This week in MMO crowfunding was... well, it was a big week for gaming in general, and Kickstarted games rose to the challenge! In fact, we could barely pump out the news fast enough. Here's what went on this week:
- Camelot Unchained continued work on "big ticket" development issues, like animation and effects and abilities for bots.
- Mekria Online, which we introduced only last week, has already canceled its Kickstarter; the studio vows to return with more to show players next round.
- Ashes of Creation released its first gameplay video, a "movie-like" version that'll see a UI-laden edition next week.
- Gloria Victis introduced its new Glory system as well as the ability to burn down ALL THE THINGS. Seriously.
- TUG's latest Kickstarter update tells backers that the team is working on gameplay prototyping and touted its recent investor presentation.
- Ship of Heroes previewed one of its signature heroes, Dr. Ellen Strikewell.
- Shards Online is prepping for its Steam launch with an impending wipe and NDA drop.
- Valiance Online posted four new videos of the alpha client! We've tucked one down below.
- Crowfall canceled its weekend playtest over studio concerns that the current version of the build isn't up to snuff.
- Grim Dawn rolled out a massive new patch.
- and Shroud of the Avatar rounds out my super-long list with a post-mortem Q&A -- video and text versions -- on its latest release.
I told you it was busy, and there's more down below! Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.
Early access is for chumps. If you really want to be in on the ground floor, you need to land yourself a spot on the development team so that you can experience early, early access. Of course, that takes years of work, possible relocation, and actual skill, so let's explore the next best thing, which is to watch the devs play the game while you drool a bit in envy.
Speaking of which, the team at Valiance Online is definitely enjoying the game's alpha client, as evidenced by several of the videos posted on the official forums. For the low, low price of clicking a button, you can see these superheroes in action, combat, leveling, the user interface, and other various mechanics.
Heroes and Villains was one chunk of the original trifecta of superhero MMORPGs that sprang from the grave of City of Heroes, but it's probably the one least known to the MMORPG community after City of Titans and Valiance Online, never mind the relatively new Ship of Heroes, which brings the count to four. The hook for H&V is that it's a "casual, community-focused" MMO, developed by volunteers, but it doesn't have the same level of videos and demo work out yet.
However, Plan Z Studios released a new dev post this week on the specifics of the game's zones. "We've been doing some more design work on how non-continuous zone transitions are handled," the team writes. While 2004's City of Heroes made use of loading screens that masked transitions between zones, in Heroes and Villains, "all adjoining zones can be crossed back and forth seamlessly, and the same underlying tech can be used to allow instant transitions between non-continuous zones."
Crowdfunded superhero MMORPG Valiance Online has a new video out this week featuring the city of San Cielo.
"This is a work-in-progress for our Alpha test and not necessarily the final design and layout of the city," Silverhelm Studios cautions.
We're gonna forget all about that and imagine super jumping through the world. Vroooom!
Valiance is expected to hit alpha soon.
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online announced it'll kick off its alpha early in the new year, on January 13th. "Based on the feedback we've received from our current playerbase, there are a few things that need to happen before we can consider ourselves ready for Steam," says Citadel's Derek Brinkmann -- and those include a bigger world map, tamed mounts, the archery skill, modding, and dev tools.
And last night, Star Citizen dropped 2.6 Star Marine for backers, along with the surprise announcement that it's been using Amazon Lumberyard for over a year now.
- Former City of Heroes community member Je Saist has set up a GoFundMe to help him pay off medical bills accruing as a result of his early onset glaucoma diagnosis.
- John Smedley told Redditors that "money is tight" for Hero's Song.
- Project Gorgon pulled in over $17,000 from its Indiegogo campaign.
- Grim Dawn rolled out its 220.127.116.11 patch, which includes a massive outdoor "Aetherial roguelike" dungeon.
- Elite: Dangerous raised £46,813 during its recent charity livestream.
- Descent: Underground announced its Avalanche update and GOG launch.
- Wild Terra updated with its Christmas event this very weekend.
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've got our eye on!
Back in October, Valiance Online announced that it was superjumping onward from pre-alpha to alpha and revealed that it'll use a free-to-play model, or rather, continue its free-to-play model into the live game, as it's free-to-test right now. This week, it clarified some of those plans.
"SilverHelm Studios has announced the impending launch of the public Alpha test of Valiance Online," declares the press release -- we'll imagine it's in a booming comicbook voice. "Prior to the actual launch of the Alpha on Steam, a private test will be run for people who have invested in the game as well as random participants chosen from registered users on the website and forums. The game will also be available to download on the website for non-Steam players. Windows, Mac and Linux will all be supported in the Alpha test."
Silverhelm is also touting its recent improvements and plans for the game, including the combat upgrade, third version of the character generator, UI buffs, and in-dev pet classes.
MMORPG gamers will recall that Valiance is one of several superhero-themed MMORPGs founded in the wake of the closure of fan-favorite City of Heroes. Most recently, we've covered some of the new heroes and villains the devs have posted to social media.
Even though superhero MMOs offer us the ability to create our own characters and live vicariously through their adventures, it's good to hear about some of the developer-created NPCs to give us an idea of what's possible and what this world is like.
This month, Valiance Online has been introducing a roster of its main characters, starting with Cyren, a super-charged teen split in twain:
Cyren is an anomaly of a character, which has to say something in a city full of strange and weird people, places, and things. She is an innocent teen girl with enough firepower to wreak havoc on half the city. Her brain is split between artificial development and biological growth, being fearless and highly capable in combat and paradoxically unaware of her own strength and functions. If put into a life threatening situation, her subconscious mind will access computer systems she didn’t know existed. She often is surprised by what she can do and is far more powerful than she lets on only because she is blissfully unaware of it herself.
