While it still continues on that long road to launch, Shroud of the Avatar is using some of its development time and resources to help those in need outside of the game studio. In this past weekend’s newsletter, Portalarium mentioned a few new store items that it’s created for the purposes of raising money for charity. One of these? A toilet.
Yes, if you buy SOTA’s steampunk toilet (“an ingenious contraption that brings bodily evacuations indoors through the clever use of Kobold technology”), you’ll be pitching in to help with Water.org’s World Toilet Day effort to address a sanitation crisis in impoverished nations. Other charity-related items include a wheelchair for children’s hospitals and Doctors Without Borders.
The team also showed off some new Halloween-themed rewards, new houses for SeedInvest backers, and Oktoberfest cosmetics for postmortem rewards. Shroud of the Avatar recently raised an additional $80,000 through an October 12th telethon and is working toward Release 47 on October 26th.
It’s almost a full-time job to stay on top of all of the MMO and MOBA Halloween events popping up all over the place! Here’s another batch of deliciously frightful festivities that are going on right now in games all around you:
On this week’s show, Legends of Aria’s Derek Brinkmann returns for another interview about how the indie MMORPG is shaping up as it goes through its “final” alpha and heads toward beta and launch. We also dig deep into the mailbag to gripe about gambling!
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:
MOP reader Tobasco da Gama pointed us to a recent Reddit
thread about why EVE Online
persists, even in a weakened state, where other hardcore PvP sandboxes fail. The thread OP posits that in spite of what he calls “CCP’s criminal level of mismanagement and incompetence,” EVE
has outlasted other games of its ilk, from Darkfall
and Mortal Online
to Albion Online
and pre-Trammel Ultima Online
. The reason? He argues it’s because the vast majority of players who don’t quit outright never leave high-sec and aren’t actually playing the “hardcore” PvP game that New Eden is known for at all. In other words? Most people playing EVE
Fightin’ words, right? It makes a lot of sense to me, frankly, and since my husband still plays EVE, I’ve seen the phenomenon in action, that the toxic part of the playerbase perpetually eclipses the majority of normal folks just happily space mining and killing pirates and watching their skill bars go up.
Why do you think EVE survives where other PvP sandboxes stumble?
OK, so C-3PO isn’t really being imported into Shroud of the Avatar, but the game’s new automaton sure looks a lot like him (minus his silver leg!). He’s one of the golden clockwork critters and automatoi included as an investor perk from the game’s recent SeedInvest campaign.
Portalarium’s latest newsletter also teases the remake and release for North Midmaer Way and North Quel Way, a cozy old forest and abandoned castle ruins with graveyard, respectively. Fall may not be here for a lot of us still experiencing ridiculous near-90-degree temps in the US, but it’s on the way in SOTA, as the team’s laid out an assortment of wreaths and turkeys, with “spooky-themed” items slated to go as prizes from the game’s upcoming fundraising-slash-postmortem stream. That’s coming up on Thursday. In the meantime, you can check out the new location and gear images down below.
While the heady days of Ultima Online’s dominant position over the industry are long gone, the MMORPG continues to operate and expand, and many players have fond memories of the unique experience that game offered. In fact, some titles like Legends of Aria and (obviously) Shroud of the Avatar are doing their best to claim the unofficial title of “Ultima Online spiritual successor” in the hopes of reuniting veteran MMO players with the special qualities that made this game great.
These aren’t the first games to try to grasp the holy grail of an Ultima Online sequel. There were actually two such projects that went into heavy production in the late 1990s and early 2000s — both ending with premature cancellation and frustration on the part of developers and fans.
The second of these, Ultima X Odyssey, I covered a while back. Today, we’re going to take a look at the first MMO that attempted to mix the Ultima Online formula with a few new twists. Ultima Worlds Online Origin might not be as well-known (or as well-titled), but its history is just as fascinating as UXO’s.
Let’s talk perspective today. No, not your general outlook on life — which I’m sure is cheery and as non-cynical as can be — but the camera vantage point in MMORPGs. By and large, cameras trail our characters either behind them or over the shoulder, with the occasional first-person perspective thrown in to keep us on our toes.
But that wasn’t the default prior to EverQuest. No, graphical MMOs in the 1990s were all about 2-D isometric layouts, from Neverwinter Nights to Ultima Online. While the isometric perspective has been largely shoved aside in modern MMOs, we do see them persist in MMOARPGs like Path of Exile and the recently released Albion Online. Even RuneScape in its older incarnations drew the camera up and back during its gameplay.
