Holy crap sci-fi MMOers are grumpy. All we want is an absolutely perfect simulation of a space-going future for nearly nothing. How hard can it possibly be?
Apparently pretty hard, hence why Elite Dangerous players are grouchy over several new revelations from the weekend. For starters, Frontier admitted during the game's weekend livestream that "Space Legs" -- that is, the Elite equivalent of Walking in Stations, a fully realized avatar movement outside of ships -- is way off on the distant horizon. Players had their hopes up following the tease of the "Holo-Me" character creator, but since "Space Legs is effectively dovetailing a whole new game into Elite," it's "a long away off."
"Crushed my dreams," one Redditor wrote.
Meanwhile, monetization is another sore spot in the space game. Apparently, some players believe Frontier is going back on its original monetization Kickstarter FAQ promise ("Everything in the game will be purchasable with in-game Credits, earned from trading, bounty-hunting, etc.") regarding ship name decals, which will be in fact be buyable only with real cash with no free or in-game-money option. There's even an email campaign to try to get Frontier to change its mind.
Sometimes even the most die-hard MMORPG player finds him or herself a little tired of constantly looking at the back of a head and a running butt. We yearn to slip the surly bonds of the world to explore the cosmos in our very own rocket ship to see what is out there. E.T., are you taking house calls? Can we hang for a little while? I brought Reese's Pieces!
Getting this experience isn't quite as easy as, say, finding an MMO that caters to the dragon-slaying crowd. It's well-known that sci-fi MMORPGs are in the minority, and only a fraction of those center around or contain some element of space flight and combat. However, over the years we've seen online games here and there allow us to live out our fantasies of being a space jockey, whether in the form of a trader, a fighter pilot, or an explorer.
Today, let's look at 10 MMOs, past and present, that helped us get our spaceship on!
You have to be crazy, inspired, skilled, ambitious, or all of the above to attempt to create an MMO all by yourself. Here at Massively OP, we confess to an admiration of micro-team projects, from Ascent: The Space Game to Project Gorgon. Now we have another to add to the list: Blades of Orterra.
Mostly developed by a single person, Blades of Orterra is a melee-focused MMO inspired by the Sword Art Online anime series. The official site succinctly outlines the scope of the title: "Set in a world floating in the sky, Blades of Orterra is a multiplayer RPG that seeks to craft an unparalleled immersive experience where players can adventure across 100 different worlds to master the art of the blade."
The project is aiming to get its free combat module up and running in 2017 for the public to test. Past that comes alpha and feature goals, including PvP, a skill tree that expands by finding certain books, player vendors, and openworld exploration. You can get a glimpse of some of this game's potential in the trailer below.
With Pathfinder Online, The Repopulation, and TUG all back in the news this week either hunting for money, being acquired, or undergoing a total do-over, Kickstarted MMOs are getting more side-eye than usual from the MMO playerbase.
It isn't as though MMOs never crowdfund and launch successfully; Elite Dangerous, Ascent, and Guns of Icarus are just a few of the ones that have done just that. But I'm willing to bet that any of you who've ever Kickstarted a game have a regret or two. I sure do.
Which MMO do you most regret Kickstarting, and why?
"2016 was a formidable year for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and its fans," Visionary Realms declares in its latest newsletter, which includes two chunks of interest for readers this week. The first is a run-down of 2016's best moments as chosen by the team; they include revised pledge tiers, multiple class and race reveals, convention presence, new staff hires, the massive August AMA, and the big Twitch streams that demoed gameplay for players, including the most recent one in December (though the March pre-alpha reveal stream was VR's favorite).
Moving into 2017 proper, the Pantheon team has posted a dev diary on Amberfaet, one of the old strongholds of the Dwarven race that's now a group-centric dungeon bedecked in treasure and boss fights as well as crafting tools. "If the capital city of Khadassa is a sun to their people, then Amberfaet is a dark moon cast adrift by dueling gravities," it explains.
Ascent: The Space Game isn't the only MMORPG dryly commenting on today's US elections: Guild Wars 2 has a "doomsday preparation pack" in the cash shop today. Oh sure, it's ostensibly in-character and in-lore:
"Yeah, yeah, we know dragons are bad. They’re going to destroy us all, sure. I’m all for being prepared, but some of this speculation is getting a little out of hand. Why not have a look at some of my new stock and take your mind off the scaremongering? [...] If the rumors of dragons rising has you down, and you’re expecting the worst, why not cut loose? Dress up in our Raiment of the Lich outfit, dye it in fearsome colors with a Shadow Dye Kit or a Flame Dye Kit, put your brand-new Watchwork Mining Pick in a shared inventory slot, and burn off some of that stress. Startle your friends and neighbors!"
But we're not fooled.
Among the fun quirks of sandboxes is the political intrigue they can spawn. One such drama is currently unfolding in indie sci-fi sandbox Ascent: The Space Game, which boasts a full-fledged political election system. Players can run for colonial mayor, planetary governor, star system senator, and even president of the entire playerbase. Such players actually claim powers within the PvE game, such as the ability to rename planets, control terraforming efforts, and even approve gates. I think you can probably see where I'm going with this.
"We're faced with a stark choice for their latest Presidential elections," Fluffy Kitten Studios writes tonight, on the final eve of the in-game election.
