Hands On: Fury
Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: MMO
What is going to be the next evolution of the MMO genre? In many respects CounterStrike is an MMOFPS in that it is played by millions of players on line every day. There are countless servers and players of varying abilities. In order to do better, players need to improve their skill. The typical MMORPG uses the idea of giving players greater challenges and abilities to match those challenges, in a clear progression. While some player skill improvement can occur, it isn’t really the emphasis.
Fury is being designed to bring these two types of online play together in an ultimate PvP (player versus player) arena. There is no PvE (player versus environment) gameplay in Fury, it’s all about taking the other team out. As a matter of fact, there are guilds in Fury, but that’s not the emphasis (as in say, Guild Wars), instead Fury focuses on server versus server gameplay.
The gameplay is very quick, select a target and fire. Quick pacing not only helps to bring about the FPS element, but the server versus server combat helps to create an “us versus them” mentality. Players will need to help out the new players on their server, even if they don’t belong to the same guild, because every loss counts for the rankings.
Players will have a single avatar per account, but the only constant will be the name and sex. There will be the ability to alter appearances by going to a specific vendor, but that’s going to be minor – once the player changes their appearance, it’s changed. So instead of having different characters to play around with, players will have different “incarnations” of their character. These have different abilities and as one would usually expect, some clothing changes as well. Healers usually don’t suit up in full plate mail. Usually.
Players will be able to dress up their character in any way they choose, so it will be possible to find an absolute tank of a character dressed up in a frilly dress that might denote a healer. This could be done in order to draw fire away from weaker and less experienced teammates.
This is all designed to help bring more of a player’s personality into the game. One analogy that I was told was that of Magic: The Gathering. Think of the player’s in-game avatar as the player, and the in-game abilities as the deck being used to play. Players can have many and varied decks, it’s just a matter of which one to use.
Eventually, this may be a moot point as the skill tree currently has 419 abilities, and there is no restrictions on how players can progress. Yes, there are certain paths to progress down, but eventually all abilities can be attained by the player.
Since Fury is very much a team based PvP style of game, loot is distributed the same way. All items go into a team coffer and at the end of the round players can select on which items to “roll” for. It’s all designed to be as “team friendly” as possible and stop the bickering that often goes on with regards to loot distribution amongst the more traditional MMORPG parties.
Right now there is a cap of 5,000 users per server. The idea is that World of Warcraft showed just how much ill-will can be generated when the gaming base has to wait. And wait. And wait. The low numbers will also help increase the number of servers being created in order to facilitate more opposition to play against.
How many servers will there be? That is still being determined. When a publisher is finally decided upon, then the pricing structure as well as the logistical finalities (such as servers) will be much clearer. For now the developers are still talking with publishers, so things are a ways away.
As it is, Fury seems to be a good “twitch” MMORPG. I played four matches, and managed to not totally embarrass myself. Gamers looking for some adrenaline pumping online play that doesn’t involve a rifle should keep an eye on Fury.