Whatever happened to PlanetSide 2, A Tale in the Desert, and Istaria?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “What ever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?

That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at whatever happened to PlanetSide 2, A Tale in the Desert, and Istaria (witness protection program name: Horizons).

PlanetSide 2

We’ve said it before on the site and the podcast, but we are deeply worried about Daybreak Game Company. Over the past year, it’s been extremely secretive and sporadic in its communication, both with the press and its players. It’s been in the doghouse ever since canning both EverQuest Next and Landmark, and its PR department hardly ever (read: never) sends out notices these days. It is almost like Daybreak wants us to overlook their games, except for H1Z1: King of the Kill, which the studio is clinging to like a life preserver in choppy waters.

And among those few titles left in Daybreak’s library, PlanetSide 2 has gotten pretty overlookable. The one-time teacher’s pet of John Smedley hasn’t failed as much as quietly drifted to the back of the class and ceased to call attention to itself. That said, the MMOFPS isn’t motionless or without an active community (as evidenced by a hopping subreddit). Just very little publicity, is what we’re saying.

The game did get a new producer, Nick Silva, who announced his role and rallied the community in a February 2017 letter. “We also intend to answer the philosophical/design question of ‘why we fight’ as we move through the year,” he told players.

In March, the developers completely threw out the old implant system and jacked in a brand-new one (players saw all of their old implants become mostly worthless when that happened, by the way).

June’s patch delivered a host of new implants and a revamped Ikanam Biolab for players to fight over. This July the game sported a major update, with revisions to the Indar continent and the addition of the Heatwave weapon line. Players also enjoyed grabbing some holiday goodies during Freedombration (who thought up that name?).

So a new producer, a few sizable updates, a handful of events. Not the biggest year, but certainly not a game on life support either!

A Tale in the Desert

This odd and extremely niche MMO is always one that I can’t help cheering on, even if I was never tempted to play it. It’s a non-combat game set in Egypt that focuses on crafting, teaching, social connections, and trials within an environment that occasionally resets. But we haven’t heard much, if anything, since 2015, so what’s the deal?

Long story short, A Tale in the Desert changed ownership and quieted down (even more so than before). Back in 2014, the game’s ownership changed hands from its developer eGenesis to Pluribus Games. In spring of 2015, the game rebooted into its seventh “Telling,” giving players a slightly reshuffled game board and different challenges.

In October 2016, there was a meet-and-greet among players and devs, and Pluribus posted a short letter in which it said that devs talked about the remainder of Telling VII and ideas for Telling VIII. That was the last we really heard of a potential eighth telling, but considering the game once went four years between reboots, it’s not out of the ordinary to have to wait.

Since then, the game hasn’t been completely dead, but it’s about as silent as you can get while still occasionally popping up its head for holiday events and the sporadic new trial.

Istaria

Istaria always and forever seems to be “that game” known by two things: the ability to play as a dragon and the fact that it used to be called Horizons. We’re almost legally obligated to mention both of these facts in any article that we write about the game. But what has it been up to lately?

Actually, Istaria’s been chugging along quite nicely, if, again, quietly and with a small community. Last winter, the team put out a two-part Cults update, which included a huge revamp to Dalimond Bay and improvements to many of the game’s classes.

Much more recently, Surtheim Ascending came out on July 11th this year, with plenty of content to keep players busy this summer. Among the patch’s features include a quest series concerning a wolf problem that some helpless Gnomes are facing.

So not super-busy, but there is still development happening and content updates coming out every six months or so. Hope that satisfies some curiosity!

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17 Comments on "Whatever happened to PlanetSide 2, A Tale in the Desert, and Istaria?"

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mike foster

Planetside always felt like too little impact to me as a usual solo player. I can get in and do some shooting or flying or whatever, but overall did it make a difference? Did I progress?

Daybreak is a real mystery. Killed their most anticipated title and leaned all-in on a too-late survival clone. It’s possible EQN just wasn’t viable, but shutting it down really hurt a lot of people’s faith in the studio.

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Sorenthaz

I hopped into Planetside 2 for the first time a month or so ago, and honestly found it quite enjoyable. Felt like the closest thing to having a Halo game on PC but with persistent world stuff. Only thing that really annoyed me was how it felt like the factions were woefully imbalanced, with the purple faction constantly winning on the US East server. That and it was confusing to start off and there’s so much cheesy BS that can happen thanks to those dumb powersuits that are pretty much impossible to fight against unless you pack some heavy firepower.

