Players spend a lot of time staring at the hulls of their EVE Online ships, so it makes sense to make those ships as attractive as possible. This was the motivation behind the first complete overhaul of the game’s lighting and reflections model, and now the team is doing it all again. Another art rework and update is in place to make sure that lights reflect properly on a variety of surfaces, that texture details don’t get washed out, and that the ships flying through deep space look as good as possible.
Among the changes being made is the addition of new material maps that allow for overlays of dirt or rust or other less-reflective surfaces on ship. There are also systems to allow for dynamic addition or removal of dirt from hulls based on events, making the ships appear more dynamic. See all of the details for yourself in the newest development blog.
Albion Online is surely milking its acquisition of Game Designer Matt Woodward for all its worth. After Albion heralded his arrival with a level of pomp normally reserved for royalty, Woodward took to the wilds of Reddit for a round of questions and answers with the community.
When asked what he is working on right now, Woodward replied, “First thing I’m working on is a mission/quest-style system, just to get my feet wet. From what I understand we’re going to have another internal planning session once the summer alpha is over, and hopefully I’ll be able to contribute some ideas there.”
He also had a snarky rejoinder to the EVE Online fans who showed up to troll him in the thread: “Hey guys, you know I stopped working on EVE, right? How about you make your obligatory witty, biting comebacks, and then we all just move on with our lives?”
News is circulating in the EVE Online blogs and forum that developer CCP Games has just bought back $20 million in publicly traded bonds. The bonds were sold to the public back in 2013 and required the company to publish detailed financial accounts each year for investors to see. Now that the bonds have been bought back, CCP no longer has to report its financials publicly. The move has led to widespread speculation on exactly where CCP got the funds to buy back its bonds, though it may have simply found cheaper finance elsewhere. Adding fuel to the speculation is the fact that CCP has also recently removed its trademark on EVE Legion.
Blog The Nosy Gamer has put together a fascinating rundown of how the bonds came to exist and some speculation on what this move means for CCP as a company. The debt seems to originate from the time of the 2011 Monoclegate scandal, when CCP was pressed for cash and an $11.8 million US loan was due for repayment. The company managed to secure a long-term loan with Silicon Valley Bank to cover the repayment, and from then on it owed $20 million to that bank. A total of $20 million in bonds were then created in July 2012 and listed publicly on the Icelandic NASDAQ exchange the following year. The Nosy Gamer speculates that CCP may have a large new investor, perhaps due in part to its impressive focus on VR at EVE Fanfest 2015.
When CCP announced its far-reaching plans to overhaul EVE Online‘s territorial warfare gameplay, players were cautiously optimistic but understandably guarded. EVE‘s old sovereignty system saw the game’s signature political rivalry and emergent warfare gradually morph into a stagnant universe in which a few massive coalitions held practically all of the power. What started out as alliances naturally joining forces against common enemies ended up with just a handful of groups controlling almost all of the lawless nullsec regions, a situation that nobody (not even the coalitions themselves) was happy with.
Independent alliances and individual corporations are still forced by neccessity to gain powerful allies or join an existing coalition if they want to play any part in EVE‘s territorial endgame. The jump fatigue feature introduced in November’s Phoebe release and the recent changes in Mosaic have helped force alliances contract into smaller territories and shattered many renter empires, but those are just the first steps in a much grander plan. EVE is heading into a golden age in which any corporation can build its own little empire and independent alliances may actually be able to defend their space from attack, and it all begins this summer.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the latest details of this summer’s sovereignty overhaul and the recently revealed Citadel structures that will let any corporation build its own little empire in the void of space.
For this edition of Massively Overthinking, Kickstarter donor Sargon wants us think back to 1997, when Ultima Online launched and parted MMOs from graphical MUDs forever. Now think forward to 2015 again. UO’s still here! And Sargon wants to know why it’s not getting more play.
What would persuade you to return to Ultima Online? If you are a former player, what would it take for you to go back? If you never played before, could Broadsword do anything to inspire you to try it?
This question needn’t even be specific to UO. We all know that older games struggle with making inroads into modern markets. Let’s tackle the conundrum: I posed Sargon’s question to our own MMO die-hards.
A large part of the appeal of MMOs is the communities that can be built around a persistent online presence. In fact, much of MMO debate stems from how games handle their communities. And that’s exactly what we’re discussing on this week’s Massively Opinionated vidcast.
We’ve brought on three different online content creators to discuss community as it relates to content creation: YouTube games reviewer and Brit living in Georgia Cosmic Engine; game designer, Massively OP writer, and man with magnificent hair Brendan Drain; and Twitch streamer and super Star Wars fan Redna. Each of these panelists has come to debate which content platform is the best for reaching the MMO community, what is the perfect guild size, what MMO guilds really ought to be called, and of course, how best to build a community-focused MMO.
The rules of the game are simple: Our arbitrator, Larry Everett, asks the panelist four questions before the show starts so that they can formulate the best defense strategy. When the tomfoolery begins, the panelist with the best argument wins one point per question. The panelist with the most points at the end of the show wins the internet. Let the debate begin.
