no man’s sky

Official Site: No Man’s Sky

Humble Bundle and GOG.com cut deals for online games

Looking for a few good deals on MMOs and multiplayer games? Both Humble Bundle and GOG.com are running some sales right now that might cut you a deal on a title you’ve been eyeing.

Humble Bundle’s Sci-Fi Week includes price breaks on No Man’s Sky ($23.99), Osiris: New Dawn ($12.49), the standard version of Elite: Dangerous ($13.49), the commander deluxe version ($31.79), and the season pass for Elite: Dangerous Horizons ($17.99).

GOG.com’s Most Wanted Games Sale isn’t quite as relevant for the online gamer, although you can pick up Grim Dawn for a respectable $7.49, Torchlight for $3.79, and Torchlight II for $4.99.

Source: Humble Bundle, GOG.com. Thanks Dave!

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No Man’s Sky announces free ‘NEXT’ update for all platforms – yes, Xbox One too

Ahead of an apparent impending leak, Hello Games’ Sean Murray dropped a “small announcement” about No Man’s Sky this morning.

“Coming in Summer 2018 is No Man’s Sky NEXT, a free update for PS4, PC, Xbox and WeGame,” he writes. “It’s our largest update so far, and we’re working our socks off.” There’s a teeny trailer too, and I do mean teeny – it’s just the title of the game. You might recall that the game isn’t actually out on Xbox One yet, so that’s apparently happening simultaneously.

MMO players will recall that the game raised ire ahead of its launch back in 2016 for deceptive marketing practices, including suggestions of multiplayer that didn’t materialize at launch, though subsequent well-received updates have since made it a reality.

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A player modder is building the No Man’s Sky you always wanted

Way back in 2016, No Man’s Sky was all anyone talked about thanks to misleading hype positioning the game in the stratosphere. In fact, the multiplayer features that were teased (and apparently planned in spite of claims to the contrary) didn’t actually launch with the game, contributing to a regulatory investigation (which went nowhere). It was particularly disappointing to the MMO community, which didn’t believe NMS was itself an MMO but had been looking forward to online and social features, to the point that we were all deeply disappointed when it didn’t happen.

Some of that disappointment vanished last summer, when Hello Games emerged from its self-imposed PR silence with a new patch introducing “joint exploration,” which wasn’t exactly co-op multiplayer; instead, the devs called it “an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man’s Sky” – and we called it the first step into turning the game into what was originally advertised.

Players are now taking even more next steps. As Kotaku first reported, a player modder – RaYRoD – undertook a huge overhaul mod to basically reintroduce a lot of the planned features that people noted weren’t actually in the launched game.

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Global Chat: Love the farm, hate the farm

How do you feel about grinding in MMOs? What about farming? These questions can elicit a wide variety of answers, from shrieks of dismay to enthusiastic head nods. Depending on the situation, grinding and farming can be something to be enjoyed, to be endured, or to be avoided at all cost.

The Game Freak Show says that he has a love/hate affair with grinding and farming, and it presents all sorts of muddled emotions, especially when gated mechanics are thrown into the mix: “While I have forgiven the grind in many RPGs for sucking away my time, this disturbing trend of games that do not have a harsh grind because they’re flawed or made for a different audience, but to force people to drop more cash on the table is something I can’t.”

Continue on for a look at Kritika Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online’s Ravenloft, the best solo MMOs, and more!

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EVE Vegas 2017: CCP announces new EVE-based mobile MMO Project Aurora

At the opening presentations of EVE Vegas 2017, CCP Games announced that it has teamed up with mobile developer PlayRaven to produce a totally new free-to-play mobile MMO set in the EVE Online universe. Currently codenamed Project Aurora, the new game won’t be connected to the EVE universe directly but is thematically set in EVE and has some similar gameplay elements such as territorial warfare and corporation politics.

Each player in Aurora will take command of an upgradable space station, from which ships can be dispatched to gather resources and capture territory. You’ll find yourself on a star map with other players doing the exact same, and can forge alliances, form corporations, and betray other players just like in EVE. The goal is to fight for possession of ancient artifacts in the centre of the map that you can then use to fix a broken ancient stargate and move onto the next map. Each jump brings you one step closer to the ultimate goal of reaching the center of the galaxy — I’ll take a pause here for those currently experiencing No Man’s Sky flashbacks.

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Global Chat: Has No Man’s Sky finally arrived as a full-featured game?

It’s been a year since the disastrous and controversial launch of No Man’s Sky, a game with failings that included, among many others, a lack of multiplayer when it specifically advertised itself as such.

But has the space exploration game finally arrived now that it’s sitting on several patches is far more robust than its launch incarnation? Virtual Bastion thinks this may be the case.

“The new updates, Atlas Rises included, appear to build greatly upon the simple notion of giving players things to do, from crafting homes to completing actual missions. Certainly, the game isn’t perfect: Slow progression is still a problem, dreadful inventory management remains, and promised in-game multiplayer has yet to be realized, but the fact remains that No Man’s Sky on August 2017 is a far cry from No Man’s Sky of August 2016.”

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Investors pour $3.7M into MMO sandbox Dual Universe

Dual Universe just snagged a positively massive cash injection. According to a press release posted today, private investors have poured $3.7 million in funding into the sci-fi sandbox MMORPG. That’s in addition to the more than $630,000 the game raised on Kickstarter less than a year ago (a haul that at the time earned the game the title of third most funded video game on Kickstarter that year). Napkin math says the game picked up another $3M in between through on-site fundraising and possibly earlier investment.

