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Perpetuum officially launching on Steam this Friday

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Perpetuum, Sandbox

Perpetuum is officially launching on Steam this Friday, October 17th. Wait a minute, wasn't the sci-fi sandbox already on Steam? Well, yes. Yes it was, as an early access title.

The latest Perpetuum dev blog details how and why Avatar Creations is moving its game out of early access even though it's still working on a mission system revamp, new PvE content, and a new engine. There's also a patch scheduled for this week that will revamp the game's mineral spawning system. Finally, the dev blog talks about upcoming intrusion and gamma changes as well as a big robot balance patch.

Perpetuum playerbase trending upward, game enhancements coming

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Perpetuum, Sandbox

The Perpetuum team released a new dev blog this week, the better to remind players of where the sci-fi sandbox stands after its payment model switch and its Steam launch.

The post says that the game's average player count is nearly five times higher than it was before, and that's with a Steam Early Access tag scaring people away. The blog doesn't disclose financial details, but it does say that the game is succeeding. "After months (years?) of worrying about what to put on your plate tomorrow, it's a liberating feeling to have that off of the list of things to worry about, and being able to just focus on making the game better," the post explains.

With that in mind, it's time to delve into improvements. Those mentioned include a gamma revamp, quality-of-life upgrades, an assignment system revamp, and more!

[Thanks Zoltan!]

Perpetuum announces April 23rd Steam launch

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Launches, Free-to-Play, Perpetuum, Sandbox

Avatar Creations' sci-fi sandbox Perpetuum might have a few years under its belt now, but that doesn't mean it's too proud to set up shop on Steam, and on April 23rd, that's exactly what it will do. In a dev blog posted today, the studio outlined what the Steam launch and gamma reset will mean for the existing playerbase:
Those who already own the game are now able to link their Perpetuum and Steam accounts on our website and receive a free copy of the game on Steam. We have set up a new Account connections section under account management where you can do this. [...] Future purchases of Perpetuum on our website will not mean that you will also get a Steam key. Since Steam is not a requirement to access the game and will not give players any in-game benefits, we will still be offering Perpetuum through our own store as well.
Perpetuum already dropped its subscription fee earlier this month in preparation for the relaunch.

Perpetuum is dropping its sub fee on April 2nd

Sci-Fi, Launches, Promotions, Perpetuum, Buy-to-Play

As Perpetuum approaches a rebranding of sorts with a new player experience and a new early access status on Steam after a successful Greenlight, the dev team at Avatar Creations has one more thing it'd like to announce: a payment model change.

Starting April 2nd, Perpetuum will be dropping its subscription payment model to move forward with a single-purchase buy-to-play model priced at 28.99 USD/EUR. There will also be in-game item purchases that will include "previously unavailable services and cosmetic upgrades."

As a special bonus for anyone who has ever paid for at least three months of the game's subscription, the game will be completely free. Be sure to check out the most recent blog post for more details on this new payment model and changes coming to the game with this Steam launch on April 2nd.

[Thanks to Fredrik and Zoltan for the tips!]

Perpetuum Online plans a Steam-based marketing push via Early Access

Sci-Fi, Launches, MMO Industry, Perpetuum

Perpetuum Online
While Perpetuum Online has already been Greenlit on Steam (and was launched almost four years ago), a recent forum post by DEV Zoom states that the team plans to re-brand on Steam as part of the Early Access program.

This has caused a bit of a stir in the forums as some players believe this will send the wrong message. "Since the game's been released for 3-4 years or whatever," player Norrdec observes, "isn't going early access kinda... fraudulent?"

DEV Zero later clarifies: "The main reason for it is because we have no idea what to expect regarding player numbers and how the servers will take it. We need to warn people that there can be server issues, lag, etc., in the beginning and stuff can break badly. And right now on Steam, being early access is the best way to bring this to people's attention. Obviously we'll tell them this in the developer's notes box and that we've been out for years already."

Be sure to check out the entire thread for more on the Early Access plans and a proposed Gamma wipe in the near future.

[Thanks to Anon for the tip!]

Ask Massively: Giveaways, zombies, and capturing the spirit of Ultima Online

MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Perpetuum, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

This week in Ask Massively, we're answering questions about eerily quiet games, giveaways, and capturing the spirit of classic sandboxes and The Walking Dead.

