On this week’s show, Justin and Bree saddle up for discussion on Wild West Online’s alpha, Star Citizen’s back-backlash on schedules, the miserable state of Phantasy Star Online 2, and more!
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My husband and I were chatting about the whole Chris-Roberts-is-fed-up-with-trolls-and-date-estimates-that-everyone-knows-aren’t-going-to-stick thing from last week when he said something that struck me. “It reminds me of how people harangue George R. R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame) about his next book,” he observed. “They believe he owes them something for being his loyal fans,” which you’ll recall once prompted famed author Neil Gaiman to declare, “George Martin is not your bitch.”
The difference, of course, is that George R. R. Martin can do whatever the heck he wants while he rolls around in his well-earned piles of money because his books aren’t crowdfunded. He quite literally doesn’t owe us anything, even if people who’ve been his fans for multiple decades might feel otherwise.
Crowfunded MMOs like Star Citizen aren’t quite in that position. Technically, you knew when your credit card number hit the screen that yours was a donation toward an idea. Some of the games we Kickstart? They fail. Or they drift in limbo. Or they don’t meet the vision. They aren’t all Path of Exile and Elite Dangerous is what I’m saying. But when those campaigns masquerade as pre-orders, people can be left with the idea that, well, they’re owed what they think they paid for.
Do you feel the MMO you’ve crowdfunded owe you something? Or are you content knowing you donated toward a vision of a better genre?
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts gave an interview that seemed to express understandable frustration with the constant barrage of demands for alpha launch estimates, scam accusations, and “fan trolling” he encounters.
“I am fed up of giving someone an estimate – I’d rather say, here’s the data I have, here’s the schedule I see,” he told Eurogamer, arguing that CIG is already providing progress reports for the massive crowdfunded MMO. “There’s a subset of people who say ‘this thing is never going to come out, it’s a scam’. Which is plainly not true. It would be the worst scam in the world. We’re hiring all these people, we’re working really hard. We’re showing what we’re doing every week.”
Meanwhile, we wrapped up our tour of Shroud of the Avatar, Elite Dangerous announced its September 26th update, we chatted with Ashes of Creation at PAX, Kickstarter began welcoming Japanese creators, Albion Online kicked off playtests for its arena mode, AdventureQuest 3D is going all out for Talk Like A Pirate Day, and Dogma: Eternal Night continued hammering out its combat system (thanks, DDOCentral!).
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.
Good news for Crowfall fans this week because there’s plenty on the docket about the game’s development. You might not consider a whole lot of discussion about how the game succeeded at crowdfunding to be new content, but you’ve also got the full list of race/class combinations at launch and a dangerous beachhead for players to fight around. So there’s lots of good stuff happening for fans, yes?
The remainder of the beta news… well, there’s some good stuff in there, too! And one thing that’s perhaps not so good. Let’s head right in.
- In fact, let’s start by diving into one of the most ill-considered quotes of the week, in which Chris Roberts of Star Citizen declared he was “fed up” with providing launch estimates for patch 3.0. We imagine backers are a bit “fed up” with waiting for the patch, especially the ones who claimed a refund and then lied about the amount of said refund.
- Happier news time for Wild West Online fans, as the alpha test begins this weekend. There isn’t much of an NDA in place, either, so if you’re testing it feel free to say whatever you’d like down in the comments (with the proper alpha caveats, of course).
- The second closed beta for Lost Ark is on its way, and we’ve got the video full of happy frolicking animals listening to music to prove it. If you’ve never seen an owlbear soothed by a calming tune, well, that’s your entry for today’s list of things you never knew you wanted before now.
- Good news for Worlds Adrift developer Bossa Studios, too, as the studio picked up lots of investor cash this week. That should fund a fair number of islands.
- Do you remember Seed? No, not the MMO that crashed and burned in a short span of time, the other game named Seed? It’s not due for any sort of serious beta until summer 2018, but we’re already seeing signs of how the game will deliver its AI-focused design.
- Last but not least, why not take a gander at what’s coming for phase two of the OrbusVR closed beta? You can read that update even if you’re in not-virtual reality, aka actual reality, aka… you know, the real world.
Meanwhile, we’ve got that full list of games down below with all of the information you could possibly expect at this point from our regular weekly column. Did something jump to a new phase of testing without us noticing? Let us know down in the comments, we find that fascinating and only marginally annoying. (And the annoyance is with the studios who don’t let us know, mind.)
In this week’s episode of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse, Cloud Imperium says it’s reduced its must-fix issues by 50 over the last week, bringing us that much closer to the release of the 3.0 alpha for the earliest outside testers, though we should probably note that not all the issues were actually resolved, just set aside. That means there are now 26 must-fix problems left to go.
“We’ve tightened the focus of our first test plan for the Evocati, which will be traversing and experiencing the expanse of the new universe and all that entails,” CIG’s Eric Kieron Davis says. “Then, while we’re getting larger test support, we’ll continue to polish and bugfix more features, push them out for more testing, and so on and so forth until release.”
The episode’s content preview this week focuses on the mission system specifically. It’s heavy on the tech jargon, but toward the end, the devs dig into the philosophy behind really building out every detail of the mission system — customization built on top of procedural generation, not just one or the other, and not just slapping down some quest text and NPCs or letting a spreadsheet do the heavy lifting.
[Update: ArsTechnica now reports that a Cloud Imperium rep has gone on the record stating that some of the Redditor’s claims are fabrication, including the amount (CIG maintains it was $330, not $45000) and that the screenshots and videos depicting poor customer service are forgeries. We can confirm the same statements have now been made to us by the same CIG rep. Cheers, Cotic! The original article follows.]
If you’re as “fed up” with waiting for Star Citizen as Chris Roberts is “fed up” with providing endless moving release dates for alpha 3.0, there’s one recourse left to you: get a refund.
