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Space Nation Online is an ambitious Web3 massively multiplayer online game coming from game and film industry veterans. And it’s getting an alpha test starting on August 29.
Space Nation CEO Jerome Wu said in an interview with GamesBeat that the week-long alpha test will provide a glimpse into the vast story of the MMO, allowing players to uncover the history of the new human civilization through non-player character dialogues, quests, and item descriptions.
Additionally, players will experience the character’s growth through ship assembly and item collection, which bring about changes in gameplay. During the alpha phase, the company will also conduct multiplayer testing, allowing players to interact with each other in the port hall and space.
Space Nation Online is part of a larger intellectual property unveiled a couple of weeks ago. It has the MMO, other games, a movie, and animated television series in the works, Wu said. All of it is tied together through a “tokenomics” economy and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“Space Nation Online is our main title, the Web3 space MMORPG,” said Wu. “In general, it’s a transmedia franchise, or a universe we want to build. We also have multiple other Web2 and Web3 games in our plan. And we also have plans for animated shorts and the TV series and probably in the future more other transmedia projects.”
Wu spent a lot of time as a developer for World of Warcraft. Cofounders include Roland Emmerich (director of Independence Day), Tony Tang (who worked on Warframe), and Marco Weber (producer of The Thirteenth Floor). They’re working on a space opera storyline for Space Nation Online, which takes place in an original sci-fi universe. They hope to create something like World of Warcraft in space. Their idea is to emphasize the fun, rather than the Web3 features. As such, they’re the latest blend of games and Hollywood, and they’ve been working for more than three years.
“This is gameplay driven, with super-rich game content,” Wu said. “And secondly, we are trying to build a universe that is vibrant, a colorful universe. Many of the space games are dark, gloomy and gray. But we are trying to build a really vibrant game.”
Asked for his inspiration, Wu said he has been in gaming for 20 years and he was lucky enough to be the very first member of World of Warcraft in China. He became the first product manager for World of Warcraft and helped launch the game. He worked on the game for almost 10 years.
“I personally love MMORPGs,” Wu said.
His cofounder Tang has 16 years in the game industry, with half of that time in MMORPGs like Warframe. Wu sees Web3 as the next evolution of role-playing games, as it can help the whole ecosystem. He values the gamers who play for fun, and he knows some players will want to play to earn. Both types of players need each other in a successful game, as they can form dynamic, strong economic and social relationships within the game and even outside of it.
The target audience will be the masses of Web2 gamers who love MMOs as well as select Web3 gamers. The company is targeting the mass market.
“The last thing and the most important thing is we want this game last for decades. Like real MMORPGs like World of Warcraft or Fantasy Westward Journey,” he said. “We always prioritize gameplay. So we want to make sure that the gamers, the real gamers will be well served. We believe we can actually bring in real Web2 gamers into Web3.”
It may sound like Microsoft and Bethesda’s Starfield sci-fi game, but that’s more like a single-player experience, while Space Nation will emphasize persistent online multiplayer gaming.
“That’s a big difference,” Wu said.
The game will include epic battles, experiencing third-person vehicle shooting gameplay where they can test their skills and strategies. The game leverages Web3 technologies and tools to empower the game
ecosystem, catering to Web2 gamers and Web3 users, and it will boast a stable and sustainable open economy, offering players a dynamic and rewarding gaming experience, and a prosperous environment.
For the Alpha, hundreds of gamers, Web3 enthusiasts, and sci-fi fans will be given an access pass to join through a program on the official website that is guided by specific rules. The company will provide a free-to-mint “Alpha Gate” NFT as a certificate for the Alpha.
The “Alpha Gate” collection of NFTs is designed to recognize and reward the early supporters of the project. Holders of these NFTs can expect to receive additional rewards in the future, including early access to new contents, other NFTs, exciting in-game surprises, access to offline events, and enhanced social value, among other benefits.
A player in the alpha will pilot a spaceship to complete a main player-versus-environment mission series, which is also the primary objective for players in the alpha. In addition to the main missions, there are more than 15 side missions available for players to experience. Apart from the missions, players can observe the gameplay of other players and communicate in the lobby. All of the described activities take
place in a big seamless map.
The company has a team of 80 people, and it’s working on more fundraising. Most of the team is in Beijing, with some in Los Angeles.
Space Nation takes place in the far reaches of space, in a distant group of stars called the Telikos Cluster. In this system of stars and planets, remains humanity’s final hope. You.
