Almost every player of The Repopulation is eager to test the game’s A.00.00.00 update, but it’s going to take a little longer to arrive on the test servers. In essence, there are some issues with getting the test update uploaded and implemented, and thus the team behind the game is working on cleaning things up, including deleting a huge number of unused or temporary areas from the game’s areas. Ultimately, the goal is to change the whole push system for updates, but that change is being made in stages.
The team is also working on further updates for the next patch, starting with a cleaner version of character selection and creation. It’ll be a while before that’s ready for testing, but progress is being made. Players are also thanked for all of the work they’ve done in testing and offering feedback about the game in its current state, especially the tutorials and guidance when starting the game. Said testers will have to wait a little longer to test more, just the same.
Let’s get caught up on The Repopulation, shall we? Last week, Idea Fabrik recapped what it’s been working on in the beleaguered sci-fi sandbox, including data replication issues, desyncing bugs, the hints and tips system, UI cleanup, inventory design, improved combat targeting, and the new starter island. That new starter island in particular as well as the new targeting system for combat should land in an upcoming update.
“The new Starter Island design has been finalized and we will begin building the new terrain for this directly after this first Condorslug update is out,” says the studio. “This represents the first phase of the overall world revamp. We are expecting this to take about 8 weeks, as there are several changes to how ABT set up areas and terrain as opposed to the workflow and setup we have in place. Once this is done and we have good feedback, we will begin the rest of the world.”
Meanwhile, the studio is surveying players on a number of features, the most recent of which is a query on inventory systems.
So here we are in January, one whole year after Idea Fabrik bought The Repopulation from a beleaguered Above & Beyond. The new company got it back online last year, and how could it not, since it owns the engine, right? Today, IF’s published an annual update and roadmap to spell out just what’s coming to the sandbox in 2018.
The company says January has been focused on caching and performance, plus the new targeting system and newbie tutorial. As for the rest of the year, the team is working with an 8- to 10-week update schedule and a new patch numbering system to build out inventory fixes, a consolidated astronomy system, better harvesting and surveying, the farming and horticulture system, a unified race spec system, unified factions, updated guilds, crafting tweaks, new NPCs, a new dynamic mission system, camp spawners, the combat progression overhaul, player merchants, the auction house, the UI, and the housing revamp. It’s, well, everything.
And don’t forget the world revamp. “We want to give the players a full map instead of a partial world,” IF says, “so this will take the longest time development-wise and as a result will have a longer wait time.”
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.
How do you like to play video games? Specifically, how do you like to play The Repopulation? No, you don’t have to tell us, not even down in the comments; you can tell the designers directly with a pair of new surveys asking for details about how players want to experience the game. The concept is to just start off with two surveys but regularly add more, allowing the developers a nuanced and complete picture of how people are enjoying the game and how they can continue to improve.
To start with, the surveys ask about your experience in the world of The Repopulation and your preferred playstyle; future surveys are already planned to cover things like skill gaining, PvP, and so forth. If you’ve got opinions and want to make sure you’re heard, well, this seems like an obvious way to make that happen, doesn’t it?
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.
It’s a case of good news, bad news over at The Repopulation this month.
The scifi sandbox, which is now being handled by Idea Fabrik since the turnover from Above & Beyond earlier this year, released Update 10.2 today. The patch adds the player auction house, backer NPCs, and plenty of additions and adjustments to crafting. The scale of these changes apparently required a world wipe and restart for the NA server, which has now been renamed to Novus. The EU server was taken offline until and unless a larger community shows up to play.
The bad — or at least discouraging — news is that the developer said that it can’t make good on the game’s original backer tiers and will be delivering some sort of refund for them. “We are sad to announce that the purchasing of tiers will not be enabled at this time,” the company said. “We can not, in good conscience, sell a product which we can not support or provide content for. We’ll review the tiers to consider how to best compensate players. This may mean changes, but our intention is to provide you with proper compensation for your purchase.”
Idea Fabrik has a new forum post up on the state of sandbox MMO The Repopulation heralding the testing of update 10.2. There’s downside, however, as the studio says it will be wiping the servers and merging them to “enable the developers and the players to focus on community building in a single place.” That’ll mean the end of the EU server in the short term.
