The first round of open beta testing for TERA on consoles went well. (According to the developers, at least.) What can be done to extend that warm fuzzy feeling? Why, doing it all over again, obviously. Although you won’t be allowed into this particular second round if you weren’t in the first round, we’re sorry to say. It’s standing room only.
Meanwhile, the magnificently quirky Project Gorgon has entered early access, so you can go buy it now. Unless you have some deep-seated fear of being turned into a cow or something.
Elsewhere in the beta universe… war was beginning.
You know what? We’re dropping the war thing to just let you know that there’s a list of games in testing below and you can let us know if we missed one or two important phase changes. Sometimes that happens when we’re in the trenches. The war against the onrushing tide of titles is never-ending.
This month’s Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen newsletter is stuffed with images, thanks to features on gear creation and dungeons. Over on the armor side, Pantheon will cleave to the old paradigm of making newbies dress like hobos.
“We want players to feel a genuine sense of rags to riches in Pantheon,” says Visionary Realms’ Chris Perkins. “And so we want to be thoughtful about how quickly we roll out higher tier armors. So yes, you should be able to tell how high level someone is just by looking at them. That’s the goal. I also want to make an important point that while we are creating these Armors in sets, this doesn’t mean everyone will always be in a matching set of armor. […] At lower levels, it will be the norm to see players in more of a mismatched ensemble of gear, since they’re using whatever they can get their hands on without the luxury of going after specific pieces beyond their level range. And so part of the rags to riches equation will be seeing higher levels players getting closer to a matching set look.”
The dungeon deep-dive covers Halnir Cave specifically. It’s a “true open-world dungeon,” not instanced, with a mix of level ranges, but it’ll also have plenty of related quests.
By far, this is the focus of Pantheon’s February state of the game post by Creative Director Chris Perkins, who reports that the testing has resulted in “overwhelmingly positive and constructive” feedback for the team. The development team is hard at work on the perception system, combat, class design (in particular, the Ranger and Dire Lord), NPC AI and dispositions, and game balancing.
While there are only a few hundred checking out a limited slice of the game at this point, the pre-alpha will be expanding soon as it heads into its second phase next month. Pre-Alpha 2 will open up to include Halnir Cave for gameplay, with additional zones to follow.
The Pantheon community is discussing a really interesting question about the two-hour gamer this week: “How much do you expect to get done within a two-hour time frame?” The answers on the forum so far naturally skew toward the type of old-school gamers who are Pantheon superfans to begin with, so I wondered whether that would be the same for the greater MMORPG population. After all, MMOs (and other online games) have consistently rewritten the script for how much time they expect you to put in toward any given activity; while once it was no big thing to sit for a day camping a piece of gear, modern online games tailor matches and dungeon-runs for much shorter periods, sometimes in that 30-minute sweet spot.
So today’s Daily Grind is two-fold: First, how much time do you allot to a typical play session – do you consider yourself a two-hour gamer, playing in roughly two-hour chunks, or are your playtime chunks smaller (or longer)? And secondly, what do you expect to accomplish in that amount of time?
Hi-Rez’s online card game Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics is getting a real launch set for February 20th on both PC and console. The game is the studio’s fifth game to make it to this stage (though as we’ve previously written, the studio has quite a lot more in production).
Like SMITE, HOTG will ostensibly be free-to-play, but players will need to buy cards to stay competitive. Hi-Rez says to expect a core bundle plus three pantheon packs to start, with a combined fee of around $45 to nab all the existing cards – more than 300 – at launch.
“Owners of the Founder’s Pack of Venus Competitors Pack will receive the Core Set Bundle for free. In addition, anyone already playing Hand of the Gods will keep their card collection, and will also have any previously spent runes returned to their account. Players can still play for free and acquire cards over time like a traditional CCG. Players can also get a quick start at the game by purchasing just one Pantheon Core Set.”
Check out our most recent stream of the game!
Memo to Skyforge
: It is acceptable to have up to one (1) decimal point in your patch designation. When you call it “Update 0.96.5.25
,” it’s too far. We’re genuinely curious if you’re just delivering a URL instead.
