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Camelot Unchained lands $7.5M investment to hasten development: Our chat with Mark Jacobs on funding, VR, and beta one

If you know one thing about indie MMORPG Camelot Unchained, it’s that CEO Mark Jacobs appears to dwell perpetually in internet comment sections amiably sparring with gamers and attracting loyal advocates.

But if you know two things, you also know that the game is late. Really late. The RvR-centric, PvM-free, anti-lockbox, sub-only MMO was supposed to enter beta three years ago, according to its successful 2013 Kickstarter, but studio City State Entertainment suffered admitted setbacks along the way – both hiring difficulties in the company’s Fairfax, Virginia, location and technical hurdles. Much of that has since been rectified; in 2016, the company launched a second studio in Seattle while continuing to hire engineers and spending the better part of a year completely refactoring its character ability code and polishing up its home-grown engine. But here we are in 2018, still mumbling beta when? at Jacobs and his dogged crew.

Well, we’re finally getting an answer to that question and more, along with a significant blast of hope for the future of the game, as CSE has just received a massive cash infusion to speed up development. I spoke to Jacobs at length – he’s infamous for being effusive – about what’s going on with the game and the studio in 2018. Read on for the executive summary!

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Accused Call of Duty swatter charged with involuntary manslaughter

Just before the new year, the gaming community was mortified to learn that an innocent Kansas man had been shot by police following a fake crime report targeting the victim’s residence over a video game – i.e., a swatting incident that actually came to its intended deadly end. Now, the caller, 25-year-old Tyler Barriss, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, as well as with giving false alarm and interfering with a police officer.

According to original reports, Barriss was intending to target a Call of Duty player over a bet. His doxxing attempt went awry when he was given the wrong address for his victim, and so when he phoned police with his long and drawn out story about a murder/hostage/arson in progress, he sent them to the house of a completely unrelated father of two, Andrew Finch, who was subsequently shot and killed by police after opening his door.

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The Game Archaeologist: Neocron

It’s the distant future. The high-tech battle armor you wear sharply contrasts with the ruins of civilization that you traverse. You spot an enemy and raise your pulse rifle, firing off shots as you strafe to cover. Technology hasn’t solved the issue of war; it’s just raised the body count.

PlanetSide 2? Nope — this is Neocron, the quite-forgettable MMOFPS from the way-back era. I like to call it “that game with the most regrettable cover art in the history of video games,” but that isn’t quite as snappy.

Going into this article, I have to admit that I previously knew absolutely nothing about Neocron other than the fact that it was a sci-fi MMO that vaguely reminded me of Anarchy Online. Oh, also the fact that nobody I know or perhaps ever will know played it. Was it just a myth? A practical joke to make us believe in an MMO phantom? Only sifting through layers of dust and grime would produce results, so I rolled up my sleeves and started digging.

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RIFT players build remembrance garden for well-loved teen

Just before Christmas, 17-year-old Nikita Hedingham was biking to a volunteer position when she was struck by a semi and killed. Her death has had a great impact on the RIFT community, where Nikita was known as Wintercharm, a well-known and -loved presence in the player housing sphere.

“She loved this game and you people so much so I wanted to say thank you for being so kind to her,” Nikita’s mother wrote. “One of her goals in life was to see the Trion building, so please remember her.”

RIFT players are doing their best to honor the life of Wintercharm by creating a remembrance garden on the Greybriar server. During the month of January, friends and well-wishers can add to the garden on Sundays. “This garden is to celebrate Wintercharms gorgeous life and give us all another place to visit if we just want to sit a while remembering her,” the garden’s organizer wrote.

Our sympathies to the family and friends of Nikita during this difficult time.

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Black Desert Mobile shares some details about account linking, character creation, and items

Curious about the play experience of Black Desert Mobile? The developers have put out a helpful FAQ about the game’s features, mechanical changes, and so forth, starting by assuring players that you’ll have the same range of customization options you’re accustomed to from the PC version of the title. The actual saved character appearance data cannot be transferred to mobile, but the options themselves will be the same. Assuming, of course, that you’re trying to make a Witch, Giant, Ranger, Warrior, or Valkyrie, as those are the five options mobile players will have to start.

The weight system will still be in place in the mobile version, although its implementation will be slightly different (even characters at maximum weight can still participate in battle, for instance), and the marketplace and item enhancement systems will also be making the leap. Players can also log into the game via phone-based accounts or even with temporary guest logins. For all of the answers you could want to know, how down below; there are a lot of answers, even if they might not all be the answers you would like.

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Battle Bards Episode 112: MMO minigame music

It’s time to take a diversion to play — and listen — to the minigames tucked inside of our MMOs! The Battle Bards haul out their last show of 2012 with an eclectic and fun assortment of minigame soundtracks. While minigame-specific music might be hard to hunt down, this trio did their best and are reasonably satisfied with the result. Which is good, because no refunds on this podcast!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 112: MMO minigame music (or download it) now:

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Rend plans alpha test for Q1 2018

You know what’s one of the best remedies for the post-holiday blues? All of the excitement of MMO year previews and new rounds of testing that tend to start in January. Rend is doing its part to bolster spirits, as the PvP sandbox announced that it will be kicking off its alpha test sometime in the next three months.

“Our next big step will be launching the Rend alpha in the first quarter of 2018,” Frostkeep Studios said. “We will initially begin with a brief round of Friends & Family testing to establish client build readiness and server stability before opening up alpha testing to our earlier pre-alpha players who will have immediate access. We will increase the tester pool over time and as needed, adding in waves of players who previously signed up for pre-alpha (no need to re-register on the website).”

