Sandbox Interactive ran an AMA for its in-development indie MMO Albion Online on Reddit last night, covering everything from the game’s business model to how players in far-flung locations fare on its global server. Here are the highlights!
- There are no plans for a freebie weekend or trial as a result of fairness to founders and botting issues — as well as performance issues. “The game is extremely well populated as it is, and we’d be worried that free trial could slow down the servers.”
- Likewise, SI will be sticking to its original plan to reward founders with early access, though players have expressed concern over the potential for an ArcheAge-like land-grab.
- In response to players bringing up pay-to-win and the game’s $30 buy-in, SI explained the game’s business model is based on EVE Online’s and that while players can essentially gain an advantage by buying and then exchanging real-money currency for in-game currency, it won’t afford players a guaranteed win. As for the currency exchange, it should be possible to play the market.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Shards Online surprised the gamer community by announcing a namechange — to Legends of Aria — and a scope-change, the good kind of scope change if you’re an MMO player, as the game just got bigger.
More good news: The Repopulation is expected to come back online for original backers and Steam buyers tomorrow. Idea Fabrik expects the sandbox to once again be for sale on Steam later this month.
Still more good news! As I write this, indie VR MMO OrbusVR has nearly tripled its Kickstarter goal already. Its whirlwind one-week campaign ends on Monday.
Meanwhile, gamers pledged over $12K US to bring Swedish brawler RUiN to a winning Kickstarter a few days back, but Caribbean Conquest wasn’t so fortunate: Its Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully earlier this week. Plus, Dogma: Eternal Night worked on its character module, Grim Dawn talked itemization, and AdventureQuest 3D hyped The Dragons of Ashfall.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.
departs the hallowed halls of Betawatch
this week, having emerged from closed beta into open beta. No more wipes are planned, and the game is now freely accessible, making the My.com import well and truly soft-launched. Fly free, my pretty! What else happened in the world of MMO betas this week?
- Elder Scrolls Legends dumped the beta tag entirely and is now officially launched on PC.
- Shards Online is getting a name change ahead of its planned Steam early access launch. You may now refer to it as Legends of Aria.
- The Repopulation’s alpha is expected to resume this weekend under the new ownership. Welcome back, Repop! Don’t screw this up!
- Gigantic just cannot catch a break: It laid off a sizable portion of its staff with the aim of “reducing the burn rate” until it can emerge from open beta and land on Arc later this year.
- Project Gorgon tasked players with testing dungeon difficulty.
- Camelot Unchained is still teasing its long-delayed beta one, but it sounds as if we’re inching closer now.
- Albion Online is pushing out a big patch next week, heavily overhauling the beta.
- Crowfall is working toward 24-7 test servers.
- LawBreakers is planning a big beta weekend later this month. Breakin’ the law!
Follow along below for the complete list of all the games still on the grill.
As Albion Online barrels toward a release this summer, the devs are still frantically working to make the PvP fantasy game the best that it can be. On Monday, the team will push out its Galahad update, which will contain rather sweeping changes for the beta.
The fun begins with a brand-new user interface designed, which looks a lot sharper and more polished than the previous version. It’s not just the UI that’s been reshaped; the world geography has been moved around and the map improved for better viewing. Other changes with Galahad include new biome cities, improved open world PvE, guardians (world bosses), expeditions, 25 new spells, and gathering gear.
Albion Online recently announced that it will be launching on July 17th. In the meantime, whet your excitement for this month’s big update by checking out the video preview after the jump!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, we sent MOP’s Matt Daniel into Crowfall, from which he emerged with many opinions on the state of the game’s high-profile crafting and gathering systems. Economy folks should give it a read!
There are two MMO-related Kickstarters ending this week you may be interested in. Arena brawler RUiN is about 200 bucks from funding as I type this, so it’s going to happen for sure. Caribbean Conquest’s second go at Kickstarter, however, is likely to fall short; it’s secured only about $2000 in pledges of its $30,000-ish goal with only a few days left.
