Tired of sitting in front of your PC playing an RPG with potato graphics? Ever wished for a way to get inside a game with your friends and slash those monsters with your avatars? Say no more! The virtual reality RPG is here. 'Bloodthorne comes out September 18th. Get your copy now!
Sixty-four. That's the number of times this billboard was displayed at the Times Square for the past one month, and I caught it every time. Not just me but there were about two hundred people everyday who would come to this exact billboard, take pictures and videos and share them on twitter or facebook (yes, it still exists) for the whole world to see. There would be onlookers who would sneer at us and I could occasionally hear the word 'lunatics' thrown around, but for gamers who get told to die on a daily basis for missing a creep last hit, this was basically nothing. Besides, I was way too excited to think about anything other than the game. Why wouldn't I be? For someone like me, a VRRPG (Virtual Reality Role Playing Game) is nothing short of a miracle. For years, gamers have been bombarding every message board ever with requests and threats that varied in severity for a Multiplayer Virtual Reality but these messages often seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. Technical limitations, high production and acquisition cost, space restrictions (because MMORPGs are massive worlds that cannot be explored in your living room), strenuous physical activity (let's face it, not all gamers are professional athletes) were some of the many issues that hindered the development of a VRMMORPG. But Bloodthorne was about to change all of that. Its makers, Luminous Tech (LT) not only managed to find solutions to the problems aforementioned, they also managed to make Bloodthorne the most difficult RPG to ever exist. Of course, for a game of this nature, the technical limitations were always going to be there. To run a VR Role Playing Game, it's important to have high specs not only on the player side, but also on the maker's side. The server should be capable of monitoring and comparing your moments with other players, loot drop chances, probability of critical strikes and more on a huge basis. LT had all the money and resources in the world since they were an amalgamation of different software companies coming together for the game. The space restrictions were solved by issuing a complimentary VR treadmill that allowed you to explore the world to your heart's content. The most important and unavoidable problem of it all was the cost of purchase. The fact that VR remained a niche market for many years could be attributed to affordability. Simply not many people in the world were able to afford the requirements a VR needed. But this is 2024 and VR could not have been any cheaper. By 2022, more than 50M people in the world had active VR headsets—that's more than the number of Netflix subscriptions and the number was only growing exponentially. Lucky for me, my mother was a staunch believer of 'Video Games ruin lives' so not only was I not allowed to get myself a VR headset, I was also forced to stick with my shitty self-built Gaming PC for the past 3 years. But thankfully, LT organized a free giveaway of Bloodthorne along with a VR Headset, treadmill and a complementary body suit to 1000 players. Players who were lucky enough to win the draw I mean. But me and luck, we were parallel lines. We never met and we probably won't ever, but that didn't stop me from trying. I filled in the giveaway and prayed to gods of all religions hoping at least one of them pays attention to my pleas. And I must have been some war hero in my previous life because not only did I win a free copy, LT also announced that the 1K of us would also be the first ones to try the test version.
When the time came for orders, everyone had to agree to their terms and conditions and their terms were definitely weird. Besides the usual, they wanted us to consent to the fact that our data is real by providing a National Identity card and that research would be conducted using surveys and other methods. By all means, League of Rattatas, an extremely popular MMO have been selling their users data to multiple corporations for research without taking informed consent for many years and I am sure a lot of other companies were doing the same, so this was not out of the norm. While the others were selling data without consent, at least LT was upfront about it and I appreciated that. They ran an aggressive marketing campaign running billboards, advertisements on social media, on the TV and posters. The demo of the game was also exhibited in certain flagship stores as a 'hey come check this cool thing out' endeavor to appeal to the masses and it worked. Some rabid fanatics of the yet to be released game took it up a notch and risked going to prison by drawing graffiti on school walls and other random places, after all, nobody wanted to play a multiplayer PvM style except for noobs. The campaign worked tremendously and Bloodthorne had 5M players on its day of opening.
September 18th, 2024. Launch date.
