One of the challenges for indie and crowdfunded MMORPGs is surely the nature of their development: plugging along without much fanfare, with players seeing only one part of the equation. Saga of Lucimia has a piece out meant to show what that behind-the-scenes iteration looks like in the construction of an in-game asset as it travels from art concept to 3-D model to textured asset to something that’s added to the world by a different team entirely. But then what might be a mundane art blog takes a sharp turn to talk about other MMORPGs and their communities and expectations.
“There’s a major disconnect with some players when it comes to the misconceptions regarding iterations over the course of the game’s development,” argues Lucimia Creative Director Tim “Renfail” Anderson. “We see a lot of anger around the ‘net in regards to how things change over time with almost every MMORPG’s development, with many claiming the developers lied about how something was going to work, or how something was perceived as being a certain way, and then when it doesn’t work out quite the way players perceived, they claim that the developers deceived them, and that the launched product isn’t anything like what was initially discussed during the development process. The perfect example of this is Star Citizen/Squadron 42.”
Toxicity in online gaming just keeps popping up – specifically as it pertains to chat and commenting.
MOP reader Tanek pointed us to a thread about Standing Stone Games, which is apparently blocking specific words in LOTRO’s chat, including supposedly “political” words, leading some players to demand the company publish the full list to prove to said players they’re not “biased” (not gonna happen).
Reader Stephen then linked us to the amusing story of a Norwegian site that’s developed a WordPress plugin that requires people to take a quiz on an article’s contents before being allowed to comment.
Finally, there’s Saga of Lucimia, which this week spent its Monday dev blog discussing the Fair Play Alliance and its own home-grown play nice policy – and the fact that it will take a zero-tolerance, insta-ban approach to dealing with racism (we’ll assume other bigotry too).
All of these are approaches to handling specific community problems that MMO players deal with in text-based chat and forums (vs other online games that are more focused on toxic voice chat or grief play). Do you think they’re effective? Do text-based games have a bigger problem than voice-based games? Are chat blacklists, intelligence vetting, and dire threats enough to thwart text toxicity, or is there another way?
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Elite Dangerous players scoped out the dirty doings of the paid HCS voice pack plugin, which was apparently intentionally and maliciously sabotaging other programs and packs – whose makers happen to be embroiled in a legal dispute – to stop them from working together. The best part is the name of the function that has everyone up in arms: “wanker.” One of the coders ‘fessed up on Reddit and fell on his sword as patches undoing the mischief were rolled out, but the community is pretty miffed and talking chargebacks. Either way, maybe triple check the third-party mods you install on your system, yeah? (Thanks, Risen Aegis!)
Meanwhile, Star Citizen brought back a round of ship sales and opened alpha 3.2 features up to a vote, we reported on our trip to Shroud of the Avatar’s launch party, Pantheon teased its character modeling, City of Titans released more Scorpion lore, Albion Online tweaked its Lancelot update, and we chatted up Ship of Heroes’ devs at GDC 2018.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
After all of the false starts, delays, and dearths of information, we finally know the truth this week. Bless Online is coming to early access in May, finally making its way over here. We even had a lengthy interview about the game’s development plans, so if you’ve been watching it for ages, you can find out more about it. And that includes no lockboxes, thankfully.
So let’s move on, shall we? There’s other beta news, and we’re dropping it right… here. After the end of these sentences.
And after all that getting, why not get yourself down to the list of games in testing below? If you got something we didn’t get, you can get in touch with us in the comments to get things back on track. Get the idea?
You know how when it’s patch day in your favorite MMORPG and you’re skimming the patch notes trying to figure out what exactly changed, but it’s all cryptic hints and vague comments, and you’re pretty sure when they say “has been changed” they mean “has been nerfed into oblivion,” and you have no idea where the new stuff is so you can log in and find it?
Saga of Lucimia is not planning to alleviate any of that. A new dev blog and vlog from the indie studio argues that it prefers to leave discoveries, especially about new and moved NPCs, events, and activities to the players to encounter on their own, with no teases in the patch notes.
“While we’ll certainly be including notes regarding bug fixes and the like in our patches, one thing you won’t see from us are patch notes for updated or new content in the Saga of Lucimia,” write the devs. “It will be up to the players to discover those changes and events just as they would in a real adventure setting: by actually going there, exploring, following the lore and the storylines, and immersing themselves in the world. […] We want to keep players in the dark regarding content changes and try to avoid, for as long as realistically possible, a full-fledged wiki from being created.”
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.
A few months ago, we ran a Leaderboard poll asking players what kind of live studio-led events they want out of MMORPGs. By way of example, I compared the types of GM-run live events I saw in Ultima Online and EverQuest. In Ultima Online, we often saw long-running plotlines, mysterious NPCs, decorated special locations, dungeon crawls, and weddings galore. In EverQuest, I saw weddings, yes, but also GMs running around massacring newbies to get the highbies to come take them out (which wasn’t such a grand time as you lost experience on death). In Asheron’s Call, well, don’t take my word for it – just listen to Andrew talk about some of the biggest MMO events that ever took place in the genre.
Such GM events – the good ones, at least – are the subject of Saga of Lucimia’s weekly dev blog, which ought to make the majority of you who voted for plot, roleplaying, and activities other than endless murder in your event happy.
