dayz

Official Site: DayZ
Studio: Bohemia Interactive
Launch Date: December 16, 2013
Genre: Survival horror sandbox
Business Model: B2P
Platform: PC

The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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EVE Evolved: Would EVE Online make a good survival game?

EVE Online has practically dominated the sci-fi sandbox MMO niche for nearly 14 years, with its harsh PvP-oriented gameplay and massive single-server universe combining to provide something that's remained compelling in an ever-changing industry. From its humble foundation as a mostly empty sandbox with a smattering of people and limited resources has sprung political intrigue, war, espionage, charity, theft, and economics that often mirrors the real world in startling detail. In over a decade of virtual history, we've seen the rise and fall of massive empires, the birth and collapse of industries, the emergence of heroes and villains, and the forging of thousands of real life friendships.

While EVE's long-term success can be attributed partly to the absolute persistence of a single-shard universe, I often wonder what would happen if a fresh server opened today. What could players achieve with a level playing field and blank slate for all, and what would the EVE universe even look like without 14 years of accumulated wealth and skillpoints behind it? A tantalising hint of what that gold rush might look like comes from survival sandbox games such as RUST and DayZ, which have hundreds of small servers and very little focus on persistence. It's got me thinking about what a shorter-term survival sandbox game with EVE's core gameplay would be like, and I honestly think it could be amazing.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I make the argument for an EVE Online survival sandbox game and the massive gameplay opportunities that periodic server wipes can present.

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Massively OP's MMO guide to the Steam Winter Sale

Do you have any money left after all of that holiday shopping, travel, and dining out? Steam would very much like to have what remains, if you please, and is willing to trade you some discounted games in return.

Yes, the annual Steam Winter Sale is up and running, which means all sorts of deals for the frugal MMORPG player. We've compiled a huge list of all of the deals -- including discounts of up to 90% off! -- to help you navigate the holiday promotion. The sale ends on January 2nd. Hope it helps!

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Dean Hall says that there's 'no money' in making games for VR

After all of the talk about how this was to be the year of virtual reality, the actual reality does not seem to be bearing that out. Why is that? There are lots of reasons, but RocketWerkz CEO and DayZ designer Dean Hall took to Reddit to post about some of the realities that aren't evident from the other side of the screen. In short: Making VR games isn't profitable. Not in the "no one gets a new summer home" sense, but in the "well, this game actually lost us money to make" sense.

Several factors contribute to this, although the incredibly low installed base is a major reason for this; there just aren't enough people buying VR games to make good sales enough for a game to recover its money. Instead, developers have to rely on incentives from specific platforms, which means exclusivity... which is something that most gamers aren't willing to accept. The full post is well worth a read if you've got any interest in the future of VR and the realities of game development.

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Massively Overthinking: Hopes and fears for Amazon's New World

The announcement of a new sandbox MMORPG last week -- New World, by none other than Amazon Game Studios itself -- has had both the Massively OP community and the broader MMORPG community chattering with excitement followed by calls to temper that excitement before it runs away with us. Where one person sees the salvation of the entire genre and the investment of a major tech company as a sign that MMOs are still feasible, another whispers the word gankbox and points to Amazon's heavy Twitch integration as a certain sign of doom.

So for this week's Overthinking, I polled the Massively OP staff on their thoughts, hopes, and fears about the game. Is a sandbox the right move for Amazon? Does Amazon really understand what MMO players want to play, pay for, and watch? Is Twitch going to be a problem? What about the "murderous player bandits" line that has everyone in a tizzy? Is New World the sandbox we've always wanted or the sandbox we deserve? Let's talk about the New World order.

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Sea of Thieves shies away from friendly fire and permanent loss

Rare is still feeling out the "emergent world" of Sea of Thieves as the game nears its closed beta testing phase. In an interview with AusGamers, the studio expressed how it's trying to strike a balance between allowing players to be proper pirates without robbing the game of a sense of community and fun.

"We wanted a game that wasn’t overly punishing like a DayZ or EVE Online [where] you’ve got these shared roles where there’s a lot of loss and it’s permanent," said Design Director Gregg Mayles. "So we’ve [been trying] to find the balance; the world needs to feel like there’s peril and you can lose your ship and you can die, but it’s not the kind of loss where [you’re punished unfairly]."

If you were hoping that Sea of Thieves would allow you to turn on your fellow crewmates, then this isn't the game for you. Rare disabled friendly fire once it saw how it negatively impacted early tests, and instead the studio worked on adding incentives for teams to work together.

