horizons

Disambiguation:
an Elite: Dangerous DLC
the original name for Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted

Elite Dangerous has launched for the PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 players can flock to the Elite Dangerous universe beginning today, thanks to the game’s official launch on that console, complete with adjustments for touchpad controls and even a “fast headlook” mode for wireless controllers.

Elite Dangerous and the Elite Dangerous: Horizons season pass are now available digitally on the PlayStation Store as standalone products or together as part of the Commander Deluxe Edition, complete with the bonus Commander Paint Pack. Elite Dangerous is also available at physical retail stores for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the Elite Dangerous: Legendary Edition, featuring Elite Dangerous, the Elite Dangerous: Horizons season pass and a bonus 1,000 Frontier Points for purchasing in-game cosmetic items.”

Meanwhile, players have made yet another discovery in the Thargoid storyline. We’ve embedded the launch trailer and new lore bits below!

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E3 2017: Why MMO players should be paying attention to Elite Dangerous

I sat down with Elite Dangerous Senior Designer Sandy Sammarco again at E3 2017, and while the information I’ve got in terms of game info may be a bit old hat for hardcore Elite players, I want to be clear on something: MMO players should take note of how Frontier is doing community eventsEven if you aren’t interested in the game itself, the design strategies and execution are things that are reminding this jaded MMO-enthusiast about what got me into the MMO genre in the first place. I don’t really do space sims, and haven’t touched my VR for months (though I could probably hop on normal PC or PS4 versions), but my time with Sammarco has gotten me closer to hitting the “buy” button on the game.

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Aliens from 1984 swarm into Elite Dangerous with Horizons 2.4

For a good long while, it seemed as though Elite Dangerous players were all alone in their gigantic galaxy playground. Then came the discovery of alien remnants and evidence of life, suggesting that the devs had more up their sleeve. But little did players know that first contact was about to become second contact with one of the franchise’s most notorious enemies.

Frontier announced this week that with Horizons 2.4, the Thargoids would arrive in the game after a long absence from the series. The truly alien race that hails from an ammonia world made its debut in the original 1984 game as a threat that players encountered and had to overcome.

The Return update is coming in Q3 2017 and will bring the Thargoids and their eight-sided spaceships into the modern era with story events and inevitable battles. The dev team cautions players that if they fail to stand up to the aliens, they could see the galaxy slowly consumed by the Thargoids.

“What happens next will be decided by every Elite Dangerous player,” said Frontier CEO David Braben. Check out The Return trailers after the jump!

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Overwatch reveals Horizons Lunar Colony map

One of these days, Overwatch — bang, zoom, to the moon! And that day is coming very soon, as Blizzard just announced a brand new map, Horizons Lunar Colony.

“Horizon Lunar Colony is an Assault map set in a scientific base on the moon,” the studio said. “Built as a first step towards humanity’s renewed exploration of space, the colony’s goal was to examine the effects of prolonged extraterrestrial habitation — on human and ape alike. The scientists’ research proved incredibly promising… until, suddenly, all contact and communications with the base were lost. Now, many years later, attacking and defending teams must return to the moon and battle for control of the colony’s facilities, all while they discover clues as to the fate of its previous inhabitants.”

Season five of competitive play began last night, and participating players can earn a South African icon and spray for their accounts. You can take a peek at the Horizon Lunar Colony map after the break!

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Massively Overthinking: Being Uncle Owen in MMORPGs

Ever since the tone-deaf SOE proclamation that nobody wanted to play Uncle Owen in an MMORPG, contrary me has consciously fought that very stupid idea. A whole lot of people wanted to play Uncle Owen, then and now, there and elsewhere. Star Wars Galaxies was a game half full of Uncle Owens. I spent a lot of time literally becoming a moisture farmer as my own form of rebellion. And yet, as I realized while debating with my husband a few weeks ago, the person I really wanted to be was freakin’ Lando. And most MMORPGs don’t allow that either — it’s Luke or GTFO.

Such is the argument made by a recent PC Gamer article, which in its own precious mainstream way argues that “MMOs need to let you be an average Joe” to get out of the clear “creative slump” they’re in.

“With their scale and permanence, MMOs give us the chance to be citizens in a make-believe world we create with the help of our fellow players. When it’s left up to us what kind of role we want to fill in that world, everybody’s immersion benefits from being surrounded by all types of characters with vastly different stories.”

