Still scratching your head a bit about the Defiance 2050 surprise announcement yesterday? We all are. Fortunately, we do have a bit more information about what’s going on with the new version of the game, thanks to a new FAQ, feature rundown, and a producer’s letter explaining a little bit more.
First and foremost, the big news you were waiting to hear about: No, players are not going to be able to transfer characters straight over from the original Defiance. Players will retain some of their progress, and accumulating Valor on the existing version of the game will lead to further rewards in Defiance 2050, so you can still unlock some things. You also can let go of any notions about new cross-platform play; the game will still be locked by its three platforms.
Players can, however, enjoy a game that’s been built from the ground up as a free-to-play system with improved graphics, new gameplay systems, and various other improvements. Check out the FAQ for more information, or read through the producer’s letter for a clearer portrait of how we wound up here.
The good news for fans of ARK: Survival Evolved who are not in the mood to buy a sequel to the game at the moment? There isn’t one being developed right now. But ARK 2 is still not off the table according to one of the community managers; in fact, based solely on popularity, it seems inevitable.
We don’t have any plans for a sequel right now. But as has been stated, with the unprecedented popularity of the game, it would be a disservice to not expand on that through a sequel.
Why a sequel instead of just expansions? Because the development team has learned a lot over the course of bringing ARK to release, and that means a sequel could contain lessons learned about system design as well as back-end improvements to make the game easier to update and maintain. Of course, it’s all speculation right now, as one isn’t presently in the pipeline; the title did only recently move from early access into proper launch. Just don’t be surprised if you hear about one in the next few years.
It’s been a decade since RF Online came out (that stands for Rising Force Online, not anything else that could be abbreviated with those two letters), and developer CCR followed up on that first release with absolutely nothing. No further games have come out since then or been announced. But a new trademark has been filed that might just hint at the developer’s future.
The trademark in question is for RF 2, which eagle-eyed observers will note is the old title with a number appended, indicating that it is some sort of derivative work intended for placement in sequential order. A sequel, if you will. Nothing has actually been announced yet, but if you have fond memories of RF Online or just like seeing what happens with trademarks, keep your eyes open.
The recent news about EverQuest Next‘s cancellation has renewed the debate about whether or not MMOs should get sequels, which have given me plenty to think about in terms of mechanics and future MMO development. There are a variety of strategies that online games use to stay updated and introduce new mechanics, of course, and each comes with varying levels of disruption for active players. This disruption is an especially important factor for MMO developers since they need to be conscious of the fact that MMOs are living products with persistent worlds.
Some game developers opt to add new game mechanics in self-contained expansions, causing a separation of those players who own the expansion from those who don’t. Full-fledged sequels may make more sense in cases where the disruption caused by new content would be too great or the gap between new and old mechanics would be too much for the current playerbase to swallow. Some studios have even eschewed both sequels and expansions, opting to use iterative development methods where old mechanics are often updated and retired players who decide to come back can return to a very different game indeed.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll look at some examples of each of these three update methods and discuss the impact of each on game mechanics.
Are we past the era of MMO sequels? Maybe yes, but also, maybe no. I like to hedge — and this industry is always surprising me. I do know one thing, which is that fans with strong nostalgic ties to a title are often seen expressing a desire for a sequel that takes everything they loved from the first and built an improved experience on top of that.
Wishes and dream ponies are cheap, so why not engage in some hopeful speculation today? What MMO sequel would you like to see and what would it be like? All games are fair play for today’s topic, even if they’re long canceled, were never released, or are sequels themselves!