historical

Camelot Unchained lands $7.5M investment to hasten development: Our chat with Mark Jacobs on funding, VR, and beta one

If you know one thing about indie MMORPG Camelot Unchained, it’s that CEO Mark Jacobs appears to dwell perpetually in internet comment sections amiably sparring with gamers and attracting loyal advocates.

But if you know two things, you also know that the game is late. Really late. The RvR-centric, PvM-free, anti-lockbox, sub-only MMO was supposed to enter beta three years ago, according to its successful 2013 Kickstarter, but studio City State Entertainment suffered admitted setbacks along the way – both hiring difficulties in the company’s Fairfax, Virginia, location and technical hurdles. Much of that has since been rectified; in 2016, the company launched a second studio in Seattle while continuing to hire engineers and spending the better part of a year completely refactoring its character ability code and polishing up its home-grown engine. But here we are in 2018, still mumbling beta when? at Jacobs and his dogged crew.

Well, we’re finally getting an answer to that question and more, along with a significant blast of hope for the future of the game, as CSE has just received a massive cash infusion to speed up development. I spoke to Jacobs at length – he’s infamous for being effusive – about what’s going on with the game and the studio in 2018. Read on for the executive summary!

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The Survivalist: Another year, another Survival Game guide

A new year, a new batch of survival games! Yes, the genre has become so popular that one guide, no not even two guides could contain all of the survival goodness. More keep cropping up. I certainly can’t say as I mind, since this is the style of game that has been giving me the feeling of having an impact on my environment. And it’s not all the same collection of zombies, although there is still plenty of that. It is interesting to see what new takes developers are bringing to the table. Want to do a survival reality show? There’s a game for that! How about living like a viking? Yup. What if you want to be the psychotic killer that survivors are trying to, well, survive? Got you covered. Fell like upping the ante and surviving via VR? There are a few of those available.

If you are looking for a new survival to sink your teeth into, here’s the addendum for some newer games in development as well as some newly discovered ones since the last mega double guide. Note: This collection will be a mix of multiplayer and single-player titles with some uniques thrown in.

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Wisdom of Nym: The final countdown before Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.2

We still don’t technically know when Final Fantasy XIV is launching its next patch, but we can also figure it out. It was always slated for late January, and there’s another live letter this Friday, which means that the patch is almost certainly arriving on the 30th. Considering that we always get patch notes before the actual release, I’d say it would be a bit silly to have a whole preview event the day before patch notes come out, and it wouldn’t really mesh with prior experience.

In other words, we’ve got a little more time before the patch, and there’s more to be seen about what it actually entails, so let’s talk about both our known unknowns and our unknown unknowns as well as breaking down some other bits that we haven’t heard about yet which are conspicuous for their absence. It’s worth paying attention to some of this; that’s my point here.

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Jukebox Heroes: Black Prophecy’s soundtrack

With just about a year of live operation to its name before closing, Black Prophecy wasn’t really here long enough to cement itself into the minds and hearts of most MMO players. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you never heard of this 2011 spaceship game. It didn’t offer much depth and failed to draw attention to itself even though it was a member of a relatively small subgenre of MMO.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about, of course. For 2018, I’m working through all of the soundtracks that I have yet to feature in this space, and Black Prophecy will be the first to fling itself out of an airlock and into your heart.

The soundtrack itself is fairly decent, if short, and was composed by Dynamedion, a European company that specializes in video game music. Four composers, a 70-piece orchestra, a 20-person choir, and “great expense” was used to make this OST. I think it’s well worth your time to explore, so let’s dig this one out of the historical archives!

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The Daily Grind: What MMO will be the next to change up its business model dramatically?

You may not like it, but the vast majority of MMORPGs are free-to-play or buy-to-play as of 2018. EVE Online went free-to-play at the end of 2016, you’ll recall, and some of the last classic holdouts – Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot – will make the same move this year. That doesn’t leave many games to go free-to-play or alter their business models in a big way. World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV with their subscription-only models lead the way (and have been lauded accordingly).

Do you think any of the remaining sub-only MMORPGs – that are actually launched and live, that is – will yet go free-to-play? What MMO will be the next to change up its business model dramatically?

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Multiplayer Civil War game War of Rights expands server capacity and takes the fight to Nicodemus Hill

Civil War battle simulator War of Rights fired its first shot of 2018 with Update 90. It’s a good mid-sized content update that starts off with an increase in server capacity, bringing the population cap up from 90 to 100. In a game that’s all about mass battles, the more the merrier.

The team also added its 13th historical skirmish area, Nicodemus Hill: “In this skirmish area, the Confederates are to defend Jackson’s artillery positioned on Nicodemus Hill from the Union attacking from the direction of Miller farm […] In this alternate scenario, we present the possibilities of what would have happened had Hooker diverted some of his attention to the lightly defended hill and attempted to silence Stuart’s horse artillery shortly after the fighting in the Miller cornfields.”

Other changes with this patch include a balance pass on starting morale, increasing the time to capture skirmish points on larger maps, and a “major overhaul” to the UI.

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Lockbox roundup: MMO studios on ‘elegant’ lockboxes, legal issues, and the ‘cosmetics only’ angle

You know the lockbox thing is reaching saturation when there are so many things to cover we have to resort to a roundup. Nevertheless, for those of you who want to stay on top of developments and arguments, here we go.