What else is new? Worlds Adrift got a new website (thanks, Daras!), Project Gorgon rolled out a new patch, Albion Online released videos on its sound and music, Elite Dangerous began testing part of the Commanders patch, Camelot Unchained teased beta 1, and Ashes of Creation demoed its gameplay.
Finally, get thee over to Steam, where a trial of Shroud of the Avatar can currently be had entirely for free.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.
Call this episode “tangent city,” because it doesn’t take much to send Bree and Justin down conversational rabbit holes! From discussing why Champions Online failed to pick up City of Heroes’ refugees to going on epic rants against gankboxes, you’ll need a flow chart and a five-dimensional mind to follow all of the topics of today’s show. Good luck!
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:
I am finding it hard to believe that we are two months into 2017 already, especially since I’ve had so many pressing Guild Chat submissions recently that I haven’t had a chance to turn my hand back to MMO Mechanics in all that time! As an introduction to a new year, I usually like to include a predictions column that summarises my perspective on how I believe mechanics will change over the following twelve months, but I don’t feel as though the 2016 trends I mentioned have died out yet and wish to instead focus on the sustained emphasis on sandbox MMO development with strong holistic, character developing mechanics.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’m going to talk about some upcoming MMOs and the non-combat, realistic, and technical mechanics added into the 2017 sandbox mix. Although I can’t guarantee that the titles I mention below will actually release this year, each of them has enough solid development behind them to make a 2017 release at least probable; besides, even if these titles don’t release in the next ten months, they will still bear the hallmarks of the state of the modern sandbox MMO and are worth noting. Add your thoughts on the common threads you’re finding in 2017’s planned MMO mechanics in the comments: I’m sure to miss several key mechanics development trends in this non-exhaustive list.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, The Exiled was released to the wilds of Steam early access. Formerly called Das Tal, the buy-to-play indie sandbox attempted to raise funds through Kickstarter back in 2015 but pulled in only €33,000 of its €50,000 goal and resorted to website preorders instead, forging ahead to now. Reviews on Steam so far are mixed; once you subtract the confused trial players who seem surprised to see PvP in a PvP sandbox, the main complaints revolve around crafting grind and lag.
Meanwhile, Ship of Heroes teased its Kickstarter, Shroud of the Avatar released R39, Albion Online settled on a July release, Life is Feudal rolled out its second beta, Pantheon brought on more new employees (thanks, Reht!), Dual Universe planned a GDC community meetup, Star Citizen explored the Magnus system and released a new concept ship, HEX got a new publisher, and Elite: Dangerous did science and turned… beige.
Closer to home, games critic and veritable prince of Patreon Jim Sterling scored a victory for games journalism in the courts as a judge dismissed with prejudice a game developer’s libel lawsuit against him. (Thanks to everyone who tipped this our way!)
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.
After extending its beta well into 2017, Albion Online has announced its date for officially leaving that hallowed state: July 17th, 2017. Just a few months away! So if you were worried that “well into 2017” meant the fall, you can rest easy. The game has also looked at adjusting some of its open PvP zones, so that’s also a good thing.
Other news? Aw, of course, anything for you:
You can also find our full list just below, replete with all sorts of games which are in testing. Did something jump test phases without us noticing? That’s awful; let us know about it so we can fix it. Or just scroll down the list and look for what you’d be interested in playing, we’ll accept either.
Huge news for the Albion Online community today, as Sandbox Interactive announced that the fantasy sandbox will be launching this summer on July 17th. At that time, the studio said, the founder’s program will end, founder’s packs will be removed from the store, and starter packs will be put up on the shelves.
Between now and then, Albion has a lot in store for fans. The “massive” Galahad update, which includes a world revamp and server wipe, is coming on March 13th. After that, the team wants to work on polishing the UI, improving the starter experience, and putting in some quality of life features for guilds. These will all be bundled into the late May/early June Hector update.
Check out the launch announcement as well as a few new overview videos after the break!
