derek smart

The Internet Warlord himself.

Former Star Citizen dev refutes fake Glassdoor review made by troll on his behalf

The battle of the trolls in the Star Citizen community reached new lows this week as someone apparently impersonated a former dev on Glassdoor in an attempt to defame or at least hassle Cloud Imperium.

The fake review is plainly posted to look as if it were written by John Pritchett, a senior physics programmer at CIG who recently departed the company. But it is riddled with trainwreck grammar and spelling errors; it poorly communicates its central idea that an architecture change and micromanagement led to problems in the game’s development that are insurmountable by modern tech. “The scope of the project needs to be massively reigned in, and realistic expectations of what will actually be delivered in the next decade or two need to be communicated honestly and clearly to the community supporting the business,” it claims. It also includes plenty of positive praise for the ground-team, presumably in an attempt to make it look more realistic.

Pritchett is not amused. “It recently came to my attention that someone impersonating me has posted a fake review on Glassdoor about my time on Star Citizen,” he wrote on Facebook. “I did not write this review. I flagged it with the site, but felt that I should make a post to get the word out in case anyone saw it and thought it was legit.

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Whatever happened to Line of Defense, The Exiled, and Pathfinder Online?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately? That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing!

In this week’s edition, we’ll look at three titles in development that seem to have gone quiet: Line of Defense, The Exiled, and Pathfinder Online.

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Alganon has been offline for two months, is now owned by Derek Smart’s 3000AD

Nine years ago on Massively-that-was, we began covering the MMORPG known as Alganon – you’ll recall it as a bit of a World of Warcraft clone, long before that phrase was trite. You’ll also recall it as a game that weathered a major controversy back in 2010, when the game’s president, David Allen, was pushed out of the company. Why? According to none other than Derek Smart, who replaced him, Smart “fired” Allen “for insubordination and for acting against the best interests of the company,” investors, game, and team, arguing that he himself had a better plan for the game’s business model. Allen retaliated, accusing Smart of a “smear campaign” and suing him to boot (the lawsuit was settled in 2010 and Quest walked back some of Smart’s statements).

Since then, the game has muddled along without making headlines for much of anything besides an expansion in 2014. But that might be changing, as over the past few months, the game’s future has appeared less certain.

Back in October, Smart told Steam players that because of the game’s low population, the team hadn’t been investing much into the game for the prior year. “We were planning a visual update, and another DLC,” he wrote, “but those plans are on hold for now.”

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Derek Smart’s Line of Defense brings on secondary team for console version

Derek Smart’s MMO Line of Defense has a progress update this week covering the state of the game’s build. A new patch is on the way, and it’s fairly light, according to the post, being focused on the “underlying tech.” But that’s partly by design.

“Progress has been somewhat slow due to various factors including team and tech related challenges, as well as scheduling,” Smart says. “In addition to this, due to resources, scheduling, and dev costs, I also made the final decision to complete the PC version of the game using the existing custom engine in order to avoid any long term delays and complications.”

This means Line of Defense will be ported to UE4 by a secondary team. “In the end, we’re going to end up with two engine versions of the game, one for the PC, and the other for consoles,” he tells early access backers. “But due to the similarities between our Havok based custom engine, and UE4, there are currently no concerns related to parity in the game’s features. If anything, most of the noticeable differences will be in visuals, due to the vastly superior graphics of the UE4 engine.”

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Whatever happened to Alganon, Ryzom, and Forsaken Legends?

Ever find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to so-and-so? We never hear about that MMO in the news any more! Is it still running? Does it still have a loyal community? How will I find out about these things if I am too lazy to Google it?”

Well, that’s what I’m here for, gentle readers. The response back in March to the first column in this series was positive enough that it warranted a follow-up with a different trilogy of games to investigate. In today’s post, we’re going to see what’s going on (if anything) with Alganon, Ryzom, and Forsaken Legends, three titles that haven’t been in the spotlight for a while.

Have suggestions for future installments in this series? That’s what the comments are for, brah.

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Line of Defense solidifies engine switch, B2P business model

Derek Smart’s Line of Defense is expecting a new public build later this month, this one focused on the next phase of defense mechanics and AI.

Back in November, the controversial game developer who dubbed himself “Internet Warlord” released a state-of-the-game post, clarifying that LOD’s PC release will ultimately be exclusive to Windows 10, that the console version has switched to Unreal Engine 4, that the Havok-based PC engine is still up in the air, and that both PC and console will allow custom hosted servers. Moreover, the game will not be free-to-play, though PC and console will have different pricing structures.

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Derek Smart is pulling Line of Defense from Steam over review-bombing

In response to a question about Line of Defense’s status on Steam, developer Derek Smart (yes, that Derek Smart) has told players that he has decided to pull the game from Steam.