The day had finally come. I was excited but also nervous. I have been gaming for almost 14 years now and while I enjoyed games of different genres, RPGs were the only games where I was successful. Yes, I had a difficult time playing Mario but could easily run Diablo II Baal Hell runs with a weak-ass trapsin (maxing firebolt with Death sentry is key by the way). At this point, there wasn't a single RPG that I left unconquered: Final Fantasy, Grim Dawn, Elder Scrolls, Guild wars, WOW, Path of Exile, you name it. In all honesty, MMORPGs were sort of dying as much as I hate to admit it. The constant grinding, clueless designs and lack of novelty made them dwindle in popularity. I mean, I, an RPG addict momentarily stopped gaming for a while and so did many of my friends. There was something that needed to be done to reinvigorate the whole MMO scene and it had to be BIG. This was the time when Bloodthorne was announced. The announcement brought back my gaming spirit to life like never before. Not only was it going to be the first Total Immersion Virtual Reality Multiplayer RPG, it also had 3 three entire acts coded by Artificial Intelligence making it one of the most difficult RPGs to ever exist. Pretty cool, huh?
I decided to go to Ravi's on the day of opening because I had all my equipment shipped over to his place so I can play without the added distraction of my mother yelling at me to stop or pause the game. Well, mom, you can't pause an online game. You see, my mother raised me alone for the past 10 years and of all the things, video games are the ones that freaked her out the most and no, my biological father did not abandon us. He just died early. Of the many fond memories I have of my father, the fondest one was sitting together in front of our PCs after he came back from his office to play Elder Scrolls Online and more often than not, we'd end up across the map and had to fight higher level mobs to get together to play. Those were fun times indeed. If my father was still alive, he'd have surely convinced my mother to let me play as long as I wanted and maybe even join me for some quests. He was in every sense, a very cool dad.
By the time I reached Ravi's, I was surprised to see two functioning top-end performance PCs with 14GB RAM, GTX1080, and 2 HDMI ports. He basically had the whole set-up in place. We grinned at each other like fools.
''Took you long enough noob,'' he said as he tossed my VR headset in the air and I rushed to catch it.
''Do you know how much this thing costs dumbass?'' I yelled at him.
''Yeap. And that's why I am glad you caught it. Anyway, dude you played the Test Version. There's still 30 minutes left. Give me a walkthrough man.''
As much as I wanted to tell him how it played out, I had nothing to give him. When I played the test version of Bloodthorne, I was mesmerized by the graphics and I was bowled over by the total immersion. I could see myself moving and slashing monsters with my sword, I could collect gold in my stash, I could open my inventory whenever I wanted with just a slick movement of my hand and I could hear other players talking to each other and interact with them. It was as if I was a living, breathing creature inside a game and everything felt real, vivid and almost hallucinating. The gameplay itself felt more fluid and every movement of mine registered without any sort of lag. The game was set in an open world called Belham with many cities. There were 20 playable characters of which only 3 were available to choose from—Berserker, Warlock and Amazon. Even if all the 20 characters were available, I'd have still chosen Berserker because he is simply the coolest character to ever exist in the history of RPGs. What's not to like about your avatar wielding two swords at once and egging your enemies to hurt you so you become stronger with every slash across your chest huh? So I played the test with my Berserker and there was a quest, one which no one could solve. There were some of us that tried to solve the quest but the time was limited and it was an extremely difficult one so at some point, a lot of us gave up and explored the world instead. Nothing concrete really came out of it but I knew Ravi was not going to be satisfied with that answer.
''Warlocks are the best class. They one-shot super-uniques and are extremely powerful,'' I said with grand hand gestures to make it seem more believable. In reality, though, warlocks looked the worst in-game but that's not for him to know.
''Thanks, man! I'm gonna pick warlock then. Gotta be easy, right?''
''Yeah, dude. No shit,'' I said trying to hide my smirk.
''Why are you smirking Peter? Are you actually lying to me?''
''No way, dude! You know that. Aren't we getting late though? We need to start the game now.''
''Oh yeah! Let's get this party started.''
Both of us adorned our VR suits and got ready to play Bloodthrone.