Sacred Seasons: Liberty – New MMORPG Coming to Facebook

In the technical sense of the term, one could argue that most Facebook RPGs are MMOs. They are often massive, they are technically multiplayer, and they are online. So wherein lies the difference? Well, in general it is the multiplayer aspect as most RPGs are not live. The world doesn’t change, and that is one of the key elements to any MMO: A living-breathing-world.

Well, unlike its predecessors, a new title to Facebook, Sacred Seasons: Liberty, by Emerald City Games, is meant to go live mid-December, and is heralded to be a true, blue, MMORPG. While not everything has been revealed yet, the game does have some very interesting features to it. Perhaps most enticing of which is the mechanic of “real-time.” That’s right, real time; no asynchronous core, no challenges, and no “I can send you my high score so you can beat it, thus making the game social.” You actually explore (and not just stills, but an actual world you move about in), socialize, and fight with other players, live.

That alone should be enough to create a high expectation on Sacred Seasons’ potential, but there is far more to it than that. The game actually has a very strong premise and interesting story behind it. Unlike other RPGs on Facebook that just have you level and create your own story, this title is claimed to have a rather epic plot line to it.

The game was built with story in mind and the developers wanted the desire to learn what will happen next to be the primary driving force behind game play, rather than the simple desire to become stronger. From what was divulged, the game takes place in a world similar to the Heartlands of North America but on a larger and more extreme scale. To give you an idea, snow fall might as well be a blizzard, mountain ranges challenge the peaks of Everest, and the Mariana Trench might as well make up the United States’ western canyon systems. Furthermore, the game revolves around the four seasons. These seasons are the servants of what is called the “Great Mystery” and are the basis for everything that changes in the world. These forces are seen as spirits by the local populace, and the various playable classes are allied to them.

When you begin the game, you can select from 16 of these classes, and are capable of unlocking up to 80. Each of these classes reflect an elemental aspect, and their capabilities reflect as much, thus an association with Summer would display affinities towards earth, yellows, gold, harvest, and so on. Moreover, many aren’t your typical classes either (i.e. knight, paladin, etc), rather many of them are rather fresh and new such as a hypnotist or a clown (huh?). Of course, there are still some more traditional ones as well, such as a scout or shaman, but with so many, that isn’t to be unexpected. What is interesting though, is that players can switch between classes at any time and begin leveling skills for those classes. The big expectation with so many classes, however, will be whether or not they are distinctly different to play. If so, this would be an incredible feat by the developers, especially because that can add a tremendous amount of depth and possible strategy to battle encounters.

As was mentioned earlier, battles are all live. That in mind, players can join or leave a fight whenever they so choose. While it hasn’t been stated exactly how battles will play out, it has been described as working in a “traditional, Final Fantasy” sort of way. For those of you that haven’t played any Final Fantasy titles, that basically means you select a move and the opponent responds. Unfortunately, this means that the battles are technically turn based, but depending on pacing, is not a bad thing at all. RPG titles such as Knights of the Old Republic were turn based but so much was happening around the player that it felt live. Of course, this is only speculation, as most Final Fantasy games could have turn based (“wait”) battles or live (“active”) ones. Nevertheless, within the battle system, the developers do allude to class specific abilities that can be unlocked via combat that can turn the tide of each fight.

It certainly is a lot to swallow, but then again there aren’t many MMORPGs that are. Fact of the matter is, Sacred Seasons: Liberty looks tremendously interesting. First off, the game is live. That alone should be enough incentive to have a play as it is something that is not seen very often. Secondly, if the game does indeed have an engrossing storyline, this is yet another uncommon feature seen around Facebook. Most RPGs are driven by the desire to level and to become stronger. Rare is the game that encourages game play just to see what happens next (at least as far as social games go). Last, with up to 80 characters, there is enormous potential for depth and strategy in combat. Granted this hinges, on the need for each of these classes to be distinctly different and fun to play, but if it is pulled off, then there is little doubt that Sacred Seasons will be a major hit in the near future.