Mars-themed survival sandbox ROKH is inching closer toward release, a new post on Steam announced today, as early access is now planned for May 16th.
“Playing on persistent servers, you will experience a truly sandbox experience. No mission or quest here, define your own goals according to your own needs! And to succeed, find your own way to play with the many game systems available. As a newcomer on ROKH and its Mars Colonization Program, you must find ways to survive by exploring Mars in your basic astronaut suit, looking for resources. Oxygen, food, water – all your life support systems will have to be cautiously managed.”
We first heard about ROKH back in 2015 when it released its teaser to the world. Just about a year ago, developer Darewise Entertainment launched a Kickstarter for the game seeking over $100,000, but that crowdfunding attempt was canceled when it achieved only about a fifth of its goal. Since then, the early access launch has been kicked around a few times — first to September 2016, then January 2017, and now to next month. Stay tuned for more on the game as it’s one of the titles we’ll be covering in our nascent survival column!
I’m always wary nowadays when a game bills itself as a massively multiplayer sandbox gaming world, especially one that says it’s akin to “old school RPG games with modern quality,” but Arcfall appears to deserve the label.
The new MMO is currently listed on Steam as an early access title still in pre-alpha, but it isn’t formally launched or buyable just yet. Developer Neojac says it’s a “social” game, with open world non-instanced housing, a player-driven economy, crafting and farming, mounts, banking, resource harvesting, a classless skill-based progression system, and an incomplete map. Guilds, factions, dungeons, ships, player islands, and PvP (to complement the full-loot death) are still on the way, though there are apparently PvE-only zones too.
Early access is expected to last “the better part of this year,” with beta by the end of 2017. Founder packs are available on the official site; Neojac says that early buyers can access the game through that portal while Steam’s rollout continues.
Neojac should sound familiar to hardcore MMO fans; that’s the studio building MMO Neo’s Land on the Atavism platform, also of its own design. Neo’s Land’s last public update was in December of last year.
First there was EverQuest. Then there was Ever, Jane. Now there’s EverClicker. This sort of trend could go on (wait for it) forever.
KingsIsle, the studio behind both Wizard101 and Pirate101, is branching out into the mobile space and is looking for fan support to propel its newest title onto Steam. On the Wizard101 forums, the team asks the community to head over to Steam Greenlight to vote for EverClicker in the hopes of seeing it hit the big time.
Oddly enough, both 101 games have yet to debut on Steam themselves, but KingsIsle said that EverClicker could pave the way for that. “It’s easier to start our journey onto Steam with a game that isn’t hugely complicated with a lot of moving parts,” the studio said. “Starting with EverClicker on Steam allows us to learn the process. If successful, we hope to be able to offer more of our games on Steam and other distribution outlets in the future, which could include games such as Wizard101 and Pirate101.”
Update 25 has landed for Funcom’s in-early-access survival sandbox Conan Exiles, bringing with it 50 new emotes as promised. You’ve got the basics, like shrug and point and dancing, and then you’ve got “laying [sic] seductively,” “spank,” and “belly dance,” which is totes what you should be doing in a brutal world where everyone wants to kill you.
The update also fixes several ongoing exploits, including a dupe issue and that pesky problem of “accidentally” falling through the game world and raiding people’s bases.
And this line in the notes is cryptic: “Seeing dead people can now lead to great rewards.” Hmm.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go over here and emote sleeping on the ground. I’m sure it’s safe to sleep here. What could go wrong?
Hoping to see a full-fledged MMORPG with virtual reality take off in your lifetime? We may be witnessing the start of one with MetaWorld, even if it does look a little like Nintendo Wii avatars got guns and went fishing in cyberspace.
MetaWorld uses SpatialOS for its engine and is aiming for an August early access launch on Steam. Currently, the team is drumming up financial support for the project through Indiegogo. A soft target goal of $50,000 is posted, although because this is Indiegogo, whatever the team raises, the team keeps.
According to the description, MetaWorld “invites you explore a persistent 10,000 square mile, massively scaled open world together. Discover endless activities and adventure, inside a real-time physics simulation allowing thousands of visitors to participate simultaneously online.”
The top publisher of online games in South Korea now boasts the second-largest initial public offering in the country’s history.
Netmarble, a Tencent subsidiary, raised an amazing $2.3 billion through its IPO this spring. The sale reached over 17 million shares at $138 apiece, helping the publisher reach a total company value of $11.8 billion. Demand was high for the IPO, which benefited greatly from Netmarble’s release of Lineage II: Revolution in Korea.
One of Netmarble’s previous properties is currently sailing into the Industrial Revolution. Uncharted Waters Online announced that is embracing steampunk and advanced firearms with its Age of Revolution: Chapter 1 update. Steam engines, gatling guns, and flamethrowers are all part of the jump to a new level of technology, and OGPlanet is offering a free beginner’s box to anyone who registers on the website with the code “xanrJdmh” (no quotation marks).
As you might recall, Darkfall: Rise of Agon is set to launch in early May, which means that its beta program is currently winding down. Before the beta ends entirely, the team is inviting anyone who wants a look at the game to try it out for free. All you have to do is to create an account and download the game through Steam, and free play is yours until the beta shuts down on Monday, April 24th.
