What is Vendetta Online?
Vendetta Online is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) from Guild Software Inc (take a look at the game trailer!). In this game, thousands of people can play together, at the same time, in a single, persistent universe. Players take the form of spaceship pilots within this universe, flying to and fro between space stations and other locations in the galaxy. All combat within the game is fully realtime, based entirely on "twitch" skill (no "virtual dice rolling"). You directly pilot and fly your own ship, you are not a back-seat "navigator". Players may fight one another, or against Non-Player Characters (NPCs), even participating in massive border battles between nations or helping eradicate the vicious Hive. The thriving and complex economy of the galaxy makes many opportunities for traders, miners and smugglers alike.
What is Vendetta Online's gameplay like?
As pilots in the Vendetta universe, the progression of the player's character is up to each individual. The starting Nation affiliation gives the player certain benefits and liabilities that fit the particular culture of that Nation, but this merely serves as a starting point for the character. If the user wishes to be a peaceful trader, military pilot, guard for hire, dastardly pirate, or whatever the player imagines, this is all up to the behaviour and play style of the user. There are both lawful and lawless places in the universe, and many different factions (including a pirate faction) with differing motives and shifting alignments. The universe is never a completely "safe" place (PvP is always possible), but lawful authorities do not take kindly to combat within their populated areas, making those places safer than most. More lawless regions may prove more dangerous, but potentially yield lucrative possibilities for those who align themselves with the darker underbelly of society. The life of a criminal is difficult, however, and pirates are not well-loved in most of the populated galaxy, even hunted by groups of players.
Character progression takes place in the form of a variety of skills and other attributes, any combination of which can potentially open up new gameplay content (missions, ships, equipment, trade items, etc). General activity related to a skill can increase it (trading can increase the Commerce skill, etc), but taking on missions will generally increase skills that much faster. Missions are offered by particular factions, with mission difficulty and availability increasing as the character becomes better known to the faction. Rising in the esteem of a given faction can itself yield better item prices, a wider item selection, and access to unusual "special" equipment available only to those who have proven themselves worthy. It is possible to win many types of accolades and commendations from particular factions, all of which can help demonstrate the character's accomplishments. These and other character stats may be viewed by other users in a Character Information panel.
The ships themselves are highly customizable, with various different designs and addon modules making possible a wide range of equipment loadouts. In addition, users may configure the color of their individual craft. Various types of ships are specifically suited to a particular task (such as combat or trading), while others prove more flexible, depending on how they are configured by the pilot.
What makes Vendetta Online different?
Vendetta Online is somewhat unusual, within the community of MMOs. Most games like this are made with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars, by teams of between 50 and 300 people (EVE Online and World of Warcraft, respectively). Vendetta Online was built entirely from scratch, and continues to be expanded, by only four people. A small development team has a number of tradeoffs, but some of the advantages have helped make Vendetta Online the game it is today. Here are a few commonly cited benefits of our game, according to our userbase:
We talk to our players.
Every day. Ideas posted by users to our Suggestions Forum are known to show up in the production game in as little as a few days. This level of communication and feedback is extremely uncommon in the online game industry.
We release patches and expansions weekly.
Our game is constantly in development, but remains one of the most stable in the industry, despite maintaining native clients on four different platforms. Our patches are always free, no matter how great the change in the game; we don't require you to buy special "expansion packs".
We allow our users to become more involved than simply as players.
For those who are interested, we offer the Player Contribution Corps (PCC), a totally optional volunteer subset of our userbase who has access to building missions and even submitting user interface code for use in the production game. This community of enthusiastic players have contributed new mission trees to the VO Universe and even built new user interface features for the game client. They collaborate amongst themselves to review and test their created content as a community, making sure everything measures up in polish, and matches the game context and storyline. Beyond the PCC, many others in general playerbase create plugins and graphical skins for the game client, allowing a great deal of customization and added functionality.
We are multi-platform and open-source oriented developers.
As a result, our game has arguably the best cross-platform support of any 3D MMO in existence. Vendetta Online is completely native on MacOS X, Linux/32, Linux/64, Android, and of course Windows. "Native" means that each port is individually optimized for the platform in question. Most other MMOs use "wrapper libraries" for portability to non-Windows platforms, which can make the game much slower on Mac or Linux systems. Additionally, while our game itself may not be open-source (we would be unable to sustain ourselves), we came from that community and we continue to go out of our way to support it whenever we can. As far as we know, Vendetta Online was one of the first games to ever ship in widespread retail distribution featuring the Linux mascot on the box, indicating it as an officially supported platform.
The game runs on a wide variety of hardware.
Aside from our broad multi-platform compatibility on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android, the game will also run on machines incapable of handling other modern MMOs. Combined with the "native" platform optimizations mentioned above, this enables many of our Mac users to play on relatively modest hardware. Of course, we are continually adding new gameplay, some of it more graphically intensive than others, so we cannot promise this will hold true forever, or everywhere in the game; but we do try to keep the game as broadly accessible as possible, while also trying to keep it attractive to those with the latest and greatest hardware.
We have a fantastic community.
Our player base may not be as large as some others, but they tend to be a friendly, helpful and engaging lot. We have our share of trolls and drama, of course, but newcomers often comment on the excellent community that has grown up around our game. Their enthusiasm helps inspire us to keep evolving the game towards our common goals.
Vendetta Online began development in 1998, entered public Alpha in early 2002, and finally launched with full North American retail distribution in late 2004. Since then, continuous full-time development has pushed the game still further, towards the intended goal of "version 2.0". Patches, upgrades and releases are usually seen on a weekly basis, the game ever-increasing in complexity as Guild Software gets closer to their next milestone. For more information, see the Vendetta Online FAQ, or particularly the game's System Requirements.