Holden asked, "Why has Perpetuum dropped off the map? I never hear about it anymore. The only time I even remember it is when I am doing searches for (more) robot/mech desktop wallpapers. Once monoclegate blew over, it was as if Perpetuum fell of the face of the earth, but it seems that it is still around from glancing at the website."

This was such a good question that we went digging for an answer before we even added it to Ask Massively. It had been a long time since we'd reported on Perpetuum because it had been a long time since Perpetuum had made a big splash in the news. Readers speculated that the game's playerbase has shrunk over the last two years, but in fact over the winter holiday, developer Avatar Creations posted a dev blog detailing plans for a newbie tutorial island intended to bolster the new player population. Hopefully Holden and other fans of the game will enjoy this "island of noobs" (Avatar's words, not mine!).

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Perpetuum plans for improved new player experience

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Perpetuum, Sandbox

Piloting giant robots is apparently not as difficult as it looks.
One of the great sorrows of any sandbox game is that a player is dropped in with the option to do anything... and very little concept of how to do those things or what should be done first. Perpetuum is making plans specifically to address that by giving players a crash course in everything that can be done, courtesy of a new virtual training island sealed away from the rest of the game world.

Rather than permit players to select factions at character creation, the new experience will drop players into a simulation that allows nothing from the main game in or out. While in this tutorial area, players will have access to everything possible at maximum levels while being instructed in how to take part in several game systems. Using one of the four exit teleporters allows players to select a faction and start playing the core game, retaining no advancements but getting a real-time sense for how the game works. Testing is slated to begin this month for players who want to experience the game through a slightly gentler ramp-up.

EVE Evolved: Designing EVE Onland, part 1

Sci-Fi, Dark Age of Camelot, Darkfall, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, Ultima Online, Shadowbane, Mortal Online, EVE Evolved, Perpetuum, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
When I'm not playing or writing about EVE Online, I can usually be found huddled over my computer typing lines of code into a compiler and chipping away at bugs that make varying degrees of sense. Designing my own hardcore space game is a really fun challenge and very fulfilling work, but I have a dirty little game dev secret: I've actually always wanted to make a fantasy game. While the budget and personnel required to take on a project the scale of an MMO remain quite far outside my grasp for the moment, it's still fun to think about how I might design such a game if the opportunity arose. The MMO genre seems to be heading for a sandbox revolution this year, and there's no bigger sandbox than EVE Online, but could all of EVE's gameplay translate to a fantasy game?

EVE is probably the most atypical MMO out there, maintaining a subscription-based single-shard PvP sandbox in a genre that's typically headed in the exact opposite direction. There are several new sci-fi sandboxes on the way that may or may not qualify as massively multiplayer titles, but the vast majority of MMO gamers still prefer to keep their feet on the ground in fantasy lands. I often find myself wondering how much of EVE Online's core gameplay is possible only because of its setting -- and how much could actually be applied to a fantasy MMO. Not only should it be possible to adapt most of what makes EVE great to a modern land-based game, but many of the mechanics sandbox gamers now attribute almost solely to EVE actually started life in classic fantasy MMOs like Ultima Online.

In this week's unusual EVE Evolved, I'd like to start a game design thought experiment as I delve into the hypothetical world of EVE Onland.

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Perpetuum coming to Steam, extensive PvE and world updates planned

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, Perpetuum, Sandbox, Dungeons

Perpetuum - giant mech dude
Avatar Creations has updated its Perpetuum dev blog with a lengthy end-of-the-year read that touches on a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff as well as the future of the sci-fi sandbox. First up is the title's debut on Steam, the preparations for which have been occupying the team as it gets the game ready to release to "such a broad audience."

Along those lines, the devs are looking at amping up the game's PvE content, but as Avatar is still a small company, it's taking a bit longer than everyone would like. The good news, though, is that a lot of work has gone into revamping world content, the research system, and a new assignment system.

Avatar has also been working on instanced content, and it will deploy the technology to improve the new-player tutorial experience as well as add small dungeons, PvP arenas, and events. Avatar acknowledges that some players may raise "torches and pitchforks and yell that instances have no place in an open sandbox world," but the dev blog explains both the benefits and the thought process behind them. Check it all out at the official Perpetuum site.

The Daily Grind: What game do you wish you had more time to play?

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Perpetuum, Sandbox

The Daily Grind What game do you wish you had more time to play
One of the few negatives inherent in the MMO explosion of the past few years is that there's simply not enough time to play everything. We have more choices today than at any point in the genre's short history, and this means that quality games often fall by the wayside.

