kickstarter

The Daily Grind: How do we solve the broken MMO dev cycle?

Massively OP reader Yuri has posed us an interesting chicken-or-the-egg question for this morning’s Daily Grind. “People got burned on paying for unfinished games and are waiting until proper release, but developers shut down projects saying they didn’t see enough support,” he writes. “How can that circle be broken?”

I suspect anyone who’s ever backed a Kickstarter, contemplated buying a game in early access, or followed an indie MMO from inception has struggled with this issue. With rare exceptions, I do my best not to buy anything in early access to protect myself from both heartbreak and frustrating financial loss, but I still want to support great indie games. Then when we see games crumble in alpha or beta because they couldn’t get that critical mass of players, testers, backers, or attention, I always wonder whether people like me are making things worse. I get wanting to let the market sort it out, but the market keeps sorting out the stuff I wanted to play. I’m not sure that’s winning.

How do we solve the problem? Or is it an issue that we players should consider not our problem to begin with?

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Make My MMO: Camelot Unchained’s beta will be born on the fourth of July (February 17, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained invites you to break out the sparklers because the game will finally launch its long-delayed beta one on July 4th. That’ll follow the “feature lock” date of June 12th. We got the whole scoop in our interview earlier this week!

Meanwhile, Star Citizen posted a new ship sale, had a nice friendly chat with the BBB, and talked about the thrilling topic of refueling. Plus, Crowfall got a lore update, Albion updated its Kay build, Pantheon teased its pre-alpha, Project Gorgon detailed its Steam preparation, and mecha-shooter Pantropy updated its ongoing Kickstarter.

And Maguss, the wizarding MMOARG that raised almost half a million bucks on Indiegogo, launched its open beta on iOS and Android this morning.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Fight to the top in Reign of Guilds’ hardcore medieval world

Is there room enough in this industry for another self-proclaimed hardcore, old school MMORPG with all of the PvP fixins? Russian-based Atlant Games is betting that there is, as it’s deep in development with a medieval title called Reign of Guilds.

A cross between a kingdom simulator and a guild sieges, Reign of Guilds thrust players into a fantasy realm where they will vie for power, control, and territory. It’s all hard edges here, with full partial corpse looting, non-target combat, friendly fire, and the tantalizing possibility of clawing your way to the top to become the realm’s king.

Reign of Guilds has 10 months of development under its belt and is already wielding a prototype that has a few dozen players testing it. The studio said that it plans on launching a Kickstarter campaign for it in the future.

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Pantropy works to simplify crafting and protect players from offline raids

With $24k out of $94k raised so far, the German mech shooter Pantropy has a long road ahead of it in its Kickstarter campaign.

The team hasn’t stopped developing for the game during this period, however. It reported that work is being done on an “offline raid protection system” to make the PvP battlescape a little more fair.

It also acknowledged that its crafting system needs an overhaul: “We also got a lot of feedback from our current playerbase and the result is that our crafting is waaaay to complex. We’ll try to re-write all crafting recipes today and make them more simple.”

As we’ve pointed out previously, Pantropy is a little larger than your typical multiplayer game but less than a bigger MMO, with a server size of 64 to 128 players duking it out over an alien landscape.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO is the absolute best if you’re a whale?

At the end of every year, I always do a Daily Grind on the most expensive MMO to play at that exact moment, with the implication being that expenses are bad for the average MMORPG. What I don’t think we’ve ever done is flip it around and ask which MMO is actually best for the whales. That’s what MOP reader Arsin wants to know.

“I’ve got the money to win at pay-to-win,” Arsin wrote. “What pay-to-win MMO gives me the most bang for my buck?”

I’m positive the temptation will be to point at Star Citizen or some other Kickstarter game that lets you pile thousands of dollars in for content – but that content hasn’t actually arrived and probably shouldn’t constitute bang for buck just yet. So let’s consider live MMOs only and imagine that money is truly no object. Which MMO is the absolute best if you’re a whale?

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Star Citizen’s Cloud Imperium reps meet with California Better Business Bureau

Cloud Imperium apparently met with representatives of the Better Business Bureau in California for an “introductory meeting” that the Star Citizen studio described as “cordial and constructive.”

Polygon reported last night that that meeting with the consumer advocacy group was arranged at the request of CIG following the news of two high-value ($25000 and $16700) refund requests that had allegedly been given the runaround (and indeed, refunds after a long period of time are seldom given by CIG at all). One of those fans had apparently filed a complaint with the BBB.

But BBB CEO Steve McFarland seems pretty pleased with the way CIG, which is not a member of the BBB, is handling backers, particularly in regard to the public roadmap of the game’s production. He said that his goal for the the meeting was “to encourage CIG to improve communications and transparency on their production schedules to existing and new clients that may reduce confusion and frustration on future product/revision deliveries” – delivery issues apparently being “the most common BBB consumer complaint.”

