We've finished rolling out all of our PAX East content this year, and we've put our MMORPG-addled noggins together to try to choose our favorites out of what we got to see in person and from afar. Read on, then vote for your own best-in-show!
Crowfall's campaign worlds won't exist merely to be shot, burned, and sliced to ribbons. There's going to be a healthy building component as well, which is something that ArtCraft is (pun intended) constructing as of late.
Last weekend, the studio allowed players to test drive out these tools in its "BuilderWorld." From the looks of the video taken of the test, players were able to create some interesting villages, keeps, and even castle-mazes.
ArtCraft's cautiously positive mood was ruined by a "major" exploit that some of the community was abusing, saying that this "raises a good question about how we want to handle the use of exploits during testing. We’re pleased when people find and report exploits of any kind. This helps make the game more robust and ready for our eventual launch. That said, we’re less pleased when people repeatedly use exploits not for testing but simply as a way to ruin the test for other people."
Get an early glimpse of what player buildings might look like in Crowfall below!
I was pretty well taken by multiplayer survival sandbox Rend as soon as I saw it at this year's PAX East 2017, as I wrote yesterday. The concept immediately spoke to me as taking a lot of the cool ideas from other survival games while making the game as a whole into something very different. But I also entirely understand that sometimes you can look at the game and wonder what makes it so different. After all, it's hardly the first time that we've had a game using a lot of the building blocks. So why am I over the moon about Rend but not its obvious inspirations and close cousins?
The answer is that in some cases, I am over the moon about its close cousins. But it's also important to understand the distinction and the fact that Rend is not, say, Crowfall or Conan Exiles or any other game. So what makes Rend different? Not necessarily better, but how does it stack up to the obvious points of comparison?
Even if you can overlook the expense, the current lack of games, the potential for nausea, and the annoyance of wearing a clamshell on your sweaty face, virtual reality has a looming problem: trolls.
Turns out that the same internet jerks who ruin online spaces and games via text and avatar show up to do the same in virtual reality too.
As MIT Technology Review wrote yesterday, part of the point of socializing in virtual worlds is to feel the "presence" of other people -- but the very benefit that makes "virtual reality so compelling also makes awkward or hostile interactions with other people much more jarring," such as when people invade your private space or try to touch your avatar without permission.
The publication highlights AltSpaceVR, a startup building tools to help people deal with trolls. The company has some of the basics already -- like a way to make obnoxious people invisible with a block -- but it's also working on a "personal space bubble" to stop people from groping your virtual self without permission, which they would otherwise do because people are gross and have no shame.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Shards Online surprised the gamer community by announcing a namechange -- to Legends of Aria -- and a scope-change, the good kind of scope change if you're an MMO player, as the game just got bigger.
More good news: The Repopulation is expected to come back online for original backers and Steam buyers tomorrow. Idea Fabrik expects the sandbox to once again be for sale on Steam later this month.
Still more good news! As I write this, indie VR MMO OrbusVR has nearly tripled its Kickstarter goal already. Its whirlwind one-week campaign ends on Monday.
Meanwhile, gamers pledged over $12K US to bring Swedish brawler RUiN to a winning Kickstarter a few days back, but Caribbean Conquest wasn't so fortunate: Its Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully earlier this week. Plus, Dogma: Eternal Night worked on its character module, Grim Dawn talked itemization, and AdventureQuest 3D hyped The Dragons of Ashfall.
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've got our eye on.
- Elder Scrolls Legends dumped the beta tag entirely and is now officially launched on PC.
- Shards Online is getting a name change ahead of its planned Steam early access launch. You may now refer to it as Legends of Aria.
- The Repopulation's alpha is expected to resume this weekend under the new ownership. Welcome back, Repop! Don't screw this up!
- Gigantic just cannot catch a break: It laid off a sizable portion of its staff with the aim of "reducing the burn rate" until it can emerge from open beta and land on Arc later this year.
- Project Gorgon tasked players with testing dungeon difficulty.
- Camelot Unchained is still teasing its long-delayed beta one, but it sounds as if we're inching closer now.
- Albion Online is pushing out a big patch next week, heavily overhauling the beta.
- Crowfall is working toward 24-7 test servers.
- LawBreakers is planning a big beta weekend later this month. Breakin' the law!
Follow along below for the complete list of all the games still on the grill.
"We plan to transition the game servers to 24x7 uptime within a couple of months," the studio announced last night. "When that happens, we'll also bring up a new 'Testing Environment' that will be separate from the current game universe. The purpose of this Test Environment will be to give us a way to stage new changes for our testing audience (which is now over 15,000 invited players) without interrupting the 24x7 service."
Basically, the stable "live" alpha servers will be up all the time, while the test servers will not. How do you get in?
I have long been of the opinion that there are few more terrifying animals on this planet than bears. Sure, there are sharks, the mighty kraken, and that little fish that may or may not swim up your urethra and summer home there, but as I live primarily on the land, I think that the odds are greater that a rampaging bear might ruin my day.
