On the verge of expanding into a full multiplayer experience, No Man’s Sky has rocketed back into the spotlight with July 24th’s NEXT update. In many ways, it’s absolutely amazing that the space game has reached this point considering its abysmal start in 2016 and harsh community criticism over a then-broken game.
The Guardian scored a rare interview with creator Sean Murray, who spoke on the mess of the launch and the subsequent journey to redemption. He said that the difficulty of the launch experience was “really personal” and that he and the studio received death and bomb threats, which even we chronicled at the time.
“I remember getting a death threat about the fact that there were butterflies in our original trailer, and you could see them as you walked past them, but there weren’t any butterflies in the launch game,” Murray said. “I remember thinking to myself: ‘Maybe when you’re sending a death threat about butterflies in a game, you might be the bad guy.'”
MOP reader and Patron Brett has a burning question about the lessons we’re learning (and not learning) from playing MMORPGs.
“In his book Theory of Fun, Raph Koster suggests that games are really just systems of learning things in a way that we enjoy with fewer consequences. In his words, ‘That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning.’ If that’s true, then modern MMORPGs and their narratives would seem to be a pretty mixed bag of lessons – individual power can be accumulated like wealth; evil can be conquered through solo and group acts of courage; violence is a feasible solution to almost every problem; your race, nation or profession defines a lot about who you are; and accessorizing with the most expensive bag is possibly the most crucial decision to make before leaving home.
“So with so much opportunity at the moment for our real-world societies and communities to be better, I’d like to know what you think is the most important lesson or lessons that MMORPGs could be teaching us, but currently don’t? How could these games leave us wiser or more richer people for the experience?”
I’ve posed Brett’s questions to the team for the resurgence of Massively Overthinking this week.
Hey, kids, did you know that players feel more like a community when they’re working together rather than constantly fighting one another? Of course you did, you’ve paid attention to more than two decades of MMOs teaching this exact lesson. But it appears that Rare was absent during those days of design school. A recent interview on the post-launch environment for Sea of Thieves reveals that the game’s team more or less completely changed the plan for the game once it became clear that, gasp, communities form when people work together:
We looked at the game just after launch and thought: players want to enjoy the fantasy of broadsiding other ships, so it makes sense for AI to take the brunt of that: if you’re giving people the creative outlet of attacking a common foe, it’s going to reduce the wish for dominance over other players.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over how necessary it is to actually provide MMOs with those icky, wonderful girlie-types. They deliberately deliver a light-hearted episode after last week, full of funky fresh frivolity. Will gaming ever be fun again? It has to be!
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.
Listen to the show right now:
If you missed out on the glory of TennoCon 2018
, you can take in most of the Warframe
experience thanks to the cache of videos of the event Digital Extremes posted last night. Probably the most important bits are the Railjack and Fortuna previews, but there are several other vids, including the art and sound panels and the cosplay contest.
Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie was on-site for the event; if you’re not into lengthy videos, check out her written coverage and interviews!
Earlier this week, we wrote about the launch of a new book that’s right up MMORPG fans’ alley. Dubbed Braving Britannia: Tales of Life, Love, and Adventure in Ultima Online, the book gathers together 35 interviews with players and both former and current Ultima Online devs to effectively become the first published oral history of the MMORPG that started it all.
Author Wes Locher was kind enough to answer a bunch of our questions about the book and provide us an excerpt to help you folks understand what you’re getting into if you decide to pick it up. Read on for the whole scoop!
Are you looking for a new way to survive? It’s coming. We’ve watched as Rend wandered down its closed alpha path since May, but now the unique survival game is inviting everyone to join in the journey as it makes the turn to beta. Starting on July 31st, Rend launches on Steam early access. Those who want to try the three-faction, pet-taming, base-building, win condition experience can grab the buy-to-play title for $29.99 and dive right in.
What will that one-time purchase get you? I sat down with Frostkeep Studios CEO and co-founder Jeremy Wood to talk a bit about the experience players will have jumping into early access.
Yesterday, Crowfall studio ArtCraft announced it was spinning off a brand-new company dubbed ArtCraft Technologies that would basically turn Crowfall’s engine into a marketable product for other studios, “providing game developers with turnkey technology solutions for creating large-scale Massively Multiplayer Online games.” We had opportunity to chat with ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman about the move and what it means for the studio and genre. Read on!
Massively OP: So to start, we’re curious about the “why” behind the new studio. Is ArtCraft thinking of this venture as an extra revenue stream for the company? Or is it trying to encourage more MMORPGs – or maybe both?
