Some Assembly Required: What to expect from Dual Universe’s September 27 wipe and launch

    
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Having trouble logging into Dual Universe? That’s because Novaquark shut down its servers on the 22nd. But don’t worry, the space sandbox did not sunset: It’s just preparing for the transition to launch on September 27th! Those offline days are needed for the developers to implement the improvements that are coming to the launched game. After all, technology and development has advanced quite a bit since I met with then-president and founder of Novaquark Jean-Christophe Baillie at PAX West 2017 and experienced my first demo of the game. And the devs have used the knowledge they’ve gained to make a better world for players.

I sat down with Novaquark’s current reps to walk through and talk about many of these changes and talk about what players can expect when the server launches again on the 27th. Lead Level Designer Falko Poiker, GM of Montreal Studio and Publishing Sebastien Bisch, Marketing Manager Francois Bouvard were joined by Ali Nouraei, who works with Social Media, and Damien Sarrazin from HomeRun PR to show off the new and improved features and highlight player possibilities. And anyone who wants to explore these possibilities on their own can join in with a free trial on Steam once Dual Universe officially launches next week!

Wipe out

The biggest thing players can expect when the server reopens is a dreaded word in the MMOverse: a server wipe. However, that’s not such a bad thing in this case. One, this is planned as the last one, so folks need not fear losing things after launch. The wipe allows the older aspects of the game — like the beginning planets — to get an update to match with the planets created after the development tools advanced. Devs emphasized that planets could not be overhauled or improved as long as there were players and constructs on them, so only a wipe would allow for it. Instead of just respawning the planets back into the game, the devs are adding new biomes and improved geography. “The wipe is definitely an opportunity for my team to revisit the planets, which were built when the game was still very much under development… and some of the planets might not be as interesting,” said Poiker.

One example is the desolate rocky desert planet of Thades: Its desert regions have been revamped from flattened plains to hills, burnt out forests, and more while the massive trench has bits of water and old petrified corals. Poiker also discussed how the planet now has a backstory to explain its unique features.

On top of this, in my opinion, wiping for launch is much better for the long-term health of the launched game. A fresh new universe also gives folks the opportunity to start off together instead of forcing new players into an unrecoverable disadvantage of a fully player-developed universe. After all, you don’t want your player base to only ever be beta players!

However, Novaquark also does not discount the efforts of those who were helping during the beta development. Due to the special nature of Dual Universe, beta players still get to retain some advantage for all the time and effort they’ve already invested into the game through keeping the blueprints of everything they have developed and built. With the schematics of their previous creations is saved, beta players need only gather the resources necessary and skip the experimentation phase of creation. Of course, beta players still have the benefits of their knowledge of the game and the connections they’ve built with their own organizations and alliances with others.

Starting out small

As the universe has been reborn, it will start off smaller and grow as time goes on. Devs noted that the number of planets will be reduced at launch with new planets rolling out in waves as the server grows. There will still be a spherical safe zone including Alioth, Madis, and Thades for players to work and play in safely. Unlike beta, Players will start on a moon of Alioth, called Haven. In unprotected space, there will be a number of resource nodes and two planets at the start, Jago and Teoma.

Alioth, the central starting area of beta, will retain markets that will include some NPC materials to get folks started alongside player-sold items. New players can choose from 10 different outposts and four different speeders offered by Novaquark as they begin their adventures. Later, they can also buy from other players later or build own.

Looking forward

As a sandbox lover, I am excited to start for real in Dual Universe. Although I dabbled previously, I didn’t delve in too deep, believing a wipe would come before launch. (Occasionally I am right!) Sadly, that also means I don’t have many blueprints to carry with me into the live game. But I don’t mind; I am really looking forward to messing around with the voxels to create things again!

Two other things I am looking forward to are the pocket ships: small ships that sit in your inventory, so players who die have a ship to access and travel in when they respawn. Personally, I’m sure to need on to use to get things to repair and then fly to your ship after my deaths. I am also really looking forward to mining. Besides just grabbing resources with a hand laser, there are mining extraction tools to pull up larger loads of resources that give me harvester vibes from SWG. I haven’t yet utilized these, and I am eager to using the calibration minigame to get the best concentration of resources. At launch there are 20 different elements you can mine, so there will be plenty to do.

As for after launch plans, the key focus over the next few month is territory warfare. For a more in-depth look at the road ahead, check out June’s letter form the Creative Director. And then, come September 27th, you can jump into game to check it all out, either as a new player or using the free Steam trial. Perhaps we’ll bump into each other in space!

MMO designers construct thrilling worlds, but MMO players also build some amazing content within them! Some Assembly Required highlights player-generated content, from events to housing to quest-creation systems. There’s creativity galore out there, and MJ Guthrie will travel the MMOverse to find and share it.
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