Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Non-violent MMORPG Glitch launches

This week a new and highly original MMORPG launched, and almost nobody noticed. The game is Glitch, and it is very different from whatever else you played. The most obvious difference is that it is non-violent. With even kids' MMORPGs like Free Realms features some sort of combat, that is pretty remarkable. How many non-violent MMORPGs do you know? I can only think of Glitch and A Tale in the Desert. If you are very generous, you include Puzzle Pirates in which "combat" is handled by a very abstract puzzle game similar to Tetris. But after that it's either MMORPGs revolving around combat, or "social spaces" like Club Penguin which are barely games, and certainly not role-playing games.

Glitch is one of the most original games I have played in a while. It is funny, and has lots of interesting new features like the world becoming larger through player cooperation. And of course it has features that resemble other MMORPGs, like a skill system that is similar to the one of EVE (real-time learning) or instanced player housing. Glitch is full of highly creative fun features to discover, like your auction house purchases being delivered by flying yoga frogs. Namaste! Gameplay revolves around gathering resources, crafting, and collaboration with other players on projects.

I just wonder if all those people who *say* they want original games are really ready to actually play them. Or whether they say "What? No combat like in all the other games I play? I'm outta here!". Do we really want innovative to the point of being very different? Or do we just want a slightly improved version of what we already have?

What is the point of all the crafting in Glitch? How much of it does useful things? What is the 'best/rare' stuff' used for? It's hard to tell what exactly the game is.
I couldn't stop playing after I finally got my account confirmed yesterday (was about a 6 hour wait after I sent my email due to backlog).

I am now at work looking through the wiki and surreptitiously changing my skills as my queue clears. This game is going to be huge when the typical social networking niceties get patched in. Looking forward to playing and supporting this highly original game.
A game (or sport) like boxing is certainly violent, as it involves hitting your opponent. Even games like rugby encourage violence against your opponent, and it even happens from time to time in games like soccer.

It is a tribute to games programmers, and to our imaginations, that any computer game at all is seen as violent. Nobody kills anybody. Nobody is injured. The only thing that gets hit is the keyboard. And yet so great is our suspension of disbelief that even while typing on a keyboard we imagine ourselves killing dragons.
Where is the iLvl? Where is all the dead content? Where is the forced role-based grouping? Where is the hand-holding levelling experience to get people capped for raiding and scripted boss-fights? What, no wiki for "play this way or you fail" ?

How can you call this an MMO?

Joking aside, I have great hopes for the new ideas in Glitch! The whole stagnant genre needs a game-changer like this.
I have a subscription since beta and wish them luck in their business, but I don't really believe it will be a huge success. All this crafting is used to expand the world (including food - by providing you with required energy), but what next? More and more hubs and streets? Why? Well, you can buy most expensive house, but then what? It has no goal related to character, as far as i can see. Even emblems after second one are useless (speeding up skills is a bit pointless).
Will you play it Tobold?
Neat - thanks for spotlighting this. I spent something like 6 months in ATITD after you got enthusiastic about it, so I trust your taste - if I get any time, Glitch is now on my list!

I've featured this post on the Melting Pot today, btw.
As I've commented elsewhere, I tried it in beta and didn't like it. The no-combat thing is fine but I was put off by the toilet humor, plus I found it surprisingly difficult to play.

I may give it another look some time but I can't say I think about it much.
I wouldn't call Glitch an RPG by any stretch, personally. I would call it a standard Facebook game.

I played it for quite awhile during the beta. At first, the humor was cute and the streets varied and I happily chugged along through the tutorial and quests. After awhile, I realized that most of what I was doing is simply sitting and waiting for bars to fill. Waiting to harvest, waiting to pet, waiting to water, waiting to craft, waiting for auctions to sell.

The platforming aspect is interesting but soon the levels all start to look the same. Eventually, I began logging in only to the main screen to set my next skill learning, and soon lost interest altogether. Skills mostly just give you "extra bonuses" when you pet or harvest, or reduce your waiting time on the bar-filling for one activity or another.

I would have loved to see crafting mini-games, interesting animations for watering or petting, or some higher purpose to the game. Once I bought the 50,000 currant house (the most expensive available in beta), I had absolutely nothing to do but sell my crafting on the auction house. Collecting money just isn't as fun when there's nothing to buy with it. I could've tried for collecting emblems, but all that entails is crafting and donating endlessly to shrines.

Overall, there was a lot of potential for this non-combat game with cute graphics and a unique style. Unfortunately it seems to have gone the route of a generic, click-click time-sink Facebook game.
Apparently it has at least some form of combat now. This was one of the featured stories on the page when I went to look.
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