Regarding MORE…

So, aren’t we all just dying with excitement for MOAR MORE?

No, we aren’t. Not really. Or, at least I’m not.

The Storyline

The storyline of Uru has changed far beyond what Cyan originally intended. What started as a single-player game exploring the tunnels to D’ni (DIRT), had evolved into an archaeological expedition where we were along for the ride in a multi-player environment (pre-Prologue). Does anyone remember the excitement of watching archaeological reports being posted on the DRC forums? It still held a believability. An archaeological expedition to an underground cavern makes sense, and linking books could still be fudged with advanced physics.

The storyline was going great until Prologue shut down. To D’ni and PotS quickly tried to tie up lose endings, without really succeeding, and changed the original storyline drastically. To make matters worse, Myst V took storyline that hadn’t even started yet, and twisted it into a new storyline for Yeesha and Esher.

Can we blame Cyan for this? Not really. After Prologue they likely had no hope of getting Uru back online to continue the storyline, so it made sense to release the nearly-finished Ages as expansion packs and try to tie off lose endings.

D’mala should have seen that there was no hope of picking up the storyline where it left off, Untìl Uru had no official storyline, and no consistent storyline across shards. The storyline was run entirely by fans who – using the Vault tools, AdminKI, and a few cooperating players – could make any storyline they wanted. Picking up where the story left off was like trying to take an unravelled sweater and force it back into shape.

MOUL picked up from D’mala, and the storyline was bearable. The inconsistencies from Untìl Uru were there, but not blatantly obvious to most people. Then there came episodes, and everything went downhill.
You cannot run a persistent multiplayer environment with a realism component using episodic content. We all hope Cyan has learnt that lesson (even though we know that they haven’t learnt a thing).
Episodes quickly cleared the cavern for 3 weeks per month, leaving one week of cramped storyline filled with player drama and less and less Cyan involvement. The storyline itself reached new levels of absurdity and the nonsensical. Flying creatures trying to kill us, who can link at will, and are at war with themselves? Seriously, a Disney movie has better coherency.

The best solution is to start from the beginning. Possibly even before Prologue, before UbiSoft forced a single-player game, before there were multiple Bahro doors… I’d like to see what Cyan intended from the beginning. This poses issues for the Guilds, especially the Guild of Writers, but there is likely a fairly easy way to make it acceptable. The DRC offering classes in the Art? Yeesha offering us her knowledge and skill?

Content

Has anyone here played Crowthistle (aside from RIUM…)? The two worlds presented there were made very quickly by Cyan’s limited staff at the same time as Myst V. The unfortunate part is that they look much better than any of the new Ages in MOUL. K’veer and Ahnonay were the only Ages that came close to rivalling them, and both were built back in the Prologue days, with minor updates for MOUL.

People ask me what my favourite Uru Age is, and I answer truthfully: “Ahra Pahts”.

The tools

Best part about MORE is that we’ll finally get Cyan’s Plasma toolset. Yeah, that’s right… Cyan’s going to give us their 3DS Max plugin, and some of the source code.

It’s as easy as taking some binaries, putting them in a zip file, and distributing them. The source is as easy as taking a few more files, zipping them up, and passing them around.

So why is it such an difficult task for Cyan? Wouldn’t they rather get the tools out now and have content ready for when MORE is released? Is it so impossibly difficult that Cyan isn’t able to complete the simple task of zipping up some files?

Plasma toolset: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Cyan Worlds, Inc.

CyanTest

Yes… Cyan Worlds barely exists anymore. They have reduced staff to only a few Quality Assurance members who are now working at testing games for other companies. Don’t believe me?
CyanTestCyan Worlds
Compare the two addresses listed on the contact pages.

So what are our favourite Cyantists doing now?
Rand and Tony are still in Spokane working out the legal details and the concepts for MORE.
MarkD (Chogon) is now living in northern Washington, in an increasingly desert-like and dry area.
Richard (RAWA) and Lloyd (lbell) are working in the QA area.
Ryan (GreyDragon) is no longer working with Cyan.

Artists? Programmers? As far as I can tell, there are none left.

Which begs the question? Who is going to be programming the MORE server code? Who is going to make sure that the servers are up and running properly?

The closer you look, the less likely MORE is. I’ll believe it when I see it.

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20 thoughts on “Regarding MORE…

  1. Aloys says:

    In february I thought they’d really let Uru go and move to other things, I thought that was the right thing to do. (I still think in fact) But they went with MORE, and now we can only hope it’ll happen..
    I agree about the fact that Uru as a whole (under its various incarnations) is a bit of mess. On all levels: story, gameplay etc But assuming a full-featured Uru-Live is not coming our way this isn’t very important, not anymore. MORE will only be a platform for the community to grow on (or at least to persist on). And if it somehow works well, and if the Guilds do a really good job maybe one day it’ll gather enough interest to maybe warrant a real return of MOUL (or maybe even DIRT *fingers crossed*)

    As for Cyan’s current situation: well it sucks, but Rand and Tony probably want to (and probably *have* to) keep the company afloat.. :(
    It might indeed be the end of Cyan as we know it.. we’ll see in the next weeks or months..

