Around the time I started working at Massively-that-was, there was an article that I quite liked talking about how four high-profile MMO failures were not necessary. It was a product of its time, but the point was made that these games didn’t have to wind up in the state they were in. The mistakes that were made were not unexpected problems, but entirely predictable ones that anyone could have seen. Heck, some people did see them and pointed them out, but nothing was changed.
I think about that a lot when I think about other MMOs and online games because there are a lot of titles that, even if not entirely failed, are in states they never needed to be in. These stories are, at the very least, stories of some failures where the failure was not an inevitable end state, nor are they messes that had to be made. The writing was on the wall, the warnings were given, and someone just kept on keeping on and ignored all of the signs. And here we are.
Welcome to a special edition of Make My MMO, Massively OP’s regular recap of what’s going on in crowdfunded MMOs, which we do specifically for those of you who are convinced Kickstarter is the absolute worst (it’s not) and that no crowdfunded MMOs ever launch (they do). Plus, somebody’s got to keep an eye on what your money’s up to! Tonight’s edition isn’t going to be our usual recap of the last couple of weeks, however; we’re going to look at the most important MMO crowdfunding news of the entire year. Lock up your wallets and let’s get to it.
Names and titles fascinate me. While sometimes they have no deeper meaning than to sound pleasant and be memorable, a label can indicate purpose, history, and connection. MMORPG names are, of course, as varied as the stars in the sky, with many of them slapping “online” or “age of” somewhere in there to designate their category. But every so often, we witness a game that changes its name as part of its development and business evolution.
Today I wanted to run down 10 MMOs (well, nine MMOs and one expansion) that received notable name changes over the years. I’m not going to talk about games that created a weird rebrand for a business model shift but mostly stuck with the original title afterward (such as DDO Unlimited or WildStar Reloaded), but instead games that had vastly different names than what they ended up using.
As The Exiled (formerly Das Tal) struggles to attract a large enough audience to sustain the game’s development and operation, the team turns to a new “survival mode” as a potential savior.
Starting tomorrow, The Exiled will only be operating for about three hours a day to encourage players to funnel into the game at the same time. While survival mode is active, all players will only have a limited number of lives and will need to drink from an oasis on a regular basis. If a player dies from thirst or combat too often, he or she will be booted from the game until the next day.
“If you run out of lives, you have to take a break from playing,” the team explained. “You’re out of the game. But of course we will make sure that lives are not suuuper scarce and that they refill over time (current plans: six lives max and you get three new lives per day).”
So how are things going for The Exiled? The developers had been quiet for a while, and that’s rarely the sign of good news. Nor was it entirely good news in this case; the latest update on the state of the game makes it clear that the game’s population wasn’t sustainable on its own, so the team had to take on contract work for a while. But they’re still around, and they’re looking to double down on what makes the game work with the upcoming survival mode.
The idea with survival mode is to really push the parts of The Exiled that are the most fun, when players are in a constrained area and struggling for resources rather than being largely alone. To do this, the survival mode servers will be around for only a narrow window each day and will also have limited lives for all characters, encouraging players to play carefully but play quickly. You’ll also have a thirst meter, which makes the game that much more dangerous in action. Check out the full breakdown for more details on how the new mode will work as the game continues on in Early Access.
Have you ever noticed that while there’s an entire world out there, most all of the MMORPGs we discuss and play tend to either be ones crafted in the USA or imports from China or Korea? We even have a shorthand for this: “western” and “eastern” MMOs. We’re usually not talking about entire hemispheres with these references, but rather about categorizing three countries that are big into the MMORPG business.
But what about the rest of the world? Are all of these other countries so uncaring about this genre that they’ve never tried their hand at making an MMO? Of course not; as I’m about to show you, there are plenty of online RPGs that have been made in countries other than China, the USA, and South Korea. It’s just that for various reasons, those three countries ended up fostering concentrations of video game developers who knew how to create these types of games.
So let’s take a tour around the world and see if we can’t give some credit to other countries for their contributions to the MMORPG genre past, present, and future. Before you click the link, see how many you can name off the top of your head!
The Exiled, the PvP MMO formerly known as Das Tal, is making some business model changes.
When it launched into early access back in February, it did so under an essentially old-school B2P model, complete with a seven-day limited free trial. That trial has now been dissolved, or rather made unlimited, and replaced by a fully free-to-play period that will last through all of season three.
“In order to make it easier for new players to get into The Exiled we have decided to get rid of the 7-day trial period during Season #3. Yes, that means that you and all of your friends can play The Exiled for free for the coming four weeks. Just start the game and you’re in. You can (and should) still buy a Supporter Pack to unlock more character slots and get unique visuals for your character but it is not required anymore to play the game.”
