This week in MMO crowdfunding, we got our first hints of “emergent gameplay” in Star Citizen as a group of players took over a refueling hub and began blasting everyone who came near it out of the sky. Why? Oh, they’re not just griefers; they’re specifically protesting CIG’s backburnering of the Arena Commander mechanics. I suppose it got them some attention, but also now all the people whose alpha ships they blew up hate them rather than CIG.
Meanwhile, Legends of Aria launched its second closed beta, Pantheon unveiled its character creation system, Saga of Lucimia riled everybody up over its grouping stance, City of Titans posted an epic teaser, Shroud of the Avatar opened a new cash shop to fund the next season and began optional subs, and Fractured’s Kickstarter has leaped up to $88K of its $116K goal with 10 days to go.
Finally, Crowfall had a big week, as its studio, ArtCraft, announced a second studio to license Crowfall’s engine to other companies building MMOs; we chatted with the company’s J. Todd Coleman about it too. There’s a huge chunk of new guide videos out on the game now too.
Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cleans up after Guild Wars 2’s PR disaster, chew over the survivability of Shroud of the Avatar, and commiserate about Camelot Unchained’s delay. It’s not all downer news — there’s some really great stuff happening in the MMO industry, and that makes an appearance on this extra-long episode!
Special note: If you want to skip the ArenaNet discussion for the rest of the news, go to the 50-minute mark (yeah, we talk about it a lot!). Also, please note that this was recorded before the Polygon article that came out Monday night, so it’s missing some the additional commentary on Mike O’Brien’s second formal statement.
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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With release 55 now behind it, Portalarium is focused on the future of Shroud of the Avatar. Specifically, that means episode 2, which is basically the second season of content for the game. To fund that content, the studio has opened up what it’s calling a “stretch goal store” tied to the episode.
“These are stretch goals with rewards that can be used in the game now (or at least very soon),” Portalarium says. “These rewards are completely unique. They will not be sold in the add-on store, in-game nor as a bundle item. Once the stretch-goal is met we will begin work on the functionality for Episode 2 and all the items purchased would gain some function related to the goal when Episode 2 launches. For instance the foal from the Mounts stretch goal would grow into a horse that you could then ride. Each goal will have a progress bar underneath tracking the progress. General philosophy is that these items cost slightly more than equivalent items because they are linked to stretch goals.” $42,500 was raised on the last stream alone.
The company has also kicked of a new rewards program, which looks like an optional subscription to us; for $9 monthly, players will be picking up a monthly currency stipend, vet titles, dyes, potions, and $5 credit toward month livestream stretch goals. We’ve tucked the game’s latest livestream below – the beginning is worth a look for the Antiques Roadshow spoof!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, the Kickstarter MMO crowd held its breath to find out whether or not Camelot Unchained would indeed make its July 4th beta test date as planned. Thanks to an annoying crash bug, it didn’t, but the studio is crunching to sort it out and isn’t anticipating more than a few weeks of delay, which isn’t going to seem like much to people who have already been waiting years.
“Still going through the logs. We’ve eliminated a lot of the crashes. Andrew’s working on another fix that should help things as well,” CSE’s Mark Jacobs told backers last night. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to talk about [the date] on Monday. […] Still no long-term change, no short-term change, no change whatsoever in what our original estimate was. We’re getting really close.” He reiterates that the crash rate has gone down, but they really need human testers testing, so get in there if you can.
Meanwhile, Richard Garriott rebutted claims that Shroud of the Avatar is a flop, some troll faked a former Star Citizen developer’s Glassdoor review of the studio, Temtem fully funded, and Fractured has passed 500 backers and half of its Kickstarter goal.
Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
Shroud of the Avatar has long been an odd bird in the MMORPG crowdfunding space. Driven by the eccentric Richard Garriott, it raised large sums of money and managed to be one of the first nostalgia-driven MMOs to make it from Kickstarter to launch – several times, we’ll note. And yet today, Eurogamer went so far as to call the game an apparent flop, citing its low Steam numbers and the layoffs we covered a few weeks ago.
Garriott has rejected the idea that the game is “on the ropes.” To Eurogamer, he reiterated Portalarium’s party line that the majority of players play off Steam and that the playerbase is “in the many thousands but not in the many tens of thousands of monthly active users at the moment.” He also rebuts the claim that half the team was let go, stating that the company went from more than 20 to a “little under” that now, not counting contractors.
So what the heck is going on over there? Garriott says Portalarium has struggled with marketing, spending on publicity that didn’t materialize; the company is “trialing new marketing internally” to try to tap into the “millions” of Ultima fans who still don’t know his new game exists.
What better way to celebrate freedom than in a game that is all about freedom to do and create as you want? Shroud of the Avatar allows players the chance to create their own content with cities, events, plays, bands, sports, and much more. Massively OP’s MJ is also free to wander the world and explore cool cities and zones, seeking out cool vistas and creatures. She’ll be doing just that while looking for some trouble to get into, so join us live at 7:00 p.m. to celebrate independence from themeparks.
What: Shroud of the Avatar
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
This week in MMO crowdfunding is one of the biggest ever for this little subgenre, make no mistake. TemTem is about to fund. Fractured’s Kickstarter went live. Legends of Aria posted a huge graphics overhaul. Elite Dangerous launched Beyond: Chapter 2. Shroud of the Avatar’s latest patch effectively revamped housing ownership. Even Saga of Lucimia pushed out a big pre-alpha update, and Star Citizen stamped “done” on its 3.2 alpha. Plus, there’s a solid chance that Camelot Unchained’s beta makes its due date this week.
