“From what we’ve seen so far, we’re in really good shape.”
Mark Jacobs hasn’t given us a firm start date for Camelot Unchained’s Beta 1 yet, but from the sound of his recent livestream, it’s getting really close.
The crash rate for Camelot Unchained has dipped into the “acceptable” range for a beta test, with the average player being able to stay in game for up to four hours without a crash. The team expects that this rate will improve even further for Beta 1, especially as it is trying to “break the build” by stressing the server and testing its capabilities.
Get the full report after the break, with the livestream starting at the 7-minute mark and the talk from Mark Jacobs at 16:40.
Earlier this week, I happened to see a mainstream website refer to ArtCraft as an indie studio, and it jolted me. ArtCraft, as anybody reading MOP knows, is working on Crowfall, which at least in my estimation is a high-quality, graphics-intensive MMORPG from hardcore MMORPG veterans who’ve been in the business as long as anyone alive. The game has raised at least $12M or maybe $15M, at least counting up what we know about.
When I think of indie studios, I think of the tiny outfits working on games like Project Gorgon, Ever, Jane, and Ascent the Space Game. But of course Crowfall is also an indie, right? It’s not running a $500M budget; it’s not ensconced under a cozy AAA publisher umbrella. It crowdfunds.
Then again, aside from the budget/wealth, its profile looks like a bit like Epic Games’ – it even has an engine to vend now. So is it really just about money? Is Star Citizen, with its multiple studios and AAA budget, an indie because of crowdfunding? Camelot Unchained studio CSE has multiple studios – does that factor in?
I’m curious what you folks think. What exactly defines an indie MMO studio? What characteristics must an indie studio have or not have?
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cleans up after Guild Wars 2’s PR disaster, chew over the survivability of Shroud of the Avatar, and commiserate about Camelot Unchained’s delay. It’s not all downer news — there’s some really great stuff happening in the MMO industry, and that makes an appearance on this extra-long episode!
Special note: If you want to skip the ArenaNet discussion for the rest of the news, go to the 50-minute mark (yeah, we talk about it a lot!). Also, please note that this was recorded before the Polygon article that came out Monday night, so it’s missing some the additional commentary on Mike O’Brien’s second formal statement.
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:
This week in MMO crowdfunding, the Kickstarter MMO crowd held its breath to find out whether or not Camelot Unchained would indeed make its July 4th beta test date as planned. Thanks to an annoying crash bug, it didn’t, but the studio is crunching to sort it out and isn’t anticipating more than a few weeks of delay, which isn’t going to seem like much to people who have already been waiting years.
“Still going through the logs. We’ve eliminated a lot of the crashes. Andrew’s working on another fix that should help things as well,” CSE’s Mark Jacobs told backers last night. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to talk about [the date] on Monday. […] Still no long-term change, no short-term change, no change whatsoever in what our original estimate was. We’re getting really close.” He reiterates that the crash rate has gone down, but they really need human testers testing, so get in there if you can.
Meanwhile, Richard Garriott rebutted claims that Shroud of the Avatar is a flop, some troll faked a former Star Citizen developer’s Glassdoor review of the studio, Temtem fully funded, and Fractured has passed 500 backers and half of its Kickstarter goal.
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.
It’s important to note that however frustrated you might be about the fact that Camelot Unchained had to delay its long-awaited beta, the developers are probably even more frustrated. The whole thing was scheduled to go off on July 4th, but when the time came it turned out that the client crash rate, like the rent, was too damn high. We’re told it should only be a short delay, so keep your eyes peeled for further bulletins as events warrant.
Other beta news? During a holiday week? There was a little, yes.
- Thanks to Kinya for letting us know that Rebel Horizons is performing a stress test! That is, a test to stress the game’s servers. Not a test of your stress, that’s… well, we hesitate to say “fine,” but probably not something they need to test.
- Ashes of Creation is now one of the biggest MMOs in development, according to the development team working on Ashes of Creation. This is also the last month you can buy into alpha one, for the record.
- The headstart period has begun for Defiance 2050, with its full launch to follow next week on July 10th. Or full relaunch, we suppose. It’s some weird branding.
