If you’ve been following the MMO industry for a while, chances are you’ve seen the name Sanya Weathers pop up from time to time. Weathers has been both an MMO reporter and a community manager for various studios, including Undead Labs, Metaverse, and Mythic Entertainment. Now she has a new job at Legends of Aria’s Citadel Studios, and she’s bringing her experience and energy to this indie MMO.
It sounds as if Weathers is pretty stoked to be back working on an MMO: “Being part of a world like Legends of Aria is like coming home for me. This is going to be amazing, y’all. There is a lot going on behind the scenes, and I’ll be able to share some of it soon.”
She did say that she’s spending a lot of time right now preparing for Legends of Aria’s appearance at PAX East next month, where the game will have a small booth.
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 War of Rights, Blade and Soul, Lineage 2 Revolution, Darwin Project, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Closers, Elder Scrolls Online, Bless, Soulworker Online, Skyforge, The Black Death, Saga of Lucimia, Dungeon Fighter Online, Mu Origin, Prosperous Universe, Legends of Aria, Battlerite, and Aura Kingdom Mobile, all waiting for you after the break!
After a lengthy wait, the first beta for Camelot Unchained is here at last! That’s what we’ll be saying in about a hundred days, because that beta doesn’t actually start until July 4th, but there’s a lot of work being done in the ramp-up for that beta. So now we have a bit of time to kill until then. Who’s up for Scrabble?
Meanwhile, we bid farewell to H1Z1, as the game… technically launched? It’s kind of ambiguous. We’ll go with a launch. Get out of here, H1Z1. Let’s get on with other beta news.
- The cel-shaded action of SoulWorker Online is now available in open beta. Now, you know how we feel about free-to-play titles in open beta, but the game is still slated for an actual hard launch date, so we’ll let this be. For now. We’re watching you.
- On the other hand, Legends of Aria might be slipping to a later date for its early access start, missing the original target of April. We’re also watching you, but with affection, we promise.
- European players who want in on the latest test for Conqueror’s Blade can register and take part. If you aren’t European, well… don’t do that, probably? It’s not for you.
- It’s been a while since we got a big update for Project Genom, huh? Well, here comes another big patch. Alert the people! The people who aren’t reading this, anyhow. We alerted you just now.
- Last but not least, if you’ve ever wanted to demand that your friends kneel in deference when you enter the room, Crowfall’s Vassal system has you covered. But don’t take my word for it, check out two videos on the design.
Below us, the list of games we have in testing can also kneel in deference. You, dear readers, can just look through the list at your leisure. Do let us know if something is on there that ought to be listed differently, though, or if there’s something else awry. We appreciate it.
Don’t go taking any time off work in April with the hopes of playing Legends of Aria’s early access program. In an Ask Me Anything session on Wednesday, Project Lead Derek Brinkmann said that the team is evaluating the progression of the game’s closed beta and may not be able to make the April target for early access.
“There is a very good chance that our Steam release date will slip,” Brinkmann said. “It is really important to the team that we deliver the absolute best experience possible on that day of the final wipe because we only get one shot at it. Expect an announcement about our release date in the coming weeks with a more specific answer.”
Planning on dropping a shiny dime (plus several hundred additional dimes) on one of the founder’s packs for Legends of Aria? You’ll gain access not only to closed beta testing and the promised seven-day headstart when the game launches but several in-game rewards as well.
Founder’s packs and their associated rewards are now available for purchase. These begin at $30 for the “noble” package and scale up to $90 for the “lord” bundle. Each of the three packs contains a different type of cloak, with the higher tiers containing niceties such as crowns, thrones, and furniture. Just the thing to correct the oversight that no one has made you a king yet.
Legends of Aria is currently in closed beta testing and is working on expanding the team and packing in more features for launch, such as better mob AI and a new player tutorial.
“We have lots of great features in the pipeline and we are making strides in adding depth to our core sandbox features which really set us apart,” the team said.
If studio job postings get your blood pumping with the thoughts of what could be, here are a couple of tantalizing tidbits that perhaps hint at future development.