Free access isn’t the only topic on the table, not by far. Rise of Agon’s online store is now live, with subscriptions and currency on sale at 10% off. The standard subscription is set at $9.99 for 30 days of game time, with discounts for multiple months purchased. Players who previously purchased a Legend pack can now reserve their character name for the May launch.
Finally, the launch trailer and overview video are here, so give them a watch after the jump and see if it kindles your interest in the MMO reboot!
The Exiled, the PvP MMO formerly known as Das Tal, is making some business model changes.
When it launched into early access back in February, it did so under an essentially old-school B2P model, complete with a seven-day limited free trial. That trial has now been dissolved, or rather made unlimited, and replaced by a fully free-to-play period that will last through all of season three.
“In order to make it easier for new players to get into The Exiled we have decided to get rid of the 7-day trial period during Season #3. Yes, that means that you and all of your friends can play The Exiled for free for the coming four weeks. Just start the game and you’re in. You can (and should) still buy a Supporter Pack to unlock more character slots and get unique visuals for your character but it is not required anymore to play the game.”
The buyable upgrade packs still exist, and it’s not entirely clear whether future seasons will adopt the same model — this could be just a test to get more players hooked.
Broadsword has been putting the final touches on Ultima Online’s 97th publish all month, and as of yesterday, the release is on the guinea pig shards, which means the full launch isn’t far away, though Broadsword is still saying “later this month.”
The core of the update is a massive overhaul of the animal taming system, which has been one of the dominant skill sets in the game since its original launch. Expect 20 new tameable creatures (some of which are new to the game), new hues for existing critters, a new quest, and tons of new options for training pets in different skills and schools. The downside is that all the extra damage output will be met with a hefty nerf for pets in PvP.
Ultima Online turns 20 this autumn and will celebrate with a real-life party near Washington, DC. Since someone’s gonna ask: The studio has said repeatedly that it has no plans to go free-to-play. The planned Steam launch, however, was held up by EA’s “final approval” and at this point looks unlikely.
When I mentioned in our newsroom that I was working on an ASTA post, nobody believed me, but it’s true: ASTA: The War of Tears and Winds is getting another lease on life.
You’ll recall that Webzen originally ported the game westward in 2015, soft-launching in an open beta here after the game had sunsetted in Korea the same year — and after having been in development since 2010. However, Webzen gave up after a year, sunsetting the western version this past October.
MMO Culture noticed that the game has popped up on Steam, however, with a posted release date of April 26, 2017, and a brand-new publisher: Move Games Co., Ltd., which is reportedly well-versed in picking up and relaunching Korean games for different audiences. According to the Steam and Facebook updates, the game will grant all registered players a “beginner’s gift” bundle for showing up. What is dead can never die.
The reinvented Guns of Icarus Alliance is sailing into a bold new world with its debut on Steam. Players can pick up a copy of this expanded multiplayer airship adventure for $20, or pay a little more for a costume pack and soundtrack to go with it.
So what makes Guns of Icarus Alliance different than its forefather? Basically, the game has gotten away from a strict PvP setting to include a lot of challenging and fun co-op PvE content as well. The team has created new story mechanics, large PvE mission maps, new weapons, additional ships, and a lot of costume and ship cosmetics to unlock.
“If you’ve heard of the previous Guns of Icarus, the PvP game, this is way different,” the studio said in a press release. “Think of it as you and your ragtag crew teaming up with other ships against hordes of enemies controlled by an intelligent AI director.”
If you’re not a big fan of Steam’s dominance of gaming trends in the west, maybe you think a competitor will do the service some good — and a competitor does indeed to appear to be on the way.
A tweet lobbed by Niko Partners games industry analyst Daniel Ahmad on Easter sent games journalist scurrying to cover his claim that Tencent is planning a relaunch of its existing games platform as a global Steam-competitor dubbed WeGame. The existing service, Tencent Games Platform, already has 200 million users in China, but when relaunched, it’ll service the west too, beginning with a release of 100 games from primarily western developers. Gamasutra reports that Stardew Valley and Don’t Starve are already on the platform, the latter having sold a million copies there in its first month.
Tencent is already the largest gaming company in the world and according to Bloomberg is currently the 10th largest publicly traded company on the planet. Massively OP readers know it best as the company that owns League of Legends studio Riot Games.
Expect “big changes” in the way Silverhelm Studios handles superhero MMORPG Valiance Online’s development going forward, the indie group tells future players and testers in a new dev post today. Silverhelm says that about five months ago, it “shifted from a feature implementation and prototyping development stage to an aggressive content development and content testing phase,” with a renewed focus on transparency, the map, content coding, tools, mob scripting, and the character generator (shown down below), all in the service of preparing for an alpha release and then, eventually, release on Steam.
“Our marketing team is also gearing up for Alpha release, and building their launch campaign for the project. Alongside them, our business team is preparing for the Steam launch and resuming talks with interested investment parties as they start planning to strengthen our infrastructure’s integrity. Our plan is to have the Alpha run for at least 1-2 months. The first phase of testing will be reserved for those that have donor status with the project. As people donate money they will, of course, be given immediate access to the game. They will also receive all of their accumulated donor rewards that are available in the game at that time. Over time we will also add additional testers drawn from people registered on our forums and later, open testing to the public at large. The Steam launch is pivotal for us and is anchored loosely on how financial negotiations mature with interested parties, and how well the Alpha is received by our players. We’re in no rush to Steam, and it has always been our goal to have a well-established and highly refined product before heading to that market.