indie

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

Indie sandbox MMORPG Wild Terra (official site, Steam) 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 released its 8.3 update, which introduces vendor stands and allows players to put loot up for sale in exchange for spice currency.

Developer Juvty Worlds has issued Massively OP 200 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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Black Death is building out some nasty PvP hotspot content

What’s indie survival sandbox The Black Death been up to since it began taking “drastic action” to reorient its early access state this spring?

Pillaging. Specifically, the team has been building a new pillage area dubbed Fort Doom, a revisit of what are effectively risky PvP hotspot. They’re “bottleneck areas that players must venture into, to gain certain key crafting components that are required for the best recipes.” These spots may even eventually include environmental hazards; plague, of course, given the game we’re talking about, is already in, but maybe expect spike bits and destructible walls too.

The game’s latest dev blog also discusses the ongoing progress on its component-based crafting system, the inventory system, and door locks. The latest patch, 0.15, is due out at the end of June, so stay tuned, and maybe someday you too can roleplay as a plague-ridden locksmith.

Source: Dev blog

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Tale of Toast starts bi-weekly alpha tests on Steam

Self-labeled “hardcore” MMO Tale of Toast is kicking off bi-weekly alpha tests, and you are invited to the party. The two-person development team told Redditors that starting this weekend, it will be holding an alpha test through Steam. Interested parties can hop over to the official Discord channel to ask for a key.

Curious about what Tale of Toast looks like? The team put together a photo tour of this deceptively colorful game while pointing out some of its key features along the way.

The devs also made their elevator pitch about what makes this MMO special: “Tale of Toast is an open world MMORPG with hardcore PvP mechanics and where dying actually means something, and is inspired by old school MMORPGs and boardgames. Experience battles throughout the entire world against other players and guilds with the goal to take their items upon killing them, and risk losing your own upon your death.”

Source: Reddit. Thanks Harley!

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E3 2017: Survival sandbox Ashen boasts ‘passive multiplayer’

One of the indie highlights of this weekend’s pre-E3 show was Ashen, a beautiful survival sandbox with a former Guild Wars 2 artist on board at studio Aurora44. It’s not quite an MMORPG, but it’s promising what it’s calling “passive multiplayer” in a “seamless multiplayer” mode — a bit like what No Man’s Sky promised and failed to deliver — though you can opt to play solo too. It’s reminding me more of the Myst franchise or Wander in that it’s a survival sandbox framed by mystery and open-world exploration and relationship-building, not so much by the now-tropish parade of murderous zombies, dinosaurs, or other players (which is not to imply it’s not stuffed with danger, mind you!).

It’s expected to be a Microsoft exclusive, meaning PC and Xbox One release only, and that includes the newly announced Xbox One X. Peek at the trailer down below.

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Dual Universe on playtesting, the planetary map, and summer cons

Kickstarted indie sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe has posted its monthly update this week with a meaty dev vlog from Novaquark’s JC Baillie.

Baillie says that his team is moving away from introducing new features and toward polishing what’s already live and functional in the pre-alpha. That includes working with a third-party company for playtesting. Paid testers – crazy huh! While the studio won’t be at E3 next week, it is promising early alpha previews at the major cons (namely, Gamescom and PAX West) later this summer.

The rest of the video focuses on the game content itself, including moon take-offs, the planetary map (it’s pretty slick!), atmospheric effects, and new art assets.

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Indie multiplayer VR ARPG Prevent the Fall lands on Steam early access

So here’s a new one to our games list today: Indie developer D.W.S’s “all the things” ARPG Prevent the Fall. It’s one of those dungeon crawlers that supports everything from singleplayer offline to fully online multiplayer mode, and it boasts VR support too.

“The major features are all in place, and you can rise to level 20. The game features optional virtual reality support, but it is not required. It can be played with gamepad, vive motion controllers, or keyboard and mouse. Oculus Touch will be officially supported in the future, but Oculus users can currently participate using gamepads. The Action RPG gameplay revolves around generated quests with a mixture of generated and static dungeon elements. You can play entirely in single player, or can host or join multiplayer co-op sessions. Co-op sessions can mix and match VR and non-VR players.”

D.W.S cautions would-be players that the game is “very much a work in progress” with the usual assortment of early access bugs. The game is expected to move out of early access by the end of 2017. As of press time, the EA version of the game is just under $13.

Check out the pics and the early access video – oddly hazy, right?

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Warframe and Top Cow to produce exclusive comic book series

Well here’s a fun bit of news: Warframe is getting a physical comic book run. Digital Extremes announced today that it’s signed Top Cow Comics to create and produce the series. Apparently the indie label boss and writer even plays the game.

“This five-issue series expands the Warframe universe with intriguing new characters and original locations, and offers an imaginative character-driven tone to Warframe players and comic book fans alike. The narrative hinges on the lone Warframe, Excalibur, who is determined to protect a blinded young girl, the last survivor of a recently destroyed village on Earth. Seasoned Tenno may even find hints to future game updates in the series not yet revealed in the Warframe universe.”

DE has promised a free exclusive copy of the first issue to all attendees of the game’s July TennoCon; SDCC and NYCC attendees can also pick one up at the Top Cow booth. Everybody else? You’ll be waiting until October for the formal launch.

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Valiance Online promises fans that it is ‘moving forward’

Fans that might look at Valiance Online’s development chart and wonder when, oh when alpha will ever arrive are being treated to a pep talk from the team today. A reality check was posted on the official forums for those finding that patience with this project is in short supply.

