fragmented

Official site: Fragmented, Steam
Fragmented is the multiplayer survival sandbox spin-off of indie sandbox The Repopulation, built by the same team in the same world and engine. It launched in early access spring 2016.

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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Perfect Ten: Memories of an Anarchy Online noob

My initial foray into MMORPGs was, to put it nicely, quite ungraceful. I wasn't even aware that they were a thing until about the year 2000, when I started to notice EverQuest and Asheron's Call boxes on the shelves. But stories about addiction from friends and the seeming obtuse nature of these games kept me from trying... until fall 2001, that was.

That's when I saw a sci-fi title lumped together in this unknown category, and I had liked Funcom's The Longest Journey so much that I thought I'd take a chance on this odd online game. My subsequent experiences in Anarchy Online were fragmented, ignominious, and confusing as all get out. It was so weird, in fact, that I needed a "redo" of City of Heroes several years later to properly get onto the MMO bandwagon (and I haven't fallen off since!).

So what was it like being a total Anarchy Online -- and MMO -- noob back in the day, feeling out this game from a position of complete ignorance? Glad you asked, friend, because I'm going to tell you all about it.

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The Repopulation will be playable Sunday, back on Steam later in March

The Repopulation is indeed on track to resume early access later this month as planned.

"Servers will be opening up to all current players on the 12th of this month," Idea Fabrik COO Sarrene' Grant told forumgoers this afternoon.

"All backers and current players of The Repopulation can enter the game starting at midnight EST on Sunday. Downloads are open, as some of you already know. Your game account login will be exactly the same. Nothing has changed there. We wanted to make sure that everyone that bought and supported the game had the same access as before. If you forgot your password you can use the link provided on the launcher to reset your password. If you have any problems logging in please feel free to post that up. A ticket system will be in place after the transfer is complete. We will be turning The Repopulation sales on at Steam between the 19th and the 26th of this month depending on how the servers hold up to the Alpha testing."

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Idea Fabrik will have The Repopulation back online in the next few weeks

Idea Fabrik is forging onward in its plan to re-start The Repopulation game servers, forum posts from the last couple of weeks suggest. The company told fans that it's been working on transferring data to Steam.

"Once the transfers are complete, we're still going to have the usual spin-up time and make sure that there isn't any data/bit-rot, making sure that everything is working correctly, etc.," Community Manager Christopher Riley told backers a week ago in response to questions about when the test server would resume service. "So as of this post it should be about 2 weeks after the transfers."

Another post indicates that "a few" of the 10-man team in fact worked on The Repopulation prior to its ownership transfer.

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In appreciation for post-apoc Dereth: The life and times of Asheron's Call 2

On the left in the screenshot above is a windmill in the town of Cragstone in Asheron's Call. On the right is, well, the same windmill, but in the ruins of Cragstone hundreds of years later in Asheron's Call 2's. The latter game's post apocalyptic setting is quite fitting, all things considered. The sequel was a mechanical departure from the original in many ways, but built on the same lore fans still crave. Not all Asheron's Call fans would come along for the ride, but the sequel did find fans who never touched the original. AC2 also is about to go offline twice, so, well, there's that. But there is a reason a sequel was made, and I'd wager the reason it went offline has more to do with the game's broken past than its innovations.

Join me today as I take a look back through the history and highlights of Asheron's Call 2. (The original game was the subject of a similar piece earlier this week, so don't miss that either.)

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Flameseeker Chronicles: A guide to Forsaken Thicket, Guild Wars 2's first raid

I have to apologise to raiders for not finishing my boss guides I began back in 2015: This is one of those articles that I've been meaning to write for quite a while, but ArenaNet has been doing a fantastic job of throwing shiny distractions in my path that have some sense of urgency (or at least a topical timing factor I can't ignore) to its deliverance. My Guild Wars 2 raiding experience so far has taken a backseat to Living World developments over the past few months, so rather than attempting to draw up more raid boss guides to round out the set I commenced before season 3 became my article content focus that would just regurgitate known information to most current raiders, I thought it would be a better idea to summarise the Forsaken Thicket experience and share my thoughts on its encounters to wrap up the first raid in writing.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I'll look at each wing of Forsaken Thicket and the encounters contained in them, presenting my opinions on the battles and providing a rated-and-hated sort of summary on the three wings in the process. I'll link up the few boss guides I compiled where relevant, but the main focus will be on how the encounter plays rather than how best to approach it. This article should prove useful for those who haven't yet completed Forsaken Thicket and are considering raiding in GW2 as well as those who raid in other MMORPGs and are interested in comparing Anet's offerings to their raids of choice.

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The Daily Grind: Will you give The Repopulation another chance?

The after-hours Friday revelation that The Repopulation is relaunching early this year took a lot of our readers by surprise. The much-wanted sandbox MMORPG had been offline for over a year, and though updates had been scarce, we'd been told Above & Beyond was using Fragmented's profits to re-home Repop in its new engine, so there was grumbling at the lack of transparent progress, but not panic.

