Sitting down with Gamigo at E3 this year gave us a chance to take a look at two of their upcoming titles. One of these titles is Grimlands, a third-person shooter MMORPG and a post-apocalyptic sandbox. Set in the future, the Earth has been devastated by earthquakes which brought destruction to the globe and the beginning of a struggle for survival.
I was quite excited about Grimlands upon coming to E3, the chance to see it in action was something I was looking forward to for a while. After having now seen the game, even in an early state, I must simply say straight off the bat that I am less excited now than after seeing some worrying game mechanics. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though, there’s a bit of explanation required.
Grimlands is a dynamic open-world sandbox with all the features you would expect. Skill-based progression takes the forefront, removing any restrictions on where you can go and when. This is quite nice, a player can go to an end-game area, no problem, but your chances of survival in the wastes without first training up skills are very slim. A benefit for this can be that a new players can pick up an epic end-game weapon, although they won’t be very effective at using it.
With this in mind, players must first build the skills they deem to be most important. Players may choose any route they want, whether that be a fighter, crafter or any other emergent player-created class. Crafters should be somewhat pleased by the crafting system, players can customize weapons down to the attachments, along with vehicles. Additionally, crafters can change the stats of weapons with sliders, do you prefer accuracy over damage? The choice is yours.
The first questions arose at this point in the presentation, will other players be able to see what the slider settings are after an item has been crafted? I was curious because to me it seems like it would be much more epic if only you knew what tweaks were made, and if it was good enough you could become one of the most sought after crafters for that particular item. Cody also asked if there would be maker’s marks, however both questions went relatively unanswered.
After discussing crafting, we moved on to talk about player-controlled cities and how players can take over a town and allow people to become citizens of that town. Other players can also attack your town of course, so players must protect what they take. Additionally, when players die they don’t respawn a great distance away, rather they just ressurect on the spot with no death penalty and a few seconds of invincibility. If your mind isn’t running crazy with thoughts about how much this system is going to be abused, it should be.
This is where my heart sank, my hopes shattered and my faith lost. Gamigo seemed stumped as to how this could be a bad game mechanic, and that worries me. If you die and just pop up on the same spot with only a few seconds to gain some distance from your enemies, griefers can just endlessly camp you until they get bored and decide to leave you alone or until you log off in a rage. Hopefully the system works out a lot more balanced than this.
Overall, the game has a long way to go and with a Q4 2012 release schedule it doesn’t seem like much will be improved. What we saw looked outdated, the UI was ugly as all hell and what they were offering makes us wonder why people would drop titles like Fallen Earth to play Grimlands, it’s basically the same thing, give or take a few features. Don’t expect much from this title, unless your expectations are very low.