Thursday, July 03, 2008


Why do we fight so hard for Uru?

It can't be just the modeling & sandboxing, there's tons of places to do that.

And it can't be just the social aspect, there's millions of sources for social interaction.

So, with all the other outlets, what is it that makes us grab on to Uru and hold on with the tenacity of homesteaders?

If you had to think of the one core thing, that makes you want to be a part of Uru, and not any of the other MMOs or Virtual Worlds, what is it? What's the seed of the Uru community?

(Discalimer & request: I am using this conversation as seed material for my presentation at the Austin Game Designer's Conference. Please indicate if I have your permission to quote you.)


Anonymous said...

No new level to reach. No death. No violance. Simple like that. :)

Anonymous said...

You may quote me if you like.
We hold onto Uru so hard and fast because it is not generally about "grinding" to raise a level. There is not blood spurting out of your opponent, there is no possibility that you will "die" and have to start over. It is a world of challenging puzzles and a rich mythos to support the story. Being the ONLY game out there that not only allows non-violent gameplay as well as a mature thoughtful community (for the most part)allows people to come in and have fun without having to worry about becoming the most powerful being in the universe.


Anonymous said...

It's the people, definitely. We're a different bunch. I like to think we're more mature, but that's not really true all the time. We're certainly passionate.

(permission to quote granted, and that goes for anything I may continue to say here ;))

Anonymous said...

It's the same reason we love the original Myst from '93. It's about exploration. Curiosity. What's through that door? What happens if I push that button or pull that lever? What will I find at the end of this forest path? Without the distractions of having to fight something that might come around the corner to tear your head off! ; )

Made all better when you have the company of Myst fans, and really, is there a better group of people out there? I think not.

Deg said...

Great question! My answer grew a little long, so it involved into its own post:

Anonymous said...

I think, before you ever even meet the community you're going to be playing with, the game draws you in to stay. I know that from the moment Yeesha first spoke in a cryptic fashion to me, I was hooked. Once you're in the city, in the Bevins, you know why you're there. You're one of the ones that found this place, the great city. Everyone there is connected by that first experience. Keyword being experience. We're linked not by some combat skills we don't actually posses, not by some inherent abilities that we'll never have in real life, but by an experience. We know that others have seen the same things we have, taken on the burden of bringing life to this online community. We can sense the bonds between us everytime we say "Shorah." We feel the story, we discuss it, and there's always new depth to be found upon examination.

Now, more than ever, with this revival, we'll have a hand in orchestrating the world we're a part of. I expect we'll see new people, as no other MMO allows its players to have a direct hand in its development while having a story and setting so rich.

The story brought us together, the community made us stay, and the puzzles are just fun to do. And that's why we're going to bring it back, again.

You have permission to qoute me, but if what you're qouting has a typo, I ask that you fix it.

Anonymous said...

For me, it can be summed up in one word.. Family.. the way the community has banded together through the years. The game is the catalyst, and brings out the best in each of us. It has been a treat to be part of this community, and I have memories that I will always cherish.

Anonymous said...

The juvenile behavior so many games have to endure just isn't there. It allows those moments of thought provoking questions, and the joyous moments of solving a puzzle with far flung friends to exist everywhere in the game.

The Game Uru is fun, but the concept of Uru is defined by and shines brightly in the community who plays it.

(Feel free to use this as you wish.)

Anonymous said...

Ah well, the Myst universe helped me through some tough times in my life, and also introduced me to my wife to be. I have made many friends and when Cyan announced Uru's concept way back not only did it sound like everything I was looking for in a game. It was also a means to explore the D'ni city with the friends I had made.

And although I feel Uru has lost it's way I stick around to support the concept of what it could be and hold out the hope that I will one day experience it.

(feel free to quote)

Anonymous said...

Uru is such an unique virtual world I simply don't want to let go of it.

First of all, no other game has such artistic beauty. I've been pleasantly wowed and surprised by the worlds of Uru like no other.

Then, there's the originality and depth of its story and history. The concept of linking books stirs the imagination and even plays with current physics (many worlds theory), inviting us to learn more.

