Some amazing and great RPG news happened this week. No, it wasn’t the announcement of Neverwinter’s open beta date, which is scheduled to be April 30th. This is also a great thing, but when I think of Neverwinter right now, I don’t really think of an RPG.
Contrast that to the coming Torment: Tides of Numenera RPG, which VG247 reported yesterday hit $4,028,412 in funding on Kickstarter, not including additional funding on Paypal and internal donations. This is supposedly a new Kickstarter record for funding.
This is fantastic, and proves a solid demand for a real RPG. Well. It either proves that, or it proves that discriminating RPG fans are starved for a good game. The only relief coming that is on the kitty radar is Dragon Age 3 in the fall. The jury is out on Elder Scrolls until we learn more about roleplaying elements. What are those? Just go to the Torment: Tides Kickstarter page and look at the laundry list.
Torment: Tides is of course the spiritual successor to the great RPG, Planescape: Torment (the image above). My favorite feature is one of the first in the stretch goals: choose PC gender, with gender having an impact on dialogues. That wasn’t available in the original game. Fantastic!
Look at the “cults”, too. I like the “Order of Flagellants”.
Those look like some strongly written factions, which were also a hallmark of the original Planescape: Torment. It’s amazing to me how professional “RPG” writers manage to fall short, and this is one of those areas.
Rich, well-written factions are an imperative component of world immersion, and every faction should have a nemesis or other political position, just like main characters themselves. You have to exaggerate these things, also. Look at the success of Game of Thrones.
Your decisions will impact the game world in Torment. You have companions, and if they are like the Planescape: Torment companions, they are going to be amazing. One listed is named “The Toy”. Your first companion in the original Planescape: Torment was a talking skull named Morte, and the next was a Tiefling named Anna.
I completed the original PS:T, one of the relatively small number of games (i.e. Max Payne I and II, and Mafia I and II) that I’ve completed as a male character. The stretch towards the ending was memorable.
The only questionable issue is that Torment:Tides Of Numenera will use a unique new fantasy setting and not the Planescape campaign from Dungeons & Dragons. I was skeptical of the Dragon Age setting when it first released, but it has slowly grown on me. Hopefully the Numenera setting will be rich with goodness and weirdness.
So, Neverwinter. Open beta in three weeks, and no character wipe, supposedly. I’m still on the fence about the game for all sorts of reasons. I’ll definitely play it, but I’d prefer to wait for more classes and races. And ideally hairstyles. Also, I chose the dog for a companion in beta, but I need to check out the human companions, who might be more interesting in their audibles.
Also, I wanted to design adventures in Neverwinter, but I don’t think the F2P aspect will work for me. I’ve already been through this as a UI designer for the Tolkein MMO, which went from an MMO I believed in to a F2P train wreck with lockboxes falling out of orc pockets and $5 charges to color your horse. Per color set.
Having to pay real money for the privilege of letting someone else profit off my efforts (in Neverwinter) would be completely unacceptable to me, and I don’t see how that won’t happen.
Also, the whole point of my writing and design efforts would be to compensate for what is missing in the first place. I’m not complaining, or anything. I just suspect that I’d rather be working on my own Flash game, which will be for me and not for Cryptic/Perfect World.