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The creators of Ultima are making a new MMO built on NFTs

The creators of Ultima are making a new MMO built on NFTs

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The Ultima series of role-playing games became the foundation of video games not once, but at least twice. The original series pioneered the path Western RPGs have followed for decades, and Ultima Online is a testing ground for many of the best ideas and solutions in MMORPGs today. Now the creators of the series are getting a hat-trick: Richard Garriott, known to Ultima fans as “Lord of England,” is making another MMO — but this time, it’s going to be built using blockchain technology.

Garriott is working with longtime collaborator Todd Porter, and the two say they are well aware of the problems posed by encryption, both in terms of the technology itself and its reputation among players.

“In my opinion, there really aren’t any good NFT games right now,” Potter told us. “I haven’t seen anything that I think is really hindering any gameplay.” Garriott agrees, saying in part that’s because it’s still early days — since NFTs have become a major fad, there hasn’t been enough time for anyone to Develop powerful games based on this technology.

Garriott and Porter’s approach to designing games using blockchain is unlike anything else we’ve seen, but existing experiments haven’t been particularly good so far. Hackers absconded with $600 million Axie Infinity NFT in March, NFT marketplace objkt.com recorded 27 total Ubisoft Quartz NFT sales, minted for Ghost Recon Breakpoint months before announcing the end of new content development of. (Ubisoft doesn’t seem to be intimidated, however.)

The game Garriott and Porter are working on is in the early stages of production and doesn’t have an official title yet, but it will be a modern spin on the familiar Ultima format – a top-down isometric fantasy RPG. Porter said they already have access to traditional sources of funding for game development, but will supplement this with NFT-based land sales. Players interested in owning parts of the game will be able to purchase specific parts of them as NFTs.

Concept art shared with PCGamesN by Garriott and Porter shows detailed square-shaped lands that appear to have been dug up and raised from the surface of a miniature fantasy world, with topsoil layers and rocks below. Some concept art even shows the land wrapped in a beautifully gilded gift box.

Owners will be able to build shops or inns on their property, and even create portals to dungeon levels they create.

Under this system, “not only that, but the economics of this thing will directly benefit you,” Garriott said. “For example, if you happen to be the owner of an NPC-run pub in town, there’s a financial reward just for helping it set up.”

The scheme is designed to give landowners and property owners a high degree of control over the resources available on their plots. Blacksmiths may offer unique sword designs that attract players from everywhere willing to spend a lot of money. This could have a knock-on effect, making adjacent parcels more commercially valuable as well.

If that sounds a bit like creating a cryptocurrency-backed owner class in gaming, Garriott says it’s not really a new phenomenon in gaming. Ultima Online has famously developed an active secondary market for items, especially residential plots in high traffic areas.

“In Ultima Online, when people started buying and selling stores on eBay, we had to go through this: Okay, how do we feel about that? Do we want to stop it because we don’t have a guarantee that the sale will actually be To last? And we didn’t get anything out of it,” Garriott explained. “All we get from people who trade items are risks and complaints. [Using blockchain] is a way to clarify the economics in a very fair and consistent way among players who buy, sell and trade these virtual assets. “

As Garriott and Porter explain, the added value of blockchain is that it provides players with a unified system that allows them to financially participate in the game, from the traditional crowdfunding stage to the live service stage after launch. In the past, developers and publishers had to rely on a small set of independent platforms to handle the various stages of fundraising and monetization — Kickstarter for fundraising, eBay for gray market player trading, Steam or other storefronts that sold the games themselves.

“[Using blockchain] Let’s unify the whole path,” Garriott said. “When people say they want to trade on eBay or some other cryptocurrency exchange or in-game, it lets us make sure that the path is durable and can be used in our game management outside. Fundamentally, we should be agnostics, and in this case we are. “

Porter and Garriott said they understand the skepticism of many cryptocurrency-based games to date — a misgiving both expressed. They say the design of their yet-to-be-named MMO was influenced by this skepticism, and the game was not designed to get more people involved in the crypto ecosystem. Garriott says it still has too many issues to expect players to want to interact with.

“I happen to be a cryptocurrency investor myself,” Garriott said. “I find it very complicated and difficult to invest in it. So we don’t have any illusions that we want players to know or care or think about blockchain. We will handle all of that behind the scenes.”

“Blockchain has the same problem with gas [the fees associated with trades] What we do in the real world: It’s getting more and more expensive,” Porter added. “So it’s impractical for us to design a game where all objects live on the blockchain — it would is costly. “

Garriott said he hopes the system will eventually reward players who decide to build and create new content and experiences. “If you create a super popular gaming space, then I hope you make a lot of money because that means we have a lot of happy players there,” he said. “So this is what we really think: how do we provide direct value to players, monetized in real dollars on a regular basis. This is when they contribute to the real fun factor and actually acquiring players.”

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Kirsten Bennett
Kirsten is a passionate writer who loves games, and one day he decided to combine the two. She is now professionally writing niche articles about Consoles and hardware .