“Over the years, that type of interaction faded away as it became too ‘cost prohibitive’ for companies to maintain the type of staff required to create such unique events, and these days you are hard-pressed to find a GM logged into any game, much less get customer support to answer your emails in a timely fashion,” Lucimia Creative Director Tim “Renfail” Anderson maintains. “Cash shops and loot boxes are the name of the game these days. Game masters? What are those?”
This week in MMO crowdfunding, it’s not looking great for Pantropy, whose Kickstarter is only just over half funded with only a few more days to go.
Meanwhile, Camelot Unchained is prepping for two scenario tests this weekend (the second is tomorrow, if you can catch it!), Dual Universe rolled out its new supporter packs, City of Titans took a look at character customization, Chronicles of Elyria posted a long lore piece, Elite Dangerous rolled out 3.0.2, OrbusVR previewed its talent system, Crowfall talked up its vendor system, and we streamed a first-hand look at Ship of Heroes. Plus, Project Gorgon hits Steam this coming week!
Finally, a troll informed me this week that Massively OP is nothing more than a pile of Kickstarter propaganda and some WoW and GW2 columns, so if you happened to read the 120 or editorials, streams, and articles we published this week that aren’t related to crowdfunding, good news, you imagined all that!
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
This week’s dev-written Saga of Lucimia blog asks everybody over the age of 35 to think back to bygone days “when reputation used to mean something” and miscreants were blacklisted by the community.
“For the most part, there is little cooperative spirit in most modern-day MMORPGs, even on the so-called PvE servers,” the indie sandbox’s creative director Tim “Renfail” Anderson asserts. “Instead, it’s a free-for-all storm of mayhem where play-nice-policies are no longer enforced, and player toxicity is allowed to run rampant in favor of generating the most amount of money possible to satisfy investor needs.”
“In a group-based game where you couldn’t really solo anything, reputation was the most important currency anyone had. If you did something bad enough to justify your name being posted in the forums, you very quickly found that no one would group with you. If no one would group with you, your forward momentum was halted; you couldn’t progress through the game. The bad apples of the community were quickly rooted out, and either rage quit, changed to a new character, or learned how to play nice with others.”
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from War of Rights, Blade and Soul, Lineage 2 Revolution, Darwin Project, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Closers, Elder Scrolls Online, Bless, Soulworker Online, Skyforge, The Black Death, Saga of Lucimia, Dungeon Fighter Online, Mu Origin, Prosperous Universe, Legends of Aria, Battlerite, and Aura Kingdom Mobile, all waiting for you after the break!
If the term “endgame” elicits a particularly nasty reaction in you, you’re not alone. The indie team behind Saga of Lucimia say that it has the same allergic reaction to the concept of an endgame and claims that this MMO isn’t going to pour its resources into making one.
“The concept of the ‘real’ game content not beginning until you reach the ‘endgame content’ is something that we find ridiculous,” the devs said, “and it’s the primary reason why, at least in our MMORPG, we’re entirely focused on the world and the richness of the lore, stories, and adventures to be had within it.”
So how is Saga of Lucimia going to accomplish this? The idea is that the sandbox will revolve around “continual exploration and adventure” of a much deeper and more nuanced game world. Another point of consideration is that Saga of Lucimia is being constructed with a “definite end” after the base game and its planned three expansions. After it reaches this point, the team will either sunset the title or hand it off to the community to operate.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, online shooter Pantropy broke the 33% barrier on its ongoing Kickstarter. The game has half a month to go to get to its $92,000 goal. “We’re still working on a lot of improvements and bug fixes. We have made the crafting recipes less complex and discussed a few ideas to punish players that kill or raid their own faction,” the team says in its most recent Kickstarter update. Punishment includes hard time on “Troll’s Island,” where players must perform “repetitive tasks (like hammering ores) in order to be free again” – or have guildies willing to risk life and limb trying to bust them out! (It might just be easier on the devs to just… turn off friendly fire, yeah?)
Meanwhile, Dual Universe is vowing to step up its communication game, Shroud of the Avatar rolled out R51, we finished up our tour of Project Gorgon, Ship of Heroes previewed pieces of its alpha, and Elite Dangerous is prepping to roll out the first leg of Beyond next week. And Camelot Unchained is still riding high on its beta one announcement earlier this month; this week, it’s been testing a 100x100x100 scenario – a tiny sliver of the eventual battle size. Don’t click that link if you’re hungry!
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.
You should probably not be terribly surprised to hear that Saga of Lucimia, an upcoming MMO that is staking a claim on the hard-as-nails market, is embracing gated content with gusto. And to hear the team tell it, this is logical and corresponds to most hobbies in real life.
“Just because you paid for a game and/or are paying a monthly fee doesn’t mean you automatically have access to the top levels of content,” the team said. “Does that matter? Does it affect anyone other than those who are attempting to meet the barriers in place for the highest levels of gated content? Not in the least.”
An example of Saga of Lucimia’s gated content is with its main epic questline, in which players “will need to meet certain standards of entry” at certain points, including dungeon and raid runs. Yes, it sounds as though keys and attunements are making a comeback.