indie

OrbusVR’s alpha begins tomorrow, includes instanced player housing prototype

Indie VR sandbox OrbusVR is whooshing along toward the start of its closed alpha tomorrow, available to Kickstarter backers (it raised $34,000 in its week-long Kickstarter in March) and those who pick up founder packs on the official site. That alpha will run just two days, though Ad Alternum has five more planned ahead of the July 2017 beta.

Most recently, the studio has completely overhauled the warrior class to take better advantage of shield tactics and added its first attempt at player housing.

“We’ve added a prototype of the instanced Player Housing that will be included in the game,” explains the team. “If you’re in Highsteppe, just follow your Player Compass to the ‘Your House’ marker, then open the door to enter. Your Player House location is shared with others in the game, but once you enter the house it’s all your own, personal space. Right now there’s not really anything to do in your house (other than throw a few bottles around), but eventually this is where a good chunk of the crafting in the game will take place, and where your Player Chest will be, which is where you can store items long-term.”

Anybody in the alpha?

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Valiance Online on alpha, Steam, and the character generator of your dreams

Expect “big changes” in the way Silverhelm Studios handles superhero MMORPG Valiance Online’s development going forward, the indie group tells future players and testers in a new dev post today. Silverhelm says that about five months ago, it “shifted from a feature implementation and prototyping development stage to an aggressive content development and content testing phase,” with a renewed focus on transparency, the map, content coding, tools, mob scripting, and the character generator (shown down below), all in the service of preparing for an alpha release and then, eventually, release on Steam.

“Our marketing team is also gearing up for Alpha release, and building their launch campaign for the project. Alongside them, our business team is preparing for the Steam launch and resuming talks with interested investment parties as they start planning to strengthen our infrastructure’s integrity. Our plan is to have the Alpha run for at least 1-2 months. The first phase of testing will be reserved for those that have donor status with the project. As people donate money they will, of course, be given immediate access to the game. They will also receive all of their accumulated donor rewards that are available in the game at that time. Over time we will also add additional testers drawn from people registered on our forums and later, open testing to the public at large. The Steam launch is pivotal for us and is anchored loosely on how financial negotiations mature with interested parties, and how well the Alpha is received by our players. We’re in no rush to Steam, and it has always been our goal to have a well-established and highly refined product before heading to that market.

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Kickstarted indie VR MMO OrbusVR plans alpha tests, character customization upgrades

What’s up with OrbusVR, the blocky indie VR sandbox that breezed through its quickie Kickstarter to raise $34,000 last month — 340% of its goal? Quite a bit, it turns out! Ad Alternum has been quite busy — in fact, it says it’s already put the Kickstarter dough to use hiring two new employees, one working on quests and one working on art. The studio is plotting a 48-hour alpha test beginning on April 20th, with five more coming over the next couple of months and the beta fixed to July 2017. Would-be testers who didn’t back the Kickstarter can create accounts and purchase upgrades that include alpha access.

Founder Riley Dutton has also posted that the game now has an official wiki, a form of group voice chat, a proper naming policy, and progress toward the character customization effort, including hair, skin tone, faces, and eyes.

“The addition of the faces really adds a lot to the player model, so we’re super excited to play with that the next time we get you all in-game with us,” he writes. “We’re also working on a system so that the expressions of the player’s character change when they are speaking, and hopefully it can do some pitch detection and other tricks to show expressions as well.”

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Black Death’s V0.12 overhauls combat and housing, offers new trailer

Indie survival sandbox The Black Death is due for a massive update any hour now. Last week, Small Impact Games told players that back in November, the team simply wasn’t happy with the state of the game, so back to the drawing board it went for a round of key feature-building and problem-fixing. Now it’s ready for us.

The update is packed with a fully revamped combat system, a proper diurnal system, new spawn locations for noobies, new pillaging areas “that nobody in their right mind would want to visit unless you want the best loot in the game,” and the “tip of the new housing system iceberg” with what the team is calling a “core feature set” for housing that’ll be expanded heavily moving forward.

The update was meant to go live yesterday but was held back a day and change thanks to bug and internet issues. While you wait, check out the brand-new trailer out for the update!

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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we’re going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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The MOP Up: ARK’s console editions get a hair-do (March 26, 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!

This week we have stories and videos from Destiny, Eternal CrusadeElder Scrolls LegendsHearthstonePokemon GoMU LegendLineage IIARKUltima OnlineSword of ShadowsGhost Recon WildlandsRagnarok OnlineHeroes and GeneralsElsword, and Dota 2, all waiting for you after the break!

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The Soapbox: What the Mass Effect Andromeda kerfuffle ought to teach us about games criticism

Today is the official release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which was preceded by the frankly baffling decision to allow people access to an early build of the game ahead of time. Or perhaps the final build without everything enabled? The point is that you could play a bit of it if you were willing to drop some money. That seems like a bad idea that we’ve been dealing with in online-game-land for a long time, but regardless, it gave people the opportunity to see some of this RPG ahead of time.

