Steam company known primarily to MMO players for the Dota franchise.

Pantropy cancels its Kickstarter, rejects publishing offers, plans a new Kickstarter

As we’ve been covering in Make My MMO, the Kickstarter for sci-fi MMO shooter Pantropy hadn’t been going as well as developer Brain Stone had hoped. Last weekend, ahead of its ends, the game’s funding sat at just over half of its €75,000 goal. Consequently, the devs canceled the Kickstarter. But that’s not the end – apparently, the team is planning to reboot the Kickstarter with some changes by the end of March.

“We have learned a lot during the last 4 weeks and the game development has progressed a lot in this time,” the devs told would-be backers. “We have received multiple publishing and investment offers. We have decided to stay independent! Don’t worry we’ll continue to develop the game and it will be released on Steam early access this year.”

The game’s latest dev blog also includes a run-down of in-progress development and new screenshots to boot.

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ROKH studio Darewise says it’s not abandoning the survival sandbox for new sci-fi MMO Project C

Survival sandbox fans will be pleased to know that ROKH hasn’t been abandoned. The game’s given the appearance of struggling over the past couple of years; it canceled a flagging Kickstarter in 2016 and plowed on through several delays to hit early access not quite a year ago. Since then, as we reported at the time, it was bogged down in a “legal dispute” that set the game back even further in its development, though that’s apparently been settled.

So this week’s patch will be a welcome relief. Darewise says it’s wiped the servers to patch in the new crafting system and that it’s “still working on what will be the future of ROKH” – it appears the company is in discussions for a “co-publishing” partnership.

Readers will recall that Darewise popped up in the news earlier this month in conjunction with another game: Project C, a brand-new sci-fi MMO. Apparently, Darewise has already collected a big team to work on that, including big names from the Thief and Half-Life series. The company has addressed that move to ROKH players as well, promising that ROKH is “a priority.”

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The Daily Grind: Why do you read and write MMO reviews?

Rock Paper Shotgun has an intriguiging pair of articles out this week on video game reviews. The first covered what game developers think about reviews on places like Steam; while some devs dismiss reviews as unrepresentative, many actually treat reviews quite seriously, as the most “raw unfiltered feedback” available.

The second, and even more interesting to me, is the one on why reviewers bother, specifically the ones who are offering detailed reviews for free on Steam. Why would you spend two hours typing your soul to total strangers, when you could be making money or playing the game? Those interviewed said they do it for their friends, to practice their own critical thinking, to entertain with jokes, to encourage other people to leave reviews, to “inform consumers about predatory tactics,” and to track their impressions “in the most extremely nerdy, excel-table kind of way.”

Do you write Steam reviews or reviews elsewhere? Why or why not?

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Massively Overthinking: The war on MMO chat toxicity

This week, The Ancient Gaming Noob posted up an image of RIFT Prime, where Trion asks people to… play nice. “Just a neighborly reminder that 1-29 chat is for RIFT chat, ideally things relevant to level 1-29 gameplay,” the UI HUD reads. “Please be good to each other. We’ve muted some and shall mute again. Have a great evening!”

Meanwhile, over in Trion’s Trove, I’ve had to report-and-block dozens of fellow players just in the last few days for disgusting slurs in multiple languages, stuff the filter doesn’t catch. For a free-to-play game that’s also on console, yeah, I guess I expect no better from the playerbase. But but but RIFT Prime is subscription-based. Surely that means a strong community, where such polite warnings from developers aren’t necessary? Yeah, not so much, as anyone who played old-school MMORPGs can tell you. This is a problem even in games whose devs prioritize community and care a whole lot.

So this week, let’s talk about in-game chat. Do you use it? Do you watch it? Do you turn it off? Is it really terrible everywhere, or just in some games? Which one is the worst and the best, and what should developers do about chat specifically?

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Otherland formally announces new expansion, Fire Isle, coming this summer

Otherland’s promised summer expansion is definitely happening, according to a press release from Drago this morning. It’s called Fire Isle, it’s themed around Chinese mythology, and it’s launching is summer.

“Fire Isle introduces a brand-new storyline about the legendary Fire Army including a broken nation that focuses on a large scale civil war. Players will meet up with their old friend SweetieCheng to follow her and the true leader of the isle in their quest to bring an end to the war and getting back on track with the ultimate goal – battling the Celestial Dragon. On their upcoming adventure players will cross the unique landscape of Fire Isle seamed by streams of lava and igneous rocks to face many new challenges. With a total of ten new areas and 60 new story-driven quests, Drago Entertainment is extending the storyline by six new chapters, promising hours of exciting entertainment and exploration coming this summer.”

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Eternal Crusade promises a new update coming this month

The last time we heard from the team behind Eternal Crusade, there were some vague plans of stuff to be done about a battle royale mode and ambiguities with the game’s lead designer. Now, though, there is an update in the works and it should probably be out later this month. The notification of same mentions multiple times that the developers are learning to work with a smaller team, which carries other implications, but the important point is that there will be an update with a fair amount of content.

