First there was Minecraft, as it was good.
Or many people thought it was. It flourished and blossomed and jumped to different platforms and generally made Notch and his company quite a large pile of money.
It never really appealed to me, but I could still see the magic. It was open and allowed you to do many, many things. My daughter played it quite a bit, including on a PvP server. I didn’t even know that was possible until she showed me.
Of course, where money flows, so do copy cats. There were knock-offs like CastleMiner. And, as time went by, bigger and more sophisticated players started into the market with their own spin on the Minecraft idea. SOE’s Landmark is one and Trion’s Trove is another, both of which have a look and feel that sets them apart from mere clones of the original.
I know there are other examples out there, but since the genre really doesn’t do much for me, their names tend not to stick with me. Fill in the blanks for me, because my writing things like, “And that one that people keep mentioning” doesn’t really work so well.
But even with all of that, there seemed to be room enough in the market.
Then, yesterday, I got a press release in my inbox… because PR people are a desperate sort and are happy when even when somebody so far down the food chain as myself mentions the product they are pushing… for a “Minecraft killer.”
Actually, it was (Minecraft killer), in parentheses, but it was right there in the subject line of the email.
And I actually groaned aloud upon reading that.
I groaned because I have lived through the age of the quest for the WoW killer.
Did I say “lived through?” I meant “live in,” since if you Google “WoW killer” you will see that the quest is still alive and well and crushing souls.
Still, I had to wonder who would have the audacity to make such a claim. So I went to the Kickstarter for MyDream (which I mentally read as “MyDream is to KILL Minecraft!!1″) to see who was standing up to slay the beast.
To the company’s credit credit, the Kickstarter page doesn’t actually say “Minecraft killer” anywhere. Neither does the actual press release. I suspect that the injection of the phrase into the subject line came at the insistence of their PR person and does reflect the elevator pitch mentality of our society today, where you cannot describe something from the ground up, so you have to jump straight to associations like, “Think ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ meets ”Aliens!'” or some such.
And, reading through the Kickstarter, the whole thing sounds much more like SOE’s Landmark, which I would imagine is neither well known enough nor far enough along to have attracted a “killer” yet, than Minecraft, with a bit more emphasis on creating content.
Think Landmark meets Neverwinter’s Foundry… if you must.
A bit of it does seem a bit blue sky naive. This in particular stuck out:
The MyDream team is currently working on a leveling system based on the novel idea helping others. We would like to eliminate hating, griefing and other forms of abuse that run rampant in other MMO’s. By creating a reputation system that promotes cooperative team play and honest rating of others, we assure a self-policing positive environment for all.
That sent my cynicism spiking off the meter… they assure this… while at the same time making me think, “Oh God, don’t put it like that, you’re practically daring people to prove that they can grief and otherwise behave badly! You don’t know their power! Don’t make eye contact!”
I suppose I am a product of my environment, which does include EVE Online. But rare is the multiplayer game where I haven’t seen some amount of bad behavior exhibited simply because it could be done.
Anyway, I thought I would bring this up because… urm uh… I’ve forgotten now. I don’t plan on pledging or even playing. Variety? Something about “Minecraft killer” possibly? Or maybe because their office is just up the road in Palo Alto. Go local devs.