I have to be honest and say that the previous incarnations of Uru were not very good at being a game. MORE seems to be finally a great feasible project for Uru and I hope it evolves well.

Quote me as "a player". Thanks! Good luck with the conference.

Anonymous said...

I said my commentary in Deg's linked post up above. And of course you can quote me if you like. :D

Adding still further to my other comments, I'd say that Uru's experience is different from other MMO's because its nature is deeply personal. You usually play yourself, with other people playing themselves. Your contribution is not with the level you've reached, or how helpful you are to your group in taking down an enemy. Your contribution is your personality, your insights, your philosophy, and your sense of humor, just as it is in a real gathering of human beings. This is why Uru fans can gather "on the surface" and enjoy each others company as much (or more) as we doo "in the cavern." The experiences you have are not with other gnomes or warriors, but with your _friends_, in story situations where disbelief is often easy to suspend and where the experience is the kind that haunts you, keeps you thinking about it long after it's over. Tomorrow you'll come back and find your friends and talk excitedly about what you all experienced today, and what might happen next time as a result. That's something I haven't seen in any other game.

Anonymous said...

...aaaand I forgot to sign my post "Moiety Jean."

aander91 said...

It's an unending game, it's constantly engaging. And we just plain need more Myst! -Granted

Anonymous said...

For me, the idea that you don't have to fight, kill, or amass wealth to enjoy the game. It's the people, the puzzles, the story. The story pulls you in and the people won't let you go. lol

You can quote me.

Anonymous said...

As Tofer said, "Family" and friends. When you start the Myst series, Atrus is your first friend in the story, when you reach The end of ages, Atrus, Cathrine and Yeesha are nothing short of Family. When you first go to the cavern it is full of new friends, willing to welcome and help new explorers, and you become part of this extended family. But for me the time spent in the cavern with my personal family is the time i cherrish most. Searching new worlds and solving puzzles with my kids has truly been a connection point in my family. The D'ni universe is a place where ADULTS can tease and test there intellect and relax in thought, rather than worry about how fast my fingers are so i don't get killed, like other games. It is also a place where KIDS can learn real values, like helping others and working together, or stopping to think before you jump, and that the instant gradification of reaching a level or killing some beast found in most games, only leads to instantly unsatisfide. We(I)as adults need-MORE-myst, and we as adults need to bring our kids... Thank you Game tap for releasing rights to Cyan! Thank you Cyan for MORE!!!! and, Thank you Rand, my friend.

Anonymous said...

sorry, you may quote anything you find worthy.

Unknown said...

Mine is a mix of the others.

It started as a place to 'safely' socialize again after 2 years of grieving via 9/11 and lost friends. It grew into into deep friendship that I had only encountered before with tabletop RPG. And despite finding other venues - then and now, online and off - to meet, we feel most connected in the Cavern.

I've a suspicion that its the deep and yet subtle ARG aspect. Unlike other games, you can very easily believe that this could actually happen in RL. It allows folks who would not normally want to 'play' in an IC role (like myself) dive in anyway from time to time, just to understand the background.

--Tim Kimball, Guardsman

[You're welcome to quote. If possible I'd like a link sent of any video/text that uses it, especially since I won't be there.]

Anonymous said...

You may quote if you like. As everyone else has said, there is no blood, no grinding for levels. But most of all, I think it is this. UrU and the Myst franchise created something that has never really been done before. It created a world, a society within that world, and then called the players to come in and explore, learn, and react. What evolved is a game that lets the players play as a sort of idyllic anthropologist/archeologist. We get to wander around, learning more about the culture of D'ni like an anthropologist and at the same time, we get to interact with the D'ni culture in a way that most archeologists can only dream of. That's why we won’t let UrU die. We are scientists who have been researching a culture and we won’t rest until we've learned all that can be learned.


Anonymous said...

From mszv -
I think it's something about the virtual word - it feels both mysterious and personal. The structure is very nice - public area, areas shared by a group of people (the neighborhood) and private areas. Eleri, the private areas and shared areas are an example of instancing in an MMO - you know what I mean - you play other MMOs. In Uru the instancing is permanent - you get to keep your private area - you don't just get it for the space of a mission. I think that design has a lot to do with why people like Uru so much.

