Oh, Crowfall, you really looked like you were going to make it to soft launch this year. But it’s not happening; the studio has outright said that soft launch is just not going to be doable before the end of the year, because it’s more important to get the game to the right place. A shame, but on the plus side, we can find out more about the day/night cycle. That’s… similar?
It’s really not. Let’s move on to other beta news.
And that’s everything, but you know, we do have a list of things in testing down below. Is something missing? Has something jumped phases? Do let us know down in the comments below, we always appreciate it.
With a fully dynamic world that involves varied spawns, parcels that are moved around, and generated terrain, the Crowfall team had a tougher challenge than most to create good-looking lighting that was carefully placed by hand. Instead, the art team had to come up with fully-dynamic lighting, and Art Director Melissa Preston is more than happy to talk about that and more on this month’s Q&A video.
The lighting keeps changing, too, as Crowfall just instituted a day/night cycle with Patch 5.7. The devs talk about all of this, fiddling with the various sliders to show the complexity of lighting in this MMO. If nothing else, it’s an eye-opener about an aspect of these games that you may have never considered!
The video also shows off the Stoneborn and female Half-Giant characters, so there’s a lot to absorb before all is said and done!
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin get a little bit crazy and weird as they date MMO NPCs, throw themselves into the middle of studio fights, take a ride on the delay/launch whiplash train, and more!
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.
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Here’s a slight damper for your weekend: Crowfall has decided to delay its soft launch into 2019 due to the additional work that the studio believes should to be done. ArtCraft said that between “getting it right” and “calling it done,” it would much rather do the former.
“The game experience is paramount,” ArtCraft stated. “We firmly believe is the right path forward. These changes aren’t free, however, so we should recognize that more changes to core systems means more time before launch. As a result, I think it’s clear that our soft launch is not going to happen by the end of the year.”
The delay isn’t the first for the studio; by our count, it delayed major functionality as well as a soft launch last year too.
Now that you’re past the crushing disappointment of development schedules, here’s some good news. Alpha testing is on track to start later this summer and the studio is in a strong financial position after receiving an additional $6 million investment at the start of 2018. Other deals that have been made to help the PvP MMO include a partnership to bring Crowfall to Russia and an agreement to license its MMO technology base to an unnamed company.
This week, Crowfall’s testing phase moved into Pre-Alpha 5 — but you wouldn’t know that to listen to the developers. The team seems much more interested in what’s coming with Patch 5.7, which is why it spends to much time sharing the advance patch notes from this build.
So what’s coming that’s so exciting? Well how about the addition of the final two races to the game’s roster: the Stoneborn and female Half-Giant. There’s plenty of other features being baked into this build, including harvestable hunger crystals, the day/night cycle, a bereavement map, more animal variety, and a much easier way to interact with other players while on the go.
ArtCraft said that the “first round of zoning has been implemented” as well, which points to bright days ahead for this PvP game. Get the full scoop after the break, but be warned, it’s going to take you an hour to listen through!
It seems weird to me now that the game we were preciously calling “Crowfall for PvE fans” at last year’s E3 has changed so drastically in that time that right now it’s leading the battle royale pack as one of the biggest games in the entire world.
But here we are at another E3, and Fortnite is all grown up, blazing ahead along Epic Games’ vector to get it on what seems like every platform known to man in an attempt to bedazzle the competition.
And that now includes the Nintendo Switch, as announced at the Nintendo presser at E3 today. As this post goes live at 1 p.m. EDT, the game will arrive for Switch players through the eShop, free-to-play as always. Yes, today. Right now.
Catch ’em if you can.
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.
Massively OP reader ichi_san has a burning question about the state of the industry.
“Lots of people seem to be looking for an MMO they can get into – consider the rush into Bless as an example. Lots of games are being released, but most (or even all) have some glaring issues, like pay-to-win, lockboxes, ganking, poor optimization, heavy cash shop, horrible gameplay, and so on. There’s the WoW model and other semi-successful formulas, and a lot of unexplored territory. The market seems hungry, and there is a bunch of history to build on and new territory to explore, but either gaming companies don’t understand their customers or greed/laziness/expediency get in the way, such that we see release after release that fails to scratch the itch. Am I missing something – are there fun MMOs with good graphics and fair monetization that I’m missing? Or is there a gaping hole in the MMO scene, and if so, why isn’t someone filling it?”
I’ve posed his question to the writers for their consideration in Overthinking this week. We’re long past bubble-bursting here when all of the still-major MMORPGs are four years older. What exactly are we looking at? Why is the obvious demand for MMOs not being met?
Will Crowfall have mounts? That burning question is one of several that the development team fielded as the MMORPG’s creation turned into the summer months.
Mounts are very much on the board for development, by the way, although ArtCraft hasn’t started actively making them quite yet. “It’s clearly in the pipe,” the team responded. One tricky issue is how to give the four-legged Centaur a mount — run faster? Drag a cart behind? It still hasn’t been figured out quite yet.
The team addressed concerns that the jump between uncrafted and crafted vessels (temporary classes) is too big by saying that right now it’s just a template in testing that can and will be tweaked as time goes forward.
Get 10 minutes’ worth of questions answered after the break!
Raph Koster is certainly a well-known name in the MMORPG industry who has spent his career working on titles such as Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Metaplace, and Crowfall. But did you know that he is also a prolific writer as well? Koster has posted many intriguing behind-the-scenes and industry discussion essays on his blog, and now he’s compiled those and many other new ones for a book that he’s titled Postmortems: Selected Essays Volume One.
Postmortems is due out later this June, and it contains plenty of stories that should intrigue fans and historical buffs of the MMO genre. “It’s not a memoir or tell-all; the focus is on game design and game history,” Koster said. “There’s still nowhere near enough material out there in print covering things like the history and evolution of online worlds (MUDs especially), in-depth dives into decisions made in games by the people who made them, and detailed breakdowns of how they worked.”
Usually in Jukebox Heroes I’m looking back at current and sunsetted MMORPGs, but this week I thought I’d change things up a bit by looking ahead. That’s right — we’re going to be going into the future to listen to a half-dozen main themes to upcoming MMORPGs.
Some of these titles are on the cusp of releasing this year, while others have a long way to go. Still, it’s kind of exciting to listen to these themes and imagine actually logging into the finished product, don’t you think?
So here we go, with title tracks from Crowfall, Fractured, Gloria Victis, Worlds Adrift, Project Gorgon, and Camelot Unchained!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Temtem, “the massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure” that hit Kickstarter this week, is looking like a win, as it’s secured most of its $70,000 goal in just its first few days and will soon be on to stretch goals. It’s clearly inspired by Pokemon, with adorable graphics and critters, breeding system, housing, character customization, story campaign, and yes, a co-op online world to romp in. (With thanks to Jose on this one!)
“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.”
Have you ever given much thought to harvesting in MMOs? Probably not much, if we’re all honest. Yet gathering plants can fill an important niche in players’ gaming sessions just like the mats they reward fill an important part of the crafting ecosystem.
Enter Crowfall’s wildcrafting. It’s pretty much a fancy name for “on the go harvesting” that will allow players to zoom around and scoop up useful plants and veggies with a single button press. The dev team used Zelda: Breath of the Wild as an inspiration for this quick and zippy activity.
ArtCraft said that systems like harvesting are essential for downtime between more important and rewarding events: “Wildcrafting is a second-to-second exploration and harvesting engagement loop. Is it the most important system in the game? Nope! But as we get closer to launch, you’re going to see more of these loops come online and engage, and as that happens the gameplay experience is going to become more well-rounded, immersive, and engaging.”