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See: Star Citizen

Star Citizen’s new $185 Aegis Vulcan support ship is so ugly it’s cute

On this week’s episode of Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts bookend segments on the ship pipeline in the game. Did you know Star Citizen has introduced 114 ships, vehicles, and variants since the start of development? Neither did I. Here comes another one: the Aegis Vulcan. The adorably ugly and chunky ship is essentially a utility starter support spacecraft that packs in repairing, refueling, and rearming. Says CIG,

“It’s a versatile support ship. It’s there to support other ships. It’s not great at combat. It’s not great at transport. It’s not great at racing. It’s there for helping out with other ships. So if you’re that sort of person that is interested in the not more active combat side but helping others, then this is a really great entry into that, because it does allow you to help out massively for ships that run out of fuel, ships that have minor damage, ships that run out of ammo and any of these ships could be stuck out in deep space. They can call for your help, and you can go out there and give them just enough to get them where they need to go to. It’s sort of like the space AA or AAA for America. You call them up. They give you just enough to get to where you’re going, and then you can do your full repairs, rearm, refuel there.”

It’s also for sale as part of the early VIP optioning system. It’s $185 right now (warbond price), and it is actually scheduled to no, it won’t make it into the 3.1 alpha (thanks Dividian).

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO is the absolute best if you’re a whale?

At the end of every year, I always do a Daily Grind on the most expensive MMO to play at that exact moment, with the implication being that expenses are bad for the average MMORPG. What I don’t think we’ve ever done is flip it around and ask which MMO is actually best for the whales. That’s what MOP reader Arsin wants to know.

“I’ve got the money to win at pay-to-win,” Arsin wrote. “What pay-to-win MMO gives me the most bang for my buck?”

I’m positive the temptation will be to point at Star Citizen or some other Kickstarter game that lets you pile thousands of dollars in for content – but that content hasn’t actually arrived and probably shouldn’t constitute bang for buck just yet. So let’s consider live MMOs only and imagine that money is truly no object. Which MMO is the absolute best if you’re a whale?

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Perfect Ten: The tabletop GMs behind MMOs

One of the advantages to computer RPGs, I’ve always thought, is that you don’t need a friend who you can alternately sucker or bribe into taking on 80% of the work that’s involved in making a tabletop RPG fun. You just turn on the game and it goes. The downside, of course, is that you also don’t have the advantages of having a GM in charge of the game, so you don’t get that personal connection and that sense of familiarity.

Except that’s not entirely accurate, is it? Yes, these games do not have a person eagerly perched behind a screen explaining how your characters have screwed everything up forever, but you still do get the same sense of a specific GM guiding the game over time. Because there are certain quirks, certain constants, and over time a feel to the game that informs what sort of GM you’ve got running the game. So let’s talk about the GMs running some games.

I warn you that if you’ve never played any sort of tabletop game, this column may not make a whole lot of sense. But if you’ve never played any tabletop RPGs I don’t understand how you live and thus cannot promise to target you reliably. Sorry.

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Star Citizen’s Cloud Imperium reps meet with California Better Business Bureau

Cloud Imperium apparently met with representatives of the Better Business Bureau in California for an “introductory meeting” that the Star Citizen studio described as “cordial and constructive.”

Polygon reported last night that that meeting with the consumer advocacy group was arranged at the request of CIG following the news of two high-value ($25000 and $16700) refund requests that had allegedly been given the runaround (and indeed, refunds after a long period of time are seldom given by CIG at all). One of those fans had apparently filed a complaint with the BBB.

But BBB CEO Steve McFarland seems pretty pleased with the way CIG, which is not a member of the BBB, is handling backers, particularly in regard to the public roadmap of the game’s production. He said that his goal for the the meeting was “to encourage CIG to improve communications and transparency on their production schedules to existing and new clients that may reduce confusion and frustration on future product/revision deliveries” – delivery issues apparently being “the most common BBB consumer complaint.”

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Star Citizen is balancing the crap out of ship weapons as the Crytek lawsuit drags on

Chris Roberts is joined by CIG Leader Writer Dave Haddock for this week’s episode of Star Citizen Around the Verse, during which they check in with multiple studio reps who reinforce the decision to move to quarterly releases as well as better organize projects within the individual studios to actually deliver 3.0.1. And the deep-dive this week? It’s all about weapons. Pew pew. Specifically weapon balancing.

“We want to make sure that each weapon type – say the scatter gun – is relatively balanced towards a cannon weapon type or a hypothetical beam cannon type,” Tech Designer Andrew Nicholson explains. “So the scatter gun will do more damage that a regular cannon but obviously it’s rate of fire is slower. And we just make sure that all these parameters fit in the correct range that we give them on a per size basis, and that nothing is too strong or too weak.”

Meanwhile, the Crytek lawsuit continues. As of yesterday, the judge in the suit canceled the hearing with oral arguments set for today, noting she would be considering the existing arguments for and against dismissal.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 156: Downfalls and uprisings

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over the fate of MOBAs, investigate Alganon’s nebulous state, talk about why subscribing to an alpha test might not be the smartest thing in the world, and more!