- Last but not least, Star Citizen has shared some details about what’s coming in the next patch, while one of the former developers of the game has shot down a fake review of his time working there. Seriously, guys, do we need to fabricate fake reports of problems with the game? That seems unnecessary.
A lot of things were also probably blown up over the past week, but that was the holiday and not beta testing, so we’re not covering that. We make up for a lack of listed explosions with a list of games currently in testing, and you should feel free to let us know if something in that list is incorrect. Heck, you should even feel encouraged to do so!
Camelot Unchained has postponed its planned 4th of July beta launch in what Mark Jacobs is characterizing as a “short” delay.
“It’s not going to be a year delay or a three-month delay,” he told viewers on stream, reassuring them that he’s expecting it to be a matter of merely days or weeks. [Update: After the stream, Jacobs told Massively OP that he expects a clearer picture of how long the delay will be by Thursday.]
Over the weekend, studio reps said it was down to a list of 40 bugs it’s still crunching on; the company is asking existing backers to come help test this week. “The client crash rate is TOO DAMN HIGH!” is the mantra on today’s stream.
Longtime MMORPG fans will know that this delay follows several years of pre-beta testing. Last winter, City State Entertainment announced it had received a big cash investment and put the July 4th date on Camelot Unchained’s beta one. At the time, the beta was already three years late, as the studio struggled to find programmers, completely refactored large chunks of its ability system, and ultimately opened up a second studio in Seattle in order to make its RvR MMO vision a reality.
We’ve updated the end of this article with some words from Mark Jacobs.
Last winter, City State Entertainment announced it’d received a big cash investment and put a date on Camelot Unchained’s beta one: July 4th, 2018. At the time, the beta was already three years late, as the studio struggled to find programmers, completely refactored large chunks of its ability system, and ultimately opened up a second studio in Seattle, and I think it’s fair to say that patience has thinned out along the way.
But as we’ve been reporting for the last few weeks, while the team was originally on schedule, GDPR compliance requirements created a huge setback for the beta as key employees worked on dealing with bureaucracy instead of fixing mission-critical bugs. Consequently, as CSE’s Mark Jacobs notes in yesterday’s stream, whether or not the beta actually launches Wednesday is still “too close to call.”
Jacobs tells fans that the studio is down to a list of 40 bugs it’s still crunching on – yes, they’re crunching this weekend – and they’ll be conducting large-scale testing all weekend, which will determine whether beta one is happening on time. (The next mini-test begins right as this post goes live, in fact.)
The nice thing about early testing is that big things can change and it’s really all part of the experience. Sure, Saga of Lucimia fans may have gotten used to the game’s combat before, but now it’s been completely updated and everyone has to get used to it again. This includes the first iteration of Masteries that are actually meant to be in the game instead of random throwaway ones, so that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, we eagerly await news about Camelot Unchained’s beta next week. It’s supposed to happen! We’re close!
Other beta news? Sure! Let’s go for it.
- If you want to make more headway in OrbusVR thanks to various sales, the early access title is hosting a bonus XP weekend this weekend. So you get to make more progress in the same time!
- MapleStory 2 fans and hopefuls can sign up now to take part in the game’s beta testing. You can’t get in if you don’t sign up. You might not be able to get in even if you do sign up, of course, but roll with the chances.
- A great big graphical update is due for Legends of Aria as the game heads toward another closed beta phase. The key word here is “drastic.” But a good sort of drastic.
- Rend has a roadmap, which is not a map of roads but a set of plans for future development. You can check it out now. That’s like roads.
- Last but not least, Citadel: Forged with Fire is testing out a major game overhaul. You might think that the game is already in early access and thus by definition is getting major overhauls, but our more cynical readers probably will point out that “early access” can really mean anything. And they’re right. Have fun!
In short, it was a quiet week, and next week is a holiday so that’s likely to continue the trend. Ah, well; why not enjoy some of the items down on the list below? Or perhaps enjoy letting us know if something skipped test phases without us noticing. There’s enjoyment to be found in many things.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained is in the home stretch before open beta. Yes, really, open beta. This is happening, people! Clear your 4th of July!
