frontier developments

The studio famous for building Elite: Dangerous.

Elite Dangerous’ Thargoid aliens are finally fighting back

It turns out that when you mess with the Thargoids long enough, eventually even they get fed up.

Elite Dangerous players have been poking the ethereal aliens with the space equivalent of prodding sticks for months ever since they first started appearing in the game as part of its ongoing plotline. Players were divided over whether to communicate or fight; fighting was initially effective only until the Thargoids appeared to develop resistance to player tactics, and communication proved difficult.

But reports coming from the game today suggest that the Thargoids have had enough of being hassled and are fighting back in earnest, apparently attacking multiple player space stations and provoking emergency evacuation notices for players with ships docked there (you won’t lose your ships, mind you, as they’ll be moved some place more secure unless you intentionally fly back to the besieged station, but it’s some fun flavor).

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Perfect Ten: The healthiest live MMORPGs at the end of 2017

As Counting Crows told us, it’s been a long December, although the fact that it has also only just started being December speaks to something unpleasant in the makeup of this particular month. But it also means that this is a good time to check in on the overall health of various MMORPGs and see which ones look to be in the healthiest state at the end of the year.

This is, I hasten to point out, not a scientific process; last year I pointed to Marvel Heroes as a not-quite-MMORPG title that was still in a very healthy and robust place, and it later turned out that this was entirely not true and had been built upon a foundation of lies. But we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it in 2018. What are the healthiest games running right now?

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever fallen for an in-game MMO prank?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: If you fly to the remote Hutton orbital space station in Elite Dangerous, there’s a free Anaconda in it for you. That’s the gist of a viral prank happening in Elite of late, as chronicled by RPS; apparently, multiple people have fallen for it, flying for hours and hours only to realize they’d been tricked by their fellow players.

Pranks seem to come in several different varieties; I’ve seen everything from harmless stunts like guildies logging in each other’s toons only to leave them naked and dancing on a mailbox to “pranks” that rise to the level of outright scams to dupe fellow gamers into trading away their property. I once had a WoW guildie who liked to prank us by pulling bosses by running at them and shouting. On his fire mage. And then there was the guildie in EverQuest who faked his own death IRL and put us all into a panic. See? They run the gamut.

Have you ever fallen for an in-game MMO prank? If not, what’s the best prank you’ve ever heard go down in an MMORPG?

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Slay-to-win: Massively OP’s hands-on with the Dauntless closed beta

The end of September marked a major milestone for Dauntless, the upcoming monster-slaying action-MMORPG from indie developer Phoenix Labs, as it officially concluded its Founder’s Alpha event and made the jump into closed beta. Since then, legions of would-be Slayers have stormed the Shattered Isles, taking up arms to defend the last bastions of human civilization from destruction at the hands (and talons, fangs, or similarly sinister appendages) of the marauding monstrous beasts known as Behemoths.

And as it so happens, I was one of them. As a long-time fan of Capcom’s venerable Monster Hunter series, which pioneered the “kill-carve-and-craft” action-RPG subgenre upon which Dauntless aims to build, I’ve been eager to check it out for some time now. So when closed beta rolled around, I shelled out for a Founder’s Pack and joined my fellow prospects in the frontier settlement of Ramsgate, where I hoped to prove worthy of the Slayer mantle, or failing that, then at least to avoid dying horribly.

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Elite: Dangerous player is reaching out to speak with the game’s inscrutable aliens

Remember that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where the crew spent the entire episode tracking down and struggling to communicate with a destructive alien life form? (Please conveniently overlook that said episode was undercut by a later video game turning that life form into a big boss fight.) That’s what a player in Elite: Dangerous is struggling to do with the Thargoids. The game doesn’t actually allow for communication back yet, of course, but the player is still trying to understand what’s being said, first and foremost.

A cooperation between player group Canonn Interstellar Research and Benjamin “Heisenberg6626” Bahr has resulted in the video below, representing one of the first attempts to communicate with the aliens. The mechanics of the game make it a limited sort of communication, naturally, but Bahr’s hope in particular is that the designers see that there are players who do actually want to speak with and understand the Thargoids, not just blow them out of space. As he himself puts it, there will always be trigger-happy members on both sides, but the hope is that cooler heads can prevail… and, eventually, talk things out.

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Elite Dangerous patches in preparation for Xbox One X support

The Elder Scrolls Online isn’t the only MMO getting love with the Xbox One X launch tomorrow: Frontier posted today that Elite Dangerous is also aiming to support Microsoft’s new toy.

“On the Xbox One X Elite Dangerous can output in true 4k; any other settings will depend on your console settings and the sort of monitor or TV you are using. We’ve also added two new options: Performance and Quality options, and 1080p and 4k options. This second option will allow you to change the resolution the game renders to, which is an in-game setting that is completely independent from the settings within the Xbox One X itself. If the console’s settings are different, the output will be upscaled or downscaled. To achieve the highest frame rate, you could choose Performance and 1080p. Alternatively you can choose higher quality graphics by using the Quality setting, at the cost of some performance. In short, you can pick what best suits you!”

