Those of you who hate long waits and excessive transparency during those waits are getting your wish today, as Citadel: Forged With Fire lumbers into early access on Steam today after surprisingly little preamble. The game will go on sale at noon EDT. Early access is expected to last up to a year, with a formal launch in 2018 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Should you buy it? Well, it’s early access, and by all accounts it deserves that designation. MMO players should note that while it’s been dubbed a “massive online sandbox RPG,” the servers aren’t currently massive at all. On the other hand? Magic, dragons, and a kickass construction system.
Blue Isle Studios says that the launch patch will contain some big changes; the devs have made structures harder to raid, rebalanced XP from building to stop an exploit, removed chest icons from the map, revamped VOIP, fixed tamed critters, nerfed dragon damage and mana regen, tweaked housing, and solved a number of outstanding bugs.
We took a look at the game in person last week while chatting with the studio’s community manager; that’s down below, along with a roundup of our coverage so far!
Yesterday, Shroud of the Avatar’s Starr Long announced a change to its testing forums that has ruffled more than a few backer feathers.
“Due to the potential economic and gameplay advantages of access to the QA server, QA Bug Forums, and Release Instructions prior to a Release we are no longer going to make those exclusive to Dev+. Starting with next release (Release 45) access to the QA server, QA Bug Forums and early drafts of the Release Instructions will be available to ALL paying backers regardless of level. This will put everyone on a level playing field and remove any potential advantages. […] Dev+ Forums and access to them will remain unchanged. Only access to the QA servers (and associated bug forums) is changing.”
Long apologizes for the fact that the “previous policy has allowed some players to gain advantage over others” — according to Reddit, those amounted to insider trading and economic advantages akin to those enjoyed (and exploited) by Guild Wars 2’s secret tester program.
But some long-time backers are annoyed, arguing that they’ve now lost one of the perceived perks of their support and will now see more competition for the bug reports they were incentivized to lodge. However, in statements to Massively OP, Long pointed out that QA access itself wasn’t part of any pledge purchase and that Dev+ forum access will remain intact.
Over the weekend, we reported on the distastrous Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago, where thousands of paying ticket holders spent most of the day waiting in line and dealing with connection issues and bugs that made the game they were there to celebrate virtually unplayable. Massively OP’s Andrew Ross did a piece for us yesterday outlining everything that went wrong and how frustrating it is for Niantic’s fans to watch it make mistake after mistake. Well, the silver lining is that Niantic is stepping up to take full responsibility and attempting to make amends.
“Obviously they can’t completely make it up to all the people who have come out to Chicago today, but they want to extend the fact that they’re extremely apologetic and unhappy with the process and the results,” a Niantic spokesperson reportedly told press. “So hopefully this is something that we will never see replicated again, learn from this and move on. […] Just know that the staff here are pretty horrified with the results, so they want to make good as fast as possible. I’m super sorry guys — I’m really sorry especially for everyone who traveled international, East Coast, from all over. So this clearly was not what we were hoping for today. Thanks for your patience.”
Back in January, ARPG Grim Dawn announced a formal expansion coming our way in the first half of 2017 — at the time, we guessed summer, and hey, now it’s summer! And it appears the team isn’t too far behind its estimate as it revealed today that “testing has officially begun on the expansion.”
“What this means is that people outside of the dev team are seeing the expansion’s content/additions for the first time and providing us with bug reports and feedback. This is a critical step in the development process as we strive to clear out major issues/concerns before the expansion is released to the general public. At this time, the playtesters have access to roughly 50% of the expansion’s content and the leveling experience for the Necromancer and Inquisitor masteries. There’s still much to do and much to be tested, but so far things are going smoothly. We are nearing the end of the line!”
Crate Entertainment’s post is otherwise slim on details like names and dates, but the studio does note that the expansion will include 63 “monster infrequents,” which are basically rare drops.
If you jumped into Citadel: Forged With Fire’s stress-test-style of beta this past weekend, you may have gotten a heaping helping of just what to expect when the early access doors open wide later this week.
Players reported multiple server issues, including extreme lag problems, overloaded servers hitting their cap, incorrect server population display, and overflow servers stepping in to bridge the gap. There were even claims that public servers and overflow servers were turned private or deleted outright, making characters previously rolled there impossible to access. Those who got in were apparently treated to some fun bugs, including a dragon leveling cheese trick that will surely be nerfed before launch.
The game has been touted by Blue Isle Studios as a “massive online sandbox RPG,” but its servers are currently capped at 40 players. The game launches on Wednesday after a whirlwind debut less than two weeks ago.
Are you sitting around the house, whining to your mom that you’re bored? Are you doing that while technically being 35 years of age? Then there’s always Dark and Light to check out, considering that the sandbox is now out on early access — and is being sold at 17% off until August 3rd.
You might want to hold off a few days before heading into it, however. The team is frantically patching it in response to server instability and other issues, so it’s still in that post-release chaotic period that sends weaker players back to their beds to hide under covers.
In the meanwhile, the team suggests that you enjoy the bugs as content: “Some players have discovered couple of fun things in the build and we are working towards a fix. However, they are extremely fun in their current state, so we hope you all enjoy the laughs in the mean time. Whether it be hitching a ride on your friend’s Griffin’s wing tip or shrinking yourself down to Ant Man size.”
