dev blog

Next Day Survival debuts, plus H1Z1, Hellion, Black Death, and Life is Feudal survivalbox news

ARK and Conan aren’t the only survivalboxes in town — in fact, several of the modern contenders in the subgenre have updates and videos this week demonstrating their progress.

Today, we’ll start with Next Day: Survival, a new game to our coverage here on Massively OP and one that’s just hit early access today. It’s touting its storyline, questing, “sophisticated crafting system,” car restoration system, repitation, and multiple game modes, including pure PvE and a single-player mode.

Next Day: Survival is a multi-player survival game with elements of RPG. Its action takes place in an imaginary country within the Eastern Europe, a large part of whose territory is contaminated with toxic fog. The player’s main task is to survive, to develop his game character’s skills, and to interact with the surrounding world, other players, and non-player characters (NPCs). In the course of the game, the character earns a reputation, which gives him the chance to join various factions of survivors, each with their own features and limitations.”

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This week in survivalboxes: ROKH, Hellion, The Black Death, and Life is Feudal

ARK and Conan aren’t the only survivalboxes in town — in fact, several of the modern contenders in the subgenre have updates and videos this week demonstrating their progress.

Let’s start with ROKH. The Mars-themed exploration sandbox has this week launched a “huge” update on Steam, focusing heavily on crafter streamlining, both in terms of how accessible it is for newbs and vets to how the crafting window actually looks and functions in-game.

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Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid on skill memorization, mana management, and combat prep

When an MMO is deep in development, it’s natural for players to want to know the answers to everything, down to the tiniest detail, like can I have a purple mohawk, can I build an empire doing nothing but selling pie, and can I gank elves with impunity?

I don’t know the answers to these questions when it comes to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, and if Brad McQuaid does, he’s probably not going to tell you either. In fact his latest dev blog explains why it’s pointless to get too deep into the details right now, in spite of the fact that the community is antsy to know everything about spells and abilities and how it all works.

“It makes more sense to discuss the high-level vision and the philosophy and goals regarding these systems than the specific details and mechanics,” he writes.

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The Survivalist: Osiris New Dawn is doing early access right even amid disappointments

A couple of weeks ago, when Osiris: New Dawn introduced new classes, I’d delved back into the sci-fi survival sandbox after a bit of a break to check out the state of development in. I was pleased as I perused the new skill tree, doubly so when I saw all the new items that could be crafted. Once I got to the task of actually surviving, I found that that beginning experience had also changed a fair share, from crash landing farther away to new missions to direct you. True, I missed my little robot companion and my inflatable dome, but overall I was pretty impressed with the progress and started a penning this Survivalist to say so.

So imagine my surprise when just before completing my thoughts I read the dev blog about negativity toward the game and its changes. Here I was happy to see how far it had come and others were ripping it absolutely to shreds. Fenix Fire CEO Brian McRae was so affected by the negative reviews and complaints that he penned a response addressing the issues. I admit, when I started reading I was taken aback and even a tad annoyed at the negative Nancys bashing the game. Didn’t folks appreciate the fact that this early access with forging ahead at a decent pace? Sure there would be bumps, but that was a part of actual development.

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EVE Online is killing off the last remnants of walking in stations

Hey remember EVE Online’s walking in stations, the talk of the genre a decade ago? Remember when all we really got was a captain’s quarters where you could finally see your character moving around as more than a flat avatar? Even that is now coming to an end.

In a dev blog this week, CCP says that “development time involved in maintaining the current state of the feature is significantly disproportionate to the number of pilots using the feature,” due largely, we assume, to the fact that the feature was a half-measure to begin with that was never developed further. While usage increased when EVE Online went free-to-play last year, it’s shown “steady decline,” and CCP doesn’t want to devote 4-6 weeks of art team dev time on it any longer.

“It is of course important to note that while use has been falling steadily over time, part of the reason for further decline recently has been a change in the default view that occurs when a character docks in a citadel, which doesn’t offer captain’s quarters and switches the account setting to hangar view,” says the studio.

