It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).
This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!
As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like Sea of Thieves, The Crew 2, Monster Hunter World, DayZ, Red Dead Redemption 2, Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.
There has never been an idea so offbeat and weird that the Project Gorgon team will not give it a shot. That does not simply extend to in-game mechanics, either. The game isn’t officially supported on Linux at the moment, but players have been hacking together ways to make it run, because the people who run Linux are also those who see “this doesn’t run on your operating system” as an entertaining challenge. So now there’s an official launcher for Linux.
Of course, it is important to note that this launcher is still in an experimental stage rather than a finished release state. Then again, for the people who run Linux that’s probably a feature rather than a failing. It’s good news for you if you prefer to run a Linux box or just for those happy to see the marvelous oddity of the game brought to a wider spectrum of players.
Last weekend, Brendan wrote a great column on how to stay safe from gankers in EVE Online, noting that the newbies are commonly given what he considers bad advice to just stay in high-sec; indeed, he smartly quoted Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
The article prompted a discussion in our work chat about risk-taking in MMORPGs. “After every one of Brendan’s (excellent!) tips, I keep mentally adding, ‘or alternatively, don’t play EVE,'” Eliot joked. And they’re both right. If you’re dead-set on being a “ship” in the risky gameworld of New Eden, staying in “harbor” defeats the purpose of playing EVE. But this is a real world where you don’t have to be a ship – you don’t have to play EVE. You don’t have to risk it all just for some pixel gratification.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writing staff to dish on risk-taking, in EVE or elsewhere. Are they into it? What kinds of risks are they willing to take, PvE or PvP? What do they think about risk-vs.-reward in MMOs?
After weeks if not months of the studio talking about it, Project Gorgon’s brand-new user interface finally arrived. And then it promptly left again.
In all fairness, the team had cautioned that the optional November 11th update was a “very rough preview” of the UI overhaul. So rough, in fact, that the team took the update offline for further refinements due to several large bugs and potential exploits discovered with it. The improved UI preview should arrive in the game’s alpha next weekend.
Nevertheless, the user interface revamp has a lot of players and the devs excited. Not only does the new UI look pretty slick, but it offers a lot more functionality compared to the old one, including customization, more information, collapsible skill trees, chat channel management, context menus, improved tooltips, and font scaling.
Project Gorgon isn’t going to let a little thing like “being in alpha” stop it from indulging in the greatest monster-themed holiday of the year.
The fantasy MMO kicked off its brand-new Halloween event today. When players log in, they’ll be treated to a new quest that will branch depending on the choices they make. These choices may lead them to becoming a giant bat or gaining more bat abilities. C’mon, you know you’ve always secretly wanted to roleplay as a flapping terror of the night.
The quest and battiness isn’t all that’s new: “Some monsters now drop Halloween loot! The affected monsters include all undead plus giant bats, nightmare creatures, animals from the dimension of darkness (e.g. Misery Yaks), and various creepy humanoid wizard-types. Also note: to prevent abuse by high-level players, the very lowest-level undead, such as the ones on the newbie island, drop only a very limited assortment of Halloween items.”
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree go trick or treating as only grown adults can: in a video game! The is also prim and proper talk of MMO expansion pre-orders, launch dates, mouse invasions, and the all-important ELF BUTTS. It’s quite the event, to be sure.
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Interface junkies, gather round, especially if you like detailed old-school-inspired MMORPGs, for Project Gorgon has unveiled a detailed tour of its new UI. It’s been “written to take advantage of the latest that the Unity Engine has to offer,” says the studio, and it’s largely thanks to the programmer hired with your Kickstarter funds.
“To reiterate, the main point of this rewrite is to make it easier for us to add UI features in the future. So in this first version, the most important thing is that we don’t lose any important features from the old UI. But there are some tangible improvements. The new UI’s appearance was designed by a top-rated UI artist. It has a cleaner look while still fitting in a tremendous number of functions and features. And we’ve taken the time to add some improvements — many small ones and a few big ones — that will make your gaming life immediately better.”
