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Salem beta starts in April so let's burn a witch

9:00 PM on 03.23.2012

Fraser Brown

Former Contributor

Free-to-play MMOs are a dime a dozen these days, so I wouldn't blame you if Salem had escaped your notice. It's a shame if it has, though. Set in a bizarre version of pilgrim-infested New England, this cute, gothic MMO gives players the task of etching out a living in the harsh wilderness of the New World. You can craft, farm and build using a system inspired by 17th century alchemy as well as fight all manner of beasties based on the folklore of the time.

Paradox Interactive and the developer, Seatribe, have announced the Beta for the end of April. You can sign up now for a chance to take an early look. There's already been a bunch of videos and developer diaries which should give you a good idea what to expect, the latest one -- dealing with the wilderness -- went up today.

While the presentation certainly makes it stand out, I'm more interested in the permadeath mechanics; something that has gone out of fashion in recent years, as pandering to player power fantasies has pushed survival and challenge out of the way. Although you can kill other players and even steal their gear from their yet to be cold corpses, there are repercussions for such actions. After spending far too many hours playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, I'm looking forward to trying something entirely different.

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