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Betawatch: August 14th, 2015

We all thought that Otherland was dead due to something as silly as a very long silence and the complete failure of its development studio. Turns out that it is still a thing, and it’s even launching on Early Access soon! I’m not sure if this necessarily holds up all that well, though. In 1996, when the first book was published, the idea of a world constantly connected to online spaces was new and different. That is no longer the World of Tomorrow, that is the World of Right The Hell Now.

Other beta news? Well, there’s not a lot, but there’s some.

And, you know, there’s that whole list just past the break of games in testing. Let us know in the comments if we missed something!

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Leaderboard: What’s your favorite Funcom MMO?

Earlier this week, news of Funcom’s dwindling financial fortunes kind of depressed me. And judging by our comments, it depressed a number of you, too. I’ve greatly enjoyed the firm’s MMOs over the years, from my days covering Age of Conan on Massively-that-was to more recent dabblings in The Secret World and all the way back to the early 2000s when I was cutting my genre teeth on Anarchy Online.

What about you, MOP readers and Funcom fans? What’s your favorite Funcom MMO? Vote after the cut!

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Here’s ‘everything you need to know’ about ArcheAge server merges

Trion’s latest ArcheAge website update purports to tell us everything we need to know about ArcheAge’s upcoming server transfers. Now, my first thought was that everything I need to know about ArcheAge’s upcoming server transfers can be summed up in one word, and that word is drama.

Jokes aside, the company has provided a fairly specific explanation of the process, complete with several options for players on affected shards. Details are somewhat sketchy as to how the limited land minigame will play out, though. Trion says that it “will be providing full kits to all land owners as well as an additional compensation package. The exact items that will be provided in this package are still being determined by Trion and XL.”


The Soapbox: Why I’m hopeful for the future of MMOs

Earlier this week, Justin asked what gives you hope for the future of the MMOs. As you might expect, the responses were many and varied, with some people naming a far off game or two while a few said that current titles are all they need from MMOs. Still others said — and I quote — abandon hope all ye who enter here because the genre has strayed so far from its original identity that it now serves an entirely different playerbase.

If you’d asked me this question a year or so ago, I’d have fallen firmly into that last camp. The genre has inarguably changed, and arguably for the worse, especially if you are a fan of sandboxes, grouping, virtual world gameplay in general and non-combat gameplay in particular. But as I said in my own comment, better days are ahead, thanks in my opinion to a handful of independent MMOs.

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This Russian Black Desert trailer is worryingly appealing

I should have learned my lesson after the debacle that was ArcheAge, but a part of me is still somewhat excited to play the western version of Black Desert. Trailers like the new one released in Russia certainly don’t help, since they show off a considerable amount of eye candy and eye-popping open world vistas, all while omitting the grind, the ganks, and the godawful cash shop, to name just three unpleasant realities of free-to-play imports.

For now, though, ignorance is bliss because it is an awesome trailer! You can view it after the break.

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Albion is aiming at an EVE-like metagame

The Videogame Backlog has interviewed Christian Ziegert, who is the head of operations at Sandbox Interactive and who is responsible for the fantasy MMO known as Albion Online. The title is described in general terms, and the piece provides a good jumping off point if you’re curious about Albion and its player-driven mechanics.

Ziegert expects Albion to feature a lively metagame much like EVE Online, “where guilds and players are involved in heavy politics, espionage, and treason in order to progress and increase their power and influence.” He goes on to explain how almost everything in the game is crafted by players, though mobs will drop consumables and resources.

There’s a lot more to the interview, too, including bits about Albion’s full-loot PvP, endgame PvE, and crafting.


Crowfall updates its legalese, releases animator blog and vid

Ready to drink from Crowfall’s information firehose? That’s good, because Artcraft has published a few more updates for its throne war simulator. First up is a founder’s update from Gordon Walton, which talks about everything from Kickstarter pledge package upgrades to t-shirts to legalese tweaks. Which is really important since you always read each and every wall of lawyer text before clicking “I Agree,” right?

Next up is an animation-focused blog from Thomas Blair entitled Animation Techno Mumbo Jumbo. Since mumbo jumbo is exactly what I see when I read tech-focused dev blogs, I think I’ll just provide you with the link rather than a summary.

