Yesterday I desperately asked the internet to hand me a game to play because I don’t have my meat hooks deeply embedded in the community like I had in the past. Indie developers obliged and I began sorting through the games to search for something I found interesting. The one that caught my eye, Skullbox Labs’ ‘Blue Saga,’ was described as an Indie MMORPG.
The whole existence of indie MMO’s suggests a difficult uphill climb. Indie games are not consistently reaching a wide audience and part and parcel to the MMO experience is the feeling of a large and varied community. Successes in this genre have been few and far between. ‘Realm of the Mad God’ comes to mind, but I can’t name one other off-hand. So, I found myself asking if an indie MMO could possibly be successful.
So, putting aside my premature notions, I booted up ‘Blue Saga’, joined the Swedish server, and created a tiny wolf creature who uses a nifty slingshot. I was instantly popped into a little inn built in a tree and the innkeeper quickly gave me a fetch quest to grab some food from a nearby cave. Cool beans. Off I went.[youtube http://youtu.be/CUTgOy2LXzM]
Soon enough, I was in the cave fighting baddies and stealing loot. I hadn’t seen any fellow adventurers up to this point, but I did see some activity in the chat. Shocking, I know. What I was reading seemed like a conversation between close friends. Inside jokes about mustaches and a general sense of camaraderie was prevalent. So, I popped into chat to see if the developer was in and he was. He talked to me about the game and the goals of the game, then proceeded to go back to playing with his friends.
Maybe I’m looking at the MMO community wrong. Perhaps, rather than a mass population, it’s a collection of much smaller, tightly-knit groups. If that is true, then it appears the spirit of the MMO can likely live in an indie environment-especially when a community is this inviting. However, I have no clue if this could work as a business model for a game. When the Suit walks in the door and says “How are you making me money?” And you reply “An Indie MMO,” he’s probably going to smack you with some stacks.
But as a game that appeals to a small group of personalities, ‘Blue Saga’ can exist just fine. It’s for the niche market of gamers who aren’t looking for the blown-up subscription based RPGs. And ‘Blue Saga’ does well to fill that role. The combat is simple, but the environment looks lush and the progression seems interesting. Bear in mind I’ve just scratched the surface, so I’m looking forward to playing more and learning the nuances of the game. I’ll let you know what I think.
So, what do you guys think about indie MMORPG’s? Is it a genre you think can thrive? Or is it doomed by it’s lack of AAA budget? Let me know in the comments.
For more on ‘Blue Saga’ and to download the beta for free, go to Blue Saga’s Official Website. You can also follow the dev on Twitter, and like ‘Blue Saga’ on Facebook. I’ll be bringing more coverage of the game very soon.