Try-It Tuesdays: Ninelives

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To help keep burnout at bay and also to expand my horizons, every once in a while I want to make a point of trying a new game — MMO or otherwise — and jot down a few thoughts on it.

Today’s game is one that I’ve had on my to-play pile for a while now: Ninelives. From what I’ve heard, it’s basically an MMORPG in the making minus the “massively” part. And “multiplayer” (for now). Probably “online” too, although I did have to log into it and it has a cash shop. It’s an MMO in feel but completely devoid of a mark of any other player. And it kind of looks really intriguing, with a different take on fantasy that’s being created by two guys over in Japan. So why not give it a shot?

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There aren’t exactly a ton of character creation options (this is still alpha, after all, although it’s a free download). There’s human, goblin, orc, and the vampiric nightbreed (apparently they killed a holy deer, according to the description). I elected for a one-eyed orc, because look how awesome he is!

Note the very familiar hotbar/healthbar setup. Control scheme is similar to most MMOs as well.

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What isn’t as similar is the fact that the game kind of just starts with the bare minimum of a prologue and absolutely no introductory quests. I just see a sinking boat (mine?) and a lot of dead soldiers. So with nothing else to do, I start following a path until I get to this alien-looking sign.

True story: While I was writing this, a creature started attacking my orc. Before I could alt-tab back, my orc had already engaged and auto-attacked it to death. Guess the game doesn’t need me.

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My first quest-giver is a mostly-dead guy. The graphics here are a little chunky but I think the art design helps to compensate for that. And I am really loving the minimalistic UI, apart from the lack of a mini-map. The soldier wants me to deliver a letter from a nearby crate to a fellow knight. No problem, ’tis why I trained for ten years at martial combat, to be a letter-carrier.

Fought some gnolls, got a sword. Ohhh yeah. Now I’m packing pain. Anyone want a piece of me and my duck tattoo?

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A little further on is a gnoll cave — sounds like a good place to find a certain stolen letter. Sure enough, there’s a huge chest in here with it tucked neatly inside. Ninelives managed to surprise me, because while I was looting and squinting at the insanely tiny icons, a nearby wall fell down and a carrion eater lunged out at me. Slightly tough fight; I had to use a potion because I forgot to heal up beforehand.

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The fairly linear path led me to the “city” of Crimson Crest. By this point, the game started to feel isolating. Maybe it was the low draw distance that made the world look like it was shrouded in PlayStation 1 fog, or perhaps the complete lack of a chat window, combat text, voice-overs, or anything to make me feel like I wasn’t running through a graveyard.

In Ninelives’ favor, the fantasy Victorian look grows on me. Reminds me a lot of Arcanum.

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Take a break at the local vampire watering hole!

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I really hope that this is a pet shop and not some sort of weird grocery store.

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It’s just so strange to me how Ninelives has the obvious structure for an MMO — albeit one with a different fantasy flavor — and yet it’s empty save for just you. Kind of like some apocalypse happened.

It’s intriguing, but after an hour or so, I can’t see myself investing a lot of time as it is. If there were more people or better stories, sure. Then again, it’s in alpha. Anything can happen between now and a full release.

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2 thoughts on “Try-It Tuesdays: Ninelives

  1. dr4k3rblog June 28, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    Games like these always intrigued me. The sense of solitude is some times so refreshing. I might download it and give it a shot.

  2. bhagpuss June 28, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    I find NineLives the opposite of isolating. Relaxing, laid back, intriguing, immersive – all of those. I also really like the closed-in, foggy atmosphere and the art design is top class. The music and soundscape are excellent too.

    Gameplay is fairly low key as yet, which is a good thing. The areas I’ve seen, which is a fair amount of what’s available, although by no means all of it, have very much the feel of the first dozen or so levels of EQ or DAOC, an MMO of that era anyway. You played Anarchy Online back in the day, didn’t you? It feels like that, too (except without the mindbending lag).

    I assume the reason the tiny team behind it are so adamant it won’t be an MMO is because making it into one would be beyond their resources and ability. Clearly it is an MMO in every respect except for having other people in it.

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