Well… Neocron 2 looks… Interesting.

Having played the Neocron 2 open beta for a couple of weeks now I’ll now ramble a bit about the game to get it out of my system.

After – apparently – having worked on the ‘Dome of York’ expansion since release of the original Neocron game two years ago Reakktor is now gearing up for the release of Neocron 2. And it looks like they managed to create an expansion that caters to mainly their core players. And offers almost no reason for new players to enter the game. Mainly I think new players will be people who happened to find their way into beta and got stuck šŸ˜‰

Neocron is one of those games I always wanted to like. It’s a Sci-Fi cyberpunk styled FPSish MMORPG with lots of features that at least seems fresh. Trouble is the game never was very well documented and some parts of it is rather complex and unintuitive. I think I have played the 10 day trial 3 or 4 times and still had a lot of unresolved questions about the game. To be fair I didn’t play all 10 days of those trials. While playing the open beta of Neocron 2 I got a lot of those questions answered tho. Not because documentation has become better (there is none). But I started asking a lot of n00b questions on the help channel and ended up with – some – friendly answers. Still I think I can safely say that I’m an example of how hard the game is to get into as a new player.

Neocron 2 is being billed as something of a cross between an expansion and a new game (the name clearly suggests a sequel more than an expansion). Everyone playing on the old NC1 servers will have to upgrade and transfer to a new server if they want to play NC2. The thing is that it isn’t really a new game. They added some features like Hacknet and … Well … A better graphics engine. Apart from that they added some more zones to play in – including a new city.

Neocron 2 also represents a shift in focus of it’s game play. One of the main focuses of NC2 is making the game a conflict between the two main cities Neocron and Dome of York – apparently. And another is to make factions more important. To cover the first they have moved all of the ‘outlaw’ (aka anti-city) factions to Dome of York (according to the game lore DoY was very badly damaged in a war with Neocron. So it kind of make sense that a lot of people there don’t like Neocron).

To make Neocron more focused on factions they have changed their player crafting a great deal. Specifically they have made a lot of high-end items and components faction specific. That means only people with high standing (i.e.. Sympathy) in their own faction can buy their faction specific items in their faction HQ.

Ok. So this new Hacknet. What’s that? Well Hacknet is an attempt to give hackers something to do. In NC1 there was a profession that only really did one thing: hack locks on stuff. Now it hacks locks on stuff AND rule the new Hacknet.

Basically Hacknet is supposed to be a cyberpunk styled, William Gibsonesque, matrix sort of thing. A virtual world inside a computer network. In reality it’s a bunch of new zones in neon colors composed of narrow walkways. It’s filled with software agents of different kinds. Some work like NPCs you can talk to (so far it’s mainly faction databases that allow to download faction specific blueprints to build items in the real world). Others work like a security force to keep hackers from opposing factions outside. And – conveniently enough – each faction have a couple of zones with hostile software to level on. Most of the hostiles one wander off the walkways and drop to the ‘floor’ of the zone and mix with misplaces mutant monsters (that for some reason spawns in Hacknet). All in all I’m disappointed in Hacknet. It’s basically just turns a hacker into a ‘psi monk’ (the caster class of the real Neocron world) and places him in a domain of his own.

The biggest problem with Neocron 2 is the bugs tho. And apparently if you happen to be a Neocron 1 player you have gotten used to that by now. It leaks memory. It crashes. There are graphics bugs running rampant. NPCs are missing. And a bunch of other issues of various degrees of seriousness are unresolved. And still the game is being released now and I’m not spending my cash on it until it improves it’s stability… So considering the apparent history of Neocron 1 I might never play that game again. Ah well. Another one that got away =)

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