Has enough time gone by to start erasing memories of Revival, that ambitious but troubled horror MMO that was canceled back in March 2016? While the project is dead, its developers have forged on — and one has made the jump to another indie MMORPG.
Chronicles of Elyria announced this past week that it picked up Adam Maxwell to become the game’s new lead designer. Previously, Maxwell worked on RIFT, Star Citizen, World of Tanks, and Revival (in addition to almost a dozen other titles). Hopefully this new berth will be a good fit for him and Soulbound Studios.
Maxwell says that it was an easy jump from Revival to Elyria: “Half my fun getting to know everyone here has been in asking questions like, ‘So how did you all handle…’ and then randomly picking a feature from Revival. Weather, NPC memory, narrative dynamics… every answer is different from Revival, but they always hit the same mechanical goal. I feel like the two projects are siblings separated at birth. It’s both awesome and eerie at the same time.”
At the beginning of 2017, it seemed as though a mini-renaissance was brewing for Lord of the Rings Online
. Standing Stone Games broke away from the sinking ship that was Turbine and offered a fresh start of sorts for the long-running MMO. We were coming to a head with the game’s story and a return to large-scale expansions was confirmed with the news of Mordor
Reality and hopes don’t always get along, and while 2017 hasn’t always been the kindest to LOTRO, it hasn’t been a crushing disappointment either. The more I’ve been looking at the state of the game, reading the forums, playing it, and covering news, the more I’ve felt the need to grade how the game is doing in the right here and now.
So why not? It’s school season, so let’s embrace the academic spirit and assign some marks to LOTRO’s operation and state. Agree with these grades? Disagree? Get out your quill and scratch your own thoughts down there in the comments!
Something evil and sinister has awakened in Legends of Aria, but that is actually pretty exciting news for alpha testers seeking new challenges and content to conquer. Wednesday’s alpha patch activated “Dragon’s Den awakening spawn” that provide access to Tier III prestige abilities and loot when defeated.
The update also made crafting armor and weapons easier than before, with decreased difficulty in making them and an increased spawn rate for resources. Stealthing around is now a little more difficult but also less random, with players not being able to suddenly hide while in plain sight of others.
If you’re curious about this indie fantasy sandbox as it wraps up its alpha and eyes beta testing, check out our recent podcast interview with Lead Developer Derek Brinkmann as he gives the inside scoop into all things Legends of Aria!
On this week’s show, Legends of Aria’s Derek Brinkmann returns for another interview about how the indie MMORPG is shaping up as it goes through its “final” alpha and heads toward beta and launch. We also dig deep into the mailbag to gripe about gambling!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
So here’s an MMO we’ve never heard of before: It’s called Prosperous Universe. It’s super duper indie alpha browser-based massively online game, with single-shard tech, a focus on trading and economy, and of course, a military component – a “high-level meta game” that dev Michael Olp tells us revolves around orbital and planetary structures.
“Imagine a game world with hundreds of stars, thousands of planets and asteroids, new colonies, huge empires and — you. A tiny little company, owning a few ships, barely enough money to buy fuel for your next jump. What would you do? Would you try your luck in one of the asteroid fields mining for rare ores? Would you sell your ships, your cargo and everything else to start trading in one of the large trading hubs? Would you want to become a respected designer of modern space ships? Or would you do anything to become the leader of one of the large corporations to scheme plans on how to wage trade wars against your enemies? Whatever you decide to do, it will leave a mark in the persistent world of Prosperous Universe and have consequences for you and everyone else.”
It’s pretty much got “Bree, come be a Star Wars space trucker” written all over it, and I’m digging the positive name for a change. But while we’re going to kick up a dev video down below and point to the features roadmap, let us also note that there’s no in-game demo or pics just yet. On the other hand? The tiny German Simulogics team also isn’t asking for money just yet. It’s one to keep an eye on!
Since last spring, we’ve been covering the early access of Steam Hammer, a steampunk multiplayer OARPG with some decidedly hardcore sandbox leanings. And dirigibles, which is what got my attention.
Wanna check it out in person? We have a giveaway for that! Publisher Big Way and studio SF Team have granted MOP 20 Steam keys for the full game, which’ll allow 20 of our readers to pop in and try out the early access for free, a $20 value. It’s a global game, so if you can redeem keys on Steam, you should be able to participate.
Read on to enter to win!
Blizzard’s going old school once again with its band selection for this year’s BlizzCon: UK alt rock band Muse. Here’s the spiel:
“Widely renowned as one of the best live acts in the world, Muse—Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard, and Chris Wolstenholme—have won numerous music awards, including two Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, five MTV Europe Music Awards, two Brit Awards, six NME Awards, and six Q Awards. Since forming in 1994, Muse have released seven studio albums, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. Their latest album, Drones, debuted at #1 in 21 countries around the world and scored the band their first #1 album in the United States—along with an award for Best Rock Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.”
Both in-person and virtual ticket holders will be able to watch the concert. Past acts at the show include Blink-182, Metallica, the Foo Fighters, Tenacious D, Linkin Park, and last year, Weird Al. Lob your “at least it’s not Blink-182” jokes at the comments below.
Happy pre-alpha, Dual Universe! The ambitious indie space sandbox MMORPG kicked off the pre-alpha over the weekend, bringing 2500 backers in to test. You’ll recall that it was the alpha that was meant to start this fall, but studio Novaquark didn’t believe it was ready enough, hence the birth of a pre-alpha to “honor [the studio’s] commitment to [its] backers.” This particular round of testing is open to “gold founders” and up who contributed to the game ahead of September 7th.