It's also a game that you don't have to play all the time. Most of the time, it's low pressure, though there are some timed elements, which don't tend to be popular. I think the fact that it's on the slow side is an advantage. I said "slow", not "glacial", the way it is today. I don't think we need that much to do, but we need more to do than we have today.

On community - you can find like minded people to interact with. Conversations in the game tend to be on the pleasant side.

For all that, I hope you talk about the community realistically, not the way you might want it to be. There are people in the Uru "community" who don't like each other. We've never been one community. Please don't go out there and pretend that the community is all sweetness and light and they all get along. Remember how vicious the liason elections were? Remember how mean people were to other members, including how mean people were, personally, to you?

If I'd say anything about community, I'd say it was a community that supported Uru, even though it's never been one community - more groups of people with loose associations with each group. We are smaller so we know more people in various groups. This doesn't necessarily make people nicer to each other - it can make people meaner to each other. What's interesting is that a core group of people want to play Uru, even though they all don't get along, personally. I think that's the takeaway.

mtn-man said...

The level of detail in the game is amazing. The richness of the experience is what holds me. When your avatar walks near a cliff, you feel like *you* are going to fall. You feel the vertigo.

The point of URU is that "you are you", and you really feel that way when playing. With the other Myst series games, you have been the helpful stranger within the Myst universe. With URU, you customize your avatar so it is what you want to project of yourself. The game plays in the present and you meet people who come to the cavern from literally around the world. There is nothing like it.

Feel free to quote. Great that you will be representing the players Eleri. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love Uru more than any other online environment I've found. And I think it's partially because that's what it is - an environment. WoW, for example, is a bunch of numbers. That's what governs the gameplay, statistics. In real life, you can't bring up a window to view how strong or intelligent you are, which is good, because I think it'd distract people from the world around them. Uru has no numbers, it just has the world and the people within it. And that's what Uru is about. The world, and the explorers. You can really immerse yourself in the world of Uru, partially due to the music, partially due to the mysterious designs of the worlds, partially due to the story. It just feels so much more real. As people have said before me, you feel like what's happening is happening to you. And the people in Uru are some of the nicest people I've met. Admittedly, like in any place, online or offline, there's going to be idiots and people who upset others. But maybe it's the non-violent gameplay that encourages non-aggressiveness, and attracts nicer people. Maybe it's the fact that there's no competitive aspect to the gameplay, other than "Hey, I bet I can get to the other side of Ae'gura before you". Everyone you meet, you feel a connection with, you're already family though you've never met before. It's amazing, the community is entirely unique, something I've never found anywhere else, and I doubt I ever will. Rand, and everyone else at Cyan, are an amazing bunch of people who've brought together an amazing bunch of people.

Feel free to quote :)

Anonymous said...

Uru is a collaborative effort, not just as players working with players, but as the players and creators collaborate to improve the game world continually. There's no real player vs. player (aside from a few tools in the game world that allow for friendly competition), and for some of us, that's just fine.

The one thing I've noticed about Uru over any other MMO on the market is that the player base as a whole is NICE. There's no fighting over who gets to kill this rare mob or who gets the new piece of gear from that boss. Cyan have managed to create a massively multiplayer experience that brings people together instead of actively pitting them against each other. (I'm looking at you, WoW.)

Anonymous said...

from mszv
eek - forgot - of course you have my permission to quote me.

RIUM+ said...

The Myst fandom helped me through some tough times in my life. Without it, I wouldn't be here. I owe it a lot. Because of that, it's become so ingrained in my life that I don't think you could remove it if you tried. I'll be here to the bitter end, and then some more. I already have been through the 'end' more than once.

Mysterium '09 or bust!

(you can always quote anything I say, so long as you let me know so my ego can be inflated :P )

Anonymous said...

I don't know what anyone expects Uru to be, but it's always what ever people need it to be.
Personally, I love the story, and the puzzles that take you there. And all the amazing Ages I can hang out in, and play with my friends.