Despite her less than savory origins, she fights on the side of justice alongside her best friend Borealis, constantly saving the day with her unique brand of positive enthusiasm even in the direst of situations.
We've got two more characters for you to meet after the jump!
I was a tiny bit flabbergasted last weekend when I saw that there was yet another City of Heroes spiritual successor project in the making. I get that City of Heroes was deeply beloved by fans -- heck, by me too -- and that its loss still reverberates throughout the MMORPG community. But is this getting silly with four projects or is this a touching sign of a game's legacy?
Now we have four MMOs in the making that are attempting to don City of Heroes' cape: Valiance Online, Heroes and Villains, City of Titans, and now Ship of Heroes. I look at all of that scattered effort and wonder if it might be better if all of these parties pooled resources behind a single title. Then again, perhaps with a pool of four games, we might actually get one that launches and is halfway decent.
Are you rooting for one of these City of Heroes spiritual successors? If so, which one and why?
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Star Citizen has begun its pre-CitizenCon festivities with multi-hour streaming yesterday and today, culminating in a grand presentation by CIG's Chris Roberts tomorrow. The sale of the Polaris concept ship during the hoopla raised a million and a half bucks in less than a day, marking the second biggest crowdfunding day in the game's history.
We also have two big crowdfunding campaigns winding down this weekend. Hero's Song, the John Smedley-backed pixel sandbox, failed to make its $200,000 Indiegogo goal, but it did pull in $94,000, which the studio gets to keep. "While it's short of what we were looking for, it's helping us immensely," Smed wrote. In happier news, it does appear that sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe is going to fund; as I write this, the game's campaign has pushed past its $560,000 goal with just a few days to go.
Meanwhile, The Exiled (Das Tal) got a new community director, Crowfall flipped its pledge packages, Grim Dawn teased a large update, Valiance Online showed off gear designs ahead of its alpha, Shroud of the Avatar kicked off a housing deco contest, and Antraxx joined our Kickstarter list.
Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!
When City of Heroes closed, fans moved on to many places, one of which was the "Plan Z" category of games that were meant to make spiritual sequels. Valiance Online is one such game, and it has announced both its launch business model and its upcoming alpha. Congratulations to the team on that one!
Of course, that was hardly the only bit of test-based news this week. Don't believe me? Why not have a peek at some more stories, then?
- The open beta for AdventureQuest 3D is kicking off on October 18th. Mostly. Some platforms will get it before others. That's still open beta, but it makes sense to hedge bets, sort of.
- Trion announced that RIFT's Starfall Prophecy expansion will enter open beta on October 13th.
- Bless Online is starting its closed beta! In Russia. Not here. Put down the pitchforks.
- Wild Terra is wilding (yes, I know, that's not a verb) its way on to Steam on December 1st, complete with PvP and skill revamps before then. There's nothing to indicate that this will include adding giant robots to the game, but there's nothing to indicate it won't, either.
- SamuTale is in closed alpha and just added an update full of horses. How many horses? All the horses. And you should stay on those horses because otherwise roving bands of horse death will descend on them. I wish that was a joke.
- Eco's next alpha update is being bumped to October 24th to finish refining everything and accurately modeling the interplay of biomes. So you'll have to wait a little while longer on that.
- It's also the first anniversary of Armored Warfare's open beta, which... well, it seems like that's the point when you'd just call it "launch," but be that as it may. There are events to accompany that, because of course there are.
And as always, there's a list of games below covering the stuff that's in various test phases around the MMO universe. Is there something missing that should be there, or something that quietly shifted phases without us noticing? Let us know down in the comments.
Valiance Online Creative Director, Programming Director, and Executive Producer IronSight has penned a dev blog today explaining that the game is finally moving on from pre-alpha to alpha and revealing its planned business model.
"We’re now moving into the 'alpha' phase of production, and taking all we’ve learned and experienced during pre-alpha production," he writes. "Last month we focused on many of the core fundamentals of the Valiance Online game experience. The most important of them being character creation, gameplay, content, and atmosphere. We've been working to give each of these pillars the appropriate amount of attention to ensure our upcoming alpha release is in excellent shape for an Early Access release on Steam. We still have a significant amount of work to do, but are definitely showcasing a quality product."
Critically, IronSight says that the superhero MMORPG will indeed be free-to-play at launch.
Last week, we introduced the first part of our guide to the best upcoming, in-development indie MMORPGs -- yes, the list was so long that we had to split it lest our CMS explode! So this week we're back with the other half of our list, a quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: We're not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, we won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.
On with part two!
When you write for an MMORPG website that covers literally hundreds of games and could probably add in hundreds more that are extinct, are in operation only overseas, or are so incredibly niche that their creators' moms don't even know about them, you start devoting a large portion of your brain to trying to keep details about all of these games straight. This not only results in forgetting two of your kids' names (after all, space is limited), but it's nearly an impossible task. There's just too much out there.
And lately I've noticed that the staff and readers alike have started to become incredibly confused regarding all of the indie MMOs that are oozing through the development process in their 72 planned testing stages (the other week I could swear that I saw a game declare itself to be going into "state semi-regionals"). There are too many games, some of which look far too similar, and it's stressing us out.
Enhance your calm, citizen. Here's the first part of our quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: It's not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, I won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns. Then stay tuned next week for the second half of this list!