If you know one thing about indie MMORPG Camelot Unchained, it’s that CEO Mark Jacobs appears to dwell perpetually in internet comment sections amiably sparring with gamers and attracting loyal advocates.
But if you know two things, you also know that the game is late. Really late. The RvR-centric, PvM-free, anti-lockbox, sub-only MMO was supposed to enter beta three years ago, according to its successful 2013 Kickstarter, but studio City State Entertainment suffered admitted setbacks along the way – both hiring difficulties in the company’s Fairfax, Virginia, location and technical hurdles. Much of that has since been rectified; in 2016, the company launched a second studio in Seattle while continuing to hire engineers and spending the better part of a year completely refactoring its character ability code and polishing up its home-grown engine. But here we are in 2018, still mumbling beta when? at Jacobs and his dogged crew.
Well, we’re finally getting an answer to that question and more, along with a significant blast of hope for the future of the game, as CSE has just received a massive cash infusion to speed up development. I spoke to Jacobs at length – he’s infamous for being effusive – about what’s going on with the game and the studio in 2018. Read on for the executive summary!
This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.
But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.
I didn’t intend to leave Star Citizen off my personal list of most-anticipated MMOs this year, but I think it’s the first time in several years that I did so. It’s not so much that I’m not looking forward to it – I am! – but that I don’t see the point of getting my hopes up when it still feels so far away from being feature-complete for all the things I want to do in that world. That, and it turns out I have a giant list of other MMOs that are much closer in space and time that just bubbled to the top of my excitement list. This is a great thing for the genre!
If there’s one that used to show up in my list every year but no longer does, even though it’s still technically alive? Probably The Repopulation. Sigh. That reminds me, I’m going to go listen to Sentience again.
What MMOs are you no longer anticipating that you once were?
How do you like to play video games? Specifically, how do you like to play The Repopulation? No, you don’t have to tell us, not even down in the comments; you can tell the designers directly with a pair of new surveys asking for details about how players want to experience the game. The concept is to just start off with two surveys but regularly add more, allowing the developers a nuanced and complete picture of how people are enjoying the game and how they can continue to improve.
To start with, the surveys ask about your experience in the world of The Repopulation and your preferred playstyle; future surveys are already planned to cover things like skill gaining, PvP, and so forth. If you’ve got opinions and want to make sure you’re heard, well, this seems like an obvious way to make that happen, doesn’t it?
As captain of our Stream Team, Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie and Larry Everett were joined by Andrew Ross this year to play zillions of games live, some old and some new, providing our community with an interactive look at some of the games in (and around) our genre. I’ve picked out my 10 favorites from the year, from sunsets and interviews to early access MMO sneak-peeks and even a group stream for the launch of one of the year’s biggest MMO expansions. Let’s dig in!
Welcome to a special edition of Make My MMO, Massively OP’s regular recap of what’s going on in crowdfunded MMOs, which we do specifically for those of you who are convinced Kickstarter is the absolute worst (it’s not) and that no crowdfunded MMOs ever launch (they do). Plus, somebody’s got to keep an eye on what your money’s up to! Tonight’s edition isn’t going to be our usual recap of the last couple of weeks, however; we’re going to look at the most important MMO crowdfunding news of the entire year. Lock up your wallets and let’s get to it.
December’s many article roundups and awards always remind us that it’s hard to remember what happened last month, let alone what happened way back at the beginning, so this year (as in 2015 and 2016), we decided to poke through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we launch into 2018.
If you were still reeling from the devastating loss of EverQuest Next in 2016, the announcement in January of this year that Landmark was being kicked the curb too was salt in the wound. In fact, the beginning of 2017 was a dark spot for MMOs, with Firefall in limbo, Marvel Heroes rolling out an unwelcome patch, The Repopulation being sold to the company that almost snuffed it out, and the Asheron’s Call series on the chopping block. Even Nostalrius had regrets! We did, however, see the launch of Conan Exiles and get our first whisper of Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind.
Read on for the whole list from January of this past year.
