A new year, a new batch of survival games! Yes, the genre has become so popular that one guide, no not even two guides could contain all of the survival goodness. More keep cropping up. I certainly can’t say as I mind, since this is the style of game that has been giving me the feeling of having an impact on my environment. And it’s not all the same collection of zombies, although there is still plenty of that. It is interesting to see what new takes developers are bringing to the table. Want to do a survival reality show? There’s a game for that! How about living like a viking? Yup. What if you want to be the psychotic killer that survivors are trying to, well, survive? Got you covered. Fell like upping the ante and surviving via VR? There are a few of those available.
If you are looking for a new survival to sink your teeth into, here’s the addendum for some newer games in development as well as some newly discovered ones since the last mega double guide. Note: This collection will be a mix of multiplayer and single-player titles with some uniques thrown in.
Here’s an interesting peek into game development from the pens of Grinding Gear Games. The studio shared a story
about one of Path of Exiles’
failed experiments in the spirit of enlightening players as to the choices and consequences that ambitious ideas create.
The story in question concerns a monster created for Act Three called the City Stalkers (later changed to The Undying). These were practically invincible undead mobs that dwelled solely in the shadows of buildings and couldn’t be killed until later in the act when players found a special support gem that would disable the mobs’ regeneration.
While the concept was cool, the implementation brought up numerous issues. The devs said that the lethal encounters were “too aggressive” considering permadeath modes, that the mobs could be kited to the edge of sunlight, the new gem would mess up players’ builds, and more.
As it’s been about a year now, I know that pretty much nobody remembers John Smedley’s ill-fated Hero’s Song. For a while there, we were cheering it on pretty hard, even though it wasn’t a full-blown MMORPG. The retro stylings and promised agile development blossomed some excitement, especially for those of us who wouldn’t mind a modern MMO with a 16-bit aesthetic.
There certainly aren’t a lot of these types of MMOs out there, and those that do exist are pretty niche. Guild Wars 2 has its goofy Super Adventure Box sub-game, Realm of the Mad God makes the most of its permadeath world, and the upcoming Dragon of Legends has had my interest for a while now.
Would you be interested in a retro-styled MMORPG, one that would use pixel art, be presumably in 2-D, and yet have most of the features of modern games?
Bloggers and journalists throughout the online gaming industry have been talking about monetization a lot lately. It’s not just lockbox/gachapon scandals, or their relationship with gambling, but basic monetization and what we want from it. Games, after all, don’t make themselves; we have to pay for something to make that happen. But some gamers seem to view free-to-play games as a game that should be free, not one to be supported if it earns respect. And on the flipside of that, far too few game studios give off a vibe not of experimenting with monetization but of maximizing profits above all else while barely veiling their greed.
However, outside the MMO world, there is a company that’s been doing it “right” for a long time: Nintendo. The AAA developer/publisher is known for both innovation and hesitance, following in others’ footsteps with great trepidation, trying to figure out the ins and outs while entering the mobile market long after it’s been established. The company recently released a new mobile title, but what’s interesting is that it and the company’s last four games are all different genres with different monetization strategies. Exploring these titles and their relationship to their monetization plans will not only highlight the potential success of the models but hint at why they work and how they can be curbed into models gamers and lawmakers can better accept.
The love child of bullet hell shooters and permadeath MMORPGs is now on Steam, and it’s taking no prisoners. That’s just not how it works.
The retro pixel art-styled Survived By made its Steam debut this Thursday, encouraging fans to sign up to become testers (there is an NDA in progress, for your information). While gamers can’t just pick up and play the game yet, the Steam page does offer a glimpse into the game’s looks and features. Plus, it tries to explain why permadeath isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“Permadeath is just the beginning,” the team writes. “Every time you die you’re survived by a new descendant, who carries a small part of your legacy with them. These legacies provide new buffs, stat boosts, and special abilities. ”
Meanwhile, the game is currently in its 11th week of closed alpha testing. We wince at the thought of how many unnecessary deaths have happened so far. Curious about this game? Check out our PAX West coverage of this unique title from this past September!
Last weekend, Brendan wrote a great column on how to stay safe from gankers in EVE Online, noting that the newbies are commonly given what he considers bad advice to just stay in high-sec; indeed, he smartly quoted Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
The article prompted a discussion in our work chat about risk-taking in MMORPGs. “After every one of Brendan’s (excellent!) tips, I keep mentally adding, ‘or alternatively, don’t play EVE,'” Eliot joked. And they’re both right. If you’re dead-set on being a “ship” in the risky gameworld of New Eden, staying in “harbor” defeats the purpose of playing EVE. But this is a real world where you don’t have to be a ship – you don’t have to play EVE. You don’t have to risk it all just for some pixel gratification.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writing staff to dish on risk-taking, in EVE or elsewhere. Are they into it? What kinds of risks are they willing to take, PvE or PvP? What do they think about risk-vs.-reward in MMOs?
I am not done with Guild Wars 2
This may or may not come as a surprise to people, but it’s still the case regardless. I am done with this round of Choose My Adventure with it, of course, and that means I can put Ceilarene down if I so desire (which, to be fair, I probably will for a while, at least). But I am not actually done with the game, and I suspect it will remain in my “vacation” rotation for a while to come. Something to dive into as I feel like it, in other words.
It’s a somewhat surprising outcome to me, as I had expected a pleasant enough bit of reconnection followed by a rather untroubled separation. But no, I had enough fun that I’m not quite willing to announce myself as done with the title just yet.
