aventurine

Greek outfit known chiefly for sandbox Darkfall.

Massively Overthinking: Should MMORPGs incentivize exploration – and how?

Our Daily Grind on exploration last week sparked an intriguing follow-up from MOP reader Miol.

“When asking about sightseeing and exploration in MMORPGs, you also mentioned the lack of rewarding incentives for exploring those worlds, or worse, a poor implementation of such features, as you pointed out by Guild Wars 2’s vistas. Many of Wander’s mechanics also come to mind for me. You and many commenters in that article stated that their exploration mostly happened by their own initiative!

“So what features would you all wish in an exploration-heavy MMO? Is Trove’s Geode with its non-combat spelunking on to something? Would exploring other players’ curation and display of art already be enough for you, a la Occupy White Walls? What would an MMO need to simulate a fun road trip? Would looking for that one place with those until-then-unmatched resource stats, be a definite must for you, as in Star Wars Galaxies? Or is open-world housing more of a priority, so you can find that perfect spot for your porch? Purely just survival features? Or maybe even, as Andrew once mentioned, a certain mechanic for dying, as in Project Gorgon?”

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Previewing Rend: Frostkeep studio visit, early access, PvP, factions, and more

If something goes wrong with Frostkeep’s early access launch of Rend, blame me. While I was at the office, I distracted Co-Founders Jeremy Wood and Mat Milizia, caused an update to get rolled back because I was offered the chance to play with cheats, stole someone’s chair, possibly delayed Global Communications Director Michele Cagle’s GamesCon prep, and pointed out to the team that the new bald and clean-shaven character customization options were missing. We’ll also go ahead and take credit for the Ascension system being implemented, getting icons, and Wood finding a major long-term gathering bug the night before because clearly Massively OP is important enough for the devs to come in at 3 a.m. just to prepare for us.

All jokes aside, I recently had a studio tour with Rend‘s creators as part of the game’s ramp-up for alpha this week. The team’s working hard and losing sleep, but they’re nailing it. It may not be perfect, but the Frostkeep is making my job a little harder because very soon, you’ll see just how in touch with the MMO and survival genres Frostkeep is. There’s a reason we awarded Rend Most Innovative PvP at E3 2018.

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon looks forward to big new systems like dynamic housing

The last patch for Darkfall: Rise of Agon had a whole gaggle of stuff in it. There’s even a video walking through all of the stuff contained therein below, if you want to check it out. But that’s all in the past now, and so the developers are looking ahead to future additions and improvements for the game. First on the list? The Relic system, which will allow players to pick up powerful Relics and attune to them, thus building characters in new and interesting ways and differentiating individual playstyles further.

The team is also hard at work on building the game’s dynamic housing system, allowing players to drop houses anywhere they’d like within the game world. That ties into expanded territory control mechanics in the game, as well as the upcoming Clan Platinum currency for purchasing clan-related things like siege weapons. So when you’re done enjoying the newest features the patch has to offer, you can start peering into the game’s future and get excited about that.

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New Dawn, a survival sandbox set in the 1800s, has launched into Steam early access

New Dawn – not to be confused with Darkfall New Dawn or Osiris New Dawn or Star Trek Online’s New Dawn – is hitting Steam’s early access this week after a lengthy period in closed alpha.

We began watching the game two years ago, when we described it as a “survival sandbox that puts players in the role of South American natives in the 1800s who must fend off pirates while living off the land,” complete with “interesting mechanics, such as taming horses, being killed in your sleep while you’re offline, and a slavery system with the NPCs.” It ran an unsuccessful Kickstarter in 2017, which raised only 4.4% of its $82K goal before it was canceled by Italian developer e-visualsoft.

“At the moment, New Dawn is in Pre-Beta stage, many game mechanics are complete and we have a solid base in programming, which allows us to add new content quickly,” the devs told followers this weekend.

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Darkfall: New Dawn puts the finishing touches on its magic schools

Fun fact: Did you know that Darkfall: New Dawn has a skill called “eye rot?” Isn’t that all you will be thinking about for the rest of today? It’s an infectious fact!

Now that our eyes are twitching, we can try to distract ourselves with the changes to New Dawn’s magical schools with Update 2.1. “The theme of this patch is finishing up on the mechanical changes for magic,” the team said. “Our general goal with magic is to have schools that play differently, as bundles of spells.”

As such, the developers have made adjustments to arcane magic, necromancy, and certain signature spells like earthquake, healing chant, come hither, and wall of force. Following this magic-centric patch, the devs will review some of the game’s melee weapons and finish equalizing the magic and physical progression paths. “We are now in the interface phase, still quite a bit to do,” they said.

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Get caught up on the Darkfall spinoffs as ex-Aventurine devs explain what happened to the original (and throw shade)

Unless you’re a hardcore Darkfall player from way back in the day as MOP’s Andrew was, you probably look at the sequels and spinoffs with pure confusion. What’s the difference between Darkfall, Darkfall: Rise of Agon, and Darkfall: New Dawn? That’s at least partly the subject of a new infographic out from the New Dawn team. For starters, you can’t actually play the original Darkfall. After launching in 2009, rebooting amidst much controversy as Unholy Wars in 2012, and toying with plans for a more classic reboot, its dev team abruptly vanished without much of a goodbye in 2016, saying it hoped the service disruption would be temporary. It wasn’t. Aventurine wound up licensing the game out to two different player-led studios, which separately put together their own takes on the game to keep it alive.