For this week’s Overthinking, I asked the staff to chime in on the concept of Uncle Owen in MMORPGs. Do you play this way? Do you wish you could? And is it the way forward?

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Virtual world creator Improbable receives $502M investment from SoftBank

Here’s another reminder that we really shouldn’t take our eyes off of Improbable Worlds, even for a second. The five-year-old software company, which is specializing in creating massive virtual worlds for simulations and games, just received over a half-billion dollar investment from a Japanese telecommunications corporation.

SoftBank injected $502 million into Improbable this week in one of the largest U.K. venture capital deals of all time. This investment puts one of SoftBank’s members on Improbable’s boards and sees SoftBank create a non-controlling stake in the company.

To make a good week even better for Improbable, venture firms Andreessen Horowitz and Horizon Ventures also committed additional funds to the tech startup and its SpatialOS software. “Having backed Improbable from the start, we continue to see huge potential in the application of its technology, both for solving real-world problems and in changing the future of the games industry,” said Horizons Ventures founder Solina Chau.

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Massively Overthinking: Competitive PvE in MMORPGs

During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.

Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!

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Elite Dangerous promises bug-squashing patch by early May

Update: The devs have shifted the ETA to April 25th; we’ve updated below.

While Elite Dangerous’ community should be celebrating over the addition of player-created avatars and multi-crew ships with Horizons Update 2.3, instead they’re dealing with one of the buggiest updates to date for the space sim. Even following a rollback last week of the background sim data that manages political factions, there are still numerous issues that have yet to be resolved.

The good news is that there’s a patch coming to take care of much of this. The bad news is that players are going to have to wait until next month to see fixes for the login bugs, stability issues, weird errors, and frame rate drops.

“We’ve seen your feedback with regards to a number of bugs in the latest update,” Frontier reported on the forums, “and the development team have been busy working on a release that focuses on fixing a large number of the common complaints. The release is currently scheduled for early May.”

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Elite Dangerous’ The Commanders update today adds player avatars

Call it “Sitting in Cockpits.”

No longer will your in-game representation in Elite Dangerous be a mere hunk of space metal with a flaking coat of paint. With Horizons Update 2.3: The Commanders today, all players will be able to create their own avatars to counter the loneliness of space exploration with a humanizing touch.

The avatar will be used extensively in the game, as players will be able to see their creation in the cockpit and have their likeness show up on-screen when chatting with others. If that’s not enough to make you feel chummy, then hook yourself up with one of the new multi-crew ships that allow several friends to join you in your adventures.

Other patch changes include ship names, ID plates, vanity cameras, and asteroid bases. Frontier CEO David Braben fielded a lot of questions about the update and the future of Elite Dangerous in a recent Reddit AMA, just in case you wanted to glean more information. For the rest of us, check out the commander creator feature after the jump!

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Conan Exiles previews 2017 plans, throws shade on early access abusers

Though it’s fun for the broader industry, GDC has been a bit of a dud for our genre for years now. If you’re willing to expand your horizons past pure MMORPGs, however, there’s plenty of juice. Exhibit A: Funcom’s Conan Exiles presence at the show. PC Gamer has a report out today on Funcom’s plans for the game, including the clothing and armor dye system (coming this month), mounts and taming, PvE purge events stuffed with iconic Conan NPCs, better thrall micro-management, a lush foresty biome (bring your warmer clothes!), trebuchets that hurl rocks and dead bodies, and a new sewer dungeon.

Funcom’s Joel Bylos even sneaked in a dig on unspecified games that launch early access and linger there indefinitely while charging for DLC. Conan, of course, has vowed to launch by this time next year and has promised to avoid paid DLC during early access.

Massively OP will be meeting with Funcom at this weekend’s PAX East, so stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, check out the videos below.

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Ride out into the frontier in Rebel Horizons’ GDC trailer

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!

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Massively OP’s Best of 2016 Awards: MMORPG Studio of the Year

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Best MMORPG Studio of 2016, which was awarded to Square-Enix last year.

We asked our writers to consider major MMORPG studios in 2016, not just their pet favorites, and judge the studios on what they did within the MMORPG genre this year specifically. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMORPG Studio of 2016 is…

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The MOP Up: Christmas in a warzone (December 25, 2016)

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!

This week, Warface brought a little holiday cheer into its relentless warzones. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from Overwatch, Elder Scrolls Online, Minecraft, and more, all waiting for you after the break!

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