If MMOs aren't your thing and my post yesterday has little to offer, there's a new multiplayer-optional RPG that might scratch the same itch in a slightly more palatable form. Cube World, an adorable exploration-heavy roleplaying game being developed by German couple Wolfram and Sarah Von Funck, launched a buy-in alpha phase this week. After overwhelming demand initially forced the developers to close down the store after only 15 minutes on sale, it's now back up... Mostly. (More on that in a bit.)
The most common description of Cube World is usually something like "Minecraft with less building and more adventuring," but frankly that's the kind of thing that's said about any game using voxel-based graphics. Like Minecraft, Cube World also uses seeds and procedurally-generated maps, but the similarities end there.
When you play Cube World you create your character, selecting from among several different races, faces, hairstyles, hair colors, and of course classes (which each have two different subclass specializations). You can explore, tame (and eventually ride) a variety of pets, climb, hang-glide, boat, crash into dungeons, take on high-level bosses and area missions, shop in villages, and in the future you'll also have the option to take on quests to help locals and travelers. Characters carry over from world to world, so you can level up on your own and then bring all that progress over when you're taking on bigger challenges with your friends. The game also has an incredibly robust crafting system, which includes the ability to modify any weapon using material cubes to add extra power as well as unique personal flair that's even visible to other players.
I haven't had the chance to play too much yet, so look forward to a more complete review once I've spent a little more time with it. If you'd like to pick the game up for yourself (for about $20 USD) it might be best to keep an eye on this site, made by Cube World fan Cyberkitsune, as site features are still being disabled and re-enabled to fix issues and deal with the heavy load on their servers. It will let you know when the site, the shop, and the registrations are open, without having to refresh the relevant pages again and again and again to find out. A super useful tool if you find yourself as eager to get your hands on this game as I have been!
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.