  2. Lontahv says:

    UU didn’t have anything new (or at least the shards that didn’t have fan ages), but somehow it was alive in a way MOUL wasn’t in between episodes. I think that it may have to do with the “pack of friends goes and starts up a server with odd scraps of old computers” thing.

    I think having it fan owned and run really went a lot of the way to making it interesting when there was little or nothing to do that was new. This is why I don’t think MORE will be the kind of success that I think Cyan thinks it’ll be: UU again kind of success. They think that they can get people excited about nothing when they keep holding the keys to it. People want to run, and Cyan is giving them a kind of treadmill. They must’ve said: “Hey what a good idea, remember all those UU servers people ran out of their homes? Imagine owning all of those. Oh COOL. Great idea!”.

    But they forgot one thing: Most of the people ran them out of their HOMES and for MORE it seems you need to make your home a data-center to do that–can you imagine people installing backbone connections into their homes to run MORE servers that are really just little thin-clients of the big daddy Cyan server?

    I hope that they address this problem, and if this one fails they bring back UU which people actually had fun on when there was no story.

  3. RIUM+ says:

    Woo, I got a mention! :P I actually don’t know of ANYONE else who has a copy of Crowthistle, heh.

    (that’s all I have to add >.> )

  4. Tomala says:

    “UU didn’t have anything new (or at least the shards that didn’t have fan ages)”

    Don’t know where you got that information, but there were a few shards that had fan ages running on them in the UU days. (That is unless I’m imagining I ran a shard with MercAngel’s Maze age being just my imagination ;) )

    Back to Paradox’s post. I do agree, I’m with the wait and see crowd. I’ve seen history repeat itself too many times, now to see if this is for real.

  5. Paradox says:

    UU did have fan content, but like most of UU it was mostly without storyline, limited to certain shards, and often was considered content for the sole purpose of being content.

    I’d love to see a form of Uru where the fan Ages exist as part of the storyline, and where they are as integral to the game as Teledahn and Ahnonay.

  6. Erik says:

    All I can do is to nod at your post.

    Initially I was excited about MORE. I still am. I think. I guess I can’t really say beforehand if I will like it, no one really knows what it will be like; it’s rightly called an experiment. It will probably be nice to “be in D’ni” again though.

    I feel like things are going past me nowadays… The Guilds… the plans … I feel like I don’t really care any more, which I don’t really understand. Perhaps it has to do with having been away on a holiday. Anyway, we will say how it plays out – for us and for Cyan.

    It’s indeed a shame, Cyan’s current state. (And what an ugly website Cyantest is! They evenn use frames.) Nothing we can do about it though,

  7. Marten says:

    Ah yes, I see GS has written a reply to this blog, where he somehow takes credit for being the original person to say that all of this wouldn’t work. Except that his original complaint has always been to push everything back to DIRT and eliminate the Bahro completely, not to push it back to how things were in Prologue.

    But back to Paradox’s thoughts, I note that they seem like they could fit together pretty well with suggestions from Alahmnat and Tweek. Tweek wrote in “Concept – Uru Live Beginning”, that he wants to see players making real choices rather than having the Journey forced on them. In “Labor Lost and My Beginning,” Alahmnat has proposed that Yeesha and the DRC should just go away, and elsewhere he used the word “reboot” to suggest what we should do with Uru.

    I dream about rolling back, too. I’d like to pretend that MOUL: Season 1 was just a bad dream, that Myst V turned out not to be an accurate story of Dr. Watson’s travels in 2005, and heck yes, I would even like to see just one Bahro door, in Eder Kemo. But, if we did that, how would we explain all of the guilds today? It’s a messy situation. But something has to give; I think Cyan let one too many kinks in the canon, and the whole history feels like a lopsided tower ready to topple over.

  8. The stranger says:

    I have to respectfuly disagree with almost everything you said here.

    Though I didn’t liked the episodic way of story too.And I’m worried about cyan worlds too.

    Well,at least they worked on MOUL (uru) for 8 years and never gave up.That’s a good things.

  9. Aloys says:

    I don’t know.. Of course we have to give them props for not giving up on Uru. But on the other hand maybe if they had moved on they wouldn’t be in the situation they are now.. Who knows? We can’t change the past.
    All we can do now is keep on supporting them by producing more activity around Uru, and more Ages; and hope that all goes well for them with their QA businness.