Sandbox Interactive Game Director Robin Henkys has another lengthy Albion Online dev recap today, this one all about the Outlands, one of the key pieces of content being rethought and redesigned in the current beta stage.
As designed, the Outlands were intended to foment guild warfare — that’s probably why you’re playing a PvP sandbox, after all, if you’re not there to gank miners. But Henkys says that in practice, the Outlands were designed too small and too compact, which created relatively small guild battles and in turn allowed just a few incredibly powerful guilds control over the whole area, leaving no room for anyone else. The next iteration of the Outlands was bigger and allowed more small and medium guilds in but didn’t create “hotspots” worth fighting over.
The build planned for launch, Henkys explains, splits the Outlands in multiple pieces with scaled resources. The idea is that the uberguilds will fight over the spots with the best resources and leave the lesser areas alone. Ideally, if the game is overloaded, the team can just add more pieces of proper value.
Worth a listen even if you’re not interested in the game just for its run-down of the core problems faced by every PvP or RvR sandbox ever.
This week in MMO crowfunding was… well, it was a big week for gaming in general, and Kickstarted games rose to the challenge! In fact, we could barely pump out the news fast enough. Here’s what went on this week:
- Camelot Unchained continued work on “big ticket” development issues, like animation and effects and abilities for bots.
- Mekria Online, which we introduced only last week, has already canceled its Kickstarter; the studio vows to return with more to show players next round.
- Ashes of Creation released its first gameplay video, a “movie-like” version that’ll see a UI-laden edition next week.
- Gloria Victis introduced its new Glory system as well as the ability to burn down ALL THE THINGS. Seriously.
- TUG’s latest Kickstarter update tells backers that the team is working on gameplay prototyping and touted its recent investor presentation.
- Ship of Heroes previewed one of its signature heroes, Dr. Ellen Strikewell.
- Shards Online is prepping for its Steam launch with an impending wipe and NDA drop.
- Valiance Online posted four new videos of the alpha client! We’ve tucked one down below.
- Crowfall canceled its weekend playtest over studio concerns that the current version of the build isn’t up to snuff.
- Grim Dawn rolled out a massive new patch.
- and Shroud of the Avatar rounds out my super-long list with a post-mortem Q&A — video and text versions — on its latest release.
I told you it was busy, and there’s more down below! Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.
The extended beta for Albion Online gives the developers time to add more to the game. For example, when the Galahad patch goes live, players will be able to explore completely revamped cities! Not partially vamped, either, they had no vamps before and now they’ve been re-vamped. (We might not know exactly what that means.) There’s also the upcoming expedition system, which is… instanced PvE dungeons, but don’t call them that, probably.
Other beta news? Oh, sure, we’ll do that for you. Because we’re friends and all.
- The closed beta for Dragon Nest 2 is recruiting now, although there’s no word on when exactly it starts. Or much hope for onlookers from this side of the pond, as it really does require Korean players. But it’s moving forward, that’s something.
- CBT3 for Revelation Online has come to an end, with the open beta around the corner. How far around the corner? We don’t know. Of course, considering that name reservations go live on February 14th, we can certainly speculate.
- Crowfall was all ready to go with its Templar setup, demonstrating the animations and everything. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait a little longer, as the planned test on February 10th was cancelled. The sadness, she is overwhelming.
- Want to see a bit of Ashes of Creation in action? You can check out the first glance inside one of the game’s dungeons right now. Per legal agreements, there will be no puns about how the ice-themed dungeon “looks cool,” intentional or otherwise.
- Cloud Pirates is hitting that most special of all times, early access! It even includes a new gameplay mode, so you can’t be mad. (Is that how the rules work? You can’t be mad if you get extra stuff too? Someone should check on that.)
Rather calm week, yes? Don’t blame us, most of us were buried under snow. There’s still a nice full list just below, though, but you never know when some of these games might have hopped test phases without us realizing it. We do our best to track the offenders down, but if we miss someone, would you be kind enough to let us know down in the comments? Thanks.