Please never let anybody tell you that Kickstarter MMOs are all failures. That’s bullshit. We’ve got a whole list of them that prove the meme wrong, every week right here in Make My MMO! So read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
Portalarium is shaking off its layoffs and plunging onward with the release of Shroud of the Avatar’s 55th update. Release 55 should be live just as this post goes out, and it’s set to include an elaborate brewing system, the UI overhaul, new minizones, and new enemies. But the best news of the update is the fact that SOTA now has a reasonable in-game way for every single player to pick up a starter house.
“All Avatars who complete the entire story will receive a Player-Owned Town Row Lot Deed (Taxed) from the Oracle! This means completing the Paths of Truth, Love, Courage, and the Path of the Oracle. This will be retroactive, so anyone who has already completed the story will merely need to revisit the Oracle to receive their lot deed.”
This is a huge deal given that one of the biggest pre-launch complaints about the game revolved around the difficulty and grind associated with house ownership. The studio says it’s being implemented “at the suggestion of the community.” Do note that it’s not a tradeable deed; it’s “meant to celebrate a significant achievement, and as such is a retroactive reward, given to all players who have successfully completed the three Avatar paths.”
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained is in the home stretch before open beta. Yes, really, open beta. This is happening, people! Clear your 4th of July!
As for live Kickstarters, TemTem is up to $320K and counting, far past its original goal with still a week left to go. Most recently, donors unlocked Nintendo Switch play and the replay system. Clubs (guilds) are set to unlock at $400K. And yes, the game is now registered on Steam.
The Flower of Knighthood, on the other hand, abandoned its Kickstarter in its final hours, seeing it would not complete. The devs haven’t commented on their next move just yet.
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar was hit with layoffs, EVE Online got its revenge on Star Citizen, Chronicles of Elyria posted lore, Albion Online rolled out a small update, and Crowfall admitted it’s delaying soft launch into 2019 but showed off its procedural world generation. Finally, Fractured prepped for Kickstarter – get ready to see that name a lot in this column!
Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
It appears as if Portalarium is suffering some layoffs and downsizing in the wake of the launch of Shroud of the Avatar: The studio’s Starr Long admits to “adjusting [the] team size” in a forum post written yesterday.
“Now that we are almost complete fulfilling our Kickstarter promises (brewing coming online in R55, physical rewards shipping very soon, progress being made on castle defense, etc.), we are adjusting our team size to better match our current monthly revenue. This will give us the balance we need to begin work on Episode 2 while ensuring we can support the online service. To do that means having, at least for now, a smaller team. Right now we will shift our focus from creating new content to polishing our existing systems. This means making a stronger new user experience, fixing bugs, reworking the quest system, performance improvements, user interface polish, and more. At the same time we will continue the Tier adjustments in progress which will rework our existing scenes to more appropriate difficulty levels based on our current player population.”
With a revamp on the way with Release 55, Shroud of the Avatar’s East Vauban Foothills is getting promoted from a Tier 3 to a Tier 5 area and is being given greater difficulty to match. Everything in the region has gone topsy-turvy as undead have taken over a village and cultists are taking advantage of the confusion and chaos.
Perhaps a mad scientist wizard shouldn’t have intentionally transformed people into zombies to see if he could cure them? That seems like an ethically questionable move, not to mention a dumb one.
Anyway, last weekend’s Shroud of the Avatar newsletter went on to covering another zone in the works for this month’s patch, the marsh of Norgard Fens. The team is also introducing some blatantly Star Wars-themed items to the game, such as “electric swords,” Stormtrooper-looking helmets, adobe domes with burnt skeletons (Uncle Owen nooo), and, of course, blue milk. Homage!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Temtem, “the massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure” that hit Kickstarter this week, is looking like a win, as it’s secured most of its $70,000 goal in just its first few days and will soon be on to stretch goals. It’s clearly inspired by Pokemon, with adorable graphics and critters, breeding system, housing, character customization, story campaign, and yes, a co-op online world to romp in. (With thanks to Jose on this one!)
“The days of traveling solo are over; in Temtem the world is a massively multiplayer one. Tamers from around the world can join and you will be able to see them around you, living the adventure with you and fighting to become the best Temtem tamer. Chill with strangers, make new friends and battle them or trade your goodies; the dynamic online world is full of possibilities.”
Fifty-four! That’s the number stamped on today’s Shroud of the Avatar release, going live at 11:30 a.m. EDT this morning. The monthly update includes two adventure scenes, an uncloned town, scene polish, new side quests, new recipes (including one for a new row house), improved player vendors, pattern removers, improved skeleton baddies, UI tweaks (like containers inside containers), and a nice buff to companions:
“Rounding out your party with the three Companions in Offline Mode will be much more rewarding in Release 54. They are more powerful as the party levels up, they have many more abilities to use, they are better at using their abilities (i.e. knowing when to heal), and they are more aware of their combat environment.”
Brewing didn’t make it into this update as planned, unfortunately; Portalarium says a lot of the “foundational” work for Brewing was completed, but the need to include containers-within-containers for the system caused a delay. It’s now expected in R55. The Chaos Magic balance pass was also delayed.