What’s the fastest way to ruin your house? Throw a free party to people with no inhibitions, of course. So what’s the fastest way to break an online video game? Drop the price to zero for a weekend and throw the doors open wide.
This is the current plan of Lazarus, the early access space shooter with a Groundhog Day complex. From today through Sunday the 15th, the game is running a stress test with the intent to “break the game” so that the team can prepare it for a global launch in the future.
It might be a challenge to break Lazarus, as the team has made significant server improvements to handle the load. Other recent changes include upgrades to the NPC AI, a streamlined tutorial, and an anonymous data logging tool to help diagnose connection issues.
Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Let’s run down five more floating to the top of the pile this month.
First up is a Russian indie MMO called Rogalia that I first heard of thanks to former Massively columnist Jeremy Stratton (heya Jeremy!). It’s cute and cartoony and will definitely appeal to old-school isometric sandbox players with its crisp cartoon graphics and detailed UI. Combine all that with the gameplay and it’ll remind you more of Ultima Online than most games that namedrop it! It’s currently $12 on Steam, though it’s set to launch out of early access at some point this month, when the price will likely increase.
The Guild Wars 2
story arc found in the Living World’s third season has contained more twists and surprises than even I had anticipated, and I feel that an in-depth recap of the season to date will help keep the meandering threads of lore fresh in our heads as we await the final episode of the season. Although I have an extensive back catalogue of episode deep dives
for those who want more detailed information, I felt the need to summarise the key events of the season in one place for simplicity’s sake, especially since that last episode will be upon us relatively soon if the usual ArenaNet content release cadence is anything to go by.
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, you’ll find a complete summary of the Living World season so far, complete with links to more in-depth coverage of each episode for those who perhaps missed a little story along the way. Remember to log into the game to bank the current episode, Flashpoint, while it’s live to save the need for a gem purchase down the line.
I’ve managed to calm myself enough after finishing my Guild Wars 2 Flashpoint initial impressions piece two weeks ago to bring you a much more detailed look at the action-packed episode that is the penultimate instalment in the Living World’s eventful third season. The story contains so many twists and turns that you’ll be dizzy by the end, and in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months and missed all the hype about this content drop, you’ll want to know that Lazarus’ true identity is revealed within Flashpoint.
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll unpack the reveals and angles taken by the penultimate episode of Season 3 and will share my most and least favourite aspects of the episode while I’m at it. This article will contain significant spoilers and is not safe to read for those who haven’t completed Flashpoint and have managed to avoid the spoilers so far. You can always bookmark this one to come back to whenever you have managed to find time to enjoy the content for yourself.
Here’s another reminder that we really shouldn’t take our eyes off of Improbable Worlds, even for a second. The five-year-old software company, which is specializing in creating massive virtual worlds for simulations and games, just received over a half-billion dollar investment from a Japanese telecommunications corporation.
SoftBank injected $502 million into Improbable this week in one of the largest U.K. venture capital deals of all time. This investment puts one of SoftBank’s members on Improbable’s boards and sees SoftBank create a non-controlling stake in the company.
To make a good week even better for Improbable, venture firms Andreessen Horowitz and Horizon Ventures also committed additional funds to the tech startup and its SpatialOS software. “Having backed Improbable from the start, we continue to see huge potential in the application of its technology, both for solving real-world problems and in changing the future of the games industry,” said Horizons Ventures founder Solina Chau.
I can’t quite believe that we are already on the penultimate chapter of Guild Wars 2‘s third Living World season, but if I were under any illusion that the story is rolling quickly toward its climax, then it was shattered upon watching the fabulous trailer for this story instalment. The fifth episode of Living World Season 3 is available to experience for yourselves right now and I know so many of you will be thrilled with its shocking reveals and fast-building action. The episode in question, dubbed Flashpoint, takes us into the thick of the action in yet another lore-rich zone that’s bursting with intrigue. Logging on any time from now until the release of the final episode of Season 3 will bank Flashpoint in your story journal for later play, so don’t forget to relog if you aren’t actively playing right now.
I was invited to another super-quick playthrough with the developers on the stage client in preparation for today’s launch so that I could throw out some quick first impressions to coincide with release day for this week’s Flameseeker Chronicles. I had a 30-minute guided session with the devs followed by free rein over the last weekend, but large chunks of what I experienced is information I’m not allowed to divulge just yet. I played through a little over a chapter during my playtesting and my jaw was on the floor for most of that time, so I do urge you to check out the content for yourself if you’re at all invested in the lore. Although my coverage will be as spoiler-free as possible, proceed with caution until you have played through for yourselves if you’re worried.
