Recently I started playing Horizons, yes forever on that quest for the game to replace Everquest. Horizons is a nice mix of successful elements from other games. Although the player population is relatively low, the game design has succeeded in weeding out many bad apples who like to ruin the game for others. (with smack talk, griefing etc.) The game requires alot of dedication, and caters to a particular type of player. The atmosphere of the chat environments is friendly and constructive. There is no one general chat window, but player created channels that anyone can join. There are always the standard windows such as guild chat, marketplace etc, but players have the ability to create more topic specific channels. Last night i noticed there was even a Quebec channel! Although this keeps chats and in essence players seperate, you also get to talk about the topic at hand (no more selling in an OOC channel)
There are a few things that is nice about this game, tradeskill system, player generated economy and mainly its overall purpose. Unlike most mmorpg’s that have come out over the last year or two, the game is not mob oriented nor pvp oriented. The gist of the game is this: Mobs do not drop any items other then materials used for tradeskills, therefore the economy is purely player driven since you can only get armor, weapons spells etc from other players who make them. The goal of the game is to build towns and cities using these collective resources. You want to build a house, you will need people from every element of tradeskill to build that house; this creates a cooperative community.
A player can be a tradesman and level to capacity within the trade, be a significant member of the game and never pick up a sword or cast a spell.
Career paths are interchangeable – you can play a cleric for 20 levels, then decide you want to be a warrior, you simply find the appropriate NPC and request the change. You then start out as a lvl 1 warrior with lvl 20 cleric abilities, as time goes, you can be a lvl 20 cleric, lvl 39 warrior and a lvl 19 shaman if you chose – having the abilities of all three classes up to your level ability. This allows for some creative hybridity.
Lastly, something that has been brought up on this space, as well as many others that are concerned with gameplay, is how Horizons deals with death. You do die in Horizons (as i candidly found out last night mining at the bottom of a lake!) but you dont lose experience or levels or gear. You gain death points, which, as they accumulate you lose abilities until you regain them. Interesting concept since dying too often will affect the game play, but imo, death is not that important a role in Horizons as it is in most MMO’s.
There’s alot more to talk about when it comes to character selection and creation, but ill get into it another time.