Polygon has an explainer piece up on Destiny 2’s Eververse fallout and why everyone is still rioting over the game’s monetization. Of note for this discussion is the publication’s note that if Destiny 2 is hell-bent on having lootboxes, it ought to adopt Overwatch’s lootboxes, as they’re relatively tame and haven’t produced a Reddit in full meltdown.

Gamasutra has a roundup of MMO developer quotes from studios that believe they’re doing lockboxes “elegantly,” including Trion (for Defiance), PWE (for Star Trek Online), Wargaming (for World of Warships). In this particularly case, that means either being easily accessible through in-game play (not just in the cash shop), making lockbox drops tradeable to other players, creating systems of accruing lockbox rewards, or offering a choice of lootbox type.

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Raph Koster on MMO ecosystems, the balance of power, and tennis

Most MMORPGs have the core sandbox problem: Whoever gets there first, controls all the toys and has the power to drive everyone else away. Even in a themepark, the “richest” players, whether they control the gold or the dungeons or the gear or the PvP, eventually help kill the game.

That’s the subject of a Raph Koster blog that recently popped back up on my radar. Koster, known for ecosystem-oriented virtual world MMOs like Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, is subtly making the case for MMOs that end, even if that end starts a new beginning. It’ll sound familiar to A Tale In The Desert players, surely, or anybody watching Koster’s latest MMO, Crowfall.

In the service of his argument, he references a blog post about the age of the world’s best tennis players, which just keeps rising. Is it because the olds are innately better at tennis? Nope. It’s because the “winners” are entrenched in a rich-get-richer situation that ensures “the typical person in the system ends up below average.” The more the winners win, the more money they have to ensure they win more, whether that’s with better coaches, better equipment, better medical treatment, or just plain more time to train, which makes it progressively more expensive (on all fronts) for newcomers to compete… until the newbies stop trying and the olds start retiring.

And then? The whole system collapses.

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Steam’s best-selling 2017 games include ARK, Warframe, and H1Z1

With 2017 officially over and done, Steam’s taking a moment to report on its best-selling games over the course of the whole year. While there are no specifics shared as to which title sold how many copies, Valve does roughly rank games according to overall sales.

In the “platinum” category are several familiar online titles, including ARK: Survival Evolved, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, H1Z1, Warframe, and Dota 2.

Moving down into “gold,” we find Elder Scrolls Online crowing happily. “Silver” sellers mark Conan Exiles, Black Desert Online, War Thunder, and Path of Exile among the third-tier titles. The list is rounded out with other MMOs and MOBAs like Paladins, Elite: Dangerous, and The Division.

Steam’s Winter Sale, which contains many of these games and more, is ending on January 4th.

Source: Steam

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One Shots: Riding the unicorn charge into 2018

That’s it, folks. It’s time to put the wraps on the bumpy, odd year that was 2017 and get ready to flip our calendars to the pristine landscape of 2018. While the future of MMOs always holds uncertainy, one thing we know for sure: We’re going to screenshot the heck out of it.

To put a bow on 2017, I asked Massively OP readers to submit their absolute best screenshot from this past year — and the community took up the task with gusto. We’ll start things off today with Hugmonster showing us what a dignified, serious game Guild Wars 2 can be.

“My best screenshot of the year? Obviously me launching a stampede of rainbow unicorns!” he shared.

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Perfect Ten: 20 multiplayer games to watch in 2018

A couple of weeks ago I covered 20(ish) MMORPGs that we are looking forward to seeing develop, test, and launch in 2018. But as you well may know, Massively OP covers a small university’s worth of “not-so-massively” multiplayer games that have some crossover into the MMO space. We do this because it gives some people much-needed gripe fuel and also because a lot of our readership is also interested in these games.

There is a lot of movement in the multiplayer game space, especially as the larger video game market continues to adapt and hew to MMO design. It’s a blended mess as we continually try to sort these games out into their proper categories, but while we do that, you can enjoy this list of 20 multiplayer games that you should be tracking in 2018. From survival sandboxes to pirate simulators to sequels, here we go!

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The MOP Up: Honoring RIFT’s Wintercharm (December 24, 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 War ThunderSMITEKritika OnlineArmored Warfare, Stardew ValleyDofusElswordJustice OnlineThe Black DeathWarfaceRIFTValnir RokWakfuMapleStoryHeroes and GeneralsMiranda, and League of Legends, all waiting for you after the break!

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World of Tanks 1.0 getting massive engine overhaul in 2018, World of Warships goes mobile

Wargaming has has quite the new year planned for fans. World of Tanks is getting an overhaul, switching to an in-house created advanced CORE graphics engine in March 2018. Dubbed World of Tanks 1.0, the game will look and sound quite different. Besides the massive visual facelift sprucing up water, flora, terrain, lighting, and more (which devs state will have no adverse effect on the game’s performance), sounds have been improved. More than 25 of the maps will be redesigned with their own musical themes that will change dynamically, all brought to you by over 40 musicians from all around the world. Mile Jerebek, World of Tanks Development Director, said:

“Update 1.0 is a true game-change. Though the spirit of the game remains the same, the introduction of the new graphics engine leads to a far greater boost in image fidelity than a simple resolution increase. It’s a staggering difference from the game as you know it, and we can’t wait for players to get hands-on with it.”

Want a peek at how this update will actually look and sound, as well as see how it will run on your own rig? Wargaming offers players World of Tanks enCore 2018 to download. You can also see some before and after screens and watch the trailer below. Read more

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