I’m already old and bitter when it comes to survival games. I’ve killed zombies, dinosaurs, infected bears, maybe even infected dinosaurs, and people. Lots of people. Even for food, and I don’t mean apples. I’ve been been forced to hand over my clothes in the freezing cold, drowned myself to escape imprisonment, and endured beaches full of dead, starved naked men on a PvE server that was unable to provide food for its citizens. It’s been the worst parts of The Walking Dead when I’ve been looking for the “It’s going to be OK!” moments. All this during what’s largely proven to be an unending “Early Access” period.
To say I’m critical of the survival genre at this point may be an understatement. By all accounts, someone might think I hate them, and they’d be half right. I hate most of what I’ve played. There’s cool stuff, but it’s like finding a $1 bill in what you hope was a pool of mud. It’s cool, but not really something you want to do a lot of. You mostly want the good stuff. Frostkeep’s upcoming survival MMO, Rend… well, it’s hard to not get excited, but my time talking to the developers actually gave me some faith for the future.
The last week of the year is always a time of anticipation and a fair amount of “let’s get this dumb year finished already,” so it comes as no surprise that most beta-related news this week is all about getting ready for next year rather than working too hard at the remaining one. Rend, for example, is looking forward to starting its alpha in the start of 2018. What day? Not important yet. It’ll be the start of the year, that’s all you need to know.
Other anticipatory news of the week?
And with that, we bring the end of Betawatch… for 2017. Seriously, we’ll be back here next week like always, and we’ve got our usual list below. If something has skipped off to another phase without us noticing, please, do let us know in the comments. Stay safe, and we’ll see you all again when 2018 rolls around.
Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Most Anticipated MMORPG, which was awarded to Star Citizen last year for the third year in a row, though it was an incredibly close vote. (And yes, we recognize the irony of Star Citizen mopping up both negative and positive awards.) This year’s discussion on most anticipated was close too, but there’s more a sense of frustration since a lot of the games we’re picking from here year after year are the same – because they still aren’t out.
Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for Most Anticipated MMORPG of 2018 and Beyond is…
You know what’s one of the best remedies for the post-holiday blues? All of the excitement of MMO year previews and new rounds of testing that tend to start in January. Rend is doing its part to bolster spirits, as the PvP sandbox announced that it will be kicking off its alpha test sometime in the next three months.
“Our next big step will be launching the Rend alpha in the first quarter of 2018,” Frostkeep Studios said. “We will initially begin with a brief round of Friends & Family testing to establish client build readiness and server stability before opening up alpha testing to our earlier pre-alpha players who will have immediate access. We will increase the tester pool over time and as needed, adding in waves of players who previously signed up for pre-alpha (no need to re-register on the website).”
The studio said that while the test will be under a “strict media embargo,” players won’t have to sign an NDA but will instead be encouraged to talk about it among the gaming community.
A couple of weeks ago I covered 20(ish) MMORPGs that we are looking forward to seeing develop, test, and launch in 2018. But as you well may know, Massively OP covers a small university’s worth of “not-so-massively” multiplayer games that have some crossover into the MMO space. We do this because it gives some people much-needed gripe fuel and also because a lot of our readership is also interested in these games.
There is a lot of movement in the multiplayer game space, especially as the larger video game market continues to adapt and hew to MMO design. It’s a blended mess as we continually try to sort these games out into their proper categories, but while we do that, you can enjoy this list of 20 multiplayer games that you should be tracking in 2018. From survival sandboxes to pirate simulators to sequels, here we go!
Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best MMORPG PvP, which was awarded to Black Desert and EVE Online in a tie last year, the first year we debuted this reader-proposed award. We’ve opted to include live, fully released MMORPGs launched in any year, as long as their 2017 PvP experience is what’s being judged. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMORPG PvP of 2017 is…
Your home base in Rend is important; defending it is one of the central parts of the game, after all. However, the structure of the game meant that you probably didn’t build your faction’s main base, and quite possibly didn’t do a whole lot to make it feel like your own. That’s why the team is changing up how base-building works in the game, starting by giving players seeds to drop where they will to build their desired structures.
Building is also faster now; rather than having to construct individual pieces, players just select the material type and structure and then automatically put the walls and such together whilst building a structure. The seeds are there to prevent having a landscape littered with half-built structures, although the discussion is still ongoing about how players can get a second seed after the first. Read through the full development diary to see how you’ll have more options to make your own keeps throughout the game world, and then take a peek at our lengthy conversation with the team on the state of the game last month.
Wondering what happened to Rend since its big debut at PAX East? Frostkeep Studios went decidedly quiet over the summer after the three-faction sandbox’s first alpha. Did something happen in that alpha that made the devs change their minds about creating the survival game? After meeting with Jeremy Wood, Co-founder, and Jordan Leithart, developer, at this weekend’s PAX West 2017, I learned that Rend very much is still a thing; in fact, now it’s a even bigger thing. The devs didn’t change their minds about making the game — they’ve increased the scope.
