Make My MMO: Star Citizen in small claims court, Fractured nearing the finish line (July 21, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Fractured ramped up its Kickstarter dev blogs as it nears the finish line of its crowdfunding effort, which ends in just four days. As I type this, it’s less than $10,000 away and I think it’s looking good. The studio posting up the details of its Star Wars Galaxies-esque player city system probably helped.

Meanwhile, Albion Online teased its upcoming crafting changes and recapped its largest battle ever, Elite Dangerous saw a teensy patch, Shroud of the Avatar prepped the upcoming patch, we took a look at Legends of Aria’s closed beta, and Star Citizen had a dose of drama as a backer took CIG to court over its refund policy and effectively lost, having been sidelined to arbitration. It capped off the week with a fresh concept ship sale, too.

Finally, Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs did update backers last night on the current state of the build, as the game’s beta was delayed an additional few weeks over its crash rate. “Testing overall has been great,” he says. And yes, the crash rate is still coming down – higher than he says he’s seen in some live games, but not good enough for him.

Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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DC Universe Online joins Aquaman in Atlantis

With the Aquaman movie coming this December, DC Universe Online doesn’t want to be left out of the fishy fun. Just before the movie opens, DCUO is going to push out a special event called Atlantis in November. The content update will take players beneath the waves to attempt to stop a brewing rebellion that could affect the entire world.

The episode will offer “level-agnostic” versions in both solo and multiplayer varieties. Fan favorite characters such as Aquaman, Mera, Ocean Master, Aqualad, and Murk are due to be a part of the proceedings.

“From the magic of Arion to the dystopian future of Flashpoint, Atlantis has always been at the center of DC Comics history,” said Daybreak Head of Games Jack Emmert. “It is beyond exciting to be able to bring this world to life in DC Universe Online. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have built.”

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Ultima Online plans rentable storage vaults for F2P players, plus new castle and keep designs

With the game’s 100th patch in the rear-view mirror, Ultima Online’s developers are already hard at work on the 101st patch due out in September, according to Broadsword’s latest newsletter. Notably, Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong says that the planned housing refresh is indeed coming that month, with new castle and keep designs on the way, subject to a player contest to decide which ones make the final cut.

Broadsword is also still working on “storage solutions” in the wake of the game’s free-to-play conversation last spring; players will be able to effectively rent 125-slot vaults for their account, shared across all characters, at a price roughly equal to $3 per month. If you don’t pay up, you lose the storage space – oh, and everything in it. It might be easier to just pay the $10-$13 sub and get a house, yeah?

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Fantasy Life Online launches in Japan this month, no word on Western release date

Game historians might recall that way back in 2002, game development studio Level 5 and Microsoft were collaborating on bringing the cel-shaded True Fantasy Life Online to Xbox. The project fell apart partially into development to the dismay of many who were anticipating the MMORPG, but Level 5 didn’t quite give up on its dream.

The studio has seen great success on mobile platforms, including its Fantasy Life series of Nintendo DS games. Now Level 5 is returning to its MMO dream with this months’ launch of Fantasy Life Online in Japan.

Described as an “MMO-lite,” Fantasy Life Online gives players the opportunity to quest and live out a career as one of several classes. There are both combat and non-combat options, and the title definitely has a lot in common with the Animal Crossing series when it comes to presentation.

There is no word as of yet on a Western version or release date, but chances are good that it is heading our way. In the meanwhile, check out the trailer after the break!

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The Game Archaeologist: Kesmai’s Air Warrior and Legends of Kesmai

Most studios would be overjoyed to have pioneered one significant advancement in video game history, but then again, most studios aren’t Kesmai. While it’s not a household name today, it’s reasonable to say that without the heavy lifting and backbreaking coding that this company shouldered in the ’80s and ’90s, the MMO genre would’ve turned out very different indeed.

Previously in this space, we met two enterprising designers named Kelton Flinn and John Taylor who recognized that multiplayer was the name of the future and put their careers on the line to see an idea through to completion. That idea was Island of Kesmai, an ancestor of the modern MMO that used crude ASCII graphics and CompuServe’s network to provide an interactive, cooperative online roleplaying experience. It wasn’t the first MMO, but it was the first one published commercially, and sometimes that makes all the difference.

Flinn and Taylor’s Kesmai didn’t stop with being the first to bring MMOs to the big time, however. Flush with cash and success, Kesmai turned its attention to the next big multiplayer challenge: 3-D graphics and real-time combat. Unlike the fantasy land of Island of Kesmai, this title would take to the skies in aerial dogfighting and prove even more popular than the team’s previous project.

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WRUP: Introducing the Not-even-good-at-one-formers edition

Introducing the hottest toy line to debut near SDCC (not at, we don’t have money for a booth there), it’s the Not-even-good-at-one-formers! They’re less, significantly less than meets the eye! Featuring the heroic No-knee-bots against the evil forces of the Separate-parts-bolted-together-icons!