That appears to be precisely what one guild has done. A report on ArsTechnica points to claims on the Star Citizen Refunds subreddit, where an anonymous player has seemingly provided proof to the public and to moderators that he and his guild sought and received refunds on $45,000 worth of completionist packages (three for $15,000 apiece). He makes clear his antagonism toward the game, too.
Eurogamer’s just published a long Gamescom interview with Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts on Star Citizen, and anybody concerned about the state of 3.0 and its long delay and missed windows should probably give it a read — it may not change your mind, but it’s the gospel from the boss’ mouth. Also it’s significantly more entertaining than debating space poop.
Roberts first won’t agree that the 3.0 alpha, when we finally see it, constitutes beta. “With 3.0, the game is moving into a phase akin to Early Access,” he says, as “3.0 is the first time you’ll have some of the basic game loops and mechanics,” the first slice of the game with “proper persistence for your character, ship and items in terms of what their state is, their location is.” Terms like beta and early access, he says, are “just labels.”
“People still think of the old way [of making games], like my past games. We’d talk about a game for years, we’d show it, but no one would have their hands on it ’til it was out. There was an obsession with ‘when will it get released’. Even with those [traditional boxed] games now, they get patched, they add things, make things better over time.”
Remember a few weeks ago when Star Citizen confirmed survival mechanics like eating and sleeping? Welp, add pooping to the list. This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen’s Around the Verse focused on the game’s stamina system, which touches on the character’s needs and risks and notifications about them, including “getting drunk, needing to go to the toilet, all the little things that can affect the player temporarily, and then we can expand this to go even to stuff like long-term diseases, depressurization sickness, radiation sickness – all these things that won’t be something the player can get rid of instantly.”
Meanwhile, the three City of Heroes spiritual successors teamed up for a panel at PAX, Shroud of the Avatar honored a player’s father, Dual Universe hit 10K backers, Dogma: Eternal Night implemented combat, and Chronicles of Elyria demoed jousting, plus so many goodies from PAX! Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
Nobody likes being criticized, ever. But it’s a reality of life, and so Worlds Adrift has been taking the feedback from players about the game’s PvP scene in stride. The team behind the game has also updated the free island creator tool, so if you feel like engaging in a round of player vs. interface and player vs. the multi-layered complexity of realizing player ideals in a three-dimensional design space, go nuts.
You want some more beta news? Well, we got a little bit of that, it turns out.
And, of course, there’s a list down below of titles in testing, many of which were not affected by the double punch of a holiday and a convention back-to-back. Go ahead and check out the list, and feel free to leave your comments on betas you’re currently playing down below. Or let us know if something jumped status, that’s cool too.
PAX West 2017 has come and gone, and though MJ is still feverishly working on her last few articles, we wanted to pause a moment to reflect on everything we’ve seen and read and recapped so far. So for today’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to tackle three topics from an MMO player’s perspective: the biggest surprise of the show, the most disappointing bit, and the games that grabbed them and won’t let go.
We still don’t know. Star Citizen’s Eric Kieron Davis begins the latest Around the Verse with a Burndown segment, noting that the team’s reduced the must-fix list down by 18. That means there are 76 critical issues left to fix, unless they find more while preparing the Evocati tester build, and they will.
In the meantime, the rest of the weekly episode is all about stamina — literally, how to breathe. And also how not to suffocate in the void of space, though space isn’t your only consideration; a player will have to carefully consider how much effort he’s expending to keep his stamina levels in check. Running out of stamina and blowing through your oxygen will directly impact your ability to play the game, from jumping and shooting to getting your suit on right before you’re spaced.
Check the whole episode out below. Bet you can’t stop thinking about breathing now.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, HEX announced it is officially coming to PS4 on September 9th under a hybrid HEX: Card Clash moniker, which “marries the PC version you know and love with an all-new and improved PS4tm client” and allows gamers to “play seamlessly with players from both clients, and compete for weekly cash prizes.” Says the studio,
“Ever since our Kickstarter, we knew there was the desire to curl up on the couch with a nice game of HEX. We originally envisioned this as tablet support, but as HEX evolved it became clear that there were still some significant hurdles to making that a reality. From both a coding and a UI perspective, HEX requires some significant magic to faithfully reproduce the PC experience you know and love in a different medium. While we are absolutely still planning to come to tablet, we began to wonder if we couldn’t get you couch conquerors HEX just a little bit sooner.”
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar launched R45, Crowfall players put together a crafting calculator, Valiance Online streamed its alpha, Grim Dawn released gameplay of its upcoming Necro class, Ashes of Creation pegged December for its “alpha zero,” and Camelot Unchained said it’s overdelivering on tech. (Thanks, Zophie!) Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse is more or less a recap of Gamescom and a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the chaos behind the curtain, so if you follow the game closely, you probably don’t need it. As of recording time, the team says it added 27 issues to the must-fix list and checked in 768 updates over the week, bringing the game to 94 outstanding issues that need a clean-up before 3.0 can roll out to the Evocati.
Meanwhile, Cloud Imperium has posted a Q&A on the Origin 600i, one of its newest concept ships, desirable for its modularity and solo-friendliness. More stylish than the Aquila (and also pretty much every other starship you’ve ever seen), it’s admittedly “extremely expensive,” even though it’s not as powerful or long-range as other ships in its class.
“We are building a universe, and part of that means we can consider aspects that a standard game does not, such as value and desirability,” CIG explains. “When we look at vehicles in the real world, its apparent that more functionality does not always mean something is more expensive, and vice versa. In the Star Citizen universe, a sleek, luxury ship created by Origin will bring certain connotations with it, in the same way most people would find a sports coupé more desirable than a family sedan, despite the fact it has [fewer] seats and cup-holders.”