Good news, Tree of Savior fans – the game is slated to hit the international stage soon. How soon? That’s still up in the air. But it does mean that the game is going to be coming over here after what seems like endless waffling and a long period of back-and-forth. Good news if you are super interested in the trees which saved people from… rivers, or something. (I am not actually clear on the game’s premise.)
It’s been a quieter week than the past few for betas, but still, there have been developments:
- Black Desert is done with its beta, with headstart pre-loading becoming available tomorrow for eligible players. If you haven’t already purchased a headstart package, though, you’ve missed your chance. Please turn to the comment section if it becomes necessary to wail or gnash your teeth.
- The latest test build for SkySaga is available, and it allows you to take selfies. Which is really what 80% of all game screenshots were already, so it’s just making it official.
- An alpha playtest for Das Tal is slated for the spring, and it’s going to be massive. How massive? Very massive. So at least three people, maybe four.
- Want to support The Repopulation? The game is looking for some testers for its survival spinoff Fragmented, and testing it will help the studio refine any and all issues with said spinoff, which in turn will make the game better and allow the developers to make more money. Everybody wins!
- Last but not least, if you’re eagerly anticipating Camelot Unchained and everything it promises, you should know that City State Entertainment is currently in a hard crunch mode to get the first beta out to backers.
If none of that tickles your fancy, that’s all right, as we still have our full list of beta titles just below. Let us know if something has carefully snuck beneath our radar in the comments!
City State Entertainment has announced on its livestream that it’s entering a “hard crunch” mode to deliver RvR-centric crowdfunded MMORPG Camelot Unchained according to backer expectations.
Ahead of the stream, CSE’s Mark Jacobs told Massively OP that developers had already been working under an optional soft crunch and that now they’ll be working 12 hours a day, five days a week to get beta 1 out on schedule without a delay. We spoke to him about the need for crunch and the impact it’ll have on the developers.
Massively OP: “Crunch” is pretty much looked on as a really horrible awful no-good thing in this industry — a word uttered with disdain, usually in the same sentence as “EA” or some other unloved overlordy publisher. I know you guys want to get the beta out and not disappoint backers, but aren’t you worried that the backers will actually be more concerned by the need for crunch than for a minor delay?
Mark Jacobs: Nobody likes to crunch less than me, but we believe that our Backers deserve our best efforts to open up Beta 1 according to the current schedule. The bottom line is that we don’t want to disappoint our Backers with another delay, and we are going to do everything we can to avoid that disappointment. The team is performing great, and now is the time to level that performance up to a heroic level. Our Backers deserve that effort, and we won’t let them down by not making that effort. We might fail, but we are going to do everything we can do to avoid that outcome.
So here’s a new one for the Make My MMO crowdfunding column: We have a game that’s actually vying for Patreon donations rather than campaigning on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. That game is Shadow’s Kiss, a vampire fantasy MMO. Developer Clockwork Throne says it’s using Patreon to fund production and reward backers.
Dragon of Legends has rejoined our list, having canceled its first Kickstarter and started over, asking for a much smaller amount (in fact, it’s already passed its base goal). Multiplayer sci-fi survival sandbox Planet Nomads finished its Kickstarter a winner too, pulling in almost $140,000. And while MOBA shooter Overpower didn’t quite make its funding goal on Kickstarter, its devs have announced it’ll head into early access on March 2nd.
This week, we also mused on Star Citizen’s success, had a look at Camelot Unchained’s new lighting system, and spoke to Crowfall’s devs about its world-building pipeline.
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!
City State Entertainment has announced a major visual upgrade for Camelot Unchained.
In a new letter to backers today, CSE Co-Founder and Technical Director Andrew Meggs explains that “until now, CU has gotten by with fairly simple lighting, the kind of light you might find in a high school theater production.” But the studio has always planned to revisit it “to bring things up to the standards of 2016,” and that’s exactly what the tech team is doing.
CSE is focusing on indirect and dynamic lighting “that can adapt on the fly to a world that adapts on the fly,” making use of cube map light probes, mathematical algorithms, and shader tricks to optimize the overhead on the client.
The effect is intended to make Camelot Unchained pretty, longer. After all, Meggs says, “We expect this game to be around in 2026, so we’re building for the future.”
We’ve included the gallery of the before and after shots below.
It’s sometimes unsettling when a game’s developers go silent for a bit, just because fans don’t have any way of knowing what’s going on. Is the silence due to all sorts of neat things being done behind the scenes that the developers just aren’t ready to talk about yet, or is it due to everyone quietly sneaking off with as many hard drives as they can carry? Fortunately for Camelot Unchained fans, the most recent update from the development team makes it clear that it’s more the former than the latter. There’s hard work being done, and it’s all about the process of taking ideas and making them real.
The aforementioned update discusses the most recent change to the game, namely the introduction of a new sort of threaded code in the game client. That will mean more crashes for testers, but it also will mean a better game in the long run for everyone. A number of additional mechanics have been implemented in the game, with several pending improvements as the game moves toward its beta testing and approaches its next major stretch goals. Even if things get a bit quiet on the news front, it’s good to know that the game is steadily being developed as we wait.
Podcasts are certainly splendid means of feeding one’s MMO interests and keeping in touch with the news and community. It’s always great to hear others speaking with passion and interest about the same games that you play, and often times hosts will discuss angles and strategies that you’ve never considered before.
