The multiplayer mode in Stardew Valley is a pretty standard multiplayer arrangement with one player serving as the host and everyone else serving as guests or indentured servants. This is not exactly unusual. But what if you could put the host to sleep forever and let everyone run around with abandon with no masters? Behold the latest mod to the game, which allows the host to basically become completely inert while others continue to play in the game world to great effect.
Of course, there are downsides to this, chief among them the fact that the actual host will need to leave the computer hosting the game powered on 24/7. (You know, like an actual server.) It also means that the host can’t actually participate while the game is frozen, which is fine for short jaunts away but can cause unwanted effects in the longer term. Still, it’s a step toward turning the game into your very own farmland MMO… with an absentee leader imprisoned in a void of darkness. That seems fine.
I finally broke down and watched ARK: Survival Evolved’s Extinction trailer. It’s not that I didn’t want to! On the contrary, I was very interested to get that glimpse; I just wanted to wait until we had even more info about it so I could really delve into it. But since that doesn’t seem to be coming about, I couldn’t hold out any longer. It is the conclusion of the multi-expansion story arc after all, and we’ve just gotten all excited about ARK’s story!
After watching the trailer, my anticipation level inched up a few notches. The teaser hints at answers to some long-held questions, and I am excited to take on the all-new survival challenges. Helping to amp that enthusiasm up are the monthly Extinction-themed content drops: Say hello to some bionic dinos! (They even lay tek eggs!) Perhaps Extinction will be quite a grand finale. I definitely look forward to learning, and sharing, more as we learn about the expansion.
All that said, there’s still that little bit of nagging disappointment at the lack of attention older maps get, especially the original game. Who knows though, perhaps once the final game is out and done the devs can turn some attention back to fixing those issues with the island.
Looking for a game with bite-sized persistent experience? The Cycle may fit into this very specific niche, offering 20-minute free-for-all PvP matches where players kill each other, complete quests, and grab everything not nailed down before the timer is up.
While this blended multiplayer game isn’t due out until the end of the year, The Cycle is spinning up for a closed alpha test this weekend. Starting on Thursday, August 9th, and running through Sunday, August 12th, the alpha will offer a glimpse at this work-in-progress title for those lucky enough to get a key.
And how do you get a testing key, praytell? This is one of those “register and cross your fingers for luck” situations, so if you are selected, you’ll be contacted by email. Even if you do get in, you won’t be able to tell anyone about your experiences — The Cycle’s closed alpha has an NDA guarding it.
After a long, long build up to this moment, it is finally here: Stardew Valley has multiplayer, it’s live, and you can enjoy it with friends right now.
“Stardew Valley now supports up to four-player co-op,” the game’s creator explained. “Co-op is nearly identical to single-player, but with one to three other friends playing together with you to achieve a common goal. Any single player game can be ‘converted’ to a co-op game by having Robin build one or more cabins on your farm. One player serves as the host, and the other players connect to the host in order to play. Therefore, the host must be in-game at all times when the group wants to play.”
Update 1.3 wasn’t just about multiplayer; the patch also added a new traveling festival, a winter mystery, additional character events, skull cavern changes, the ability to swap professions, craftable signs, more outdoor decorations, an auto-grabber, indoor garden pots, and (most importantly) hats on horses.
As you may have seen, No Man’s Sky is back in the spotlight thanks to this week’s massive NEXT multiplayer update.
However, not all players are rejoicing. Specifically, those who own the game through GOG.com discovered that this version of the game won’t be activating its multiplayer mode until later this year due to the effort of bringing multiplayer online across several platforms.
What could have been a huge player riot over this segregation and delay was deftly dealt with by GOG. The virtual games reseller announced that while Hello Games is not going to offer refunds due to the delay, GOG went ahead and authorized an unrestricted refund policy for anyone who wants it from now through July 29th. The company did this even though No Man’s Sky is two-years-old at this point.
Stretch your mind back over two years ago, when the much-loved Stardew Valley first confirmed it was getting a multiplayer version, thereby justifying our burning desire to write about it on Massively OP. Original creator Eric Barone and the studio he brought on to handle multiplayer, Chucklefish Games, kept a tiny trickle of hope coming over the last two years of seeming delays, but multiplayer went into beta testing this past spring, and now we have a real release date: August 1st. Yes, soon! That’s for PC, Mac, and Linux; the YouTube blurb says Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch are still underway.
As previously reported, the patch allows four players at a time, so three including the host player; you can marry other players, divorce them, chat, share farms, and share money, but only the host can pause the game (and it pauses play for everyone), and a few things are separate, like inventories and relationships. And everybody gets a cabin.
“In deciding what to share vs keep separate, our main goal was to encourage cooperation and teamwork,” the devs wrote on Steam when the beta was in testing. “Since the farm and your money pot are your main way of progressing through the game, they have to be shared in order to facilitate cooperation. Without this, there would be no need for players to even interact!”
So I’ve been thinking. (A dangerous pastime, I know!) And I have actually been formulating an idea. And that is using a survival game like Conan Exiles to run a guided player campaign. You see, way back when as I was first playing D&D and other tabletop campaigns, I dreamed of the ability to play them in virtual reality. Can you imagine it? Instead of saying, “I cast a fireball,” you actually just do it! It is still a dream; a VR experience is not quite possible yet, but when I found MMORPGs I felt it was one step closer. I could see my actions play out in an adventure. However, for the most part it was an already scripted adventure according to the game devs. In some cases there were tools for players to make their own adventures (and boy, have I celebrated those!), but there were still more like story vignettes in a larger world out of the game master’s control. To really have a fully-crafted experience, you need greater control than what the MMORPGs afforded.
