Chargebacks were a big deal in 2016: Black Desert, ArcheAge, and No Man Sky were all embroiled in community drama thanks to perceived chargeback abuse. PayPal even ended its chargeback protection for crowdfunding donations, making it harder for gamers who hand over cash to abuse the credit card system to get that money back.
But some games are offering you your money back and you're still not taking it.
Hero's Song, for example, recently went under, but John Smedley pledged to refund any Steam and Indiegogo purchasers who asked for their money returned. Yet there are folks in our comments who said they wouldn't take him up on that -- they feel they got their money's worth or don't feel it's right to take back what was intended as a gift, risks fully understood. That reminded me of when Glitch sunsetted after a couple years in operation and Stewart Butterfield offered everyone all of their money back from years of play and a lot of players said no way.
How about you? Do you claim refunds on games when available? How often do you do it?
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, refunds continue for Hero's Song, which was canceled the day after Christmas with the promise to reimburse all those who backed the game through Indiegogo or on Steam early access. A new Indiegogo announcement from John Smedley yesterday says that Pixelmage has finished processing all pending requests -- manually -- and will soon begin mailing checks. "On the PayPal front we're awaiting having our PayPal account authorized to do this," he writes, suggesting that will be resolved early next week.
Meanwhile, take note, future MMO devs: If our readers are any indication, Kickstarter is probably not going to be your ticket to cash in 2017.
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!
This year, we’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2017.
Ah, December: The month of endless annual awards... and end-year studio catastrophes. This round, all eyes were on venerable MMO studio Turbine as it announced it had spun out a new indie studio to take over Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online, as published by none other than Daybreak. Lost in the shuffle? The Asheron's Call franchise, which will sunset in January 2017.
Meanwhile, gamers paid tribute to Carrie Fisher, Hero's Song went belly up, Star Citizen launched Star Marine, Elder Scrolls Online teased housing, and Nostalrius relaunched.
And we rolled out our annual MMORPG awards, plus our blooper awards, weirdest stories, and other meta roundups.
Read on for the whole list!
The number of games our wee little Stream Team covers in the span of a year is staggering. If you ever wanted to know what an MMORPG looks like and how it plays before you shell out money or download a mega-client, the Stream Team is your best bet.
We’ve put together some of our favorite streams from the year, from launches to first-looks and beta deep-dives and even a series of SMITE charity streams we did with the help of our viewers. Enjoy!
This kill-happy year of 2016 has claimed a lot of lives, and the last week has also killed another game. Hero's Song has been unceremoniously cancelled, with the studio shutting down and a call for all backers to collect refunds for any money invested. This may not have been unexpected news when it failed to succeed at either of its crowdfunding pushes, but it's still sad news.
Meanwhile, whilst the rest of the world was quietly recuperating, some other interesting tidbits of beta news did come out this week:
- It turns out that Star Citizen is using Amazon's Lumberyard and didn't tell anyone. Huh. Chris Roberts specifically addressed the lack of transparency and the reasoning for the integration, so that's unexpected. Kind of neat, really. More pertinently, the game's 2.6 patch has launched, complete with the first build of the FPS module.
- A persistent demo build is up and running for Dogma: Eternal Night. Included in the build: character creation. Not included: anything else. Never to be included: a day/night cycle.
- Justice is coming, possibly raining from above. We'll find out once the game details its beta cycle some time next year; the game has apparently been in the works for four years now.
- Conan Exiles is going to take you to school. War school. Yes, there is combat, and it's going to be... well, exactly the sort of thing you'd think of given the surrounding franchise information.
- Last but not least, we're in the final stretch before launch for Shroud of the Avatar, with the last work being done now to transition out of early access. That's just good news for next year, now two ways about it.
And that wraps up our betas for the year. Of course, there's still a list down below, and you can let us know if something switched test phases without us noticing... but for now, we're just going to wait until 2017. You know, in two days. Here's hoping for good news.
I backed only one Kickstarter in 2016: Hero's Song, which you'll recall didn't fund. While I'm generally suspicious of Kickstarter and have regretted a couple of my donations, I can't rightfully say it's a bad thing since it's one of the big reasons I'm saying this on the site Kickstarter donors built. And I didn't back more this past year mainly because not much caught my eye -- not because I'm against the idea in general. I still think the platform can work, as long as we look out for the abuses.
But I know a lot of you are way more hardline about crowdfunding than I am, so I'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you plan on Kickstarting any video games in 2017? What about MMOs or non-gaming projects? What are your personal rules for engaging in a campaign?
