PAX Prime 2014: The Repopulation’s Josh Halls on beta, fishing, and houses

Above & Beyond Technologies Lead Developer Josh Halls has been on a very long journey with The Repopulation, a journey that began back in 2009 and isn't even close to being over yet. I met with Halls at PAX Prime to talk about where this sci-fi sandbox has been and where it's going as it angles for beta testing.

The Repopulation released its Alpha 3 build this past April and will be sticking with that for the duration of alpha testing. Halls told me that there's a pretty dedicated group of testers in the game, with around 1,500 having picked up the title so far and around 20 to 40 playing at any given moment. Those numbers are primed to increase when the game transitions into beta and Steam Early Access later this year.

While it's not terribly sexy, bug tracking and fixing is vital to the development process and foremost on the team's mind. Player feedback during the alpha has helped to refine the game in other ways, such as to make gathering less of a click-fest and more of a community effort. Right now a group of players can work together to enhance a region in order to gather better materials.

Other big to-do items include putting in a fishing minigame and opening the doors (so to speak) for open-world housing. Fishing will pave the way for other possible minigames, and open-world housing is the next step from the game's existing instanced homes.

Halls said that the dozen or so members of the team are hard at work to prepare The Repopulation for the larger gaming public and that the studio is currently operating in the black.

Continue reading PAX Prime 2014: The Repopulation's Josh Halls on beta, fishing, and houses

MassivelyPAX Prime 2014: The Repopulation's Josh Halls on beta, fishing, and houses originally appeared on Massively on Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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PAX Prime 2014: Paying a premium for Pathfinder Online

pathfinder online Would you pay to get into an alpha test? Well, would you continue to pay a monthly subscription to keep on playing a title that's not yet launched? If you've answered "yes" to these questions plus the special one that I ask at the end of this article, then you're one of the folks that Pathfinder Online hopes to recruit for early enrollment come September 15th.

I sat down with Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey and Game Designer Stephen Chaney at PAX Prime yesterday to talk about this next big step for the game. Pathfinder Online is still far from feature complete, but the team considers it done enough that it can monetize the game in the form of a monthly sub. The 20,000 or so folks who will be admitted into early enrollment play (a number that includes the 7,000 Kickstarter backers) are expected to pay $15 a month as the team continues to develop the title. In exchange, characters and progress will not be wiped, and players will get to see the game take shape around them.

Goblinworks' philosophy is to have a robust game design first and then wrap the rest of the game around it afterward. Dancy said that the monetization is necessary to keep the lights on and the development rolling. The budget for a finished Pathfinder Online is $5 million (89% of which is salaries), but only $1.4 million has been raised so far.

Being only passingly familiar with Pathfinder Online, I asked why the MMO with its territory control seems so different from the small party, adventure-oriented tabletop game. The reason for this is that the pen-and-paper game doesn't completely translate to software boundaries, plus it draws from an adventure pack that Paizo tested a while back that went on to become one of its best-selling products. In both versions of Pathfinder, the long game is to rule the land and establish a legacy, not merely fill up a bag with XP and loot.

So is it worth it to you to pay a full subscription price for a half-finished game? That's up to you.

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MassivelyPAX Prime 2014: Paying a premium for Pathfinder Online originally appeared on Massively on Sat, 30 Aug 2014 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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PAX Prime 2014: ArcheAge is launching on September 16th

Yes, I know she turns into a bad angel And lo, a new MMO came upon them, and the glory of non-linear gameplay surrounded them, and they were sore afraid.

Actually, they weren't afraid. They were exuberant. They sang "funk yeah!" -- their voices an angelic choir -- because frickin' finally, four years after discovering ArcheAge and three years after initially playing it, they received a western launch date.

That date, as we learned tonight at PAX Prime, is Tuesday, September 16th. Other dates to bear in mind are September 12th (the Founder head-start) and September 4th through September 8th (the open beta).

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

MassivelyPAX Prime 2014: ArcheAge is launching on September 16th originally appeared on Massively on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Camelot Unchained alpha postponed half a year [Updated]

On Twitter and during a Twitch broadcast yesterday, Camelot Unchained developers announced that the alpha test for the crowdfunded RvR MMO has been broken into three phases and delayed, which will result in a similar delay for beta and launch. Originally planned to begin this month, the third phase of alpha has been postponed until February of next year; devs cited insufficient programmers as the main culprit, though that's a problem they say they've rectified now. Backers will have limited access to alphas 1 and 2, though dates for these have not yet been set.

