You see some pretty ambitious games on Kickstarter, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything as out there as Shards. A MMO that plans to ditch everything we’ve come to know from the genre bible, indie developer Citadel Studios intends to make Shards the “first-ever player-run MMO”.
To do this, Citadel are banishing levels, classes, and grind quests from their blueprints, and instead doing all they can to provide a world for natural, emergent player stories.
So this is EVE, right? Not so, although the player-run elements certainly draw many parallels with CCP’s space-faring future life simulation. "We are returning to living virtual worlds where stories emerge naturally as players explore the worlds laid out before them," explains Citadel on the Shards Kickstarter page. The adventure of Shards is achieved through a multiverse, with each universe having a distinct visual style. rule set, mechanics, and lore. As players travel to each universe they will gain new abilities. As they proceed through their lives, players can gain massive achievements such as ruling worlds or becoming immortal, or hit lows as low as permadeath.
"At launch, Shards Online will feature a wide variety of official rulesets, while players will additionally be able to create and share their own," Citadel explained. "Anything from a hardcore PvP experience to a shard in which players can only farm is possible. Gamers can run their own server, creating live content for mortal players as gods, or jump into other servers and take advantage of open-ended character development, customisable housing, tactical combat and more in living virtual worlds. Various maps will range from high fantasy and sci-fi, to the wild west, jungles, dinosaurs and beyond."
The game’s Kickstarter campaign page is bursting with detailed information on the lore and mechanics of the game, discussing the mortality scale, combat, modding potential, and character development, along with the usual multi-tier rewards selection for donating to the cause.
A MMO of this scale sounds like it should demand a hefty subscription, but Citadel are walking the path of Guild Wars 2, charging for the game itself but not imposing a subscription. For the most dedicated players a monthly fee can be paid, which will provide premium additives to the Shards experience.
Citadel Studios are looking for $320,000 to make Shards a reality, and have already ploughed eight months of work into the game, meaning Shards already has some solid groundwork. It’s a concept that sounds almost too big to be possible, but should Citadel be able to pull it off this could become one of the PCs most notable multiplayer games. If you dare Citadel to dream, just pop over to the Kickstarter and slap down a donation. You have 28 days and counting left.