J. Todd Coleman: This wasn’t originally part of our plan. In the last 12 months, we’ve had a few different studios contact us to see if we would consider licensing our technology. The more we looked into it, the more it made sense. The additional revenue stream is great, obviously, but that has to be balanced against the potential distraction. We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t see it as a great strategic move for the company, and a chance to leverage what we’ve built into something much bigger.
Old-school MMORPG players, heads-up for you: If you’re a fan of Ultima Online or wanted to hear more about the seminal MMORPG after reading our take on Raph Koster’s book, there’s another book out there you’re bound to love. We’re talking, of course, about Braving Britannia: Tales of Life, Love, and Adventure in Ultima Online by Wes Locher, whose marketing blurb describes it as
“the first nonfiction book to collect interviews with 35 of the game’s players, volunteers, and developers over more than 300 pages, revealing what they did, where they adventured, and how their lives were shaped, changed, and altered through experiences in Ultima Online’s shared persistent world. […] In a fantasy world of limitless potential, the only thing players seem to enjoy more than playing the game is talking about it, and yet, the true stories behind the avatars have largely gone unpublished for the past twenty years.”
Among the devs interviewed? Bonnie Armstrong, Raph Koster, Starr Long, Rich Vogel, Gordon Walton, and plenty more. The book is due out later this week; you can sign up on its official site to be notified when it releases.
There’s a question that floats around our Massively OP office discussions occasionally, especially when updating which game is labeled what: Will Warframe
ever launch? Or did it? We’ve even been known to hunt back through the years to make sure we didn’t miss a clandestine launch somewhere, and we always come up empty. Then we theorize why the game is still technically labeled beta and wonder if the swap to the label “launched” will ever happen in the future. Thanks to TennoCon 2018
and Live Operations and Community Producer Rebecca Ford, we now have the answer to the question, “When will Warframe
Wait, Warframe has never launched?! That might come as a shock to a few. Some folks, especially newer players, may not realize that Warframe is not technically a launched game — at least as far as nomenclature is concerned. After all, the game has all the earmarks of being launched (regular expansion updates, cash shop, etc.). So for all intents and purposes, it is launched, it is just happens to missing that moniker. So does that even matter?
Eidolon expanded the scope of Warframe
immensely, but that doesn’t hold a candle to the content coming. The playable universe is growing by open-world leaps and bounds… and rocket thrusts!
Digital Extremes announced the next two major updates coming to the game at this year’s TennoCon 2108. First up this fall is Fortuna, a massive open-world environment on the surface of Venus. How big is it? Game Director Steve Sinclair said that the entirety of Eidolon would fit just on the first base in The Orb Vallis. That was the one folks had surmised parts of thanks to datamining. However, no one expected the second announcement: to play in space!
ArenaNet isn’t giving up on Classic Guild Wars, it seems, and it’s not stopping at the basics.
“In the spirit of cupcakes, here’s a sneak peek at some upcoming changes,” ArenaNet programmer Bill Freist teased Reddit yesterday. “And no, the construction dude isn’t new items, just temp dev art for test items.” The tease includes a screenshot of what looks to be a much larger player inventory, complete with item rarity coloring.
Freist, you’ll recall, is one of the pair of ArenaNet devs basically keeping the lights on for the maintenance-moded original Guild Wars (the other being Stephen Clarke-Willson). This past spring, the duo made waves with a tech update that essentially buffed the heck out of the game’s graphics capabilities. They even went on a brief interview tour.
A third dev, Laevateinn, suggests there’s even more on the way. “I don’t have any good teasing images like Bill, but there’s a years-late bugfix or two making their way through the dev servers that I hope you’ll like.”
Hey ANet – howsabout a whole new campaign? We’re here for it.
Live in Bless Online on the holiday today is the 18.104.22.168 patch as promised, with its two big chunks of new content. PvE players are getting a new series of dailies called Royal Quests, at least if they’re level 45. Neowiz says you can finish off 15 per day to max out your rewards. As for PvPers, Basel Gorge is about to be your new haunt. It’s a “highly contested centerpoint of the conflict between the Union and Hieron factions.”
“While in Basel Gorge, players are able to gain more Combat Points from engaging in PvP than they would in other open world zones by controlling neutral bases. Gaining control of a neutral base will grant all members of that faction currently in Basel Gorge a ‘Gorge Occupier’ buff. This buff can stack up to three times, once for each neutral base in the area. Each stacked buff grants a 7% increase in movement speed and increases the amount of Combat Points gained from killing another player by 50%, making faction PvP within Basel Gorge extra rewarding. However, keep a close eye on the bases! Once a base is captured, it will only belong to that faction for twenty minutes before it reverts to neutral and can be contested by the opposing faction once again.”