Oh, and unlike a lot of games that snap up the “MMO” label, this one actually deserves it.

Dual Universe is a new type of massively-multiplayer online experience: it takes place in a vast Sci-Fi universe, focusing on emergent gameplay and content building, with player-driven in-game economy, politics, trade and warfare. The vision for Dual Universe is to create the first virtual online civilization. At the heart of Dual Universe is a truly innovative proprietary technology, which was developed to lay the foundations of the game. The CSSC (continuous single-shard cluster) manages one single universe with potentially millions of people interacting in it at the same time. A multi-scale voxel engine enables players to physically modify the world; dig a hole, carve up a mountain or build anything they want, from space ships to orbital stations, at any scale they desire. Novaquark is building a virtual world environment where they hope millions of people will be able to live exciting collective adventures within a vibrant and emergent universe where everything is possible. The company aims at creating a new form of entertainment, where participants are free to create their own stories and environment.”

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No Man’s Sky is finally getting multiplayer by way of ‘joint exploration’

Remember all the fuss a year ago when No Man’s Sky finally launched and the multiplayer features Hello Games’ Sean Murray had teased (and the “online play” feature apparently hidden under a sticker on the gamebox) didn’t actually materialize, disappointing millions of players and contributing to a regulation investigation? We sure do, as it was really the only reason we covered the game at all.

Good news, though: It looks as if we’re getting what we paid for after all, just, you know, a year later. When the NMS update Atlas Rises launches, it brings with it “joint exploration,” a feature that sure sounds lot like co-op multiplayer, though Hello isn’t using that exact term.

“Glitches in the simulation have begun to appear. Visualised by strange floating orbs, up to 16 players can see and communicate with one another, and explore the universe together. While interaction with others is currently very limited, this is an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man’s Sky. While interaction is very limited, VOIP (Voice over IP) allows proximity based voice chat with other nearby explorers. Use portals to quickly travel to more populated planets, or to meet up with friends.”

There’s plenty more in the update, of course, but this is the bit that got our eyebrows waggling. If you owned it before, are you plugging back in for this?

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No Man’s Sky dispatches Atlas Rises this week – for free

No Man’s Sky is due for its third freebie patch, and it’s coming this very week.

“We’re calling it Atlas Rises,” Hello Games says in an email that hit owners’ inboxes yesterday. “It focuses on improving the central story of No Man’s Sky and adds the ability to quick travel between locations using portals. Patch notes will be made available shortly before the update goes live. What we do is much more important than what we say, but since launch we have sometimes focused too much on that.”

No patch notes yet, but the studio does comment on the Waking Titan ARG it’s been running, which dovetails into this patch with the portals that will finally become functional.

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Elite Dangerous’ David Braben on communities, MMOs, F2P, and the space game genre

Elite Dangerous’ David Braben has a big spread in Rolling Stone’s Glixel blog this week, and it’s a fun read as he zips around discussing Trappist-1, Roman slavery, Star Wars, ant society, Shakespeare, Ursula Le Guin, computer science jobs, and the future of humanity. It’s a whirlwind, but he does eventually get around to talking about Elite itself, admitting that while the game will never achieve “perfection,” it’s “definitely approaching” his ideal space game, as “accurate as we can possibly make it.”

“When we first greenlit Elite: Dangerous, there were no other major space games since Freelancer,” he says. “Now, there are dozens. So, I think we’ve succeeded. We’ve brought the genre back to life. And we’ve proven there’s quite a lot of demand for this sort of game. Yes, it’s niche, but it’s quite a big niche. And we’ve got [Star Citizen’s] Chris Roberts coming along now, and so many other games that look interesting. No Man’s Sky, even.”

He also argues that free-to-play is a “challenge” to online communities and instancing in MMOs.

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Massively Overthinking: Consumer protections in the MMORPG industry

Veteran Massively OP reader Miol says he’s exhausted by a recent string of stories in which MMO companies screw gamers over, one after another: ARK Survival Evolved, Albion Online, Skyforge, and now Black Desert all figure into his list, just from the last week.

“I want to ask what more can gamers do to protect themselves and everyone else as consumers than speak up? It feels exhausting to always stay vigilant and feel upset all the time, since games, as an everchanging medium, give devs so many opportunities to screw us over with every single patch or update. And the worst immediate consequence seems many times a meek apology for what they’ve done, only for them to try out something different that maybe could go over unnoticed.

“You guys have reported about this UK watchdog group ASA, who investigated No Man’s Sky, but even they dismissed the tons of complaints about false advertising. Steam did declare some changes to advertising on their platform, but I still don’t see them taken place. If even those big negative stories don’t have that much of an impact, what hope is there for all the smaller communities, spread thin globally? There was a recent wave of gamers imploring each other to not pre-order, but that ebbed away fast enough, when the next shiny pre-order advantages over other players were presented. But even so, this still can’t protect you from what may happen after the launch!

“As said by Bree many times: Merely quitting won’t help either, as the studio will never know why most of the times. But also sending feedback for nine whole days didn’t help Skyforge players to make its devs to scramble! So what else could we do? Or should we just take rotating shifts to call them out?”

We’ll take the first shift right here in Overthinking.

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The MMOs of the Steam Summer 2017 Sale

After some ups and downs this afternoon — everybody loves the “try again later” message, right? — Valve’s summer Steam sale is finally underway and stable. Here’s what we’re looking at in our corner of the gaming world.

On Steam…

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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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