Whatever happened to sandbox Bitcraft? It’s rewriting MMORPG progression

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In a recent blog post, the team behind Bitcraft announced that they’re planning to rewrite and reboot their MMORPG. They have yet to share more specifics about what’s going on with this game or when it will return. However, there is still hope for sandbox-RPG enthusiasts who may be interested in playing Bitcraft again once it returns — as long as you don’t mind waiting until 2019.

The “clockwork labs” is a sandbox Bitcraft that is rewriting the MMORPG progression. It was originally released in 2012, but has not been updated since then.

bitcraft6--696x229

Readers of MOP will remember Bitcraft, a procedurally generated sandbox MMORPG by Clockwork Labs with financial support from a lengthy list of notable names in the games industry, including CCP Games’ Hilmar Petursson, was just released last fall. While the game hasn’t garnered much attention, it has made progress.

Following a pre-alpha phase last November, the studio has been trickling out teasers; the game is up to six lore journals now, along with a recent Discord Q&A that discusses customizable avatars (“you will be able to look unpleasant if you so desire, just not right from the start”), soloing (it’s a multiplayer game, but “two of the major aspects forcing players into cooperating in other MMORPGs will however be less relevant” and some playstyles are aimed at solo play), PvP (you can’t be attacked by other players), the upcoming open alpha, building styles (template-driven), climate and biomes, gathering, vehicles and boats, accessibility features, terraforming (with an eye toward avoiding griefing), trading (“a central aspect” of the game), player group systems, maps, and more.

The developers wrote a larger blog post in March on advancement and experience inflation, as well as how Bitcraft plans to address these perennial MMORPG issues. MMOs run into problems when character advancement becomes “unlimited accumulation,” which is both an incentive for playing and a challenge for the game’s health when discrepancies between players arise, according to Clockwork. “Many current and successful MMOs chose to attempt to erase this difference, compromising the fundamental cornerstone of the player experience they aimed to develop,” Clockwork claims.

“The entire idea of an end-game is to make it such that players ultimately attain equivalent degrees of advancement (i.e. eliminating progress discrepancy), but the genre’s enjoyment comes from players making significant progress” (i.e. not eliminate progress disparity). This is an unresolvable contradiction by definition. MMORPGs have tried to solve this unsolvable conflict by attempting to have their cake and eat it too. They provide gamers progress while also robbing them of any purpose by placing them on the Experience Hyperinflation Treadmill.”

Clockwork’s solution is to provide long-term meaningful advancement, enable people at all degrees of growth to play together, add material not only to the endgame but also to the midgame, and not require players to finish all content. In any case, it’s a noble ambition.

Forming the land. pic.twitter.com/g6zTaO42Au

— BitCraft (@BitCraftOnline) April 19, 2022

Leave your mark on the world. pic.twitter.com/iqPpgiCqNe

— BitCraft (@BitCraftOnline) April 26, 2022

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