Vendetta Online is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) in development by Guild Software Inc. In this game, thousands of people will be able to play together, at the same time, in a single, persistent universe. Players take the form of spaceship pilots within this universe, flying to and fro between space stations and other locations in the galaxy. All combat within the game is fully realtime, based entirely on "twitch" skill (no "virtual dice rolling"). Players may fight one another, fight NPCs, participate in groups, or potentially even engage in large-scale Guild combat.
As pilots in the Vendetta universe, the progression of the player's character will be up to each individual. The starting Nation affiliation gives the player certain benefits and liabilities that fit the particular culture of that Nation, but this merely serves as a starting point for the character. If the user wishes to be a peaceful trader, military pilot, guard for hire, dastardly pirate, or whatever the player imagines, this is all up to the behaviour and play style of the user. There are both lawful and lawless places in the universe, and many different factions (including a pirate faction) with differing motives and shifting alignments. The universe is never a completely "safe" place, but lawful authorities do not take kindly to combat within their populated areas, making those places safer than most. More lawless regions may prove more dangerous, but potentially yield lucrative possibilities for those who align themselves with the darker underbelly of society. The life of a criminal is difficult, however, and pirates are not well-loved in most of the populated galaxy.
Character progression takes place in the form of a variety of skills and other attributes, any combination of which can potentially open up new gameplay content (missions, ships, equipment, trade items, etc). General activity related to a skill can increase it (trading can increase the Commerce skill, etc), but taking on missions will generally increase skills that much faster. Missions are offered by particular factions, with mission difficulty and availability increasing as the character becomes better known to the faction. Rising in the esteem of a given faction can itself yield better item prices, a wider item selection, and access to unusual "special" equipment available only to those who have proven themselves worthy. It is possible to win many types of accolades and commendations from particular factions, all of which can help demonstrate the character's accomplishments. These and other character stats may be viewed by other users in a Character Information panel.
The ships themselves are highly customizable, with various different designs and addon modules making possible a wide range of equipment loadouts. In addition, users may configure the color of their individual craft. Various types of ships are specifically suited to a particular task (such as combat or trading), while others prove more flexible, depending on how they are configured by the pilot.
Vendetta Online will be released this summer (2004) in North America.