So what is love? That's certainly the metaphysical question of the ages, isn't it? Is it simply an attraction to another gender, or is it a deep bond between two people that goes beyond mere friendship, and more into the realm of headbanging, suit and sunglasses wearing pride? Do I have the authority to take on questions such as this in my editorial column?
Heck no! That's why we're going to spend this week talking about Eskil Steenberg's indie-MMO, Love! We've been covering Love extensively this week, announcing that the alpha was available and showing off some really beautiful in-game footage. But, even with all of that, we never got into the meat of the game. What is Love about? What do you do in it? Why is it so special to us on the Massively staff?
Those questions and more will be answered in this week's edition. So come on in, the Love is great!
Love is new and independent
Love, right off the bat, is not your average MMO. First of all, the servers only support up to 250 players, and those last 50 slots are reserved for friends, should you choose to bring anyone you know into the game and jam them on your server. The idea of Love is to be just massive enough to be a large world, but also foster small community relationships.
There are no levels in Love. There are no skills, there is no character advancement, and there is no overarching goal. The goal of the game is whatever you want the goal of the game to be. If you simply want to explore the psychedelic world that the game presents, you can do that. If you want to go around and shoot up the computer enemies with a rocket launcher in traditional FPS style, you can do that too. If you want to build a settlement and run it like a king, then you can do that! The game can get as complicated as you want it to be.
The only thing that really changes is Love is the world around you. The world rises, falls, decays, and persists for as long as you do. You can make changes to the landscape to create caves, houses, runes, forests, and pretty much whatever your mind can think up. You want to make a maze? Ok, go ahead and do it. But remember that the enemies of the game can do the same thing. They too will build up their settlements and alter the world, changing it to benefit and protect what they have built.
All hail the monolith
The heart of the gameplay is the monolith -- the glowing red stone that sits at the center of settlements. The monolith is your home and the general idea is to protect your home. When the game starts, you're left without a settlement of your own, forcing you to explore the world until you walk close enough to a monolith to become attached to it. Once that occurs, you can go out and find tokens -- the coveted items that can create buildings and items in your settlement -- and bring those tokens back to the area around your monolith.
When you drop the token down, it will spawn a small building or monument that will give your character and all those who live in your settlement a new ability. Abilities range from weaponry to world editing tools to the more enigmatic config tool, which I'll get to a little later in this article.
Some buildings, like the buildings that create healing tokens, power tokens, and other one-use items, require power to actually function. Power wells exist all over the world, and are these beautiful runes that project glowing blue lines of light into the sky. Your goal is to get that blue line from one place to the place where you need the power, but that's not so easy.