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:

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The Daily Grind: What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018?

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about Camelot Unchained: Yes, it’ll have a sub, but it won’t be $15. Mark Jacobs re-confirmed that it’ll be less than the industry standard down in our comments a few weeks ago. It’s been rattling around in my head since then as subscriptions just keep popping up in the news. Star Citizen has an optional sub in alpha. Age of Conan just lowered its subscription rate. And the biggest subscription MMO in the world seems to have no problems moving a bajillion expansions, driving token prices to fluctuate. Did we hit rock bottom? Are we just watching the price reset in a new era?

I’m currently paying $13 a month for an old-school game because nobody else has content that even comes close. I wouldn’t hesitate to pay more for an MMO I couldn’t wait to play. In fact, I was prepared to pay more than $15 for CU. Would you? What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018? And what would you expect from an MMORPG charging a subscription?

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Star Citizen touts Squadron 42 progress, monthly studio report, and the 3.0.1 alpha

The Star Citizen crew is back to work on Squadron 42 in 2018, as chronicled in the latest episode of Around the Verse. The Frankfurt studio, now up to 79 people, says it’s hard at work on fog and lighting, AI, graphics, weapons, engine performance, and ambient occlusion. The feature bit is all about the cinematics whipped up for the big stream reveal just before Christmas – you’ll recall it as the scene where Mark Hamill is kind of a jerk to your noob self.

Meanwhile, CIG has also just released its monthly studio report. And as teased earlier this week, the Star Citizen 3.0.1 alpha has landed on the PTU for testing, although you’ll note that now you’ll need a subscription to guarantee your earliest access to it, else you’ll wait for your invite. Bonus, now the game has monocles.

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Star Citizen: Subber PTU access ‘perk’, developments in the Crytek lawsuit, and patch 3.0.1

Who says subscriptions are dead? Not Star Citizen. The alpha MMORPG has long taken a page out of the Pathfinder Online playbook by offering a subscription service for backers.

But PTU players were apparently sent an email blast this week with the “special announcement” that by “popular request, first-wave PTU access for all Subscribers is now a permanent perk for 2018,” meaning that if you want to be sure you get in to the early test server and get in early, you’ll have to pay for the privilege on a monthly basis, and the thousand bucks you’ve put in on ships doesn’t count.

It does not mean, note, that you can’t play the alpha without a sub; you’ll just get in during subsequent waves – and of course, you can still play the current stable release. Nevertheless, the word “paywall” has been kicked around as people express annoyance with the new status quo.

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Star Citizen: The alpha 3.0 feature trailer and Squadron 42’s

On this week’s Around the Verse, the Star Citizen devs are dipping into Squadron 42 specifically to explain the design behind the Coil, a massive electrical space storm left in the chunky, spooky, gaseous ruins of a system that went supernova.

Meanwhile, CIG sent around a press blast touting what is apparently the first phase of its brand-new website, intended to help newbies find their space legs and to “introduce cohesiveness” between Star Citizen and Squadron 42.

And finally, this week CIG released a stunning alpha 3.0 feature trailer showing an orbital ship battle… and what happens afterward. We’ve tucked that below too.

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Perfect Ten: Major MMO expansions and updates to expect in 2018

Now that we’re almost 1/12th of the way through 2018, it’s probably about time to stop anticipating the year and start experiencing it. We have already looked at MMOs coming this year, multiplayer titles on the way, the current healthiest MMOs, MMO predictions, and the best value games on the market. So what’s left?

Expansions. Expansions and major content updates are what’s left. It might seem a little presumptuous to try to outline what’s coming this year, since many studios still have their long-range plans under wraps, but when we sat down in the MOP office to talk about it, we ended up with a much larger list than anticipated.

So here’s a look at the major MMO expansions and content updates we are expecting and anticipating over the course of this year. After this? You’re on your own, kid.

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Star Citizen’s second installment of Calling All Devs has information, but not a whole lot

The second installment of Star Citizen’s Calling All Devs is out now, and if you want to see what it’s like when developers sit in workspaces or empty studios and hobnob with one another on Skype video calls, your prayers have been answered. If you want to get a whole lot of information about upcoming game releases, you’re out of luck. The video is 17 minutes long and not exactly filled with densely packed information so much as it’s filled with a solid minute of admiration for a developer’s beard.

To be fair, it is a very large beard.

Unfortunately, the Reddit thread on the video does not have a full summary, but it does provide some idea of what is actually in the video. Ship buying and trading, for example, will both not be in patch 3.1; there’s some discussion in there about how trading will be more based on the in-game contract system rather than just a pop-up UI window. Hotfixes are definitely possible and have already gotten rolled out for 3.0, although there’s no certainty about them. If you would still like to watch the video, we’ve provided it below.

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Whatever happened to Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?

That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at what has been going on with Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented.

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