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.
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The Star Citizen refunds subreddit is often the home of big words and tall tales, but Redditor firefly212 did more than just talk: He actually tried to take Cloud Imperium to court over his refund request. Unfortunately for him, he lost in small claims court and the case has been sent to arbitration, as the judge apparently agreed with CIG that its retroactive policy regarding refund arbitration should apply even to donors and package-buyers who began contributing to the game before that policy existed.
“In mediation, CIG/RSI would not agree to refund the portion of my account not covered by the arbitration agreement. Though lawyers aren’t permitted, CIG/RSI lawyers drafted and submitted statements that were permitted. The judge declined to hear anything about the conscionability or lack of consideration in the TOS. Despite the top sentence on the TOS, CIG/RSI successfully argued that the arbitration clause should be applied to transactions even before the clause existed. CIG/RSI repeatedly argued that there is a playable game and that funds have been earned, but the judge did not rule that either. Following application of arbitration clause to transactions outside covered dates, court orders matter to arbitration, case is dismissed without prejudice.”
Now that the next World of Warcraft expansion is almost upon us, it’s time to say farewell to Legion and all that that entails. MMO blog Leo’s Life took some time for a retrospective that examines the highs, lows, and patch rollout over the past two years.
“Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package,” he said. “The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked… it was all rather seamless.”
We’ve got plenty of additional MMO essays for you after the break, covering topics such as player housing, grouping, events, ageless MMO thrills, and more!
Cloud Imperium has dropped a couple of new tidbits for Star Citizen fans to dig into this week with a new lore post and the latest installment of the studio’s weekly Around the Verse development videos. On the development end of the spectrum, the latest Around the Verse is all about the recently released patch 3.2 and the currently-in-testing patch 3.2.1. In it, Director Chris Roberts and VP of Marketing Sandi Gardiner recap the newly implemented mining system and improvements to the game’s quantum linking gameplay. The video also features a few short previews of what players can expect to find in patch 3.2.1, currently in testing on the PTU; the studio covers upcoming sound-design improvements, the upcoming “99% complete” touring module, and a sneak-peek into the process of designing the upcoming utilitarian habilitation environments, plus there’s a segment on player-led bug-fixing efforts.
Not everyone is happy with the current state of the game. According to Star Citizen player and prolific MOP tipster DK, the pause on Arena Commander has plenty of players riled up; a group of players were last night blockading the Cry Astro refuel/repair station, shooting at everyone who came near it in “protest” over the halt in AC development. “They blew up my 600i,” he tweeted. Reddit has characterized it as a “pirate takeover” and is warning players to avoid the area and the protest even while welcoming it as the “start of the emergent gameplay of Star Citizen.”
Earlier this week, I happened to see a mainstream website refer to ArtCraft as an indie studio, and it jolted me. ArtCraft, as anybody reading MOP knows, is working on Crowfall, which at least in my estimation is a high-quality, graphics-intensive MMORPG from hardcore MMORPG veterans who’ve been in the business as long as anyone alive. The game has raised at least $12M or maybe $15M, at least counting up what we know about.
When I think of indie studios, I think of the tiny outfits working on games like Project Gorgon, Ever, Jane, and Ascent the Space Game. But of course Crowfall is also an indie, right? It’s not running a $500M budget; it’s not ensconced under a cozy AAA publisher umbrella. It crowdfunds.
Then again, aside from the budget/wealth, its profile looks like a bit like Epic Games’ – it even has an engine to vend now. So is it really just about money? Is Star Citizen, with its multiple studios and AAA budget, an indie because of crowdfunding? Camelot Unchained studio CSE has multiple studios – does that factor in?
I’m curious what you folks think. What exactly defines an indie MMO studio? What characteristics must an indie studio have or not have?
Star Citizen’s Around the Verse this week is even shorter than the last few weeks’ episodes, clocking it at under five minutes as alluded to in the episode’s title (you can probably chalk it up to the holiday).
In addition to recapping the 3.2 alpha, which went formally live last weekend, Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner tease a bit of what’s coming in 3.3: new armor and clothing, expanded mission content that pulls in locations like Hurston, and new objectives (like blowing up satellites). Bind culling and object container streaming are apparently “well on their way to completion as well.”
Notably, Gardiner notes that “once FPS AI is fully integrated there will be even more options for contracts including some that will have you hunting down and engaging with dangerous enemies” – apparently, that was slated for 3.2 but the team held it back for polish. The whole episode is below.
The battle of the trolls in the Star Citizen community reached new lows this week as someone apparently impersonated a former dev on Glassdoor in an attempt to defame or at least hassle Cloud Imperium.
