Legends of Aria is shaking things up from the old Shards Online paradigm. In addition to the name change and broader focus, the fantasy title announced that it is going to adopt a "more conventional MMO testing platform" going forward.
"Future play-tests will now be conducted in phases of focused testing, geared towards specific areas of gameplay in preparation for final implementation," Citadel Studios said in this week's newsletter. "To accommodate the need for extra testing periods, our Steam launch will coincide with the release of the Legends of Aria Beta instead of Alpha 2."
The current Alpha 1 test will conclude on March 26th, to be followed by Alpha 2's start on April 28th. The team said that its taken a shine to the concept of a single large official server (in addition to the private ones) and that it will start to talk about all of the changes in store for Legends of Aria on March 31st in a new development blog.
We've finished rolling out all of our PAX East content this year, and we've put our MMORPG-addled noggins together to try to choose our favorites out of what we got to see in person and from afar. Read on, then vote for your own best-in-show!
As Massively OP is on the scene at PAX East this year, we've got plenty of juicy news and interviews to discuss on the show! What game is coming to console this year? What secret is Eliot hiding? Which MMO just got a name change? Find out in today's episode!
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Big changes for MMOs frequently involve giving up almost as much as you gain. Not so with Legends of Aria, the not-actually-new title from Citadel Studios. Legends of Aria is Shards Online, you see, but it's also not Shards Online. It's everything you liked about Shards Online, but it's also placed into a larger context in which the ideas behind the game can have more space to develop and grow. If you liked the game before, you'll like it now, but if you didn't like the game before, you might think a bit more fondly of it once you see the changes.
The short version is that Legends of Aria has a robust "main" server set up. That means a large-scale map, plenty of things for players to go find, and a variety of different regions with different environmental effects. It is, in other words, a full-scale MMO which you can play as much as you'd like. But it's also a full-scale MMO that allows you to look at what the developers have done and say that you don't like it... and then make your own version of the game server.
We spoke to the folks from Citadel at this year's PAX East. Read on!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Shards Online surprised the gamer community by announcing a namechange -- to Legends of Aria -- and a scope-change, the good kind of scope change if you're an MMO player, as the game just got bigger.
More good news: The Repopulation is expected to come back online for original backers and Steam buyers tomorrow. Idea Fabrik expects the sandbox to once again be for sale on Steam later this month.
Still more good news! As I write this, indie VR MMO OrbusVR has nearly tripled its Kickstarter goal already. Its whirlwind one-week campaign ends on Monday.
Meanwhile, gamers pledged over $12K US to bring Swedish brawler RUiN to a winning Kickstarter a few days back, but Caribbean Conquest wasn't so fortunate: Its Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully earlier this week. Plus, Dogma: Eternal Night worked on its character module, Grim Dawn talked itemization, and AdventureQuest 3D hyped The Dragons of Ashfall.
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've got our eye on.
departs the hallowed halls of Betawatch
this week, having emerged from closed beta into open beta. No more wipes are planned, and the game is now freely accessible, making the My.com import well and truly soft-launched. Fly free, my pretty! What else happened in the world of MMO betas this week?
- Elder Scrolls Legends dumped the beta tag entirely and is now officially launched on PC.
- Shards Online is getting a name change ahead of its planned Steam early access launch. You may now refer to it as Legends of Aria.
- The Repopulation's alpha is expected to resume this weekend under the new ownership. Welcome back, Repop! Don't screw this up!
- Gigantic just cannot catch a break: It laid off a sizable portion of its staff with the aim of "reducing the burn rate" until it can emerge from open beta and land on Arc later this year.
- Project Gorgon tasked players with testing dungeon difficulty.
- Camelot Unchained is still teasing its long-delayed beta one, but it sounds as if we're inching closer now.
- Albion Online is pushing out a big patch next week, heavily overhauling the beta.
- Crowfall is working toward 24-7 test servers.
- LawBreakers is planning a big beta weekend later this month. Breakin' the law!
Follow along below for the complete list of all the games still on the grill.
Shards Online is no more: The game is now officially called Legends of Aria. Better still? It's now being marketed by Citadel Studios as a full-fledged MMORPG.
Citadel's Derek "Supreem" Brinkmann says that the name change will be a big help to the game ahead of its Steam early access -- that Shards had a "stigma" for being limited by small maps and low player counts, as you'd expect from a game focused on custom shards in a classic UO style. Legends of Aria, on the other hand, will launch with a heavily expanded map and no player limits at all -- in other words, it's a real MMO.
