Faster-than-light travel may be an impossible dream of our time, but for the three-person crew piloting the Prosperous Universe development ship, it’s all but a reality. The small team announced that it is almost ready to introduce players to how the space sandbox will handle FTL travel and turn over the flight controls to testers to see how they handle it.
We expect mass casualties.
“When jumping into a destination star system, the ships will not arrive directly at the destination planet anymore,” the team explained. “Instead, they appear in a safe distance (0.5 astronomical units at the moment) of the planet and will have to do a short slower-than-light flight to the target.”
Other projects that the team is working on this week include notification alerts that will inform players when something important is happening with their in-game business and laying out a strategy for marketing.
Wanna feel old? Three years ago, I wrote a Second Wind piece for Massively-that-was on Ultima Online, which had recently been turned over to Broadsword and was celebrating its 16th birthday. “The ‘old things suck’ snobs can scoff all they want,” I concluded, “but feature for feature, UO surpasses far too many modern games to be ignored.”
Now the game has just turned 19, and I’m back in the grand-daddy of MMORPGs poking around for the readers who’ve requested another look and listen. I’d call it a third wind, but for me, it’s probably more like my 103rd wind, as I’ve gone back so many times I’ve lost count. This round, I’m going to give a little tour of some of my favorite features, like housing, runebooks, boats, and combat, plus talk about some basic mechanics and highlight cool community hot spots on Atlantic, then wind down with some opinions on UO’s place in the genre and the lessons we can learn from its long and glorious sandbox development history even here in 2016. Enjoy!
As you read this, dear readers, I am winging my way to Las Vegas to attend the second Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival, which is unusual for me. I don’t flock to large crowds and I’m not fond of high temperatures, but I am a fan of Final Fantasy XIV. And hey, it’s stuff to cover for this here website, so that’s pretty keen.
Of course, that gets me thinking about the general rarity of game-specific conventions. BlizzCon is still a thing, naturally, and EVE Online has its regular fanfest. City of Heroes did a few conventions of its own, but Star Wars: The Old Republic never quite got there and instead focused on linked “cantina tours” across the country alongside other conventions. SOE Live existed, although Daybreak has indicated no interest in going back to that model.
But let’s not ask about which games could hold these conventions. Let’s instead ask which games you would want to attend a convention for. What MMO would you attend a special convention for? Is there a game you can think of where you’d like to have a chunk of the community as a whole in the same space as you all learn news and the like about what’s coming next?
To quote Douglas Adams, space is big. Really big. How in the world are you going to explore all of it, even in a game like Elite: Dangerous? It turns out that a math error helps in that particular goal, as the game’s next update contains a number of plumes rising from white dwarf stars and neutron stars which boost player jump distance. The intent was a 25% increase in jump distance, but a slight error in math has resulted in… more. Closer to a 300% increase in jump distance.
The result has been players hitting the “ceiling” of the game world and enjoying the ability to travel far beyond the boundaries intended to be in place, resulting in some astonishing journeys to points more than a thousand light years removed from the Milky Way. While players are aware it’s an error, there have been many calls to keep the error in place for its sheer fun value, and it has remained unchanged on the test server for the time being. So… who wants to go for a trip?
There’s a lot of ground to cover in Lord of the Rings Online
. Players have made their ways across large stretches of Middle-Earth, and that can mean that even just sorting all of the places you’ve been can be a strain by itself. Hence why the developers have made player collections of stable-masters a feature
, allowing exploratory players to have a quick guide about all the places that have been discovered and those yet to be found.
The Collection feature will allow players to search by region for particular stable-masters, see connecting routes between discovered masters, and plot out which of the 150-odd stable-masters have been discovered by a given character. There’s also the option of instant travel to undiscovered masters for older content, thus ensuring that players can just quickly pick up any long-forgotten masters on the corner of the map. A recent small patch cleared up a few issues with this feature and other quality-of-life concerns, to boot; all the reason you’d need to build your own collection of places you’ve been.
Dear readers, if you have a delicate constitution, the video below the cut may prove too shocking for you. You see, as the video opens, a player in TERA
is riding upon a mount, and the world is in its right and proper place. But a moment hence, the camera moves, and we see that the mount approaches a cliff at a swift pace! What shall be done? The player is in peril, yet the mount continues, riding on over the cliff, tumbling into that black abyss! Oh, the regret!
And yet, there is hope, for in a minute it becomes clear that the mount has used the great wings on its sides to take to the skies, soaring like an eagle with person sitting on its back! For indeed, the mount is not simply a mount, but a flying mount! So steady yourself to see the full video, and try not to be too disturbed by the sight of mounts treading where simple walking mounts dare not tread! Because it is the sky, and they cannot tread there.
In order to create the most truly challenging MMOs that connect players with the specific virtual environments they’re traversing, developers have always worked on unique ways to make navigation and adventuring as important to the MMOverse as every other way to play trope. At the core of any good exploration-heavy MMO should lie a solid set of movement mechanics that enhance the explorative experience and add layers of challenge or intrigue to the game at hand, rewarding the brave adventurers among us for completing epic journeys across dangerous environs. Those same movement mechanics can also bleed into an MMO’s combat system to create a more complex, engaging encounter that provides a fantastic potential for differentiation between enemy types in specific zones.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’m going to run through some of my favourite movement mechanics, discussing their best implementations and how they enhance some of the MMOs that employ them.
You might not have realized it, but over time Trove has been steadily adding in more and more travel options to the point that getting around the game is a game in and of itself.
A new dev diary compiles the sandbox’s travel methods in one handy location. Trove allows you to double-jump, ride, sail, glide, speed, and even dragon-ride your way across the world.
The team also has a helpful tip for all players: “Every Trovian can double-jump, but don’t settle for those humble heights: collect gear to boost your jump stat! The higher your jump stat, the more leaps you can make in mid-air. Two jumps are good. Twenty-five (and more!) is way, way better.”
I am traveling again for Massively OP, and that means not much in the way of MMOs for me for a little while. When I get back, sure. Right now, no. It’s a bit of a shame; my laptop can’t really handle most of what I play, and even if it could I don’t exactly trust it.
Of course, these days there are mobile MMOs and more powerful laptops designed to game on the go. So perhaps in this, as with many things, I am so far behind the times that it’s laughable.
Tell me, dear readers, what about you? Do you MMO on the road? Or do you get your online gaming in at home and nowhere else?