Creatures Online Examined: Part Three

The Idea of Collecting Norns and GenesJump back to Part One and Part Two to view the first elements of this examination of Creatures Online! Another very prominent feature of the game is the idea that Norns are collectible. I have mixed feelings about this. It’s neat to have all sorts of Norns available within the game based on genes, and not necessarily sprites (as in the previous titles). Yet this is an odd way to approach artificial life forms… I never thought of myself as collecting Norns, even when I had many different types. This does seem to allude to the fact that there are many different Norns in Creatures Online.

The Genetics of Norns in Creatures OnlineGene splicing in Creatures Online is quite unusual when compared with players’ current understanding of the process. This game appears to allow the player to completely control what genes are used during the splicing process… And there is only one Norn used, so I don’t quite understand how this can be considered splicing. Watch the video carefully around this point: Notice how the Norn named Hilda is used as a splicing target, and becomes mostly invisible on the beach scene. This is an important element I’ll be discussing in the final part of this series.

Various Items for Sale in Creatures OnlineThen comes the huge element of the game: The Shee Shop. Everything can be purchased here, and there are tons of items. A great selection doesn’t quite mask the fact that everything requires coins to purchase. Additionally, many items require a minimum level before they can be added to the world. My guess is that players will need to play Creatures Online for a long time before some features can even be purchased. Notice that the number of coins listed at the top in relation to the price tags. These items are quite expensive!

Crafting Items with NornsThe alternative to the Shee Shop appears to be the Crafting Machine. It’s a unique idea, but one that wasn’t really explored during the gameplay video. Norns are required to gather the resources, which are very similar in nature to another form of currency. I believe the video shows a Norn only being able to gather about five resources before needing to wait for more to grow… Assuming the “droppers” were renewable. The option to “Buy all these components for…” appears to be tied into the golden eggs, which Fishing Cactus labeled as the real money currency. Also… Mucus and sticks make an umbrella? Yuck!

Waiting for Server and Other ConcernsI honestly forgot about my biggest issue with this game until I saw the dreaded “Waiting for server” message pop up. Granted, this was only there for half a second after an item was crafted. Creatures Online requires a perpetual online connection, and if the server goes down… There’s no way to play.

Generating Textures in Creatures OnlineA second load screen popped up when moving from one environment to the other. Again, this was only shown for maybe a second, so it wasn’t like there was a major issue. My issue is with slow internet connections: Will those make Creatures Online virtually unplayable? The server and loading screens could take much longer to get through. Suffice to say that I’ve never been a fan of the requirement to stay online all the time.

Creatures Docking Station did have an online component, and this created some problems when the server went down. However, there is the DS Offline Option that solved that problem. I highly doubt that Creatures Online will be able to be modified to stay offline if support for the game goes away. The perpetual online model requires that a company be willing to sustain a game forever. I just don’t see that happening here… It didn’t even happen for Docking Station, after all! Check back later on for the final part of this examination, along with my overall thoughts. Comments are always welcome: Just remember that there is no release date planned for Creatures Online. Thanks to everyone for reading!

Images Credited to Fishing Cactus

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