“My reasons for moving the game are very simple. I am tired of the noise, the attacks, the harassment, the distractions here on Steam,” he writes. “Steam has become too big for Valve to be able to effectively police every aspect of it and where anti-social misfits reside. They know this, the Steam community knows this, and we the developers and publishers, know this.”

He cites “review bombing” and a lack of developer control over the “#1 source of harassment: the front facing Steam store page” in the form of review comments and ratings. The game’s Steam reviews currently stand at 122 negative to 21 positive.

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Massively Overthinking: The Star Citizen money machine

Massively OP reader Ichi has posed us an interesting question. At the end of 2015, a lot of gamers, including some of our own writers, said they expected Star Citizen’s funding to slow way down. Massively OP’s Brendan Drain argued quite convincingly that he expected the 100 million mark to be a sort of mental hurdle for backers.

“Pledges have slowed down dramatically throughout this past year and were given the final push to 100m by a combination of factors including the Alpha 2.0 reveals at CitizenCon, the [Internet Warlord] drama, and a series of aggressive sales and marketing pushes,” he wrote in early December. “People also have a strong psychological attraction to round numbers, so there’s been a lot of organic movement within the community to help it hit the 100 million mark and we won’t see that same fervor in the future. If we go by the current development schedule, I would expect passive organic growth will push it to 105 million by launch, and with aggressive enough marketing it could top out at 120-125 million.”

A few months later, the game’s crowdfunding tally sits over $108 million (trigger warning: sweet, sweet spreadsheet porn), and it’s just split into two different crowdfunding packages. So what’s going on here? Is it slowing down? Why is this thing still making so much money? Is it brilliant marketing, actual quality, or as Ichi put it, some sort of mass hysteria? I posed these questions to the Massively OP writers for this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Not So Massively: Top 10 most surprising NSM stories of 2015

Back in 2011, our former corporate overlords at Massively-of-old noticed that games like League of Legends were getting pretty damn popular and asked us to work them into the site. In order to incorporate them into an MMO blog without disrupting the existing MMO news coverage, we decided to put all of the news on games that may not fit the MMO definition into a new roundup-style column called Not So Massively. In the years that followed, the column kept track of dozens of online games in various stages of development, watched the MOBA genre mature, saw many games plod slowly into an early grave, and witnessed the e-sports explosion on a weekly basis.

It’s no secret that online gaming has been trending away from the persistent online universes of MMOs and into the shorter session-based gameplay of MOBAs, action RPGs and first person shooters. With gaming preferences changing, it wasn’t long before Not So Massively became oversaturated with news each week and began drawing more traffic than some of the MMO news. Naturally, we’ve now adapted and started rolling MOBAs and other online games into our everyday news coverage. As we hit the end of 2015 and approach almost a full year since Massively was reborn independently as MassivelyOP, I’d like to look back at the past year and highlight the top ten most surprising and controversial Not So Massively stories of 2015 in no particular order.

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MMO Year in Review: Smed & Smart (July 2015)

This year, we’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2016.

Two stories dominated July 2015.

After Daybreak CEO John Smedley called out a Lizard Squad e-thug convicted of thousands of crimes — including the crime of making a terrorist threat on a plane Smed was on in 2014 — Daybreak itself was slammed with DDoS attacks, ultimately leading Smed to nuke his social media accounts and step down as CEO. Tributes flowed in his wake.

And then there was “Internet Warlord” Derek Smart, who kicked off the month by throwing punches at Star Citizen, presenting a list of demands to Chris Roberts, getting booted from backerdom, and then upping the ante by demanding Roberts resign in what has become the industry embarrassment of the year.

In happier news, July was also the month we opened our Marvel Heroes guild. Read on for a look at the best stories and articles of July 2015.
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The most popular MMORPG articles of 2015

Earlier this week, we posted a rundown of the most popular MMORPG conversations of 2015, calculated by number of comments and then number of commenters. Today, I’d like to take a look at the most popular articles of 2015 as measured by pageviews. I think you’ll agree that it provides helpful contrast.

One thing I’m sure every small website operator understands is that a well-timed link from a major website — Reddit, Fark, or a game dev — can make or break an entire week. That’s definitely the case with Massively OP, and it’s why we’re so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks and so on. It’s a big help. You’ll see why.

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Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: Biggest MMO Blunder of the Year

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our pick for biggest MMO blunder of the year.

Last year, we called developer hubris and obstinance the biggest blunder of the year, as we criticized game development and business model decisions in WildStar, Destiny, The Elder Scrolls Online, and ArcheAge. This isn’t an award we particularly enjoy giving, but I think it’s a fitting complement to praising trends and big stories: We must consider the mistakes of the year so we don’t make them again.

All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively OP staff pick for biggest MMO blunder of 2015 is…

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