Summertime does seem to be ripe territory for MMORPGs to release sizable content updates in the hopes of keeping players occupied and luring back in the bored and nomadic in the larger community.
Making a pitch for your attention today is RIFT, which has just released the latest segment of its Prophecy of Ahnket expansion cycle with Patch 4.2: Celestial Storm. As players head into the newest endgame zone of the MMO, what will they discover?
A few words on that: Beauty. Challenge. Epic feuds. Rewards. And a crapton to do.
Albion Online is finally making the transition from beta to launch this month. Sandbox Interactive has posted a timeline of events leading up to the formal July 17th release date, beginning with an invasion event this Friday, a treasure hunt on Saturday, and a castle siege event on Sunday. Following the conclusion of Sunday’s event, the beta servers will close, so these are your last funtimes before the launch.
The game’s new launcher has also rolled out as of this morning, complete with server monitoring, game news, and fast-access to bits and bobs like the forums and profiles.
Founder packs (and upgrading) will also become unavailable on July 9th. Founder pack buyers will be granted an additional 10% gold when the game launches, above and beyond previous promises. Do note that the game will not be free-to-play at launch, and presumably the launch game won’t come with the same goodies, so plan your wallet-opening accordingly.
We’ll be streaming the game later today on OPTV, so stay tuned!
It’s small. It’s ambiguous. And it might be pointing to the future of The Repopulation.
The new team handling this sci-fi MMO posted a rather tiny picture on the forums of which looks like a river on top of a grid and then asked players to vote on what they thought it might be. As the poll is labeled as a “teaser,” we might make the assumption that this has something to do with upcoming development for the game.
Curious what it looks like? We blew the image up (but did not enhance, as that doesn’t really exist outside of TV detective shows) and posted it for you after the break.
Massively OP reader Andrea has a fun question for us today. “I’ve been perusing through different MMO soundtracks these past days and some of them are so beautiful and atmospheric that they make me want to actually try the game although I had no intention otherwise,” she writes. “Has an MMO soundtrack ever inspired you to try out the game itself?”
You folks know we love our MMO soundtracks here on Massively OP — we keep Jukebox Heroes and Battle Bards’ Justin Olivetti trapped in a tower with nothing but a keyboard and an iPod, after all — so I’m guessing a lot of you have heard more scores than played games, and this question has a high chance of scoring hits. I’ve found some gorgeous music thanks to Justin for games I’ve never played, for example — I’ve been completely obsessed with The Repopulation’s released music tracks. (I’m a sucker for marimbas.)
Has a soundtrack ever inspired you to try out an MMORPG?
Back in January, we learned the fate of The Repopulation: The Hero Engine team from Idea Fabrik would be taking over development of the game from its original developers at Above & Beyond following a lengthy dispute between the two that took the alpha offline for more than a year. It returned online and relaunched on Steam earlier this spring, promising an update in May after major issues were discovered in the code.
And here we are now in May, and the new team says the staging build is nearly live. The latest dev post promises that the “core vision” is still in line with A&B’s, will stay away from pay-to-win, will expand “to include multiple play styles” for PvE and PvP, will consider new and different rulesets, and will lay the groundwork for “future expansions.” The update is dubbed Condorslug, “first and foremost the start of the renovation to replication within every game system, at its very core this is about bug fixing and trying to get things in a much better place.” Expect new shaders, redone heightmaps, new textures, and yes, wipes.
Oh yeah, and expect to shell out some dough too, as the studio is “aiming to re-enable the purchasing of higher tiers” once the dust has settled.
During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.
Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!
How’s The Repopulation coming along? Well, it’s coming. Last week, the newly installed Idea Fabrik developers discussed how the planned May update is progressing with bug fixes and a smoother pipeline for actually identifying, reporting, and correcting issues. The big news, however, is the new shaders that provide a big visual upgrade to the game world (though the team notes flora isn’t in — you can check out the before and after shots below).
“The lore team is looking at shoring up a few things, getting a consistency and looking at future ideas,” Hobble writes. “A new launcher is being built, this may or may not make 15.10.1, but there are a few inconsistencies to do with Steam/Stand Alone that we wish to sort out.”
And Hero Engine also brought back online the EU server, which was taken down for database issues yesterday.
When The Repopulation returned under new management, it was an understood fact that it would be a while before the game got its first patch. And it’s true, it will be a while. Specifically, it’ll be about five more weeks according to the latest update from the development team. That’s how long it’s going to take to sort out all of the back-end issues players aren’t seeing and gently massage the code into cooperating and improving.
If you were thinking it would take longer than five weeks, well, this is pretty much good news. And there is definitely a lot of stuff being adjusted behind the scenes, including combat, the UI, new player tutorials, pathing, and texture files. How good the first few patches under the game’s new ownership will be remains to be seen, but it does seem pretty clear that the game’s improvement is being taken seriously.
Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya’ll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn’t as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.
I’m not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller — and oft times privately managed — scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we’re going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here’s a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week’s show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
Idea Fabrik’s internal dev team published a dev update on The Repopulation this morning, following the game’s relaunch last week. The studio says it’s still working on verifying old backer accounts and reminds players that the game hasn’t been updated yet — this is just a copy of the game from fall 2015 when it all came down. Expect wipes to correct the economy at some point as well.
The really bad news is that the new team has discovered a slew of existing problems it needs to fix before it can move on with new content.
“We have been digging in to the zoning/transition issues, which have provided an insight to many other issues, this includes but is not limited to a lot of information that is being replicated which doesn’t need to be, and some major issues with server drops, memory leaks and performance are being extrapolated by this. What this means for us is… We have to go over all replicated information, sort out what should be server side and client side, then apply all of the fixes without borking up other interconnected systems at the same time. As example of this is when players go over zone lines: ALL of your Account information is replicated from one area to the next, this includes for example, your inventory. So the more information on your character, the longer it will take to transition. This is not a straight forward and easy changing a 1 to a 0.”
If you have a sweet tooth or diabetes, you may want to avoid the temptation that we’re about to put in your path with today’s headlining picture from the MOP community. It’s… the Candy Man, as delicious as he is deadly.
“On the topic of sweets, this screenshot from Heroes of the Storm is one of my favorite things ever,” writes Little Bugbear. “Sometime it’s difficult in MOBAs to find a character and skin that fit you perfectly. For me Kandy King Muradian’s pink beard and overwhelming decadence makes it the pinnacle of MOBA skins.”
Amen to that. I just want a small nibble, is that so bad?
It’s definitely been a long, long time since Massively OP’s MJ has played The Repopulation, but that’s that’s not on her! The game had gone offline, but has now resurfaced under new management. How will things play now? MJ is looking forward to re-exploring the world. Tune in live at 4:00 p.m. to see how things are shaping up.
What: The Repopulation
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 17th, 2017