Make My MMO: February 21, 2015

Welcome back to Make My MMO, a recurring column from Massively-that-was which covers crowdsourced MMOs of both the fully funded and the not-so-much variety. Each week we'll round up the most relevant crowdfunding news stories in case you missed them, and we'll also keep a running tab on active funding drives.

And speaking of that, for the next two weeks we get to write about ourselves in this space, as our Kickstarter is ongoing through March 6th and you lovely backers continue to stick it to the man while humbling us with your support.

Click past the cut for the rest of this week's crowdfunding news. And don't forget to tip us if you see something we missed (especially this week and next as we're still scrambling to get our new house in order!).

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Star Citizen's space mining sounds pretty fun

Here's a novel concept: pounding space rocks into space dust could actually be fun! At least it appears that way in reading the latest Star Citizen design doc, which is focused on mining. "Mining presents players with a variety of challenges requiring skill and intelligence, whereas mindless repetition of a task and idle drudgery are explicitly avoided," explains persistent universe director Tony Zurovec. "There are no aspects of mining that allow a player to simply press a button and wait without concern for a result, or that require players to perform an action repeatedly without some element of thought and/or dexterity coming into play."

Zurovec's lengthy update touches on everything from freelance mining vs. working as an agent to finding an asteroid field and divvying up specialist responsibilities including pilot, scan operator, beam operator, etc.

Then of course there's the selling of space rocks, which sounds like an occupation unto itself when you factor in the transport logistics necessary to sell high, not to mention possible speculation if you opt to purchase storage facilities and wait for the market to trend in your favor.

[Source: SC website; thanks Cardboard!]

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Skyforge preps for NA and EU closed beta

Closed beta testing for Skyforge will be coming soon to North America and Europe, according to a new producer's letter. While Skyforge is already hosting "some CBT activities" in Russia, the science-fiction MMO is working hard on server architecture and localization so that testing can commence in additional regions.

The team has ambitious plans for the upcoming test: "Starting with CBT1, we'll support more players, have more content and features enabled, and will be keeping our test servers up for longer and longer periods of time as CBT progresses. In addition to all the new content you'll come across and adventure in, you'll also get some hands-on time with a few new features in CBT1 including character customization, itemization and upgrades, [and] the marketplace and the greatness system."

Information about founders packs for the game is also forthcoming.

[Source: Producer's letter]

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LOTRO Legendarium: What can we expect from Mordor?

Welcome to LOTRO Legendarium, the continuation of my old Road to Mordor column from Massively. Why the name change? First, I never got to name RTM (it was chosen by another author before I came on board as a writer). Second, I wanted to work in Lord of the Rings Online's name into the title. And third, I liked how Tolkien used the term Legendarium to refer to his writings on Arda. And here we are!

As I make my way through Central Gondor on my Captain, my attention and thoughts have increasingly turned to our assumed great destination: Mordor. While 2015 holds large updates for us in Gondor, including Osgiliath and Minas Tirith, it's a reasonable assumption that our next steps will take us through the Black Gate and into the foul lands of the Enemy.

So if and when that happens, what can we expect from a nation that personifies evil with its very essence?

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Pantheon video update shows visual upgrade, new art assets

Visionary Realms posted a new Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen video update this weekend. Creative director Chris Perkins narrates approximately four-and-a-half minutes of footage that shows off visual upgrades that the team have been working on since the first of the year. The video also offers a sneak peek at new in-game art assets.

Finally, project lead Brad McQuaid also posted a new image on Twitter highlighting the visual upgrades. Click past the cut to view the vid!

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EverQuest Next severs ties with Storybricks

Daybreak continues to trim its asset portfolio, as the former SOE studio has cut loose artificial intelligence software company Storybricks from the EverQuest Next project.

"We are not working with Storybricks any more," Senior Producer Terry Michaels said on a livestream chat yesterday. "We made the decision that it was in the best interest of the game to take that work in-house. They did a lot of work for us and we'll be utilizing that. It's not like that work is lost."

The team said that it is "still committed" to making strong AI happen in the game.

[Source: Livestream chat. Thanks to Ranging Berserker for the tip!]

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The Daily Grind: Are you with or behind the player curve?

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?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!

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Betawatch: February 20, 2015

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?

Our complete list of MMOs in testing is below.

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Diablo III previews the armor, powers, and rift improvements of patch 2.2

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]

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The Stream Team: Final Fantasying

Final Fantasy XIV is a game about Chocobos, crystals, and cat people as far as the eye can see. Join MassivelyOP's Mike Foster tonight as he runs some hard modes and prays to the RNG gods for even one piece of loot he can roll on (and lose to a Scholar).

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!

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Trials of Ascension attempts another Kickstarter campaign

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]

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Ex-Bioware doc Zeschuk building virtual playground apps

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]

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