Welcome back to What Are You Playing, the game where we tell you what we’re playing this weekend and you tell us who’s getting pushed off the cliff first because we have finally identified that cliffs and especially pushing people off cliffs is Crowfall‘s core mechanic. I’m done now.
There’s one unfortunate fallout to taking an extended leave from an MMO: You quickly fall behind the curve. As patches and expansions and changes roll in, players in the game adapt and conquer while you’ll be playing catch-up if or when you come back.
I’m experiencing this right now in Star Wars: The Old Republic. When I left, my Operative was doing Makeb with the rest of the crowd, but now that I’ve returned, I’m one of approximately six people on this planet while everyone else is Rishi this and Rishi that. I don’t even know what a Rishi is, although I suspect it’s some type of midichlorian pasta maker.
In your MMO, are you with or behind the player curve?
What do you get when you combine the the quirkiness of Glitch or Wakfu with the voxelboxiness of Trove? That’d be SkySaga, the UK sandvox that’s finally opening its alpha doors to those of us in North America. Act quickly, though; the offer ends February 26th. What else is new in the land on MMO testing?
- The Repopulation’s new silver early access tier is only $20.
- Eternal Crusade delayed its early access to fall 2015.
- Camelot Unchained teased its alpha and a super sekrit feature.
- Black Desert is raking in the cash already with its Korean beta.
- Das Tal plans more alpha weekends in March.
- Shroud of the Avatar previewed a new dungeon and island location.
- Star Citizen discussed its plans for temporary gear.
- The Division is still coming this year!
- Otherland is back and heading into its second closed beta test.
- Lost Ark’s Korean beta will begin this year. It might even cross the pond to us.
- Pathfinder Online roadmapped its territory control system.
- Pantheon has a lengthy survey for folks who want to offer pre-alpha feedback.
- Finally, Wargaming sent its World of Tanks-themed MMOTCG into closed beta this week with a new trailer.
Our complete list of MMOs in testing is below.
Diablo III‘s next major patch is a quality-of-life patch, meaning that it’s not going to come with a huge influx of new content. If you’re tired of seeing the exact same rift layouts every single time you jump into a rift, though, it’s a very good thing. The patch will include new tilesets and new layouts both, so you’ll be finding something new to explore instead of familiar and worn-out places.
And what awaits you for exploring? New armor, for one. Three new endgame armor sets are being added to the game with the patch, along with 15 new Legendary powers. You’ll also have new bounties, new goblins to chase, and a new cosmetics window for all the pretty toys that don’t affect gameplay. Along with the usual variety of bugfixes, it’s not going to be a patch replete with new content, but it should make playing through familiar content more enjoyable.[Source: First Look: Patch 2.2.0]
The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.
What: Final Fantasy XIV
Who: Mike Foster
When: 7:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 20th, 2015
Enjoy the show!
Permadeath, corpse looting, and no mini-map: Will this be tempting enough to get the community on board with donations? Trials of Ascension hopes so, as the fantasy sandbox has launched a new Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising $600,000 for further development. The team says that it already has a product worth backing: “We have a playable prototype on very stable network code along with a solid server infrastructure.”
Forged Chaos undoubtedly hopes to overcome its failure from its 2013 Kickstarter campaign. After only pulling in $86,835 out of a $750,000 goal, the studio canceled the campaign and switched to an open donation system.
If all goes well with the campaign, Trials of Ascension is looking at alpha and beta tests in 2016 and a planned 2017 launch.[Source: Kickstarter, old Kickstarter]
When last we heard from Greg Zeschuk, it was 2012 and the games industry was swiftly receding in his rearview mirror. Now, though, one half of BioWare’s founding doctor duo is back for more with a company called Biba. The Vancouver-based outfit is making augmented reality apps that work with playground equipment, according to GamesIndustry.Biz.
The firm is “creating a new category, an inventive way to blend our new media habits with the health benefits and joy of active outdoor play,” Zeschuk says. “I am inspired by the category as a game designer and father.”
One of the company’s initial apps involves a partnership with recreational equipment company PlayPower that will see a playground reimagined as a derelict spaceship that kids can explore with a “virtual sidekick” under the watchful eye of referee parents.[Source: GI.biz]
Shroud of the Avatar executive producer — and original Ultima Online director — Starr Long was interviewed by The Escapist this week. Long discusses his early Origin days, where he worked on everything from the Wing Commander series to a long list of Ultima products.