Another December, another Steam sale to entice you to spend money on games you don’t have time to play just to have them for a rainy day! Here’s a quick look at what’s on the list for MMO and survival sandbox players.
It’s a case of good news, bad news over at The Repopulation this month.
The scifi sandbox, which is now being handled by Idea Fabrik since the turnover from Above & Beyond earlier this year, released Update 10.2 today. The patch adds the player auction house, backer NPCs, and plenty of additions and adjustments to crafting. The scale of these changes apparently required a world wipe and restart for the NA server, which has now been renamed to Novus. The EU server was taken offline until and unless a larger community shows up to play.
The bad — or at least discouraging — news is that the developer said that it can’t make good on the game’s original backer tiers and will be delivering some sort of refund for them. “We are sad to announce that the purchasing of tiers will not be enabled at this time,” the company said. “We can not, in good conscience, sell a product which we can not support or provide content for. We’ll review the tiers to consider how to best compensate players. This may mean changes, but our intention is to provide you with proper compensation for your purchase.”
Idea Fabrik has a new forum post up on the state of sandbox MMO The Repopulation heralding the testing of update 10.2. There’s downside, however, as the studio says it will be wiping the servers and merging them to “enable the developers and the players to focus on community building in a single place.” That’ll mean the end of the EU server in the short term.
“Being that the wipe is occurring with this update and the populations are low on both servers, we thought it would be the perfect time to merge into one community and build upwards from there. If we decide bring up a single server, we would be disabling the EU server until later in development, after more systems are completed and the community grows again. This would allow players to make fresh characters on the server or move their current US East Characters across. We have several options on how we can handle this and would like your input now and in the future when you think we are ready to reopen the EU Server.”
Mark your calendars for next Wednesday, November 8th, because this is the day that The Repopulation will get back on the patch train once more.
This “massive” Patch 15.10.1 is primarily focused on improving the game’s engine and stability, but Idea Fabrik’s wall of patch notes tell a story of numerous other tweaks and other added features. Choice bits that are coming include world bosses, tournament fishing, smaller enemy camps, audio for synthetic instruments, a player talent show system, generic town cleanup tasks, a low-rez textures option, and 57 new profession titles.
Players returning to The Repopulation to check out this patch will not need to create new accounts, as old account info should have been transferred over to the new system.
“Now it’s up to everyone else to help test and move this alpha forward as we work on the next patch A01, which includes 10.2,” the team said. “More details for this will be coming up in the future.”
Instead of looking back at MMORPGs this week, the crew of Battle Bards launches forward into early access! What would a show about music from MMOs that aren’t even officially out yet be like? We’re going to find out in this wild and woolly episode!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 106: Early access themes (or download it) now:
Ever since Bluehole threw down a gauntlet at Epic’s feet over the similarities between PUBG and Fortnite’s battle royale mode – or more specifically, over Epic’s conflicts in regard to the Unreal Engine it furbishes and on which both games run – I’ve noticed the mainstream narrative is about whether it’s “illegal to rip off” a game mode that’s existed for decades. I suspect MMO players may see it differently.
See, Bluehole isn’t some new studio to MMO players; it built TERA in Korea. It was also the studio that was sued civilly and prosecuted criminally (successfully) for ripping off NCsoft years ago. Multiple Bluehole employees were accused and convicted of stealing trade secrets, “copious amounts of confidential and proprietary NCsoft information, computer software, hardware, and artwork relating to Lineage 3” from NCsoft.
Moreover, MMO players have already seen how conflicts just like this one between studios and engine developers can absolutely sink games. At the end of 2015, the MMORPG sandbox community watched helplessly as it appeared the studio behind Hero Engine held The Repopulation studio hostage, ultimately forcing the game offline and then buying out the game from its original developers in what seemed an unwelcome, hostile takeover acceded to in desperation.
So with all that in mind, this morning’s Daily Grind is multifold: Where do you stand on the Fortnite-vs.-PUBG feud? Who’s in the right, legally and morally, and does it concern you for engine/game relationships in the future?