eco

Official Site: ECO

E3 2017: ARK Survival Evolved on scope creep, Xbox One X, and leaving early access

So ARK: Survival Evolved is going to be the first big survival sandbox not named Minecraft or Don’t Starve to not only make it to launch but to get there from Early Access development. Leaving EA is something we rarely see, which is why readers may notice I’m quite critical of games that ask for your money, sell you an incomplete game, and then spend years defending their EA status while continually making money on an unfinished project. To hear that a company once known for making paid DLC for an unreleased game is willing to shake the security blanket that is Early Access fills me with joy and a little trepidation.

Normally, this is where I’d tell you I’ve written up the interview, which is still true. However, as this was in a small group setting, not only do we have a writeup, there’s also a YouTube video for the few of you who have thirty minutes to wade through the (mostly) raw interview. You’ll see ARK’s Community Manager Cedric Burkes in person, hear daring press try to ask hard-hitting questions, and cringe as my terrible hat hair makes a quick appearance at about the 27-minute mark.

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Emil Chronicle Online closes its last server

It’s the end of the line for one long-running Japanese MMORPG.

Emil Chronicle Online, also abbreviated ECO (no relation), is closing down its very last server in August, MMO Culture reports. The anime MMO first launched in Japan back in 2005 and was gradually licensed out to other countries and regions over successive years. However, most of those other versions were subsequently shuttered (such as the English version back in 2010), leaving the Japanese server as the sole survivor.

The game went free-to-play back in 2009 and included some pretty wacky stuff, including the ability to morph into a marionette and the opportunity to roll as a machine race called (we kid you not) Deus Ex Machina. Check out a trailer below for a sample of Emil Chronicle Online’s flavor.

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Make My MMO: Crowfall adds geomancy and architecture skills (April 29, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Crowfall canceled its weekend playtest, but not before issuing a dev blog updating the community on some of the crafting changes that are in the latest builds, including the addition of Geomancy (using precious stone, wood, and ore to make land parcels that can combine into larger ones) and Architecture (which lets players craft deeds for buildings as well as crafting stations and city structures — sound familiar, SWG vets?).

Out in space, a group of core Elite Dangerous community developers went on strike briefly this week, bringing their websites and tools back online once Frontier had agreed to better support them. That was good timing, as players are in the middle of a massive roleplay event that will affect the outcome of an in-progress novel based on the game.

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar dropped Release 41, City of Titans talked about its “aesthetic decoupling” philosophy, Pantheon updated players on its finances, OrbusVR completed its first closed alpha test, and the Dual Universe team moved into a new office.

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.

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ECO explores climate change with the power of video games

If you’re averse to politics, science, and education, you might want to give ECO wide berth. Otherwise, Strange Loop Games CEO John Krajewski hopes that you and the upcoming generation of students might learn a thing or two about the impact of humans on a closed environment through ECO’s 30-day cycle.

“Within the experiential power of games, I believe we can find some of the power to untie the political knots that wrap up climate change, creating an experience in a virtual world where climate change is a problem you can see in front of your face, and it immediately threatens you,” Krajewski wrote.

Krajewski said that by allowing players to experience first-hand how the environment reacts to siphoning off resources and changing the world itself, the players might come to a conclusion through their experience. “Within ECO, the processes of climate change and societal impact happen over the course of 30 days, with a few dozen friends or classmates, in a world small enough to see all of it,” he said.

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s subber promo, Planet Nomads’ early access, Project Gorgon’s bards (March 25, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen capped off a week of DirectX revelations and mega map explanations with a round of celebrations — for its fifth year of subscriptions. Folks who join the game’s dev subber program pick up a magazine, discounts, and extra test access; sub before April 17th while the promo is live, you get vending machine flair for your hangar. At least you’ll have cold beverages while you wait for the game, right? (Thanks, Cotic!)

Elsewhere in space MMOs, congrats are due to Planet Nomads, which was Kickstarted last year and is now plotting an early access launch for April 18th.