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Osiris New Dawn CEO to community grumping: ‘I will take these lashings and learn from them’

Fenix Fire CEO Brian McRae is “not having fun either,” according to his latest dev blog on the Osiris: New Dawn Steam page. His comments are in response to what he characterizes as the “recent negativity in the reviews and forums” regarding the survival sandbox’s messy and experimental early access development, which “breaks [his] heart,” especially when he agrees with the harsh feedback.

“One of the inside jokes in the AAA studios is ‘whatever mode the devs play on is nightmare mode to the general audience’. I think this is totally true for Osiris. We play the game a lot, myself for multiple years. Plus, I know where everything is because I put it there. That said, the last time I played the game I had a similar experience to what I’ve seen in the reviews and forums. I spawned near sunset in a dust storm. The dust storm when on for WAY too long, it’s a bug. Anyway, I made it to the continent and was attacked by 3 crabs, 2 gnats, and a couple more things. I was playing as Ranger and had no hope with my melee weapon (I play 3rd person usually). When I died my character had that weird ragdoll bug and my character turned to a spaghetti mess. Unity’s way of handling these ragdoll errors is to remove the object, meaning my character was not there when I spawned back in so I couldn’t raid my body and get my supplies. I felt lost, frustrated, hopeless. I thought, ‘I see the potential but this is crazy hard and not fun’. Sound familiar?”

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EVE Online’s July release furthers exoplanet research, revamps T3 strategic cruisers

Happy July patch day, capsuleers! Yep, EVE Online’s July release is now live. The patch includes “one of the most extensive and largest rebalances EVE Online has ever seen,” according to CCP, and includes the promised revamp of tech-3 strategic cruisers. Yesterday’s dev blog explains that the goal to balance, simplify, and diversify the T3s in the ship roster, positioning them between HACs and Battlecruisers.

The highlight for everybody else is the next phase of Project Discovery, CCP’s latest pro-science initiative, in which players will basically play EVE to help real-world scientists in the search for actual exoplanets. (Thank you, CCP and EVE players.)

The studio is also touting new Firewall Breach skins, improved NPC battlestation visuals, and updated designs for the Rupture, Muninn, and Broadsword.

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Check out Revelation Online’s Eternal Chasm dungeon

Revelation Online has a new dev blog up today on the Eternal Chasm, one of its level 59+ multiple-mode instanced dungeons.

“Shinji – after the events of Darkfall – is particularly interested in what resides within this decrepit cave, believing the Eternal Chasm contains clues regarding the fate of his own father. Whether to aid your prince in his investigation, or to simply test your mettle against a huge array of threats and environments, the mouth of the chasm is eager to swallow all visitors and cast them down into madness. This vast map, ripe for exploration, is littered with nodes that render adventurers into a dream-like state, eliciting visions of what lies ahead. From fiery pits and voracious volcanos, to spine-chilling snow lands and sea-faring shenanigans, the Eternal Chasm is teeming with promising rewards and devious challenges to test yourself against, ever increasing in difficulty as you progress.”

Skill Cultivation Books, Equipment Blueprints, Duskcloud Nyx Treasures, and purple gear top the list of loot inside the dungeon. My.com says only two of the dungeons modes are unlocked at the moment; three more will be opened up in later patches.

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Neverwinter’s jungle dungeon will trap you forever

Are you ready for Neverwinter’s Tomb of Annihilation module? You best bring your A-game and top-notch gear because this jungle is fully prepared to chew you up and spit you out. Assisting in this masticating effort is a new dungeon, The Tomb of the Nine Gods, which is so tough that you’ll have to meet all sorts of requirements just to get into it.

“The Tomb of the Nine Gods is a new epic level dungeon that requires a higher level of group coordination than any previous dungeon — both in defeating the bosses but also in navigating the traps scattered throughout the Tomb,” the devs wrote. “Acererak is a constant presence throughout, as he taunts and chides the players — trying to get them deeper into the dungeon where increasingly more difficult and deadly encounters reside.”

If you’re OK with being a little spoiled, you can read a dev blog on the making of the dungeon. The team also pushed out a small patch on Thursday with a few small fixes but nothing earth-shatteringly exciting. Tomb of Annihilation will release on July 25th for PC players.

