crowdfunding

Fractured’s Kickstarter stretch goals include a dungeon crawler inside an asteroid

Sitting at about 80% funded with under a week to go, Fractured’s Kickstarter campaign may come down to the wire in the end. Even so, the studio has unveiled its stretch goals that include both backer and monetary-based benefits.

The first stretch goal, which will be achieved at $127,581, will take players off of the fantasy worlds and into… asteroids? Indeed, the dev team has plans for a procedurally-generated dungeon set inside asteroids that contains monsters, riddles, stealth challenges, and crafting materials.

“The biggest reward of the Labyrinth?” the team posted. “Unique tokens that can be exchanged for weapon skins, armor skins, mount skins, pet companions and other cosmetic rewards — or used to boost the next Labyrinth challenge!”

Other stretch goals for the campaign toss in a Lich transformation, a baby dragon hatchling pet, a free month of VIP access for all backers, more character creation options, fishing, and animal taming.

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Temtem discusses Kickstarter backer rewards, November PC alpha, and 2019 early access

If you backed Temtem’s successful Kickstarter, now is the time to collect at least some of your rewards. Spanish developer Crema has posted up detailed instructions on how to access the super secret Discord channels in a new Kickstarter update, though the rest will roll out depending on which platform you’ve picked. PC alpha, for example, is expected to begin in November; the early access is slated for September of next year. In-game rewards will roll out during that phase rather than alpha.

Temtem fully funded on Kickstarter back at the start of July; over 11,000 backers pledged $573,939 to make the game and all of its stretch goals happen, making it the biggest MMO Kickstarter of the year to date. As we’ve previously covered, the game is a bit of a Pokemon lookalike and calls itself more of a “massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure” than a WoW clone with raids. “The core idea behind Temtem is to build a classic adventure game with a focus on the story campaign, but with online elements added around it (seeing other people online, interacting with them to battle, trade, or just to talk and share experiences),” Crema says.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 178: #womenarecosmetic

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over how necessary it is to actually provide MMOs with those icky, wonderful girlie-types. They deliberately deliver a light-hearted episode after last week, full of funky fresh frivolity. Will gaming ever be fun again? It has to be!

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:

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Fractured pivots from global to regional servers as it pushes toward its Kickstarter goal

Quite often, you hear MMO gamers lament that their communities are artificially separated into different servers, with all of the problems that that entails. A single-shard server seems to be the ideal experience, and one that the upcoming Fractured was aiming to attain… until recently.

The developers posted an article this week explaining that while the original plan was to deploy Fractured on a single server, they received significant pushback from the community on this due to latency and regionalization issues. Looking at the world’s geography and ping speeds, the team has decided that it will eventually roll out Fractured on seven servers that will cover the globe. Additionally, Fractured will be released in Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and English.

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Fractured is hosting a livestream on crafting and building today

Want to know more about crafting and building in Fractured as the game has passed its 75% funding mark? Good news, you’ll have a chance to find out more about it live today as part of the game’s newest livestream. The stream starts at 4:00 p.m. EDT on the game’s streaming channel, so you can check it out, ask questions live, and do all of the things you normally enjoy doing through livestreams.

Assuming that what you normally enjoy doing isn’t disgusting. Please don’t be gross in stream chat.

There’s no scheduled run time, but you can imagine it’ll probably be about an hour of answering questions and leading into details about player-run towns. If that’s not what you care about, this likely won’t have a lot of interest for you… but for everyone else it should be plenty of fun information about making things.

Source: Official Site, press release. Cheers, Luvly.

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German courts rule against companies using ‘coming soon’ marketing for preorders

Making its way through the German court system right now is a case that could be of considerable importance to consumer protections, and not just in Germany.

As German website Computer Base reports (via TechPowerUp and some Google translate because my German has gotten too rusty), a Munich Regional High Court ruling in a consumer lawsuit against MediaMarkt effectively argues that vague promises like “coming soon” are off-limits for dealers of preorder items. In October, the judges ruled in favor of the consumer in a case over a Samsung Galaxy preorder; this past May, the higher regional court upheld that judgment, and an appeal to the top court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) was rebuffed.

