indie

Hearthstone’s new puzzle labs is coming next week as its production director departs

Just because Hearthstone’s Boomsday Project expansion is out and about doesn’t mean that the dev team is done with its crazy experiments.

In fact, next week will see the rollout of the new Puzzle Lab solo adventures. These will, as the name implies, revolve around puzzles (with four types in all). Players can progress through the labs in any order as they try to solve the puzzles from easy to difficult. Each puzzle game gives players a tricky objective to play through in a solo setting.

While the Puzzle Labs are coming, one Hearthstone developer is going. Production Director Yong Woo decided to follow after former Hearthstone lead Ben Brode and join Brode’s new Second Dinner studio. Blizzard Watch reports that this now makes a total of five ex-Hearthstone devs that now work at this indie game company. Guess Brode has that kind of charismatic pull?

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Orake’s devs ask someone, anyone, else to take over this 2-D MMO

No, you’ve probably never heard of Orake before — and chances are that you never will again, either.

The crude-looking indie MMORPG has been slowly but steadily progressing through development this year with monthly patches. However, the team seems to have hit a wall and is now begging someone else to take over this project and bring this 2-D title to completion.

“We no longer have time to work on Orake,” the team announced this month. “If anyone is interested in taking over the development of Orake 2-D MMORPG, please contact me on the Orake 2-D MMORPG Discord.”

So… that does not look promising for this game’s future. What do you think?

Source: Steam. Thanks PlutoForeverNinthPl!

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Bethsoft: Dodgy reseller lawsuits, new media review policies, and Legends crossplay ultimata

Today in why we can’t have nice things, it appears that Bethsoft is using its legal weight to crack down on folks selling fully legitimate boxed copies of its games. Polygon’s report follows one gamer who was attempting to sell his unwanted boxed, sealed copy of The Evil Within 2 through Amazon, but was sent a threatening letter from Bethsoft’s legal team accusing him of not being an “authorized reseller.” Though he wasn’t breaking any laws or agreements, the company appears to be trying to scare games out of selling stuff they legally own by threatening them with lawsuits.

Bethsoft, for its part, told Polygon that the problem was the individual’s use of the word “new” on Amazon rather than “pre-owned,” even though the box was still sealed. “We do not allow non-authorized resellers to represent what they sell as ‘new’ because we can’t verify that the game hasn’t been opened and repackaged,” claims the company.

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Kingdoms of Marazia offers simple-looking but cutthroat multiplayer real-time strategy

It seems so long ago that we lived in the halcyon days of real-time strategy dominance in the PC market. Remember when Command and Conquer was all the hotness? And there was that weird WarCraft game?

At least the genre isn’t completely dead. In fact, there’s a new indie MMORTS on the market that seems promising. It’s called Kingdoms of Marazia, and it’s a somewhat simplistic-looking hex-based RTS in which players expand their holdings, protect their castles, and make alliances to stay alive as long as possible. Because resources in each game are limited, players will have to make the decision if and when to band together or move on others.

Kingdoms of Marazia is currently on sale for $14 at Steam through August 13th, so it’s not like it’s going to set you back more than the cost of a monthly sub.

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Discord has launched its own video game storefront into beta, and it kinda looks like a Steam-GOG mashup

We all rolled our eyes when Valve’s new Steam chat client borrowed heavily from Discord‘s proven best practices for chat, but most people didn’t seem particularly inclined to switch. Wonder if the same will hold true now that Discord is aping Steam’s core business?

Yep, this week Discord revealed its new mission to “bring the games to you” via Discord Nitro, which is basically a video game storefront built right into your chat. Its chief difference appears to be its marketing; Discord says it’ll be offering a “curated” approach, a “cozy neighborhood book shop vibe” when it comes to sales, with what sounds like a cross-platform launcher too. So maybe more like GOG than Steam, but with the Steam look. And it’s working on publishing specific indie titles with temporary exclusive launches too.

The company says the platform is currently in beta for some 50,000 Canadian participants. It promises that “Discord’s voice, text, and video chat will continue to be a primary focus for” the team.

Source: Discord blog

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Dual Universe lays out its roadmap through a 2020 release

Unlike some indie MMOs that keep an intentionally vague timeline of development, the team at Novaquark has mapped out the development and testing of Dual Universe from now through launch. Even better, the studio has announced that all Kickstarter backers of the sci-fi sandbox will be granted alpha access by the end of this year.

Alpha 1 is scheduled to dominate the rest of this year with world building, the ability to save designs, and harvesting. Alpha 2 will take place in the first half of 2019 with markets and character progression, followed by Alpha 3’s PvP combat and ship combat over the rest of that year. Then a much bigger beta test is going to arrive in the first half of 2020 with territorial warfare and a full galaxy to explore. Finally, the official launch is slated for the second half of 2020, complete with character customization and pets.

Dual Universe recently raised an additional $3.5 million to help fund the project, which makes the total budget to date $11 million. These new funds will be used to hire additional staff and “accelerate development.”

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Gran Skrea might be the indie MMO gem you’ve been seeking

Ever since launching on Steam early access back in June, the indie fantasy sandbox Gran Skrea Online has been doing its best to attract and keep players through a series of updates.

These patches, the most recent of which was on July 28th, added a six-hour PvP protection window, housing object permanence, an auction house cap, a limit to jail fines, an AFK mode, home teleports, more combat abilities, primary and secondary weapon options, and a guild collector’s tab.

