Building blocks and baby steps: This is the approach that Camelot Unchained is taking in developing some of its key systems for the upcoming beta test. The idea is that players will be treated to a simpler version of systems such as crafting and building that will be developed and grown for the eventual launch.
And if the word “crafting” makes you wince, then take heart. There has been a lot of thought that has gone into making an interesting and involved experience. “We don’t want to make crafting a grindy, boring mess,” promise the developers.
City State Entertainment hasn’t neglected the eye candy that will keep players entertained during combat: “One of the most fun discussions has included lots of pantomiming to help us improve the look of our combat animations. We’ve created one new ability per class that is meant to be more powerful and a bit flashier in order to help us test our VFX systems. Each of these new abilities are getting unique animations, which has driven much discussion on improving all our animations, and particularly how we use those animations to visually define each of the classes.”
This week in MMO crowdfunding, it’s not looking great for Pantropy, whose Kickstarter is only just over half funded with only a few more days to go.
Meanwhile, Camelot Unchained is prepping for two scenario tests this weekend (the second is tomorrow, if you can catch it!), Dual Universe rolled out its new supporter packs, City of Titans took a look at character customization, Chronicles of Elyria posted a long lore piece, Elite Dangerous rolled out 3.0.2, OrbusVR previewed its talent system, Crowfall talked up its vendor system, and we streamed a first-hand look at Ship of Heroes. Plus, Project Gorgon hits Steam this coming week!
Finally, a troll informed me this week that Massively OP is nothing more than a pile of Kickstarter propaganda and some WoW and GW2 columns, so if you happened to read the 120 or editorials, streams, and articles we published this week that aren’t related to crowdfunding, good news, you imagined all that!
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
After a lengthy wait, the first beta for Camelot Unchained is here at last! That’s what we’ll be saying in about a hundred days, because that beta doesn’t actually start until July 4th, but there’s a lot of work being done in the ramp-up for that beta. So now we have a bit of time to kill until then. Who’s up for Scrabble?
Meanwhile, we bid farewell to H1Z1, as the game… technically launched? It’s kind of ambiguous. We’ll go with a launch. Get out of here, H1Z1. Let’s get on with other beta news.
- The cel-shaded action of SoulWorker Online is now available in open beta. Now, you know how we feel about free-to-play titles in open beta, but the game is still slated for an actual hard launch date, so we’ll let this be. For now. We’re watching you.
- On the other hand, Legends of Aria might be slipping to a later date for its early access start, missing the original target of April. We’re also watching you, but with affection, we promise.
- European players who want in on the latest test for Conqueror’s Blade can register and take part. If you aren’t European, well… don’t do that, probably? It’s not for you.
- It’s been a while since we got a big update for Project Genom, huh? Well, here comes another big patch. Alert the people! The people who aren’t reading this, anyhow. We alerted you just now.
- Last but not least, if you’ve ever wanted to demand that your friends kneel in deference when you enter the room, Crowfall’s Vassal system has you covered. But don’t take my word for it, check out two videos on the design.
Below us, the list of games we have in testing can also kneel in deference. You, dear readers, can just look through the list at your leisure. Do let us know if something is on there that ought to be listed differently, though, or if there’s something else awry. We appreciate it.
One hundred and twenty-six days. That’s the current countdown timer reading as Camelot Unchained looks ahead to its July 4th beta launch, and it couldn’t have both the community and the studio more excited.
In the February wrap-up newsletter, City State Entertainment stirs up enthusiasm for the beta while also talking about the improvements made to the combat system, giving an overview of the state of the current build, and dishing out a couple of images of player-created castles. The team said that it has a lot of work in these remaining 126 days to get the combat balanced, stress test the servers, finish up the user interface, and more.
“Next, it will be our turn to make good on our promises and justify your faith in the game,” said the team. “We hope you hop into Beta 1 with us for an early taste of the RvR madness to come!”
This week in MMO crowdfunding, online shooter Pantropy broke the 33% barrier on its ongoing Kickstarter. The game has half a month to go to get to its $92,000 goal. “We’re still working on a lot of improvements and bug fixes. We have made the crafting recipes less complex and discussed a few ideas to punish players that kill or raid their own faction,” the team says in its most recent Kickstarter update. Punishment includes hard time on “Troll’s Island,” where players must perform “repetitive tasks (like hammering ores) in order to be free again” – or have guildies willing to risk life and limb trying to bust them out! (It might just be easier on the devs to just… turn off friendly fire, yeah?)
Meanwhile, Dual Universe is vowing to step up its communication game, Shroud of the Avatar rolled out R51, we finished up our tour of Project Gorgon, Ship of Heroes previewed pieces of its alpha, and Elite Dangerous is prepping to roll out the first leg of Beyond next week. And Camelot Unchained is still riding high on its beta one announcement earlier this month; this week, it’s been testing a 100x100x100 scenario – a tiny sliver of the eventual battle size. Don’t click that link if you’re hungry!
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.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained invites you to break out the sparklers because the game will finally launch its long-delayed beta one on July 4th. That’ll follow the “feature lock” date of June 12th. We got the whole scoop in our interview earlier this week!
Meanwhile, Star Citizen posted a new ship sale, had a nice friendly chat with the BBB, and talked about the thrilling topic of refueling. Plus, Crowfall got a lore update, Albion updated its Kay build, Pantheon teased its pre-alpha, Project Gorgon detailed its Steam preparation, and mecha-shooter Pantropy updated its ongoing Kickstarter.