The fake review is plainly posted to look as if it were written by John Pritchett, a senior physics programmer at CIG who recently departed the company. But it is riddled with trainwreck grammar and spelling errors; it poorly communicates its central idea that an architecture change and micromanagement led to problems in the game’s development that are insurmountable by modern tech. “The scope of the project needs to be massively reigned in, and realistic expectations of what will actually be delivered in the next decade or two need to be communicated honestly and clearly to the community supporting the business,” it claims. It also includes plenty of positive praise for the ground-team, presumably in an attempt to make it look more realistic.
Pritchett is not amused. “It recently came to my attention that someone impersonating me has posted a fake review on Glassdoor about my time on Star Citizen,” he wrote on Facebook. “I did not write this review. I flagged it with the site, but felt that I should make a post to get the word out in case anyone saw it and thought it was legit.
Star Citizen’s alpha 3.2 has finally and formally released to all comers, CIG announced this weekend.
“In the new patch, Star Citizen players can use the Prospector ship’s mining arm to gather and sell resources harvested from the three moons, adding new gameplay and a huge resource to the game’s burgeoning economy. This economy comes into play in an entirely new way: 3.2 dramatically expands the number of items players can purchase at in-game kiosks with their hard earned in-game currency. On the technical side, Alpha 3.2 dramatically improves upon the grouping system, delivering on the Star Citizen community’s most requested feature stemming from a vote in March of 2018. This new feature enables up to fifty players to travel the universe together as they enjoy the game’s more than thirty varying, procedurally-generated, mission types. NPC ship AI has also been improved with new behaviors that give in-game enemies a lot more teeth.”
Also worth noting is that the update includes five playable ships, both updates to older ships and brand-new paid pixel ships that are no longer just pixel ships.
This week’s edition of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse is taking a detour into a recap of Squadron 42. CIG says it’s been working on combat, animations, the NPC idle system, procedural tech for the actors, object examination and manipulation, weapons tech, destruction assets (I’m here for this), the Vanduul, and utter rubbish. No really, somebody’s gotta build scrap piles and space detritus! That’s going on somebody’s resume! Love it.
It’s another really short episode, but that’s likely because the team is trying to crank out the final version of the 3.2 alpha, which was reportedly supposed to launch in some sort of official capacity yesterday. (It did not.) The same VentureBeat article mentions that the current state of the game allows for 50 players per instance.
With Star Citizen on the way (eventually) and smaller efforts like Prosperous Universe, Starfighter Inc, and Dual Universe in the works and titles like Elite: Dangerous already here, the space sim looks to be on the rise in the massively multiplayer space. That’s great news for players who want to leave the fantasy realm and reach for the stars.
Of course, not everyone has the same vision for what they would like to see in a space sim. Me? I don’t want a cold and sterile space environment; I really crave colorful environments and races that are chock-full of personality.
Assuming that you’re interested in playing an online space sim at some point, what are your must-have features that you wouldn’t consider playing without? What features would take it above and beyond mediocrity to make it something special?
According to this week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse, the team’s been hard at work on facial rigging, mining, audio effects (yes, pew pew sounds), chat integration, ship power, overland biomes, and new guns.
Of course, the other big Star Citizen news this week is the release of alpha 3.2 to a huge wave of backers on the PTU. And one of its big headline features is the updated party system. That’s party as in grouping, mind you, not the kind with cake and champagne. The middle chunk of the episode focuses on that system and how it was influenced by player feedback. Turns out MMO players reaaaallly like grouping and piled on the demands for a better system after 3.1 released. Who knew, right?
The last half of the episode closes out with a lengthy lore section (Loremakers, which usually comes out earlier in the week), so all in all, you’re getting a pretty short development episode this round, but that’s probably OK since you’re getting actual content in the game instead. The whole piece is down below.
Fallout 76 wasn’t the only Interplay throwback at E3 2018: Descent, one of the games that defined the six degrees of freedom genre, is no longer underground. That is, the former title has changed because Interplay’s embraced the game and given the developers full support.
Descendent Studios team is hard at work on launch, Little Orbit CEO Matt Scott met with us to discuss what’s been going on in the past several years of development. Nostalgia aside, I went in expecting the worst: long-abandoned IP, Kickstarted game, indie team, extended public development, and fairly quiet presence on social media. However, I came out very pleased. While the game may not be an MMORPG, what I saw and heard makes me think that this may be the space experience I’ve been waiting for.
The Star Citizen Reddit is abuzz today – and no, not just about EVE Online’s “Venture Capitalist” skin bundle joke, although they’re doing that too. Nope, they’re buzzing because Cloud Imperium has opened up the testing for the alpha 3.2 build on the PTU for a much broader group of players, including subbers and wave-one PTU backers.
The focus of this leg of the test is mining in particular – scanning, extracting, and prospecting need a work-through. The patch also buffs up the grouping system, turrets, shopping, G-force effects, and orbital quantum travel. And it actually adds some of those old pixel ships that somebody keeps buying, including the Anvil Hurricane and Aegis Eclipse. Pew pew.