“Game development is not a science, especially for a small indie team,” the Valiance Online devs wrote. “The unexpected happens, like Unity suddenly deciding to make major changes to the engine with no warning, or members of the team being unavailable due to their ‘day job’ or family/medical issues and when you have a small team, just one member being ‘AFK’ affects progress a lot. This is why we have decided to not post dates for when things will be done because ‘stuff’ happens and we don’t have the resources like a larger studio might have to deal with it as quickly. That’s just how it is.”

The good news? Progress is being made, and the team is just as excited about getting to alpha status as its fans. “Regardless of whatever challenges or setbacks we face, we keep moving forward,” promised the team.

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Identity announces SpatialOS integration, delays town square module

It’s time to play catch-up on another interesting indie MMORPG, Identity. You may remember this as the contemporary life simulator sandbox that has raised over a half-million dollars in funding and promises to let people inhabit a virtual world not unlike our own.

The team at Asylum Entertainment has been chatty over the past few weeks, announcing some big developments for the project. The first piece of news is that the team behind Identity is partnering with Improbable to use SpatialOS to become a “scope-changer” for the project.

“The Identity team has been testing the waters with SpatialOS for a couple of months now and we’re incredibly excited about what it’s going to mean for Identity,” the team said. “Identity can now be what we all hoped it would be, a true MMORPG in scale. SpatialOS is going to power Identity behind the scenes, allowing absolutely enormous scale for our world and the people playing in it.”

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Massively Overthinking: Is the MMO genre facing an identity crisis?

MMORPG blogger and MOP commenter Isarii (@ethanmacfie) recently published an excellent video positing that the MMO industry is facing a “massive identity crisis.”

“The MMO genre has sort of walked away from the things that made it unique and has faced an identity crisis since then as MMOs have reinvented themselves as these big giant titles trying to appeal to as many people as possible,” he argues. “As a result, you end up with MMOs that try to do things that smaller scale games tend to do better while not doing any of the things that make MMOs themselves unique.”

The whole video is worth a look-and-listen as he pins down what exactly does make MMOs unique and which MMOs have excelled as actual MMOs (protip: It’s everything from EVE to SWG to WoW, so don’t think this is about subgenre elitism at all). What do you think? Is Isarii right? Is the genre facing an identity crisis? And how do we solve it? That’s what our writers will be debating in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Ship of Heroes explores its spaceship mission maps

Raise your hand if you’re a superhero MMORPG fan who really, really wants to see good mission maps. None of this office building #3457225 stuff. That’s all of you, right? Good. City of Heroes-inspired indie superhero MMORPG Ship of Heroes has a new video out today demoing one such mission map. In a normal city on Earth, the area would be the sewer — the area directly under the city. But since Ship of Heroes is set on a domed city on a gargantuan spaceship, the area below Apotheosis City is just… spaceship corridors.

“The Justice has twenty ship levels, each of which can have above ground and below ground playable areas. This video illustrates the Sci-Fi themed environment that is below the surface of the first level, called Apotheosis City. Multiple rooms and corridors are shown, including the first layer of a deep section directly underneath the Arch in the center of the city. In addition three classes of crew are shown: security guards in the Arch room, plus scientists and crewmen, in their work clothes. A major control hub is also shown, as is a security room with a mysterious item kept under lock and key. While all of the art, layout, lighting, arrangement of assets, and special effects shown in the video are preliminary, they do provide insight into the current state of development and the intended art style of the Ship of Heroes. AI for the civilian NPCs in the video has been coded by the devs from Ship of Heroes. This setting is the most current example of an instanced mission map for the game.”

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Valiance Online’s capital city hall is ‘akin to the Pentagon’ for supers

Back in April, Silverhelm Studios told players it was instituting “big changes” in the way it was rolling out information for City of Heroes-inspired indie MMORPG Valiance Online, with a renewed emphasis on transparency. So far it’s delivered on that promise, as over the course of just the last few weeks, it’s begun posting development roadmap snapshots, mulled over sidekicking, previewed in-game buildings, and posted a map of the game world.

This week, it’s posted another look at the city hall of Skyeline, a tiered building with more lore than you can shake a cape at.

“The final structure that stands today is as glorious in appearance as it is in capability. Made from an amalgam of composite and newly generated Haelan brand synthetic metals, City Hall is a bastion of gleaming silver, mirrored glass and alabaster stone. It has multiple floors that begin on the lower second tier of Skyeline’s layers and proceeds twenty stories tall to end above the third tier. The building’s bowed hexagonal arch shape allows visitors to the city to walk under city hall to the Prisma Celeste and Memorial grounds beyond. A series of white marble and bronze accented stairs leads up either side of the main entrance to the many offices of the various departments contained within.”

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Pantheon explains acclimation and recaps the Monk class in May’s newsletter

Indie MMO Pantheon’s latest newsletter recaps the past month, so if you’re paying plenty of attention to the game, you’ve already seen the featured Monk stream. But Visionary Realms has also put out a bit more information on both the new class and the acclimation system. The studio is damn proud of acclimation in particular:

“Acclimation is a method of dealing with the harsh environments you will find in the world of Terminus. By using various infusions on different parts of the body, characters can help mitigate the external forces that may impact them. These infusions are on a tier based system, with lower tiers being more common and the highest requiring more advanced gameplay to attain. As with most of the systems planned for Pantheon, a measure of player interaction will be present in the form of craftable infusions. Another level of complexity is achieved by allowing more than one environmental system to be active simultaneously. Players will be able to use multiple infusions at once to help counteract their effects.”

Pantheon’s Monk is also on display; old-school EverQuest players are going to feel right at home with the class, which designed “not as just a fantastic pulling class, but also as capable melee DPS, short term crowd control and as a suitable offtank.”

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