I haven’t been making any secret of how much fun I’m having in the Star Wars Galaxies Legends emulator (and thanks so much to the readers who urged me to try it!). What I haven’t tried just yet is TCGEmu, which is trying to revive the Star Wars Trading Card Game that existed chiefly inside SWG itself.
Late-game SWG players will recall that the TCG was ahead of its time on so many fronts: It was actually one of the first fully online card games out there, but back then it had no chance of reaching the heights of mainstream adoption that we’re used to seeing now with games like Hearthstone, especially since few people outside of SWG knew it existed. It was gorgeous as heck, too, with stunning artwork that exists nowhere else.
Of course, the TCG also has the dubious honor of being one of the first openly and egregiously lockbox-esque pay-to-win systems in a major MMORPG, as players spent gobs of money angling for loot cards, which they could then use (or sell) inside Star Wars Galaxies itself. While I personally bought and traded my (free monthly) loot cards and loved some of the clothing and homes added to the game, I was also among those who argued that all of those items should have been added to the sandbox through crafters rather than through gamblers and junkies spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on what were basically lockboxes in the form of card packs.
Looking for a game with bite-sized persistent experience? The Cycle may fit into this very specific niche, offering 20-minute free-for-all PvP matches where players kill each other, complete quests, and grab everything not nailed down before the timer is up.
While this blended multiplayer game isn’t due out until the end of the year, The Cycle is spinning up for a closed alpha test this weekend. Starting on Thursday, August 9th, and running through Sunday, August 12th, the alpha will offer a glimpse at this work-in-progress title for those lucky enough to get a key.
And how do you get a testing key, praytell? This is one of those “register and cross your fingers for luck” situations, so if you are selected, you’ll be contacted by email. Even if you do get in, you won’t be able to tell anyone about your experiences — The Cycle’s closed alpha has an NDA guarding it.
If immersion and realism are what you crave in a new MMORPG, take a look at Codename Reality, another new game in our field of view this week. Europe-based studio Orode Productions just kicked off a Kickstarter for the game seeking $583,981 to build what it says is “the kind of project even the biggest game design companies wouldn’t dare undertake” – a “massively multiplayer online persistent entity game,” or MMOPEG for short. This one’s buy-to-play, with no sub.
“Codename Reality is a realistic fantasy/medieval realm in which your actions shape the world,” the devs write in their pitch.
“In other words, we have provided you with the possibility to create its history. We have redesigned the NPC system to better integrate with the realistic feeling and along with this, the death mechanic is more aligned with permanent death than with the classical MMORPG death system. You define the storyline and as such your future is completely up to you. However, with great potential comes great risk. Players can be harsh, and the same goes for the Realm itself. Only those with the skills to predict the consequences of their actions will succeed. Can you rise to the occasion and thrive in the Realm, or will your actions lead to the demise of you and your allies?”
Berlin-based studio YAGER recently took the wraps off The Cycle, a “first-person shooter with a twist” that somehow looks a lot like a survival sandbox with Fortnite’s graphics and some of Monster Hunter World’s and The Division’s mechanics, but with some persistence between matches.
“The Cycle is match based FPS where players complete quests while making and breaking temporary alliances. Anyone can attack anyone, and anyone can ally with anyone. In The Cycle the explored galaxy is controlled by massive Factions, but the mysterious outer reaches are still up for grabs. In their race to control these frontier resources, the Factions need contractors to do their dirty work. You are one of these contractors, competing for objectives such as collecting minerals or hunting wildlife while being careful to avoid or take down the competition.”
Kotaku UK’s interview with YAGER sheds more light on some of The Cycle’s more unusual mechanics, such as the fact that evacuation from the planet is just as important as everything else and that it’s aiming for a PvEvP scenario. And while it’s not a battle royale and has plenty of PvE ways to “win,” the devs do say they’re hoping to use matchmaking to put the shoot-first-ask-questions-later types together away from more cooperatively minded hunters.
Are you looking for a new way to survive? It’s coming. We’ve watched as Rend wandered down its closed alpha path since May, but now the unique survival game is inviting everyone to join in the journey as it makes the turn to beta. Starting on July 31st, Rend launches on Steam early access. Those who want to try the three-faction, pet-taming, base-building, win condition experience can grab the buy-to-play title for $29.99 and dive right in.
What will that one-time purchase get you? I sat down with Frostkeep Studios CEO and co-founder Jeremy Wood to talk a bit about the experience players will have jumping into 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.
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!”
