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Meridian 59 - Old Gods, Nearly Dead

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the from-beyond-the-pale dept.

PC Games (Games) 19

Thanks to GameZone for their interview with Brian 'Psychochild' Green of Near Death Studios, talking about their resurrection of the 3D graphical MMORPG for PC, Meridian 59, which first launched in 1996, a year before even Ultima Online. Some of the original developers bought the property back from 3DO in 2001, and are "unveiling a new graphics engine" at this year's GenCon. According to Brian, "We think that Meridian 59 still has a lot to offer online RPG fans with it's innovative gameplay, interesting character advancement, well-balanced PvP, and great communication tools. Unfortunately, the graphical presentation gets in the way of people appreciating the game."

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Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6497536)

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sceond psot! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6497560)

Whoo!!!!

Look, ma, I'm on Slashdot! (4, Interesting)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497688)

Wow, didn't think this interview would get posted on Slashdot!

I'm the interviewee in the posted article. It's a variation on my current soapbox topic of game players supporting the independent developers. Independent developers are doing some cool things, and we need support to keep doing this.

Anyway, check out Meridian 59 if you like online RPGs but are a bit tired of the current offerings. We offer balanced PvP, great communication systems, and very flexible character creation. The game has a lot of depth from having 7 updates added to the game over 6 years. Just be patient with the newbie area, a lot of the really interesting complexity is hidden in the first part of the game in order to get online game newbies into the game easier. (There were a lot more of them 6 years ago, you know!) Make some friends, join a guild, and explore a new world.

If you're going to Gen Con Indy, stop by our booth and see the game in action. We'll be showing off the new graphical client, which is a marked improvement over the current software rendering engine.

See you in the game!

Re:Look, ma, I'm on Slashdot! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498009)

I was looking at the site and the FAQ and two questions were unanswered.

Is there (or will there be) a Linux client?

What are the minimum requirements?

it would be nice if that info was in the FAQ.

Re:Look, ma, I'm on Slashdot! (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 11 years ago | (#6499683)

You can run it under WineX with little hacking.... The current client is lightweight enough to allow for VMware console play. I have done both, and prefer VMware running win2k (as It's easier to setup.)

The game is fun, a good eater of hours. Psycochild, and his team love their game, and they do remarkable work for a 3 man crew.

Re:Look, ma, I'm on Slashdot! (1)

13Echo (209846) | more than 11 years ago | (#6500570)

How does it run with the standard WINE? I've been interested in this game for a while (I've seen the ads on Penny-Arcade), but I've not run Windows for a few years now.

Re:Look, ma, I'm on Slashdot! (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 11 years ago | (#6501700)

under regular wine, it's a little unstable, winex I have had few problems with... from my experience, winex is worth the little extra (time+$).

Re:Look, ma, I'm on Slashdot! (1)

Gr33nNight (679837) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498383)

Hey, Ill be at GenCon and I will make sure to stop by and check out what you have to offer.

Re:Look, ma, I'm on Slashdot! (3, Informative)

casio282 (468834) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498950)

I wanted to second Brian's rallying call to support independent developers -- these people are doing it out of love, and it tends to show. Another independently produced game is A Tale in the Desert [atitd.com] , an incredibly innovative MMOG which has one of the most sophisticated and complex world-models I've ever seen in a game...Moreover, it's the only RPG-style game I've seen in which people become truly skilled at doing what they choose to do (gemcutting? gear-box design? pyrotechnics?) by doing it, and performing the complex machinations involved. So players actually become skilled, rather than characters just advancing a skill number! There's at lot more -- check out the website [atitd.com] if you are at all interested. Only in an independent game like ATITD would the lead developer give out his cellphone number in case the server goes down!

No, I don't work for them -- I'm just really impressed by the game and want to spread the word.

Another independent game I'm keeping my eyes on is They Came From Hollywood! [theycamefr...lywood.com] , which looks to be a great update on the old "Crush, Crumble, and Chomp!" [arcor.de] concept...

Re:Look, ma, I'm on Slashdot! (1)

tongue (30814) | more than 11 years ago | (#6502361)

I used to play meridian when it was in its first beta--I had no idea you guys were still around! Fantastic to see the game is still doing well with its core audience, and i'm looking forward to having some time to check out the new stuff when i get a few minutes.

How many online RPGs have actually died? (1)

darkmayo (251580) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497854)

When you think about it you'd be hard pressed to find that many.. somewhere someone is still playing and enjoying some of those old classics.

