Well, here's something unexpected: a brand-new MMORPG from a new developer that actually looks ... kind of good?
That's the first impression I got from just browsing the website for ETLOK Studios' Into the Echo, which is billed as a "massively multiplayer time travel odyssey." That's heady enough, but the Toronto-based developer has a good deal more information to offer at this early juncture.
In addition to the typical lore that you'd expect from any MMO -- there's a world, called Raava, bad things are happening, heroes are needed, etc. -- ETLOK has also penned four blog pieces to describe the game's origins and high-level vision:
- "Our Story" talks about why ETLOK is making the game and its overall goals. It's very pie-in-the-sky ("a whole new universe filled with events that will transcend platforms and media channels"), but expressed better than similar manifestos I've seen.
- "Designing for Longevity" talks about the deep-time origins of Raava and how that produces a solid foundation for development.
- "Innovative Progression System" is about the game's "hub and spoke" system, which does away with strict linear XP gain in favor of progression within different disciplines. Notably, Executive Producer Ashkay Kolte admitted that they're "not the first to come up with this concept." Their plan is "taking the concept further and elevating its application towards achieving character individuality."
- And there's even a "Commitment to Mental Wellness," where Kolte talked about toxicity in MMOs and how his game will "never use pay-to-win or pay-for-convenience monetization models nor progress limiting micro-transactions" or "unhealthy behaviour in-game like spending hours incessantly clicking to buy a house or repeated grinding to appease the RNG-gods to procure top-level gear."
In terms of actual gameplay, there's not much to go on, apart from a brief teaser video, presented below. That's getting some (entirely reasonable) flak for the stiffness of the walking animation, but if that's the biggest problem ETLOK faces in Into the Echo's development, then it's got a solid future. You can sign up for the game's pre-alpha on its website.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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