The dev blog released o the forums this week shows off collapsible skill trees, copypasting from tooltips, right-click context menus, frame moving and docking, outfit loadouts, chat customization, and maybe most importantly, a “stuff to do” panel that explains, well, what to do when you’re “stuck or confused.”
Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.
That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.
Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.
Probably my greatest and most constant gripe about fantasy MMORPGs is that for all of the freedom and imagination that this genre supposedly boasts, game designers keep going to the same boring well of tropes and limit themselves instead of exploring possibilities.
Nowhere do you see this more than in races. Dwarves and Elves? We’ve got bushels and barrels of them, all on sale at discount prices. There are regular humans, of course, and Slightly Bigger Humans, and Half-Sized Humans, and Blue Humans. But what about getting outside of this been-there-played-that cookie cutter design to offer some interesting playable choices?
Like fairies, perhaps?
I could never understand why we don’t see fairies more in MMOs. They are widely recognized in the fantasy genre, they seem to have popularity, and they even share some cross-over with Elves. But the poor fae have been unrepresented, so much so that it took a lot of digging to come up with a mere 10 MMOs that allow you to play as one, whether it be as a race or class. Let’s take a look!
When the history books go to record the development of Project Gorgon, they’re going to have to use terms like “ages” and “epochs” to describe the slow-burning process of this game’s creation. Still, our generation might live to see this indie MMORPG move out of alpha and into a broader market.
The team said late last month that it was hard at work “gearing up” for Project Gorgon’s Steam launch. Previously, it was stated that the Steam early access release would precede Gorgon’s official launch later this year.
The game’s late August patch revised the zone of Serbule Hills, added a poetry podium for oration, and made several changes to augmentation and transmutation. Coming soon, however, is an update to the user interface that will add much-needed context menus for items. Check it out after the break!
If you hear a high-pitched hum coming from somewhere in the heartland of America, pay it no attention. It’s just Project Gorgon drawing immense quantities of electricity to charge up its new client.
The team announced recently that it had switched over to a 64-bit client to take advantage of players with capable hardware. This means that Gorgon will no longer be supporting 32-bit Windows or Mac users, but the team said that there have been so few of them as to not be a huge issue.
Next week Project Gorgon should be pushing out a new “snapshot” build of the game with several improvements, including a renaming of South Serbule to be more clear and “a smorgasbord of little changes to lots of systems.” Bunnies will get a “bun-fu” strike, players can level up poetry appreciation by listening to others spout limericks, and so on. Hey, it’s a weird game. That’s part of its charm.
Indie MMORPG Project Gorgon has a new Kickstarter post up detailing how far it’s come since its successful Kickstarter two years ago.
“Since the Project: Gorgon Kickstarter Campaign ended, we have implemented: New Website and Forums; Multiple new zones; A completely new tutorial experience; Dozens of new skills; Increased skill levels; Complete overhaul of the power system; Complete overhaul of equipment bonuses; New Animal Forms; New Animal items; Created and implemented an Animal Town; Created new quest systems; Created New NPCS; Added Guilds; Added Guild Missions; Added Player Vendors; Added dispensers; Added Work Orders; Added the ability to drown; Updated many game systems and functions; Implemented and Updated the in-game day/night cycle.
It bears repeating that Elder Game is a tiny studio consisting of two people: Asheron’s Call studio vets Eric Heimburg and Sandra Powers.
“We are currently in the process of overhauling the game graphics systems, effects, textures, lighting, and camera functionality. We have implemented such changes in the zone known as ‘Serbule’,” they write. “We are also in the process of internally testing a completely redesigned and coded User Interface.””
Ragequitting. Most of us have probably done it once or twice from groups or single-player games or even MMO sessions in our time. My husband ragequit (disgustquit?) an Overwatch match the other night where his own teammates were spewing toxic slurs in voice chat, leading to a rating hit for him rather than the people poisoning the game (another problem for another column).
But what about ragequitting an MMORPG altogether? A game where you have time and money and friends and loot and achievements, sometimes years’ worth? Have you ever up and just walked out on an MMORPG? If so, what prompted it, and did you ever regret it or change your mind? I posed these questions to the Massively OP team for this week’s Overthinking roundtable!