The studio said that while the test will be under a “strict media embargo,” players won’t have to sign an NDA but will instead be encouraged to talk about it among the gaming community.

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Perfect Ten: 20 multiplayer games to watch in 2018

A couple of weeks ago I covered 20(ish) MMORPGs that we are looking forward to seeing develop, test, and launch in 2018. But as you well may know, Massively OP covers a small university’s worth of “not-so-massively” multiplayer games that have some crossover into the MMO space. We do this because it gives some people much-needed gripe fuel and also because a lot of our readership is also interested in these games.

There is a lot of movement in the multiplayer game space, especially as the larger video game market continues to adapt and hew to MMO design. It’s a blended mess as we continually try to sort these games out into their proper categories, but while we do that, you can enjoy this list of 20 multiplayer games that you should be tracking in 2018. From survival sandboxes to pirate simulators to sequels, here we go!

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Hyperspace Beacon: A six-year retrospective of Star Wars The Old Republic

Happy birthday, Star Wars: The Old Republic. I don’t think your birthday has actually ever fallen on the same day that my article released, so this is a great treat. And it’s also an interesting time for SWTOR because things have changed so much since launch, and it continues to evolve as does its audience to some extent. (Except me; I have not evolved.)

I started writing professionally about SWTOR a year and a half before it launched, so I have been there since the beginning. And although I’ve had my ups and downs with the actual amount of time I spent with the game, I have remained a subscriber and participant in all the activities that the game has to offer. Admittedly, my time in the game as made me a little bit jaded, which is why I have taken some breaks when the content cycle was low. Regardless, I have always stepped back into the game because, at the end of the day, I still believe that it is a good game with an even better community.

Today, in celebration of SWTOR‘s birthday, I would like take a look back to the game’s launch and each of the major stages of the game’s life cycle. I also invite you to talk about your favorite SWTOR moment in the comments.

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Chronicles of Elyria dives into friends and family alpha

While Chronicles of Elyria’s backers should be getting into the game’s alpha and beta tests next year, a select fortunate few are already enjoying an ongoing “friends and family” alpha test.

Soulbound Studios announced that the test is already underway: “This month, we’ve reached a huge milestone: our Friends and Family closed alpha. Chronicles of Elyria is now up and running on private servers for our friends and family to access outside of the studio — huzzah! We’re already learning a lot about the the performance profile of the game and are eager for our Alpha 1 backers to join us online in early 2018.”

In this week’s newsletter, the team reported progress on many fronts. This includes an Unreal Engine character creation tool and more biomes for starter tribes. And while the development team is taking off a little bit of time for the holidays, it is ramping up work on VoxElyria, combat, and crafting. Fans also should look forward to an end-of-the-year wrap-up in the near future.

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One Shots: Thumbs up for justice

Even when humanity is on the brink of destruction, even when all hope is lost, it’s good to know that people will still be taking selfies and posting them to Facebook so that all friends and family members won’t forget what they look like or how important they are.

Deekay_plus brings us this Destiny 2 selfie starring… Marilyn Manson? Good to know he’s putting his musical skills to work in the techno-apocalypse. Thumbs up for justice, you scary-looking fellow!

Oh, it only gets weirder from here. Think “Willy Wonka boat ride through the nightmare dream sequence” strange. That’s just how our readers screenshot.

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The Game Archaeologist: Revisiting the first three months of World of Warcraft

Were you there?

Many of us were. Many weren’t. Either way, November 23rd, 2004 was a watershed date for the MMORPG industry and one watched and experienced by millions of gamers. It was on this day 13 years ago that Blizzard finally transitioned World of Warcraft from beta testing to live operation, ushering in an age of Azeroth, DKP minus, murlocs, and Leeroy Jenkins.

I was there, both at the end of beta and the start of launch. As time had made a mockery of my memories, I can only remember brief bits: The server downtime, the rise of the phenomenon, making footprints in Coldridge Valley with my Dwarf Hunter, and pretty much shoving every other game to the background for the next year or so.

I thought it might be worth the effort of dusting off the cobwebs of my — and your — memories by revisiting the first three months of World of Warcraft’s live operation, taking us from November 2004 through January 2005. What happened during this time? How did Blizzard respond to the floodgates of players pouring into this game? How different was it from what we play now? Let’s reminisce together!

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Ashes of Creation has 64 class combinations for you to try out

Now that Ashes of Creation is officially in its alpha testing, players will be able to discover for themselves what awaits in this interesting fantasy sandbox. One of these discoveries will no doubt be in the class system that Intrepid has concocted.

In the past, we’ve been critical over the somewhat generic-sounding class names (such as “Tank” and “Fighter”), but it turns out that these are only the start of your class identity. Players will actually choose a secondary class down the line that will transform their character into one of 64 blended classes. These include much more interesting-sounding names like Spellsword, Nightshield, Charlatan, Hawkeye, Falconer, Wild Blade, Apostle, and Songcaller. And while the primary class can’t be changed, players will have the option of switching up their secondaries if so desired.

“Today, as we begin our Friends and Family Alpha Zero test, we wanted to show you just how diverse we expect our playing field to be,” Intrepid said. “The classes adhere to roles like tanking, DPS, support, and healing, but it’s really so much more than that. Each one must provide a true fantasy fulfillment for the player — you want to be a badass, no matter what your class. And that’s a promise we intend to keep.”

Check out the class combination chart and Alpha Zero developer gameplay video after the break.

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