Myst Online: Uru Live – A Geeky Side Trip

Background: Why is she excited about this?

Back in the mid 90′s my brothers and I received a copy of the original Myst. Not sure how may other folks played it or remember the ambient music and seemingly endless puzzles that could turn your brain to mush.

My brothers and I LOVED it! It really was my first game love. Sure my brothers had an NES and SNES, but there was just something compelling about oh, being able to go get a sandwich and not have to worry about getting jumped while your gone.

So picture if you will, 3 teens huddled around my mom’s computer, a Pentium 2 running Windows 95 of all things. Three faces mesmerized as we set about exploring the land of Myst.

To this day I think that Myst is one of the 2 games that I’ve actually seen from start to finish. Why? Because after all that work I HAD to see how the damn thing ended!

Myst Online: Uru Live - some history

I didn’t get the chance to play Myst Online when it was released years ago. I have however peeked in at the website and watched as the team at Cyan tried to resurrect Myst Online for its dedicated fan base.

Cyan is also working on porting the product over to open source technologies. This will let Cyan turn Myst Online over to fans who can then host their own versions of the game. They’re also hoping to release tools that will let the community build upon the Myst tales and adventures by adding new elements to their game servers.

Since I’m just getting back into the swing of things after my hiatus from gaming, I’d totally missed Cyan’s announcement that the Myst Online: Uru Live server was live once again. Evidently Cyan has been able to re-open Myst Online: Uru Live. Luckily though I was reading through posts Saylah has made over at Mystic Worlds and saw a note about it there.

Getting into Myst Online: Uru Live

Though I have been making a lot of progress in Fallen Earth, and I’m still enjoying that game, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to step back into a game I’d enjoyed so much back in the day. So I set up an account and downloaded the client for Myst Online: Uru Live.

Getting around in Myst Online: Uru Live is a little awkward at first. The camera seems to have a mind of it’s own. Though you can use F1 to toggle back and forth between first and 3rd person views and that tends to help quite a bit. Also you move your avatar either by the arrow keys or the mouse. That of course almost lead me to the usual wwwwwwwwwwwwwsssssssssssssssssssssssdddddddddddddddddd etc, in the chat window while I kept trying to break myself of the wasd habit.

The game opens up in your own island with it’s own little house. It’s similar the starting island and room in the original Myst. In Myst Online though there’s less to explore on that first island since you really have a lot of other content to explore and a chance to run into others who are exploring as well.

After figuring out how to get my avatar to run around (pretty much by smacking her into walls) I made it into my little house. It took me a bit but I did figure out how to get the bookshelf to work so I could port to a main hub and get the ball rolling. I also figured out how to change my avatar’s clothing so if her look starts to get on my nerves I can tweak it. That’s an interesting little bonus.

Over xfire Redshiftflux and I were trying to meet up. It can be kind of tough at first. If you end up in a different copy of the area you could be standing in the same place on the map, but not be in the same instance of it. Eventually we managed to get into the same place at the same time. Then I went off to pick up the communications/locator device so that we’d be able to get into the same place and time while moving on to the puzzle bit of the game.

We set off to visit a snowy spot. A few trees, some ruins, and unseen birds breaking the silence. Though we didn’t get a chance to complete the puzzle before I almost passed out on my keyboard, it was pretty fun. Especially when my patience started getting thin and I ran around looking for things to climb. Hey I’m ADHD, this is how I keep myself and those around me, from going buggy nuts. I even manage to find unique ways fidget in any game I play.

I’m pretty sure we were really close to getting the puzzle solved, we were just missing one last element. Thing is though when you’re starting to get tired you can end up passing over the answer 5 times and still not see it. OK well I can because I’m special hehe. That of course means it was time to take a break and try again another day.

Question – Should you try it?

If you’re a Myst fan and have played a number of (especially older) MMO’s then I’d say you’ve gotta give it a go. There’s no fee for signing up or logging in right now so really you’re only out the amount of time you spend lost in the game and a little space on your hard drive.

This is not a “Triple A” MMO by any means. There are no swords, guns or raids. Your only weapon is your grey matter and your abilities are limited only by the depths of your curiosity. The interface is very simple but it gets the job done. So far I’m actually only skimming the surface of everything the little device I picked up does in game. Including snapping screenies.

If you want to try something a little different and even a little old school, I’d say give it a go. Keep in mind though, there is no hand holding, you’ll have to figure some stuff out on your own, hence where being curious by nature would be a big bonus. Also if your an explorer type, I’d definitly say go for it. Even if I don’t get any of the puzzles solved I know I’m going to have a great time just exploring the zones and poking at the content.

Keep in mind that Myst Online: Uru Live is still a Cyan project and the company is actually opening up the game just for their and their fans’ love of the game. It is currently free to play, but there is no item shop, there’s only a PayPal donation button.

These days we’re seeing more and more developers working every angle for some extra cash. In a dour ecomomy I can’t really blame them. Thing is though it’s really refreshing to see a developer, not necessarily an MMO developer, but a developer none the less, put some of thier own resources on the line to keep open something that they love, not just something that’s making a pile of cash for them.

1 comment

  1. vid March 1, 2010 1:23 pm 

    I thought you’d be interested to know that it IS possible to remap your movement keys in Uru. I’ve always used the WASD setup, as well as mapping the sidestep keys to “Q” and “E” for left and right.

    As dated as it’s become, Uru is still a pretty well designed game, and I hope you come back to visit for a while. :)

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