“In the view of the judges, this information was too vague to comply with the statutory information obligation of the providers. According to this, potential customers should know before the end of the ordering process how long the delivery time will be at the maximum.”

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Make My MMO: Aria’s second closed beta, Star Citizen’s protest, and Crowfall’s engine on the market (July 15, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, we got our first hints of “emergent gameplay” in Star Citizen as a group of players took over a refueling hub and began blasting everyone who came near it out of the sky. Why? Oh, they’re not just griefers; they’re specifically protesting CIG’s backburnering of the Arena Commander mechanics. I suppose it got them some attention, but also now all the people whose alpha ships they blew up hate them rather than CIG.

Meanwhile, Legends of Aria launched its second closed beta, Pantheon unveiled its character creation system, Saga of Lucimia riled everybody up over its grouping stance, City of Titans posted an epic teaser, Shroud of the Avatar opened a new cash shop to fund the next season and began optional subs, and Fractured’s Kickstarter has leaped up to $88K of its $116K goal with 10 days to go.

Finally, Crowfall had a big week, as its studio, ArtCraft, announced a second studio to license Crowfall’s engine to other companies building MMOs; we chatted with the company’s J. Todd Coleman about it too. There’s a huge chunk of new guide videos out on the game now too.

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.

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Leaderboard: How much input do you expect to have into a developing game you’ve paid for?

Last week, a developer from Parisian developer Dreamz Studio posted about how early access was the best thing that happened to his game, specifically because the early access playerbase acted a sort of extra pair of hands for developing the game.

“I believe that there’s no need to be a former Chef to make innovating pretty little tasty meals,” he writes. “Indeed, you just have to know the basics and then let you guide by the taste of your customers, right?” The studio basically retooled everything from the main character and the world to visuals and level customization based on eight months of feedback, even adding multiplayer because people begged for it.

This is basically how early access is supposed to work, right? This was the whole point of letting people buy their way in early, either with early access or Kickstarter or preorder packages, and then help test and guide the game as superfans. We’ve just seen it go wrong over and over, either because studios abuse the early access tag to make easy money and then abandon the title and the loyal players, or because early testers abuse their input to guide the game into becoming something nobody but them wants to play and causing it to flop hard. I bet you can name games for each group.

How much input do you, as someone who buys in during a game’s development, expect to have in the game’s ongoing design? To the pollmobile!

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Fractured releases development roadmap as Kickstarter campaign enters final weeks

Dynamight Studios has released a development roadmap for its would-be crowdfunded MMO Fractured, which is currently sitting at $66,907 US of its goal of $116,762 with 12 days to go on its Kickstarter campaign. The roadmap lays out the studio’s plans for the game’s development and testing phases, which have been split into four parts: alpha 1, alpha 2, beta 1, and beta 2. Fans will also be excited to know that the first test for the current development phase (alpha 1, of course) will be coming in December of this year. The full roadmap spans from this year into the farflung future of 2021, when the game is slated for release in the third quarter of the year.

Most of the focus, however, is on the game’s current development phase and what players can expect when the first round of testing rolls around in December. At first, the only playable area will be the planet of Syndesia, and players will likely be limited to playing as Human characters, though the post notes that over the course of the alpha 1 development phase (which is planned to conclude around Q3 of next year), the devs plan to give life to all three of the game’s planets and races. In addition, the official post highlights some details of the game’s crafting system, player-run towns, and the unique knowledge system. You can see the full roadmap and get all the details on the aforementioned features over at the game’s official site.

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The Daily Grind: What exactly defines an ‘indie’ MMORPG studio?

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?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 177: ArenaNet A-bomb

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:

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IGDA calls for transparent guidelines on game studio social media and harassment following Guild Wars 2 dust-up

Regardless of who you believe had the right and wrong of the ArenaNet Twitter fiasco last week, game developers have expressed concern over the way it was handled and the potential impact on the greater industry. As Gamasutra noted, the International Game Developers Association has put out a blog post urging developers to demand that companies “clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts,” specifically referencing the recent Guild Wars 2 firings. Moreover, IGDA says, companies should be transparent about how they will “protect [their] talent from internet harassment mobs.”

“Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities,” IGDA Executive Director Jen MacLean writes. “Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles.”

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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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