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Here’s how Crowfall is overhauling its skill system

Crowfall’s ramping up the dev blogs this week with a fresh one on the skills system. “Skills are one of the main methods of character progression,” ArtCraft Design Lead Thomas “Blixtev” Blair explains. “Skills train passively over time, whether you are offline or online, and they are based on the account, not the individual character. This means that when you train a skill, you get the benefit of that skill across any character on your account for which that skill is beneficial.”

The devs’ original plan was to have players train up from 1 to 100 in each skill, but as designed, that system didn’t cause players to feel as if they were making much progress. “It’s hard to get excited about a .001 gain per point,” Blair quips.

To fix it, ArtCraft’s changed up the model such that “the time it took to gain 20/100 points now equates to one pip” and “stat gains now ‘build up’ until each pip is earned.” Requirements that players complete training in a skill to jump ahead to the next skills have also been reduced or eliminated. Just know that the skill trees are due for a huge wipe and restructure thanks to the archetype skill overhaul.

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Here’s everything coming in Elder Scrolls Online’s Horns of the Reach DLC

Back at E3, we got a sneak peek into The Elder Scrolls Online’s post-Morrowind plans — how could ZeniMax follow something like Morrowind up? Easy: It’s starting with Horns of the Reach, the game’s August DLC and the subject of today’s dev blog.

HOTR’s headlining feature is its pair of new dungeons in both normal and veteran modes.

“The first of these new activities is Bloodroot Forge, an ancient, long-forgotten forge that was recently rediscovered by the Reachmen and their minotaur allies. This forge, rumored to have been created by the Daedric prince Hircine, can create weapons of unbelievable power. When exploring this new dungeon, you will navigate through heavy vegetation and deep, lava-filled corridors to reach the heart of the forge and put a stop to Gherig Crowblood’s plans.

“The second dungeon is Falkreath Hold, a township under siege that will soon fall to the marauding hordes of Domihaus the Bloody-Horned. You and your companions must break the siege, move into the town and Jarl’s Hall, and defeat the monstrous warlord himself.”

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Crowfall says its biggest parcels are crazy expensive because they’re meant for guilds

Last month, we included Crowfall among the games discussed in a Massively Overthinking roundtable that focused on MMO monetization running amok. Why? Because Crowfall has one of the spendiest cash shops in the genre, and it’s not even out yet; indeed, one of its palaces is $7000.

That subject is one ArtCraft has addressed today in a new dev blog, which argues that the price is fine because it’s intended for large guilds.

“The price is high because when 100+ players work together to buy something, the total adds up quickly,” J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton jointly explain. “That last part is key. These strongholds are WAY, WAY overkill for use by a single player. Much like in real life, purchasing a giant Imperial Palace doesn’t make a lot of sense if you intend to live alone. The purpose of these larger strongholds is to support large player groups. They provide a mechanism to centralize buildings and exist so that guilds, streamer audiences, or even a loose-knit collection of merchants and crafters can work together, pool resources and create social spaces.”

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Crowfall’s ads and disads system is the best part of character creation

Ah, character creation: the best part of so many MMORPGs. So how’s it working for Crowfall? A new dev blog out this week from ArtCraft explains that the archetype separation announced last spring has necessitated a change from the old system of archetype statues in-game. Now, UX Design Lead Billy Garretsen says, the system is much more like you’d expect from a traditional MMORPG: You’ll pick your race and class from lists and get a default vessel, then choose gender, hair style, face, and head shapes. The best part is the ads and disads system.

“Once the look is settled, it is time to alter the character’s stats and attributes through Advantages and Disadvantages. Every race and class combination will yield a pool of Creation Points that can be spent on Advantages to provide stat benefits in various categories. Alternatively, you can opt to apply Disadvantages that will decrease your stat values but grant you bonus Creation Points that can be applied on further Advantages. For example, Eagle Eye will grant increased accuracy with ranged weapons, while Dim Witted will lower Intellect, but grant points that can be spent to further increase Strength.”

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