state of the game

Shroud of the Avatar plans a pair of investor Q&A sessions, the first taking place tonight

One of the frustrating bits about the MMORPG studios that are turning to newly legal online equity crowdfunding platforms is that the very SEC rules meant to protect us also hinder us when it comes to digging up information and reporting on the proceedings. That is, gaming studios and other companies are forbidden from disclosing specific things (chiefly, deal terms) about their campaigns to the media while those campaigns are ongoing. You might notice studios won’t answer most emailed or forum questions either. The idea is that a campaign’s premise would be scattered for different audiences, which could open the game up to legal challenges later.

All of this is preamble to explaining why you might want to tune in to the Q&A sessions Portalarium will be holding with investors and potential investors into its newly announced Shroud of the Avatar SeedInvest campaign. The first is tonight at 5 p.m. EDT and takes the form of a public streamed webinar; the second is a public Reddit AMA next week on June 20th. Presumably, investors will be able to ask more direct questions about the studio’s finances during those established public fora.

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Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter is live, seeking $750,000 to bolster the ‘rebirth of the MMORPG’

“If necessary, I have made some very good friends in my previous business endeavors who are dying to invest.” -Steven Sharif, Massively OP interview, May 2017
As promised, Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter has just gone live — Intrepid Studios is seeking $750,000, and it’s already racked up $190,000 of that as I type this. Unlike most games that claim the MMO moniker these days, AoC is all about the massive, thanks in no small part to the MMORPG pedigrees of its team, with an emphasis on player-governed territory, economy, world building, and consequential PvP.

Ashes of Creation is a new MMORPG that aims to bring the Massive back to Massively Multiplayer,” declares the Kickstarter preamble. “It takes everything we love about the genre and brings it boldly into the future as a truly next generation title. We’ve all wanted a world that lives and breathes and reacts, where our decisions matter, where the world changes because of what we’ve done. Ashes of Creation is that game: The rebirth of the MMORPG.”

Here’s something we rarely see: a promise to refund in case the whole project goes belly-up. “And finally, in the case that Ashes of Creation does NOT launch, we promise to refund all backers in full.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 113: Avatar vs. toon

Do you want to date my space avatar? She’s a star and she’s hotter than a supernova by far. Or maybe you’re a loony tooner? What’s the socially acceptable way to reference your character in an MMORPG without coming across like some weirdo from another gaming era? Bree and Justin will devote their lives to figuring out this question.

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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WildStar looks forward to more Prime difficulty content over the next year

The first major WildStar patch of 2017 unlocked the Primal Matrix and added the Prime difficulty level for select dungeons. What’s next for the game? According to the newest state of the game letter, it’s time for even more Prime difficulty, including Prime difficulty raids! No longer will you have to suffer through the normal difficulty raids like some sort of sucker, assuming you could actually get a full raid group together to even take on the content, much less clear it.

The Prime difficulty is also coming to other dungeons and adventures over the remainder of the year. The other big addition is the new Communities feature, allowing players to come together and collaborate on housing plots instead of working separately. If you’re tired of how easy the raids in WildStar are, we’re sure you’ll be happy at the thought of making them even harder. If you’re not a big fan of the difficulty hike at this point, though… well, there are more Primal Matrix levels coming, so that’s something?

Source: Official Site; thanks to GreaterDivinity for the tip!

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Black Death’s V0.12 overhauls combat and housing, offers new trailer

Indie survival sandbox The Black Death is due for a massive update any hour now. Last week, Small Impact Games told players that back in November, the team simply wasn’t happy with the state of the game, so back to the drawing board it went for a round of key feature-building and problem-fixing. Now it’s ready for us.

The update is packed with a fully revamped combat system, a proper diurnal system, new spawn locations for noobies, new pillaging areas “that nobody in their right mind would want to visit unless you want the best loot in the game,” and the “tip of the new housing system iceberg” with what the team is calling a “core feature set” for housing that’ll be expanded heavily moving forward.

The update was meant to go live yesterday but was held back a day and change thanks to bug and internet issues. While you wait, check out the brand-new trailer out for the update!

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Gigantic has plans for bot matches, accessibility, and Windows 7 support

Motiga Community Manager Evan Teicheira has a new state of the game post up for Gigantic today — a most welcome one as the game laid off another 15 employees earlier this month to “reduce burn rate.”

“One of the most important revelations we’ve had during the beta is that Gigantic is complicated – not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way that makes it difficult for new players to pick up the game and get over the steep learning curve of the game,” he acknowledges. “There are a lot of intricate mechanics that differentiate Gigantic from other games, and only make sense when players understand how each mechanic plays into the much larger picture. For a brand new player, Gigantic can feel like a hectic, fast-paced, visually overwhelming, and ultimately confusing experience. Even for veteran players, it can also be difficult to test new heroes on the live battlefield.”

Consequently, Motiga is working on bot matches, balancing accessibility with challenge, Tripp tweaks, chat and voice implementation, an achievements system, new heroes, new battlegrounds and — drumroll — the move to Arc, which should allow players on Windows 7 and beyond the chance to play the game.

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Choose My Adventure: Wrapping up WildStar

Writing about WildStar at this point feels weird.

Obviously, I just finished up playing the game for this feature for four weeks. It feels fresh in my mind. And in many ways, it really has changed quite a bit from launch to its credit. In many other ways, it hasn’t changed much at all. And the ways in which it has changed would make a much bigger difference if those changes affected things that initially drove me away from the game.