Anyway, in Skyforge’s Update 0.96.whatever, the devs made a pretty big change to its so-called Indispensable Assistant: “It now enhances healing orbs and emblems. However, it only pulls them towards you without automatically activating them. Given how impactful the changes are, we have withdrawn the module from everybody and reimbursed its cost.”
In whole number news, the fourth season of the game’s Pantheon Wars is getting ready to kick off on February 4th. One big change-up this season is that restrictions are being lifted in the Central Temple Complex, allowing players to use any and all abilities at their disposal in these fights.
Are you pinning your hope and hype in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen for future MMO entertainment? Then you’ll definitely not want to miss out on the January newsletter, which will no doubt do much to stoke the fires of excitement.
A bulk of the letter recaps the team’s accomplishments over 2017, saying that it was a “remarkable” year that saw the start of the pre-alpha testing phase, increased exposure due to conventions, livestreams with the developers, and implementation of new technology.
“My favorite would have to be the memory of watching the first players log in to the first session of pre-alpha testing and begin to scatter all over Thronefast,” wrote Creative Director Chris Perkins. “More than anything else, those moments at the beginning of pre-alpha sealed for me the honor and joy of what I get to do each day.”
As always, we here at Massively OP keep our eyes glued to MMO studio job boards to see if any posted positions might give us a clue as to the plans and directions of upcoming games. Two such notices caught our attention as of late that we wanted to share with you today.
First up, Cryptic Studios is looking for a senior producer on an unspecified game to handle “overall development and business goals.” It’s unclear whether this is for one of Cryptic’s three live MMOs or if it might be for the upcoming and still-untitled Magic the Gathering MMO.
Over at Visionary Realms, Brad McQuaid’s studio is looking for a web developer, web designer, and a Linux administrator for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. These positions are purely volunteer, mind you, “with the distinct possibility of transitioning to a part- or full-time paid position.”
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.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin throw snowballs, beat up grinches, unwrap presents, and generally save Christmas the way they do every year. It’s our last pre-holiday show, so listen in and get on top of all of the last-minute activity from studios before they go on break!
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:
This week in MMO crowdfunding, eyebrows across the ‘verse rose as Crytek filed a lawsuit alleging that the studios behind Star Citizen and Squadron 42 were in violation of Crytek’s copyrights in regard to CryEngine. In a statement to Massively OP, however, CIG denied that it was still using CryEngine and said it planned to fight back. “This is a meritless lawsuit that we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter.”
Over on the Camelot Unchained blog, CSE is busy working on plot and item permissions tech, scenarios, combat, skill buttons (no word on that I-win button, sorry), NPC AI, large group UI, deflect animations, the place of power, armor, and weeds. No, actual weeds. And dead trees. What did you think I meant?
Meanwhile, OrbusVR hit early access, Albion Online tweaked Kay and updated its rewards, Elite’s Thargoids finally started fighting back, and Crowfall raised a bunch of new money from investors. And the much-anticipated Ashes of Creation and Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen launched their respective pre-alphas for elite and specially selected early backers.
It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).
This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!
As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like Anthem, Sea of Thieves, The Crew 2, Monster Hunter World, DayZ, Red Dead Redemption 2, Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.
It’s a big day for indie MMORPG Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, as it’s the first day the gates open to external pre-alpha testers to help test the game.
“Our testers are starting off in Thronefast, but not a complete, fully-polished, ready-for-shipping Thronefast,” Visionary Realms wrote this morning. “They’ll get to literally see the game grow around them as they help us squash bugs, offer feedback and be a part of the development of this grand MMORPG, arguably earlier than public has ever been invited into an MMO – while there’s still grayboxing!”
As we’ve previously covered, you do need to have purchased the Originator’s package to get into this stage of testing; it’s currently a thousand-dollar package, so it’s not for the casual tester but rather the hardcore backer. “Originator’s packages are still available until December 20th, after which they will no longer include Pre-Alpha access,” warns Visionary Realms.