It was the best of early access, it was the worst of early access. We needn’t even stop there: It was the age of wisdom and it was the age of foolishness as well! I venture to say that Dickens didn’t know he would be so on point in relation to video games. As much as I know players are disappointed about the announcement from Conan Exiles that multiple anticipated features will not make it in for launch (trust me, I’ve been looking forward to them as well!), I actually really appreciate the decision. You see, I have already experienced the maddening delay of “just a few (hundred) more features before launch” and I lost heaps of respect for the studio that went that route. A studio, I might add, that was the epitome of doing early access right for a long while.
In this week’s edition of The Survivalist, I’ll juxtapose these two examples of early access in the survival sandbox genre and show how Conan Exiles’ latest announcement secures this game the title of doing early access right — a position once held by the other.
If you’ve rolled up a Dark Templar on Age of Conan’s newish saga server, then just know that you’re not alone. At level 80, the class is the most popular of the dozen options available for players.
Funcom shared a pie chart (the tastiest type of charts) of the level 80 class distribution on the server. There’s quite a range between the most and least popular classes, with a handful (Dark Templar, Conqueror, Tempest of Set, and Demonologist) taking over 43% of the roster. If you’re looking for an underdog to pick, the Ranger (4.43%) or Guardian (5.54%) will put you among rare company.
And while we’re on the subject of the saga server, Funcom announced that the Ivory Tower guild gets the honor of attaining a server first kill of Ethram Fal. Congrats!
May 8th seems pretty far away to me, but I bet Funcom is feeling Conan Exiles’ impending launch is rushing up to meet it. In its most recent newsletter, the studio says its various teams are hard at work on memory leak repairs, UI fixes, the temperature system, new clothing and outfits, first-person perspective animations, engine optimizations, the monster revamp, and of course, the combat system.
“The old combat system was more like an MMORPG than an action game, where a creature would stand in front of you and attack. Under the new paradigm we plan to make creature attacks more varied, with better anticipation time and ‘tells’ so you’ll know what comes next. [… ] We have a vision of what Conan Exiles should be, which might differ from your vision of what Conan Exiles should be, and our job as a developer is to merge the two into a coherent whole. Game development is normally a closed process, but because we opted for Early Access we also had to make sure that the community had a voice. The new combat system is a direct consequence of this interaction that fits in with the Conan vision.”
Are you a little sick and tired of lockboxes everywhere and all of these games desperately trying to jump onto the battle royale bandwagon? It might be of some small comfort that Funcom has no immediate plans to add either to Conan Exiles (although “never say never” and all that).
Creative Director Joel Bylos addressed these issues and more in an interview with PC Gamer. Now that Conan Exiles is just two-and-a-half months from official release, Bylos said that the team is working hard to making the whole package work, even if it means cutting content.
Bylos was asked several questions about the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and how it could impact Conan Exiles’ profile. “You just do your thing and make things that are unique and interesting,” he said. “In terms of press attention, it’s always hard to get press attention when there’s a pretty girl at the ball. PUBG is definitely the pretty girl at the ball this year.”
Funcom is forging ahead with its plans to launch Conan Exiles for real and for true on all the things come May 8th. And, as the latest dev blog explains, to make that date, the company’s probably going to cut some features from that launch build.
“In the past couple of months, we’ve had to make some serious decisions as to what will be in for launch,” says the studio. “We’ve been going through every aspect of the game (including things still in development) and we have evaluated everything based on a range of criteria. Some features or content simply ended up not being good enough, some things have ended up not making sense for the game, some things have been replaced with other features and content, while some things just turned out to be out of reach from a technical or development capacity standpoint.”
After starting another Priestess of Mitra on Age of Conan’s new Saga of Zath server, Massively OP’s MJ had a change of heart. She converted to Set! Now she is running around Tortage as a Tempest of Set, blasting everything with lightning. Now it’s time to take on the tasks on White Sands Isle. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. for the electrifying adventure.
What: Age of Conan
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, February 12th, 2018
Open world dungeons, node tending, and other pre-alpha adventures were all part and parcel of Ashes of Creation’s developer livestream last week. The team showed off 52 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay that included exploration, various features, and a ton of action combat.
The team answered many community questions on the livestream, including how the current build was tailored specifically for testers: “We wanted people who were coming in to test to actually be able to kind of do stuff solo. So, it’s not what it was really built for. All the group content right now is just in our dungeons. And that’s totally going to change when we go live.”
Other topics discussed was Ashes of Creation’s stealth system, account-bound player housing, caravans, diminishing returns on crowd control, animal husbandry (woo), and cosmetics. Check it out below!