  10. Paradox says:

    @Aloys: Yes, it was devotion to Uru that caused Cyan to shut down once already in 2005 as Myst V was coming out. Luckily they secured a deal with Turner at the last minute and were able to recover enough to run D’mala and MOUL.

    @The Stranger: It was devotion to Uru that caused Cyan to shut down once already in 2005 as Myst V was coming out. That devotion could easily cause the company to close for good.

    @Erik & Marten: A reboot of the story would make guilds very difficult to explain. Especially the GoW, due to needing knowledge of the Art.
    As I mentioned (albeit briefly) it might be possible to have Yeesha take a role in teaching, or the DRC to admit that they know enough about the Art to make basic Ages?

  11. Aloys says:

    Let’s hope that CyanTest meets some success and they don’t close for good..

    Also, my personal ‘reboot’ of the story would include Yeesha getting mysteriously crushed under an enormous rock the very first day. ;) (or a piano, or a giant coconut tree, or any large and heavy object). “Shorah surface dwellers..” *CRASH*

    Seriously though I usually hate reboots/retcons and such.. I love continuity, whatever the story. Uru wouldn’t be an exception. I might not be a fan of all aspects or Uru’s story, but it happened. And I took part in it. Also the fact that the continuity was (mostly) maintained between Prologue/CC/UU/MOUL is a testimony to Cyan’s devotion to the story. And whatever happens in the future that isn’t likely to change.

  12. Dr CrisGer says:

    Interesting discussion. I continue to expect the return of MOUL URU MORE will be very enjoyable for all and the future is bright.

  13. […] again, certain people have displayed the uncanny ability to misread what I’m trying to point out when I bring up my history of discussing what was wrong with Uru. They tend to think that I’m […]

  14. Paradox says:

    Through some horribly convoluted thought pattern that GS caused, I’m actually going to quote something from him, something that I agree entirely with and that I think sums up the entire need for a reboot.

    The whole Bahro thing was a snap decision in an effort to comply with the demand for a single-player experience. There didn’t used to be pillars that you hunted down to repair the Bahro’s soul or whatever it was. I’m not sure how much of Yeesha there was, but there was much less “magic” to the game back then. Back then, the Myst universe would not have even considered that standing in a circle in K’Veer would summon a Bahro. It felt more real and Linking Theory was something that you could almost explain “scientifically”, and you would exchange ideas and make a pseudo-thesis sort of write up and show everyone. Everything felt real and somehow made sense and nothing that couldn’t be explained ever happened. Now you have the Bahro running around, changing the state of Ages while you’re in them? While I understand that Linking Theory is just a silly fantasy idea, it at least felt like it could be real.

  15. Aloys says:

    I couldn’t agree more about that ‘too much magic’ point.
    I’d still be against a reboot though. But it’s not like Cyan has any intention to do that anyway..

    Although why exactly I think reboots/retcons are evil would certainly deserve a whole blog entry. (since I don’t have a blog I’ll probably post that on some forum, that should make for an interesting discussion.)

  16. Magaio says:

    “So why is it such an difficult task for Cyan? Wouldn’t they rather get the tools out now and have content ready for when MORE is released? Is it so impossibly difficult that Cyan isn’t able to complete the simple task of zipping up some files?

    Plasma toolset: I’ll believe it when I see it.”

    “The closer you look, the less likely MORE is. I’ll believe it when I see it.”

    Maybe you should stop looking so closely.

    Your criticism is presented in a way that hinders reception. The truth of the matter is that you have no real power over Cyan’s situation and you don’t know their intimate motivations for their choices, whether it’s starting a QA spinoff, or the various storyline developments inside Uru. What you can do is get a better attitude and encourage new players to give it a try if this is finally restarted. I do agree that the storyline is getting pretty twisted, but don’t you think it would be a little strange to rewind like that? Perhaps a strong closure of some of those elements is in order.

    It sounds to me like you’ve already given up and want to push people away from Uru! Maybe you didn’t intend that. We’re all disappointed a little bit, right? I think you worry too much because you are motivated too strongly by your principles. Just relax, have fun, and hope for the best!

    Remember, a skeptic withholds judgement until the conclusion.

  17. Paradox says:

    To the contrary, I don’t want to push people away from Uru at all.
    What I hate is seeing people wait in constant hope for something that may or may not ever happen.

    I do a lot of work through the Guild of Writers, and encourage people to become involved in a way to make Uru better. Take matters into our own hands and take control of the future of a dead game.

  18. The stranger says:

    I agree with paradox.We are controlling it now.But there’s no need for a whole reset.Just get back on the right track.

  19. Deledrius says:

    I bought Crowthistle! (though I’m still not sure what to do with the book that came with the CD…)

    I agree. It’s very beautiful, as was Myst V.

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