As we explored last week, game development isn’t always an upward trajectory. Some things soar, and some things crash. Our last Survivalist conversation was about four ways that the ARK: Survival Evolved that launched was better than the early early access build and four ways that it was worse. Since launch, development has continued, some on the base game and quite a bit on expansions. Whether the overall game as it stands right now is better or worse depends in part on what aspects are more important to you and likely which expansion you play. (Let’s hear it for Aberration!)
Even with improvements made to the game since launch, there are areas that could really use some attention. Today, I’d like to focus on four things that I really want for the future of ARK!
It’s a big day over in Conan Exiles, whether you’re on PC or Xbox One, as Funcom’s just rolled out a major patch ahead of the official launch next month. The highlight is assuredly the complete overhauled combat system, which revamps weapon type attacks, chain attacks, dodging, backflips, stamina, kicking, status effects, and maybe most importantly, targeting locking. Players will also be encountering the first edition of The Purge mechanics, whereby the game will spawn baddies attack your base depending on your combat and base strength. The fast travel maproom, new HUD, and farming are in too.
“By obtaining seeds from plants and making compost through the compost heap, it is now possible to plant and harvest your own crops. In order to craft fertilizer in the compost heap, you will need plant-fiber, rotten meat and bonemeal, which can be obtained by grinding (amongst other things) bone, claws, fangs or ivory in the grinder. For certain plants, you may need potent fertilizer, for which you will need to add ash and blood to the mix. By planting seeds and fertilizer in the planters, your crops will grow over time. In addition to this, should you want to decorate your land, a selection of potted plants have been added to the game, which are much less costly than the planters.”
The end of the world is bearing down on some Age of Conan players, but that’s exactly when things get interesting. Funcom’s special Saga of Zath server has just a month left to go before the studio merges its population in with the Crom server and turns out the lights.
Before then, players can race to earn special gear and vanity items for the main server. To help with that, Funcom is giving all players a free extra specialization, cutting the price of mounts in half, chopping XP booster prices down by 75%, and making raid and PvP gear bundles available.
Saga of Zath started up back in January as a special time-limited PvE server. Players had just a few months to go through a saga quest to earn rewards and gain items. When the merge happens on May 15th, all Zath characters will be transferred to Crom with all progress and inventory intact.
Fourteen months after hitting early access, Funcom is getting ready to launch Conan Exiles for real. Ahead of the May 8th release, the studio has posted up a brand-new teaser trailer to kick off the countdown. It’s just over 24 days, if you’re wondering or bad at math.
“Besides being the first time it’s available on PlayStation 4, the launch of Conan Exiles brings with it a massive expansion of the game world, game-changing new features such as monster invasions known as the purge and an entirely new action-oriented combat system, as well as many other major additions that truly makes this the ultimate vision of Conan Exiles. If you were ever on the fence, or you are just discovering it for the first time, May 8th is the time to join the adventure.”
MOP’s MJ got hands-on with the launch build earlier this month; you can check out her impressions right here! There’s a clipping issue in one of the screenshots – gold star if you find it!
On this week’s show, MJ and Justin get giddy over Secret World Legends’ season two, discuss what World of Warcraft’s launch date means for players, and cover a whole host of major updates that have arrived for the MMO community.
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:
Word is now out that Massively OP’s MJ got to play around in Conan Exile’s new biome and experience many other new features of the upcoming launch. And she is quite looking forward to it going live! She’ll be prowling around the current zones while talking about the new content. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. to ask her any questions.
What: Conan Exiles
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 6th, 2018
The early access days of Conan Exiles are coming to a close. In less than a month, the survival sandbox will launch. At that time players will get to explore two new regions, experience the new combat, farm, dive into two new dungeons, worship a new god, and summon her avatar on the live servers. But luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait! I joined Creative Director Joel Bylos in the game for few hours of hands-on experience with the new features, then got to keep playing for the evening.
After a farming demonstration and a quick tour of the volcano, I got to witness a Purge, watch the brand-new starter cinematic, wander around the swamp and climb into treehouses, participate in a siege, look over the new attributes and perks, parade around in new armor, and test out the new combat with all the weapon types. My impressions in a nutshell? Most of the additions really up the fun factor and improve the game (the jury is still out on the eating-to-heal mechanic). I’m pretty excited for these features to go live, and not just because I want to build a treehouse base! While there I can’t offer an elaborate play-by-play of everything I experienced during this lengthy play session, I do have additional details for those who want more than one nutshell’s worth of impression.
Plenty of panels at GDC are recorded and uploaded to the internet weeks after the event, including this one. It’s not quite the same as being there, as you miss a few things. For example, this year’s Ultima Online Post-Mortem panel was packed. It was international. It was fun, gross, nostalgiac, and sometimes groan-inducing.