What makes an alpha? If your answer is “marketing jargon,” you’re not entirely wrong. But the team behind Ship of Heroes is going for a slightly more formalized definition, and it’s explained on the official site right now. In short, an alpha is when you have people who aren’t part of the development team running around in the game, because that’s when you can find the bits that are broken without developers who just know to avoid that stuff.
The team is also preparing for its next major alpha milestones, starting with a 50-player login test with everyone logging into a spot and running around. Assuming that goes well, it’s time to move on to the same thing with a full-fledged invasion, adding combat into the mix. If you’re curious about the exact divisions between alphas, betas, and closed vs. open status, check out the whole piece on the official site.
In this past weekend’s Make My MMO, we noted we were keeping a close eye on Temtem, a clearly Pokemon-inspired “massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure.” It hit Kickstarter last week and at the time was really close to its $70,000 goal. I’m happy to report today that it has now zipped past that goal and will assuredly fund; as I type this, it’s closing in on $100,000 with almost a month still to go.
“The days of traveling solo are over; in Temtem the world is a massively multiplayer one. Tamers from around the world can join and you will be able to see them around you, living the adventure with you and fighting to become the best Temtem tamer. Chill with strangers, make new friends and battle them or trade your goodies; the dynamic online world is full of possibilities.”
Stretch goals are naturally in order as the game keeps attracting funding. At $90K, contributors unlocked what is basically a hardmode roguelike ruleset; at $120K, devs are eyeing arcade-style minigames.
The beginning of informal summer is a favorite time for MMO launches, which also means it’s prime time for birthdays and anniversaries. WildStar, for example, has a birthday I’ll always remember, as it rather inconsiderately released while I was in the hospital having a baby. She and it are both four this year, although she isn’t getting a month of presents and events as WildStar players are. There’s a special anniversary pack in the cash shop right now too.
“Throughout the whole month we’re running a series of WildStar’s most lucrative bonus events on a weekly rotation, offering you out-of-this-world benefits from four different events back-to-back. But that’s not all! With Starfall there will also be a unique reward pack delivered to your Account Inventory just for logging in each week! Make sure you transmat to Nexus every week in June to claim your rewards and take full advantage of the bonus events.”
At first glance, Dwell looks like it might have been taken right out of the 16-bit era. With its pixel art, tiny little people, and top-down views, it certainly boasts an art style familiar to older gamers.
Yet there’s something very modern about this title, which is all about giving players the tools and freedom to build their own worlds in their own fashion. Dwell is a multiplayer crafting sandbox in which players explore the world, gather resources, specialize in a career, and construct their own houses and villages. It’s not massively multiplayer, but it’s not tiny either, as each server will hold around 200 people.
Dwell has been developed by a small team of four, is currently in closed alpha, and will be coming to Steam at some point in the future. Curious about Dwell? Then check out an early preview of the game, which notes, “Using simple but clean and artistic 2-D pixel art, Punkdrift managed to end up with a bunch of features without sacrificing the game’s aesthetics.”
Ready to delve into the weird world of Occupy White Walls, which one outlet labeled as “hipster MineCraft?” The public alpha of the art-centric multiplayer game continues, with Patch 1.777 arriving on the servers this week.
The patch shores up some of the foundations of the game, such as a brand new launcher, an editing window for UI elements, the ability to place visitors at a certain spot when they spawn into your gallery, and “new awesome lasers assets, pew pew.”
The dev team attempted to describe the game in an interview by saying, “OWW is a new type of MMO for creative people in which the actual gameplay is creativity and self-expression. Different players will aim for different things; some will be all about in-game creativity — through building, designing and decorating their spaces — others will focus on discovering new art and curating their collections, while artists will aim to spread their own work around and directly interact with fans. All of this is happening within an abstract (and gorgeous) social experiment.”
Back in April, we first covered in-development MMORPG Occupy White Walls, a “PC sandbox-building, AI-driven MMO where people play with Art” rather than wander around as genocidal axe-murderers, complete with gobs of actual historical art, architectural assets, and a mysterious AI on the loose throughout the strange museum setting. Developer Stikipixels has made available only a solo building mode so far, with plans to develop for “guilds of people” and an anti-lootbox, “fair-to-play” business model.
Most recently, the game has patched up to version 1.666, which is “filled to the brim with fixes, improvements and new assets for you to play with,” the devs write in their email blast. The patch reportedly includes new concrete walls and doorways, turntable assets, trees, modular grass floors, neon text, cabinet assets, and bars – but “no drinks (yet).”
closed open alpha, so you can sign right up on the official site to go check it out right now.