If you have not heard of it, I am not sure where you have been
hiding. Dawn is going to be more addicting and realistic than any
other MMORPG we have yet to experience. I promised myself before
I began writing this preview that I would not compare it to other
MMORPGs. So, I spent the last couple of weeks, almost constantly
[I slept and ate little], inside some aspect of Dawn. Message Boards,
Chats, and probing the minds of Jeff and graphic artist, Axehandler
until we grew weary. Instead of trying to compare or contrast issues
between games I decided to focus on what you, the gamer, and developers
had to say about Dawn. The only comparison worth mentioning is Jeff's
thoughts on competition.
"Those who want to embark in a meaningful adventure where every
stat, every move, every ally and every enemy can be the difference
between life and death (real death) will play Dawn. The people who
are just 'playing for fun' and have the 'it's just a game' mentality
will choose to play the other games. We'll accumulate a population
of true role players making the game more enjoyable for everyone
who plays. There are lots of glorified EQ's on their way to the
market, but there is only one Dawn." [Jeff Friedman, Lead Game
All around me is a fuzzy, confusing
cloud; however, scents and my awareness feel innate. The sounds
and emotions seem real, but confusion settles -- overwhelming me.
A mystical voice fills the air; and I flinch.
Suddenly I feel something wet and warm
against my lips. Overcome by the aroma I greedily imbibe the frothy
"There you are Danciy, this will help make
you strong. You have lots to learn and a huge endeavor to conquer,
my child." With this I tried to focus on my surroundings. A luster
of brightness hung high above me, and beneath was the lush green
tendrils of grass, which felt cozy and soft. My eyes blinded to
the light and immediately I withdrew my gaze.
Rubbing my mouth with the back of my hand,
I stared up at the Lady and felt an overwhelming closeness to
her. She smiled gently at me.
From someplace behind me a low and bellowing
voice rang out. "Are you two okay?" The lady quickly responded
in a pleasant voice, "We are just beyond the briars dear." Within
a few moments two voices began to Pray as if in a trance. "Goddess
of Creation heed my vows. I grant to you my child, to strengthen
and nurture. I pray that she is loyal, courageous, and as bold
as the bind that created her. Teach her the tongues of my liking
and allow her the wisdom of good and evil. Guide her through this
barren land with devotion and pride." I closed my eyes and began
seeing vivid images of huge bodies of water, endless ranges of
mountaintops, and abundances of wonder glistening in the sky.
The praying sounded like a low mummer to me now. My heart was
pounding and I felt as if my consciousness was racing out of control.
Sounds, visions, emotions, history all came flooding into my awareness.
I was a human, age of 15, with distinct characteristics. My job
was to embark upon these lands and build a Kingdom. A kingdom
to serve my Serpent Goddess.
Comprehension rang true as my parents prepared
me for departure. With my backpack and some niceties: Food, water,
and a horse for travel, the barren world spanned out around me.
With glimpses of people here and there beginning to gather supplies,
I searched for a direction I wished to explore.
As I become more aware of my life, I understand
that I have awoken to the Dawn of a new existence.
Well this is how I think I shall be born into the World of Dawn.
The world will be a seamless sphere (i.e. No "zones") and take,
at the very least, 72 hours to circumnavigate. Recognizing the fact
you likely could not travel the distance alone anyhow.
Okay, so lets begin with the guts of the game. There are no set
minimum PC requirements to date. However, you can be certain that
you will need a 3D card and an OS compatible with DirectX 7.0. Dawn
developers state PCs that will run Quake 3 should not have any problems
Preferably there will only be one "server"(A system of servers).
Glitchless plans to house up to as many as 100k players at a time.
If overpopulation becomes a problem, Glitchless will simply open
an additional server or better yet allow teleportation to a neighboring
Now, with that out of the way lets look at some basics about gameplay.
