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?
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.
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!