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Nick Smith

Istaria… played that when it was in beta and for the first six months it released! Now I login every january for about a month and enjoy their month long double exp. Still has some really fun and meaningful crafting mechanics.

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Jack Pipsam

I still play Planetside 2 from time to time, but I play it more as a fun pop-in and pop-out shooter than an MMO with a character I must build.

Only reason I still play is they kept Briggs, which is a server hosted in Sydney giving me roughly 45-50 ping, compared to the US West server of 300-400+, needless to say, if they ever get rid of the Australian server I wouldn’t log in ever again.

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Reselect Name

The problem with PlanetSide2 was it was too shallow.

There was no point, no strategy, no rewards. It had territory capture but there was really no point in doing it.

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Castagere Shaikura

Planetside just seemed like chaos to me. Everyone was just doing what they wanted

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Neurotic

Planetside 2, I was quite enjoying until I did a hard drive upgrade one day and lost it in the process. And then when I went to download it again, I found that it was about 90 million Gb, so that was a no-go. Istaria I need to look in on again, that one was great old-skool fun.

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Budukahn

I dropped Planetside 2 the moment I heard about the Columbus Nova take over. It had been a bit sketchy for the whole of it’s existence – development seemed to take forever and the impression I had of the game was that it had basically failed. I loved it to bits mind, but you couldn’t say even then with a straight face that it had been a massive success. It was clear SOE had moved on to other projects and between EQ Next, Landmark and H1Z1 it didn’t seem likely PS2 would get much love.

Sadly I haven’t seen much to make me think otherwise.

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Arktouros

What happened to Planetside 2 was they sold the game to Sony as a title that could work on Playstation 4 and the PC market and make lots of money so Sony let them go about it. They released the game, and it did really dang well while the devs kept working on it. It had issues, but manageable issues. Then midway into the next year Sony said, “So how’s that PS2 on PS4 that we paid for coming along…” and that was the beginning of the end of PS2. PS2 wasn’t optimized for AMD/Radeon and most console systems use similar CPU/GPU combos so basically it was garbage on PS4. So in order to fix that and give Sony their money’s worth they basically ignored the game they launched for the next year for the sake of making this super advanced and awesome “Forgelight!” graphics engine look worse and worse so it’d actually run on PS4. This left the PC game more or less abandoned and that’s when the population basically disappeared.

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Sorenthaz

Wasn’t it being aimed for Playstation 3 at the time?

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Arktouros

I’ve lost track of console name/numbers.

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Pandalulz

It’s funny, because my friend’s ten year old son just discovered the F2P section of the PS4 store and was trying to get me to play PS2 with him the other day. I was like, nope, been there, done that, and wasn’t really interested then. Like any other online multiplayer game, it was decent enough fun if you were in a drop team with people you knew and could coordinate, but otherwise, eh…

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Darthbawl

I remember beta testing Istaria back when it was Horizons. The crafting was my favorite part of the game. The tow behind discs we’re a great idea.

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Randy Ward

Horizons taught me a very important lesson early on in MMOs. Never believe the hype that the dev is pumping out, that there was a magic release day patch. Always wait for results. I was so sold on everything he was saying that I bought copies of that game for my close friends and I sang the praises of that game. Then release came and it was a total shit show. Lost a lot of credit with my friends over that one. Ever since, I’ve been a pessimist when it comes to MMOs, a skeptic at best. Most over promise and hype. Very few actually deliver and do it in a way that I’m satisfied or impressed with.

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Castagere Shaikura

Ah Istaria brings back fond memories. Man i really miss those old school mmo’s. Loved playing as a Dragon.

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Castagere Shaikura

I have been watching some utube videos of the game from this year. I’M really thinking about going back to this game. I just can’t stand modern mmo’s anymore. I really had fun in this game when i played it years ago. I really loved the crafting in this game too.

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

I was never interested in being a dragon, but I loved the economy, crafting (even of spells!), world building, events, RP community, lore, races, the fact that community projects led to the ability for servers to unlock races… it was a nice idea, but combat sadly seem to be a gaming staple, and this game’s combat was awful, even for a basic tab-targeting game.

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