launched, the community (and us spectators) were all pretty excited to pop over and scrutinize it into oblivion. The glaring issue, quickly realized, was that it was now listed as multiplayer co-op. Quickly following, Snail Games published a news story referring to Dark and Light as an online survival RPG and just a few days ago released a Q&A explaining that Dark and Light was not, in fact, an MMO.
Bad News Beaver/Bear
Is this bad news? At first, it really seemed like it. No MMO player wanted another DayZ or Ark. We like permanent, well-established, developer controlled servers, the opportunity to meet a new player around every corner and the dream of standing out among thousands. But, if you dig a little deeper, even though they did falsely label their game as an MMO early on, they still claim they will be running their own servers as such.
Dark and Light's server player cap is announced as somewhere between 70 and 500. Ok, I'll bite, this could be an incredible experience. But how could it possibly work? Even at 500, what's the guarantee a Snail Games run server won't be a ghost town in a month or so. The amount of server combinations and regulation required when the cap is so small could be astronomical.
The quality of game required to pull off such a feat is a high bar. With only a few game play videos and pretty low community interaction, it's questionable whether the game will warrant the player base to host their own servers and create an MMO like experience.
The good news is that Dark and Light is actually a remake of an MMO Snail Games retained the rights to over a decade ago. This game has been worked on for a very long time. The content we do have available is polished and exciting, and they have clearly stated that the small server sizes will grow as their capabilities do. If they deliver, I actually appreciate the fact that they have kept their progress so under wraps.
Whether you should invest your hopes and dreams really depends on what kind of MMO player you are. This is the type of game that may appeal to those that enjoyed the overwhelming and fluid nature of Archage as opposed to a WoW veteran. Sinking into the world at early access will take some effort and, likely, some friends.
Will you be picking up Dark and Light for early access? Should there be a GameSkinny guild? Do you have any other MMO-ish games that you're excited about in 2017? Let us know in the comments section below