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Old 07-14-2009, 06:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Jumpgate: Evolution (Sci-fi MMO)

Quote:
Jumpgate: Evolution E3 Preview
G4TV


The one word that I could not help uttering almost constantly during my eyes-on time with NetDevil’s space-based MMO Jumpgate Evolution (PC) during E3 2009 was "Wow." NetDevil president Scott Brown demoed a few levels for me, and only gave me the briefest of views of a few battle scenarios and settings, and yet for as little as I saw, I found myself grinning and shaking my head in awe throughout the entire presentation.

Brown reinforced at several points during the demo that Jumpgate is a full-blown MMO in every capacity, and yet, it's also designed for traditionally action-minded players. This is most apparent in the game's combat system, which is based on skill as opposed to statistical probabilities. Also, rather than forcing players to grind away for dozens upon dozens of hours in order to reach the point where combat, and the game in general, is satisfying and enjoyable, ranking up in skill level happens quickly. This ensures that the game's barrier to entry is substantially lower than your typical massively-multiplayer online game.

And when I say "massive," trust me, that's a gross understatement. Jumpgate has a breathtaking sense of scale and scope, and I can't remember that last time space looked this good or this believable in a videogame. Sure we've seen traversable space before, but it's usually just a black vastness with glowing dots and some nearby objects to add a sense of dimension. Well, thanks to some spectacular visual flourishes, stunning lighting effects and planetary detailing, space truly feels interactive and inhabitable, as opposed to the mere backdrop that space typically is.

Now, when it comes to battles, Brown says his development team found that they encountered a bit of an unexpected problem providing such enormous stretches of space for players to explore and fight across: things just spread out too much. This still characterizes most of the player-versus-player combat in the game (and represents one of its most impressive aspects as well) but the game also features fully enclosed areas that offer a respite from the often overwhelming vastness of open-space combat.

The interior map I saw was called "Descent" and featured a seemingly endless array of massive tunnels through which to battle and navigate. By confining your mobility, the developers ensure a much more personal and more frenzied combat experience, and given that the developers are aiming for 150-player support for any particular battle, frenzied is probably a polite word for the kinds of battles this game is capable of producing.

At one point, Brown warped our ship to a random world, and upon exiting a jumpgate (the gateways used to traverse space), we were thrust into the middle of a space battle on par with any of the major battle scenes from your sci-fi film of choice. Massive space destroyers and hundreds of ships (all of which are fully customizable and feature hundreds of different parts, upgrades and weapons) hurtling through space, exchanging neon green and red laser fire against the backdrop of a scene-stealing planetary vista, and that doesn’t even come close to capturing how incredible it all looks running in real-time in front of your eyes.

The game features three nations and 22 factions to choose from at the beginning of the game. When it comes to missions and experience points, the game includes a soft grouping system that will automatically group players pursuing the same objective, and award each with equal amounts of experience once the objective is completed. This is meant to encourage players to group up and feel a sense of cooperation rather than competition. The game also includes Dolby Digital voice support as well as an extremely in-depth leader board system that tracks every single action you take in the game.

There are countless other features that contribute to the gameplay and genearl MMO-ness of the game, but unfortunately, I didn't have nearly enough time to learn even a fraction of what this game is attempting to deliver. So let me just say I was very impressed with my very brief time with Jumpgate Evolution. It might not be for everyone, but it certainly has the potential to attract those gamers who have shied away from MMOs in the past. Seriously, keep your eyes on this one.
Well, it's been in development forever, but it's finally had a decent preview at E3. (It was slated for release in June, but it has been delayed.) I've looked at the official website and a few trailers, and I must say it looks pretty good for what it's going for, which is basically a twitch-style action MMO with epic space battles.

There will be some resource gathering, trading, and building, but the focus will be the battles, I'm sure.

I've been thinking about this more recently. We're due for a killer sci-fi MMO. We have WoW and a few other really good fantasy games, but we're a little light on the sci-fi, dontcha think? I'm kinda looking forward to this. I hope there is a trial.

Are we ready for something grand in the sci-fi genre?
Is this it?
Is it in the right direction at least?