This, in turn, allowed the typical internet trolls to find any and all animation flubs and then happily declare that it was all the result of one woman working on the game and handling all of the animations. Which, you know, is a conclusion that would be helped significantly if the woman in question actually worked in that role on the game, which she did not.

Obviously, the game under discussion is not an MMO. But it is symptomatic of two all-too-common problems in gaming culture that are worth noting to people who do not have balls of spiders in place of a soul. So let’s talk about those.

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Global Chat: Fare thee well, Landmark

Believe it or not, there were actually people who played and enjoyed Landmark — and were saddened to see it taken offline. To kick off this week’s roundup of interesting MMO blog posts, we turn to those who knew and remembered Landmark with their words.

“The game, once just a bullet point on the EverQuest Next announcement at SOE Live, has been shut down,” The Ancient Gaming Noob said. “The web site and forums have been hidden away and the domain resolves to the Daybreak main page. The few remaining fans have had their final look at the lands of… erm… <does Google search>… Lumeria! That was the name of the place.”

Superior Realities took a tour on its last day: “That, really, is what was special about Landmark. You could go to any map, walk in any direction, and in no time flat you’d be sure to find something beautiful, fascinating, or awe-inspiring. The traditional wisdom is that if you give players the tools to make their own content, the vast majority of it will be utter crap, but Landmark was stunning refutation of that notion.”

Continue our roundup as bloggers dissect problems with The Secret World’s combat system, share tips on how to grind LOTRO points, mull over why it’s hard to go back to the “olden days,” deliver an early access review of Revelation Online, and pontificate on why theme park MMOs simply work.

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Albion Online AMA on pay-to-win, free trials, and global servers

Sandbox Interactive ran an AMA for its in-development indie MMO Albion Online on Reddit last night, covering everything from the game’s business model to how players in far-flung locations fare on its global server. Here are the highlights!

  • There are no plans for a freebie weekend or trial as a result of fairness to founders and botting issues — as well as performance issues. “The game is extremely well populated as it is, and we’d be worried that free trial could slow down the servers.”
  • Likewise, SI will be sticking to its original plan to reward founders with early access, though players have expressed concern over the potential for an ArcheAge-like land-grab.
  • In response to players bringing up pay-to-win and the game’s $30 buy-in, SI explained the game’s business model is based on EVE Online’s and that while players can essentially gain an advantage by buying and then exchanging real-money currency for in-game currency, it won’t afford players a guaranteed win. As for the currency exchange, it should be possible to play the market.

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Enter to win a copy of Wild Terra from Juvty and Massively OP

Indie sandbox MMORPG Wild Terra has been in early access since December, a nostalgia-driven medieval sim that allows players to build up settlements (and then tear them down!). Most recently, the game has focused on its Corrupted Lands and crafting.

Developer Juvty Worlds has issued Massively OP 50 keys for the game, worth $15 apiece on Steam, to distribute to our readers. The only caveat is that the game must be available to you on Steam for you to use the key. Read on to enter to win!

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Ship of Heroes will seek $400,000 in Kickstarter funding

Indie superhero MMO Ship of Heroes has just announced the details of its planned Kickstarter campaign, which was previously noted to begin on April 4th: The crowdfunding event will run five weeks and hopes to raise $400,000. Alpha is expected to begin late in 2017.

“The key point to realize is that if you want to play in the Beta, you need to back us in the Kickstarter,” Heroic Games CEO Casey McGeever writes. “If you want to start even earlier and be part of the Alphas starting this year, then your chances go up depending upon how much you donate.”

McGeever argues that his team has shown off more of the game at its one-year mark than most comparable games do and that Ship of Heroes is angling to become a “family-friendly gaming community” and “a destination game that one plays for years, rather than content that gets played once and is then abandoned.”

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OrbusVR has fully funded on Kickstarter

OrbusVR, the blocky indie VR sandbox from Ad Alternum, has finished out its Kickstarter successfully this morning.

The studio had originally promised a brief, one-week Kickstarter with only a $10,000 goal, which backers met within four hours of launch. It sails to the finish line today with over 500 backers and $34,000 raised, which covers stretch goals including a pet companion system, extra world boss, and the Explorer’s League faction, falling just shy of an additional battle discipline (like the Monk or Shaman). The Kickstarter money is intended to buffer the game’s existing funding, not pay for the whole game.

OrbusVR is being built for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift as a full-scale MMORPG with all the basics — questing, combat, open-world zones, group content, and crafting — plus more unusual features like hybrid instanced dungeons, hidden and “feat” quests, player bounties, tiered safety zones for PvP, and a nifty compass system, the last of which was previewed over the weekend. Raiding won’t make it in for launch.

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