This week in MMO crowdfunding, French website AFJV reported that Dual Universe studio Novaquark has snapped up one of the original EVE Online designers: Hrafnkell Oskarsson. The crowfunded sci-fi MMORPG recently opened up its own custom crowdfunding portal to continue development, which is currently still in pre-alpha. “Together, Novaquark and Oskarsson will be working on Dual Universe, the giant multi-planetary sandbox universe where potentially millions of people will be able to invent new stories for themselves, create new political systems, economies, cities, and empires,” says the company in its PR.
It was a big week for the larger Kickstarted MMORPGs: As promised, beloved crowdfunded indie Project Gorgon hit early access this week to cheering crowds on Steam in spite of its relatively high price, and Shroud of the Avatar pushed out new videos ahead of its formal launch this week.
Meanwhile, Pantropy canceled its Kickstarter and is planning a second go, ROKH got a substantial update and a promise that it’s not being abandoned, Crowfall obsessed over death, Ascent The Space Game readied an engine switchover, and Albion Online rolled out its Lancelot update.
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.
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.
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.
Who wants to play a guessing game? If you’re an Ashes of Creation backer, you get to play one whether you answered yes or no! See, the game’s first test is scheduled to start today, so everyone gets to find out if they’re in one of the expected invitation waves or not. A new storefront was launched on the official site regardless, with the actual kickoff of testing expected later today (there’s supposedly a stream at 6 p.m. EST). There’s a lot of guessing going on.
More pre-holiday beta news? Yes, before the real lull begins.
- OrbusVR has definitely started its early access today, although some people got in even earlier than that. But it’s today no matter what, so unless you possess a multi-directional time machine, that’s what you have to work with.
- Conan Exiles is super for-real launching next year on May 8th, 2018, so get your testing fun in now before it’s… no longer in testing. That seemed more final at first.
- The bad news for Worlds Adrift players is that its 0.16 patch and associated wipe will not happen before the holidays. The good news is that the 0.15 patch will happen before the holidays. Although depending on how you feel about that wipe, maybe it’s good news all around.
- Console testing for TERA is here! But you probably aren’t invited. It’s a very small group of testers right now, you see. Don’t worry, you’ll have other chances.
- Did you drop a whole lot of money on Pantheon? Then you could be testing it right now! Although you’re probably busy working at whatever high-paying job allowed you to drop all that money on it. We don’t know your work schedule.
- Last but not least, the Ranger and Assassin have arrived for this round of testing in Crowfall. It’s like a holiday miracle, except most holiday miracles involve slightly less murder. Maybe for Festivus.
So happy not-quite-holidays, folks! And check out our list just below, let us know things that have jumped testing phases without us noticing, you know the deal. Just remember that testing games isn’t a gift, it’s a responsibility. Like puppies, or baby llamas, or insect-raising kits, or LEGO kits that request you building several dozen models before you’re allowed to stop.