survival sandbox

The Survivalist: Four hopes for the future of ARK Survival Evolved

As we explored last week, game development isn’t always an upward trajectory. Some things soar, and some things crash. Our last Survivalist conversation was about four ways that the ARK: Survival Evolved that launched was better than the early early access build and four ways that it was worse. Since launch, development has continued, some on the base game and quite a bit on expansions. Whether the overall game as it stands right now is better or worse depends in part on what aspects are more important to you and likely which expansion you play. (Let’s hear it for Aberration!)

Even with improvements made to the game since launch, there are areas that could really use some attention. Today, I’d like to focus on four things that I really want for the future of ARK!

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The Survivalist: ARK Survival Evolved’s early early access vs. launch

When a game is being created, you usually expect that development to move the title in a positive direction and make it better, right? The state of the game when it launches should be much better than when it started. Well, sometimes that doesn’t quite happen. In ARK: Survival Evolved’s case, I think there are instances when it did just the opposite; certain aspects of the launched game were worse than the earlier versions. However, that’s not the case for everything: There were also a number of ways the game was definitely improved. Does one outweigh the other? Is the game better, or is it worse? It might depend on which features you feel are more important for the game and the side that they fall on.

While not exhaustive in either case, here’s a list of four ways that early early access ARK was better than the launch and four ways the launch version is better. Then tune in next week for four hopes for a better future.

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Dead Man’s Country throws you into the teeth of the American west

Have a pioneering spirit and wouldn’t mind stepping back in time to see how you’d do on the frontier in the late 1800s? Then saddle up with Dead Man’s Country, a new multiplayer open-world RPG that’s slathered with old west flavor.

The game is clearly putting its setting up front as a selling point: “Face the untamed harshness of the wild in a landscape of vast forests, soaring mountains and desolate plains.”

With randomly generated items, a deep crafting system, housing, abandoned forts, farming, hunting, taming, multiplayer matches, there’s plenty to do. It’s not quite the historic old west, however, because you’ll also be facing the plague and zombies (survivalboxes gotta have them zombies).

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The Survivalist: A tale of two early accesses (and why Conan Exiles comes out on top)

It was the best of early access, it was the worst of early access. We needn’t even stop there: It was the age of wisdom and it was the age of foolishness as well! I venture to say that Dickens didn’t know he would be so on point in relation to video games. As much as I know players are disappointed about the announcement from Conan Exiles that multiple anticipated features will not make it in for launch (trust me, I’ve been looking forward to them as well!), I actually really appreciate the decision. You see, I have already experienced the maddening delay of “just a few (hundred) more features before launch” and I lost heaps of respect for the studio that went that route. A studio, I might add, that was the epitome of doing early access right for a long while.

In this week’s edition of The Survivalist, I’ll juxtapose these two examples of early access in the survival sandbox genre and show how Conan Exiles’ latest announcement secures this game the title of doing early access right — a position once held by the other.

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The Survivalist: ARK’s latest exploit highlights how cheaters ruin official servers

Let’s talk exploits. And no, this is definitely not a how-to guide! For shame! If you are a person who exploits, a pox on you. No, we are going to discuss how exploits — and more importantly, how those exploits are handled — can seriously harm, if not irreparably damage, a survival game.

This exact principle was highlighted this week with Studio WildCard’s announcement and its accompanying emergency update for ARK: Survival Evolved. I applaud the studio for jumping on the fix, even when it meant a surprise major version change that locked folks out of unofficial servers until they updated. However, how the exploit and the exploiters were handled is a different matter. In survival sandbox games, cheaters can ruin the long-term experience for the entire server, as does the subsequent action (or inaction) against those cheaters.

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The Survivalist: The downside of hosting custom servers for survival games (and why we don’t do it)

After the latest guide introduced even more possible games to sink our survival teeth into, it is understandable that the question cropped up again asking whether Massively OP would be officially hosting any servers for any of these titles. Think of it, life and death alongside your fellow MOP fans! Of course, we think it could be great fun, and we like playing games with ya’ll. However, as much as we love having folks congregate and have fun together, the answer is unfortunately no. Could it happen in the future? You could say there is a possibility, but it is extremely remote. Remote as in you have a higher chance to win the Powerball lottery. (Of course if you do win and want to fund such an endeavor, let’s talk.)

But why, you ask? Didn’t MOP have an ARK: Survival Evolved server? There are a number of reasons that official servers are not in the future, some of which the official unofficial ARK server helped illuminate or reinforce.