As for live Kickstarters, TemTem is up to $320K and counting, far past its original goal with still a week left to go. Most recently, donors unlocked Nintendo Switch play and the replay system. Clubs (guilds) are set to unlock at $400K. And yes, the game is now registered on Steam.
The Flower of Knighthood, on the other hand, abandoned its Kickstarter in its final hours, seeing it would not complete. The devs haven’t commented on their next move just yet.
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar was hit with layoffs, EVE Online got its revenge on Star Citizen, Chronicles of Elyria posted lore, Albion Online rolled out a small update, and Crowfall admitted it’s delaying soft launch into 2019 but showed off its procedural world generation. Finally, Fractured prepped for Kickstarter – get ready to see that name a lot in this column!
Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
“The pressure is on, but in the best of ways. The energy in the studio is incredible, we are all excited about how close we are.”
With a week until Camelot Unchained hopefully begins its long-awaited beta test, it’s all hands on deck over at City State Entertainment. The studio reported that it still has 19 “mission critical bugs” that have to be fixed to get the beta out the door, and the dev team is crunching this weekend to make it happen.
The building tech is being shored up, set dressing is being placed on islands, and the crafting system is being put together. Camelot Unchained’s backend is pretty vital to the success of the beta, and the team is also making sure that the architecture is in place for the test.
Get the full report from the team after the break!
Saying that it needs to “double down” and push hard to get the beta build finished for next month’s launch, the Camelot Unchained team noticeably increased its output this week with 20 items on its to do list.
Among the many projects that the developers were tackling this past week include shaping the Arthurian Physician class, stress testing the builder system, sorting out the crafting system, load testing servers, upgrading the trade window UI, and building props to populate taverns and banks.
As for Camelot Unchained BetaWatch (ooh, that’s a catchy title we should steal), it’s still on track: “As you all know, we had set our original feature lock date as June 12, which was this Tuesday. The good news is, many of our core Beta features have landed, things like skill improvements, scenarios, and our ability to have a complete game loop. However, some work just isn’t where we want it to be, and so we are moving forward with a bit of continued feature work to deliver the experience we want for Beta 1 Day 1. We are still hopeful for the 4th of July!”
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen continued inching its way toward alpha 3.2, as the latest build has hit the PTU for the early “Evocati” player testers. It’s got a few waves to go before it’s released to all backers, but that’s OK: People are leaking stuff all over Reddit anyway if you’re dying to be spoilered.
As for live Kickstarters, TemTem has nearly tripled its goal as I type this, reaching yet another stretch goal – mounts – with Nintendo Switch support on the horizon.
Meanwhile, Dual Universe dropped a new trailer ahead of E3, Ever, Jane updated with butlers, Camelot Unchained says its still just barely on track for beta next month, Project Gorgon whipped up a bugfix update, Wild Mage successfully completed its Kickstarter and promised multiplayer, Albion Online got a small patch to Lancelot, and Elite Dangerous fans are busy at this weekend’s Lavecon 2018. (Thanks, Colin!)
Finally, Ashes of Creation dropped this teaser in its last press release: “We’ve got some very exciting business developments in the works, and while it’s not yet 100% official, we can’t wait to share with you the news. Make of that what you will, but don’t worry – we promise it’s good news for our fans all over the globe.”
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
The Camelot Unchained team is racing against its self-imposed deadline to get the MMO’s first beta test out the door on July 4th — and by the sound of it, it’s going to be a close thing. “We are still on track, but just barely,” the team reported. “We had to spend a lot of time on our compliance with the GDPR policies as well as some other game studio stuff (all good!).”
This push means that a lot got done this past week, including the reinstatement of the forums, updates to the Beta 1 refining process, work on the beta’s progression testing, and installation of debugging tools.
Of course, if you’re a visual creature, you’d be far more interested in seeing one of the new boat concepts, possible town art assets, and a couple of character model renders of the male Viking Mjölnir and female Arthurian Black Knight.
“I’m particularly looking forward to the next several weeks, as we get players moving between islands and scenarios, testing out all our hard work,” the devs said.