Legends of Aria developer Citadel Studios posted a job listing for both a digital marketing specialist and a game programmer. By the way, if you happen to be testing Aria right now, you should know that the NDA was lifted earlier this week.
Nexon — which you may have heard of — put out a notice with the hopes of recruiting a game director for its Nexon OC Studio. The specific game in question was not mentioned, although the description does ask for candidates that have worked on previous AAA titles.
If that last post sounds a little familiar, perhaps it is because you are remembering that former WildStar and World of Warcraft developer Stephen Frost went to work as a game director at Nexon OC last year.
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!
While Legends of Aria prepares to wind down its first closed beta test on February 11th, it doesn’t mean that the party has to end. The dev team announced that it will keep the server up and running for founder’s pack owners until the final beta arrives. The only downside here is that from the 12th on, the server will go back under NDA status for its players.
Before this happens, however, there are some adjustments that the team is making to the beta test. The newest update includes a new allegiance system, fixes to beast mastery and taming, and a “karma flag” to prevent players from accidentally hurting their karma rating.
The team also invites its testers to a Friday Night Fight on February 9th. During this, teams of two players will compete against each other in a tournament.
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.
Congratulations, Legends of Aria, we’re glad to see that you’re in closed beta now. It’s been a twisting road for this particular title, but we’re hopeful that the road ahead will be filled with fun and success. What? That was serious. There was no sarcasm in there. Seriously, it’s sometimes hard to tell.
Other beta news? Sure thing, buddy. Just for you.
- The cute, cuddly, and brutally difficult Tale of Toast will be entering early access this month. If you’d like to argue that it’s neither cute nor cuddly, we understand, art is subjective like that. If you’d like to argue that it’s not difficult, say that to its face.
- How do you play Project Genom? Where do you even start? There’s a video for that as the game’s development rolls on. So that’s helpful!
- Good news, Star Citizen fans, you can now subscribe in order to get access to the PTU forever! By popular demand, apparently. Now, be prepared to argue eternally over whether or not this optional subscription fee to a game that’s still early in its test cycle is really a subscription fee at all, and get ready for people willing to argue with you for hours until language no longer makes any sense.
- Speaking of spaceships, Dual Universe is blasting through some pre-alpha testing right now, and it’s got some news for the fans. Specifically, about territory control. Very important if you like to control territory.
Ah, it’s not really a new year until we’re arguing over spacecraft, is it? But don’t you worry, we’ve got our usual list down below, and we’re always interested to hear from you if something isn’t on there that should be, is on there that shouldn’t be, or should be on there and is on there but isn’t listed in the right test phase. Let us know down in the comments!
Sad news this morning: Linkrealms is sunsetting, today if our read of the letter sent to players yesterday is correct, since today is the end of the month. Players posted the email up on the Steam forums:
“Here we are at the end. I suppose everyone had a sense that this announcement was coming: the Linkrealms servers will be shutting down at the end of the month. Linkrealms was the result of endless hours of hard work and investment, creativity and dedication, but it never achieved any traction in the real world market. The game has been coasting down for a year and now there’s nothing left to fund the servers – reality has caught up with us all. We developers have truly enjoyed working on the game and hope you all had fun in the Linkrealms world. Below you can find a couple games that we think you might like now that Linkrealms is gone. Goodbye, and thank you for being with us in this long, exciting journey!”
Linkrealms was an isometric, indie sandbox plainly inspired in part by Ultima Online; it first hit beta in 2011 and made its way to Steam in 2016.
Welcome to the Beta Club, Legends of Aria! Enjoy the full benefits of membership, such as free snackies, the comfy couch, and increased attention from players.
Legends of Aria – that’s the game once known as Shards Online – started its first closed beta test today, and this one is hitting all the right notes with a continuation of alpha player characters and a lack of NDA. The studio is also selling founder’s packs for those who want to secure some extras prior to launch.
The CBT adds a lot of content and balance tunning as well. There’s a new region (Eastern Frontier), two additional cities (Helm and Pyros Landing), the Contempt world dungeon, the return of the Catacombs dungeon, the new Karma and Conflict system, and a more minimalistic user interface.
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.