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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 07-14-2009 at 06:58 PM..
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There is another sci-fi MMO called EVE Online, which has been out for more than a few years. I have a hard time believing Jumpgate Evolution will be able to compare to EVE in the areas of depth, size and economy (I happen to think EVE has the most realistic economy in all MMO's, definitely the best in any game I've played). The one area that may have EVE pilots converting though, may be combat controls, as EVE doesn't use this "twitch" style. I know there are a lot of people out there who want a more joystick friendly space combat game and perhaps this will be it. I'll give JE a try if they offer a trial but I'm not going to cancel my EVE subscription just yet.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yea, looks like EVE. It will fail. When will people stop trying to rip off other games and actually INNOVATE?!?!?!
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highdro69 View Post
Yea, looks like EVE. It will fail. When will people stop trying to rip off other games and actually INNOVATE?!?!?!
It isn't even trying to be EVE. It's trying to replicate those epic dogfight space battles you see in Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica.

You don't even steer your ship in EVE, let alone push buttons to fire weapons.

EVE has a gameplay for people who want strategy, simulation, and depth. It has a steep learning curve, as it has tons of detail.

With JGE, you can jump right into it. It's going after those players who enjoyed X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter and Wing Commander, and who may want to have an engaging MMO experience fighting against dozens of others online in huge battles.

This is not an EVE clone. I don't know of a single MMO out there that's like this. Try and find me one; I'd like to play it. Otherwise, I'm waiting for this release.

Just because it's set in outer space, it doesn't mean it's trying to be EVE.

Here is how the battles work for each game. A huge difference by gameplay standards:


I admit this game might end up sucking. That's always the risk. What I'm also saying, however, is that there is no game out there like this as an MMO. (At least, not to my knowledge.) And so I'm simply waiting for a sci-fi MMO experience that I'd like to play. The sci-fi end of things is lacking, I find, and so it's just a matter of time before something comes along. There is a lot in production, so I'm just keeping abreast of things.
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Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot

Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 07-19-2009 at 06:51 PM..
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
It's going after those players who enjoyed X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter and [I]Wing Commander


Well, you got me Baraka, Where do I sign up

I might actually break out my wingman controller after 10+ years in this case
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Going back to my other post, I would like to elaborate by saying I actually agree there's really not a lot of choices in the sci-fi genre for mmo's. There's really not much else other than EVE right now and, maybe, in the near future, Jumpgate Evolution will help.

The styles of both EVE and JE are completely different and there is no way JE is trying to "clone" eve. EVE's flight controls are in my opinion, based around the theory of a ships Captain giving commands; ie, you tell the crew what to do and they perform the actions and the ship responds. JE is definitely going to be more like a fighter pilot; the pilot will most likely be able to use a joystick (at least, I'm sure that's the hope of many Jumpgate fans). Unfortunately, watching an EVE battle like this doesn't really convey the tenseness of the situation well to an audience. All you see is a bunch of red and blue dots with random explosions and lasers going off. You don't really get a chance to understand what's going on and unfortunately, I don't think there's a way to get a person to understand without them playing. You just have to experience it. I know for me, the few times I've gotten caught in a pvp battle, my heart rate goes through the roof. There is real danger in EVE, if your ship gets blown up, you lose it...period, you have to buy another one. Whatever guns and ammo or other cargo you were carrying are also now most likely lost if it was a player who shot you down. If it was during a mission, you may have a chance to go back and find your gear. You can buy insurance for your ships but they don't cover any modules you had fitted and rarely cover the entire cost of the ship itself. But it's still better to get 60million back for that 80million battleship you just lost than nothing. You can also get "podded": This is where you're body gets killed after your ship gets blown up if you don't get your escape pod out fast enough. This can be especially disastrous if you don't have a high enough grade (level) clone. You train in EVE with skill points (sp) which are obtained through (sometimes quite expensive) skill books that you have to buy, if you have a clone that only keeps 900,000 sp but you, yourself have 3.5 million sp...well, if you get podded, you just lost ALL of those sp's and basically will be starting over. I don't know what the skill system in JE will be, but I doubt it will be anything like that.

I don't know any real specifics about JE other than the little information that has been released on their website. I'm not trying to sell EVE in any way, shape, or form, just trying to illustrate what I THINK will be major differences between the two. As a sci-fi fan, I'm glad there are some options at least being talked about and I look forward to trying JE out. To be honest though, I get bored rather easy with video games of any kind; the repetition and lack of any real substance has me jumping from game to game within a few weeks. However, EVE is just one of those games that I can't seem to stay away from for very long. The possibilities within the game just keep me coming back to it and now, even if I think JE is really a fun game, I have a hard time believing it will keep my attention like EVE can.

All of that being said, I am looking forward to JE's release and hope it has something positive to add in the sci-fi mmo genre.
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