Understanding Revival

Revival - Housing Concept Header

I’ve been trying to make sense of Revival for the better part of a year now, largely because so many of the people invested in it tend to like the same games as me. The more I read about the features, the more Revival sounds like something I should cover in my Hobo Gamer series, and I keep trying to do exactly that, but I just can’t get a firm grasp on what exactly it is. My goal with Hobo Gamer has always been to include everything an interested person needs to know in one place, and try as I might, I just haven’t been able to unearth everything I need to know about this game yet.

Revival is a dark Lovecraftian sandbox MMORPG that has a lot of interesting features. I’m not going to cover them in detail now – this is just a quick blog post, and besides, I may actually do it in detail later – but here’s a short list of some of the core features:

  • Sandbox World
  • Housing
  • Player Politics System
  • Class-Free; Skills Level Based on Active-Use
  • Trade-Based Crafting Economy – No Junk Items
  • Local Economies; No Global Auction House
  • Skill-Based Crafting Minigames
  • Full Loot PvP (with Limitations, I Imagine)
  • Skill-Based Action Combat
  • Living World that Changes Over Time
  • Needs-Based Dynamic NPC AI (Think Everquest: Next)
  • Live Storytelling Team
  • Emphasis on Roleplaying

Basically, I’m starting to think of it as taking Everquest: Next‘s dynamic world idea, having some sort of trade-based crafting economy (I’m wanting to make a comparison to early Runescape with a tad of EVE), throwing out their multi-classing system and going with something like Star Wars: Galaxies originally had pre-CU, adding hardcore PvP, and then cramming it all into a much more interesting and mature setting where each server has an interactive narrative lead by a  live GM team. From those of you who managed to follow all of those references to other MMOs:

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Now those of you that have read, well, even the smallest selection of my previous work know that we’ve now moved completely into my wettest of dreams, which should immediately make you suspicious. I suspect the culprit is that a lot of the information surrounding Revival is still fairly vague, allowing all of us plenty of freedom to make comparisons to other games that may prove wildly inaccurate once these systems are actually in place – a mistake that’s all too common among gamers in the pre-launch phase. So while my top-level overview may sound promising, don’t get too excited about it.

And this is where my attempts to understand Revival reach a snag. I feel like I’m mentally filling in a lot of gaps, and the biggest of those gaps is the all important question of what will players actually be doing when they log in every day? All of these systems sound great, but what is the actual gameplay like? It’s like I understand the virtual world they’re trying to build, but have failed to uncover the game they plan to put in it.

I find this promising, in a weird way. When you’ve spent as long as I have waiting for MMORPGs to go back to building virtual worlds, it’s great to see one focusing on presenting a world instead of a game. And that makes me feel that I’m missing the point – like I’m trying to cram pieces of other MMOs into the same old slots when Revival is using a completely different template. When I think back to the old sandbox games – again, Star Wars Galaxies comes to mind – would I have been able to pull together the mental big picture then that I’m trying to have here? Probably not.

Still, major skepticism is warranted. There are a lot of yet unanswered questions, and they extend well beyond the game’s design features. Revival‘s page on monetization details a strategy that exists somewhere between “pushing it” and being a total coercive nightmare depending on its actual implementation. I guess for now I’ll chalk this up as one to watch – safely, from a great distance.


Update: Development on Revival was halted on 03/24/2016. [Official Site]

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