Project Gorgon is an MMORPG that aims to combine newer design elements with old-school MMORPG gameplay. The game is a sandbox PvE game with dozens of skills for players to level while taking part in the community.
|Publisher: Elder Game, LLC
Release Date: March 13, 2018 (Early Access)
Pros: +Many skills to discover and level. +NPC favor system keeps quests feeling fresh. +Bosses curse you if you fail to defeat them.
Cons: -Practically no character customization. -UI can be unfriendly at times. -Movement is a bit clunky.
Project Gorgon Overview
Project Gorgon is a sandbox MMORPG created by Eric Heimburg of Asheron’s Call fame and his wife, Sandra Powers, who worked as a producer on Asheron’s Call and EverQuest II. As a PvE sandbox, Project Gorgon encourages players to work together, rather than war with each other, as in most sandboxes. It is skill-based, containing a large number of skills that can each be leveled to the cap independently. A deep, immersive world awaits players, featuring NPCs that each have their own wants and needs, as well as some providing quests. Various bosses await the player in this world, each with their own curse they bestow upon the player, should the player fail to kill them.
Project Gorgon Key Features:
- Sandbox - approach progression however you want to.
- Skill-based - discover and level a plethora of skills by proactively using them.
- Earn the favor of NPCs - players unlock more quests through favor, which is earned by doing quests for NPCs or giving them gifts.
- Curses - did a boss kill you? You are now cursed until you can kill it.
- Animal forms - become a wolf through Lycanthropy, with your transformation tied to the real lunar cycle, or a become cow if you're unfortunately cursed.
Project Gorgon Screenshots
Project Gorgon Featured Video
Project Gorgon Review
By, Matt Chelen
Note: This is a preview based on an alpha build of the game provided for free during the game’s Kickstarter. It will be updated when the game launches, currently scheduled for sometime late 2016.
Being hailed by many as a modern Asheron’s Call, Project Gorgon has stunned many by being an already solid MMORPG, made largely by only two people through two failed Kickstarters. The game puts a new spin on the old sandbox formula by providing a plethora of skills to level and a PvE focus, as opposed to the usual PvP-centric gameplay of other sandbox titles.
Despite Project Gorgon’s unique ideas and return to an old-school form of gameplay, its opening moments are not about to win anyone over. When you first log in you are presented with the option of three different races—which the game calls classes for some reason—and the ability to choose your gender and an option between two color customization's. It’s extremely simple and you will probably not be satisfied with character creation by the time you enter the game. Personally, I was able to make myself a green werewolf-type character so I was content, even if not thrilled.
Once you have color coordinated your character, some mage-types talk about dealing with your character in some manner and you are spawned into a prison cell. An NPC relays some clichés about prisons and how you can get out. So far, it seems like your standard tutorial only without the same sort of quest tracking that you’re used to. The prison intro might even seem a bit bland at this point.
Then you start to move around a bit, maybe pick up a mushroom. Suddenly you’ve gained experience in something called Mycology and you’re momentarily confused. You might ask, “Did I really just gain experience for picking a mushroom?”
In the brief time I have spent with Gorgon over the course of the Kickstarter, I have seen more skill variety than in all of my previous experiences with both skill-based and sandbox MMORPGs. This title has so many skills that it borders on absurd. You will be earning your first skill experience well beyond your starting hours as you slowly discover more and more skills through events that slowly train them.
As noted previously, if you pick mushrooms you gain experience in Mycology. Certain mushrooms will have certain Mycology level requirements in order to be picked. Those items that aren’t mushrooms level a completely different skill, Foraging.
Similarly, there are individual combat skills for each weapon. You can train swords, shields, bows, and more separately. You can even train Lycanthropy as a combat skill. Yes, your form of combat can be to become a “wolf beast” and kill people. Not only that but Lycanthropy is linked to real life lunar cycles.
If that weren’t enough, you can autopsy mobs you kill, eventually even being able to determine who killed them and how they were killed. Through autopsy you will slowly earn various forms of Anatomy experience. These are numerous, split up by the mobs’ categories, and there is even a category for autopsying chickens called Dinosaur Anatomy!
A Quirky World
Project Gorgon has a world that I can only describe as quirky. In going with its odd mechanics, the game world is at times truly bizarre. There are psychic, intelligent praying mantises that wear top hats. And they live inside your generic fantasy world! It doesn’t get much more bizarre than that.