Dawn will be in first-person view. Although, this has been a very
heated discussion, Glitchless has shown many positive reasons for
choosing exclusively first person. Gamers agree it is at first a
difficult view to grow accustomed to. I, however, have found it
to be much more enjoyable and realistic than 3rd person views. The
game will allow for total customization of controls. Action/command/inventor,
slot/item/etc all will bind to any input devices you choose. Players
may choose to assign buttons to custom commands or choose from several
default control setups. As well, you will be able to choose from
several different resolutions and Dawn's world will be the largest
MMORPG to date with "65,000 square miles" and taking several days
At first the world is barren of buildings and homes; even the NPCs
will start from scratch. "Players will be able to construct structures
from houses to castles to prisons to boats to ballistae - all fully
functional and destructible." Lumbering, mining, etc will be skills
that will allow you to collect raw materials used for the creation
of such structures and items. Resources will be limited and with
time could diminish all together. The majority of the world will
most likely be covered in water. Your character will most definitely
be able to swim and explore a complete underwater existence. Similarly,
simple terrain manipulations will allow you to dig moats and channels
in the ground. Moreover, Glitchless has implemented impressive water
physics, which enable the oceans to have real waves, and by "dropping
pebbles into the water you will cause rippling and possibly a splash."
With water and land being so vast, the need for transportation
becomes indispensable. Mountable horses, wagons, boats, and magical
spells will help players in their quest to discover Dawn. Developers
state, "If teleportation exists in the game it will be limited to
areas you have already explored for example a bind/gate combination
or a line of sight teleportation."
Dawn will be a realistic star system in which you can determine
your position on its spherical planet. With the world being computer
generated and use of "recursive [changing] genetics," developers
have the ability to make the world as large and diverse as fathomable.
With this degree of exploration, there is a likely chance that many
areas could go unexplored for a very long time.
Time will actually be a great deal longer than we are commonly
used to experiencing. One Dawn day will span two earth days. Hence
for every 24 hours in Dawn, you will have spent 48 hours of real-life.
Back to the basics of life; Dawn "creatures procreate via sexual
reproduction." There is no "Spawning" in Dawn thus eliminating camping
(the act of waiting for a monster to spawn repeatedly.) Both Player
Characters (PC) and Non-Player Characters (NPCs) will be born unto
parents. Notably, this is unique and should promote families and
social interaction with complete success and within the limits of
anything you might encounter on normal television (e.g. No sexual
animations will occur.)
Moreover, players will be allowed the option of choosing their
parents. If you have friends that are expecting a child, you can
ask them to agree to be your parents. Therefore, enabling you to
start the game near your friends or some kind of family network.
Pregnancy should last one week and you can go through the process
at any point during this timeframe. Hopefully your parents will
be supportive and assist with items and guidance you need to help
you get started; otherwise, maturing and gaining experience at first
may prove "rough."
Also, when deciding on your character's destiny, you will have
a choice from many diverse and unique races. Another distinctive
facet of Dawn; No classes exist. You are free to develop in the
areas you choose. If you wish to be a loner-human Bard that travels
the world reciting poems, so be it -- or perhaps take your chance
at running an entire Dwarven Kingdom.
Many folks have questioned whether or not a race can become extinct.
Naturally, the answer is yes. NPC species "attempt to breed when
their population is low." Given the vastness of Dawn, this may prove
to be difficult at times. Glitchless will make exceptions if there
"remains no one to bear you as child." Otherwise, the game is built-around
realism and therefore "survival of the fittest" will apply.
Likewise, there will be certain race variations and distinct differences.
For example, 4 special types of vision are planned. Races will be
more adept with different skills based on their base stats. Without
doubt, stats play an enormously fundamental role in Dawn.
Experience will be gained from all completed tasks, which means
kills will not be necessary in order to gain level. Stats, Skills,
and Items will improve your character. Each time you level stats
are raised proportionally dependant upon your base stats. You will
need to practice to raise Skills (and this does not include macroing).
Items can be weapons, rings, wands, etc.; things which might add
or subtract to your stats. Furthermore, all actions occurring to
your character while in Dawn, you will have agreed to. Except death,
Death in Dawn is permanent. This feature alone makes Dawn the most
unique MMORPG expected for release. Upon death, you will lose your
character and all items she may have been carrying will remain on
her loot-able corpse. In the instances of homes, spare keys may
be used by additional characters you might have or people learning
of your death may try and destroy your house. Also, friends are
capable of protecting your belongings until you are able to retrieve
them with your new character.
Many folks have been intrigued by the thought of permanent death.
Even though, death will not be near as recurrent as you may predict.
