At this point in time it is very difficult for any game to design something truly unique. It is arguably even more difficult to create an entirely new genre that resides with the gaming community.
Rewind back to 2010 when Vindictus was released by Nexon. To this day, I would argue that there has not been a single game that resembles the mmorpg souls like experience that Vindictus brought to the table. Vindictus was a game that was designed well ahead of its time.
Let's examine why:
- Vindictus used what would be considered one of these most stable gaming engines at the time: Source engine. Specifically, it ran a modified source engine for Half-life 2 episode one. This brought action combat that had real impactful physics. This type of polished action mmorpg was not seen until the later years in 2016 in black desert, and monster hunter world in 2017 (limited to 4 players).
- Its combat system was more relatable to a fighting game than your typical action RPG. In 2010 it was unheard of to have a smooth real time action combat mmorpg. There was nothing in the market. Nearly every mmorpg gameplay was a WoW clone.
- One could not simply play vindictus and spam combos without thinking. To beat some of the most difficult content players needed learn and improve their character through practice, not just obtaining better gear. Vindictus required players to learn how to i-frame, frame cancel, parry, spacing, stamina management and a lot more. Black desert has been the closest this style of combat, but I would argue it is a lot more forgiving and less in-depth.
- Souls-like unforgiving instance 16 man raids. This was probably the most defining feature of vindictus. It was also one of the contributors to its decline in player base in the early years. MMORPG players were simply not ready for such a difficult game. At the time there was no dark souls, the genre of "soul-like" was not even established. However, anyone who played the early raids, hero modes, and royal army raids will remember the difficulties involved in slaying the boss. The game required players to play perfectly. Most attacks would nearly kill a player, and this was even with the best gear available at the time. Like dark souls, potions were limited. revives were sparse. Boss's also had team wiping abilities if certain instances were not played correctly. It was a nightmare at times.
- However, it was in these raids that you could sometimes witness one of the key components of any souls-like game. It is what I like to call "the god player". This player would be soloing a boss while a team of dead corpses lay around him. We would cheer him on in chat as the fight takes 10-60mins to complete. He would i-frame, parry, and skillfully damage the boss until death. It was glorious to witness.
I could probably lay out even more reasons, but I am curious what the community thinks. Did you play the early years of vindictus back in 2010? If so, do you feel the same way about the combat and souls-like experience? Do you feel like any multiplayer online action rpg has captured the same fluidity and difficulty of combat? How do you feel like vindictus would be received by players if it was released in 2021? (Focusing on its souls-like experience, and not Nexon and its P2W methods).
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