This past summer, ARK: Survival Evolved finally officially launched, ending its stint as an early access game just three days before PAX West, then promptly announced its second expansion on the first day of the convention. There wasn’t even a week between launch and the second expansion’s unveiling, and there will be fewer than two months between the two launches; Aberration is scheduled to launch in October.
While at PAX, I sat down with Studio Wildcard Senior Producer Navin Supphapholsiri, who thanked fans for supporting the game: “We really appreciate the support for the past two years. Just to see how far we’ve come along, it’s all thanks to the community.” Then we talked about the launch, about Aberration, and about the team’s focus going forward.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts gave an interview that seemed to express understandable frustration with the constant barrage of demands for alpha launch estimates, scam accusations, and “fan trolling” he encounters.
“I am fed up of giving someone an estimate – I’d rather say, here’s the data I have, here’s the schedule I see,” he told Eurogamer, arguing that CIG is already providing progress reports for the massive crowdfunded MMO. “There’s a subset of people who say ‘this thing is never going to come out, it’s a scam’. Which is plainly not true. It would be the worst scam in the world. We’re hiring all these people, we’re working really hard. We’re showing what we’re doing every week.”
Meanwhile, we wrapped up our tour of Shroud of the Avatar, Elite Dangerous announced its September 26th update, we chatted with Ashes of Creation at PAX, Kickstarter began welcoming Japanese creators, Albion Online kicked off playtests for its arena mode, AdventureQuest 3D is going all out for Talk Like A Pirate Day, and Dogma: Eternal Night continued hammering out its combat system (thanks, DDOCentral!).
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’re following.
While the full Hi-Rez portfolio wasn’t in attendance at PAX West, Hand of the Gods was on-hand with a fan tournament as well as machines to introduce folks to the game. Devs were also available to discuss this tactical SMITE spinoff. I sat down with Lead designer Scott Lussier and Executive Producer and VP of Design Scott Zier to talk about the game’s name, its progress, the reception at the convention, and plans going forward.
In fact, one of the tidbits Lussier shared is that the Japanese pantheon is next on the list after Hindu is released later this month.
You don’t have to be a massive MMO studio to have a big showing at PAX West – Intrepid Studios proved that. The indie studio developing Ashes of Creation had a large booth with a giant TV broadcasting videos, hands-on demos for players to see what the game is about, a merchandise counter (which appeared to be doing good business), plenty of devs on hand to answer questions, and a full panel to discuss the game’s progress and plans to a large audience. And Founder and Creative Director Steven Sharif was on hand the whole time to talk about his game with everyone who came by. As he told me, “That’s our job here today, to expose more people to [AoC’s] potential.” He wants players to know that it isn’t about promises without delivery
Between a demo and a couple of interviews, I had the opportunity to chat with Sharif about the game a few different times. We talked about classes, crowdfunding, and character customization. I also got to team up with a group and run through a short PvE adventure narrated by a dev, testing out skills and exploring a few features. Then I delved into a PvP match. And yes, we also discussed the red hat controversy.
Remember a few weeks ago when Star Citizen confirmed survival mechanics like eating and sleeping? Welp, add pooping to the list. This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen’s Around the Verse focused on the game’s stamina system, which touches on the character’s needs and risks and notifications about them, including “getting drunk, needing to go to the toilet, all the little things that can affect the player temporarily, and then we can expand this to go even to stuff like long-term diseases, depressurization sickness, radiation sickness – all these things that won’t be something the player can get rid of instantly.”
Meanwhile, the three City of Heroes spiritual successors teamed up for a panel at PAX, Shroud of the Avatar honored a player’s father, Dual Universe hit 10K backers, Dogma: Eternal Night implemented combat, and Chronicles of Elyria demoed jousting, plus so many goodies from PAX! Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
PAX West 2017 has come and gone, and though MJ is still feverishly working on her last few articles, we wanted to pause a moment to reflect on everything we’ve seen and read and recapped so far. So for today’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to tackle three topics from an MMO player’s perspective: the biggest surprise of the show, the most disappointing bit, and the games that grabbed them and won’t let go.
This past weekend at PAX West, Ashes of Creation made sure to drop a few announcement bombs on its community that showed up to check out and support the game. The biggest of these, of course, was the dating of the “Alpha Zero” test for this December 15th.
But is that test and date pushing it too much for this team? Apparently not, according to Intrepid Studios. The team showed up for an hour-long panel to discuss the MMO’s development, and said that preparing the PAX West demo proved that they had the pace and know-how to get a more robust version of the game ready for later this year.
There’s a lot to take in with the panel, so we’ve got that for you after the break. As a bonus, why not check out some PvE gameplay focused on taking in Ashes of Creation? You didn’t need to do anything else productive today!
We have to admit that after years of MMOs being downgraded on the exhibit floor of PAX, it’s great to see some titles getting a nice showing this year at PAX West. One of the biggest exhibits, as a matter of fact, was Ashes of Creation, which constructed a giant portal and set up demo stations for the public to experience.
