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.
Yesterday's Elite Dangerous community livestream is full of good news for sci-fi fans anxiously watching the 2.3 beta. Of note, Frontier's Sandro Sammarco and Ed Lewis address the ship nameplates issue -- and the fact that these tools will be available as cash shop items only -- saying the studio means to keep to its plans. Keep your eyes locked on mega ships too; the studio promises these gargantuan edifices are super important and that it'll divulge more in the future.
Lewis reiterated the studio's plans on name plates in a forum post this morning, explaining that every ship will have a name, but "the ship name plates will offer an added layer of cosmetic personalisation for Commanders wanting to wear their name with pride, much like paint jobs and other cosmetics currently available in the store."
Holy crap sci-fi MMOers are grumpy. All we want is an absolutely perfect simulation of a space-going future for nearly nothing. How hard can it possibly be?
Apparently pretty hard, hence why Elite Dangerous players are grouchy over several new revelations from the weekend. For starters, Frontier admitted during the game's weekend livestream that "Space Legs" -- that is, the Elite equivalent of Walking in Stations, a fully realized avatar movement outside of ships -- is way off on the distant horizon. Players had their hopes up following the tease of the "Holo-Me" character creator, but since "Space Legs is effectively dovetailing a whole new game into Elite," it's "a long away off."
"Crushed my dreams," one Redditor wrote.
Meanwhile, monetization is another sore spot in the space game. Apparently, some players believe Frontier is going back on its original monetization Kickstarter FAQ promise ("Everything in the game will be purchasable with in-game Credits, earned from trading, bounty-hunting, etc.") regarding ship name decals, which will be in fact be buyable only with real cash with no free or in-game-money option. There's even an email campaign to try to get Frontier to change its mind.
Frontier is hyping Elite Dangerous' expected Q2 PS4 release at this year's PAX East (colon still MIA, sorry), complete with confirmed HOTAS support. Frontier's David Braben has a long video out today introducing the game's highlights to newcomers, discussing the feel of the lore and the future-fantasy of space exploration more than mechanics (definitely catch his description of free-wheeling space wagon trains with their "slightly cowboy free-for-all" aesthetic).
There's a trailer too -- it's all down below for your eyeballs!
Avatars! Multicrew ships! Balance changes! Nouns with exclamation points! Yes, the latest Elite: Dangerous patch has a whole lot of stuff contained therein, and players can start testing all of that stuff now with the patch in its first testing phase. It still is very much the first phase, too, as elements like multicrew functionality haven't yet been implemented; the patch notes for the test include all of the details on multicrew ships, but also notes that they're not in there yet.
Of course, there's lots of stuff is there, even beyond commander functionality; there are new ship nameplates, bug fixes, mission and engineering adjustments, everything you'd expect from one of the game's large patches. So while you can't bring your friends along just yet, you should find plenty to do if you're testing the patch.
For those that felt titillated and intrigued by the original announcement of Rebel Horizons a year ago (if you can remember back that long), movement has been spotted on the project after many months of relative silence. The team is planning to make an appearance at GDC this spring and has a new trailer to show off to the public.
The trailer for the sci-fi sandbox shows a man on another world, taking a jet bike across the desert to a settlement. There, he buys some gear and then steps into a teleporter, destination unknown.
Rebel Horizons is making a shared persistent universe in which players can forge their own destinies and make their own living. Possibilities include trading, crafting, bounty hunting, mining, harvesting, and traveling to other worlds, each with their own ecosystems and economies.
Catch a glimpse of the future in the GDC 2017 trailer after the break!
If you care at all about space (and you should, because we're all in it), you probably heard about NASA's discovery of the Trappist-1 system with seven rocky exoplanets at the right range for water and life. It's incredibly cool news, and it's made even cooler by the fact that Elite: Dangerous is adding in the data for a system at the right location and distance to ensure that you can fly out there and explore it for yourself.
Of course, that's less of an accomplishment than it might seem, because it turns out the star and the planets were already there.
All right, that's not exactly true, but Elite: Dangerous did have a star system in just about the same place, with almost the same star and close to the right number of planets. It's all based on the game's predictive system, which tries to guess at what's out there in the void even when we don't know about it. The location will be brought in line with what we now know to be true in the next patch, but still, how nifty is it that the two line up so well?
