Are you a sucker for pixel art and retro JRPGs? Then here’s a nice little treat for you: Kingdom of Loot will launch tomorrow in early access on Steam. It’s expected to stay in early access for the next two-and-a-half years while development continues.
Self-described as “the love child of Secret of Mana and Diablo,” the ARPG Kingdom of Loot marries the 16-bit era to the MMORPG genre… and it actually looks pretty cute and fun. It’s divided up into social town hubs, an open world map, and private instances. Players will take up arms to do some Zelda-style hack-and-slashing while going on quests and hanging out with their guilds.
“Kingdom of Loot seeks to bring back the timeless feel of these classics while answering the question: How would they have been if based in a global mass multiplayer system?” the team describes. “An immersive persistent world to explore, tons of loot to collect, new friendships to forge and adventures to live and strongly focuses on collecting, crafting and sharing in-game loot. You decide whether doing it on your own, with a small group of friends, a guild or joining hundreds of other players on your quest for epic gear.”
If you are the sort that has ever looked at online game design and thought to yourself, “I could do so much better,” then it’s time to put your boasts to the test by checking out MyWorld. This software allows players to whip up their own action-RPG levels and then connect them with others to make a near-infinite sprawling patchwork quilt of worlds.
“At the heart of MyWorld is the ability to link worlds together, construct multiple level games and adventure through them with friends,” a press statement said. “Via portals, game makers and game players can cross over into worlds created by other users and play the action RPG they’ve made to be discovered. Any game level can be linked to any other level and can be easily chained together to create a unique experience.”
The software is currently 25% off at Steam. Get your first look at MyWorld after the break!
Keeping an ear to the ground for Dauntless news? You should be: It’s a co-op ARPG from Phoenix Labs, an indie studio made up of former BioWare, Riot Games, and Blizzard devs. It’s expected to launch on PC later this year as a free-to-play (and apparently online) title that focuses on basic cosmetics and boosts to fund development costs.
It’s not massive, mind you, but it’s worth a look for multiplayer fans. The new PAX trailer is below.
Despite what I may think, Niantic is still calling Pokemon GO an MMO at GDC 2017.
Senior Product Manager Tatsuo Nomura referred to it as one while speaking with Polygon. Nomura also mentions that that when it launches, trading “won’t be through the internet,” and that while online trading might be seen by some as a way to potentially help rural players, the developers’ goal is more about potential distribution for regional Pokemon (such as North American Tauros or South American Heracross). You’ll need to be in close proximity to your trading partner, though don’t expect it until at least later this year, as the company is worried it may kill the game. The team is trying to improve the gameplay experience for rurals still, but no specifics were given.
Perhaps this is partially why company president John Hanke discussed the gym situation with Wired, and yes, Hanke mentions attempts to combat spoofers. Translations note that an overhaul of the gym system is the team’s “next step,” wanting to get more people into the gym scene and to have gyms focus on teamwork. Supposedly, legendaries will also be available later this year, as will player vs. player battles.
Pokemon GO Generation 2 is out now, and it feels a lot like an MMO expansion in a lot of ways: We have new features, we have new grinding mechanics, and (of course) the combat system’s been overhauled (twice, with the original change making dodging useless, the second possibly fixing the situation).
On the one hand, I’m excited as a Pokemon fan, especially since it’s a free update. On the other hand, I’m starting to think that Raph Koster’s famous comments on AR games being MMOs might be a bit off, at least in terms of POGO.
Pokemon Go has received some large updates recently: the buddy system, medals, some big gym changes (twice), and now we’ve got dailies. We’ve been dazzled with two events granting bonus… well, everything, and yet, I’ve been noticing veteran players around me retiring anyway. Casual players are playing less often. During the Halloween event, I was surprised about the number of people that actually didn’t return to the game!
Rather than go on pure anecdotal evidence, I conducted an impromptu survey on social media to get a clearer picture of why people quit the game before the November 0.45.0 update. Here are the results.
Although Pokemon Go isn’t advertised as an MMO, both experts and players have noted it does present some interesting similarities: Both have tons of players on servers where player locations are tracked. Both games task players with interacting with AI and (in simple ways) other players. And the game worlds in both are directly impacted by player action (remember, Pokemon Go is based on the Ingress map that was sourced out to the players).
Being an MMORPG site, we’ve talked about socialization and how it relates in particular to our genre. However, much like other modern MMOs, PoGo can lead to the sort of “alone together” situation that seems to eternally threaten our genre’s relevance — indeed, its existence.
