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Salem GamesCom 2011 Preview

Salem is an up and coming free-to-play crafting MMO brought to you by Paradox Interactive. The cute, Gothic style game shares elements with Minecraft, with its simplicity when creating your own resources and using them to craft other things. The game incorporates innovative ideas that makes it look rather unique.

You are a colonist, and you have moved to New England. Your goal is to make a life for yourself by crafting and farming. The art style is heavily influenced by the likes of Tim Burton’s animations and films such as Coraline.

Salem

The game offers a lot of freedom as there is no real influence from the developers.There are no missions or objectives to get you going; you are completely left to your own devices. The only involvement the developers have is that you can buy or trade resources from a shop, so you can either work/craft for the resources or buy them. When trading resources, you will receive a small sum of silver (the actual amount is dependant on the value of the material). With that silver you can buy rare or inaccessible resources, if you don’t fancy working and gathering the resources. Instead of trading for silver, you can buy the silver with real money.

Furthermore, no paying player gets any more access to resources than a non-paying player. Therefore the game is fair on all accounts. We personally really like this feature because for most MMOs to obtain money they sell special items that would - if other people didn’t buy them - give them the upper hand, thus making it almost essential to actually buy the item. Moreover, this gives the player a choice of whether they want to pay with real money for something or not, instead of forcing them into it.

Salem

It is a top-down game with components of an RPG, for example you will be changing clothing to alter your character’s skills, and there is also a health system. Salem is set between the 15th and 17th century, so it would make sense to use the same theories as you would in that time period.

During this period, Hippocrates’ theory of the Four Humours was the main concept in medicine, therefore the health system is based around that. This may sound complicated but it’s very effective and works extremely well within the game. There is a radar with the humours (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile) on each corner. These can be knocked down on numerous occasions: blood is essentially your health, so if you get attacked then that will be affected; phlegm is your stamina, so when crafting, building or farming that is used up; by attacking other players you use up yellow bile; and you use the black bile to acquire new skills.

If any of the humours reach zero, then your character will pass out and you will be unable to do anything at all until a couple of minutes later. If you receive further damage after passing out, then you will die. Unlike other MMOs, instead of being reincarnated as the same character, when you die, you stay permanently dead and you then have to create a new character. As annoying as this may sound, you don’t completely lose your character as your next character can be part of the bloodline of your previous character, so your new one can pick up from where your old character left off.

Salem

There are plenty of interesting features in Salem such as, if someone knocks you down and steals your possessions, when you awake again a ‘clue’ (which is basically an exclamation mark) is dropped and you can track down the player who beat you. Justice, is therefore left in your own hands. So, if you do attack anyone, you leave yourself open to retaliation at a later stage in the game. This should also set up a kind of mutual lawful system.

You can replenish any of your four humours by eating food. The more complex the food, the more it increases your health, however, creatingcomplex recipes requires skills. In fact, you need to get the sufficient skills to do a lot of things. You need a certain skill to attack other players, you need another skill so you can actually kill other players, you need a skill to loot other players, you also need a skill to view clues, and many more.

To craft an object you need certain materials and then you can build them. You can get resources from natural surroundings, like chopping up wood with an axe (which you need wood and stone to craft), and once you have gathered up the materials you can create things. When you want to have a building built, you can select the type of building you want, and to select where you want it placing a blueprint of the building comes up. Once it is placed an ‘under construction’ sign is displayed there and a window pops up with a list of the resources that you need to make the building. There will be a chance to build civilised buildings, like churches. This will increase the civilised rating of the town/village.

The more civilised a town, the more mundane the creatures that inhabit its surroundings are. The more primitive a town is, the more dangerous the creatures are that lurk in the area. You can also hunt the creatures, and use them for resources. Animals and monsters will also be included in the game; the developer also hinted at a possibility of Player vs Environment action with them. The monsters are obscure and originate from folklore, so they are quite different from the usual fantasy creatures many MMOs include.

Salem looks like a very intriguing and different MMO, and we really like the look of the game with its creative and unusual ideas. There will be Alpha and Beta testings coming up and the game should hopefully be released around summer 2012.

Jessica | 26th August, 2011
Beanz's picture
I am officially intrigued.
Jessica's picture
So was I. Before arriving at the appointment I did some initial research and that kind of spark my interest, but when we saw it...I saw massive potential. I personally really like the whole concept of it and I wouldn't mind giving it a try when it's released :3
Dead Alive's picture
Definitely interested. Paradox just makes me more interested.
kingpoubar's picture
Not being a dick, but S.T.A.L.K.E.R promised us
Quote:
when you awake again a ‘clue’ (which is basically an exclamation mark) is dropped and you can track down the player who beat you.
kind of gameplay back during its development.
And as a Minecraft addict, I fail to see how it would really work in the MMO genre.
And having played Champions online "Moreover, this gives the player a choice of whether they want to pay with real money for something or not, instead of forcing them into it." really comes down to more the player than the game. For example, I was willing to pay the monthly sub for unlimited access to everything for 30 days, my mate was more willing to pay £4-5 for individual things permenantly. (If I am "paying to win" as said friend calls it, I want to be "paying to win")
It also advertises perma-death, but subtracts it within the same scentance.

I guess I will have to reserve judgement until beta though.

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