In a post announcing the new Camelot Unchained website today, Mark Jacobs apologized for the alpha's delay, writing, "I want to thank all of our Backers for their understanding and support regarding the delay of the commencement of Alpha Testing. It is gratefully appreciated by myself and the team."

[Thanks to Andy for the tip.]

[Update: We've included the revised explanatory video below. Mark Jacobs also forwarded us his letter to backers, which hasn't yet been uploaded to the new-new site. We've embedded it below as well.]

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MassivelyCamelot Unchained alpha postponed half a year [Updated] originally appeared on Massively on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Latest Pathfinder Online devblog emphasizes player-driven economy

Although players in Pathfinder Online's Alpha 7 run will earn 5,000 XP per hour (in order to help them test more things), the latest devblog warns that things will get decidedly harder once gameplay starts after Early Enrollment. At that point players will face a "cold start," beginning the game with only simple peasant clothes, a club, and 1,000 XP to spend on initial feats. Everything else, from feats to gear to cash, will grow from that.

The devblog also details the player-driven economy; by design, nearly everything characters use will be player-crafted. Mobs will drop only starter equipment, coin, salvage, or -- the rarest and most valuable -- recipes. Players can only upgrade gear past the starter level through crafting, and gear can be crafted with certain key words that add bonuses when combined with specific slotted feats. For full details, and a look at what Pathfinder devs are doing at PAX Prime, check out the official site.

MassivelyLatest Pathfinder Online devblog emphasizes player-driven economy originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Landmark’s combat patch goes live

Combat has finally come to Landmark, but there's much more to this update than just armor, weapons, and death. There are plenty of new Kerran-themed props, new materials (10 new color of Stucco variations and 16 new Burled Wood tints), movement props, and bug fixes. On top of that, there's a new way to pay claim upkeep; those who desperately want to keep their claims but don't want to bother with copper now have the opportunity to pay with Station Cash at a cost of 10 SC per day per claim.

And here's probably some of the best news from the mouths of the devs themselves:
"We've made a number of optimizations that should improve framerates for many players. This does not include the Multithreaded Rendering, which we are still working on."
If you plan to dive in and check out combat, SOE has posted instructions for setting up the PvP games on the forums to help answer any questions. Full details on the update can be found in the patch notes. For now, all claims will be flagged for PvP until the observer mode can be added.

Finally, the Workshop livestream is moving! Starting August 28th, the show focusing on the collaborative development of racial buildings will be broadcast on the EverQuest Next Twitch Channel Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

MassivelyLandmark's combat patch goes live originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Anarchy Online’s graphics engine upgrade suffers delays

Anarchy Online Funcom has announced that two Anarchy Online developers, Genele and Macrosun, are leaving the studio and "relocating back to their homelands in Scandinavia." That's bad news for MMO gamers patiently awaiting the game's promised new graphics engine, as the devs' departures mean delays for both the upgrade and the next patch. Creative Director Joel "Nusquam" Bylos explained the situation to players on the official forum:
[L]osing competent and knowledgeable people does have some impact on our development schedule, so we've had to rearrange some things and tune our schedules to make sure we can deliver on our vision for the game. Originally we were planning to patch 18.7 to live this month. We have now delayed it until we have had the chance to give it a thorough going over with the new designers. It is a large and complex patch and we want to be a hundred percent certain that we understand all of the intricacies of the patch before we make it live.

Additionally, because Macrosun was the technical coordinator on the new engine, it causes some challenges on the code side. It will take our live coders some time to get themselves acquainted with the engine and all that it entails. The beta will remain up and running and we hope to get past beta status as soon as we can.
Nusquam noted that Henry "Michizure" Senger will take over for Genele and that the existing live team was organized with "competence sharing" across the studio's games to minimize the impact of personnel shifts. Funcom earlier this week tweeted about new job openings in its Durham, North Carolina, location.

[Thanks to tipster Divalicious Diva. Image credit: Azzura.]

MassivelyAnarchy Online's graphics engine upgrade suffers delays originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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EVE Online’s Hyperion update adds PvE missions, tweaks wormholes

CCP pushed EVE Online's latest update to the game's live server this morning. Hyperion features "the biggest wormhole changes since they were first discovered" as well as new PvE missions. CCP Guard also notes the patch's "ton of quality-of-life features" during the latest In-Development video dev diary, which you can view by clicking past the cut.