Now we know more of the story: that Fragmented wasn't making enough to make Unreal-based Repop a reality, and in order to get the MMORPG to market and make original backers happy, A&B says the clear choice was to offload the game to Idea Fabrik, the maker of Hero Engine.

Some folks seem OK with this unusual turn of events; they wanted the game either way, and Idea Fabrik does have a vested interest in seeing a solid game come of its engine (and is apparently in good financial health now). Other readers? Let's just say that there's been a lot of ranting from all corners -- people who feel they were lied to about the nature of the games, people who don't believe Idea Fabrik can finish the game properly, and people who are just soured on the whole experience of watching A&B give up its dream.

Where do you stand on it, once Idea Fabrik actually gets it out the door? Will you give The Repopulation another chance under its new owners?

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Make My MMO: The Repopulation's new owner, Shards Online's alpha (January 14, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Above & Beyond announced that Hero Engine company Idea Fabrik has acquired all rights to its indie sci-fi sandbox MMORPG The Repopulation and will be relaunching the game -- in the Hero Engine -- with a new content patch sometime in Q1 2017. The game had originally raised $230,000 in Kickstarter funds in 2012 and 2014 and made it to early access in 2014, only to become entangled in a financial drama with Idea Fabrik over a year ago, which kept the game offline for a year while A&B built Fragmented with the goal of porting Repop to Unreal. The port will no longer be happening, but A&B is still working on Fragmented's console version. Definitely check out our whole article on what's up -- we've got an exclusive interview with A&B there as well.

Meanwhile,

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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The Repopulation will relaunch in Q1 2017, now owned by Idea Fabrik

"Great News! The Repopulation is coming back!" -- or so said a hastily deleted tweet from Idea Fabrik last night, which you might have missed since the blog post titled Idea Fabrik Acquires The Repopulation was also pulled down.

Now, that announcement has been confirmed: Idea Fabrik has acquired all rights to The Repopulation from Above & Beyond and will be relaunching the game -- in the Hero Engine -- with a new content patch sometime in Q1 2017. A&B will continue work on Fragmented as it rolls toward a console release.

Let me give you a little backstory on the whole Repopulation saga.

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Global Chat: The Standing Stone standoff

Following the announcement of LOTRO and DDO's new studio and the subsequent cancellation of the Asheron's Call games, you can better believe that the MMO blogosphere was alight with conversations and opinions on the subject.

Aywren said that the move is a "win-win" for the two MMOs, while Contains Moderate Peril thought that it "raises a lot of questions." GamingSF is "optimistic," Endgame Viable thinks that updates will slow down going forward, The Ancient Gaming Noob considers it "momentous news," and Ravalation doesn't see the point in "doom-and-glooming."

Battle Priestess has some advice for Standing Stone: "Stay true to the Lord of the Rings source and lore and write amazing storylines and engaging quests. Keep developing beautiful landscapes. For the love of all that is holy, please update the character models and hairstyles. Be more transparent with your players and listen to the community."

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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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Fragmented improves controller support and item durability

It's a bit odd that we have an entire category of peripherals known as "controllers" when everything you use to control a video game is a controller. A controller is just a thing that controls something else, right? But you know that when Fragmented's latest patch finishes up improving controller support, you know what's being talked about. Still, the important part is that you can now work the game's housing commands and control configuration with your controller, so now you can happily pick up your controller and control away.

The patch also improves the durability on body armor, so your Armor of Invincibility will take longer to turn into Tattered Shreds Which Were At One Point Armor of Invincibility. Repair kits have been added as well, so you can patch up your equipment in the field as necessary. Check out the full patch notes to see everything that's been fixed or improved; you'll have to scroll through that on a mouse and keyboard.

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Make My MMO: Crowfall's big world playtest, Star Citizen's alpha 2.6 (December 3, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, ArtCraft says over 9000 gamers have been invited to try to break the three alpha servers active during Crowfall's "Big World" playtest. "We’ve shifted our development approach to be more like a live MMO," says Creative Director and Co-Founder J. Todd Coleman. Still on the way "soon" are the new crafting skill trees, unique world maps, the necromancy system that serves as the foundation for avatar swapping, and the protype for the Eternal Kingdoms. The company also crossed the minimum threshold for its Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding effort, though it has been thus far unwilling to answer questions about its now-public finances.

Meanwhile, Pantheon is plotting a stream on December 9th, Ship of Heroes became the fourth City of Heroes spiritual successor (and has crowdfunding on the way), Star Citizen began testing alpha 26, Richard Garriott donated an in-game skull to a tavern in Shroud of the Avatar, and The Exiled kicked off its closed alpha (for which we still have keys!).

Finally, we sat down with Project Gorgon's Eric Heimburg to chat about the state of the game and its graphics plans for 2017.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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