PREVIEW: MMORPG Tycoon 2

Feb
12

PREVIEW: MMORPG Tycoon 2

Although it lacks the depth and malleability to truly make an MMO in your image, it shows plenty of promise in becoming an entertaining and interesting entry in the business simulation genre due to its unique concept.

Released: Steam Early Access
Type: Single-player
Genre: Strategy, Simulation
Developer: VectorStorm Pty Ltd
Publisher: VectorStorm Pty Ltd
Release date: 06 Jan, 2020

Overview

I spend too much of my free time engaged in world-building projects, designing tabletop games, and playing video games so the premise of MMORPG Tycoon 2 immediately drew me in. Though its customization and world design options have quite a way to go if they’re going to come close to allowing us to build MMOs that are truly unique from one another, there’s an excellent foundation already in place that could one day lead to great things if it continues to be built upon.

Your WoW-Killer

Establishing your new MMO is no small task. You’ll be choosing which regions to activate and tailoring their level and features to your liking while designing the monsters, NPCs, and PC classes if you so choose. The goal is to use these systems in unison to create an experience that continues to draw new players in and retain the ones that have already logged in. Depending on your focus and the content that you’ve developed in your MMO, you’ll attract a variety of players with a wide range of desires, from achievement hunters to explorers to socializers and more. For example, socializers will flock to your taverns to find others to spend their time with (inevitably standing in a circle, chatting and roleplaying) while explorers will travel around the world taking in the scenery, finding satisfaction in your well-decorated areas.

Goblins. Any MMO worth its salt needs ’em.

Balancing your budget seems to be rather easy as I was consistently making a profit, though maintaining your player base proves a bit more difficult. After building an MMO to a point that I was quite proud of (custom monsters and all!), I started rapidly building negative buzz and players began unsubscribing faster than they were doing the opposite. Unfortunately, I never really discovered what the deal was as neither the reports nor the player opinions panel ever gave me any details that I could work with.

Pop on down to the ground level to check out the world from your players’ view. You probably wouldn’t subscribe but it’s interesting to see.

Feedback, in general, both good and bad, seems to be in short supply and you’ll need to learn and apply some rather odd tips from the community outside of the game if you want to make the most successful MMO that you can. Several of these feel like an obscure metal and are not at all intuitive and something that I hope will be cleaned up to improve the overall experience. Overall, anyone picking this title up should be fully aware that these systems seem to work but could still use vast improvement before they’ll provide a smooth and immersive experience.

You’ll continually expand your territory to keep up with your growing player base and the demands for new content from your higher level players.

Generic Profit Grinder Or Vision With Soul

The customization elements are what made MMORPG Tycoon 2 as enjoyable as it was for me. Don’t get me wrong, they need plenty of work themselves as assets are limited and you can never really have too much of it in a game like this, but what’s already there has me optimistic. Regions can be edited with multiple types of terrain in them, such as slapping deserts down in coastal grasslands to give it the appearance of a large beach, and even though the sizing of the scenery could be improved upon (why is the scenery so incredibly massive compared to the characters and buildings?), I found that I could create exciting and unique feeling locations. I was particularly thrilled to find a color palette that you can tint regions with that could be used to make things along the lines of black sand deserts or regions blanketed in yellow snow (I wouldn’t recommend eating it).

Placing buildings and constructing your network isn’t just for show though, both are integral to the development of your MMO. Buildings are very limited currently, including only a handful such as the inns that your players reside at, taverns where they can meet other players, and shops where they can sell trash loot and purchase new equipment. The network aspect of the game is one that I’m not particularly fond of, though I suppose some players could get a kick out of it for its pseudo-realism. You’ll be building nodes and cables to supply your buildings and monsters zones with bandwidth so that they can operate; without bandwidth, they’re useless to you. It’s certainly not that exciting when it’s lined up next to designing your own monsters and locations.

A customized line-up of classes. Standardized sizes not included in the base game.

Designing regions may be a close second but nothing kept me entertained as much as creating custom classes, monsters, and NPCs. Several prefabricated designs exist for those who are less excited about customizing their mobs and just want to get to business, but for the rest of us, there’s a rather barebones editor that allows creating models of entities such as the goblins, water nymphs, and giant scorpions that I made on my own. Although I was frequently disappointed by the very limited selection of parts, I still kept going back for more and never got tired of creating monsters that fit the theme of their spawn locations, even if it only really mattered in my head. Classes, monsters, and NPCs (quest givers and guards) all use the same editor, though each type has its own attributes and functions. By the time that I’d opened up my fourth level region, I had replaced the default classes with raiders, armsman, shamans, and goblin rogues, and goblins, ogres, zombies, drakes, water nymphs, and even an awkward-looking snake-like creature that I probably wouldn’t have signed off on had real people been playing my game. I also jumped on the opportunity to create a powerful goblin chieftain as an epic monster that quest givers could direct players to slay. He wasn’t particularly strong, but all in all, it was a good time seeing such creations come to life.

This roster of (mostly) custom monsters is ready to rough up some players and keep the potion shops in business.

Verdict

MMORPG Tycoon 2 has the potential to be an absolutely amazing simulator if it receives a significant amount of content and plenty of quality of life improvements. The skeleton that already exists is solid and the developers seem to be listening to their player base and update the game frequently, so the future is looking bright on that end. That said, the current price is significantly higher than the actual value of the title currently and I would recommend a ‘wait and see’ approach unless the concept has already sold you on it and you want to support VectorStorm in their endeavour. If all goes well, we may very well be seeing the beginnings of a title that is spoken of for years to come.

About Aurumlamina

Few things bring me as much joy as an immersive strategy game, but I'll play in just about any genre as long as the game's good. The magic words for me are grand strategy, 4X, tactical roleplaying game (you get the picture), and I've waved farewell to far too many hours of my life when they were involved. That said, I've found myself completely hooked on plenty of horror and roleplaying games, including the tabletop variety, as well as the occasional first-person shooter. I spend a lot of time writing and world-building outside of games and I have a soft spot for just about any game that lets you get in touch with your creative side. Steam Profile / Twitter

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