Tad Williams, the author of the original Otherland quadrology, has written a new novella in that world. What does this mean for players of Otherland? Well, part of the novella will be available in the game. Obviously, the entire thing can’t be present there, but some of it is; the official post on the matter explains that it’s a bit like the short story which would eventually grow into the novella. And yes, that means it’s a new story about the game world in the actual game world.
But there are going to be fans of the books who aren’t necessarily interested in playing the game, and thus the developers are planning to introduce a new “Social” character type to the game. These characters have no combat abilities or progress, but can bypass all of the usual starting zones to simply start the treasure hunt for the story; players can later convert these characters to normal characters if so desired. Not a bad cross-promotion all around, really.
Many fans, including me, are talking about still riding high after Warframe’s
amazing TennoCon 2018 announcements this past weekend. That was some pretty epic stuff (I have to admit I wonder how on earth they will manage to top themselves next year!). I was excited to share the news about Fortuna and Railjack
with you as fast as I could; the only downside of that was it was too brief to add in many of the deeper details. I couldn’t include the insights and commentary that Game Director Steve Sinclair
and Live Operations and Community Producer Rebecca Ford offered when I chatted with them. If only there were a way to impart that extra goodness to you and add in my own impressions. Oh wait!
While there’s certainly more to learn about the upcoming expansion/updates, here’s a bit more information about the underground all that cool stuff we can’t wait to experience for ourselves.
Since its botched launch and subsequent attempt to rebuild and revise itself, Otherland has struggled to establish legitimacy and gain interest among players. It sorely needed a win, is what we’re saying. And it may just be getting that win thanks to the support of the game IP’s author.
Otherland novelist Tad Williams is due to visit Drago Entertainment’s studio this week to meet with the developers. Even more interesting, Drago said that Williams is writing a new story inspired by the game itself: “Originally planned as a short story we now know, that Tad is writing and writing… It’s gonna be much longer now and we can’t wait to read his plot in ‘our’ world. Stay tuned to get informed about his visit, his new Otherland novella and possibly even an outlook at the future of Otherland as we’ll be creating plans for the future together.”
The team recently promised that it would try to hold to more regular maintenance windows every second Wednesday so that players wouldn’t be experiencing random downtime.
In the comments of my last Daily Grind about Star Wars Galaxies, there erupted a lively debate about the game’s user interface in the particular. I was surprised to find that some folks are convinced the game’s interface was lacking, given that it’s basically the same minimap-plus-hotbars-plus-unit-frames-plus-chat interface that every other MMORPG since has cribbed, just a bit more Star Warsy, glowy and minimalistic.
Then again, if you hate the stock minimap-plus-hotbars-plus-unit-frames-plus-chat interface setup that most MMORPGs boast, then yeah, hating SWG’s too makes sense.
Which MMORPG has the best user interface? And how does it deviate from the (at this point) completely standard World of Warcraft template?
(Note: The screenshot above isn’t actually SWG’s; it’s Otherland’s. You should check out The Repopulation’s too.)
The worst part of MMO development is when you have to put a great deal of work into something important but fiddly that most of your players aren’t going to understand. Case in point, one of the big things being changed for Otherland’s next update is the network communication standard being used by the game. This is no doubt a large amount of work, and for most people it is completely impenetrable. You don’t know the difference between TCP and UDP; you know that you connect to the wifi on the Internet Box and then you can do what you want to do.
Of course, the post explaining this change does outline why the change is being made and why it’s relevant. In short, UDP (what the game currently uses) often gets put at a lower priority than TCP (what’s being put into the game) which can result in lag and disconnections, so changing it now is a way of heading off more widespread problems later. And you don’t need to know the technical details in full. Just know it’s being worked on, and the end result will be better for players. This is rather important, as it’s part of the rather comprehensive effort to improve and revitalize the game.
The bad news, Cyberpunk 2077 hopefuls, is that there’s still no word on the alleged multiplayer elements for the game. The good news, or at least the news, is that there’s some indication of how that will be integrated. See, it turns out that the game is an FPS. Yes, it’s still an RPG, but it’s an FPS in the vein of titles like Destiny 2. Not entirely, of course, since that’s an MMO, but… well, it’s an FPS in which numbers pop out.
There is plenty of space to speculate about how that would ultimately have a multiplayer component. If it helps, it’s also worth noting that the game will feature vehicles as well, so that’s another new revelation which might merit a rewatch of the trailer. We’ve included that down below, if you’d like another look at the things you’ll be seeing as you play through the single-player portions if nothing else.
Let’s start with the good news because you’re going to need it: CD Projekt Red did indeed bring Cyberpunk 2077 to E3 2018, and its trailer is a glorious introduction to a Blade Runner-esque dystopian future full of cyborgs, fantastic technology, and shocking violence.
