Well that didn’t take long! There are a plethora of survival sandboxes out there for fans to play (as you can see from our multiple guides!), enough that there might be some worry that the market for this genre is getting pretty saturated. Perhaps there is room still, but anyone entering that crowded market needs to have a good hook and be able to deliver a worthwhile experience in order to attract and keep players. Sadly, this isn’t always (often?) the case. Even when you want games to not just survive but thrive, there are a host of factors that work against that.
I have found that I enjoy the survival sandbox genre, and I play a number of the games. A couple get the lion’s share of my attention and game time while others are visited occasionally. Some of these titles have a chance to move into a favored position in my heart and my gaming line up. Others, however, have lost their chance completely. Here are seven survival sandboxes that I want to love, but don’t — at least not yet.
The next big update for The Repopulation has not arrived just yet. It’s the same reason as before; Idea Fabrik wants to use the HeroEngine Live Push system, the game as it’s built right now causes errors with that, and so the team is hard at work hammering at the game until it will work with that system. Lest you say “just don’t use that system,” the developers also reassure fans that the work being done now would have had to be done sooner or later regardless:
Though we have another option to do a full push, this would not help us nor you in the long run. At some point we have to do this clean up so we can begin using the HE Push system as is done for other games.
On the bright side, the latest development update contains a peek at the new art coming with the new tutorial island (which will have no new content, just new art) and improvements to the game’s combat system such as fixing persistent line-of-sight issues and not swapping your target mid-combat. More of the team is apparently working on future content as well, so once the wait for this patch is over, you can hopefully expect more frequent updates. The team is also looking for feedback on the hardware owned by players for future development.
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.
The first round of open beta testing for TERA on consoles went well. (According to the developers, at least.) What can be done to extend that warm fuzzy feeling? Why, doing it all over again, obviously. Although you won’t be allowed into this particular second round if you weren’t in the first round, we’re sorry to say. It’s standing room only.
Meanwhile, the magnificently quirky Project Gorgon has entered early access, so you can go buy it now. Unless you have some deep-seated fear of being turned into a cow or something.
Elsewhere in the beta universe… war was beginning.
You know what? We’re dropping the war thing to just let you know that there’s a list of games in testing below and you can let us know if we missed one or two important phase changes. Sometimes that happens when we’re in the trenches. The war against the onrushing tide of titles is never-ending.
Almost every player of The Repopulation is eager to test the game’s A.00.00.00 update, but it’s going to take a little longer to arrive on the test servers. In essence, there are some issues with getting the test update uploaded and implemented, and thus the team behind the game is working on cleaning things up, including deleting a huge number of unused or temporary areas from the game’s areas. Ultimately, the goal is to change the whole push system for updates, but that change is being made in stages.
The team is also working on further updates for the next patch, starting with a cleaner version of character selection and creation. It’ll be a while before that’s ready for testing, but progress is being made. Players are also thanked for all of the work they’ve done in testing and offering feedback about the game in its current state, especially the tutorials and guidance when starting the game. Said testers will have to wait a little longer to test more, just the same.
Let’s get caught up on The Repopulation, shall we? Last week, Idea Fabrik recapped what it’s been working on in the beleaguered sci-fi sandbox, including data replication issues, desyncing bugs, the hints and tips system, UI cleanup, inventory design, improved combat targeting, and the new starter island. That new starter island in particular as well as the new targeting system for combat should land in an upcoming update.
“The new Starter Island design has been finalized and we will begin building the new terrain for this directly after this first Condorslug update is out,” says the studio. “This represents the first phase of the overall world revamp. We are expecting this to take about 8 weeks, as there are several changes to how ABT set up areas and terrain as opposed to the workflow and setup we have in place. Once this is done and we have good feedback, we will begin the rest of the world.”
Meanwhile, the studio is surveying players on a number of features, the most recent of which is a query on inventory systems.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained devs say they’re getting really close to finalizing the date for beta one. This week, in addition to fiddling with the beta calendar, CSE says it’s been working on poses, rocks, casting and UI animations, new armor and weapon textures, container permissions, and performance for buildings, as well as training up the new tech producer.
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar pushed out R50, Elite kicked off the beta for its next big update, we continued our tour of Project Gorgon, Dual Universe teased new concept art, War of Rights got a wee patch, ROKH patched up (devs say they’re still “looking for the best way to make [their] come-back,” and Fragmented admitted it’s essentially in maintenance mode.
