A diverse smattering of projects kept the Camelot Unchained team busy this past week, per the game’s newsletter report. It sounds as though players will have to earn their sea legs at some point, as more designs for Viking and Arthurian ships are being made.
Other points of interest include drafting up character creation backgrounds, whipping together a developer UI for fast-and-dirty testing, the ability to spawn NPCs in the game, and animating characters with great swords.
And just in case you were worried about getting ganked fresh out of the character creation screen, Camelot Unchained is preparing a save haven for your starter experience: “For Beta 1, we’ll want to have starting zones and safe zones. Colin’s work will allow us to spawn new players in designated starting zones and spawn returning players in those zones if the zone they logged out from is no longer up. Additionally, this work will gate access to a zone by faction. You wouldn’t want filthy Vikings running around on your TDD safe island, would you?”
Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.
One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.
Looking forward to stepping into Ravenloft with Dungeons and Dragons Online: Mists of Ravenloft
? Sure, theoretically you shouldn’t be excited because you might get trapped in a realm of horror, but when is that ever really a problem? The folks over at DDO Players have taken the opportunity to show off some of the features coming with the new setting, including the character creation for aasimar characters, new cosmetic outfits, and the new gold seal hireling.
Of course, if you want to be surprised by this stuff when you see it in-game, you probably shouldn’t click down and check it out now. But if you just want to see it sooner rather than later? Head along and gawp just below; there’s plenty of video.
This week’s Camelot Unchained update is a top 10 list with 17 items, which is the sort of thing our own Perfect Ten writers would do, so we’ve got to get onboard with that. City State says its minions have been busy working on client lockups, web tools, the dev UI, progression tracking, archery, bow models, siege abilities, a big ol’ boat, and the usual assortment of VFX, art, and animations, plus character creation:
“AJ has been working on updating the character creation process. Not only are the new animated backgrounds hooked up, but the individual screens and general flow have gotten some TLC. Some examples include: changing attribute points updates your character stat values, and we’ve added a help button, where we can add relevant info to inform your choices.”
The highlight, however, is the WIP background for the Viking character creation screen – love those runestones. We’ve got the new images and Q&A video down below.
Last year, almost three years after SOE shut down Free Realms for good, a group of players announced that it was resurrecting the title in emulator form. Last March’s alpha test came and went, and now a second test is on the way, expected to include character creation and customization, NPCs, female toons, and a new spawn location. The player devs are also celebrating 5000 members organizing on Discord.
“This Discord server has reunited a decent portion of the community that was nearly lost after the game closed. The continued support from both the FRS staff team who work as volunteers, and the community makes it apparent that the sunset of Free Realms was not left ignored. All the community support for the revival of Free Realms really motivates us as a team to keep moving forward! Things have been a bit quiet lately, but don’t fret. We are still hard at work preparing Alpha 2, and once that happens, we’ll open the game up to a lot more people! We would like to thank everyone here who is supporting this project and being patient with us while we continue to develop the game.”
It doesn’t appear Daybreak has given its legal blessing on the project, but the studio has traditionally turned a blind eye to emulators for all of its games and indeed has endorsed one for the EverQuest franchise.
Conan Exiles’ latest community update is a great example of why excessive community updates might not really be necessary. The team spends a ton of words basically saying, “We’re working on it,” catching everyone up on the state of the game, food spoiling, item repair, Xbox One stability, and Funcom’s focus on the PC/Xbox One parity patch.
More interestingly, the studio’s internal teams are working on expanding the thrall system, optimization, the building system, sickle harvesting (the first work on the in-design farming system), the new dungeon, the combat system, missing art, and PS4 dev.
“Most of the tech team are still focused on Xbox One, working on crash fixes and stabilization of the PC/Xbox parity patch,” the studio says. “We’ve also begun looking into how we can take advantage of the Xbox One X. This doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the issues with PC, as there’s still work to be done there. On the PS4 side of things, Coconut Lizard have reported that they can now reach character creation on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. That’s not bad for two weeks’ worth of work.”
The Stoneborn of Crowfall are not dwarves. They sometimes get referred to as dwarves, but it’s a ridiculous name because they’re as large as normal people. They’re also not a normal race, either, as they’re less “living creatures” and more “elemental creatures created at the dawn of time.” Also, every time one of them dies, that’s one less member of the race; again, they’re not living creatures and can’t reproduce. Oh, and they’re also a playable race, so this should work out well.