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The MOP Up: Black Desert’s Ninja arrives in Southeast Asia (February 11, 2018)

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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Vendetta OnlineWorlds AdriftMonster Hunter WorldHellionRustSkyforgeBlade and SoulPortal KnightsFinal Fantasy XIDreadnoughtPUBGHyper UniverseCrossoutBlack DesertDark and LightH1Z1DauntlessRobocraftFortniteWar of RightsCosmos InvictusUltima Online, and Vendetta Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Make My MMO: Dual Universe’s second crowdfunding effort and Massively OP’s third birthday (February 10, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Dual Universe is still zooming along in its pre-alpha, and it’s addressed just that in a new AMA this week. The studio acknowledges that the game’s development has become delayed (you’ll recall it was originally supposed to launch a full alpha last fall) but that money isn’t an issue. “Don’t worry, we are OK,” Novaquark tells backers. “We are going to publish a roadmap before Summer. For the 24/7 [testing], this is a high level priority, and we hope to be able to get you there in a few weeks. It won’t be full time however, but more like full week-ends to start with.” The studio also says it’ll launch a second crowdfunding effort later this quarter.

On a more meta note, today marks Massively OP’s third birthday as an independent MMORPG website, and the plain truth is that wouldn’t be here today without the generous donors who contributed to our original Kickstarter back in 2015, our Patreon and PayPal donors, our Twitch subbers, our Amazon clicky-clickers, and you lovely folks who whitelist our ads. You and we are living proof that crowdfunding can work! Thank you all so very much from the whole team. Here’s to three and many more!

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City of Titans introduces its costume designer while teasing character creation

We haven’t seen the character creation for City of Titans just yet, but you know that’s going to be an important part of the game. You can’t have a proper superhero title without proper superhero costumes, after all. The latest piece on the official site is interviewing one of the development team’s costume designers and talking about the development behind the scenes, but both it and the video accompanying it promise that the actual creation preview is coming very soon.

Kayla “Z06” Bianchi talks mostly about her own gaming history and preferences in the little interview, but you can also see some of her work for both the concept art and interior level design. If all you’re interested in is the prospect of seeing how you can make your character, check out the video just below. (It’s a teaser, not a full trailer, so be fairly warned.)

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Multiplayer sci-fi sandbox Pantropy has launched its $91K Kickstarter

Last September, we first heard about Pantropy, a “sci-fi faction multiplayer shooter with mechs and focus on building and crafting” and a really cool name – not quite an MMO, but in our orbit, we think, particularly with the sandboxy features, hosted servers, and 128 potential players per server. At the time, German studio Brain Stone was plotting a November Kickstarter, but that was apparently delayed, as the Kickstarter launched just a few days ago and runs for the next month and change with a $91,903 US goal.

€15 (about $18.34 US) – is the cheapest pledge for a copy of the whole game at its estimated June 2019 launch; in fact, the devs are straight-up calling it a preorder, though you’ll need to pony up a little more for early access or closed alpha, set for later this year. The Kickstarter is specifically meant to help the team finish the game faster, optimize for performance and multiplayer, hire an extra level designer, add high-end sound effects and music, and flesh out the story. PvE servers are slotted for the second stretch goal (around $122,000 US); character customization (“play as male or female, tweak your appearance into something you’re proud to wear into battle”) comes at $305,000 US. Console ports are also on the table.

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Make My MMO: Crowfall’s EU servers, Camelot’s newsletter, Star Citizen’s perks (February 3, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained’s idea of a “short” newsletter is still over 3000 words, but it’s live this week with a rundown of the news that’s still buzzing from January: that the studio is making new hires left and right in the wake of a huge cash investment that’ll speed up production of the game. It’s also called its first alpha a success now that it’s smashed some lag bugs.

And in surprising news, one of the principals on Greed Monger actually began processing refunds for its 2012 MMORPG Kickstarter after years of abandonment.

Meanwhile, the Elite Dangerous community thwarted griefers, Star Citizen added earliest test access to subscriber perks, Legends of Aria began another round of beta, AdventureQuest 3D teased its new Paladin class, Albion Online rolled out another update to the Kay patch, Dual Universe’s pre-alpha edged up to R0.8.16, and Crowfall made good on its promise to get the EU test servers up and running.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Greed Monger has actually begun refunding Kickstarter backers from 2012

Way back in 2015, Kickstarted MMORPG Greed Monger was dead in the water, ripped apart by development delays, infighting amongst the developers, lawsuit threats, and then abandonment. The word “scam” was used copiously, given that the devs had raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter in 2012 in the service of building out a crafting sandbox that never happened.

It got weirder in 2016, when one of the original devs resurfaced, promised to work on the game, and then quit once more, this time citing its small playerbase. And then last year, a totally different former developer showed up with an apology and plan for refunds. As recently as a few weeks ago, that dev, Jason Appleton, was cheering his apparent luck in the cryptocurrency market and promising refunds.

I’m astonished to report that those refunds are actually happening.

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Make My MMO: Camelot’s new producer, Star Citizen’s alpha 3 features, & SOTA’s R50 (January 27, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained devs say they’re getting really close to finalizing the date for beta one. This week, in addition to fiddling with the beta calendar, CSE says it’s been working on poses, rocks, casting and UI animations, new armor and weapon textures, container permissions, and performance for buildings, as well as training up the new tech producer.

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar pushed out R50, Elite kicked off the beta for its next big update, we continued our tour of Project GorgonDual Universe teased new concept art, War of Rights got a wee patch, ROKH patched up (devs say they’re still “looking for the best way to make [their] come-back,” and Fragmented admitted it’s essentially in maintenance mode.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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