Rise and Shiny: Salem
by Beau Hindman @Massively.joystiq
A writer for Massively, Beau Hindman, chose Salem for his weekly opinion article “Rise and Shiny”, published every Sunday on Massively. His game play experience was live streamed, and joining him on the stream was Salem developer, Jorb. In this piece Beau gives us his thoughts on his first impression of the game.
His tragedy was in choosing to play Salem on the Plymouth server, instead of the two newer servers. This was also complimented by having a homestead that was just a little too close to Boston.
Rocky, a character played by Eulogi or gregl26 of MM tribe, took advantage of these mistakes, and proceeded to kill him in the middle of the interview. With this done, he spawned a new character, and was promptly surrounded in Boston by the attention-seeking wannabe-Indian gangs, along with ruberneckers. He was also bombarded with offers to help, attempts of trolling, and a barrage of swearing that caused him to hide the screen for the last quarter of his streaming session.
His interview was not very amusing for most of the current player base, since all of what was said is already known, and did not sound like it was worth wasting our developer’s time for. He even claimed that he did not bother to read any of the tutorial pop-ups, and went on to ask Jorb every newb question to him, as if he was obliged. Nevertheless, Beau claims this is his style and has been doing as such for years.
His overuse of “Hardcore!” to describe basically everything is rather annoying but may serve as a good warning to happy-go-lucky newbs. We can only assume this exaggeration is due to the harsh reality of the game that the writer had to face during his livestream. His quick death, and loss of his 15$ spent on his explorer’s package, can only serve as a warning to future pilgrims.
One thing he made clear was that Salem has no clear reporting functions available. This game does not bother with common reports other MMOs have, such as “griefing”, “botting”, or “swearing”, because players should be able to deal with it themselves or by hiring others, as expected of an open PvP MMO. But if or when some abusers start to advertise illegal/ shady sites, or player abuse becomes more rampant in Boston, or in other major town hubs, a report feature will be needed to deal with them immediately. We cannot always expect jorb or loftar to be online to deal with them.
Of course, if Paradox is planning to make this a major game, or if they plan to sell silver elsewhere, then they may need to think about the game rating, which would then require them to implement age restrictions and the like sooner or later. This of course would require more in-depth reporting functions, and the possible removal of the current “free speech” model as well. Of course this is all up to Paradox, more so than the developers themselves. It also appears that the write of the article is confused as to who should be talked to regarding customer supports, and advices Salem to “hire a PR team” in his article.
Another thing he pointed out that I found important is that there is no EULA before starting the game, and no clear warnings prior to buying silver or the convenient packages at the cash shop. The picture on the left is the only notice we have at the shop currently, and there is no warning at all about the danger of losing anything you bought with real cash at the shop. I am not aware of how Consumer protection laws apply in Sweden, where Paradox Interactive resides, but most likely this seems rather unacceptable and would strike new players quite harshly who just jump in the game without enough information.
I can hear some of you screaming, “Hey, this is an open pvp game with perma-death! All players should know that!” Do not underestimate the ability we, the human-beings, are gifted with; to hear what we want to hear and to ignore or forget what we do not want to hear. When you buy something nice, you only think of using them and enjoying them, but not think of losing them. You all need to be reminded nowadays, just like every tobacco package warning tells the smokers how bad they are for health and never enough!
Overall, I cannot rate this article high. There is nothing new or worth seeing for players who are already familiar with the game. However, the events happened during the stream and the writer’s rage-ish complaints afterwards in the forums hopefully gave a good opportunity for devs and Paradox to consider a few things, unless they want to keep this game as an indie forever.