EVE Online is less one developer today and Albion Online is richer by one, as Matt Woodward has jumped ship to work on the upcoming fantasy sandbox as a game designer. Woodward is trading in his old handle of CCP Greyscale for a new one: Monochrome.
Woodward explained his decision to take on this new project: “When I saw Albion Online, I was really excited about the possibilities offered and what’s already there.”
Sandbox Interactive recorded an interview with Woodward talking about his new position and what he considers important for the development and options of a robust sandbox. When asked about what he’s most excited about in Albion Online, Woodward cited the game’s guild vs. guild system. You can check out the interview after the jump.
You know what gets me righteously angry? I shall tell you. I shall tell you, and then you shall share in my anger, you will. What gets me angry is when I get tremendously excited because a new MMO is actually doing a soundtrack release with a whopping 86 tracks across three discs… and then that soundtrack turns out to be about as exciting to listen to as the old dial-up modem noises. I had to drink so much coffee to make it through this score, you have no idea.
Seriously, Elite: Dangerous, you had 86 tracks and pretty much all of them are completely forgettable synthesized noise? I know that “space” usually equals “ambient synth” for soundtracks, but I had hopes that there would be more than a small handful of tracks worth my time. This was — by far — duller than EVE, and I am not the world’s biggest EVE Online soundtrack fan.
Maybe I’m being too harsh. After all, it’s often unfair to decouple a soundtrack from the game and not understand it in its proper context. Then again, other MMO scores have made the transition to a solo listening experience with aplomb, so why not this one?
Nepal can’t seem to catch a break, as a second major earthquake has devastated the region two weeks after a quake killed over 8,000 people. EVE Online developer CCP continues to do its part for victims. Proceeds from its PLEX for GOOD initiative topped $61,000 in support of the original quake cleanup. Now the firm is extending its drive for an additional nine days in order to help out with the latest disaster.
In other EVE news, CCP has also released a dev blog detailing its extensive plans for overhauling structures in its sci-fi sandbox.
As promised, buy-to-play indie PvP sandbox Das Tal has begun a Kickstarter campaign today to coincide with the launch of the German wing of the Kickstarter platform. Das Tal isn’t a new game for many of you as we’ve been covering it on Massively OP and Massively-that-was, but the pitch puts the game’s development goals in focus:
Das Tal is the world’s first Open World Battle Arena. It is the love-child of a Sandbox MMORPG and a fast-paced PvP Arena. Our goal is to make MMOs fun again for PvP fans. No more grind. No more pay-to-win. No more tab-targeting. We are creating a game designed to be compatible with the busy life of an adult gamer.
Das Tal’s devs have already been working on the game for several years and have plenty of game footage to show for it. The title is due to launch next year; the alpha is expected in the next few months. The Kickstarter, they say, is specifically intended to pay artists to flesh out the world.
I spoke with Fairytale Distillery Managing Director Alexander Zacherl last week to pick his brain on the PvP MMO market, the B2P model, graphics snobbery, and the apparent contradiction in the game’s hardcore-but-not-entirely design. We’ve got a fresh Kickstarter video as well. Read on for all of it!
This week’s Massively Overthinking topic comes to us from Kickstarter donor Antonia “Toni” Phillips aka ToniLyran, who’s hit on a sore point with our writers, it seems:
In indie game development, we are seeing a resurgence of games with “real consequences.” With the coming of Crowfall, do you think that we will start to see a trend back to MMO’s with real consequences once again?
What exactly constitute real consequences? Are games like Crowfall actually creating real consequences? Are we trending that way in general? And if we are, should we be? I pitched these questions to the team and got an earful.
If you’ve got an interest in EVE Online’s upcoming changes to nullsec and sovereignty mechanics, and you’ve got a lot of time, you’ll probably want to peruse CCP’s latest dev blog. It’s a lengthy one, and it covers everything from the sov capture system and the Entosis Link mechanic to activity defense multipliers, vulnerability, and time zone mechanics.
CCP also mentions that it has refined the release timeline for all this new stuff, and that it will spread the features across multiple releases between June 2nd (Carnyx) and July 7th (Aegis).
[Source: Dev blog
It struck me, very recently, that a decade is a long time for MMOs.
If we’re going to count Ultima Online as the first proper MMO as we think of them – and I am – we’re almost 18 years out. Most games have not seen all of those years, and I’m not just talking about the games that launched more recently. It’s rare to find a game that’s been going for a decade, and even rarer to find one that’s been going for a decade and is still getting updates rather than just being stuck in maintenance mode.
So here’s a Perfect Ten celebrating 10 titles that have made it past that mark, even if they’ve just squeaked over the border. Sure, they’re no longer the fresh-faced darlings of the industry, but when you look at all of the great titles that have either shut down or slipped into quiet maintenance over the years, “still going” is often a pretty huge boost by itself.