So in many ways, when I write about WildStar now, I’m still writing about the launch version of the game. It’s just that we’re now several years out from that launch, and its potential to really be something no longer has the time to turn into reality. It’s still just a hope for what it could be, and there’s not much more to the game beyond what we see right now. So it’s the same state of the game, but it’s gone from promising opportunities to unrealized potential.

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Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen has a brand-new wiki

If you’ve somehow missed it in every single discussion of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s design philosophy, the game is very much a throwback to the older days of MMOs. Of course, back in those older days you would have to go to four or five different sites to find out about the materials for a simple crafting recipe, and there was no assurance that all of those sites would be providing the same information. The new Pantheon wiki should be much easier to look at for any needed information.

Due to the early state of the game the wiki is still on the lighter side, but it already outlines what we know about the game’s classes, races, and mechanics. Plus, it’s a wiki, so you know that updates are going to be pretty easy to come by. Check out the whole thing, whether you’re looking for information right now or just want to bookmark it for future use.

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What ever happened to Darkfall, Fallen Earth, and Runes of Magic?

It bears repeating that here on Massively OP, we cover an immensely wide field of live games — so many that it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of what’s happening in each one (which is why our readers are invaluable in winging us tips about their favorite MMOs!). And while there’s never any shortage of news and happenings in the field of MMORPGs as a whole, once in a while we realize that it’s been a good long time since we heard anything about certain games that we used to discuss a lot in the past.

When that happens to me, I’ll often head off on a little fool’s errand to scout the website, Twitter feed, forums, and Reddit to see what’s going on. I hate to be out of the loop on games, especially ones that used to be more prominent in the news, but more often than not, the lack of news is because there’s been a lack of news.

You ever caught yourself going, “What ever happened to the original Darkfall? Or Runes of Magic? Or Fallen Earth?” I totally have, which is why I went on expeditions to see what I could uncover. So let’s catch up with these three games and see what is up!

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Eternal Crusade discusses the rationale and timing behind its free-to-play shift

In the near future, Eternal Crusade is offering a free option for players to jump in and start playing without any need for purchase, although there will be limitations on the speed of advancement for free players. A new state of the game letter explains the limitations and why they allow free players access to a fair portion of the game. In short, restricting free players to a single class and faction wouldn’t give free players any reason to come back, and it wouldn’t actually lead to a population surge for paying players; more relaxed restrictions works out better for everyone.

Current players will be receiving the benefits of the full version right away, of course, and the letter stresses that the team is still focused on the same overall priorities of balance, bug fixes, and content improvements. Testing keys will be going out within the next few weeks thanks to a partnership with Alienware, so you can look forward to seeing the new wave coming in sooner rather than later.

Source: Steam

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Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen recaps the state of the game, defends the class matrix

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s latest newsletter includes a state-of-the-game memo from Creative Director Chris “Joppa” Perkins, who recaps the game’s progress since the last one (apparently in May of last year). In that time, he says, the team’s brought on multiple new team members, including an associate designer, and demoed multiple zones on-stream. Visionary Realms continues work on a new class, the “extreme climate and acclimation systems,” two new zones, “marked improvement in NPC AI,” and the disposition system.

The newsletter also revisits the topic of the class matrix, which was actually the subject of some controversy in our comments when it released some weeks ago. Apparently, it raised questions among the game’s backers as well. For example, the developers defend the game’s plan to restrict Gnomes to casters and rogues, to block Ogres from sneaking in the shadows, and to bar Dark Myr from holy classes, noting that some restrictions are a result of lore, others physique. On the other hand, the devs justify their selection of the bard for the Dark Myr, suggesting that they’ll be mournful dirges instead of peppy troubadours.

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Daybreak: ‘We have not given up’ on H1Z1’s console launch

Daybreak has posted up an H1Z1: King of the Kill Q&A last night that sheds some light on the state of the game, in one of many planned for the future. “For now we are going to be doing them sometimes on Twitter and sometimes on Reddit, Tuesday mornings at 11am Pacific,” the studio promises.

Of note, Daybreak says it has not given up on the console launch of the game, which was postponed indefinitely in September of 2016 along with the formal release of King of the Kill (which is still in early access), though the studio says it still has no ETA: “We are first and foremost committed to a quality release when we do decide to do it.

The team also says it’s working on desync diagnosis, skirmishes, building a ranking system for small groups, new EU servers, and vehicle bailing. There are no plans for a new map, though the existing map is getting more love.

And as for spectator mode, the team says it’s “working on improving it, but it is a pretty big undertaking to improve the jerkiness of the view of your teammates. In order to improve it we have to change code that is fairly fundamental. So that means we have to be really, really careful, which means it takes longer. We are committed to ensuring that it works well before pushing to live.”

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Wisdom of Nym: Getting ready for Final Fantasy XIV patch 3.5

Welcome to the next six months of Final Fantasy XIV, folks. Yes, there are going to be more changes over time, adjustments and upgrades to be made, but by and large the state of the game after tomorrow’s patch is what you’re going to be dealing with for quite some time. It’s time to buckle in, wrap things up, take care of sidequests, and otherwise get ready for the long wait until Stormblood releases.

Fortunately, we’re getting a meaty patch first, as you do. So while you might get a little bored with what’s on display by the time June rolls around, at least you’ll have something to do with reasonable consistency.

As is the tradition before each major patch, I’m taking a look at the patch notes and evaluating what we see therein before the actual patch goes live. It’s possible that we might wind up with some other particularly cool additions or some neat stuff might be different when we’re playing it, but… at this point, we’ll just have to wait for Tuesday.

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