The update is technically live already for Xbox One players with “minimal downtime,” though of course the console isn’t officially live until tomorrow.

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The MOP Up: Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet announced (October 29, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from DauntlessEverQuestTERAOld School RuneScapeSword Art Online: Fatal BulletPath of ExileDestiny 2SurvariumBlade and SoulShot OnlineBlack Desert, and Elite: Dangerous, all waiting for you after the break!

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The MOP Up: Warface celebrates its birthday in Chernobyl (October 22, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from World of TanksStarfall TacticsMu LegendOverwatchFFXIVEVE OnlineMu OnlineWakfuPath of ExileAionWarfaceMechWarrior OnlineElder Scrolls OnlineRevelation OnlineArena of ValorPaladinsConquer OnlinePortal KnightsElite: Dangerous, and Dauntless, all waiting for you after the break!

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Legends of Aria wraps up final alpha test

It’s time for Legends of Aria to say farewell to alpha once and for good.

The fantasy MMO wrapped up its so-called final alpha test over the weekend and turned to focus on the upcoming beta. During the last alpha, around 2,500 players clocked in over 33,000 hours, providing the team with invaluable feedback for further development.

Speaking of which, it sounds as though there are exciting things ahead for this small but scrappy sandbox: “We will be adding more character to the world, more landmarks, better developed points of interest and more immersive and living cities. Our work is far from done in this regard as we really push to bring the world to life. I’m also excited to announce that two additional cities are being added to Celador. One in the Southern Rim and one in the (soon to open) Eastern Frontier.”

As for the beta itself, the team is not dating it yet, saying that “we are not going to release beta until we are where we want to be.”

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The MOP Up: Speedrunning World of Warcraft (October 15, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Project Gorgon, Star Trek Online, BlessSkyforgeWakfuRobloxWar ThunderAionElite: DangerousNew DawnTravianAstroneer, and World of Warcraft, all waiting for you after the break!

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Frontier Expo 2017: Science, history, and gaming make for a great first con

This past weekend was not the first time I have attended a developer’s convention, but Frontier Expo 2017 was one of only a very few times when I have been able to attend the first one of its kind. Last weekend, I got to witness the birth of Frontier Developments’ fan convention, held in London, UK. At 1500 attendees, it may have been a relatively small gathering compared to conventions like PAX or other more established cons, but it was still great. In fact, it offered fans a few firsts of their own! Besides your classic meeting-and-greeting, game announcements with reveals, and after parties (including live entertainment by Jim Guthrie, the musician who created the Planet Coaster music), folks got to try their hand at the studio’s really old games on their original equipment in the Frontier Developments museum.

Even more than that, attendees got to meet and listen to world-renowned experts in the fields of paleontology and astrobiology. Not because these would sell the game, but just because they are subjects of interest to fans. How many studios have offered that?

Now there were understandably a few bumps and learning experiences in this first endeavor, but in all, I say the inaugural FX2017 was a resounding success! It was easily the most chill convention experience I have ever had, and I look forward to next year’s show (and hanging out with the space loach more!). Let’s dig in!

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Frontier Expo 2017: First sighting of Jurassic World Evolution

No, it’s not an MMO. Boy oh boy do I wish it were! You know that little old movie franchise, Jurassic Park? If you’ve ever thought you could run a dino-filled establishment better than those who tried in on-screen, you’ll be getting your chance with Jurassic World Evolution. The sim game was shown off at Frontier Expo 2017 and lets players move beyond the movies.

Jurassic World Evolution will allow players to design their own dinosaur parks, with three different development paths to pursue. Those who want to create a bustling tourist attraction (and hope tourists don’t become dinner) will focus on Entertainment. Players who prefer to focus on improving military and security applications of dinosaurs will go for Security. And for those enthusiasts who just want to understand more about dinosaurs, there’s the Science path.

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Frontier Expo 2017: Elite Dangerous goes ‘Beyond’ with big plans for 2018

When I spoke to Elite Dangerous’ devs at this year’s Frontier Expo 2017, the company’s first fan expo, they admitted that communication went dark for a time. But it wasn’t for any worry-worthy reason: No, it was because the devs were preparing for Beyond, the big update road map for 2018 that was revealed on stage at the con. And what a reveal it was! The crowd was quite excited about the announced features spanning four updates throughout the year, including squadrons, fleet carrier ships, a codex, new ships, improved mining, revamped planetary graphics, and more. As Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco said, “Elite is an ongoing project. It’s not finishing any time soon.”

Along with  the big news reveal, I also spoke with Chief Creative Officer Jonny Watts and Producer Adam Woods about these updates that focus on three areas — core game, narrative, and new features. This is what I learned.

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