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MassivelyEVE Online's Hyperion update adds PvE missions, tweaks wormholes originally appeared on Massively on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SOE Live 2014: H1Z1 is a full-fledged survival experience

With an event like Zombie Prom, it was hard not to notice a certain undead theme at this year's SOE Live. That's all courtesy of the studio's upcoming apocalyptic survival game H1Z1. And thanks to plenty of panels, interviews, and the keynote, we learned even more about the game: The new sandbox is so much more than a zombie shooter; it's a full fledged survival experience. There were even opportunities for fans to nab some hands-on playtime.

We had the chance to mix and mingle with Producer Steve George, Senior Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt, Art Director Bill Yeatts, Technical Director Tom Schenck, and Game Designer Adam Clegg to discuss where H1Z1 came from, where it is going, and how far it has gotten. Delve into the new air drops, the heat and temperature systems, and so much more. We've also embedded the full keynote panel for you.

Continue reading SOE Live 2014: H1Z1 is a full-fledged survival experience

MassivelySOE Live 2014: H1Z1 is a full-fledged survival experience originally appeared on Massively on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Albion Online opens its next alpha test on September 15th

Want to take part in a test version of an unfinished game, pony up the cash. Excited to get your mitts on Albion Online? If you've got alpha access, you'll get your chance on September 15th. Developer Sandbox Interactive is opening up the game to testers so they can explore the game, hunt for bugs, and find out what's changed in the most recent build if they've tested before. The current test window is for 14 days (until September 29th) but it may be extended depending on performance, feedback, and player numbers.

If you're not already a tester, you can buy one of the game's founder packs to get in and start testing when September rolls around; the $50 pack is the lowest priced option to allow for participation in this particular alpha test. Or you can nab a key during a giveaway elsewhere, that will work too.

[Source: Sandbox Interactive press release]

MassivelyAlbion Online opens its next alpha test on September 15th originally appeared on Massively on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Black Desert getting naval transportation, combat

Yes, I'm aware this isn't a picture of a BD boat, you try and find one Fan site BlackDesert.com spoke to representatives from Pearl Abyss and Daum Communications at Gamescom. The resulting interview is worth a read, and it mentions that Black Desert will in fact be getting some sort of naval system.

"Yes naval transportation and combat will be present in Black Desert Online," said Daum's Park Yoo Jin. "Players will be able to control boats and ships and depending on the kind of naval unit, there will be the possibility to board it with more than one person."

Pearl Abyss had previously announced that it was adding naval combat at this year's E3, but thus far the systems have not been made available during Black Desert's Korea beta tests.

MassivelyBlack Desert getting naval transportation, combat originally appeared on Massively on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lifeless Now Available On Early Access

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Zombie sandbox games are the latest fad that simply won’t die, not unlike the zombies that inhabit their worlds. Rigid-Soft, an indie developer based in Sweden, is the latest to jump on board with their own take on the genre. Lifeless promises a world in which players can stake their claim in a war between three factions, use resources and loot to arm yourself with powerful weapons, and even kill zombies if you’re into that sort of thing.

The basic package runs for $25 with a $40 option that includes 1000 lifeless points, 2-exclusive masks, and access to future maps before they are released.

(Source: Rigid-Soft press release)

Realm Zero – Custom Player Housing

Stick and Rudder: Star Citizen is standing on the shoulders of genre giants

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It's confession time, folks. My Star Citizen fandom has been on the fritz. It's not that I'm less enamored with Cloud Imperium's sci-fi sandbox opus; it's just that the interminable waiting coupled with a pretty severe case of themepark MMO burnout (help me, ArcheAge, you're my only hope) has conspired to foul my gaming mood of late.

Fortunately, CIG read my mind and pulled me back in with its gangbusters Gamescom reveals.

Continue reading Stick and Rudder: Star Citizen is standing on the shoulders of genre giants

MassivelyStick and Rudder: Star Citizen is standing on the shoulders of genre giants originally appeared on Massively on Sun, 24 Aug 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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See Lifeless Stream This Weekend

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(Editor’s note: This article would be a whole lot more helpful with a link to the Livestream. Here it is.)

The zombie sandbox craze continues to live on, just like the zombies that inhabit the worlds. Rigid Studios is a Sweden-based independent developer looking to jump on board with their own spin on the genre, under the title of Lifeless. To show Lifeless to the masses, Rigid Studios has planned a series of Livestream events where you can watch the developers play the game and show what to expect.

Check out a pre-alpha video of the game below.

(Source: Rigid Studios Press Release)