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Midgard Preview

publisher: Funcom
developer: Funcom
genre: RPG

ESRB rating: n/a

release date: Cancelled
» All About Midgard on ActionTrip

September 18, 2001
Dusan "Lynx" Katilovic

There is no better place to start developing a Norse mythology based game than Norway. And as luck would have it, Midgard is being developed by Funcom, a Norwegian developer team (Now working out of sunny Cali, btw - Ed.), world famous for its Anarchy Online. They obviously intend to stick to the winning format as they announced Midgard to be a Massively Multiplayer On-line Role Playing title with strategic elements.

Midgard is set in Scandinavia during the heroic times of the Vikings, offering a blend of Norse mythology, history and real-life simulation. In its core, Midgard is an on-line potpourri of several different genres; primarily strategic simulations (like Civilization and Settlers) and MMORPG (Anarchy Online style). Apart from the unavoidable fights and military campaigns, the game will also feature trade, diplomacy and resource management. You will have to explore the world and travel both by land and water in order to find new resources and establish supply routes. This will bring you in contact with different tribes and cultures who will have specific backgrounds and attitudes towards you. Communication with them will let you trade goods, and also learn of their weaknesses which might come in handy later in the game.

The game will be loaded with action, but you won't have to take a part in combat personally in order to gain EXPs - combat will usually only be there as means of getting to some higher goal. When a hero dies in battle, according to Nose mythology, he gets taken to Valhalla - where the brave ones live forever (quite unlike Christian paradise). You cannot die by the hand of another player in Midgard, so there is no PK'ing as such. You can die only as a consequence of an attack performed by one of the creatures roaming the world of Midgard. If you get lucky enough to die, you enter Valhalla. Once there, you can fight as much as you want. This is where PvP takes place. Besides that, at any time you can choose to go back to the world of Midgard again and resume your life. Cozy, huh?

OK, now we know what happens when you die, but what about birth? You enter the game in a starting village of your choice and then you can pick a profession you want to develop. Only a few professions will be available to you from the very start, but in time you will get access to better skills by seeking out mentors who can teach you, allowing you to reach advanced professions. The game supports a wide range of professions, but you can only start at the bottom as a farmer, blacksmith or carpenter... As you advance in your profession, you will be able to use more items and you will be more proficient in using the items you were already able to use. Professional skills are gained with EXPs and some of the character advance will be visible on your avatar's in-game appearance. The concept of age is an important issue in Midgard. Even though you as a player do not get older, your experience in your profession is affected by the amount of time you have spent in-game, as is your wisdom. This allows a player who wants (and can) be online very frequently to go for the more advanced professions. If you want, you can even change your profession during the game, which gives you a chance to experience the game in totally different ways.

Even though you can only play this game as a human character, you will get to meet other races typical for Norse surroundings, like Trolls. Fighting everyone and everything should never be your priority, as you will often be able to achieve much more through trade and diplomacy. Apart from that, communication and trade with other live players will be an imperative. You will have to trade constantly as all your equipment decays in time.

New players are born in a pre-existing village, but they are free to leave it and start their own settlement somewhere. This way the players are free from taking orders and if they manage to form an entire tribe they will begin issuing orders to other players, or even hired NPCs which can gather resources or build for you in exchange for food and pay.

The engine used for Midgard is a new 3D engine, with no relation to Anarchy Online whatsoever. It uses a 1st person view and you will be able to explore tall mountains and deep fjords, hostile glaciers and dark forests, cities, towns, and villages, all in real-time. It's a persistent online world, so the plot will keep on developing when you are not there. The graphics really look impressive and it is quite a mystery how they run that smoothly... As for the space the game will be placed in, it should be slightly smaller than the one seen in the Anarchy Online. The main reasons for that are highly detailed appearance of the game, its sophistication and abundance in possibilities, ways and options.



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