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online announced it’ll kick off its alpha early in the new year, on January 13th. “Based on the feedback we’ve received from our current playerbase, there are a few things that need to happen before we can consider ourselves ready for Steam,” says Citadel’s Derek Brinkmann — and those include a bigger world map, tamed mounts, the archery skill, modding, and dev tools.
And last night, Star Citizen dropped 2.6 Star Marine for backers, along with the surprise announcement that it’s been using Amazon Lumberyard for over a year now.
- Former City of Heroes community member Je Saist has set up a GoFundMe to help him pay off medical bills accruing as a result of his early onset glaucoma diagnosis.
- John Smedley told Redditors that “money is tight” for Hero’s Song.
- Project Gorgon pulled in over $17,000 from its Indiegogo campaign.
- Grim Dawn rolled out its 126.96.36.199 patch, which includes a massive outdoor “Aetherial roguelike” dungeon.
- Elite: Dangerous raised £46,813 during its recent charity livestream.
- Descent: Underground announced its Avalanche update and GOG launch.
- Wild Terra updated with its Christmas event this very weekend.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on!
Keeping track of the latest development for Lazarus, the 2-D roguelike space shooter, is now easier, considering that the team has put up a new website for those loath to troll Steam for the most recent information.
Even though the persistent servers have been up for almost a month now, the game is still in a quasi-beta state. One sign of this is that the team is doing the big server reset every hour instead of every week for testing purposes.
One of the ideas that the team is working on is a variety of enemy mobs that aren’t mere cannon fodder: “We’re planning an enemy that sneaks around and gathers resources from the battlefield. The idea is the give players a target that might be more important than an aggressive AI, depending on their current objective […] We’ve got some really cool ideas for about 15 more very different and challenging enemies. Without wanting to sound too high-falutin’, we’re aiming to fill out a really wide space of gameplay possibilities, with unique enemies whose behaviours overlap and interact in fun ways.”
It’s the end of the world. Again and again and again.
Lazarus is an unusual space roguelike shooter in which players fly 2-D ships and try to save the human race in its final week of life. You see, there are these asteroids tearing through and it’s just too much for anyone to handle. So after seven days of real-time play, everyone dies… and then a helpful temporal anomaly sends everyone back one week to try once again.
The cool thing is that when the universe reset happens, players can take some achievements and progress back with them. Lazarus can handle up to 2,000 players across a huge arena filled with asteroids.
As of November 22nd, Lazarus has gone into continuous open development, which sounds like a soft launch to us. While the game is available on Steam, you will need to request a free code from the official site to be able to play it.
Money, as we all know, makes the world go round. Even when that world is adrift, as in the appropriately named Worlds Adrift. In other words, it’s a good thing that the game’s gotten a nice big infusion of cash to the tune of one million dollars. The team also showed off the process of making a ship to float through the sky, so that’s also awesome.
And what about the rest of the beta environment? Oh, it did stuff. Here’s a sampler of that stuff:
- Eternal Crusade is promising to offer details on its MMO mechanics. Not now, no, but the developers will reveal them. They’re coming, really. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
- The beta for Lazarus has begun, and the game is already providing an unusual tweak to its gameplay model – it’s a roguelike multiplayer game that sets back the clock every week, meaning that you can always expect a certain degree of resetting. Whether that sounds interesting or horrible is up to you.
- Twin Saga is in its closed beta, with launch planned for later this month. The game’s voices are still in Japanese, but you can turn on subtitles if you want to understand the story. Or you can leave them off and assume the story is better than it may actually be. I like to imagine that everyone is talking about Proust.
- Lineage Eternal has plans for another beta test in November. Its beta cycle, at least, appears to be… lengthy. Yes, the joke was obvious.
- Last but not least, the Dark and Light reboot is on its way, and it’s technically classless. Mechanically, that is. How classy the actual game is comes down to the players.
Of course, there is also a list of things in beta testing down below. See something missing, or something that ought to be removed or added? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll debate about it internally while making jokes about games. They’re not good jokes, you don’t want to see them.
If you grew up in the midwest as I did, the word “Lazarus” probably evokes the image of a department store, but the Lazarus on the docket today is in fact a video game with an MMO twist.
Here’s Spilt Milk Studios’ pitch: “Lazarus is a top-down action-oriented sci fi twist on Groundhog Day where thousands of players survive together in a huge persistent real time world, where dogfights, foraging for resources, and exploring exciting new tech combine into a tumultuous ‘MMO Roguelike’ that turns back in on itself every week like some kind of ultra-futuristic Ouroboros.”
The devs have stated that the game will be free-to-play, even in its PC Steam early access phase. Beta begins Friday; signups for future betas are also being accepted. If you’re worried about EVE-like ganking, don’t be, as any PvP will be zoned separately. Launch is expected later this year.