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Ancient Siberia tasks you with surviving as a kid in a mythical Russian realm

We have certainly seen quite a few multiplayer survival sandboxes cross our screens, but it is hard to recall if one set in a mythical Russian past was ever up for discussion. Well there is one now, thanks to the early access debut of Ancient Siberia this past December.

Ancient Siberia takes place in the Great Tartary, a fantasy-flavored Slavic realm that incorporates magic and myths. Players start out as a child and will grow from there, gradually becoming an adult and accessing PvP and greater options. It’s billing itself as a mix between survival sandbox and MMORPG, so fans of both types of games might see something of interest here.

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The Stream Team: Welcome to Miscreated

There’s a post-apocalyptic survival world that has flown under the radar for too long, but now that Massively OP’s MJ has heard about Miscreated, she’s diving right in! With any luck she’ll be able to enjoy some of that AC ice cream she has heard so much about. (Apparently Amalgamated Corporation made everything — even the nuclear bombs that made this mess!) Join us live at 12:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…

What: Miscreated
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, January 20th, 2018

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The Survivalist: Another year, another Survival Game guide

A new year, a new batch of survival games! Yes, the genre has become so popular that one guide, no not even two guides could contain all of the survival goodness. More keep cropping up. I certainly can’t say as I mind, since this is the style of game that has been giving me the feeling of having an impact on my environment. And it’s not all the same collection of zombies, although there is still plenty of that. It is interesting to see what new takes developers are bringing to the table. Want to do a survival reality show? There’s a game for that! How about living like a viking? Yup. What if you want to be the psychotic killer that survivors are trying to, well, survive? Got you covered. Fell like upping the ante and surviving via VR? There are a few of those available.

If you are looking for a new survival to sink your teeth into, here’s the addendum for some newer games in development as well as some newly discovered ones since the last mega double guide. Note: This collection will be a mix of multiplayer and single-player titles with some uniques thrown in.

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Outpost Zero lets you build a bot army to conquer a planet

Don’t do survival the hard way, with only your fleshy meatbag shell as your primary resource. Use your brains and futuristic technology to summon an army of intelligent robots instead to do your bidding!

That’s the premise of Outpost Zero, a new survival sandbox that bills itself as a cross between “multiplayer FPS” and StarCraft. Players will land on an alien planet, gather resources, build bots, and construct a base. There isn’t a peaceful resolution here, however; base vs. base wars are the core of the endgame. Leading a trained bot army, players will engage in FPS combat against enemies in an attempt to interrupt operations and loot resources.

The studio says that Outpost Zero is a very deep sandbox, particularly when it comes to the game’s base construction and economic market. It’s currently ramping up its alpha program. Check out the trailer below!

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Multiplayer game show SOS heads to Steam early access this month

Ready to scheme, sabotage, and survive? Then you might just have what it takes to play SOS.

A virtual game show set on a tropical island, SOS throws 16 players into the same area to compete in a 30-minute match. The goal? To find a relic and escape via helicopter. The twist? There can be three winners, which means that players can use voice chat to try to form alliances on the fly and strategize against opponents.

There are monster hordes to contend with as well, so finding weapons and making traps is essential to living through the experience. Additionally, each match will be viewed by a live audience that can give feedback and influence events. What else would you expect from a game that is made up of veterans from Twitch?

You won’t have to wait long to try SOS out, either. The multiplayer title is coming to Steam early access on January 23rd with a sticker price of $30.

Source: Steam

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Perfect Ten: 20 multiplayer games to watch in 2018

A couple of weeks ago I covered 20(ish) MMORPGs that we are looking forward to seeing develop, test, and launch in 2018. But as you well may know, Massively OP covers a small university’s worth of “not-so-massively” multiplayer games that have some crossover into the MMO space. We do this because it gives some people much-needed gripe fuel and also because a lot of our readership is also interested in these games.

There is a lot of movement in the multiplayer game space, especially as the larger video game market continues to adapt and hew to MMO design. It’s a blended mess as we continually try to sort these games out into their proper categories, but while we do that, you can enjoy this list of 20 multiplayer games that you should be tracking in 2018. From survival sandboxes to pirate simulators to sequels, here we go!

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The Stream Team: Get a free first look at Valnir Rok

One of the new survival sandboxes that Massively OP’s MJ has been eager to try is Valnir Rok. And thanks a free day in honor of the newest Dungeons and Dragon update, she can! She’ll be trying to survive the world of Vikings (and probably not succeeding). Anyone who wants to get a taste of the Norse life can download and play the game on Steam for free until tomorrow, December 21st, at 1:00 p.m. EST. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…

What: Valnir Rok
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

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