Four years ago or so, a number of folks at Massively, including me, had their sights set on Akaneiro: Demon Hunters. It was a co-op ARPG by American McGee with a successful $200,000 Kickstarter behind it and a Red Riding Hood-inspired, horror-esque Mori Girl setting and beautiful, cel-shaded graphics. The only real problem with the game was its hybrid business model, which couldn’t quite decide whether it was buy-to-play or free-to-play with an excessive pay-to-play cash shop.
Along the way, the game’s real-life business model collapsed. In 2014, McGee admitted that studio Spicy Horse Games was $1.7 million in debt and had downsized to just two people. But the game was at least playable — in a messy but free-to-play state on Steam.
That is, at least until recently. Over the past week, players have begun reporting on Steam that the game has gone offline without warning. According to MMO Fallout, support tickets are apparently triggering an auto-responder that declares Spicy Horse closed entirely (in July, as a matter of fact) and that it will no longer offer support for any of its games, though it does say “Akaneiro WILL continue to remain online for the foreseeable future.”
Heroes of Incredible Tales (otherwise known as HIT) may have launched less than three weeks ago, but the mobile multiplayer action-RPG already has a hefty update. Today, Nexon and NAT Games introduced a new PvE area with 30 stages to conquer, two new raid boss fights, new costumes with two new equipment slots (magic stones and cloaks), an Altar of Trials challenge mode, and a training mode. The level cap was also bumped from 50 to 60 with six accompanying skills. Players who want stronger equipment can boost that level cap from 20 to 30, and those who just want to chill can throw on a new vacation outfit. For more details, check out the patch notes on the official Facebook page, or dive in and experience them first hand.
Has Mu Legend grabbed your attention yet? This action-RPG has been in development since 2011 and is on the cusp of closed beta testing in Korea, with about 60% of the game completed at this point. If hopes, dreams, wishes, and ponies can pull together, it should be coming over here as well.
MMO Culture posted an interview with the dev team about the making of this prequel to 2001’s Mu Online. But just because the game shares a name and lineage with Mu Online doesn’t mean that Mu Legend will be merely a graphical update.
“Mu Legend was decided to be hack-and-slash MMORPG with the previous quarter view,” the devs said. “We thought having a quarter-view will allow users to feel the joy of mass battle using simple mouse and keyboard control”
Smed’s not the only one launching a pixelart OARPG on Kickstarter today: Thrive Games has just revealed Dragon of Legends.
Dragon of Legends is an online action RPG for PC, Mac, Linux, and Mobile devices, that is heavily influenced by Gaelic and Norse mythology. Enter the ever-evolving lands of Hávámal, where the lights of faeries border the realms of darkness.
Work on the 2-D game has been ongoing for the last year and a half, Thrive says in its Kickstarter pitch; it’ll include a detailed character class and skill system, crafting mechanics, boats, an achievement journal, twitch combat, and user-generated content. It’s also crossplatform: You’ll play it on PC, Mac, Linux, and tablet. The studio’s goal is $41,318, and thought stretch goals are planned, they aren’t revealed just yet.
Among the dream team John Smedley assembled for Hero’s Song — studio Pixelmage’s new 2-D open-world ARPG — is Patrick Rothfuss, an acclaimed fantasy author who rocketed to stardom in 2007 when his first novel, The Name of the Wind, won multiple literary awards and was followed up with a New York Times bestselling sequel. Smed tapped Rothfuss specifically to plot the game’s lore, world, and story. We spoke with him about his process, his worldbuilding, his thoughts on immersion, and what video games he plays when he’s not busy penning blockbuster books.
Massively OP: You’re primarily known to fantasy audiences for your award-winning novels. Why make the leap to video games? What did Smed say to drag you over to the dark side?
Patrick Rothfuss: What a lot of people don’t know is that I actually tried to write a computer game long before I tried to write a novel. What’s more, I’ve been playing computer games pretty much since the beginning. So turning my hands to videogames isn’t a leap so much as it is a small step for me. Though it is a step in an exciting new direction.
Today, we finally learn what John Smedley has been working on since he resigned from his decades-long role at Daybreak.
The industry veteran has founded indie studio Pixelmage Games and is hard at work on Hero’s Song, a buy-to-play, fantasy-based, pixel-art, open-world, PvE-focused action RPG that can “host thousands of other players” but will boast a solo campaign and allow private servers as well. The sandboxy feature set — housing, character development, crafting, a world in flux — sounds remarkably like an MMORPG, at least in its largest form. The studio has raised a million dollars in private investment already and brought together MMORPG industry veterans like EverQuest Lead Designer and co-creator Bill Trost and wildly popular and widely acclaimed fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss. The game’s Kickstarter launches today, and the game itself launches in October — that’s one year of development time from start to finish.
We spoke to Smed in this world-first interview on the game. Read on for Smed’s thoughts on game funding, business models, permadeath, graphics snobbery, DLC, and just what genre this game really belongs in.