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The Deer Game

I wanted to write about Tale of Tale's new game for a while, but I've been distracted. It's k-rad, though:

It's called The Endless Forrest, and they describe it as a "Deer RPG". Basically, it's a massivly multiplayer online game, like World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is a lot about getting loot and killing things, earning exp and killing things more easily. The Endless Forrest, however, is mostly about exploring this forrest... Some key differences between this and WoW:

    Everyone is a stag--there is no gender. They felt that in game with gender, there is a great risk that the gme becomes about gender, so here everyone is male. This is because they design team likes antlers.

    There is no text-chat. You can bellow at each other, and there is a whole (fairly sophisticated) menu of body language, but that's it. You can nod your head, or bow down, or rear, or roll over on your back. You cannot say

    "J0 R T3h G/yz0r!"
    They even took care that the character names wouldn't break the feel of it--you name your deer by choosing a the unique, randomly generated symbol that best represents you.

    There are magic spells to make your coat look cooler, your antlers different, to wear a neat mask, or to change into a frog or a dove. However, you cannot cast these spells on yourself, only on others. This means that you must interact with other players, and it means that you can't show off--if you have an awesome set of antlers, it's because someone else gave them to you.

    Furthermore, there is a system that makes it vry easy to remove unwanted enchantments. So a player could harass you by running around and charging up his magic, and then forcing you to have antlers that you don't want... but then after one click you'd have your old antlers back again. Very hard to be a dick in this game.

So what's left? Social interaction in a beautiful world. The last time I played, I met another deer. I bowed, he bowed. He sniffed me (like my cats do when saying hello) and I did a little dance. Another deer came up, and the three of us did a little dance together. Then the first deer ran off into the woods, and we chased after him. We ran through the forrest for a while, and then I went off to try to learn how to cast "antlers".

It may be that this is less of a "game", and more of a "toy", but I think it's wonderful. It might be that after I've cast all the spells and had someone cast them on me I'll lose interest, but another cool thing about the game is that they are constantly altering it. Currently they have a grant from the museum of modern art, in Luxemburg, so the game is free and constantly under development.

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