Rare also posted its very first episode of its "Tales from the Tavern" podcast for the upcoming game. You can listen to it after the break!

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Rebuild civilization after its collapse in Edengrad

What would you do if you woke up in post-apocalyptic settings? If your answer is, "Rebuild as fast as possible so that civilization can get back to tweeting about useless celebrities," then you and Edengrad have a lot to discuss.

Created by Polish developer Huckleberry Games, Edengrad looks to be more of a survival sandbox than a traditional MMO romp through the world. Players are encouraged to build up towns together and fight off enemies coming from all quarters.

Huckleberry wants people to know that it's not merely aping DayZ and Minecraft: "Despite the fact that Edengrad is crafting survival game, it would be hard to compare our game to those two previously mentioned. Gameplay in Edengrad have many significant differences to the gameplay presented in the DayZ, so once again THOSE ARE TWO DIFFERENT GAMES."

Right now Edengrad is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $56,384. If all goes well, the game will come to Steam Early Access this fall.

Source: Edengrad, Kickstarter. Thanks Kinya for the tip!

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The MOP Up: Nexon's Legacy Quest (March 12, 2016)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week, MMO specialist Nexon launched Legacy Quest worldwide. It's an action RPG with "3-D retro pixel" voxel-like graphics, 70 unique dungeons, seven levels of difficulty, and of course, mobile gameplay -- it's now on both iOS and Android.

Read on for more bits of gaming news we didn't want to leave behind!

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Check out a test drive of DayZ's new rendering engine

You remember DayZ, don't you? It's not the only survival sandbox on the market any longer, but it's still in early access and being refined over time. And its newest refinement should prove to be a treat for the eyes, as the game is testing a new rendering engine to make performance smoother and the landscape more attractive on a whole. Sure, the game's central conceit is that "beautiful" is "not having a zombie gnaw on your throat," but it's the principle of the thing.

While the framerate does drop a bit in the video below due to the reality of recording footage, it's a less severe drop than on the current live client. No word yet on when the new renderer will go live, but take a look at what it's capable of and you may very well wish that the answer were "yesterday" -- unless you're a big fan of rain accidentally clipping through roofs, we all have our preferences.

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The Daily Grind: Which survival sandbox are you most likely to play?

Over the weekend, Justin wrote about the deluge of major online multiplayer survival sandboxes hitting us lately. First there was DayZ and its early zombiebox clones, then Daybreak actually made bank on H1Z1, then ARK: Survival Evolved added a dino dimension to the mix, and soon enough we'll have Conan Exiles to play -- with neither dinos nor zombies! And that's without even mentioning Minecraft's survival mode and the dozens of smaller survival games along the way (Die 2 Nite and even Realm of the Mad God spring to mind as just two we covered in detail years ago).

Today I'm wondering whether you play any of these. Which one is the best one for a newbie to the genre, an MMO player crossing the border, so to speak? If you're the newbie, which one of the big survival sandboxes are you most likely to play -- which one do you think has the most for an MMORPG player?

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DayZ's forums were hacked back in January

DayZ developer Bohemia Interactive told users last night that its forums had been hacked. Actually, it was hacked well over a week ago, which it obliquely referred to on Twitter, but last night was the first full confirmation of the "security incident" and what precisely was taken.

"According to our investigation all usernames, emails and passwords from forums.dayzgame.com were accessed and downloaded by hackers," says the company. "While the passwords were not stored in plain text, but in a more secure form, it is highly recommended that if you have used the same password elsewhere you change it immediately on all applicable websites and services."

Bohemia says it's replacing the forum login system with a new Bohemia Account system. In the meantime, time to change your passwords.

Source: Reddit via VG

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Improbable wants to build better MMO worlds

If you're looking for signs of what the next generation of MMOs could look like, then you might want to start checking out the work that Improbable is doing.

A studio that's been generating some serious buzz over the past year, Improbable's main project is creating a platform that allows creators to build virtual worlds that are far more complex and emergent than the one we have today. A new piece at Wired highlights how Improbable CEO Herman Narula became frustrated with the limitations of MMOs and wanted to create tech that would surpass "player-centric illusion" to utilize physical laws and object persistence.

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The MOP Up: RuneScape's big anniversary plans (December 20, 2015)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week RuneScape revealed some big plans for next year's 15th anniversary, World of Warships announced its an anime mode, we got our first look at E3 2016, and more!

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