Love Beta – A passage through the wilderness – Part 1

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I was trying to think of something ubiquitous to related this experience to in order to establish understanding. First I thought of learning to ride a bike, but that’s too straightforward; a very point and shoot learning process, then I thought about it like learning to play the guitar. For all of you out there who have done so, you know that it’s a very modular, very procedural process. You learn to play a chord, then you learn to put it all together into a song. Chances are that song will sound rubbish because you’ve learnt barely anything, however there is still much to learn which will enable you to reach greater heights.

My first day in Love was in shambles; I suppose this is some kind of divine metaphor. I started off standing on a high rocky precipice, the particle effects blaring in my face, the wind running through my… weird orange helmet thing. I was alone, confused, and it was starting to hurt my eyes, this is when I found somebody else. Quickly we exchanged conversation, I felt right at home as we discussed the game and complained about its UI, up until the point when I had to quit and reconnect. They were gone. I was devastated, I was once again alone in the world.

I set off at a cracking pace, quickly learning the control scheme and learning to stay the hell away from the weird-looking mass that is supposed to be water. The first settlement I stumbled upon appeared to be comprised of like people – that is people who know no better than to plant trees everywhere in vain hope that it will make their base better, they moved on, I lost touch. This is an interesting system that this game uses, basically, you can communicate (via text) to whoever is in your vicinity; loosing contact with someone you’ve gotten to know is really quite saddening, especially as you look hopelessly around the mad geometry that is imprisoning you.

Sometime later I rejoined the game refreshed and stumbled upon a small colony of fellow Lovecraftians as I decided to dub them (get it, because the build stuff… oh God..), and observed them quietly as they went about their unintelligible schemes to erect a base. After a while I got to know these guys, and began helping them with some rudimentary terraforming and token hunting, suffice to say that I died a lot, but that was ok. Well, it took some time, but we’d managed to build a messy base. Which was promptly CRUSHED by the AI. In the midst of this, I was teleported to the AI jail in which I couldn’t find a way out, so decided to mock the games’ systems by reconnecting, spawning me on top of the nearest settlement. This time these guys had managed to find a nice little spot in a forest covered mesa. The same process followed, we hunted for tokens, we tried to build a cave, a considerable amount of time later we moved on, discovering that the AI had surrounded us completely. However, during this time I learned some interesting about the intricacy of this game.

So I joined the Teamspeak server, and as I did, I heard the players discussing a long string of coordinates, I established that they were trying to connect up the power lines which required players to, from what I understand, “point” a power beam from one node to another in order to establish base power. Much the same process followed, I went exploring, stuff blew up, and eventually we scattered in search of the desert. I became horribly lost, and quit out of sheer exhaustion.

It was interesting day full of things I’d never expected see in a game, and friendships that nothing other than the will to survive could forge. I equate this a bit to the Garry’s Mod mode Spacebuild in which players cooperated in order to build life support equipped ships, and fly them around the Solar System in order to discover the mysteries of space. They both had that thrill of danger and the satisfaction of cooperative results, something that really came across as meaningful in love, something that MMOs could really benefit from.

Miles Newton – The Machination, creative director

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