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.
It was foretold, and then it happened. Sea of Thieves hit its closed beta this week with play anywhere functionality fully intact. The bad news is that beta hit back with some bugs, one of which has a workaround of requesting a refund and then re-purchasing the game. Hopefully extending the beta until January 31st provides a bit more time to fix these issues?
Ah, well. Let’s see if other games are navigating their betas decently. What have you got for us, magic list (it’s not actually magic)?
- Remember Rust? It’s leaving the comforting warm blanket of early access for launch on February 8th. You can decide for yourself if that’s because the game is ready for launch or if it’s just a matter of needing some new source for outrage after people got angry about no character creation.
- The closed beta for Closers ends on February 6th, bringing the game formally into the launch world. The only other thing I can add to this is that when I was trying to work up an extended song lyric spoof for this, I called it a “shoot-brawler,” which seems… apropos.
- The Repopulation has plans for 2018. Big plans, the biggest plans. It’s going to be so big, you’ll see. We would all like to see.
- The mobile client for Albion Online is currently in testing, which is pretty cool. It’s only on Apple devices, which may be less cool if Android devices are your mediums of choice, but it’s one before the other.
- Speaking of sandboxes where you kill other players, Darkfall: New Dawn is launching today out of beta. Let’s see how well this revival does!
- Last but not least, survival box SOS apparently has the official Snoop Dogg seal of approval as it heads into early access. Look, have him do the stream alongside his good friend Martha Stewart, and we’ll talk.
It’s nice to see that 2018 is both replete with beta news and with stories that are just plain weird (it’d be sad if we couldn’t call back to Steven Seagal on a boat, after all). So what about other beta stuff? We’ve got a list down below! Let us know if something on it is inaccurate, like a game that’s tacitly launched or something that we may have missed. It’s appreciated.
So here we are in January, one whole year after Idea Fabrik bought The Repopulation from a beleaguered Above & Beyond. The new company got it back online last year, and how could it not, since it owns the engine, right? Today, IF’s published an annual update and roadmap to spell out just what’s coming to the sandbox in 2018.
The company says January has been focused on caching and performance, plus the new targeting system and newbie tutorial. As for the rest of the year, the team is working with an 8- to 10-week update schedule and a new patch numbering system to build out inventory fixes, a consolidated astronomy system, better harvesting and surveying, the farming and horticulture system, a unified race spec system, unified factions, updated guilds, crafting tweaks, new NPCs, a new dynamic mission system, camp spawners, the combat progression overhaul, player merchants, the auction house, the UI, and the housing revamp. It’s, well, everything.
And don’t forget the world revamp. “We want to give the players a full map instead of a partial world,” IF says, “so this will take the longest time development-wise and as a result will have a longer wait time.”
Over the weekend, we added a new entry to our “whatever happened to X” series with a quick note about Fragmented, the survival sandbox that Above & Beyond put together in its attempt to raise enough funds to save The Repopulation. While we quoted the formal statement that A&B wasn’t abandoning updates for the game at launch, an awesome tipster dug up a forum thread from just last week where the devs effectively admit defeat.
“The game hasn’t been abandoned but it is more or less in maintenance and bug fix mode only at this point,” A&B’s J.C. Smith says in response to players asking whether it’s worth $3 from the latest sale. “It just doesn’t bring in enough revenue for anyone to support it full time at this point. Josh are I still around to fix emergency issues and issue the occasional bug patch but the team has moved on to other projects at this point and we don’t foresee any major additions to the game in the future. Future patches will likely be similar to the last couple patches, focusing on streamlining and bug fixes.”
Just one more casualty of The Repopulation’s sad story.
. Cheers, Emmanuel.
Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.
Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?
That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at what has been going on with Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented.
This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.
But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.
I didn’t intend to leave Star Citizen off my personal list of most-anticipated MMOs this year, but I think it’s the first time in several years that I did so. It’s not so much that I’m not looking forward to it – I am! – but that I don’t see the point of getting my hopes up when it still feels so far away from being feature-complete for all the things I want to do in that world. That, and it turns out I have a giant list of other MMOs that are much closer in space and time that just bubbled to the top of my excitement list. This is a great thing for the genre!
If there’s one that used to show up in my list every year but no longer does, even though it’s still technically alive? Probably The Repopulation. Sigh. That reminds me, I’m going to go listen to Sentience again.
What MMOs are you no longer anticipating that you once were?