Whether you listen to podcasts during a commute, while playing the very MMO the episode is covering, or while doing menial tasks, these shows can be a soothing balm to an otherwise stressful or annoying day.
If you’ve ever wondered what ‘casts are out there for MMOs you’re playing, then this is the guide for you! We’ve got a hopefully largely comprehensive guide to game-specific podcasts to fill up your MP3 player. Are we missing one for a certain MMO? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it!
Last month, we did a little post on MMORPG PvP asking about two-faction PvP and whether it was really suited for all the MMO themeparks that seem to jam it in. But there are other types of PvP out there, and today’s Leaderboard will pit them against each other.
In one corner, there’s RvR — realm vs. realm (vs. realm!), and I don’t mean instanced World of Warcraft battlegrounds and largely irrelevant Guild Wars 2 WvW. I mean games built from the ground up to focus on RvR combat: Think Camelot Unchained, Dark Age of Camelot, even Warhammer Online, where the RvR isn’t a tacked on PvP side-game; it’s the game.
In the other corner, there’s FFA PvP — free-for-all PvP. Sometimes pejoratively called gankboxes, these games may or may not allow or encourage actual ganking; they employ different rulesets to govern player behavior, from heavy-handed justice systems to laissez-faire blank slates where players can do whatever they want, but one thing’s usually for sure: There are no predetermined sides. Think classic Ultima Online and games inspired by it, like EVE Online, Darkfall, and Revival.
Let’s say you have to choose a PvP-oriented MMO to play. Which style would it be?
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, John Smedley put an end to the Kickstarter for his OARPG Hero’s Song, telling backers that Pixelmage Games had made “mistakes” with its first Kickstarter.
“After looking at our funding levels and the reality that we aren’t going to reach our funding goals, we’ve decided that the best thing to do is to end the Kickstarter,” he wrote. “The good news is that our Investors are backing us all the way and we’re going to get Hero’s Song done exactly when we said we would.”
We also saw Eternal Crusade launch into Steam early access, heard Star Citizen discuss Star Marine’s status, and got our hands on HEX’s newly launched PvE content.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding this week.
The Camelot Unchained team was back to work to work this week, confirming that City State’s brand-new (and much more mobile-friendly) website is up and running before updating backers on the state of development in its latest newsletter.
The community team checked in to answer questions about the in-progress crafting system and the incoming backer gifting system; the design team got meta with several discussions of the studio’s iterative design process; and the art team touched on armor design and its new art application. There’s even a new lore piece.
It’s a lengthy newsletter to parse, but that shouldn’t surprise you: Camelot Unchained did take home our Very Serious Award for longest newsletter last year.
This week we’ve been abuzz about Smed’s Hero’s Song Kickstarter cancellation – the KS more than the game, mostly because the game is happening regardless, but the Kickstarter might be more a window into the genre and the wider gaming industry than the game itself.
Our audience has seemed particularly prickly lately about so-called “rockstar devs” taking “AAA games” to Kickstarter for “no-strings” money and promotion instead of to investors or publishers, which might be leading to the corporatization of Kickstarter and squeezing out of smaller studios. We talked about that last month too when we asked our readers whether they planned to Kickstart anything in the new year.
So let’s talk about the present and future of crowdfunding. Are you over it? Is it dead? Is it being killed off by so-called “rockstar” devs, or is that sour grapes? If you’ve backed games, how many have delivered? What are your criteria for backing games in 2016? These are the questions I posed to the team for this week’s Massively Overthinking.
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, former SOE/Daybreak CEO John Smedley revealed his new company, Pixelmage Games, and its first game, sandboxy OARPG Hero’s Song, whose Kickstarter is live now and will run until February 18th. In fact, it’s already added new pledge tiers to entice backers; a $25 pledge scores two copies of the $20 game at launch.
Dragon of Legends, Overpower, and Planet Nomads join Hero’s Song in the list of new Kickstarters this week.
We also heard Eternal Crusade reject the idea that its early access Steam launch is a “cashgrab,” witnessed Elite: Dangerous fend off confusion about its Oculus Rift support, learned Crowfall is putting an end to refunds, and saw Gillian Anderson describe her role in Star Citizen’s Squadron 42.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding this week.
Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs is getting out in front of “Snowniño,” the massive blizzard bearing down on the a large swath of the Eastern US this weekend, with an early weekly update on the game’s status. (And Friday Night Fights is off as well.)
First up is the new website, now “in its final state of testing.” Expect it on Monday if the weather allows the studio to reopen. The game’s animation system is now in too:
“Over the next few weeks, we will be slowly adding new animations to the system and seeing how things go. We have a huge list of animations that we will need for the game, and not just for combat, but also for fun things such as emotes.”
Jacobs notes that the full crafting system won’t be in for beta one, but it will be partially playable by testers.
All right, we’ve had just about a month of 2016 now, and I’m writing this on my birthday. Odds are good that I’m going to be writing about MMOs for at least a little while longer now, probably through next week at least. So it would be really wonderful if all of the stuff I’m about to list could make like a tree and go away forever, erasing itself from the face of the Earth.
That will not happen, of course, because we’re about a month into the year and all of this has already happened. Again.
The odds of this year marking an improvement in the listed fields are basically nil. Nonetheless, I’m writing this list just the same, so that you all can hopefully nod in agreement, and perhaps next year we can be rid of all this nonsense. In all likelihood little to nothing is actually going to change in 2017, too, but at least if something does change, I can be happy I stood vaguely near something sort of shifting.