To lose a fight with a creature or player will not necessarily result
in death. I perceive this approach as very realistic. Glitchless
will allow its players the ability to create a society that punishes
criminals. "With the ability to knockout and drag fellow players
into player constructed prisons and torture devices, punishment
will definitely be a viable option." There are no restrictions on
Similarly, to minimize the threat of accidental killing and to
add the possibility of non-lethal duels expect to see a fatal blow
mechanism. "This option will be toggle-able" avoiding the wasted
time of executing special moves or commands in order to kill each
creature individually. Moreover, all players have the skill to feign
death - taking on the same characteristics associated with permanent
death, including your body being loot-able. As well, "Resurrection
spells will exist, but the casting cost will be extremely high -
another life of greater or equal value."
The too often "connection lost" will be dealt with by fully customizable
AI, which results in the game trying to "log" you. This feature
will require that your character not be in a heated battle. Keeping
in mind that Dawn utilizes perm death, you most likely will not
be engaging in life-threatening battles regularly. Likewise, Glitchless
has stated that if a player dies due to an in-game bug or by fault
of Glitchless, they will resurrect that character.
In another effort to apply realism to its game, developers have
distinguished between sleeping and logging. Logged characters are
fully visible to other players and appear as though they are asleep.
Sleeping will require that you be in a calm normal frame of mind.
It will take time after battles or tragic occurrence before you
will actually fall asleep. When a player sleeps in Dawn they are
invulnerable and will lose consciousness. At this time players should
expect to see a black screen while sleeping. Glitchless has mentioned
implementing dreams. On the other hand, "Logging is the act of forfeiting
control of your character and can be done at anytime." You will
not be required to sleep in order to log. Choosing to log without
first going to sleep will cause a customizable AI will take control
of your character. At this point your character will be able to
defend herself or attempt to sleep. Also, there will be homes and
Inns where players can log and sleep safely.
Folks question whether or not players will be willing to risk their
lives to protect items for a cause. With everything I understand
about human nature, the risks will only prove more enticing and
addicting. People surely fight and defend with fever for items in
their real-lives, even at times with fatal results. Likewise, when
in character, your family and friends will be the most important
thing to you in your life. Otherwise, I would assume you are not
making a very valid attempt to role-play the aforementioned character.
OOC is not welcome in Dawn. You will encounter evil characters expected
to do evil things and you will find characters wishing to only be
friendly and helpful. As long as you stay in character you pretty
much do as you wish; free will is a strongly stressed aspect of
Murder will not be taken lightly, and therefore should be an uncommon
occurrence. Many people have expressed their concern for how Pk's
will be controlled and how abusive problems will be prevented. Knowing
you do not want to hear this, more than ever the players will be
able to "police" themselves. It is not only having power and friends
to assist in your journeys, there is the formidable thought for
every PC that death is real and lasting in Dawn. Not to mention
that most acts of abuse would take some type of planning. And with
no way to recognize player stats by sight, it might prove thorny
attacking "nameless" and "level-less" players.
Significantly, your actions will affect your life in Dawn, both
with other PCs and NPCs. "Factions will be sight based and spread
by word of mouth." In addition, they will be both individual and
race based. "Keep in mind, however, just because an NPC dislikes
you doesn't mean he is going to kill you. He may tell you to piss
off, he may smack you around, he may imprison you, but an NPC will
have to REALLY hate you in order to end your life."
Because factions will affect your life the need of additional identification
measures become practical. In Dawn players are able to customize
the appearance of many different objects. Being a bit of a smart-ass,
I asked Jeff if it would be possible to make a bow resembling the
Texas Flag. His response was as follows: "During item creation you
can alter the shade and color of the object. Then via carving/drawing/painting
skills you can add template patterns to objects sort of in the way
you would add bumper stickers to a car. You'll first have to design
(or have someone else design) the symbol you want created with the
user interface provided in the game, then you'll be able to position
the symbol on the object." He mentioned that there would most likely
be a limit on the number of symbols you can put on each object.
Additionally, there are rumors of powerful goddesses [i.e. gods]
that shall receive prayers from the populace of Dawn. With little
to no information on Deity -- I presume it will be sensible. Go
ahead and fantasize. Hmm...So, I would think there might be evil
and good goddesses: some of brilliance and those of sheer laziness
and thoughtlessness. With a struggle between good and evil on every
level of our existence, I also find it necessary to have "The Goddess"
to watch over ALL the goddesses. Alas, my world would have these.