Somehow, Gorgon manages to become more bizarre though. One of my personal favorite features is that bosses that kill you curse you until you manage to kill them. Bosses are actually challenging and losing to them is a very real possibility for those that are unprepared. There’s one curse in particular that has gained notoriety recently, as it turns you into a cow. Not only is it an interesting punishment but it’s quite entertaining to walk into a town and see a cow sitting in town square, chatting with other players.
However, it’s also painfully clear that this world is undergoing constant revision. Some areas are laid out poorly, some are small, and some make no sense at all. There’s an indoor addition to the starter town, in specific, in which the walls don’t reach the ceiling, and there is a ton of empty space that makes the entire area feel haphazardly thrown together. While I have no doubt these areas will be worked on over the course of development, they can be a bit crude and off-putting in the meantime.
But Is There Any Direction?
One thing that players often bemoan about sandbox games is that they tend to go off of the opposite end of the spectrum that themepark games are on, providing not only little direction but, in many cases, none at all. Project Gorgon strikes an interesting balance in that quests are completely unnecessary but they’re there, should players want direction. Quests are given by NPCs in towns, each of which has their own favor level.
Primarily, these quests are meaningless tasks that they need done and serve only as a subplot, if that. The reward for completing these quests is more favor with that person. Earning enough favor with them will unlock more quests but more often than not, the quests alone will not unlock more quests. You will instead be required to give these NPCs gifts in order to earn enough favor to get to the next favor level and unlock more quests. It can feel tedious at times, and you may wonder why it is set up this way, but it adds a personal touch to quests and makes them feel as if you are helping people rather than yourself or some nebulous, overarching goal.
It’s an indie MMORPG. It’s a sandbox MMORPG. Project Gorgon is taking quite a bit from old school MMORPG design. You’re probably wondering how the user experience is.
Currently, I would describe the UI as more odd than clunky. At present, it’s nicely themed but certain arrangements feel odd. Some panels, like the one that shows your skill values, feels barebones. The quests interface turns into a bit of a mess once you’ve taken on a decent amount of them, and it would be nice to either be able to search or sort by name. Being able to search by goals would be nice, as well, as several quest titles don’t reflect their goal at all.
Movement, however, is a bit clunky. Restrictions placed on certain movements feel harsh and there are times when animations don’t feel as if they are an accurate representation of the movement you’re making. The movement system is serviceable, providing the ability to strafe, which is a feature that more MMOs need to adopt but the current incarnation feels quite rigid.
Combat is actually a good deal better off, feeling smooth and manageable even if movement isn’t. Gorgon uses a traditional tab-targeting system with a minor change of having no auto-attack feature. Several games have used this exact system in the past and it works about as well as it ever has. Gorgon mixes things up a bit by allowing two combat styles to be changed between on the fly, but you can’t have a bow out and use a sword skill. While each can have their own hotbar, the time to switch between weapons is still very much a factor.
Final Verdict - Good
Project Gorgon is an incredibly promising game. While the alpha is not the most polished of experiences, the quirky, skill-based MMORPG shows an astounding amount of gameplay variety and there is more yet to come. With more polish put into the game, it could easily become Great or even Excellent. I mean, how many games let you play as a cow indefinitely, much less MMORPGs? It is a game to keep an eye on. It could easily become the great PvE-focused sandbox MMO that many players have been asking for.
Project Gorgon Links
Project Gorgon System Requirements
Operating System: 64-bit Windows Vista or higher
Operating System: 64-bit Windows Vista or higher
Project Gorgon is also compatible with Mac OS X.
Project Gorgon Music & Soundtrack
Project Gorgon Additional Information
Developer(s): Elder Game
Publisher(s): Elder Game
Release Date (Pre-Alpha): November 2, 2012
Steam Early Access Date: March 13, 2018
Full Release Date: 2019 (tentative)
Development History / Background:
Project Gorgon is developed by industry veterans Eric Heimburg and his wife, Sandra Powers. It began development in 2009 and hit Kickstarter for the first time on October 3, 2012. That Kickstarter and another that began on August 27, 2014 both failed. Despite this, development on the game continued. A Kickstarter launched on July 24, 2015 finally succeeded and the game launched into early access on Steam on March 13, 2018 after numerous alpha phases.