Finally, there’s a new Crowfall video and it’s called Meet the Animators. I bet you can guess what it’s about! See if you’re correct by viewing it after the cut.

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Apparently Otherland is still being developed

What ever happened to Otherland? Well, it sold a bunch of copies, spawned three sequels, and had its feature rights sold to a film production team that you’ve probably never heard of before sitting in development hell for the past three years.

Oh, you meant Otherland, the MMO! Well, it’s kinda also in development hell, given that it was first announced in 2008, then canceled, then picked up by a new dev studio called Drago Entertainment. As of this week, though, there’s been a bit of an update courtesy of a community manager post on the game’s official forums. The devs have apparently tweaked a lot of stuff including graphics, content, mechanics, and performance. Unfortunately, there’s no firm date for when we’ll get to see the fruits of their labor, as the next play test is rather cryptically described as coming “soon.”

But at least it’s an update, right?

Source: Forums; thanks Kinya!


Project Gorgon might feature cow-only guilds

Project Gorgon’s Kickstarter still has 10 days to go, so the devs at Elder Game have published a new set of stretch goals. They include an ancient vampire curse, a new and unique animal form with specific abilities, and advanced guild features on top of those already planned. Said features include the addition of unique behavior requirements like “humans only, no vegetarians, no plate mail, or even an all-cow guild,” Elder Game says.

Other guild system upgrades include an optional hardcore mode, guild vendors, ritual magic secrets, and of course guild prestige levels.

Source: Kickstarter


SMITE launches on Xbox One on 8/19

The testing is finished and there’s nothing left for SMITE to do but launch properly on Xbox One. So the game is indeed launching on August 19th on the console. That’s good news for Xbox One owners, good news for PC owners who want more people to play against, and especially good news for players who own both platforms and want to jump between the two.

Speaking of jumping between the two, Hi-Rez Studios is still allowing players to merge Xbox and PC accounts through August 31st. Players can also purchase the Xbox Founder’s Pack containing all of the current gods, all future gods, and two unique skins. Once the 31st rolls around, however, both of these options will vanish. If you have the console and want to get that cross-platform thing going, you should probably act now.


Nexon Q2 2015 finances strong thanks to MapleStory 2 and mobile

It’s another good quarter for free-to-play developer Nexon. The company posted its Q2 2015 financial report today, and while profits are slightly down from Q1, they’re still up 16% from the same time last year. During the quarter, Nexon brought in 42.7 billion yen (about $343.1M).

A fourth of that revenue was thanks to Nexon’s mobile titles, which the company says have been doing exceptionally well. “We are also pleased with the momentum we saw in mobile, particularly in native mobile games, which doubled in revenues year-over-year,” CEO Owen Mahoney said.

Nexon also credited titles such as Dungeon & Fighter, MapleStory 2, and DomiNations as contributing to the quarter’s success. It also helped that operating expenses and taxes were lower than expected for the period.

Source: Nexon press release


The Daily Grind: How do you play Elder Scrolls Online?

I reinstalled Elder Scrolls Online this week, and I don’t know why. I mean, I like the game well enough, and did from day one even when people were inexplicably crucifying it left and right. But after my roleplay guild dissolved late last year, so did my desire to play ESO, at least for a time. Plus it’s not like I need another fantasy themepark, what with Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest II already on my MMO plate.

But I couldn’t help it. I love the franchise and I guess it had just been too long since I’d wandered around Tamriel. Now, though, I’m not sure what to do. I guess I can solo my way through the other two factions or work on achievements, since there are a lot of those. Or I could go to Cyrodiil, as ESO’s group PvP was the most tolerable MMO PvP I’ve ever experienced. What say you, MOP readers and ESO fans? What’s your favorite thing to do in ESO?

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TUG improves its AI, adds grid-snapping object placement

Nerd Kingdom published a new alpha update for TUG yesterday. Incidentally, Nerd Kingdom is quite possibly the greatest game dev name of all time. Anyway, 0.8.6 made some changes to how players can place objects in the world. Now it’s easy to line stuff up by pressing the V key and snapping objects to a grid. The patch also adds dyes, a bear ram, and a basket to aid in collecting fruit.

Recipe times have been tweaked, too, and the devs have made significant AI improvements with regard to pathfinding and avoidance. There’s more in the video that’s embedded after the break.

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