True story: When I lived in Colorado Springs, one morning I left home to drive to work and there was a black bear sitting in the middle of the road. I looked at it, nonplussed, and then sloooooowly backed up into my driveway and called in a sick day. Bear days should totally be a thing, however.
I have also been of the opinion that bears are consistently underestimated in MMORPGs. They're low level trash mobs or pets that finger players as complete noobs for not picking something more exotic. More exotic? Son, if you have a bear on your side, you have won the game. Period. One swipe of its paw and any raid boss' head should pop right off.
There is a plague of bears in MMOs. Today, let us delve into the ursine horror that curses our genre.
- Regarding armor mitigation: You'd best wear armor on every part of your bod, else you're giving your opponents obvious holes to attack.
- Alpha testers are noobing it up with low-quality resources and handmade armor right now, but eventually ArtCraft expects players to use high-quality resources for mass-produced, top-quality armor.
- Basic crafting as a skill is a parent stat for other crafts that you will definitely want as a specialized crafter.
- Weapon efficiency hasn't been fully tuned for testing yet, so don't be misled into thinking only damage matters.
- Blair thinks testers are having a hard time seeing group balance at the moment since disciplines and their powers and counters aren't fully in the game.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, we sent MOP's Matt Daniel into Crowfall, from which he emerged with many opinions on the state of the game's high-profile crafting and gathering systems. Economy folks should give it a read!
There are two MMO-related Kickstarters ending this week you may be interested in. Arena brawler RUiN is about 200 bucks from funding as I type this, so it's going to happen for sure. Caribbean Conquest's second go at Kickstarter, however, is likely to fall short; it's secured only about $2000 in pledges of its $30,000-ish goal with only a few days left.
What else is new? Worlds Adrift got a new website (thanks, Daras!), Project Gorgon rolled out a new patch, Albion Online released videos on its sound and music, Elite Dangerous began testing part of the Commanders patch, Camelot Unchained teased beta 1, and Ashes of Creation demoed its gameplay.
Finally, get thee over to Steam, where a trial of Shroud of the Avatar can currently be had entirely for free.
Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.
Life is weird. You would think that once Robocraft was a thing I would never have played anything else, simply because it's a game about building your own robots and then making them fight. Yet it hasn't really made it onto my radar before, although perhaps that will change now that the game has launched into beta. That's a good thing for all who care for robots, really.
Other beta news? There was a bit, here and there!
- Steam Early Access has added Cloud Pirates to its ranks; the game has been in general Early Access since February, but now it's on Steam as well. Convenient!
- Revelation Online has soft launched... for players with early access to the soft launch. The full soft launch isn't until March 6th. Yes, it's early access to early access. Development is crazy. You can catch up on your knowledge of the classes while you wait for general admission, if you like.
- Ashes of Creation is still in its alpha stages, but it's still letting you take a look at its gameplay, so that's pretty cool. It'll likely change quite a bit over time, but hey, first look!
- The Darkfall resurrection project Rise of Agon is hitting launch on May 5th. That's a few months away yet, but it still fits on the calendar.
- Wondering about Crowfall's current state of test crafting? We had a deep dive into it with a full hands-on piece, so if you missed it, you'll want to check that out. The developers also showed off the upcoming Fae Assassin (who is a fae who assassinates, not an assassin of the fae).
Your quest now, should you choose to accept it, is to head into the comments and let us know about what betas you're playing. There are more on the list below, you see. You can also let us know if something on that list has launched while claiming it's still in testing, which is something that probably didn't happen back in 2006, but who knows at this point? That was a while ago.
It's always exciting when an idea goes from a mere concept to a practical prototype, and the Crowfall team is definitely thrilled to be able to talk more about how its discipline system is coming together.
Instead of involving "time outs" and liberal spankings, the discipline system is Crowfall's primary character customization tool that allows players to mix-and-match abilities in order to create a personalized class. By equipping certain items, players can create "sub-classes" for their archetype that include new powers and abilities.
There are disciplines for combat, exploration, and crafting, although right now the team is primarily discussing the combat ones. Within these, there are three types: weapon disciplines (based around weapon styles), major disciplines (your sub-class), and minor disciplines (a single power or ability for flavor). Depending on the character, players can equip one weapon discipline, one or two major disciplines, and one to three minor disciplines. Disciplines can be made through runecrafting.
The next archetype hitting Crowfall should be familiar to anyone who traditionally enjoys sneaking up behind enemies and backstabbing their heads off, regardless of the improbably physics involved. It's the Fae Assassin, and she has everything you'd expect from a stealth archetype: the ability to vanish from sight, high mobility, lethal daggers, and big wings to glide around upon. Also to facilitate double-jumps. That one might seem a bit surplus to requirements, but it's certainly novel, at least.
Introducing the Fae Assassin also means introducing proper positional abilities to the game, attacks that care as much about where you're hitting the target from as what body part you're hitting. Of course, due to the game's mechanics, you won't be stuck in a situation where you can't use powers if you're not behind the target; you just won't hit as hard when you're not attacking from the target's blind side. There are elements of the assassin that may seem superficially similar to other archetypes, but she really does seem to be in a (winged) class of her own.