In today’s press release, Novaquark CEO Jean-Christophe Baillie talks up both the game’s funding ($7.4M to date) and single-shard tech. “Our proprietary CSSC (Continuous Single-Shard Cluster) and voxel engine technologies are now benchmarked for the first time with real players and not just bots,” he says. “It is truly amazing to think that when you see a moon in the sky, it’s actually there, you can fly to it with a proper spaceship. And you could carve out half of it, given enough time, as the world is entirely editable. Everyone will see it. This kind of giant continuous world experience has never been seen before in gaming. We can’t wait to see what people are going to build over the next weeks.”
The studio has a brand-new trailer out today in honor of the pre-alpha; you can watch it down below, and then when you’re done, take a peek at our demo and interview with Baillie from PAX West, after which MJ dubbed it “Landmark in space but better.”
A few years ago, we counted basically three City of Heroes successor games, all made by indie studios. In 2017, we still have three core titles on the way — it’s just a slightly different three. In light of that, MOP reader Pepperzine proposed today’s Leaderboard: Which of the five City of Heroes spiritual successors are you looking forward to the most?
- City of Titans – CoT was the first out of the gate, with a successful $678,189 Kickstarter back in 2013. It’s expecting to release a playable pre-alpha for backers by the end of this year.
- Valiance Online – Valiance ran its Kickstarter in 2014 but raised only a fifth of its $150,000 goal. Since then, it’s solicited backers through its website. Its founder alpha began in July of this year.
- Ship of Heroes – SoH startled everyone when it was announced less than a year ago. Though it canceled its Kickstarter bid in April and trimmed back its launch scope, it has continued on with serious development, most recently charming would-be players at PAX. Limited combat alpha testing begins in December with raid beta expected in June of 2018.
- Heroes and Villains – H&V was the third successor to be announced, but it’s had a much quieter run. Plan Z Studios does still frequently update its website with development notes, the most recent being on supergroups, but it has yet to open crowdfunding.
- Redside – Redside popped up earlier this year with a really barebones Kickstarter aimed at bringing back the villain elements of City of Heroes, but that Kickstarter failed to fund (by a lot) and studio Brass Lampworks’ website is no longer active.
To the pollmobile!
Have you ever heard of this indie MMORPG called Minions of Mirth? It was put together by a small team in about a year and released in 2005. While it wasn’t the easiest game to get into and was vastly overshadowed by bigger fantasy MMOs at the time, Minions of Mirth did cultivate a devoted following partially thanks to the devs encouraging the community to tinker with the source code to help improve the game.
It was also notable for being one of the first free-to-play MMORPGs before that was a thing in the west.
Unfortunately, Minions of Mirth’s 12 year run is now at an end. A hard drive failure led to the game being taken down “indefinitely,” according to the official Twitter account. Still, it doesn’t mean that it’s the true end of the game. Minions of Mirth does feature a single-player option, which means that the community can still enjoy the game… just offline.
Check out this Atlas Obscura tour of the game from 2015 and an overview video after the break.
Well now PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will have another battle royale game to fight. UK-based Automaton Games announced that it is working on a new tactical shooter MMO that will, yes, include a last-player-standing battle royale mode. Got to cash in on the craze, after all!
Despite its indie credentials, Automaton is going all-out with this title. The studio received a $10 million infusion from an investment firm and is using that to fund the development of the so-far unnamed title. From what we know, the new game is going to throw as many as 1,000 players onto a “shared world” that’s 12 kilometers square. The game has some muscle under its hood, being made with SpatialOS and the CryEngine.
According to the website: “We’ve recently announced a few details of our upcoming tactical shooter: an MMO of unprecedented scale, supporting 1,000 concurrent players in an ultra-high fidelity world instance. It is set in a huge, photoreal, and highly dynamic environment, with strong character progression, social hubs, intelligent mission systems, and global-scale player-driven narrative.”
Even an old dog can find itself a fresh young pup in the right circumstances. Battleground Europe, originally known as World War II Online, finally made the jump to Steam last week as one of the newest full-scale MMOFPS games on the platform. This, despite the title being over a decade and a half old at this point.
It looks as though the title has reverted back to the original World War II Online title for the Steam launch. As of September 22nd, the game saw an increase of 45,000 players sign up for new accounts, which is no doubt sorely needed for this aging MMO. The small indie team is using this momentum as an opportunity to push out more improvements, such as newer art models and a streamlined tutorial.
“Population levels remain substantially higher than we have seen in years, routinely around the clock,” the team posted. “We’re very happy to report this progress and these production items coming (more not listed here) are intended to help bolster that success even further.”
During this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I attempted to tackle a question sent in by commenter and listener Sally Bowls – specifically, she wanted us to speculate on what a post-launch monetization plan for Star Citizen might look like.
“Assuming they have a lot of overhead and expense, are they going to fire most of their employees at launch? Keep them and support them with subscriptions? DLC? Cosmetics? A stream of new ships would be my first guess – but new ships good enough that people spend $50M-$100M per year withouth causing old customers to think the new shiny invalidates their previous purchase? That seems to me a non-trivial tightrope to walk.”
Put away your instinct to joke that it won’t matter because Star Citizen is never coming out. Let’s just reasonably assume that it does eventually launch into something the studio will call more or less ready. How do you think Star Citizen will make money after launch? That’s the question I’ve posed the Massively OP team for this round of Massively Overthinking.