"It's the same game, it's just a bigger scale, a bigger scope," he assures backers -- everything in the old game, including modding, is still happening in Aria.
The trailer and address from Citadel is below. Stay tuned for this weekend, too, as we'll be meeting with the studio at PAX East!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, we did a retrospective on why crowdfunded MMOARPG Hero's Song failed. It's almost as if Justin knew (cue spooky music) because two days later, Hero's Song's John Smedley and most of the Pixelmage team showed up at Amazon, announcing a new studio and a new game for the shopping giant's games division. In other words, don't expect Smed back on Kickstarter any time soon.
Meanwhile, Star Citizen's alpha 2.6.1 went live, we poked around TUG's status, Elite Dangerous demoed its upcoming "Holo-Me" character creator, The Exiled prepped for next week's launch, Ruin of the Reckless entered its backer test phase, and Camelot Unchained hinted at beta.
Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.
Those of you who have waited eagerly for the day when everyone can jump into Revelation Online won't have to wait much longer, as the game's open beta is starting up March 6th. Players who purchased one of the game's founder's packs will be able to get in a little bit earlier, to boot. The game also showed off its special skills, which is "break the rules" special rather than "riding a different bus to school" special.
Shall we cover other beta news this week? Yes! Why not? You may join us in a chortle.
Yes, that's all a bit quiet, but the list down below can be raucous despite our best efforts to silence it. You can let us know if parts of the list deserve more consideration down in the comments, like if a title has slipped into launch without us catching it. We keep putting up nets but some titles slip through. I suspect there's a hive.
Last week we reported that Shards Online is winding down its alpha program and gearing up for Steam early access launch sometime in the next few months. As a follow-up to this and other improvements to the game, the team sat down for a community roundtable to talk about the next phase of Shards Online's development.
Topics include expanding loyalty options in the store, the week-long head start, the confirmation of a full wipe with the Steam launch, rewarding players retroactively with extra loyalty, the possibility for minigames, and the assurance that PvE players will have a lot of area to romp around without worrying about being ganked.
Drink in the full community roundtable and the alpha feature highlights video after the break!
This week in MMO crowfunding was... well, it was a big week for gaming in general, and Kickstarted games rose to the challenge! In fact, we could barely pump out the news fast enough. Here's what went on this week:
- Camelot Unchained continued work on "big ticket" development issues, like animation and effects and abilities for bots.
- Mekria Online, which we introduced only last week, has already canceled its Kickstarter; the studio vows to return with more to show players next round.
- Ashes of Creation released its first gameplay video, a "movie-like" version that'll see a UI-laden edition next week.
- Gloria Victis introduced its new Glory system as well as the ability to burn down ALL THE THINGS. Seriously.
- TUG's latest Kickstarter update tells backers that the team is working on gameplay prototyping and touted its recent investor presentation.
- Ship of Heroes previewed one of its signature heroes, Dr. Ellen Strikewell.
- Shards Online is prepping for its Steam launch with an impending wipe and NDA drop.
- Valiance Online posted four new videos of the alpha client! We've tucked one down below.
- Crowfall canceled its weekend playtest over studio concerns that the current version of the build isn't up to snuff.
- Grim Dawn rolled out a massive new patch.
- and Shroud of the Avatar rounds out my super-long list with a post-mortem Q&A -- video and text versions -- on its latest release.
I told you it was busy, and there's more down below! Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.
Shards Online's latest newsletter is homing in on the game's Steam launch. The game hit always-on alpha back in January, but now it's eyeing plans for backer head-start on Steam -- everyone who's pledged ahead of the close of crowdfunding will be guaranteed a week-long early access period before the launch. The servers will be wiped, note, but backers will get a refund of their loyalty points to spend again and keep their loyalty titles to boot.
Citadel Studios also says that it's waiving the NDA for the game's normal client (not for the experimental client, though). The main alpha client's most recent hotfix included stability and lag fixes, plus improvements to the pet system, AI, and PvP balance, as well as a new sunken treasure system for fishermen.
When the NDA is away, the cats will play -- and take screenshots! Bless our dear community for documenting upcoming MMOs as they venture into these virgin territories.
ZulikaMiNam had some fun in one game that I haven't seen much from readers yet: "Since there are no NDA restrictions imposed for this alpha weekend kickoff over at Shards Online I will post some pics from there. I accidentally healed a skeleton while trying to heal myself. So my name turns grey and anyone can kill me now. Time to lay low for a bit."
Are you still laying low? You can... probably come out now. That skeleton owes you a life debt for that heroic action.