If there are some anime fans out there who read this, you probably know Sword Art Online or the sort of. If you don’t, here’s a short explanation why I bring this up: In SAO (or other ‘MMORPG’ animes) all players are virtually trapped inside the game. They have to reach the final stage or they are going to die in real life aswell. After that the game is supposed to be shut down (no more details here, since it’s kinda spoiling).
Now, while the concept of ‘The Flock‘ is, of course, not as harsh as that, it follows a similar principle: There’s a shared amout of lives for every player. Everytime someone dies, a counter ticks down by one. When this counter reaches zero, you can’t purchase the game anymore, and only those who already own it on Steam can continue playing, entering the ‘climatic finale‘, as stated on the Steam storepage. And after that? Well, after that the game gets shut down forever.
Now you may wonder what that Sword Art Online comparison at the beginning was for, since the complete shutdown of the game is actually the only similarity. And THAT is exactly the problem.
The idea behind ‘The Flock’ is promising and sounds exciting, I saw a few videos but – besides the fact it doesn’t seem to be all too worthwhile according to the Steam user reviews – I never wanted to try it out myself. And that’s because there is one completely unpredictable problem with it: the players. Or, generally spoken, humans. I can guarantee you, the game’s concept will be abused, probably more than actually played, and that’s because there is no prevention against it. Now, think back to my SAO comparison. Think about the circumstances the players of Sword Art Online would have to deal with if it was a real game, then think about ‘The Flock’. You probably got my point by now.
While there surely may be people who are interested in playing the game as it’s supposed to be, I’m pretty certain there are at least as many who aren’t. And that’s why a concept like this won’t work unless you literally ‘force‘ your players to work together – for example with the absurd punishment of death. And since this is (fortunately) inconvertible, I guess a concept like this can never really work out as it’s supposed to be.
I will follow the game’s progress, and, well, maybe I’m wrong and ‘The Flock’ will last much longer than I expect it to. But I think I’ve been on the internet for long enough now to say: No. No, it almost certainly won’t.