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Reviews of the MMO "Outside." - Elf M. Sternberg
Reviews of the MMO "Outside."
I recently read two reviews of the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game "Outside," which has some of the best graphics and great socialization capabilities, but is remarkably ill-tuned in terms of developer interest. Some of the rules are just incredibly unfair.

This mostly positive review notes
The physics system is note-perfect (often at the expense of playability), the graphics are beyond comparison, the rendering of objects is absolutely beautiful at any distance, and the player's ability to interact with objects is really limited only by other players' tolerance. The real fundamental problem with the game is that there is nothing to do.

The respawn rate of objects and players is ridiculously slow. A dead player can expect to wait for years to respawn, and will be set back to zero assets and a tiny, nearly helpless form. Death is hardcore, and resurrection all but impossible.

In terms of the social environment, almost anything goes. Outside has a vast network of guilds, many of its players are active participants in designing the game's social environment, and almost any player will be able to find company to undertake their desired group quests. On the other hand, gold-buying is rife, the outskirts of virtually every city zone in the game are completely overrun by farmers, and the developers have so far proven themselves reluctant to answer petitions, intervene in inter-player disputes, or nerf broken skills and abilities. Indeed this reviewer will go so far as to say that the developers are absent from the game entirely, and have left it to its own devices. Fortunately, server uptime has been 100% from day 1, despite there being only one server for literally billions of players.
On the other hand, Thudfactor doesn't like it:
Although there's no monthly fee, almost everything requires payment. Accessing many of the zones costs money. All forms of travel above a walk cost money. Earning money costs money (they're called taxes) and paying for things costs extra money (also called taxes). Even sitting and doing nothing is expensive, since you are required to "eat" several times a day. And if you want to store any reasonable quantity of food or possessions you have to get the "Inside" expansion – which is where most of the breathtakingly huge monthly fees are hidden.

Speaking of safety, despite the hostility of many of the players and the depth of the PvP system, it's considered bad form to attack anyone except under very strict, very controlled circumstances. This is apparently because getting killed in the game actually removes you from the game forever. What genius thought that one up?
What fascinates me however, is how close the comments for these two reviews are from being not so tongue-in-cheek.

There's a scene in 01011001, in the chapter "Liquid Eternity," where several characters debate "going Outside," and one goes for it to see what it was like to be made of meat once more. (It's a rather banal and drudging experience, he discovers.) That's a lot like what these reviews feel like: the writers are one step away from wishing they could do away with "Outside" forever: there are better worlds, with more interesting environments and fairer rules.

I could see something like this a century from now, only not tongue in cheek. This looks like great fodder for a book.

Current Mood: giggly giggly
Current Music: Ali Project, Noble Daughter

3 comments or Leave a comment
heofmanynames From: heofmanynames Date: April 3rd, 2008 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Not totally apropos, but I can't help it:

E.M. Forster, "The Machine Stops"
elfs From: elfs Date: April 3rd, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Not totally apropos, but I can't help it:

Totally one of my favorite stories of all time.
heofmanynames From: heofmanynames Date: April 3rd, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Not totally apropos, but I can't help it:

figured it would be - if not already, then soon...read it more than a dozen times, still get goosebumps when I think about it.
3 comments or Leave a comment