While there were plenty of established games on hand at PAX West 2017, there were also a few new ones offering players a taste of the future. Survived By by Digital Extremes is one of those new games. Announced just two days before PAX began, it had stations set up allowing players to dive right into a dungeon and experience the 2-D pixel game. And that’s exactly what I did while talking to Producer Ryan Jackson about permadeath, classes, crafting, and the story.
Jackson told me that the game is actually set in a cross section of the world tree. The tree is sick, however, and can’t seem to heal itself anymore, and it’s being invaded. He said that the mystery of what is happening is what DE wants players to unravel as they play in the first act of the game. Closed alpha will be starting soon, and folks can sign up for it on the official site. I actually can’t wait to get back in!
Warframe developer Digital Extremes just announced that it’s partnered with Human Head Studios for a new MMO “roguelite” with a pixel-art style. It’s called Survived By, and the teams are describing it as a “retro-style free-to-play MMO in which up to 100 players fight side-by-side in a bullet hell-style battle where permadeath is just the beginning.” Here are some of the promised features:
“MMORPG With Up To 100 Player Battles: Survived By is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game played with up to 100 players. Dodge bullets, slaughter hordes of Chimera, and level up while crafting the best gear and weapons. Be careful though, once you die… it’s almost game over.
Permadeath Is Just The Beginning: Unlike traditional roguelikes, players regenerate health, survive longer, and don’t need to dodge everything to stay alive. But every time a player dies, they lose almost everything. They’re survived by a new descendant who carries a small part of their legacy with them.
Bullet Hell Ballistics: Players craft and wield increasing deadly weapons that can provide tactical options tailored to the character class they select. They’ll arm themselves with a combination of magic, steel, and special abilities to fend off enemies while artfully skirting their damaging spray.
Craft Weapons to Slay the Hordes: Players craft and wield powerful projectile weapons as they confront an array of Beasts (hostile and aggressive creatures), Infernals (fiery forces of indiscriminate destruction), Furies (invasive nightmares that corrupt anything they touch), Spirits (natural disasters made manifest), and more on their journey.
Fair Free-To-Play Model: Survived By is designed as a fair free-to-play game. Every item in the game can be earned for free without paying.
Have you ever noticed that while there’s an entire world out there, most all of the MMORPGs we discuss and play tend to either be ones crafted in the USA or imports from China or Korea? We even have a shorthand for this: “western” and “eastern” MMOs. We’re usually not talking about entire hemispheres with these references, but rather about categorizing three countries that are big into the MMORPG business.
But what about the rest of the world? Are all of these other countries so uncaring about this genre that they’ve never tried their hand at making an MMO? Of course not; as I’m about to show you, there are plenty of online RPGs that have been made in countries other than China, the USA, and South Korea. It’s just that for various reasons, those three countries ended up fostering concentrations of video game developers who knew how to create these types of games.
So let’s take a tour around the world and see if we can’t give some credit to other countries for their contributions to the MMORPG genre past, present, and future. Before you click the link, see how many you can name off the top of your head!
As much as we complain about MMORPGs, with their grinds and their boredom, even the most kill-or-be-killed ganker paradises would probably be better to live in than the real world with all its troubles and highly inconvenient implementation of permadeath. With rare exceptions, most MMOs let you return over and over to keep on trying forever, and you can always grab a mining pick or kill some trolls to make money and survive.
Me, I’d pick Glitch: Not only was the cutesy Tiny Speck game devoid of conflict, but I spent most of my time creating quests for players, wandering around, and stuffing my face with delicious food so I wouldn’t die. It was a good life. And if I did die? No biggie; hell was actually kinda fun — and critically, not permanent.
How about you? If you could live in an MMO world, which one would it be?
As Massively OP is centered on the “massively” part of gaming, it makes sense that my first guide to survival games was focused on multiplayer titles. Similarly, The Survivalist will mostly (but not always!) concern itself with the multiplayer games in the survival genre. However, after researching this topic, I felt that not highlighting the single-player offerings would be a serious disservice to the genre. There are occasions when you want to test your survival mettle without the interference of other players; sometimes you just want to live or die on your own merits and not at the hands of someone elses decisions. Besides that, some of these titles — like Subnautica — offer an awesome premise you can’t get elsewhere.
Ready to survive on your own? Here’s a a taste of a number of games you can dive into when you want to scratch that survival itch in private.
We’ve been covering Starfighter Inc. for the last few weeks in Make My MMO, but apparently a lot of you folks who say you want to hear about up-and-coming MMOs aren’t following that column (*HARD STARE*), so let’s shine a brighter spotlight!
The 20-man Impeller Studios team is marketing the game as “Counter-Strike meets World of Warships in Space.” It’s been in development for three years already, has a ridiculously high bar for scientific accuracy, uses Unreal Engine 4, and will indeed support VR.
“Starfighter Inc. puts you in the cockpit of the future in a hard science-fiction based multiplayer space combat simulator for Windows PC, featuring hardcore shooter gameplay in the spirit of X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter, but with unprecedented depth and sophistication. Starfighter Inc. combines the lethality and permadeath of Counter-Strike with the technical depth and customization of World of Warships. The key difference is that players operate a variety of nuclear-powered single and multi-crew fighters, reconnaissance ships, strike craft, and support ships, with weapons ranging from lasers, railguns, and missiles, to electronic and cyber warfare capabilities.”