Who says subscriptions are dead? Not Star Citizen. The alpha MMORPG has long taken a page out of the Pathfinder Online playbook by offering a subscription service for backers.
But PTU players were apparently sent an email blast this week with the “special announcement” that by “popular request, first-wave PTU access for all Subscribers is now a permanent perk for 2018,” meaning that if you want to be sure you get in to the early test server and get in early, you’ll have to pay for the privilege on a monthly basis, and the thousand bucks you’ve put in on ships doesn’t count.
It does not mean, note, that you can’t play the alpha without a sub; you’ll just get in during subsequent waves – and of course, you can still play the current stable release. Nevertheless, the word “paywall” has been kicked around as people express annoyance with the new status quo.
This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.
But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.
Welcome to a special edition of Make My MMO, Massively OP’s regular recap of what’s going on in crowdfunded MMOs, which we do specifically for those of you who are convinced Kickstarter is the absolute worst (it’s not) and that no crowdfunded MMOs ever launch (they do). Plus, somebody’s got to keep an eye on what your money’s up to! Tonight’s edition isn’t going to be our usual recap of the last couple of weeks, however; we’re going to look at the most important MMO crowdfunding news of the entire year. Lock up your wallets and let’s get to it.
At long last, the vicious mule exploits of Pathfinder Online have been addressed. No longer will players group up with their friends and attack their own mules for… some reason. Actually, it probably wasn’t an exploit in the first place, it was just a minor issue from the last patch that has been fixed now. Regardless, in-game mules can breathe a bit easier now.
The patch also brings out various other bug fixes, like no longer making ammunition messages permanent floating fixtures if your character could not fully restock and preventing the housing maintenance cost window from closing in error when paying ahead. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but players who enjoyed the various elements brought out with the last patch will doubtlessly be happy to see the array of fixes correcting issues.
This is your bi-annual reminder that, yes, Pathfinder Online continues to exist and even grow through development. The reduced team pushed out its first patch since last August, but considering everything that’s going into this update, you might agree the wait was worth it.
What’s included here? Ninjas. Or ninja, depending on how nitpicky you want to be about the pluralization. “The new escalation, Over the Crown, brings ninjas of the Ruby Crypt clan,” the team reports, “as well as samurai and wizards of the Shojinawa family employing them, all the way across the world from Tian Xia to the Echo Woods. This escalation is meant for experienced characters, and is both tougher and more rewarding than Gathering of Legends.”
Sounds charming. Other additions with Early Enrollment v14 include the use of ammunition, two new types of premium player housing, less annoying town criers, line-of-sight restrictions, and a renaming of Smallholdings to Freeholds. Hopefully this is a good sign of the future existence of this PvP MMO — what do you think?
I remember years ago when then-Massively-columnist Rubi Bayer let loose with a blistering rant on the state of faux beta MMOs. She helmed Betawatch back then, see, and she was fed up with (mostly imported) MMOs claiming to be in beta when in fact they’d soft-launched. A lot of readers didn’t understand her fury at the time, but boy have things changed, right? Now, every game’s in on that very old trick, only they call it early access now, while some are still pushing the boundaries, charging $1000 for pre-alpha.
MOP reader Pepperzine proposed a topic for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s right on point. “I was thinking it would be interesting if we could discuss when people consider a game to be in alpha/beta versus a final launch as a topic,” he wrote to us.
“Back in the day, this was easy to determine. Selective testers were extended invites into beta who were experienced testers who had the computer hardware to handle the software. The primary purpose of being in the testing phase was exactly that, to test and bug report. When the game was made available to the public at a price, a game was considered launched. Now, players are granted access to pre-launch titles by ‘donating’ or purchasing access. For the most part, the primary purpose of participating in the pre-launch experience for these players is not testing or bug reporting but rather to experience and play the game. The division of purchasing a game and donating to test has become so blurred that it is no longer a valid way of determining if a title is at a state to where it is launch ready. These titles can stay in this pre-launch phase for as long as they deem necessary, easily deflecting criticisms by reiterating it is still in development. So when do you consider a game to be launched? Is it when the producers declare it is? Is it when there is no longer the possibility of wipes? Is it when cash shop monetization is implemented? Is it as soon as the company begins selling access?”
Where’s the line in 2017? Let’s dig in.
With all of the many spaceships designed (and sold) for Star Citizen so far, it might be a little confusing which might be the best for any particular person or playstyle when one strolls up to the lot and stares at all of the options.