In-game, the Stoneborn are all male (because that’s apparently the default the gods chose to create) and boast increased strength, durability, and resistance to knockdown. They can also slot a special racial skill to make themselves more durable for a short span of time, one of the benefits of being literally made from the ground. So while they’ve got elements of dwarves, you can rest assured that they are not dwarves. They’re not even small enough to be called dwarves.
Remember this lovely ranger lady from Crowfall’s original concept art? We sure do, since we’re pretty fond of using it. Turns out in the new split archetypes system, she’s a half elf, a race that’s the subject of the game’s latest dev diary. ArtCraft Design Lead Thomas “Blixtev” Blair describes a race familiar to most fans of fantasy RPGs.
“Half-Elf children are different than their Human counterparts, and these differences become increasingly apparent as they mature into adulthood. In terms of facial features, they age more slowly, but make quick gains in terms of height, strength and agility. Among Human settlements, stories abound of Half-Elves who live in forests as animals, stealing children and livestock and reverting to savage ways. This causes them to be looked on with suspicion and sometimes outright hostility. It is not uncommon for a Half-Elf to be outcast from certain conservative communities – which often leads them into a life of banditry and crime, further perpetuating the cycle of distrust and enmity.”
Supporters for Ship of Heroes are going to be able to test out the alpha version of the game’s character creator this year. That is awesome. But what will it look like? Take a look in the video just below; it’s right there in the game’s 14th released demo video, clear as day. The developers take the opportunity to recreate the game’s “signature” hero while looking at the plethora of powers, costume options, and body options already available even in the early development state.
“This is the first time the improved ‘big guy’ character model has been shown in the character creator. The standard version of this character is 6’7″ tall, and heavily muscled,” Heroic Games says. “A number of technical improvements have been added to the CCT, including an eye zoom camera, a hide helmet buttom, and additional morphs to precisely control the character’s facial features.”
Obviously, the video doesn’t go through every single part line-by-line; this is a superhero game, so that would take forever. But you’ll get a good sense of the fine control over body parts and the diverse options you’ll have available to you in the game. Check out the video just below, and if you’re a supporter, get ready to try it all out for yourself sometime this year.
Villagers & Heroes’ Starfall expansion officially launches today – a week earlier than originally planned. Who does that?! Mad Otter Games, that’s who. Indeed, the studio has declared it the biggest update ever for the cutesy sandpark MMO, and to top it all off? It’s free.
As we’ve previously reported, the expansion includes a reworked loot system, revamped talents, four new high-level zones, a level cap increase to 90, more character creation options, retooled crafting, tweaks to the UI, and more.
Cross-platform fans need also know that the game has an Android version already playable and an iOS version on the way later this fall, in addition to the existing Windows client and Steam edition. We’ve rounded up all our Starfall coverage, plus the expansion trailer, down below!
Surprise! Instead of delaying Villagers and Heroes’ major expansion-slash-reboot, the developers announced this week that they are bumping up Starfall’s launch from September 27th to the 20th instead.
That means that you won’t have as much time to get ready, since this is coming next week. So make sure you read up on all of those patch notes and check out the latest edition of the talent builder, which is now live.
Starfall includes a reworked loot system, revamped talents, four new high-level zones, a level cap increase to 90, more character creation options, reworked crafting, tweaks to the UI, and more. You can get a preview of Starfall, including the new hairstyles and character appearance options, in the dev livestream after the break!
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.
Camelot Unchained wasn’t in attendance at PAX West last week, but it had a good reason: The team was at DragonCon instead for a presentation of its large-scale battles. So how did it turn out?
“One of our biggest hurdles going into this project was always going to be 500-player battles,” the CSE reports. “From the beginning, some said it couldn’t be done, and perhaps still do so now. The presentation of not 500, but over 2,000 ARCs (Autonomous Remote Clients is now the official name) running around and using abilities with VFX was met with applause, and understandably, disbelief.”
Meanwhile, work on the RvR MMO continues apace. The devs completed their first pass of the game’s progression loop, laying the foundation for emotes, and sketching out some clothing ideas for female characters. Camelot Unchained’s artists have also been kicking around character creation screen concepts, some of which you can see after the jump.