YouTuber LazyPeon recently spent some time checking out this buy-to-play MMO and found that despite wonky combat and crude graphics, there’s something of a compelling game in the making here. Give it a look below!

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Zeal is an upcoming MMOARPG with PvP, PvE, 15 classes, and no grinding

Here comes a new one to the MassivelyOP pages! It’s an MMO called Zeal, which developer Lycanic Studios bills as “an indie action RPG that allows you to build your character and fight against players in Arenas, slay creatures in Dungeons and conquer savage lands against both in Conquest Mode.”

The trick is that you’re not going to be grinding; you are picking your character from a pool of 15 classes and leaping in to just play rather than grind in the MMORPG style. That’s chiefly because this is a PvP-oriented game, although there’s apparently plenty of PvE too, as small-group dungeons and solo/co-op campaigns are mentioned. On the flipside, you do get to heavily customize your character with abilities, stats, and appearance within the class and character you pick.

According to the game’s website, playtesting has been ongoing all summer, leading into a Kickstarter coming in September, alpha by the end of the year, beta early next year, and release by summer of 2019.

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Global Chat: Getting a handle on Legends of Aria

One of the great benefits of reading the wealth of MMO blogs out there is that you can touch base on a huge variety of games that you might not have time to play. Haven’t gotten around to checking in with the indie sandbox Legends of Aria? The blogosphere has you covered!

While Superior Realities thinks that there’s a “skeleton of a good game” in Aria, he wasn’t won over by the closed beta: “After about thirty minutes of dealing with bugs, spectacularly tedious and old school gameplay, and generally terrible design, I decided life was too short.”

Inventory Full felt that the game had featureless maps but probably deserved a longer look, and Levelcapped said that Aria is “so damn close to being an Ultima Online sequel that it’s both wonderful and blasphemous at the same time.”

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CCP has obliquely confirmed it’s working on a brand-new ‘action MMO’

Remember back in December, when the gaming world noticed that CCP’s hiring page sought a lead designer to run “a new and highly ambitious MMORPG” under its banner? It seemed unlikely that it was anything the company was already working on, like the EVE Online mobile MMO dubbed Project Aurora or the other mobile MMO, Project Galaxy, or even Project Nova.

Here’s a bit more to chew on: CCP announced this week that it’ll be using Unreal Engine exclusively for its upcoming games, and in the press release, as PCGN noticed, it seemingly confirms that the game still exists and that it’s now being called an “action MMO.”

“‘Working with Epic Games using their engine source code, which is open to all Unreal developers, is great for both AAA and indie studios alike, thanks to the huge amount of support options available,’ said James Dobrowski, Executive Producer on the unannounced action-MMO being created at CCP London.”

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Fractured’s Kickstarter has just fully funded; stay tuned for this afternoon’s Q&A livestream

As Fractured counts down the final two days of its Kickstarter campaign, it looks as though the indie MMO has pulled it off: Just a few minutes ago, it crossed its $117,410 goal.

Even better, several of the campaign’s stretch goals have been achieved to sweeten up pledge deals and hang on to that win, including baby dragon pets, wall trophies, and a free month of VIP membership for all backers.

To help stoke the fires of excitement and keep the campaign going strong across the finish line, the developer team is hosting a double Q&A livestream today and tomorrow on YouTube. Today’s livestream will cover fan questions on races and planets, while tomorrow will tackle housing and towns. Both livestreams will take place at 4:00 p.m. EDT.

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Project Oasis World looks like GTAO with all the murder and mayhem stripped out

So here’s a new one for us: It’s a game called Project Oasis World, and that name seems apt because while it’s technically an MMO, it’s more a roleplaying world than a combat grinder, and it’s currently running a small Kickstarter. In fact, it kinda looks like GTAO, down to the font styling, with most of the ramming-pedestrians-with-cars stripped out and replaced with dancing, chilling at bars, fishing, growing weed, monitoring your bladder bar, and leveling up your corn-husking skills. I started that sentence teasing, but as I’m finishing it out, it kinda sounds fun.

Project Oasis World is a new MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) that aims to create a living, breathing online world. Our unique player run economies are what make Project Oasis stand out in the MMORPG world. Imagine hundreds of players interacting with each other in a free open world sandbox environment. You choose who you are, what you wear, how you get around, how you earn your living, how you spend your free time. Your only goal: to live.”

The Kickstarter seeks $25,000 to complete the core game demo, with animals, vehicles, and rental housing going up the stretch goal ladder. The studio is aiming for PC early access within a year, is “laying the initial groundwork to be VR accessible in the future,” and is planning multiple new character roles post-Kickstarter, including “a law enforcer job, criminal job, agricultural role, and a manufacturing role.”

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Saga of Lucimia updates its four-year-old grouping manifesto

It’s a little strange to consider that Saga of Lucimia has been around in development for four years now, but that’s the gestation period of an indie MMORPG for you. While the game isn’t ready to emerge from its shell just yet, the devs felt that the philosophy and advancements that they have made over the past four years warranted a revision and update of its group-based gameplay manifesto.

It’s worth a refresher read if you’re interested in the game, considering that this approach lies central to Lucimia’s design philosophy: “We are building a group-based game, one that focuses on the epic battles, challenges and rewards that come about as a direct result of being part of something epic in scope… not grocery store runs and endless fetch quests where you bring back tongues, tails, and teeth from various mobs.”

Lucimia’s fanatical devotion to hardcore group play has enthralled some and alienated others. As recently as earlier this month, the game’s creative director publicly criticized some testers for forgetting how to group up and overcome obstacles together.

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