I cannot be sure where I first got wind of this game, but some time in the last 5 or 6 days, The Repopulation, by first-time indie developer Above & Beyond Technologies, got my attention. Then I forgot about it. Then a guy on Twitter posted about putting money in their Kickstarter and I began to consider doing the same. As I noted in previous blog posts (here and here), I have been frustrated by conventional MMORPG developers who have neglected to include immersive and rewarding RPG elements in their games, but have elected instead to try (futilely) to make kill quests more fun. I even made a Mortal: Online account just to see if one the better known indie sandboxes had anything to offer me by comparison. The lack of polish in that game made me want to log off every five minutes (example). However, what I did realize while playing Mortal is that I prefer the freedom of character development sandbox MMORPGs theoretically offer, but not more than I like contrived motivational guidance provided by quests in theme park MMORPGs. Inconceivably, the team behind The Repopulation read my mind, four years ago, before I even had those thoughts.
The Repopulation is being developed as a science-fiction based, “sand-park” MMORPG that will be free-to-play and is projected for a 4th quarter 2013 release. The most ambitious facet of the jewel Above & Beyond is cutting is their questing system. They are implementing a system with dynamic quest availability that will give players anything but a predictable experience. It will supposed adapt quest offerings to the static traits of the NPC like faction and personality, but also the dynamic traits like mood and the dilemma they are experiencing when you deal with them. The missions will find the player and bring them to the NPC, eliminating the mindless quest farming with which all MMORPG players are acquainted. There is no way that I can discuss the system without pinning my hopes and dreams to it subjectively, the ways suckers did with President Obama. So I invite you to click on the link earlier in this paragraph. I can only hope that they squash the bugs inherent with the kind of anarchy they are fostering.
Speaking of anarchy, there are two official factions, but that does not stop players from creating their own. Players will be able to form nations, The Repopulation’s adaptation of guilds, and build entire cities in this game. Forget mere player housing; This game will also allow players to craft barracks, defensive towers, harvesting centers, and shops. Interestingly, players who align themselves with the official factions have their protection in secure areas while players who align themselves with rogue nations are basically flagged for PvP all of the time. It is another option for players will enable them to play the game the way they want.
Additionally, The Repopulation is not solely a combat-based progression game. From what it looks like, being able to kill well in the game is a primary focus. However, the use of diplomacy and intimidation also open up additional ways to accomplish goes and level up skills. Talking to NPCs will provide players options and branching paths though missions objectives that will be determined by player choices. Players who have developed their diplomacy may receive a greater array of options in a conversation with an NPC. The developers also promise a deep trade skill system which will no doubt lead to thriving, competitive economy if the game gains the player-base to support it. Furthermore, if a nation has dozens or scores of cities, there must be mayor and council men to run them. There are leadership skills in the game built to enhance that role.
It sounds too good to be true. I have been looking at videos and digging up as many articles about The Repopulation as I could be bothered to and all of it paints the picture of a revolutionary MMORPG. I have no idea how something so ambitious and made by such a small group of unpaid hobbyists could possibly not fail. I have no opinion of their use of the HeroEngine that is running behind SW:TOR and was used early on in the development of Elder’s Scrolls: Online.