Friday, February 11, 2011

'Salem' brings witches, permadeath in a new free-to-play mmorpg

Paradox Interactive, the studio behind history-heavy titles such as 'Europa Universalis' and 'Hearts of Iron' is preparing to let players loose in its latest gothic-inspiried mmorpg, 'Salem.' Besides the gothic-background, 'Salem' is setting itself apart by bringing back permadeath to the genre. In other words, when your character dies, they stay dead.

Permadeath has been seen in games such as 'Star Wars: Galaxies' (it was later removed) and Blizzard's 'Diablo' franchise (it was present in D2, but fans are still awaiting news on if it will return in the upcoming D3), but major mmorpgs like 'World of Warcraft' and 'City of Heroes' don't have the feature.

In 'Salem', players will be able to attack each other, mostly unprovoked. But while the danger of death looms around each corner - developers say that gamers will be the ones who bring justice to the landscape, taking vengeance on those who kill others.

'Salem' will offer "unique crafting, farming and building systems" set in "a fantastical New England."

But will the game live up to the city's notorious history for witchcraft? "There's definitely going to be both magic and witches in the game, definitely," Salem creative director Bjorn "Brother Bean" explains.

While the game is primarily a freeform building mmo, it will have magic and witchcraft as paths players can explore as they interact with their world - and explore it they will. There will be buildings to build, forests to chop down and player vs. player battles to be had.

"Since the game is set in the New World, players will be taking the role of intrepid colonists," Bjorn said. "Once you've created your character, you'll be put on a ship and sent off to Boston. When arriving in the New World, you will basically be left to yourself. After that, the game is basically going to leave you, and you're a colonist, there's a frontier, go explore."

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