I'm gonna be all nitpicky (1)

Enfors (519147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6497962)

I'm gonna be all nitpicky and point out that, unlike what the article claims, M59 was not the first online game. There have been online games since the 70's. I'm not sure which one was the first, but it may have been Empire. What they really meant to say was that this is the first graphical retail MMORPG.

So I'm a nitpick. Sue me :-)

Anyway, I wish the M59's developers the best of luck (and I'll see you on MUD-dev, hehe).

Re:I'm gonna be all nitpicky (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 11 years ago | (#6500995)

Actually, it can't even claim to be the first MMORPG. Long before M59 (at least it felt long at the time because I was in Junior High/high school). There was a game, by a name you might just recognize, called Neverwinter Nights. It was only available through AOL and was, until it became really outdated, one of AOL's premium games that you had to pay extra for. The server could handle something like 500 people online at a time and was based on the graphics engine used in the old SSI AD&D "Gold Box" games. (Pools of Darkness, Pools of Radiance, Secret of the Silver Blades, etc.) While I can't be sure that there wasn't something around before it, I remember thinking that it was ahead of its time. On the other hand, while the original Neverwinter Nights did come first it may be possible for M59 to claim bragging rights as the first 3D MMORPG.

The only other MMORPG from around the same time period I can think of was Sierra's "The Realm" which, if I'm not mistaken also came out slightly before M59. It had 2d graphics and was closer, in my opinion, to a graphical chat room than an actual game but it did have combat (barely). I remember joking with a friend of mine in High School that Sierra must have had the Janitor write the game because the graphics didn't even come close to the 3d graphics they were using in the Space Quest/King's Quest games of the time. I remember that, at least for initial release, the combat was held in a separate screen that world travel and that the graphics looked like something you'd see on an 8-bit NES or an old 8088/286 system.

I do have to say though that it is kinda good to see them keeping the game around. There isn't anthing all that ground breaking in some of the more reasent MMORPGs like UO, EQ, AC, and some of the others to make a need to throw away the server code of M59. Kinda sad really, if you think about it, that those games have advanced so little in terms of server flexibility and gameplay. I remember playing the the beta for a short time and it was definetly fun even on a slow modem connection.

Re:I'm gonna be all nitpicky (1)

drgnvale (525787) | more than 11 years ago | (#6506382)

It was only available through AOL and was, until it became really outdated, one of AOL's premium games that you had to pay extra for.

Actually... NWN was never a premium game. Don't you remember all the petitions floating around saying we would all cancel our AOL accounts if they made it premium? Heck, NWN was the only reason some of us had AOL, and it was damn well worth it.

Re:I'm gonna be all nitpicky (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 11 years ago | (#6506800)

he, I could have sworn I remember needing to pay a special fee in the beginning. Ah, well. It was a long time ago and I don't remember (I wasn't the one paying the bills back then ;-) ) It was defintely an awsome game, especially for the time it was released.

I remember this (1)

f0rtytw0 (446153) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498048)

I remember playing this game. I had just thought to myself "Hey roleplaying games online in a Doom like style would be cool" and then proceeded to search if there were any. Meridian 59 was one of the first ones I found. Played around with it some found it to be pretty cool. I also stumbled across Everquest but it wasn't out yet so I signed up for the beta.. and got in =P

I had fun playing it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6498258)

...except for the shouts of "Help! I'm stuck in a wall again!" :)

The only MMORPG I really enjoyed (2, Interesting)

codexus (538087) | more than 11 years ago | (#6498603)

I was in the beta (or was it even alpha I'm not sure) and it was really great, despite the really bad internet connection I had at the time!
Maybe it was because it was new, but it was really fun. I remember the first M59 online wedding ceremony, lots of players had connected to see that :)
I tried UO (the alpha was fun, but I didn't play more than a few hours in the retail version), EQ (I don't think I even played that one for more than an hour, I paid for at least 6 months though) but the one I remember with good memories is Meridian 59.

Value Package (2, Troll)

Kwil (53679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6501552)

$10.95/month for Meridian 59 on its own.

Go to http://www.skotos.net [skotos.net] and you can sign up for a year for $129.95 and save two bucks plus have access to a bunch of other RPG and strategy games, including The Eternal City (MUD), Underlight (another graphical MUD), and several strategy games.

Or you can just sign up on a monthly basis for $2 more than you'd pay for Meridian on its own.
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