Aren’t MMOs Dead?
Short answer? No.
Long answer? Yeah, you better read on ahead.
MMORPGs aren’t that popular anymore. Back in the early 2000s when World of Warcraft emerged, everyone who was anything and anyone who wanted to be anybody was playing it day-in and day-out (or so it was at my school).
However, they died down with multiple MMOs made but only a handful still being played. So, I didn’t think I was going to write about a new MMO at Game Scope.
Neither did I believe I was going to be so invested in the game after eyeing it a couple of times. But reading about it, this one might just change the game.
So, what are we talking about and by who? Sune Thorsen and the team at So Couch Studios have made an MMORPG called Ember Sword.
If you’re interested in Ember Sword, its development, or any other element involving the game or its makers, here are their respective links:
Through their site you can get access to the “Game Pitch”, all the people behind the game, along with their newsletter, and a very well-done FAQ section. Not to say you shouldn’t read on here, but although we cover some questions, we’re only scraping the surface.
However, one of the questions we are covering is the “why” — in why you and your team decided to develop a game:
Games have always been a big part of our lives, and right from the early days of MMORPGs, we’ve all been captivated by the vast universes these games provided us.
Until now, pretty straight-forward. Love of games? Established. A specific genre mentioned? Yes. But here’s where this gets interesting…
The Problem with MMOs
This sadly also means we’ve all felt the frustration of never actually owning any of the items we spent thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars collecting in-game, and always being limited by the universes the developers decided to create instead of being active participants in shaping the future of the game world.
That’s what we want to change with Ember Sword.
In Ember Sword, we enable the players to shape the vast in-game universe as Landowners, and rare cosmetics in scarce supply, like skins, emotes, and capes are gathered through gameplay objectives instead of bought from us – not to mention that players literally own these cosmetics, and they’re thus allowed to sell them to others.
With roots in what I believe to be a very Danish mentality, we’re building a MMORPG universe where the players control as much of the world as possible, and where we don’t attempt to reap all the profits through selling lootboxes or the like, but rather allow players to find cosmetics through gameplay and freely trade them among each other.
Didn’t I tell you it got interesting? And don’t worry, it’s only going to get better!
A “How-to” Fix It!
I mentioned the decline of popularity concerning MMOs. “A dying genre” some would say with the dwindling number of subscriptions and the staggering amount of titles going free-to-play. What prompted you to make Ember Sword along with the creative decisions you made in order for it to stand out?
I wouldn’t say MMORPGs are dying, but consumer wants have changed, causing most new MMORPGs that monetize through a required monthly premium subscription to have a hard time these days.
That is why Ember Sword is completely free to play, and with our cartoony, polished, art style we target a much broader audience than traditional MMORPGs like TERA, Guild Wars, and World of Warcraft.
With Ember Sword, we want to create the MMORPG for the next generation of players. A re-thinking of what an MMORPG is and can be. A game with a large, persistent, universe where the community permanently owns and decide the fate of the world and experiences within.
It’s a living, breathing world where landowners build & evolve the universe and monetize their own plots of land, where players are free to do whatever they want whenever they want and truly own their own cosmetic items, and where artists can monetize their own creations by making epic emotes, animations, skins and more that end up in-game as cosmetics. Ultimately, Ember Sword is more than just a game, it’s a community, a world, an economy.
The Power of Ember Sword and “real economy”
Along the topic of the creative decisions that shaped the game and made it stand out, you mentioned your frustration concerning ownership and games, specifically MMOs. I’m curious to know what your solution with Ember Sword is?
Our solution is about bringing ownership over the world and in-game items back into the hands of the players.
We’re essentially giving players ownership over their in-game cosmetic items and the land plots that make up the Ember Sword world, which means players are free to trade these items for our PIXEL token and other cryptocurrencies, and can do so in a safe and transparent way.
Buying and trading digital virtual goods in games is a $50 billion industry, and real money trading of these in-game items has a very long history in the games industry. In most games, however, trading of virtual goods outside the game is banned, with the players not truly owning their own items.
Gamers want to trade their in-game items outside of the games they play, however, as clearly demonstrated by the many large black markets where players buy and sell in-game items from each other. And why shouldn’t they? They’ve fought long and hard to acquire these items after all.
But apart from being discouraged and against the terms of service of most games, these black markets are far from ideal for the gamers either, as hacking and scamming of items is a big issue.
In Ember Sword, each cosmetic in-game item is actually a crypto token that the player truly owns. Each of these tokens is stored in a blockchain wallet created when players register a game account. Not only does this mean that the player truly owns their own cosmetic items, but it also means that they are free to transfer, trade, and sell them to and from each other either through our in-game PIXEL Marketplace or outside of the game.
Additionally, the blockchain guarantees the scarcity of each cosmetic item, ensuring players that their cosmetic is indeed rare, as opposed to typical game cosmetics where the total supply is unknown to the players and items exist in infinite quantities.
With this solution, we hope to create a marketplace of virtual goods in Ember sword that embraces trading of cosmetic items instead of bans it, and transparency about the scarcity and rarity of each item.
I wouldn’t say our method is the “only solution” – that is what is so great about blockchain; there are many interesting and different new concepts. For Ember Sword, this system is what we believe to be the best.
The really short version is that in normal games, an in-game item exists only within the game and is never actually truly owned by the player, whereas by applying a player-owned unique crypto token to each item, that item now exists and can be traded outside of the game too.
Okay, time for a breather. A lot of thought has gone into making this game, not only in the normal sense of art, story, and design, but also the economics and the “afterlife” of it. To me, this speaks volumes of how well-polished this game is going to be!
But as it sounds, Ember Sword is far from done yet. There’s still a lot to be done, changed, made better, and everything in between.
The future and You!
So… if you could, what are “the next steps” for you, your team, and Ember Sword — let’s say for the next 5 years’ time?
The next step for us is to complete the private presale and public crowd-sale of our PIXEL Cryptocurrency Token, which is what powers the Ember Sword economy, used to make in-game purchases and trade cosmetics and land.
The funds generated through these two sales will be used to develop and market the game, which will take the next 2-3 years depending on the sale volume.
What the in-game world will look like after launch, and how it will evolve over the first few weeks, months and subsequent years is all up to the players. In fact, that’s part of what excites us the most; to see what the players will do with the world, how they will play, what sort of groups or perhaps factions will evolve, which areas will be popular, and how people will build them and evolve them. It’s both humbling and fascinating to think about.
After launch, we will focus on ensuring the best possible gameplay experience by constantly optimizing our servers, engaging with the community, adding new features to the game, and making sure the Ember Sword game becomes as accessible as possible across all devices (PC, consoles, mobile).
In 5 years, we hope for Ember Sword to be among the most played MMORPGs on the market, with a thriving marketplace of players, landowners, and artists.