Choose My Adventure: Destination - Apocalypse now

So my bags are packed (what exactly do you pack for an apocalypse? I vote toothbrush, regardless!) and I'm setting out for the Lake Tahoe region. Yup, our itinerary is set -- Xsyon has won the hearts of the readers for this next escapade in the Choose My Adventure series. I find this kind of exciting, as I grew up frequenting this area out here in the real world and look forward to seeing it represented in the game.

Now, I have a confession to make: I watched the vote carefully. Too carefully. OK, I was obsessed with it! I don't think I can even tell you how many times I clicked refresh in one day; it was quite addicting to watch the numbers creep up as the readers cast their votes. And since six weeks of my life was on the line, I had a vested interest in the outcome. At least, that's how I tried to rationalize my maniacal refreshing. Xsyon commanded the lead straight off, but Pirates of the Burning Sea had a good showing and maintained a solid second place throughout the contest. Four games kept running neck-and-neck: DC Universe Online, Earthrise, EVE Online, and LEGO Universe. I admit to rooting some for the underdogs as well -- each game has special and unique features I would enjoy delving into. Think about it: Can you imagine life as a LEGO? But in the end, no one could topple the promise of a vast wasteland filled with mutants and an empty canvas for players to fill in.

So now that we have the setting, all we need is the character. Unlike many games, Xsyon demands that you pick things such as your crafting skills at character creation, so please forgive the number of polls attached to this week's article.

Head on past the cut to learn a bit about Xsyon and vote to make me build the CMA creature of your bidding!

Following along with the comments, I saw two main camps of voters when it came to Xsyon (pronounced Zion) -- those who wanted to learn about the game and experience it vicariously, and those who were already fans playing the game and wanting to provide more exposure by sharing it. For those who wanted to learn more, here is a brief overview.

Xsyon is a smaller, independent game being produced by Notorious Games. Massively's recent exclusive interview with the developer, Jordi Grau Davis, answered some questions about the game, including character aging, basic housing, and the fact that the game is meant to grow and develop with the players who build it up.

Upon hitting the game's official site, you are treated to a brief introduction that begins as any standard apocalyptic story might: "Jan 1st 2012. War has destroyed life as we know it. The Apocalypse is at hand!" However, after this, the story shows the unique flavor that is Xsyon's. Modern technology consumed itself and war completely devastated the land. With this devastation and the resulting rift in reality, the old ways have re-emerged and survivors are faced with creatures of mutation and mythology. While it is our world, it is both foreign and familiar; old ways of swords and sorcery replace progress and science. Yes, the world as we know it was destroyed, but it was also reborn. And how it develops is up to the players.

For those who eschew the themepark-style MMORPG that holds your hand and leads (or drags) you along a predestined path, Xsyon holds a promise of sandboxy goodness. The game does not have traditional classes, and skills are advanced by using them. In the Prelude, the first phase of the game, survivors must also rebuild from the ground up; there are no NPCs in the world, and anything that is created will be crafted by players, from armor and weapons to roads and buildings. First you scavenge the materials; then you fashion them into usable items.

Possibly the most unique feature of Xsyon is the ability to terraform the landscape; within an owner's property, players can build up mountains, tear them down, redirect waterways, etc. If you wanted to have a physical effect on your world, it doesn't get more real than this! I have to admit, this feature by itself has me by the heartstrings and raring to get in game!

Another unique feature is the tribe system. Every game has a term for a collection of players bound together, but tribes in Xsyon go further than just being a shared tag -- questing, banks, and safety in villages are all tied directly to tribes. Tribe totems will be an in-game message area for a group to communicate amongst itself.

With these unique features and the promise of a sandbox environment, I am excited to start my adventures! Yes, PvP will also be involved, but that does not deter me in the least. In fact, I am hoping that the alignment and corpse-looting ideas work out in the game. So now that we know what we are getting into, let's get down to the who we will be going in as.

When you first log in, you have a plethora of choices in front of you. However, we are only going to focus on the main issues (no, you cannot pick my age, hair color, or which shoes I will wear!). Instead, the choices will be combat skills, other skills, crafting profession, and starting location. While you also have the choice of weapons (axes, blades, clubs, or picks) at character creation, I have omitted this option in an effort to keep the sheer number of polls down. In the interest of brevity, I will also take the top two winners in the skills category for other skills.

Now, start constructing your newest CMA plaything! Polls are open until 12:00 a.m. EST on Monday, March 7th. At the stroke of midnight, polls close, and in true Dr. Frankenstein fashion, I turn on the power of our new creation.
Strap yourself in for the ride of (six weeks of) your life! Where are you going? Well, that's entirely up to you, the Massively readers, to decide -- the where, the what, and the how are all directed by you. The who is MJ Guthrie! For the duration of Choose My Adventure, her virtual life is in your hands! Join MJ in-game and on-site to be a part of the adventure and watch the story unfold.
This article was originally published on Massively.