Perpetuum is a gem of a sci-fi sandbox from an indie outfit called Avatar Creations, and it's a game that I regret not having more time to play. Its second anniversary slipped by me this year (an oversight that was thankfully corrected by a sharp-eyed reader). What about you? Is there a particular game that you really wish you had time to play?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Perpetuum celebrates second anniversary with in-game events

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Perpetuum, Sandbox

Perpetuum celebrates second anniversary with ingame events
Remember Perpetuum? Avatar Creations' sci-fi sandbox celebrated its second anniversary this past Sunday, but we missed it because we were too busy stuffing our faces with leftover turkey and dressing.

A new dev blog outlines the requisite festivities (including a treasure hunt, a quiz show, and the ability to unlock golden sparks via special assignments) which run from November 30th through December 4th. There's no tournament this year, as Avatar prefers to devote the resources that such an event requires toward further development. And speaking of development, the anniversary post nicely sums up the game's initial 24 months, which saw more than 60 patches and two major expansions.

[Thanks to Mark for the tip!]

One Shots: Abyss

Galleries, Screenshots, MMO Industry, Star Trek Online, One Shots, The Secret World, Perpetuum, Miscellaneous

One Shots - Abyss
Who doesn't know Nietzsche's famous quote about the abyss? When you look into an abyss, the abyss entices you to buy some stuff in the cash shop. It was something like that, anyway.

Today's breathtaking featured screenshot of a character meditating before an abyss originated in none other than The Secret World. Submitter Aedesius wrote to One Shots,
I've really been enjoying TSW; it's like a breath of fresh air and such a beautiful-looking game. Enjoy this screenshot of one of many amazing vistas in TSW.
Let's go do that! Aedesius' pic and a few others are just a leap into infinity past the break.

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Perpetuum rolling out Gamma Frontier tomorrow

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Patches, Previews, News Items, Perpetuum, Sandbox

Home sweet heavily fortified home.
Home is where you hang your hat, but in Perpetuum, home is also where you ensure that your mining operations remain stable with the aid of several high-powered turrets. The next major update to the game, Gamma Frontier, is all about making sure that your home is the best it can be. Player corporations will be able to make use of the game's new Modular Private Colony system, setting up static buildings and defenses for large-scale industrial operations, helped by the addition of 24 new teraformable islands.

Obviously, player-run structures are a pretty big deal all by themselves, but the update also includes a new rendering engine for land and sky textures. There's also a new public test server available so that players can take the measure of future updates before they go live. If you're a longtime fan of the mech-based game, you can tide yourself over a little longer by taking a look through the several new screenshots of the update below.

[Source: Avatar Creations press release]

Perpetuum expansion coming May 30th, bringing terraforming, new land masses

Sci-Fi, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Perpetuum, Sandbox

Perpetuum robot duel
A couple of weeks ago, we told you about Perpetuum's new player-build settlements functionality and its new test server. Now, the devs at Avatar Creations have even more exciting news: an expansion!

It's called Gamma Frontier, and Avatar calls it the biggest expansion since the game went live over 18 months ago. Player corporations will be able to build home bases, launch industrial projects, and colonize the new Gamma islands (not to mention defend them from invasion-minded players).

The expansion also features extensive new terrain-shaping abilities. Avatar has given players full control over the land, including the ability to form hills, dig holes, and level the surrounding terrain as they see fit. Due to complications with pre-existing systems and landmasses, the terraforming capabilities are available only on the new Gamma islands (24 in total). Click past the cut to see a brief video of terraforming in action, then head to the Perpetuum website to read all the expansion details.

[Source: Perpetuum newsletter]

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Perpetuum putting player-built settlements on new test server tomorrow

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Perpetuum, Sandbox

Perpetuum - player settlement reactor
Avatar Creations is hard at work fleshing out its Perpetuum sci-fi sandbox. The game has garnered a small but dedicated fan following since its 2010 launch, and those fans are finally getting some test server functionality as of this Friday. If you're not terribly excited by buggy test code, you should be excited by the opportunity to try out the long-awaited PBS feature.

PBS, or player-built settlements, are exactly what they sound like. They're also a part of Avatar's bid to strengthen Perpetuum's control and capture mechanics, which should give players and clans something to fight for beyond bragging rights.

Be sure you have an active sub if you want to check them out on the test server tomorrow. Avatar also says that you'll also want to set up a separate installation (i.e., don't load the test client over an existing Perpetuum install).

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