He also talks about Tabula Rasa, Kickstarter, and of course his newest project as well as his general design philosophy. “If I see a light, I should be able to turn it on and off. If I see a candle, I can blow it out. If there is a door, I should be able to open and close it, to lock it and unlock it. I should be able to take that cup off the table, hold it in my hand, and drink ale out of it,” Long explains. “That requires a lot of computing horsepower and a lot of memory, which means you have to take it from somewhere else. The easiest place to take it from is the graphics, but I would always much rather have a high degree of simulation than the best, newest graphics.”[Source: The Escapist]
Elite: Dangerous lead designer Sandro Sammarco spoke with PC Gamer this week about the sci-fi title’s upcoming 1.2 patch. The major feature is of course wings, which will allow four players to patrol Elite’s vastness in a group.
In addition to receiving telemetry data on their wingmates (targets, hull status, etc.), grouped pilots will encounter “larger, more dangerous signal sources where single ships would be at a serious risk,” Sammarco says.
Why the four-player limit? “It prevents a single wing from being able to completely dominate through sheer numbers,” Sammarco explains. “There’s always room in any star system for more players than any single wing can accommodate but at the same time, a wing of four still represents a significant increase of capability over a lone vessel provided players cooperate effectively.” Finally, Sammarco says that in lieu of hard-coded wing commanders, players will be left to their own management devices. “Everyone in a wing has equal status and makes their own decisions. The wing is meant to be flexible and adaptable, always.”
Frontier currently plans to beta test the 1.2 patch in early March.[Source: PC Gamer; thanks Colin!]
Otherland continues its trek back to public consciousness and notability after being dropped by Real-U and picked back up by Drago. Currently, the multi-world MMO is heading into its second closed beta test. This time around the team says that the main focus is on server stability.
“Based on this data, we have made changes to the server in an effort to make them more stable than they were before,” the team posted. “[These] changes now will need to be tested to verify that the changes did the job.”
Other aims of CBT 2.0 including tweaking DPS balancing, implementing the crafting system, and adding the auction house. The team promises that it will be handing out more beta keys compared to those distributed for the first test.[Source: Official forums]
Back in December, film editor and author Jason Bailey wrote a piece on Flavorwire called How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA. He spins a tale of the booming movie industry of the ’80s and ’90s, when mid-budget films were commercially feasible and commonplace. By the turn of the century, however, the movie industry had bisected itself; studios stopped committing resources to mid-budget films, “betting big on would-be blockbusters” instead and generating a hard-scrabble indie scene in their wake. As Bailey’s title suggests, that dramatic shift uprooted a generation of brilliant filmmakers and cheapened the art of films and filmmaking for everyone.
It’s no stretch to say we’re witnessing the same phenomenon in the world of MMORPGs.
The Massively Overpowered Kickstarter campaign is now half over: two weeks in, two weeks left to go. We’re tickled to now have over 1400 backers who’ve busted through our goal, Kool-Aid Man style. Oh yeah!
In honor of the occasion, we have a new video! I present to you the Massively Overpowered Kickstarter Mid-Point video, once again crafted by our very own Jef Reahard and this time narrated by Larry Everett. We’re pretty sure you’ll get the reference.
Trick Dempsey is out as Defiance’s creative lead, but he’s pleased to pass the project on to his successor: Carble Cheung. Cheung has been with the team since 2013 and has grand plans for Defiance going forward. “Speaking of the future: ‘YES!’ we are planning for Season 3 and beyond,” he said. “This includes updates to arkfalls, sieges, expeditions, and more.”
In other Trion Worlds news, ArcheAge posted a dev diary about the Ayanad Library and RIFT spent time interviewing Lead Content Designer Julia Fleming. Fleming did drop a not-so-subtle hint about one change coming with Patch 3.2: “One of the Senior Designers (Tacitus) and I have been talking a lot about improving some of the INSTANT aspects of the game, especially those related to ADVENTURE. He’s got some interesting plans on how to make the current system more engaging for players of all levels — and a few surprises as well.”[Source: Defiance, ArcheAge, RIFT. Thanks to Celestial for the tip!]