And Maguss, the wizarding MMOARG that raised almost half a million bucks on Indiegogo, launched its open beta on iOS and Android this morning.
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.
Remember Maguss, the Harry Potter-esque ARG everyone was buzzing around right up until Pokemon Go company Niantic said it was making Harry Potter: Wizards Unite? It’s just about to launch its open beta; you west coasters will want to wake up early on Saturday indeed to make the 8 a.m. EST starting time on Android and iOS. The game originally raised almost half a million dollars on Indiegogo, so its popularity seems assured!
What else happened in the world of MMO testing this week?
- Camelot Unchained finally has a beta date: the fourth of July. Fortunately, nothing else important happens on that day. Our interview all about how beta will work is pretty great if we do say so ourselves.
- Dead Maze officially launched! No more beta! Free at last!
- Villagers & Heroes seeks iOS beta testers ahead of its launch at the end of this month.
- Project Gorgon laid out the details of its upcoming Steam beta.
- Stardew Valley promised multiplayer beta this spring.
- Soulworker Online is inching ever closer to testing here; forums for NA and EU arrived this week.
- Ashes of Creation dazzled again with more footage of “alpha zero” gameplay.
- Staxel landed on our sandbox radar; it’s currently in early access.
- Bless Online is anticipating that when it starts, its early access open beta will run half a year.
We’ve tucked whole list of games temporarily and very much permanently in test stasis right on down below.
Last week, a reader named Chris, who is writing a paper on the MMO industry and revivifying sunsetted games, dropped an intriguing question into my inbox. It’s about bots – but not the sort of bots EVE Online is constantly fighting. The good kind.
“Do you think people would be interested in coming back to ‘closed’ MMO games if they were populated with AI bots instead of real players (to make them feel alive/populated)?” he asked me.
Let’s ponder that for today’s Overthinking. Certainly we’ve seen bots put to work in games like Camelot Unchained, which uses them to test massive numbers of players on the battlefield. Would you want to see them in live play? Would they help the feel of the world in ways that default NPCs simply would not? Is the AI even doable? Could AI bots take our place to make MMORPGs even better – or even to keep them viable and save them from destruction?
Have you ever thought about what it is like for developers and community managers who handle online games that are being shut down? It’s certain just as painful (if not more) for them as it is for us, and it is not as easy as turning off a switch and walking away.
PC Gamer has a fascinating piece on the process of sunsetting titles from a studio’s standpoint, including looks at games such as Club Penguin and PlanetSide 1.
Former Club Penguin CM Bobbi Rieger shared the overload of details that the team had to sort out when the news broke: “My immediate reaction was, ‘Oh crap.’ Of course my thoughts went to the community and how we could make this as positive as possible. At the end of the day, it’s going to be hard. It’s gonna suck. I was just like, ‘OK, what’s the action plan?'”
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin overdose on candy hearts as they look at Valentine’s Day in MMOs — as well as the Lunar New Year. From expansion alpha testing to a new MMO launch to unifying a game globally, it’s a pretty upbeat and positive week of podcast chatter.
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:
You can go ahead and order extra sparklers because you’re going to need ’em this July 4th. That’s the auspicious day that Camelot Unchained’s beta one will finally launch after three years of delay, City State Entertainment has now announced. The studio has further confirmed that the “feature lock” date for the crowdfunded RvR MMORPG will be June 12th – at that point, everything for the beta will be set, save bug-fixing. And yes, everything that has been promised for the beta will make it for that launch (that doesn’t mean everything going into launch will be in beta – expect more builds going forward over the expected year of this beta).
CSE’s Mark Jacobs spoke with us just a few weeks ago to announce that the company had taken on a large external investment to speed up development of the game; he’s done the same this time ’round to answer our questions about beta and what to expect between right now and the 4th of July when those beta gates open. Read on!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Dual Universe is still zooming along in its pre-alpha, and it’s addressed just that in a new AMA this week. The studio acknowledges that the game’s development has become delayed (you’ll recall it was originally supposed to launch a full alpha last fall) but that money isn’t an issue. “Don’t worry, we are OK,” Novaquark tells backers. “We are going to publish a roadmap before Summer. For the 24/7 [testing], this is a high level priority, and we hope to be able to get you there in a few weeks. It won’t be full time however, but more like full week-ends to start with.” The studio also says it’ll launch a second crowdfunding effort later this quarter.
On a more meta note, today marks Massively OP’s third birthday as an independent MMORPG website, and the plain truth is that wouldn’t be here today without the generous donors who contributed to our original Kickstarter back in 2015, our Patreon and PayPal donors, our Twitch subbers, our Amazon clicky-clickers, and you lovely folks who whitelist our ads. You and we are living proof that crowdfunding can work! Thank you all so very much from the whole team. Here’s to three and many more!
Really, that headline is all you truly need to know. After years of development and several delays, City State Entertainment is finally ready to announce the long-awaited start date for Camelot Unchained’s beta on Monday, February 12th.
“As we’ve mentioned in previous updates, we want a date we are confident in that also delivers a great experience for our backers, who simply deserve as much for their enthusiasm and patience,” the team posted. “Earlier today, we came to an agreement on that date after several weeks of hard work, but Mark wanted us to take the weekend to think about it just so we can be as confident as possible with that date.”
In preparing for Beta 1, the team has been auditing the game to make sure that it’s ready to go. Testers have been doing their part to break the game client or stability. This partially took place in the form of 100v100v100 battles that involved both players and bots. According to the team, one player managed to single-handedly bring the game down by dropping armor and 400 siege scorpions all at once.