Space Nation tells a story of survivors, builders, and fighters — in a universe created by Emmerich. You can climb into your own spaceship and prepare to explore the far reaches of space.
Your home world is destroyed, and you are placed in a state of hibernation for a long time. Awakened by the Parousians, descendants of the human race, you take refuge amongst them. Little did anyone know, the shadow of war would soon descend upon sentient life, plunging all of civilization from existence.
You can interact with deadly pirates, engaging factions, “honorable” mercenaries, and a host of alien species, as you navigate through perilous environments, from binary star systems to treacherous asteroid fields, while unearthing the secrets of ancient space ruins, salvaging wreckage for valuable resources, or uncovering untold riches in uncharted territories.
You’ll need to navigate the complex relationships between three factions. Through a series of missions and tasks, you will encounter each faction and be obliged to work with them to achieve various objectives.
Whether it is helping the Ayers launch an attack on a threat, aiding the Research League in their efforts to build new space stations, or negotiating with the Saints of the New Dawn to identify a nonviolent solution, you will need to adapt to the different approaches and priorities of each group. And there’s another looming threat.
The game will have “countless life forms” traversing the cosmos. Some beings navigate the stars with honorable intentions, conducting legitimate business and forming alliances, while others engage in shady dealings, seeking to exploit anyone who crosses their path.
Ship captains will encounter any number of these beings and will engage in a variety of interactions with them, including intense battles, lucrative trades, and even the possibility of having them become part of their crew. The diversity of species in the Telikos Cluster provides a rich and exciting gameplay experience, with each encounter offering unique challenges and opportunities.
There are plenty of relic ruins, star gates, space routes and dynamic economies. In future versions, players will be able to colonize new planets, develop mining operations and then trade goods with each other. There are various guilds to choose from, each with its own unique direction and opportunities. The game will take place in a single universe, using distributed servers and microservices.
Spaceships and ownership
Of all the types of Web3 games, Wu believes an MMORPG is the most difficult to pull off but it also has the most potential for success if it gets traction. Besides digital asset ownership, interoperability and governance, Wu believes Web3 has to offer gamers fun. And if one Web3 game takes off, it can fuel the success of other Web3 games that are connected via tokens and lore to each other.
There are three different types of spaceships, which are the most important assets in the game. There are also seven different tiers of ships. Players can access tier zero ships for free. The latter tiers, like motherships, are open to guilds. And latter tiers of ships can only be built by players in the game. The ships can range from 30-meters long to 20-kilometers long. By the time of launch, the team hopes to have more than 100 ships.
The company doesn’t want to break its economy by selling ships ahead of time. But it will have basic ships available before the launch in the early stages of the game.
“We’re not going to sell ships just to make money. The purpose is to accelerate the game progress so that the players can get into the game content quicker and earlier,” Wu said. “And then when the game becomes stable, we will stop selling any regular ships. We want to keep the game ecosystem well balanced.”
There will also be a special kind of NFT that will be targeted at players who focus on exploration. Those players will be scattered from the regular players. Those players will have a chance to make discoveries of things like space routes or wormholes.
The roadmap and the grand plans
In time, players will be able to captain massive battlecruisers and engage in giant fleet battles, like in Eve Online, Wu said. The game will be available on the PC and on mobile, the latter via a cloud version. Players can play anytime, anywhere and still get access to good performance. The PC version will have low minimum specs and require about 20 gigabytes of storage space. The hope is to reach a wider audience, whether players are Web2 or Web3 users.
For Web2 gamers, players can create an account and log in using an existing email address and password, and start to play the game. Players can start to purchase in-game items and participate in the game’s economy without any additional hassle. But when they are ready to claim or connect a wallet to the account, it will only take just a few clicks and moves, Wu said.
As for the Web3 infrastructure choices, Wu said the company will disclose its strategy and partners at a later time.
For Web3 users, players can log in using Metamask or other Web3 wallet, and that wallet will be automatically linked to the game account. This means that players can easily access the game and participate in the in-game economy using cryptocurrency holdings.
Wu considers the game to be perhaps 70% ready. A closed beta is expected early next year. The game is expected to launch next year, perhaps in the second quarter.
“The players who are selected will be granted alpha tester access, and they will also receive a very special NFT as a certificate for the alpha,” Wu said. “There’s also a collection of NFTs meant to recognize and reward those early supporters. So the holders of those NFTs will also have like additional rewards as time goes by, including access to future tests, early access to our other games, and” in-game rewards.
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