“It was really important for us to come to PAX and show the community the amount of work that’s being put into Ashes of Creation,” yelled Intrepid Studios CEO Steven Sharif over the din of the crowd.
With so much money and effort being put into this PAX showing, it makes sense that the team wants to squeeze as much mileage out of it as possible. To wit, it has documented each day of the game at the show, which you can watch after the break, then stay tuned for more as PAX wraps up today!
During the Ashes of Creation panel at PAX West, Founder and Creative Director Steven Sharif announced the exact date of the upcoming Alpha 0: Come December 15th, 2017, some players will be able to dive in and begin testing the gameplay. Con attendees have been able to get a tiny taste of both the PvE and PvP content in the game.
Sharif also offered more reveals. Although his appearance as a special guest did not work out, Bear McCreary will compose the game’s score. McCreary is known for work on a number of movies, shows like Battlestar Galactica, Agents of Shield, 10 Clover Lane, Defiance, Caprica, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Also, in response to an audience member question, the name of the world was finally made public: Players will live their AoC lives on Verra.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, HEX announced it is officially coming to PS4 on September 9th under a hybrid HEX: Card Clash moniker, which “marries the PC version you know and love with an all-new and improved PS4tm client” and allows gamers to “play seamlessly with players from both clients, and compete for weekly cash prizes.” Says the studio,
“Ever since our Kickstarter, we knew there was the desire to curl up on the couch with a nice game of HEX. We originally envisioned this as tablet support, but as HEX evolved it became clear that there were still some significant hurdles to making that a reality. From both a coding and a UI perspective, HEX requires some significant magic to faithfully reproduce the PC experience you know and love in a different medium. While we are absolutely still planning to come to tablet, we began to wonder if we couldn’t get you couch conquerors HEX just a little bit sooner.”
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar launched R45, Crowfall players put together a crafting calculator, Valiance Online streamed its alpha, Grim Dawn released gameplay of its upcoming Necro class, Ashes of Creation pegged December for its “alpha zero,” and Camelot Unchained said it’s overdelivering on tech. (Thanks, Zophie!) Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
The open beta for Destiny 2 finally hit the PC, and while I’m generally reluctant to say that anything is the preferred platform for a given audience (people get excited about platforms I personally would never have expected), in this case it seems fair. The beta has, of course, run into some issues, but people seem to have enjoyed it even without getting to take a trip to a nice farm. Plenty of space to run around in that farm.
Also, while it seems almost like a joke to say this, it really happened: ARK: Survival Evolved finally launched. If you were waiting for launch? You were waiting for now. It has happened.
More news? You’ll no doubt hear more with the convention this weekend, but let’s go nuts anyway.
- The final alpha test for Legends of Aria will arrive on September 21st, incorporating huge improvements over prior versions. Whether or not that will make you want to jump into the game is another question, of course.
- The alpha test for Wild West Online is absolutely very definitely happening on September 15th. That’s nice and unambiguous, isn’t it? Now no one will misunderstand when it’s happening.
- Crowfall has a cinematic trailer now! It’s very cinematic. And… a trailer. That’s a bad description, you should watch it and come up with a better one.
- In worse news, MU Legend has delayed its open beta until November. Perhaps it saw the other games in testing and got shy?
- Ashes of Creation is planning for its first alpha, helpfully titled “alpha zero,” to start in December. There are reasons why it’s a zero instead of a one, but it’s still the first test.
- Also, Dauntless is in closed beta. Like, right now. Surprise! No daunting for them.
All right! Are you pumped to scroll through a whole list full of other titles currently in testing, possibly incorporating more surprises along the way but probably not? Jump on down below, then, and if you see something which ought not to be there, do let us know down in the comments.
Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie is at PAX West (formerly known as PAX Prime, a much catchier name if you ask me!) for us this weekend as it kicks off today, accompanied by a huge roster of stuff to see, from Ashes of Creation and Ship of Heroes to Chronicles of Elyria and Dual Universe — and a dozen more. She might get to eat lunch, but she will definitely not get to sit down!
The good news is that the con is gearing up for a much better showing for MMORPGs than we’ve had in the past two or three years, something that ought to fill you with cheer. On the other hand, what I’d like above all else is to be getting major MMORPG announcements — new AAAs, new expansions — in addition to these solid in-progress games that actually have the PR prowess and cash to show up (which is good too!). It’s a changing landscape out there, folks!
What PAX West announcement would blow you away? What would you most want to see? And of the games in attendance, what do you most want us to see and ask about for you?
If you can’t make the Ashes of Creation demo and panel at this weekend’s PAX West, don’t fret: You can still check out the game’s current state in its new pre-alpha tutorial video, almost 10 minutes of narrated in-game footage, including combat (and it’s looking pretty good, especially for a pre-alpha!). There’s a run-down of the quartet of classes that were previewed earlier this week too.
There’s more. “We are proud to announce that our Alpha Zero will begin December 15th, 2017,” the studio posts excitedly. (I say excitedly because there are two exclamation points.) “This Alpha Zero is only available to registered members on our website through weekly drawings.”
We’ll be at PAX this weekend to check the game out in person; for now, the video’s below.