New Dawn, as the infographic touts, focuses more on group PvP than the original, with less grind and griefing and a more realistic economy and trade, as well as combat that’s less “ping-dependent.” Its most recent dev blog talked up improving PvE and soloabilityRise of Agon, on the other hand, boasts housing, no safe zones, twitchy combat, large-scale warfare, and a heavier crafting focus; it just got an update to PvP. Both spinoffs harken back to the original Darkfall more than to Unholy Wars, and both games are in a launch state.

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Massively Overthinking: How do you maintain your health while binging MMORPGs?

Kotaku put out a piece this week on how to game without wrecking your body, something that’s probably bound to come up in the average MMORPG player’s life. It’s filled with basic tips like “drink water, ya moron” and “sit up straight” and “don’t eat garbage” and “look at stuff other than the screen” but there are also some useful tips in there like “stretch before you binge” – including your hips and wrists, which you might otherwise overlook.

For this week’s Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to expound on two things: first, the most unhealthy video gaming moment or habit they’ve ever had, and second, one specific thing they do to keep themselves from completely destroying their bodies when their hobby has become their career.

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon pushes out market system patch

If the economy is the lifeblood of an MMORPG, then Darkfall: Rise of Agon predicts a healthy prognosis with its new market system patch.

The patch opens up markets all over the game, thanks to the Merchants Guild Alliance. These city hubs are places for crafters to buy, sell, and take orders for specific wares. Rise of Agon takes travel into consideration with this system, charging a “distance fee” for buyers if they’re purchasing far away from the seller’s locale.

The market system is made possible through the new global wallet, which is linked to global banking throughout the game.

The dev team wants the MMO community to know that it is running a free trial period through March 31st for anyone interested in checking out the game.

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Perfect Ten: MMO missteps that didn’t have to happen

Around the time I started working at Massively-that-was, there was an article that I quite liked talking about how four high-profile MMO failures were not necessary. It was a product of its time, but the point was made that these games didn’t have to wind up in the state they were in. The mistakes that were made were not unexpected problems, but entirely predictable ones that anyone could have seen. Heck, some people did see them and pointed them out, but nothing was changed.

I think about that a lot when I think about other MMOs and online games because there are a lot of titles that, even if not entirely failed, are in states they never needed to be in. These stories are, at the very least, stories of some failures where the failure was not an inevitable end state, nor are they messes that had to be made. The writing was on the wall, the warnings were given, and someone just kept on keeping on and ignored all of the signs. And here we are.

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Wouldn’t it be great if every MMORPG emulated Darkfall New Dawn’s epic roadmap

Even if you’re not a Darkfall fan or Darkfall New Dawn player, you should take a peek at the incredible roadmap Ub3rgames has posted. Instead of being a vague paragraph of waffle words and half-promises, this puppy is a wall of bar graphs showing exactly, to the feature, what’s being worked on and how far along in that process it is.

“You’ll notice that most of our coming projects are focused around the economy and the reward structure it creates,” the indie studio writes. “Currently, trade is not fluid enough and feels punishing to many players, and holding on to territory is not worth the effort. These are major concerns we share with the community. The world is still in its build up phase, and we aim to give reasons to fight for when that is done. This means valuable locations and watchtowers to control them.”

A further tweet noted that “a naval update will surely be planned” in the longer term after warfronts are live; indeed, warfronts were actually bumped up in the process thanks to player demand, so expect that system sooner rather than later.

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Massively Overthinking: MMOs belong in a museum!

Let’s talk game preservation. We’ve been covering MADE’s attempt to convince the government to tweak its interpretation of the DMCA to basically allow museums, academics, and institutions of learning to bypass laws against reconstituting the tech infrastructure necessary to get old dead online games back into playable (and therefore researchable) format. The law and its collected exemptions already essentially allow the preservation of everything but MMOs, leaving our specific genre screwed. MADE’s proposal was met with what I can characterize only as a melodramatic and inflammatory paper from ESA lobbyists opposing it on copyright grounds and suggesting that MADE is basically a party house planning to profit off throngs of gamers who will show up to play games closed down 15 years ago.

As we wrote yesterday, honest MMO developers roll their eyes at the idea that games which were sunsetted because of insufficient players ages ago are suddenly going to pose a financial threat if resurrected for academic purposes.

I wanted to open the topic up for discussion for the writers and readers. A lot of the MMO playerbase, I know, already supports emulators, whether or not they’re legal, and will gladly hop on board the “it belongs in a museum” train if it helps get us closer to a world where companies can’t sit on game code forever. Do MMORPGs belong in a museum? How far should the law go when it comes to protecting copyrights for shuttered games?

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The MOP Up: Path of Exile reads your future in the cards (February 25, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Conqueror’s BladeMapleStory BlitzDarkfall: Rise of AgonSkyforgePath of ExileArmored Warfare AssaultAura Kingdom, and MechWarrior Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon pushes for crowdsourcing and a freemium model

Do you have talent? Then Darkfall: Rise of Agon wants you to chip in and help out — for pay, of course. The team behind this indie PvP MMO announced the formation of its Agon’s Community Talent (ACT), an initiative to recruit talented artists that can help design resources for the dev-strapped game.

Players can submit their own decorations, weapons, and armor designs with the hopes of having them added to Rise of Agon’s cash shop. Those that do will be rewarded: “While getting new items and artwork you created added to the game you love sounds great and all, we want to also reward you for your hard work. Everyone who finds one of their entries added to the Nithron Coin Shop will officially join ACT, providing them not only with forum and in-game recognition but with financial reward as well.”

ACT will help with the game’s transition to a freemium model that should open the doors to more players giving it a try. In addition to this initiative, the team is hard at work on a market patch with a new auction house interface and a global wallet.

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