frontier developments

The studio famous for building Elite: Dangerous.

Dauntless clocks 1M registered players as it launches its F2P open beta

Dauntless has officially launched into open beta as of today. The co-op ARPG is free-to-play and out on PC, so everyone can basically jump right on in and download the 0.4.0 build.

“In Dauntless, players take up the mantle of Slayers. These brave warriors fight for humanity’s survival against ferocious beasts known as Behemoths, whose savage hunger to drain the very essence, or aether, from the world puts every life at risk. Equipped with powerful armor and weapons, Slayers will join up with others and adventure across the Shattered Isles to battle Behemoths together. After each battle, Slayers bring their hard-earned spoils to the frontier city of Ramsgate to craft, enhance and customize their arsenal to take on the next challenging encounter.”

Phoenix Labs says that it’s already counting 1M registered players – that is, slayers. The studio has promised “new expansions, adventures, deadly Behemoths and more […] on a regular basis.”

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Elite Dangerous has big plans for a Memorial Day weekend bonus event

Frontier isn’t exactly known for running bonus weekends, but it’s doing just that in Elite Dangerous as it joins the throng of online games vying for your eyeballs during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

“We’re pleased to announce that, starting from May 24 to May 30, we will be introducing an extended ‘Bonus Weekend’, which will bring temporary but lucrative bonuses to the galaxy!” the studio says.

“The bonuses we will activate for this period are as follows: All profits from trading activities will be increased (the amount of profit will vary depending on what you are shipping and where you’re shipping it to. Rare commodities are excluded from this bonus.) The materials requested for engineering recipes will be at one rank below the existing ones (cheapening the current cost of engineering your modules.) Whether you’re a penniless pauper or a wealthy space-tycoon, it’ll pay to haul this weekend, so dust off your freighters and get out there! Oh, and if you need a little extra jump-range, the engineers have you covered!”

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Elite Dangerous floats sweeping changes to make its Powerplay mode fully open PvP

Elite Dangerous is considering revamping its Powerplay mode, and it’s not going to make everyone happy, especially solo players.

Powerplay, you’ll recall, is sort of a factional territorial war in the game whereby players ally with powerful NPCs and their space and resources. Most of the proposal for tweaks will go unchallenged; Frontier wants to allow powers to dump systems, avoid internal sabotage, skirt stagnation, encourage conflict – all reasonable.

But the studio also wants to force players in the mode into open PvP and make it impossible for solo players and private groups to profit from the mode (while avoiding both ganking and being ganked).

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Wild West Online’s stagecoach is held up by negative reviews and no female characters

Perhaps Wild West Online is attempting to emulate life on the actual historical frontier. This week’s launch has certainly been uncertain, fraught with peril, and an unsure venture. As pretty much anyone could have predicted, the western MMO has taken a savage beating on Steam for being largely unfinished (which is to be expected, since the whole game was revamped not just two months ago).

Steam reviewers have given WWO mostly negative reviews, labeling the game as a “money grab” with a poor graphics engine, no PvE content, and pretty much no content to experience at the present. One large point of contention was the lack of playable female characters. Can someone get this game an “under construction” GIF from the 1990s?

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The Wild West Online MMO officially launches out of early access today – here’s the new trailer

It’s been quite a ride for Wild West Online, the survivalish MMO that came out of nowhere last spring to take on Red Dead Redemption 2. The game was originally planned to launch in the fall, but it hobbled to an early access launch well behind schedule instead, weathering drama around its relationship to The War Z’s studio, the slow rollout of female toons, and a complete do-over on its planned open PvP gankbox mechanics (the game is now a faction-based setting – cue the anguished howls of early backers).

But the game formally launches on Steam today boasting that faction-based territorial PvP, solo and group play, PvE questing, and homesteading, with a promise of an evolving world in the future.

“To create an even further gripping experience, the development team will continue building out the larger world and integrating new content to create the best experience for players. This includes having Wild West Online’s world age through the years. When players enter Wild West Online today they will start in the mid-1800s with a frontier dynamic and during the coming years the world will evolve as it moves into the late-1800s and eventually into the early 20th century.”

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The Daily Grind: Have you backed any MMO Kickstarters that you deeply regret?

Yesterday, as our writers were shaking their heads over Star Citizen’s latest shenanigans, Eliot cracked a joke about how having backed the game had become a punchline. I said I doubted anyone on the team had backed it, and then MJ pipes up and says she did: She grabbed one of the earliest intro ships and has barely looked at it since, just waiting for the actual finished game to emerge.

We gave her a pass, since honestly, anyone who backed it way back when couldn’t have really seen the last five or six years coming, right? Elite Dangerous’ Kickstarter was the same year and it’s been out for ages – Star Citizen didn’t look like a bad bet back then. (If you’re still paying $700 for a concept ship sight-unseen in 2018, well, I have no words for that.)