To assist with this selection process, the devs are releasing a 10-part article series revolving around a “new ship matrix” that clearly outlines the purposes and capabilities of each of the vessels available in the game for the upcoming Alpha 3.0. The first of this series separates ships into different careers and then further separates them by roles.
These roles include combat, transport, exploration, industrial, support, and competition (racing). The team went on to explain a few examples from this wide selection, such as going exploring as a pathfinder, hauling human cargo as a passenger transport, or offering tourists a lift as a luxury tour.
Every MMO tells a story through the run of its life. A lot of those stories are pretty happy, too. Ultima Online may not be the most happening place in the world right now, but its story is about launching a genre and then running for two solid decades. That’s a pretty great story. However much it’s become a tale of mismanaged expectations, World of Warcraft kind of became the most popular thing for a long while and brought in tons of new people to the hobby. Even titles with sad endings often have bright stories; the end bit for City of Heroes sucks, but everything leading up to that was a gas.
And then you have these 10 titles. These are titles where the whole story is a tragedy, start to finish, and in many cases the tragedy isn’t necessarily over, but the story is still just plain sad. There are reasons, of course, maybe even good ones, but the result is that the narrative for these titles is pretty sad all the way through.
Controlling territory doesn’t mean a lot if anyone can still enter the territory you control, does it? Pathfinder Online players can make use of several new territory control features in the game’s latest patch, and one of those features will allow you to blacklist certain players from your territories and functions contained therein. So you can proudly declare that Dave doesn’t get to use any of the facilities within your territory, because he’s Dave. Freaking Dave.
Players can also set individual service allowances based on the affiliation of visitors. The game also will make sure that hexes deep within your holding are not open for capture unless bordered by wilderness and otherwise improves quality of life. You can also move between various security levels of hexes, allowing players to have the safety from being attacked by anyone who isn’t feuding with allies at the highest security level. Check out the full patch notes for all of the details, but whatever you do, don’t let Dave access your territory. It might seem like a minor update, but it’s a step along the game’s roadmap to being actually finished and complete after an underwhelming last year.
Great news today for World of Warcraft players stressed out over the last batch of requirements to regain their pilot’s license. Blizzard announced on the forums that it is making the achievement easier in order to be more compatible with players’ schedules:
We’ve heard a lot of feedback and it’s clear to us that the cyclical Assaults schedule, and the design of the “do all 4” achievement for Pathfinder, weren’t compatible.
World Quests come and go all the time during the day too, while people are at work or asleep, and it’s not a big deal because they’re largely interchangeable. But that would change if we had an achievement required for Pathfinder that asked you to do a specific checklist of world quests. A lot of the stress and concern about “missing” individual Assaults is tied to this achievement, so we’re removing the achievement from Pathfinder via hotfix.
Once this hotfix is active, you will only need to reach Revered with the Armies of Legionfall and fully explore the Broken Shore to earn Legion flying.
Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week’s show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.
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:
If you’d lost hope in Pathfinder Online ever making any forward motion again, you should be happy to see that there’s a new letter from Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens. You should be even happier with the contents of that letter, which state that after a great deal of consultation and deliberation, Stevens has developed a plan to move forward with the game and develop it to an open state. While she states that this wasn’t her original plan, she also says that after research, it seemed better than waiting for some white knight to ride in and save the game; it was time to save the game by itself.
Stevens stresses that the version of the game which will move toward an open player base will be a small, niche product aimed at a small, niche audience. She and the small team working on the game looked first and foremost toward what features had already been worked on, what would help new players get into the game, and what obvious gaps of implementation remained in the test version. The full roadmap has a year’s worth of development goals, some of which will no doubt wind up getting pushed around, but it’s still a plan. Here’s hoping for the best.
Remember how a while back Blizzard told fans that it was looking at eliminating flying from all World of Warcraft expansions going forward? Yeah, so that went down as one of the more bone-headed statements the studio ever said and then quickly reversed. It’s hard to ignore the irony that here we are, less than two years later, and the studio is now giving us tips on how we can gain flight clearance in Legion.
While players won’t be able to regain their ability to fly until Patch 7.2, they can complete one of the two necessary achievements for eventual takeoff. The achievement, Broken Isles Pathfinder Part 1, is made up of four sub-achievements, each which requires a significant amount of work (but fortunately, most of that work is covered naturally in the process of going through the expansion).
If you’re confused about what you need to do or where to go, check out this guide (or simply read the Wowhead guide instead, since that’s been out for a while now and Blizzard keeps linking to it anyway).