Children and adults with the minds of particularly slow children will enjoy trying to make these toys change from their default form of A Dude With Vehicle Bits On Him to A Dude With Vehicle Bits On Him Lying On His Back And With An Unconvincing Mask On! Both forms are poorly painted and feature bad paint applications, shoddy stickers, and gimmicks that snap off in your hand!

Collect all of your favorite characters like Optional Pilsner, Bormblebrew, Sideswept, Mortgage-tron, Storescam, and The Tape Deck Dude! Let us know how you’re looking forward to it down in the comments, or just let us know What Are You Playing if you’d rather.

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The Daily Grind: Which expansion helped out an MMO the most?

We have talked a lot about great and terrible MMO expansions in the past, but most often, we approach such conversations from our personal enjoyment. However, there’s another way to look at expansions, and that’s to evaluate them in hindsight and point to ones that gave their titles the greatest boost and added the most value and useful features to the game.

Now that we have the advantage of being able to look at expansions over time, which would you say helped out an MMO the most? Which gave that game a great bump in population, interest, and long-term success?

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The Stream Team: Surviving the first steps in Survived By

She has but one life to give. Massively OP’s MJ tried out a demo for Survived By — a different sort of survival game with a bullet hell bend — back at PAX West. Now, it is a bit farther along in development and has moved into closed beta. Just how long can she stay alive in her first return to this game since that con? Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you MJ’s first steps in…

What: Survived By
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 20th, 2018

Enjoy the show!

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Betawatch: Legends of Aria wants you to break it (July 20, 2018)

Please, break the servers for Legends of Aria. The developers want you to break the servers. There’s a big event this weekend and everyone is being encouraged to go hog wild and log in until the servers buckle under the strain. You probably should not whisper that it’s been a naughty, naughty server as you do your best to break it, but we suppose you should follow your bliss.

Other beta news? Aw, heck, just because we’re friends.

Are those stories strange enough for you? Perhaps you’ve got some strange stories of your own to share down in the comments, or perhaps you’d just like to let us know if something slipped into a new test phase without us noticing. Both are neat!

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Wizard101’s main city gets a magical makeover

When you’ve got magic on your side, renovation on a grand scale should be a snap, right? It was probably a little more difficult than waving a wand, but Wizard101 managed to pull a major city revamp out of its hat this week with the July update.

The patch delivered a graphical overhaul for much of Wizard City, character creation, character selection, and the tutorial. Visuals aren’t the only improvements for the newbie experience; music and sound got some major love. Oh, and there’s a carousel that you can ride now!

Hate the changes? KingsIsle is giving players the option to revert to a “classic mode” to bring back the old look and sound of the city hub.

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Warframe finally unleashes Nyx Prime (and others) in next week’s sale

As Digital Extremes opens up its Warframe prime vault next week, so too might many players be opening up their wallets in response.

“Become the master of manipulation! The Prime Vault opens July 24th on all platforms,” the studio said. “For the first time ever, the hypnotic Nyx Prime is leaving the Vault! Charging out beside her is Rhino Prime along with other high-demand Vaulted Prime Accessories, Prime Weapons and discounted Platinum.”

The studio is planning to make five bundles available for sale next week: a “Brains and Brawn” pack that includes several prime warframes, a Nyx Prime pack, A Brute Prime pack, and accessory packs for Nyx Prime and Rhino Prime. The packs will be available across all platforms, although no prices have been listed as of yet.

Source: Warframe. Thanks Alex!

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Fortnite’s Playground mode struggled due to matchmaking server stress

Some limited-time modes in Fortnite are successful and some aren’t, but the Playground mode was notable in that its issues had nothing to do with player reception. The mode had to be turned off and then re-implemented because it was causing some pretty severe issues. What happened? Well, the latest post-mortem breakdown from the developers explains that it wasn’t an issue with any part of the game itself but a simple limitation of the matchmaking servers.

As Playground matches take place with far fewer players than a normal Fortnite match, the matchmaking servers were already doing far more work to match players up. That meant increasing the number of servers used by fifteen times… which meant also having to deal with a 15x increase in load and matchmaking lists. The good news is that the stresses of the mode have taught the developers where the matchmaking weaknesses lie, so future problems of a similar nature can hopefully be avoided.

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Atlas Reactor launches new Oblivion map just in time for a double-experience weekend

Trion’s big games always get so much attention that I always forget about Atlas Reactor, but here it comes this weekend with a mighty patch and event for loyal players. In fact, it’s getting an all-new map called Oblivion.

“Oblivion awaits in Atlas Reactor, prepare to embrace the darkness in a Necrolancer inspired map for PVP, VS Bots, and Custom Game modes. Oblivion comes out July 20th and is an open arena that features hidden camouflage and cover along the edges. Dominate the battlefield and seize control of the centrally located healing powerups to survive in this tactical deathmatch.”

Players checking out the new map this weekend will be treated to double expies; Trion says there are only five chapters left in the season for those of you working on ranked awards, so now is the time.

 

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