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Vendetta Online, Worlds Adrift, Monster Hunter World, Hellion, Rust, Skyforge, Blade and Soul, Portal Knights, Final Fantasy XI, Dreadnought, PUBG, Hyper Universe, Crossout, Black Desert, Dark and Light, H1Z1, Dauntless, Robocraft, Fortnite, War of Rights, Cosmos Invictus, Ultima Online, and Vendetta Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Legacy, vanilla, classic, progression – call them what you like, but alternative server rulesets, particularly of the nostalgia-driven kind, are all the rage in 2018. Just since the dawn of the new year, we’ve gotten a new server type for Age of Conan, with RIFT’s on the way – not to mention World of Warcraft’s looming in our future. And those are just the new ones! Games like RuneScape, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online already run similar servers.
That said, does every MMORPG need one? Aren’t some MMORPGs already in pretty good shape without needing a spin-off for nostalgia’s sake? Is it in every MMO’s best interests to prioritize, on some level, the very older ideas it intentionally left behind? That’s the question I’ve posed to the writers this week: Are there any MMORPGs that should stay far, far away from legacy servers, and if so, why?
Here’s something you probably didn’t know about Camelot Unchained: Yes, it’ll have a sub, but it won’t be $15. Mark Jacobs re-confirmed that it’ll be less than the industry standard down in our comments a few weeks ago. It’s been rattling around in my head since then as subscriptions just keep popping up in the news. Star Citizen has an optional sub in alpha. Age of Conan just lowered its subscription rate. And the biggest subscription MMO in the world seems to have no problems moving a bajillion expansions, driving token prices to fluctuate. Did we hit rock bottom? Are we just watching the price reset in a new era?
I’m currently paying $13 a month for an old-school game because nobody else has content that even comes close. I wouldn’t hesitate to pay more for an MMO I couldn’t wait to play. In fact, I was prepared to pay more than $15 for CU. Would you? What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018? And what would you expect from an MMORPG charging a subscription?
Everyone’s talking about RIFT’s new Prime server idea — and whether or not it will get us playing Trion Worlds’ fantasy MMO once again. Naturally, the blogosphere had a few thoughts about this.
Stargrace said that it was “highly unlikely” that she’d return for this: “While I am drawn into progression servers for EverQuest and EverQuest II due to a heavy nostalgia factor, I don’t get those same warm fuzzy feelings about RIFT.”
“If anything induces me to give RIFT Prime a try it will be the extent to which the experience doesn’t accurately replicate the original,” Bhagpuss said. And Endgame Variable takes a look at it from the perspective of a former player: “Do I want to pay a subscription to play old content in RIFT — a game I’ve already played to death — or pay a subscription to play new content in FFXIV or WoW?”
It’s been a big week for the supposedly-in-maintenance-mode Age of Conan: First it got a new time-limited progression server, then it lowered its sub fees and loyalty rewards for subbers, and now it’s gotten new forums.
“With the new start of the Saga Server we also want new beginnings of fresh and modern forums; it will seem pretty different from what you’re used to here, but these new forums offer a much better community experience. You’re able to keep better track of threads you are interested in and follow, personalize your profile, give feedback to comments, and have easy access to news and updates. It also includes a trust system; the more active or helpful you are in the community, the higher your trust level increases, allowing you access to more features.”
Worth noting is that old comments have not been ported over, but the old forum is still open until February 14th, at which point posts there will be archived (but still viewable).
Happy birthday, Conan Exiles! Yes, Funcom’s blood-and-guts survival sandbox is turning one this week, or more specifically, one year in early access on PC. Funcom’s Joel Bylos thanks players in a brief video on Twitter and teases the game’s new combat system, which has been the subject of much chatter over the last few months while it’s been undergoing overhaul. It’ll be demoed on the studio’s Twitch stream this coming Friday for the first time.
The game’s latest newsletter also explains what’s up with the new biomes; Funcom says it’s all about polish.
“The Jungle biome has about two-three people working on it on the Terraformers team, and they’ve built pretty much everything from the ground up. The layout, the size and shapes of buildings, the size and shapes of the trees, the way the light is filtered through the trees, it’s all them. The art team helps out with textures, creatures and the general building blocks, but actually creating the entire biome is done by a small number of people. It’s a big area, built up from nothing, and it even turned out bigger than we initially planned. Which then adds more time to development. The content rebalance will also have an effect on resources (like what you get when you use certain tools on specific resource nodes), NPCs and creatures in the Jungle, and it’s a time-consuming process.”