As Hero's Song transitions into Hero's Swan Song following this week's announcement of the game and studio shutdown, John Smedley and Pixelmage Games are encouraging backers to take advantage of the open refund policy.
The studio said that it will start processing refunds early next week and give players their money back via check or PayPal. Due to Pixelmage shutting down, the studio would like backers to file sooner rather than later. The last date you will be able to do this is on March 31st, 2017.
John Smedley told fans not to be bashful and refuse the refund: "I've seen a lot of emails saying, 'Keep my money, thank you for your hard work.' You have no idea how good that makes us feel, but we actually feel the opposite. PLEASE TAKE YOUR MONEY BACK. We took your money in good faith and it is with that same good faith that we want to give it back to you."
Pixelmage Games, the indie studio headed up by MMO veteran John Smedley, announced today that it is folding up, which means Hero's Song is coming to an end.
"It's with a heavy heart that I have to report that Pixelmage Games is going to be shutting down and we have ceased development on Hero's Song. For the last year, our team has worked tirelessly to make the game we've dreamed about making, and with your support, and the support of our investors, we were able to get the game into Early Access. Unfortunately sales fell short of what we needed to continue development. We knew going in that most startups don't make it, and as an indie game studio we hoped we would be the exception to that rule, but as it turned out we weren't."
Notably, the team says that anyone who purchased the game is entitled to claim a refund -- through Steam the old-fashioned way or by email if you're an Indiegogo contributor.
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online announced it'll kick off its alpha early in the new year, on January 13th. "Based on the feedback we've received from our current playerbase, there are a few things that need to happen before we can consider ourselves ready for Steam," says Citadel's Derek Brinkmann -- and those include a bigger world map, tamed mounts, the archery skill, modding, and dev tools.
And last night, Star Citizen dropped 2.6 Star Marine for backers, along with the surprise announcement that it's been using Amazon Lumberyard for over a year now.
- Former City of Heroes community member Je Saist has set up a GoFundMe to help him pay off medical bills accruing as a result of his early onset glaucoma diagnosis.
- John Smedley told Redditors that "money is tight" for Hero's Song.
- Project Gorgon pulled in over $17,000 from its Indiegogo campaign.
- Grim Dawn rolled out its 184.108.40.206 patch, which includes a massive outdoor "Aetherial roguelike" dungeon.
- Elite: Dangerous raised £46,813 during its recent charity livestream.
- Descent: Underground announced its Avalanche update and GOG launch.
- Wild Terra updated with its Christmas event this very weekend.
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!
It was bound to happen. No, really, it was; we were told that Revelation Online would head into its second round of closed testing, and behold, it did exactly that. It also has some additional localization, which means that it might reveal more details about it sstory to those who play over the holidays.
Beyond that, there is a surprising amount of beta news as we head into a holiday weekend when everyone is off on a cloud of eggnog and sweaters. What sort of news? Look below, dear readers!
That's a lot of stuff, but there's even more stuff down in the list below, games still in closed or open testing. See something on there which should not be? Let us know in the comments! (Just give us a few days. We've got eggnog and sweaters to deal with.)
With 2016 drawing to a close and 2017 rushing up to meet us, the Massively OP team has regrouped for another round of bold and goofy predictions for the year ahead. What's in store for the MMO genre next year? Here's what we think.
December's many article roundups and awards always remind us that it's hard to remember what happened last month, let alone what happened way back at the beginning, so this year (as last year), we decided to poke through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we launch into 2017.
January 2016 was dominated by the launch of NCsoft's Blade & Soul in the west, but we also got our first teases of Guild Wars 2's gliding, mourned The Repopulation's engine switch, watched Firefall continue to unravel, peeked into Black Desert's beta, and saw Smed announce Hero's Song only to abruptly cancel the Kickstarter not long afterward.
Read on for the whole list!
We've had several tips this week from players concerned about Hero's Song. One, for example, suggested that several employees had left Pixelmage Games and noted that the testing and community staff had abruptly ceased interacting with the public at the beginning of December following the launch of a patch. Others floated the rumor that the game's early access showing on Steam predicted the shutdown of the company.
While neither confirming nor denying the rumors, Pixelmage's John Smedley did tell Reddit that money is an issue in a post earlier this afternoon.
"Sorry for the lack of news or updates. To put it bluntly here part of being a startup means money is tight and funding is a major part of what we have to do as a startup. We're working through some things and I appreciate your patience. Sorry for not being more transparent on this particular issue but the simple truth is sometimes there isn't much that we can say. More info soon."
We have reached out to Pixelmage for more information, but the studio does not currently have a statement it's willing to share.