“Being that the wipe is occurring with this update and the populations are low on both servers, we thought it would be the perfect time to merge into one community and build upwards from there. If we decide bring up a single server, we would be disabling the EU server until later in development, after more systems are completed and the community grows again. This would allow players to make fresh characters on the server or move their current US East Characters across. We have several options on how we can handle this and would like your input now and in the future when you think we are ready to reopen the EU Server.”
Mark your calendars for next Wednesday, November 8th, because this is the day that The Repopulation will get back on the patch train once more.
This “massive” Patch 15.10.1 is primarily focused on improving the game’s engine and stability, but Idea Fabrik’s wall of patch notes tell a story of numerous other tweaks and other added features. Choice bits that are coming include world bosses, tournament fishing, smaller enemy camps, audio for synthetic instruments, a player talent show system, generic town cleanup tasks, a low-rez textures option, and 57 new profession titles.
Players returning to The Repopulation to check out this patch will not need to create new accounts, as old account info should have been transferred over to the new system.
“Now it’s up to everyone else to help test and move this alpha forward as we work on the next patch A01, which includes 10.2,” the team said. “More details for this will be coming up in the future.”
Fans of The Repopulation have been waiting for the game’s next patch for a little while, but it shouldn’t be much longer now. A new post on the official forum explains that it was ultimately a matter of custom scripts executing in just the wrong ways, creating way more files to be saved and bundled with patch revisions. That’s hopefully been fixed by the new management at Idea Fabrik and is being addressed, but that’s also the reason for all of the delays.
The game’s developers are also looking to the next stage of development by revamping the game’s existing map and giving more distinct visual identities to each faction’s individual architecture. The game’s extant lore isn’t being well-conveyed visually, according to the same post, so the goal is to help reinforce and emphasize the lore and worldbuilding that’s already in place.
Last but not least, the post also notes that backer rewards are being worked on, with the important caveat that funds for those backer rewards have not actually gone to the new management in charge of the title. But they’re still a priority.
Gosh, I had almost forgotten about Fragmented – it’s been a while! But it’s formally launched on Steam as of today for a discounted $5.99.
“Today we have moved Fragmented into a released state after 16 months and more than 30 patches in Early Access,” says Above and Beyond’s JC Smith, noting that launch “does not mean the end of updates” for the game; “tweaks and bug fixes” are still on the table.
Fragmented was originally created by A&B in the Great Repopulation Pause of 2015 as a survival sandbox spin-off of the The Repopulation, first Kickstarted in 2012. The MMORPG was crippled by a nasty public contract dispute between the dev team at A&B and its Hero Engine-lessor Idea Fabrik, driving The Repopulation offline and causing A&B to spend a year working on Fragmented instead. Earlier this year, the studio announced it had sold the game to Idea Fabrik instead, a move that A&B said was in the best interests of the game and the playerbase, while A&B kept Fragmented. Since then, Idea Fabrik has gotten The Repopulation back online in a limited alpha.
Back in January, we learned the fate of The Repopulation: The Hero Engine team from Idea Fabrik would be taking over development of the game from its original developers at Above & Beyond following a lengthy dispute between the two that took the alpha offline for more than a year. It returned online and relaunched on Steam earlier this spring, promising an update in May after major issues were discovered in the code.
And here we are now in May, and the new team says the staging build is nearly live. The latest dev post promises that the “core vision” is still in line with A&B’s, will stay away from pay-to-win, will expand “to include multiple play styles” for PvE and PvP, will consider new and different rulesets, and will lay the groundwork for “future expansions.” The update is dubbed Condorslug, “first and foremost the start of the renovation to replication within every game system, at its very core this is about bug fixing and trying to get things in a much better place.” Expect new shaders, redone heightmaps, new textures, and yes, wipes.
Oh yeah, and expect to shell out some dough too, as the studio is “aiming to re-enable the purchasing of higher tiers” once the dust has settled.
How’s The Repopulation coming along? Well, it’s coming. Last week, the newly installed Idea Fabrik developers discussed how the planned May update is progressing with bug fixes and a smoother pipeline for actually identifying, reporting, and correcting issues. The big news, however, is the new shaders that provide a big visual upgrade to the game world (though the team notes flora isn’t in — you can check out the before and after shots below).
“The lore team is looking at shoring up a few things, getting a consistency and looking at future ideas,” Hobble writes. “A new launcher is being built, this may or may not make 15.10.1, but there are a few inconsistencies to do with Steam/Stand Alone that we wish to sort out.”
And Hero Engine also brought back online the EU server, which was taken down for database issues yesterday.