And I’d hate to just summarize the talk, especially since some of you vets have heard these stories before, but since ya’ll couldn’t make it, I’ll do it. For you. But for this particular panel, not only will I try to summarize what was said before the panel will be viewable online in a few weeks, but I’ll dish out on the after-panel chat with Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Raph Koster, and Rich Vogel, including comments from the team on bad bans, kingslaying, VR, and the state of the MMORPG.
My initial impressions of Conan Exiles, written just about a year ago, weren’t exactly glowing. While I know not every game I play needs to appeal to me, so much of the genre just felt like a repetition of what we’d already seen countless times before: a survival game in early access filled with bugs, naked people killing each other, and nothing that really made living in the game world feel worth it. Character progression felt bland, building was significantly harder than destruction, and the guild recruitment button on day one resulted in axing people in the face.
But that was a year ago. MJ has covered in-depth what the game’s done right since then, but even I’ve noticed just how much Funcom’s done to bolster the title. It made buildings more difficult to destroy. More emotes came in. More PvE content. Climbing. New zones. And then the launch announcement about a year after EA, with February’s honest look at the game’s future. Promising that no EA features that come later will be behind a pay wall is quite refreshing.
Still, I had some questions I wanted to pose to Community Manager Tor Egil Andersen at GDC 2018, so let’s get to them.
MassivelyOp reader Bryan recently wrote to us with a fun question about emulators, a topic that will simply never die as long as MMORPGs do.
“I recently viewed some comments claiming that official era servers wouldn’t acquire much of the player base from private servers, due the benefit of private servers typically being free to play. After thinking about it though, I actually know many people who have donated money or purchased cash shop items on private servers. And I have been in guilds that paid for guild website hosting and guild voice chat hosting for their private server guild. Free stuff is always nice, of course, but it seems as though while the benefit of free to play private servers is there, there’s still a decent amount of people willing to pay out of their pockets for them. I am wondering, how many MOP readers have donated or would be willing to spend real money on a private server?”
So let’s tackle the emulator question in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Have you ever played on an emulator? Under what circumstances? Which ones are you OK with, and which ones do you stay far away from? Are you OK with emulators raising money, and for what purpose? And have you ever donated money to or spent money on an MMO emulator?
If you missed last week’s Conan Exiles stream, you actually missed some good stuff. The big news centers on the economic system en route for the game. Funcom explains that players will be able to find and trade – and even forge – different types of coinage and currencies, as well as trade with NPC merchants and thrall-traders, chiefly in the Unnamed City, which is due for quite the overhaul with new NPCs. Fast travel will also be possible via craftable map rooms.
Players should also expect changes to armor and the dodging system: Don’t expect to be dodging around like mad if you’re wearing the heaviest armor in the game, but heavy armor will be much better at protecting you. Perks and attributes are further up for changes so everyone’s not walking around with max health and armor.
“There will be attempts toward balance, but we’re never gonna be perfect,” Funcom’s Joel Bylos quips.
Also live this week are Conan Exiles’ new forums on the Funcom site; the company has been rolling out the new boards for all of its games over the past few months.
From 1994’s A Dinosaur’s Tale to 2018’s Mutant Year Zero, Funcom has blazed its own path through the video game genre as a developer and publisher of all sorts of titles. These, of course, include some of MMORPG fans’ most beloved games, such as Anarchy Online, Age of Conan, and The Secret World.
To celebrate the studio’s 25th anniversary, Funcom put together a quick video that takes players from the 16-bit console generation to the modern day, showing off its various logos and a montage of its games.
“Since those humble beginnings back in March of 1993, we’ve released over twenty-five games across a wide range of platforms,” Funcom said. “We’ve survived major shifts in the gaming industry and we’ve had to adapt to an ever-changing market. We’ve had our ups and we’ve had our downs. We’ve weathered many storms and we’ve earned our battle-scars.”
The journey starts below. What are you waiting for?
The Purge is coming to Conan Exiles. And that’s not even the scariest thing in this week’s newsletter! “The Purge mechanic will spawn in creatures and NPCs to attack your base in order to destroy things, even when you’re not logged in,” Funcom says. “You’ll need to consider the placement of traps, walls, thralls and other defences to protect your stuff. The Purge mechanic will be active on all official servers. On private servers an administrator can customize and configure the Purge or turn it off completely if they so choose.”
Three more weeks until content lock, and then the game launches for real in May! The newsletter also talks bow mechanics, the latest stream, armor tiering, the combat overhaul, and yes, there’s a gif of a scorpion, so maybe don’t click it and just hit the summary. I’m not judging you.