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.
Portalarium is going all out for Shroud of the Avatar’s formal launch next week – March 27th, for those of you keeping count. Last night, the studio held its launch party in conjunction with SXSW (we’ll have much more on that event when Massively OP’s MJ returns from it!). In the meantime, Portalarium and EU publisher Travian Games pushed out a press release that bizarrely dubs the game a “multiplayer RPG” and releases two brand-new videos. The first is clearly intended to introduce the Ultima Online spiritual successor to newcomers, while the second shows off just how far combat and co-op play have come over the last couple of years.
When we covered Shroud of the Avatar’s newsletter yesterday, one of the tidbits we mentioned was the plan for craftable housing. In response to a question from a player, Starr Long essentially announced that in the launch patch next week, Portalarium is planning to tweak that system, which has long provoked claims of pay-to-win.
“Yes we are going to be expanding the number of craftable houses soon. In R52 in fact we are adding a craftable inn.”
So what exactly does housing entail? A helpful Redditor linked to a helpful thread on the official site just a few weeks ago breaking down how exactly you can buy property without handing over your credit card because you definitely can – that’s the good news. If you’re not a crafter yourself, you just need a specific currency, Crowns of the Obsidians, which you can buy with gold.
Shroud of the Avatar’s official launch may be a bit later this month, but the launch party is this week! Massively OP’s MJ is excited to go, and so she’s soaking up all the SOTA she can before she leaves. Hop aboard the hype hot air balloon and join us live at 7:00 p.m. for more Forsaken Virtues adventures.
What: Shroud of the Avatar
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 12th, 2018
Whether or not you agree that Shroud of the Avatar is already soft launched, it is most definitely hard launching on March 27th, meaning there’s just a few weeks to go until the big day. That makes the next couple of weekly newsletters extra important, given that they are previewing content that’s going into release 52 – in other words, brand-new launch content.
Portalarium’s latest offering teases two new companions, representing Truth and Courage, along with their unique art, plus progress on the town of Northwood and Blood River Forest adventure zone. Devs also answered a few more questions that didn’t make it into the previous Q&A; they say they’re working on DPS, crit rate, recipes, loot, and performance. They’re also “expanding the number of craftable houses” – there’s a craftable inn in R52, so MJ will be happy.
Additionally, SOTA is seeking out players for its “Ambassadors Program,” which’ll remind old-school MMO players of guide systems from games past.
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.
Is the buzz starting to grow louder for Shroud of the Avatar as it rounds the corner to launch? There are a couple of positive signs that player interest and involvement is picking up in these final weeks, at least according to creator Richard Garriott.
Responding to some players who noted that guild traffic and general interest has been on the rise as of late, Garriott tweeted, “Data backs that up! In addition to eight weeks of steady concurrency increases, the conversion rates of free trials to full citizens remains strong, even as less ‘indoctrinated’ folks are trying it out. Travian’s great marketing team fine tuning new player outreach.”
One of our commenters recently noted that the developers have been raining meteors down on the game’s population in these last few weeks — and that it seems as if there is something big planned as a launch event. Stay tuned!
With just a few weeks away left before its official launch, Shroud of the Avatar is going nuts in its home stretch. Portalarium is getting ready to show off the game at SXSW this month and has expanded the free trial to allow users the ability to choose one of the three core paths available.
It sounds as though fans are still throwing wads of cash at this game, if the recent $110,000 telethon was of any indication. The community’s ingenuity was on display in this month’s newsletter, thanks to the Magnificent Trophy Room contest that showed off the capabilities of SOTA’s housing system and a spotlight on the Library of Spritual Knowledge. The latter is a place where player creativity is stored and displayed, including lore, music, and guides.
And if getting into the nitty gritty details of combat math and performance is your thing, then you’ll be the right audience for the studio’s latest tech talk video. Check it out below.
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.
Oh, the many antics of H1Z1 have brought us so much joy over the years. Remember when the game launched into paid early access that it never seemed to leave? And remember when it got split into two games to chase the success of its unexpectedly popular battle royale version? And remember when it lost 90% of its players since July once there were competitors for that gameplay style? Ah, memories. Well, that’s all of them. Given all of that, maybe it makes sense that the game is at least approaching launch now… probably.
Do we have other beta news this week? You bet your sweet bippy we do, and much of it has significantly less schadenfreude.
And, of course, there’s a whole list of games down below, games that are forever in testing and those that are just in testing for the moment. Is something on there that ought not be any longer? Do let us know so we can correct it. Or just share beta stories in the comments, that’d be cool too.
Out of all the titles that I’ve played for Choose My Adventure, Project Gorgon is probably the earliest in its development cycle. It’s also, by a sizable margin, the best in show. If you’re looking for a quick ringtone-style clip to take away from this column, that would be the one.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of criticisms of the game, nor does it mean that this is a game which will delight and amaze everyone who plays it. I have a somewhat biased starting point anyway because I talk about this subgenre for a living, and thus I have certain tastes that not everyone is going to share. That isn’t meant as a brag; that’s meant as a self-admonishment because these are things no one should really care about all that much.
Still, here I am, here this game is, and I am happy to pronounce it the best of all the Choose My Adventure games that I’ve played for this feature so far – albeit with the slight caveat that it won’t be able to hold onto that title forever if it doesn’t actually address some of the issues that I noticed while playing.
It may be the shortest month of the year, but Portalarium has pushed out Release 51 to Shroud of the Avatar on schedule all the same. After all, it’s got a launch to make next month!
The release includes a number of new and uncloned scenes, performance improvements, story and quest polish, another pass on player vendors, combat balancing, character polish, and the new skill specialization system.
“Players can now specialize in a couple of schools of combat and/or magic to gain extra bonuses such as extra glyphs,” the studio explains. “This was a massive overhaul that gives over 125 new updates to spells and skills in the game to players who choose to specialize rather than generalize.”
What didn’t make it in as planned? New spells for Chaos Magic, unique crafting components, crafting refining tweaks, offline mode maps, and the heraldry creation system. Oh yeah, and the name entry system has been ever so slightly delayed.
Any excuse for a large-scale shindig is a good one by us. For the players over at Shroud of the Avatar, the title’s consistent monthly updates haven’t lost their luster or crowd appeal.
This is why Avatar Radio, the player-run internet radio station for the game, is throwing a dance party for this week’s Release 51. The party is taking place on February 23rd on the Isle of Chaos.
“Come help the Devs test the limits of the newest update, the last of it’s kind before
the Queen of Chaos sets Sail off into full launch,” the party organizers said. “While partying on the Queen of Chaos we will have our ears tantalised by the best beats this side of the Rift by the one and only Lord of Chaos, Darkstarr himself.”