I know I complain a lot about Pokemon Go in my articles here, but there’s a reason for this. I’m a huge fan not just of the Pokemon series but of what Niantic is trying to do with its game on a basic level. The idea of getting games outside with the rest of the world instead of hidden in our rooms and offices is hugely appealing. I’ve even applied to work at Niantic before (though obviously I wasn’t selected), so for me especially it’s frustrating to see a company I want to succeed repeatedly making the same kinds of mistakes. These are mistakes that plagued the game’s launch, several events, feature reworkings, and now not one, but two birthday celebrations within the same year.
I actually got sucked into the hype recently and even said that the events surrounding the festival might give people a reason to come back. I’ve finally removed my foot from my mouth after previously downing some crow, but I’ve realized that, now more than ever, Niantic needs some tougher love, and here it is.
Early access is kind of a garbage system for the vast majority of gamers. Yes, yes, I know, some games and game types just wouldn’t be made without it, and this is probably better than having no options at all. But the whole system is saddled with bullcrap, from unpaid testing and exploits and wipes to scope creep and content cuts and delays and outright abandonment. And, ahem, charging for expansions and housing plots and cosmetics while supposedly still in a test phase. It feels like perpetual amateur hour and I’m sick of it.
And yet for all that, there are a couple of things that really bug me more than anything else, and one of them is putting paid demos out there without female characters, with extra frowny-faces for making female avs a stretch goal. Even if a team says the male character is just a placeholder and that it’s working on the ladies, it still bugs me, as if we’re afterthoughts. Sure, non-transparent, non-early-access games do this (or related sins), but somehow it seems more obnoxious when gals are left out (and men are treated as generic/default) in tandem with the studio asking us for cash upfront.
That’s just one frustration among many, however, and obviously those of you who don’t play primarily women aren’t going to care quite as much as those of us who do. So what’s your biggest pet peeve about early access MMOs?
Who doesn’t love free things? How about free isometric MMO sandboxes? Wild Terra is putting itself in the free bin for the weekend as it runs an open stress test, nullifying its usual $14.99 early access buy-in. And you’re invited!
Studio Juvty Worlds notes that would-be testers can download the client or simply play in their Chrome/Opera browsers. “Actively testing the game, you’ll get a reward – game currency and Steam keys,” promise the devs. “Report any errors or problems found in Wild Terra.”
Most recently, the game played host to an in-game player wedding and patched spawn rates, planting systems, HUD, and auction bugs.
The event runs until July 24th, at which point servers will be wiped, the pricetag returns, and your carriage turns into a pumpkin.
After multiple false starts over the summer, Path of Exile
has finally patched in its new microtransaction system
as of last night.
“In the new Microtransaction System, we’ve completely done away with the old Microtransaction Stash and have replaced with a new one that lets you sort and manage your microtransactions in a much cleaner way. The microtransactions are equipped to their own slots so that you can swap your items around at will without having to reclaim/reapply microtransactions constantly. You can also equip microtransactions from other characters with a click.”
“The microtransaction system in this 2.6.3 patch is fully up to date,” Grinding Gear’s Chris Wilson says. “The one on the Beta 3.0.0 wave 3 realm is missing some recent minor bug fixes, so if you see weirdness on Beta, that’s why. It’ll be up to date by release. If you try to reclaim microtransactions between the two realms, it will work, but may display incorrect character and league names. Your consumable microtransactions on Beta (like Fireworks and Skin Transfers) are your real ones and are actually consumed if you use them.”
Following multiple development delays, weird PR moves, gorgeous screenshot dumps, and a month of closed beta, decade-old MMORPG sandbox Dark and Light has finally resurrected into its early access soft launch form here in the west today. Thanks to the current discount, it’ll run you just under $25.
Snail Games is clear that this is a true early access title. “We already know that we’re going to run into a lot of bugs, crashes, localization issues, and more,” says the company. “Did you die from punching a blade of grass? Did your tamed creatures stage a massive revolt out of nowhere? Did an NPC tell you ‘I AM ERROR?’ Is the Bestiary straight-up lying to you about how many creatures are in the game? We want to know about it.”
As usual, we’ve rounded up our coverage to date so you can look back at the twisting road this game’s taken to be born again!
We’d heard about (and stressed over!) various Secret World Legends changes for a while, but you just can’t know how those changes will affect the game until you experience them. Now we have. We’ve had three and a half weeks to dive in and play around, getting a feel for the Secret World reboot. So how do some of those changes play out in practice? I’ve already noted a few initial pros and cons, but some topics — like levels — needed more time.
Moving to a level-based system was one of the changes I was personally most unsure about with this reboot. I have never been a fan of levels, preferring skill-based systems. Luckily, the ability to personalize your build with the weapon skill trees was retained. And I get that levels are more universally recognized. But after nearly a month, I have found that although levels do have some benefits, as currently implemented they are causing issues within Secret World Legends that are affecting gameplay — but mostly only for patrons! The good news is there is a fix.
Last week, Black Desert’s Reddit erupted with claims that a popular streamer, who been previously banned and unbanned in a spring crackdown, had unwittingly streamed proof that he was still exploiting, causing other players to cry foul. At the tail end of last week, Kakao finally addressed this issue.
“During an investigation into reports of a potential exploit last April, our team determined that it was, in fact, possible for users to send multiple workers to a single node,” Community Coordinator Yukimura explains. “Shortly after, a patch was applied to resolve this bug. However, due to an oversight in the applied patch, some elements of the bug were not fully removed. One such example was the failure to reset all player’s workers, including those that were being utilized in the exploit. It was later discovered that some users’ workers were still designated to a single node. This allowed the continued use of multiple workers on a single node, and has subsequently been resolved as of July 12th maintenance.”