And in epic news for fans of the best video game class of all time, Project Gorgon rolled out the bard support skills for testing this week. Don’t think you’re just going to pick up a lute and start strumming, either: “As you advance in Bard skill, you will also need to improve other skills, including performance, vocabulary, and poetry appreciation.” Bring your thesaurus!

Meanwhile, ECO patched in some major upgrades to its economy, Starfighter is nearing half its goal with 20 days remaining (thanks Crow!), Ever, Jane’s beta picked up horseback riding features, Camelot Unchained danced with its own bot army, City of Titans previewed its core archetypes, SOTA nabbed a new newsletter layout, and The Exiled’s early access began its second season.

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.

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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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Make My MMO: Elyria concedes coiffure complaints (December 17, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Chronicles of Elyria brought up that most critical of MMORPG features: hairstyles. I’m not even kidding; not 10 days ago I was complaining about bad hair in MMORPGs! Soulbound says its current sketches (check ’em out below) are just “the tip of the iceberg” in terms of the scope of hair for different regional groups in the game. The dev blog also covers the delays to the exposition store, pets (lemurs!), work on the female character model, and the layaway system.

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar invited everyone to a party, ECO released its fifth alpha, AdventureQuest 3D introduced Frostval, Wild Terra hit early access, and Project Gorgon updated players on server performance as its Indiegogo nears completion.

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!

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Betawatch: Guardians of Ember starts heading into head starts (December 16, 2016)

First, Guardians of Ember had a headstart period for early access. Then, it actually hit early access. So it was even earlier access there. Hyper-early access. Maximum access. Of course, given that the game ran into some server troubles rather promptly, it may be up for debate how much early access was actually possible.

This week’s list of beta news, by contrast, is not in early access. It’s actually in delayed access, because we’re rounding up some notable stuff you might have missed. Case in point?

  • The fifth alpha version for ECO has gone live, complete with expanded support for climate and ecosystem, global temperature changes, and so forth. It also added foxes to the ecosystem, so that’s solid gold right there. (I like foxes.)
  • Speaking of fifth alphas (and how often is that a segue that gets to be used?), Worlds Adrift has brought in some new people for its fifth alpha test. It’s an expansion! Of the team. Not the game. It’s too early to expand the game; it hasn’t launched yet.
  • Global closed beta for Life is Feudal kicked off this past week with a small core of people who had bought into the testing and a pool of selected testers. It’s also working on horse-drawn carriages. That’s not connected to anything else; it’s just worth noticing.
  • Although it’s been a short month for Shroud of the Avatar, the game did manage to get another release out of the door this month! One last iteration of polish before the new year rolls around, you know how it is.
  • Last but not least, it turns out Camelot Unchained is going to integrate Discord right into the game, thus meaning that you have one fewer chat program you’ll need to load up when you play the game. Or you’ll have to flag yourself as invisible to avoid talking with people. Don’t judge me.

And that’s all that… wait, you want more? Ugh, fine, have a whole list of stuff that’s in testing just below. You know, like we do every week. It’s always possible we may have missed something important, though, so please let us know down in the comments if we did. That’s helpful!

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Make My MMO: Dual Universe funds, Hero’s Song doesn’t, and CitizenCon begins (October 8, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Star Citizen has begun its pre-CitizenCon festivities with multi-hour streaming yesterday and today, culminating in a grand presentation by CIG’s Chris Roberts tomorrow. The sale of the Polaris concept ship during the hoopla raised a million and a half bucks in less than a day, marking the second biggest crowdfunding day in the game’s history.

We also have two big crowdfunding campaigns winding down this weekend. Hero’s Song, the John Smedley-backed pixel sandbox, failed to make its $200,000 Indiegogo goal, but it did pull in $94,000, which the studio gets to keep. “While it’s short of what we were looking for, it’s helping us immensely,” Smed wrote. In happier news, it does appear that sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe is going to fund; as I write this, the game’s campaign has pushed past its $560,000 goal with just a few days to go.

Meanwhile, The Exiled (Das Tal) got a new community director, Crowfall flipped its pledge packages, Grim Dawn teased a large update, Valiance Online showed off gear designs ahead of its alpha, Shroud of the Avatar kicked off a housing deco contest, and Antraxx joined our Kickstarter list.

