Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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Zenith MMO – the VR MMO to beat (for now)?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 3, 2022

We’ve had a couple of VR MMOs (Orbus VR, A Township Tale) and a bunch of demos so far. But the next contender has come out swinging, and it’s pretty impressive.

Zenith MMO is a made-for-VR MMO RPG, with a bit of a science fiction / science fantasy environment, and strong anime roots. It’s still in Early Access, but the demand took it to the top of the Steam Charts on its EA launch–and it’s still high up on the list. Released for SteamVR, Quest 2 (I still think of it as Oculus…), and Playstation VR, it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

I can’t say I’ve been able to put much time into it so far, but I’ve had fun beating up on monsters and talking to people. The world has a more interesting style to me than OrbusVR. Right now there are only two classes (a third one is planned), but each class has one of three roles you can select (and change). There are things like recurring events that you can participate in with others even if you aren’t in a group. I’m still in the fun honeymoon stage where it feels like the world is ginormous and I’ll never run out of things to do. We’ll see how long that lasts, but so far I’m having a good time.

One issue I ran into is that there is no snap-turn function built into the Vive wands. Yes, I still use my original (1.0) Vive wands even though my headset is an awesome Pimax 8KX. Fortunately, some players have done some control maps you can download for the game directly from the SteamVR device settings menu that solves this problem. Once I had that enabled, I was much, much happier.

Then there’s some of the launch clunkiness, especially the first night. Server lag was an issue. Many of the tons of servers were full, so it’s actually a credit to the popularity of the game that we were having these kinds of issues, yet they were not game-breaking for me.

I ran into a loot situation with another player after we both killed a mob, and discovered that the loot was client-based, so we were both able to enjoy the spoils. 🙂 And that seems to be an effect on the player base, at least in the newbie areas. People have been politely friendly. Maybe it’s because I’m old-school, but it’s still a weird thing to walk around the town or battlefield and overhear conversations between real players. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually. If I actually bothered to play VRChat, I’m sure I’d be over it in no time.

Gameplay-wise… I haven’t seen anything really special or unique, other than the mere fact that HOLY CRAP I’M PLAYING AN MMORPG IN VR! If it were a pancake game, I don’t know that there’d be much to write home about. But the VR aspect changes everything.  As with other VR games, you don’t get to do most things through the abstraction of button mashing. You have to do it. Wave your hand a particular way to cast a spell. Bend down and pick up the plant. Physically dodge the incoming attacks. Remembering all this in the flurry of VR can be a little overwhelming at times, but it really just takes time and practice.

All this week, I’ve heard Streamers doing their thing in the newbie areas. It’s content, right? Maybe it was my imagination, but it sounded like they were treating this launch as a major event for VR. And you know, maybe it is. Many in the VR community have a soft place in their heart for Sword Art Online, and are not-so-patiently awaiting their chance to visit Aincrad. Hopefully without, you know, the threat of DEATH. Zenith MMO may be as close as we’ll get for a while, and I’m okay with that. I still have high hopes for Ilysia VR, which is hopefully launching later this year. I think there’s enough room to enjoy both, and I hope they are both wildly successful. Either way, I think Zenith MMO has set a new high water mark for VR MMOs, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.



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