Thursday, 11 April 2013

Ramblings from the War, Part 2 - Going Native

So Nexus War was over, but the community did not want to just disperse, so we started looking for a new game.

Now then, I'll make a small detour here to explain where Nexus War actually came from. Urban Dead has been around for quite a while. Jorm, the person behind Nexus War was a player in there, part of the Ridleybank Resistance Front, one of the biggest and most (in)famous zombie hoards in the game. In fact St. Germaine, the starting point of new characters in Nexus War has Ridleybank as one of it's neighborhoods. Now there's been a lot of other offshoots from Urban Dead, using the same basic model of gameplay as that game, though none as successful or as polished as Nexus War.

One such offshoot was a  small game, made by some guy and being played by around by around 30ish people called Shintolin. Setting-wise, Shintolin filled a gap I feel can be explored more in online games - it was set in a sort of pre-historic, neolithic age. The best weapons in the game were stone axes and spears, and most of the gameplay involved scavenging, hunting the sometimes absurdly dangerous wildlife running around, building lodges and fires and trying to make a settlement that can support itself with the food it produces.

The Nexus War community took a shine to it, and we decided to go play there. In around a week we more than tripled the population of the game. Suddenly, we were the largest group in the entire world, and after some initial disorientation (trying to get everyone's characters gathered in the same spot, so we can do some coordinated moving towards a new settlement site) we managed to settle in the central/southern parts of what was the map back then. The game's creator was quite happy to have us, and he even expanded the game world map by quite a bit to accommodate the new influx of people.

The people who already played the game? They uh...weren't so happy about us. See, if you go to the Shintolin website you'll see this is the game's Sub-Title, so to speak: "Explore. Settle. Trade. Conquer." Well, people in Shintolin were very good at the first three bits, but something we noticed very fast was that there wasn't really any conflict in the game. Animals never attacked you unless you attacked them first, and everyone else just stayed in their own villages and never bothered to go anywhere or do anything. It was boring. Well, who would know better about Conquering than the people from the Nexus, right? Our group soon settled on a roleplaying theme. We literally were the same characters from the Nexus War. With the end of the war an the rebirth of the universe we now had been thrown into this new universe, left without our weapons and magic.

Our group quickly settled on being an expansionist force. We made several villages to accommodate the huge number of people we had, we produced tons of stone axes and spears and then just started systematically wiping out all other settlements in the game one by one. They couldn't really do much, since our raiding parties usually had more people than there were in the entire settlements. The idea behind this was to spark a war.

An in-game war that would get the blood flowing and make the game at least a bit more interesting. That didn't quite happen. Most of the drama was, of course, happening on the forums with people bitching and moaning that we were ruining the game by not playing nice with everyone. The fact that the game's creator actually said he was perfectly happy with what we were doing did not help stop us. There was a lot of gnashing of teeth and tearing of clothes going on, but very little in-game resistance was met. At some point, the goons from Something Awful ran into the game as well, dropping in there and doubling the already large population, becoming the second largest group after ours. They weren't as aggressive and war-like as we were, but they didn't mind simply slaughtering people from time to time.

The main problem with Shintolin is that the game was still in development. There was very little actual in-game content, and there were bugs all over the thing. At some point there was a very serious bug that became dubbed as "The White Fog of Death". Moving to any square simply sent the browser to a blank white page and it was impossible to get out of it, making the character effectively stuck. (There were some ways around it, but it basically made the game unplayable). Most of the Nexus community simply left, because what's the use. The game's creator basically just vanished and stopped bothering with working on the game and things were looking pretty bleak.

While our invasion of this peaceful, primitive world was taking place, a guy named Bob was working on a sort of sequel to Nexus War. He had been an admin and a playtester on NW, and with Jorm's blessing he reverse-engineered the game's system and started a new game for the Nexus community to go play in, which was at first called the hilariously bad Worlds In Global Battle Locked (which was quickly renamed BobWar) but later came to the official name of Nexus Clash. I'll talk about Nexus Clash in the next post, but even though most of us simply left Shintolin to go back to the killing and murdering, we left quite a legacy in that game.

The Nexal Empire was simply the biggest and most striking thing that happened in that little game's history, with the in-world history of the place being measured with Pre-Nexal and Post-Nexal terms.
Also there as this amazing RP post that I feel is a must-read: Grandpa, tell me about the Nexals!

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