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!

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Betawatch: Valiance Online moves into alpha (October 7, 2016)

When City of Heroes closed, fans moved on to many places, one of which was the “Plan Z” category of games that were meant to make spiritual sequels. Valiance Online is one such game, and it has announced both its launch business model and its upcoming alpha. Congratulations to the team on that one!

Of course, that was hardly the only bit of test-based news this week. Don’t believe me? Why not have a peek at some more stories, then?

  • The open beta for AdventureQuest 3D is kicking off on October 18th. Mostly. Some platforms will get it before others. That’s still open beta, but it makes sense to hedge bets, sort of.
  • Trion announced that RIFT’s Starfall Prophecy expansion will enter open beta on October 13th.
  • Bless Online is starting its closed beta! In Russia. Not here. Put down the pitchforks.
  • Wild Terra is wilding (yes, I know, that’s not a verb) its way on to Steam on December 1st, complete with PvP and skill revamps before then. There’s nothing to indicate that this will include adding giant robots to the game, but there’s nothing to indicate it won’t, either.
  • SamuTale is in closed alpha and just added an update full of horses. How many horses? All the horses. And you should stay on those horses because otherwise roving bands of horse death will descend on them. I wish that was a joke.
  • Eco‘s next alpha update is being bumped to October 24th to finish refining everything and accurately modeling the interplay of biomes. So you’ll have to wait a little while longer on that.
  • It’s also the first anniversary of Armored Warfare‘s open beta, which… well, it seems like that’s the point when you’d just call it “launch,” but be that as it may. There are events to accompany that, because of course there are.

And as always, there’s a list of games below covering the stuff that’s in various test phases around the MMO universe. Is there something missing that should be there, or something that quietly shifted phases without us noticing? Let us know down in the comments.

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Eco delays its Alpha 5 update to October 24th

Eco’s Alpha 5 brings in its comprehensive ecosystem mechanics, but as a result of polishing those mechanics, it’s going to take a little longer to push those systems live. An update to the game’s Kickstarter backers confirms that the next alpha build will be available on October 24th, complete with an animated shot of the client’s dynamic plant growth system.

The ecosystems and biomes will be taking center stage with the fifth alpha update, with complex interplays causing the various biomes to shift over time. Overfarmed prairies can become deserts as the soil is depleted, changing cloud patterns can bring new rains, and so forth. It’s going to be a little while before the patch is ready to go, but it’s a complex system, so it will hopefully be well worth the wait.

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s faces, SOTA’s memorial, Hero’s Song’s AMA (September 24, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Star Citizen stole the show, first with a video showcasing its extraordinarily detailed character face tech, then rather unintentionally in a Kotaku piece that sought to investigate the game’s controversial crowdfunded development process.

Meanwhile, Fragmented continued enhancements to housing and melee combat; Gloria Victis tidied up its new dynamic events system; Worlds Adrift prepped for its fifth alpha round; Hero’s Song revealed abilities usable by the Paladin and Warrior classes and streamed an AMA on Twitch; and Edengrad offered a preview of its blocking mechanics, UI, and graphics upgrade.

We’d also like to express our condolences to the friends, guildies, and family of Shroud of the Avatar player Lacey, who passed away this week and was memorialized in-game using an in-progress system for craftable, customizable gravestones.

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!

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Betawatch: Eternal Crusade hits launch (September 23, 2016)

You know, it’s kind of weird to think that Eternal Crusade has actually launched. It seemed as if it would forever be in testing, but now it’s released. As for future support and further improvement, well, only time will tell. Hope springs eternal and all of that, yes? It’s not alone in the launch field either, as Heroes & Generals has also made the jump to full-on launch.

Gosh, are we done with betas? I mean, it has been a pretty quiet week otherwise, but there’s still some stuff happening.

While we’ve lost some titles to launches, the list of betas continues down below, as it always has. See something with an inaccurate status listing? Let us know about it in the comments! It’s good for us to know..

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