I didn’t back Star Citizen, but I have backed some serious duds. I’m livid over the stalled development of TUG and complete lack of communication from its developers. Greed Monger gave refunds (though apparently not all – thanks Xanward), but TUG won’t even say boo. Yeah sure it was 10 or 20 bucks, but still. Weird world.

Have you backed any MMO Kickstarters that you deeply regret?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 168: MMOs all higgledy-piggledy

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin go western for Wild West Online’s release date, sci-fi for EVE Online’s employment woes, fantasy for World of Warcraft’s expansion testing, and goofy for pretty much everything else.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Elite: Dangerous is discontinuing support for the Mac [Updated]

We’re sorry to inform fans of Elite: Dangerous on Apple computers that they’re soon going to be forced to choose between the platform and the game. It’s been officially announced that support for the game on Macs will be ended with the update in Q4, toward the end of the year. Players can still log in on PCs or via accounts logged into on Bootcamp, but you’ll have to use one of those methods. This is after Mac support was first added in 2015.

Players already know that there have been technical problems preventing Horizons from launching on the platform, although their specific nature has not been explained; what matters is that further technical improvements to the game didn’t appear to be making things any better. Some players are speculating that this will also mean Horizons is bundled into the base game, but whatever the expansion changes are, you won’t be seeing them natively on a Mac. Our condolences to the players affected.

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Wild West Online crosses the launch frontier on May 10

Saddle up, pard’ners, ’cause it’s about to be a bumpy ride.

Wild West Online announced today that it is officially launching on May 10th. Yes, as in two weeks from now. On that day, the game will simultaneously leave early access and release on Steam. It’s a pretty big step for a game that has not been in open development and testing for very long.

The studio said that when it arrives on Steam, Wild West Online’s launch build will add faction global conflict, big PvP world events, many more PvE missions, and a bunch of side activities. These include mining, farming, hunting, cooking, and (most importantly) brewing that alochol. The west can’t be very wild if everyone’s sober, after all.

Check out the Steam date announcement after the break!

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Humble Bundle and GOG.com cut deals for online games

Looking for a few good deals on MMOs and multiplayer games? Both Humble Bundle and GOG.com are running some sales right now that might cut you a deal on a title you’ve been eyeing.

Humble Bundle’s Sci-Fi Week includes price breaks on No Man’s Sky ($23.99), Osiris: New Dawn ($12.49), the standard version of Elite: Dangerous ($13.49), the commander deluxe version ($31.79), and the season pass for Elite: Dangerous Horizons ($17.99).

GOG.com’s Most Wanted Games Sale isn’t quite as relevant for the online gamer, although you can pick up Grim Dawn for a respectable $7.49, Torchlight for $3.79, and Torchlight II for $4.99.

Source: Humble Bundle, GOG.com. Thanks Dave!

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One Shots: Fun with filters

You know all of those weird filter effects that you have in your photo editing software? There always seems to be a stigma against using them, mostly because they’re very noticeable and showy. But today, let’s cast off that stigma and just have some fun, eh? After all, this is a column that begins every week with a black-and-white version of the headlining photo.

And that photo this week is from Deekay, who showcases the lighter side of life in Sea of Thieves. “Finally a selfie of my pirate as she dances on the bowsprit!” he write.

One leg, choppy seas. There is no way that she didn’t fall overboard and drown about thirty seconds after that screenshot was taken.

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Dead Man’s Country throws you into the teeth of the American west

Have a pioneering spirit and wouldn’t mind stepping back in time to see how you’d do on the frontier in the late 1800s? Then saddle up with Dead Man’s Country, a new multiplayer open-world RPG that’s slathered with old west flavor.

The game is clearly putting its setting up front as a selling point: “Face the untamed harshness of the wild in a landscape of vast forests, soaring mountains and desolate plains.”

With randomly generated items, a deep crafting system, housing, abandoned forts, farming, hunting, taming, multiplayer matches, there’s plenty to do. It’s not quite the historic old west, however, because you’ll also be facing the plague and zombies (survivalboxes gotta have them zombies).

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Elite: Dangerous goes soft on crime (and that’s a good thing)

Elite: Dangerous made a wonderful and awe-inspiring discovery yesterday in a remote star system: Update 3.0.4 was found floating in orbit around a dead planet. Now it has been returned to civilization and integrated with the mainframe.

OK, the patch isn’t much to write home about. It is mostly concerned with fixing different small issues, including some bugs that were keeping players from accessing certain rank up missions.

Probably the most significant part of the update are changes the game is making to the crime system. Players will now be able to take “hot” ships and modules and outfit them, as long as they meet certain requirements. Bounties, too, have been addressed, as the developers thought that the game was being too harsh to petty criminals.

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