And then came survival games. Now there is a whole world you can take control of and run a story campaign. Granted, they aren’t perfect, but survival games offer more tools for creating a robust visual player campaign a la tabletops. And that’s exactly what I am planning in Conan Exiles.
Survival — or more? You might be surprised. When I first started playing ARK: Survival Evolved at the launch of its early access, it was an all-out dinoriffic survival game. And those of us who played in the beginning knew it just as that. As development moved on, more futuristic additions joined the primitive survival aspects. Some folks rebelled against this, balking at the inclusion of Tek. (Hey, some didn’t even want electricity and stayed playing on Primitive+ servers.) But the point of it all was not to rain on people’s dino survival parade, but because ARK has an actual story to discover. Yes, there is an ARK story. And after experiencing the conclusion of the first act this past weekend, I am way more stoked about it! Warning, there are some spoilers in pictures, so ogle them at your own risk!
Congratulations are in order for Luna Orion, which just saw its Wild Mage successfully fund earlier this week! The open-world fantasy game, which the creators described as a weird mix of Final Fantasy XI, Minecraft, and Fruit Ninja, raised $85,374 from 1,752 backers over the course of the campaign.
This is particularly good news for online gaming fans, as the $60,000 stretch goal for multiplayer support was crossed. “As I mentioned many times, one of the important motivations for making this game personally is to be able to stay connected with my family and friends living in other states/countries while playing a game I enjoy and made myself!” the team posted. “Again, this will be Diablo-style online multiplayer/co-op, 4~6 players per world, PvE. The single-player base game release on Steam will still be Q4 2019. Multiplayer will be implemented later in the form of an update after MP specific alpha/beta testing.”
Other stretch goals achieved included bringing the game to the Nintendo Switch, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Do you remember at the beginning of May when Just Survive was talking about “working on a plan to go forward”? I understand if you don’t: It almost seems as if Daybreak itself has forgotten about the game, so how can it expect players to remember. Well, with H1Z1 doing so well on the PlayStation 4, maybe — just maybe — the game that actually birthed the battle royale version (that it lost its name to) will get some love. We can dream! And while we dream, we can also help the studio out with its plan-making endeavors. And boy, do I think it needs some help! As it is, the next promised patch sound like little more than maintenance mode and doesn’t really dispel the rumor that the game is on the sunset path. In order to survive, Just Survive needs to step up and offer a bit more than that. So here are eight ways Daybreak can give this survival game a fighting chance.
Hands up if you’ve played Star Control 2 back in the day (and shame on you if you haven’t!). This ’90s-era space RPG sent players on a galaxy-wide quest to meet incredibly weird aliens, explore strange new worlds, and fight off a terrible galactic threat.
Now the series is back with Star Control Origins, which is in development by Stardock. This sequel is going to include a lot of what fans loved about the ’90s game but will add a few new features for the modern era. One of these is fleet battles, a multiplayer mode that takes the game beyond a single-player experience.
Not too long ago, the fleet battle feature went into its second beta test, adding several new skills, more weapons, high-resolution UI, and custom matches. That’s right, players can create their own epic space battles with all sorts of settings, including arena size and wormholes.
After what was nearly an interminable teaser stream, Bethsoft finally announced this morning that it’s working on Fallout 76, another entry in a beloved franchise and another chance to trot out retro-futurist Pip-Boy iconography. At first, I shrugged – it’s neat, and a lot of us will buy it, but seeing as how Fallout is traditionally a single-player sandbox RPG, it’s not something we’d normally cover.
But then the rumors started flying. Kotaku floated the claim that it’s an “online game of some sort.” Polygon said it “heard the game will feature multiplayer.” The Twitterverse is chirping about battle royale. Nobody seems to know (or be allowed to say) for sure, and barring leaks, it’ll be another week and change until Bethsoft spills its post-apoc can o’ beans. [Update: Kotaku has another piece out since this one went live, with anonymous sources claiming it’s an online post-apoc survival game a la RUST and DayZ.]
So why not speculate? What type of multiplayer do you think Fallout 76 will have? Are you spotting any clues in the trailer? Place your bets – and yes, you get multiple choices here.
It’s no secret that plenty of people have felt disappointed by Studio Wildcard, disillusioned by decisions and direction. I was among that crowd. It reached a point where I had to give thought as to whether or not I felt I could continue to support the company. Added to that was the feeling of been there, done that in ARK: Survival Evolved that made logging in a drudgery. Not even the unexplored spaces of procedurally generated maps, Scorched Earth, or Ragnarok could rekindle that fire and entice me to delve back in with the regularity of my previous adventures; there just wasn’t enough to keep my interest or heart in it. I was reduced to mostly just making sure my dinosaurs were fed (because no way could I stand the thought of letting them die!). I had to decide, was it now time to move on?
And then came Aberration.
It is no exaggeration to say that Aberration saved ARK for me. Right when I was ready to relegate my ARK adventures to only memories, I found myself sucked back in. And I dived in with gusto! More than just logging in more often, I am back to thinking about the game even when I am not online. I am making long-term plans for my ARK: Aberration life. And I have clocked numerous lengthy play sessions that probably should have ended sooner but I got caught in the “just let me do this one last thing…” trap multiple times.