Sometimes even the most die-hard MMORPG player finds him or herself a little tired of constantly looking at the back of a head and a running butt. We yearn to slip the surly bonds of the world to explore the cosmos in our very own rocket ship to see what is out there. E.T., are you taking house calls? Can we hang for a little while? I brought Reese's Pieces!
Getting this experience isn't quite as easy as, say, finding an MMO that caters to the dragon-slaying crowd. It's well-known that sci-fi MMORPGs are in the minority, and only a fraction of those center around or contain some element of space flight and combat. However, over the years we've seen online games here and there allow us to live out our fantasies of being a space jockey, whether in the form of a trader, a fighter pilot, or an explorer.
Today, let's look at 10 MMOs, past and present, that helped us get our spaceship on!
Elite Dangerous players, it's time to get hyped: During yesterday's stream, Frontier announced a brand-new toy for the game, a commander creator. Known as "Holo-Me" in-lore, the tool will allow players to change their appearance -- well, their holographic representations, anyway -- from inside their ships, from their outfits to hair and even facial symmetry. Intriguingly, you can change your appearance whenever you want, including characteristics like gender and facial structure, and Frontier says that all of the "base" faces in the game were built using the in-game engine, which demonstrates the range of faces the tool is capable of producing.
There's much more to the stream including the new camera suite, the dolphin ship (so retro!), and a megaship outpost called Fisher's Rest, meant as the promised tribute to Carrie Fisher. Check it out below!
At the tail end of last week, Frontier pulled Elite Dangerous: Arena from sale across all platforms.
"We’ve been looking at our metrics which suggest that the vast majority of new and regular Arena players tend to play Arena through the main Elite Dangerous client rather than the standalone Arena one," Senior Community Manager Edward Lewis explained to fans. "We’ve made the decision to remove the standalone version of Elite Dangerous: Arena in order to reduce the number of builds that have to be maintained and managed across Steam, Xbox One and in 2Q'17 PlayStation Network, as well as clarifying the choices for new players of Elite Dangerous on these storefronts."
Arena has been a standalone product for only a year and ran $7.50 in that mode. Apparently, it was no longer worth it to maintain in that format, although of course it can still be played as part of the original game. As RPS points out, we can probably assume Arena will never launch on PlayStation either.
Frontier continues to sell three digital download versions of the game running from $29.99 to $59.99.
Frontier Entertainment (Planet Coaster, Elite Dangerous) is brewing up something new in its game labs -- but what could it be?
Gamasutra reports that the studio briefly announced to the London Stock Exchange it had secured the rights to an unnamed, well-known, and "enduring" movie franchise for its next title.
"We have chosen to license this particular IP to work with as our third franchise, because we believe we can create something very special," said Frontier Developments Chief Executive David Braben. "It is creatively stimulating, already has a high worldwide profile, and is a perfect match for our expertise."
Any thoughts as to what this may be? Lets start a Massively OP pool in the comments!
There's a lot to take in at once while you're flying a ship in Elite: Dangerous. The game's next update will make that a little bit easier, though; you won't actually have less to keep track of, but you can spread the duties of the ship to three separate crew members. The latest development dispatch explains how multicrew functionality will work with the game, starting with the fact that you'll have to accept a little break from reality in terms of picking up crew members (you can instantly crew your ship from anywhere, no need to pick the other players up physically).
Three roles are available to players on a ship. The ship's owner will always take the helm control, while another player can handle gunnery and a third player can control a deployed fighter in addition to the NPC-crewed fighter. Players on a multicrew ship will also be able to add extra power to the ship's operation, ensuring that your companions will be a help rather than a hindrance. Crew members will also receive rewards from any bounties taken on while on the ship, so you can still make money while you fly with your friends.
Elite: Dangerous' 2.2.03 patch rolled out yesterday to players on both PC and Xbox One. While it's primarily a large balancing and tweak patch, there are some new recipes, a new mission type, a new module, and powerplay updates -- that'd be the big faction control system added back in 2015.
What isn't in the patch? Players always notice what's not in the patch. "We’ve decided to hold back on a couple of elements that we trialled in this beta," Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco told forumgoers, "specifically changes to shield booster stacking diminishing returns, hull armour hardness increases for the 'big three' ships (Anaconda, Federal Corvette and Imperial Cutter), and linking gimbal tracking angles to ship sensors."