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Reader Comments (69)

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 9:12AM blix2006 said

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@blix2006 stole^
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Posted: Feb 9th 2012 10:04AM DeadlyAccurate said

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@blix2006 I was warned. I waited until after it released and read reviews from players, so I knew not to waste my money. Your best bet is to never pre-order anything, especially from an unknown company.
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Posted: Feb 9th 2012 9:36AM (Unverified) said

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They probably never should have launched it. Simply shelved it for later development, sold off the rights, something like that. Launching it did more harm than good.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 9:57AM Dunraven said

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I look for a lot of MMO's that are just holding on to close suddenly this year and some of them are going to surprise you.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 10:21AM Space Cobra said

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Well, it is sudden but sad.

And I know reviews shouldn't have swayed me, but pretty much everything I heard about it turned me off the game. It seemed too much Open-world PvP and I did not hear too much about the "sandbox" element he mentions; that of player housing and players that can change the game environment. It seemed more like an open-world FPS without the ease of respawn that was hard on new/casual players. And really, before any "watering down" replies come through, I didn't see any hardcore PvPers interested either.

I am thinking there is a bit of disconnect in the statement from Masthead Studio. Their goals did not seem focused or fully formed for their game. Really, this goes back to a question I ponder: Can a pure Sandbox with PvP truly and really flourish? I ask that because Sandboxes are, IMHO, "building" stuff and PvP is about "tearing down players (and their stuff)". I've seen some good efforts in the past, but I see a sort of disconnect that favors either "world builders" or straight "PvP" types. You are getting 2 kinds of players with different goals in one game. That may not be bad, but if it takes one group, either PvPer or World Builders much time to recover or whatever, you are gonna turn off one or the other.

Of course, guilds play a part in all this but it can be hard to find like-minded people in a particular game for many gamers.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 10:49AM Purkit said

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@Space Cobra

Great post, very close to my thoughts.
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Posted: Feb 9th 2012 10:24AM Rheem said

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The problem is, the mmo industry isn't oversaturated, its that these small companies insist that if its a sandbox the there it absolutely positively MUST HAVE PVP.

Let me tell you a secret, developers. You know how every sucessful themepark has two sets of servers, one for pve and one for pvp? That should be a hint to you that not everyone likes to pvp.

As a result, you are alienating 75% of the mmo playerbase. That's not good business sense.

As far as Masthead studios goes, you were the ones who made a bad game, stop blaming the rest of the industry for your failures. There are plenty of indie sandbox developers out there (like eve) that are doing just fine.on their own. On top of that, maybe you should of considered free to play instead of backstabbing your customers by making them pay up front for a bad game.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 12:34PM Borick said

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@Rheem I agree wholeheartedly. PVP is the limiting factor in sandbox development. Cooperative play must trump any reward gained by griefing.

The idea that the sandbox model should empower sandbox bullying needs to end.
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Posted: Feb 9th 2012 4:48PM Tom in VA said

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@Rheem

I very much agree with you.

The minute I see a game has a "PvP focus", I move on to something else.

I know a lot of people like PvP, and that's fine, but I think it's wiser, from a game-development standpoint, to offer PvP as an option and not make it your main focus. You shoot yourself in the foot that way, imo. These guys just painted themselves into too small a market niche.
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Posted: Feb 9th 2012 11:28AM Purkit said

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Sorry to hear the game is shutting and I wish the devs and everyone at Masthead the best. As much as I feel for these guys, I'm also hoping this will help push other devs into developing sandbox games will less of a PvP focus.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 12:07PM TheJackman said

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I wish the team of Earthrise all the best this project may not have worked out but maybe the next one will never give up and keep fighting and learn from you mistakes!

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 12:36PM Seffrid said

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Early on I liked the look of this game, then I saw that it was open PvP and I passed on by - like 90% of the MMO playerbase no doubt, not least the sandbox-loving ones.

Shame, because it had potential, but like so many other PvP-centric titles before it the game was destined to be a small niche product if done right, and sadly it wasn't even done right.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 12:49PM Vandal said

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And another sandbox bites the dust. There's always the contingent of the community whining for more sandbox MMOs who then get confused when they fail horribly from either mechanics or management.