The update might include a new game mode of an undisclosed nature and will include multiple new maps and items. There will also be a balance pass for combat across the board, especially to improve vehicle health and bolter damage. A new campaign series is also in the works, along with a reorganization of the game’s existing DLC to be easier to purchase and understand for new converts. It doesn’t mention a date, but the signs of life alone should be good news for the fans.

Source: Steam


ECO shows off its upcoming vehicles

At long last, players of ECO will no longer be stuck having to walk from place to place like an animal, but will be free to tear across the landscape of this ecologically focused game in a smoke-belching SUV. Sure, the first vehicles previewed don’t fall under that header, but we’re certain it’s only a matter of time. Show the game what “player vs. environment” can really mean!

Jokes aside, the addition of a universal steam engine (previewed in a video below) and a variety of different vehicle types will allow players to explore more options for living in harmony with the environment or exploiting it for short-term gain. The initial lineup should give you the farming and transportation tools you’ll need. Players are also encouraged to vote on the next major development goals for the title; the vehicles are expected to be up for testing on April 6th, with a main Steam release not long thereafter.

For those who have forgotten, ECO is an environmental-themed sandbox title that’s been in early access since February. You can check that out for a look at the world and the game with the developers.

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Ascent: The Space Game is close to pushing out a new patch and client after switching engines

Back in January, we expressed concern for the brilliant one-man space indie sandbox MMORPG called Ascent: The Space Game (not to be confused with that other Ascent). Talks with an investor were supposed to come to fruition in December, when a studio liaison (the in-game president) reported that developer James Hicks was also working on a second game, changing Ascent’s engine, and building out the new update and client. And while the game could run in maintenance mode indefinitely, according to the dev, that’s obviously not ideal for what remains of the entrenched playerbase.

But in February, hope arrived. Fluffy Kitten Studios posted a market update on Steam and said the “new client [was] at last approaching beta.” And over the last few weeks, Hicks told forumgoers through the surrogate that the patch does indeed switch the game to Unity and the new client as well as adds terraforming, NPC commands, and camera tweaks.

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Spellsworn launches, goes free-to-play

Watched the new Fantastic Beasts trailer and felt the deep pull of wizards and spells pull at you once more? You may be able to sate some of that desire with the full release of Spellsworn, which is now live on Steam.

The PvP arena brawler puts players in the roles of wizards battling it out with spells and using their environments to their advantage.

Spellsworn moved out of early access with Tuesday’s Update 1.0, which also brought the game into a free-to-play business model. The studio plans to finance the game through a lockbox chest system that pays out in cosmetic items.

To celebrate the launch, Spellsworn is holding a double loot drop event for a limited time.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 161: Project power

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin roll up their sleeves and take on projects left and right. It’s a look at the announcement of Project C and the imminent early access launch of Project Gorgon, among many other exciting developments this week!

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:

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Snail’s voxel survivalbox PixARK launches into early access on March 27

Voxel fans, dinosaur fiends, and survival sandbox freaks have surely had their eyes on PixARK since its original announcement last summer. It’s one of Snail’s many (many!) ARK Survival Evolved spinoffs, and the company has just hardened up its early access release date: March 27th. That’s for both Steam and Xbox One. “PixARK will be coming to retail and digital on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox One X later in 2018,” Snail says.

We previously noted that in spite of its cutesy graphics, it seemed like much more of a cutthroat survivalbox than its closest MMO cognates, but development on Steam suggests plenty of sandbox builder goodness too. Snail is touting both single-player and online multiplayer, collections, base-building, character progression, character customization, procedurally generated worlds, a sandbox mode, eight biomes, and 100 dinos and critters to “tame, train, and ride.”

There’s a new trailer to celebrate the occasion, naturally. It’s down below.

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SoulWorker Online begins selling subs, responds to outcry over energy system P2W

SoulWorker is technically in open beta on paper; it isn’t supposed to truly launch until later this quarter. It hit Steam at the end of February. It announced it was done wiping. It opened up the cash shop. And now, it’s got a subscription too – an optional one, mind you.

There are actually two different subscription plans, both 30-days, and they are stackable; the silver sub grants keycards, respawners, battle books, extra auction slots, and an additional 80 daily energy. The gold sub doubles most of those bonuses, adds a few more, and adds an additional 120 max energy. It’s also possible to buy subs and sell them in-game.

But it’s the energy perks that have beta testers particularly concerned about pay-to-win, as energy limits in-game activities in a way few MMORPGs can get away with. In SoulWorker, players start with 200 daily energy, so with the double sub, they can double that number. Gameforge says it’s still considering how to proceed.

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Dota 2 introduces a subscription option for players

After a long time of being free-to-play, Dota 2 is exploring the possibility of letting you pay money for it on a regular basis. Sure, cosmetics have always been there, but you couldn’t subscribe just for cosmetic impact. But now you can with the game’s Dota Plus subscription, charging $4 a month for unlimited access to the weekly Battle Cup along with hero progression tracks and challenges along the way.

Players can also unlock a little added advantage in the form of the Plus Assistant, which will offer suggestions and advice about how to play the game and how to level based on your matches and your play patterns. Whether or not this offers an unfair advantage for the subscription price is going to be in the eye of the beholder; then again, most of the beholders probably wouldn’t have expected to have a subscription option for a MOBA in the first place. It’s a wild time to be alive.


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