The buyable upgrade packs still exist, and it’s not entirely clear whether future seasons will adopt the same model — this could be just a test to get more players hooked.
The second season of The Exiled is arriving, and while that sounds like the preamble to some critically acclaimed drama series starting up again, it’s actually a major update for a video game. The Exiled has been in early access for about a month now, and so the second season is arriving to the game with some big shifts, including a new party system for players to group up together and support for the new role of healer. Now you won’t just stub your toe and then wait to die!
The 1.1 patch also adds in the diplomacy system, several balance adjustments, and many quality-of-life improvements. New players can now get a free seven-day trial just for downloading the game from Steam, while returning players get two days of free trial status for jumping back in. If you’re curious about the game’s progress in early access, it seems like the right time to check.
In honor of the early access launch of The Exiled on Steam today, Fairytale Distillery has granted us some lovely keys to raffle to our readers!
The game — which you might remember from its days as Das Tal — bills itself as a “social sandbox MMORPG where survival strategy meets skill-based PvP combat,” with full-loot open PvP, player-run guilds and cities, and minimal grind.
The Seeker Pack in particular grants full access to the game past the seven-day trial, cannot be combined with other packs, and includes an extra character slot, two name reservations, a 15% fame gain boost, an extra daily challenge slot, unique skins for Tier 0 weapons and armor, dance and taunt animations, and a special avatar and title.
Read on to enter to win!
With just a week to go until its early access launch on February 23rd, indie “social sandbox” The Exiled — formerly known as Das Tal — has nailed down the fee structure of its game packages.
“Everybody gets to play for free for seven full days,” Fairytale Distillery’s Alexander Zacherl told us. “Then it’s a one-time fee of $19.99 to continue playing as long as you want. If you want to get some cool skins, titles, pets or the art book and soundtrack, then you can pay more. But you can never buy in-game power, which has always been super-important for me.”
The Nomad Pack ($19.99/€19.99) is the cheapest buy-in, with one character slot per season, one permanent character name reservation, plus perks like an avatar, title, frame, unique skins, and dance animation. The Seeker Pack ($39.99/€36.99) adds to that package an additional character slot and name reservation, plus a 15% fame gain boost and an extra daily challenge slot.
The Exiled is headed to Steam early access on February 23rd, Fairytale Distillery has announced. The early access launch follows a round of closed alpha late last fall and represents “a live game that is online 24/7 for everybody.”
Formerly known as Das Tal, the indie PvP sandbox was announced back in early 2014, already boasting partial development funding. Following the failure of its Kickstarter in 2015 — it raised only €33K of its €50K goal — the studio opened sales on the website instead, a system that has now come to a close in prep for Steam.
“Our payment model is dead simple: Everybody will get to play The Exiled for free for seven days. To continue playing from this point on you need to buy a Supporter Pack that will allow you to continue playing the game as long as you want to. As before, there will be three different Supporter Packs at three different price points: €19,99 ($19.99), €36,99 ($39.99) and €73,99 ($79.99). All of these packs give you full access to the game. The bigger ones will give you some great additional visual customization options for your characters and other goodies. None of them grant any form of in-game power.”
Right now we are in a strange place in MMORPG history. Following the backlash of WoW clones and several high-profile titles that underperformed, major studios are becoming extremely risk-averse to creating big-budget titles the way that we saw not five years ago. Many former MMO teams are diversifying with shooters, MOBAs, and other safer and trendier titles.
Yet all is not lost! MMO features continue to ripple out into all types of game genres and new titles continue to be produced — just not from the usual suspects. Instead, most of what is on our immediate horizon comes from either crowdfunded indie teams or eastern giants. The good news is that 2017 should see the culmination of many of these long-brewing projects and adaptations, hopefully resulting in a bumper crop of interesting online RPGs for us to play.
So let’s run down the list of games that either are or possibly could be coming to you in 2017. We will provide an overview of each title, why you should care about it, and our best guess at the odds of its officially launching during the calendar year. If an upcoming MMO is not on the list, then it is our opinion that while we’ll see it eventually, a 2017 release isn’t happening.
The closed alpha for The Exiled — the game formerly known as Das Tal — has begun!
From December 1st to December 21st, early backers and those with keys can hop in to test out the indie sandbox. Since the last round of testing, the team has been updated with a new clan finder feature, improved animations, early versions of in-game structures, language support, the new UI and HUG, designed events, new social features for guilds and soloers, better combat targeting, and concurrency management systems.
Wanna play? Fairytale Distillery has granted Massively OP 1000 keys to get you in starting today. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys, then check out the trailer and new images below too!