Truthfully, with as much as I expect Dawn to parallel life, I doubt
we will be seeing many goddesses or gods. I will be able to pray
my ass off to her. She may even hear me; but I am not certain how
often I will see her or be aware of any acknowledgements. However,
do not mistake, I do believe they will exist and be the most powerful
constant in the game. Besides the celestial protection of your goddess,
you will also be able to command certain creatures' total loyalty
with the combined ability to control them using "psionics."
Psionics allows the player to enter the "pets" bodies and acquire
complete control. There will be both "followers" and "pets" in Dawn.
Followers are permanently bound to you. Psionics will only apply
to infant followers and you must equip and level them. A pet is
a summoned, completely loyal creature dependant on its caster's
strength and spell type. Pets can not wield equipment nor will they
advance in level. You may summon multiple pets granted you have
the magical power to do so.
Magic in the world of Dawn will be item based. Where a ranger may
get a better bow or skill with her bow, mages will receive new wands
or rings. You can equip up to ten rings at a time. "The idea is
to give both melee and casters the same fun in loot." Allowing you
a larger variety of magic and preventing 'super" beings, Dawn's
magic will be divided into differing disciplines. Diversity will
make it very difficult to specialize in certain combinations of
magic. Currently these disciplines exist:
Anarchation - Elemental Damage
Conjuration - Creature Summoning
Alteration - Effects Magic
Abjuration - Defensive Magic
Sanation - Healing, Life Regeneration
Necromancy - Drains, Life Transfer
As well, you will be allowed resists for piercing, crushing, slashing,
heat, cold, magic, and poison.
Magic and combat both will operate in an improved and seemingly
realistic fashion for a MMORPG. Targeting is expected to resemble
the "sniping" method used by FPSs. However, Glitchless has adamantly
stated that latency will not be problem due to their "excellent
client side prediction." Instead of selecting a target and auto-attacking
you must aim and fire with your target in site. Implementing the
need for aiming allows players more imagination during battle. For
instance, by hiding behind structures or walls you are actually
making yourself a smaller target. Also, shields will have a realistic
effect by not just adding to your armor bonus but also actually
absorbing most of the effect. You can expect to see visually striking
magic as well as unique combat moves. You character will as unsurprisingly
perform different maneuvers each with their own animations and sounds.
With the included ability of using your weight and most objects
being usable during a fight you can attempt to push and move opponents.
Glitchless appreciates the importance of good communication and
will therefore utilize several ways of contact. All players will
be able to use a universal communication. There will be a small
delay with this system. However, built-in skill based methods (psionics)
will have no delay when sending messages.
I think we have covered most of what is most pertinent. There are
many other aspects concerning the game which you can read about
at Dawn's website. Dawn is expected to release early 2002 and Glitchless
plans to begin its beta testing Spring 2001. I can assure you that
on my Christmas list for 2001 will be the wish for a new "Dawn."
In conclusion, with every concern publicized by critics or those
who doubt Dawn, the players that have been truly following Dawn
since the earliest stages have, in my opinion, given much detailed
thought to almost any scenario that might occur. They have hashed
and bashed subjects and each other until what needed to make sense
made sense. And when those things did not make sense, Glitchless
helps fill in the gap.
Hence, an appropriately eloquent ending for Dawn's preview . .
"[In Dawn] you will be part of an immense world filled with both
friend and foe, all cooperating and competing to stay alive and
advance themselves physically, mentally, and socially. Some will
become rulers, some will take trades, and others will be adventurers
and conquerors. Once the game begins it will never end, once you
log on you will never want to log off. After all, 'reality' is merely
what you perceive through your 5 senses, without them all you have
is the ability to think. Dawn will flood two of those senses with
such unbelievable sensation and genuine emotion that you may very
well forget the other three, and believe me, you'll be thinking.
So bid your friends and family farewell and start up the I.V., your
destiny awaits you. "
Lead Game Design
Company & Staff Info:
Glitchless was formed about one year ago. They spent some time
researching publishers and have since focused their efforts and
resources toward the creation of Dawn. Glitchless' headquarters
are located in Florida. For additional staff or company information
you can contact email@example.com.
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