Eventually they'll figure out the complexity of a true sandbox MMO requires a level of investment and management that few companies can offer especially given the limited return such games provide.

CCP were actually clever in restricting EVE to spaceship avatars first rather than jumping headfirst into all the difficulties of a character-based sandbox MMO. They slowly built up their playerbase (which is still not sufficient to garner attention of big game companies) and now they're looking into filling out their mechanics.

This seems like the best way to handle the difficulties of a sandbox MMO bu producing it a piece at a time. Those who try to create an character-based sandbox MMO from the start seem to fail.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 5:54PM corpusc said

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@Vandal

if they are so much more work/expense than why are most indie MMOs sandboxes?

the opposite is true, and THATS why the indies usually do sandboxes. they require TONS less work. beyond building the world itself, and the mechanics, there's relatively little other "content"/rides that the themeparks requires oodles of. and the players are more utilized as content for each other.

the problem with sandboxes is in the game design. they've all had horrible fails points. such as forced PVP everywhere, full loot, etc. most of those features are dealbreaking enough on their own, but when combined together they have a terrible negative synergy that makes them EXPONENTIALLY worse dealbreakers.

and then the idiotic devs throw away all that work by refusing to do the EXTREMELY little extra work involved to setup alternate rules servers. like PVE with opt-in PVP for example. or low/no loot loss servers. etc.

its like they actively put alot of effort into shooting their own feet, and deliberately turn away alot of easy profit. its amazing that Darkfall, Mortal Online and etc. have been around for 3 years or so. AMAZing.

so many people out there looking for different takes on MMOs would LOVE Darkfall if it had a PVE server (one example of many possibilities). they'd be making alot of money with their small team if they just weren't stuck on terrible design/business decisions.
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Posted: Feb 10th 2012 1:24AM Kalex716 said

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@Vandal

This is because people with innovative business models (ie... games that we poorly just label "sandbox" because they're not wow clones), are inherently taking on more risks to go for it and ultimately leads to challenges in the funding department.

Naturally, what i'm trying to say is for every X number of risky games that try to innovate, only Y will succeed.

When WOW came out, they took a risk on gambling that MMO's could go mainstream. We take it for granted today, and in retrospect it seems obvious... But at the time, MMO users were the hardcore of hardcore, basement nerd EQ types etc. and suggesting that you could go for a lower barrier of entry model was a risk.

The differences in my example is A. their risk was going to pay off, and B. the executed on the production floor.

Personally, their is no doubt in my mind a progressive style MMO, with new features that we have not yet seen before is still very much viable (and we'll probably call it sandbox before its all the rage). We just haven't seen anyone throw their hat in the ring yet that has executed on it properly, just lots of risky endeavors that are not panning out.

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Posted: Feb 9th 2012 1:31PM tavtav said

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Good riddance. That game was a scam at launch and I still feel like they owe me my money back.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 2:02PM (Unverified) said

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If I ran a video game company, the LAST type of game I would develop would be an MMO. I love the genre but when you consider how long they take to develop and how expensive they are, the small likelihood that any money will be made just isn't worth the risk. Plus, MMO gamers are a fickle, bitter group who are quick to criticize and incredibly slow to forgive. If you are not nearly perfect right out of the gate, you will lose a large and very vocal chunk of your customers. The juice just isn't worth the squeeze.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 2:38PM Feydakin said

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That is really sad. There is potential there, but IMO an indy coming into the current market really needs to look closely at the freemium model as they simply will not find an audience for a subscription model anymore. People see all the titles opening up F2P or switching and they are coming to expect it now.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 3:15PM Kroktar said

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If you played the game you know it sucked and there was only "hope" no real improvements.

Posted: Feb 9th 2012 4:24PM Oranuro said

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Don't make a game if you can't raise the money yourself.

Your project over 4-5 years going to cost you 40 to 70 million, raise it.

Instead of wasting all that time on a project and not have anything to show for it is unintelligent.

Don't put the life of any good project into the hands of a greedy firm or organization because they only care about the money it will bring in, not what the project will do for the industry.

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