"A candidate by the name of Donald Trumpet, or a more established player named Leprosi. Donald Trumpet aims to 'Make the Inner Nine Systems Great Again!' by building a wall to keep pirates out and making the pirates pay for it. He plans to fix the economy 'I have the best economic plans' although it is unclear how any of these goals will be achieved. Promising to grab Developers Fluffy Kitten Studios 'by the kitten', Trumpet suggests he will force the developers to fix more bugs. Previously completely unknown to the playerbase and with no apparent government or political experience, Trumpet is pitching against against establishment candidate Leprosi, who has been a Star System Senator for several terms and has numerous achievements and alliances within the community."
Facebook plainly misses the days when everyone sat around playing FarmVille and Mafia Wars through its laggy blue-and-white pages, even if no one else does. Yesterday, the company gave a hint about how it plans to recapture that lost market post-Flash: A new gaming platform called Gameroom, built in Unity.
Gameroom is clearly aimed at the casual desktop market rather than the mobile or hardcore PC market with games like Cooking Mama and Texas HoldEm Poker. I gave it a spin this morning and see nothing in it that would be considered a traditional MMORPG, though there are a handful of games happy to label themselves that way for search purposes (Darkstar Legends, Guns and Magic, DivoSaga II, and other little games MMORPG players have never heard of). The RPG category is loaded with OARPGs, multiplayer fighters, and online strategy titles that sit on the outskirts of our genre (like Oz: Broken Kindgom, Game of Thrones Ascent, and Bleach Online, which we know is your favorite). In other words, even if it's not mobile, it pretty much looks like a mobile store... or the cheapie bin on Steam.
Anyone spy anything in there worth a look for the MMORPG playerbase?
When you take a step back and look at the broad MMO genre, you see some common threads that run through most games. One of these is that pretty much every character we control is a humanoid, albeit in many shapes, sizes, and ear configurations. This makes sense, as we ourselves are human and have the easiest time strongly identifying with an avatar that correlates to our own bodies.
Yet there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, and I'm not just speaking of fantasy races that give you four legs instead of two or two heads instead of one. Some MMOs plop you into a nuts-and-bolts vehicle as your primary avatar, encouraging you to bond with this hunk of soulless machine over the course of incredible adventures.
Today we're going to count down -- or count up, or count sideways -- through 10 MMORPGs that stuffed your brain into a machine and then encouraged you to live your new life as a ship, car, or very violent automatic can opener.
Last week, we introduced the first part of our guide to the best upcoming, in-development indie MMORPGs -- yes, the list was so long that we had to split it lest our CMS explode! So this week we're back with the other half of our list, a quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: We're not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, we won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.
On with part two!
When you write for an MMORPG website that covers literally hundreds of games and could probably add in hundreds more that are extinct, are in operation only overseas, or are so incredibly niche that their creators' moms don't even know about them, you start devoting a large portion of your brain to trying to keep details about all of these games straight. This not only results in forgetting two of your kids' names (after all, space is limited), but it's nearly an impossible task. There's just too much out there.
And lately I've noticed that the staff and readers alike have started to become incredibly confused regarding all of the indie MMOs that are oozing through the development process in their 72 planned testing stages (the other week I could swear that I saw a game declare itself to be going into "state semi-regionals"). There are too many games, some of which look far too similar, and it's stressing us out.
Enhance your calm, citizen. Here's the first part of our quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: It's not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, I won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns. Then stay tuned next week for the second half of this list!
This week in MMO crowdfunding news was one of the biggest we've had all year for crowdfunded games. Former Firefall boss Mark Kern made good on his plans for "serial Kickstarting" with a small Indiegogo campaign for his new MMO, Ember; we sat down with Hero's Song's John Smedley for a streamed interview; and indie sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe is hurtling along toward its Kickstarter funding goal of just over half a million bucks.
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar's Richard Garriott and Starr Long announced they'll both be attending SOTACon, City of Titans posted the lore behind its Bureau of Paranormal Investigations and Tracking, and Ascent got a new trailer, Ever, Jane patched its beta, Elite Dangerous is rolling out the Guardians beta next week, AdventureQuest 3D announced an October open beta, and Crowfall confirmed beta 1 players will begin testing this year.
And for those wondering about the state of The Repopulation, a month ago the devs told forumgoers that their "goal is to have a playable client for it late in the year, but it will probably be a limited initial version." Said A&B, "[W]e need to build the world and content still, which has a good ways to go."
Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!
"Throw away your old screenshots! We've got a new video!" Ascent: The Space Game's James Hicks declared in note to press this week. "And it's not hideous!"
Jokes aside, the expansive indie space sandbox Ascent does indeed have a fresh video out this week, hot on the heels of August's massive terraforming patch. Dubbed "Ascent 2016," the trailer shows off the in-game solar system map, seamless space-to-surface gameplay, exploration, colonization, starbase construction, resource refinement and trading, modifiable player ships, ship-to-ship combat, and questing.
One thing you won't see? Ganking. The game's PvP is entirely optional.
Of note, the game boasts 270 billion star systems to explore. And unlike certain other hyped games that make this claim, this one is actually multiplayer. It's also playable right now, having launched on Steam in the spring. Check out the new trailer below and see how far those graphics have come!