So here is my question for you today: Do you have a hard time connecting with the world and your character in MMOs featuring isometric perspectives (or other similar camera setups)? Does the distance keep you from being as invested in what’s going on, or does it lend a unique charm to your gaming experience?
In the game’s design docs and our interviews, Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs is positively adamant that multiguilding (that is, being able to join more than one guild at a time on the same character) is harmful and will not be possible in the game. Specifically, the doc argues that multi-guilding is “one of the things that has hurt the viability and attractiveness of guilds in modern MMORPGs” and that “multi-guilds have contributed to the decline of meaningful guilds in MMORPGs.”
My subsequent questions, you probably noticed, fought back against the idea that multiguilding is a problem. That’s because I’ve been a guild leader for a very long time, from hardcore to casual, and I’ve seen how strict and inflexible lines between guilds can actually cause massive rifts in communities and friendships, outstripping their potential for stickiness or society-building, and I’ve seen how blurring the lines, making the unit of play smaller teams or even larger factions or player cities, brings people together in ways structured, hierarchical guilds do not. Making people choose between my guild and somebody else’s was a friendship mistake, one I’d rather not be forced to make again.
Ever played Epic Tavern? Massively OP reader Uli though it would make an interesting point of comparison for MMO content. “Epic Tavern is a single player game where you run a fantasy tavern frequented by heroes for a drink, food, bed for the night, and you can try to persuade those NPC heroes to go on a quest for you, sharing the spoils,” he explains.
“A comment I read suggested that would be great for MMO taverns: player running a tavern being able to give quests in the game to players frequenting the tavern. I know there are options for player run quests, but this would be different: pre-existing or otherwise player-made and engine-supported quests that are bestowed on player to match their group or skill level. And of course it would mean that visiting a tavern and meeting other players would finally have a point beyond mere chatting/RP. Ensuring people spent time in taverns to interact with would really help the socializing/third-space-in-virtual-rooms issue. But could it work in a MMO? Would that be abused for loot/rewards, biased quest assignment/withholding based on favors? Or what other problems could that cause?”
A lot of our writers and readers have experience with player-generated content, so I thought it would be fun to build on the ideas of Epic Tavern for Uli in this week’s Overthinking. Which MMOs have (or desperately need) great PGC, and when have you seen it go wrong? Could a formal, mechanical system for quest-giving like Epic Tavern’s work in an MMO, or is it something best left to the roleplayers?
You can’t turn around in this genre these days without Shroud of the Avatar leaping out at you with another free trial. And so it is for October, as the curious set can scout out the game for free (albeit with limitations) through the 25th.
If you happen to be out and about in Shroud this month, you might want to consider entering into the “Nightmares of New Britannia” Halloween contest. The team is urging players to come up with thematically striking costumes or house decorations for the season, and the best of these will be richly rewarded.
At least this game’s trial program will be fully tested by the time Shroud of the Avatar actually launches! Which, as a reminder, won’t be this year for sure.
It is kind of impossible to stroll around the MMO blogging community as of late and not trip and fall into a pool of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
impressions and opinions. So why not dive in and see what lies under the surface of these experiences?
GamingSF suffered from technical issues that kept him from getting into the expansion initially, but when he did, he recognized that it had some “really nice features.” Why I Game concurs with this sentiment, noting that there are “a lot more nods to exploration this time around.”
“Story is okay, nothing amazing, some funny bits help, and I find it gets better as it progresses onward,” ECTmmo.com wrote. “The actual places you get to travel to and explore in this expansion are what makes it shine, well, that and the mounts.”
We’ve got even more Path of Fire impressions after the break, as well as a look at Star Trek Online, Elite Dangerous, and Ultima Online!
There’s a lot still to be done in the development of Shroud of the Avatar. Even with the most recent major patch for the game having just been released, the newest update on the game’s development outright states that the game will not be hitting honest-to-goodness launch state this year; there’s still a great deal to be done, such as polishing up the game’s performance, improving rewards, improving in-game direction, and enriching the game’s narrative. All that having been said, the game should receive a launch date by the end of the year, so that’s at least a step in the right direction.
The development dispatch includes a roadmap for the remaining patches of the year; the October patch is meant to improve the UI, client performance, and the story flow of the game’s opening scenes. November will see more progress on that front along with holiday content and more sidequests, and December will be focused on optimizing FPS and another batch of holiday content. It’s still part of the lengthy journey through early access, even if the game seems as if it can finally spy the finish line.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Elsword, Ultima Online, Dreadnought, Overhit, Blade and Soul, Project Ex, Conquer Online, Wurm Online, MechWarrior Online, Pokemon Go, Skyforge, Paladins, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Miranda, all waiting for you after the break!