Wood noted that after fan reactions, the team knew it had something good, “something people were excited about. In order to do that justice, then we needed to expand our vision a little bit.” He said the game was too contrictive — it “needed more.” So more it is. Rend is making some big changes, from dramatically increasing the size of the map to adding in more MMO elements to the game. And after checking out these chances, I am more excited to jump in the game myself when it is expected to reopen its doors to testing this fall.
One game enters the list and another leaves. Dark and Light has started its closed testing, although there’s a very small number of people currently invited to test the game, so you’re probably not on the list. Meanwhile, Master x Master has entered the shark-infested waters of launch, so it’s now as real as it gets. Hooray for changes on the list!
Boy, I’m so excited I’m just going to launch into several more list items. Come with me, will you?
- Luna Online is apparently in closed testing in Southeast Asia, so that’s good news for fans of the game, people who live in Southeast Asia, and people who want games with names similar to those of moths. I assume the crossover on that list is rather small, but you never know.
- Hyper Universe has entered closed beta; if you’ve forgotten about that one, it’s a MOBA but of the side-scrolling variety. Check out the Facebook page for keys and such.
- A big test update is coming to Project Genom next month. It’s… big, almost like a whole rewriting of the game’s focus. You’ll want to see it to believe it, apparently.
- The bad news is that the early access launch for Rend is being delayed; the good news is that it’s apparently being delayed for really cool and good reasons. You’ll have to take the developer’s word on that one.
- Gigantic is launching on July 20th, so you may want to mark your calendar for that. And you can test freely on the PC right now, too.
- Kritika Online is throwing into the open beta ring pretty soon; June 29th, to be specific. Founder’s pack holders get in a little bit earlier, though.
- Last but not least, Shot Online Golf has hit the closed beta scene. So, you know. Golf.
And there’s still a whole list down below! What fun. Let us know if something in there slipped phases without us noticing, all right? We really like lists, if you haven’t noticed.
As a faction PvP sandbox, Rend is going to attract certain types of players… and one of those types is certain to be the dreaded griefer. It’s bad enough when someone in another faction is a jerk to you and camps your corpse, but what about that jerk who derives pleasure from creating headaches for his own side?
The dev team is trying to prevent as much same-faction griefing as possible with the use of its reputation system. “It’s our job to come up with a system to protect the faction from the single person hellbent on destroying it,” the devs said. “Obviously this system will require an amount of iteration, which our current pre-alpha testers are helping us out tremendously.”
The core idea here is that players will need to contribute heavily to their faction through resource donation or tech research in order to gain permissions to build the base, access bank space, and craft certain types of gear. Reputation permissions can be set by the faction to activate at certain thresholds, giving each server its own chance at getting the balance just right.
“Your choice of weapon will have a big impact on your play-style in Rend, from using massive ballistae to assault your enemies, to launching a spirit-world stealth bombing run — there are many choices for players to make.”
With its PvP focus, Rend is stocking up on plenty of weapons for players to use with impunity upon their competitors. A new dev diary talks about the “blasters and bombs” that can be chosen for the fight. Due to its survival sandbox nature, players will begin with crude weapons (such as throwing sticks) and work their way up to portable high-tech death.
The path of progression goes from stone age to medieval (crossbows, bows) to industrial (spike-launchers, bombs). There’s even a super-powerful ballista, which comes in several varieties and has to be mounted upon your fortress or club house.
What’s your favorite video game zone? Green hill zone? Marble zone? Aqua lake zone? When Rend comes out, players will find that zone biomes are more than just environmental set dressing — they’ll feature greatly into one’s chances of survival.
The team spent some time yesterday discussing the first few environments that players will progress through in Rend. These include the lush Valley, the pockmarked Center, the cold and black Cave, and the freezing Eternal Wastes. As players progress, they’ll find that each subsequent biome is tougher to survive yet offers better rewards.
The description of the Valley is an example of how the team imagines gameplay becoming steadily more challenging: “The further you get away from your Divinity Stone, the more dangerous the environment becomes. Traveling to the local watering hole is generally a safe bet, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you should probably be well equipped and bring a few friends. Spiders scuttle among the trees, wolves prowl the hills, and beautiful but mysterious elk look down their regal noses at all the other creatures in the Valley.”
Snooty elk, people. You don’t stand a chance.
It’s very rare that this job allows us to use the terms “shutdown” and “good” in the same sentence, but the upcoming alpha shutdown for SkySaga is one of those rare instances. After all, the only reason the alpha test is shutting down is so that the game can move into its open beta, which will serve as a de facto soft launch. See? That’s a good thing.
Other betas were doing stuff this week, too, so that’s also a good thing.
And we’ve got our full list of games just below if you’d like a more rundown-style update. As always, we appreciate it if you let us know what stuff has jumped to another phase of testing or might otherwise be erroneous; we do our best to keep up with changes, but we do miss things from time to time.