The bad news? The “online elements” that we had heard about and the multiplayer that we had hoped for were nowhere present, at least from what the studio discussed in a semi-hidden wall of text that was embedded into the trailer. In fact, Cyberpunk 2077 is being billed as a “true single player, story-driven RPG” without any microtransactions or DRM.
We might hear more from the actual show floor, but in the meanwhile, check out the trailer after the break!
It’s no secret that Otherland, the MMO based on Tad Williams’ popular sci-fi series, has had an extremely rough go of it through development and launch. It really did look like a game that was destined to be shut down (or to fade into obscurity) within weeks. However, Drago Games is making a valiant effort to shore up the game with tons of new quests and a summer expansion.
Drago sat down with MMORPG.com for an interview on the game, saying that it is attempting to “starting the process from scratch” of building up the game’s playerbase.
“We are now going back to the way it was in the game’s early access where developers communicated directly with players,” Drago said. “We already see from various responses that we are on the right track and we plan to go further to strengthen that relationship, do events of different kinds, but first and foremost be there and answer.”
People liked the 50v50 mode in Fortnite, but it had some issues. Fortunately, it was only a limited-time mode, so the developers could take it out back when its time had come. Polish it up, refine the systems, double-check everything, and bring it back as the new and improved 50v50 mode version two. That name might not sound terribly ominous, but it’s the huge matches people enjoyed coupled with new improvements and refinements. And it’s starting… today, actually.
The patch also has a number of other features, however; there’s a new cyberpunk story chapter in the Save The World mode, and a new high-capacity machine gun available in Battle Royale. So even if you don’t want to go big, you will not be forced to go home. Meanwhile, some players are obsessed with a comet that they think is going to destroy Tilted Towers, so it’s possible that everyone will feel really silly about worrying over the size of battles.
We’ve all been there. We’re playing our favorite MMORPG and then self-appointed professors of game history start arguing in world chat about firsts — usually, which MMO was considered to be the “first.”
As much as we all like to feel and be right about something, the truth is that history is messy and often ill-defined, even history as recent as that of video games. If you go looking for clear-cut facts and definitions, you might end up with an assortment of maybes, possiblys, and who knowses.
So when it comes to “firsts” in MMOs, there’s a lot of debate over, well, pretty much everything. One thing that I have noticed while covering The Game Archaeologist for many years now is that studios do love claiming to be first in various aspects. Whether or not these firsts are legitimate or can be challenged is debatable, but I thought it would be interesting to compile these claims into a list for your enjoyment and future world chat arguments.
Just when you thought that Fortnite’s battle royale couldn’t get any crazier, Epic Games keeps upping the ante with ideas like Port-a-Fort.
That’s right: There are now portable forts in the PvP mode that can be deployed in mere seconds. But that’s not all that came with the recent Patch 3.5. Fortnight also added a cinematic replay system, an updated version of the 50v50 limited time mode, four cyberpunk heroes, and neon weapons. On the downside of this patch, guided missiles had to be disabled due to a bug.
And going back to that replay system, it sounds like there may be a contest brewing in conjunction with it: “With a suite of cinematic settings you can now capture your most memorable moments, highlights and cinematics. We can’t wait to see what you create. You have an opportunity to win phenomenal prizes with the replay system… very soon.”
Otherland’s promised summer expansion is definitely happening, according to a press release from Drago this morning. It’s called Fire Isle, it’s themed around Chinese mythology, and it’s launching is summer.
“Fire Isle introduces a brand-new storyline about the legendary Fire Army including a broken nation that focuses on a large scale civil war. Players will meet up with their old friend SweetieCheng to follow her and the true leader of the isle in their quest to bring an end to the war and getting back on track with the ultimate goal – battling the Celestial Dragon. On their upcoming adventure players will cross the unique landscape of Fire Isle seamed by streams of lava and igneous rocks to face many new challenges. With a total of ten new areas and 60 new story-driven quests, Drago Entertainment is extending the storyline by six new chapters, promising hours of exciting entertainment and exploration coming this summer.”
Drago Entertainment continues to pepper players with plans for Otherland. Today, it’s told Facebook followers that more than 130 new quests are inbound in May, a direct result of player feedback. “While there have always been some side quests in the game, there just weren’t enough to counter the ‘linear quest progression’ argument,” the studio says. “We will be adding 15 areas (quest hubs) with about 6 quests per hub to 8Squared, 4 hubs with 6 quests each for Wood Isle, 3 hubs with 16 quests in total for Water Isle and one hub for Bug World with 5 quests.”
If that lede sounds familiar, it might be because devs were touting adding 120 new quests a few years ago.
Since our first impressions piece of the beta back in 2015, the game has popped up and down on Steam multiple times, emerged from early access, gone free-to-play, died and was resurrected by its original dev studio (with indirect shade thrown at Gamigo), and made it onto our list of the worst-squandered IPs in online gaming. Most recently, Drago has talked up its UI redesign, zone revamps, and “large content expansion” on the way.
We took a relook at the game last summer after its overhaul: