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Elite: Dangerous has no offline mode for story reasons

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

These just keep going, huh.
Frontier Developments head honcho David Braben has been working overtime to defend the 11th-hour revelation that Elite: Dangerous will have no offline play option. A recent video interview with Braben includes his response to these issues; he states that it's not off the table, but it's incompatible with the way that the game handles storytelling. The game world is meant to change over time based on player actions, and it wasn't as functional without players being affected by each another.

Braben explains that the game's missions are generated in part by aggregates of player activity; if a majority of players choose to support a rebel faction on a given planet, for example, then that faction becomes more powerful, and the nature of missions related to those rebels changes. Keeping the game online ensures that these changes can be reflected in gameplay, making the experience more dynamic and engaging. The full interview also covers the details of beta testing and control setups, if you're not as interested in the fine details of staying online while playing in single-player mode.

Elite: Dangerous formally launches tomorrow.

Landmark's monster update delayed until Wednesday

Betas, Patches, PvE, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Landmark

With such a monster update coming to Landmark, SOE was open about the possibility of troubles and a delay. After keeping the community updated on progress and pitfalls over the weekend, Creative Director Dave Georgeson confirmed it: The PvE patch is delayed until Wednesday, December 17th, at 1:00 p.m. EST. Apparently the mobs themselves are scared of the introduction of players -- as well they should be! Mobs were found all clustering in a single cave. To fully fix this, SOE has to regenerate the islands. But don't worry, builders; there is no claim wipe involved, just time. Once the servers are up and running, watch for a Stream Team tour to check out the new Landmark wildlife.

Get a closer look at Star Citizen's Gladiator bomber

Betas, Sci-Fi, Sandbox, Star Citizen

star citizen
So just what is the Gladiator, Star Citizen's newest ship, and why might it have some players salivating? Recently, the team posted additional information and technical specs on this carrier-based bomber for all those interested to check out.

According to the description, "The Gladiator is the UEE Navy's premiere carrier-based torpedo-plane and space-to-ground dive bomber. Operating with Hornet escort fighters, Gladiators have seen service with great success in battles across known space. Rugged to a fault, the Gladiator is the most capable bomber chassis ever designed."

Star Citizen is selling the Gladiator as a not currently flyable pledge ship for $165, or or you can pay $180 for the ship and an extras package. It will be available for pre-purchase only through December 22nd, although it will eventually be in the full game upon release.

[Thanks to Cardboard for the tip!]

Make My MMO: December 7 - 13, 2014

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online pretty much stole the show. Sure, Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous made some noise like they always do, but the player-driven sandbox world-builder from Citadel Studios not only polished off a successful Kickstarter campaign but also started getting a bit of pub outside the usual MMO blogging circles.

Click past the cut for the rest of this week's crowdfunding roundup.

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The Stream Team: A last look at Landmark (pre-PvE, that is)

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Landmark

The Stream Team: A last look at Landmark (pre-PvE, that is)
Landmark as you know it is going the way of the dodo and dinosaurs -- not that there ever were any dodos or dinosaurs in Landmark. There wasn't any wildlife at all. But that's the point: Come Monday, the game is changing in a major way with, among other things, the addition of PvE and mobs. Multi-tiered islands, deep cavers with independent biomes, gaveyards, and underground ley lines for travel... calling it a whole new world is not very far off. *cue Disney music* So Massively's MJ is taking one final stroll through the islands to soak up their final hours as they are, all so she can tell all the young whippersnappers, "Back in my day we didn't have no mobs, and we had to walk the whole way, on our feet!" Join us live at 1:00 p.m. for a last look at this version of Landmark, and get your beta code to take part in its rebirth.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday,December 13th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Shards closes its successful Kickstarter campaign with a livestream

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Shards Online has already met its Kickstarter goals, and now Citadel Studios is throwing a celebratory wrap-up livestream as the clock winds down. And when we say now, we really mean now, since the stream runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT today. The team will be giving away alpha codes and riffing on some of the gameplay viewable in the new campaign highlight video that we've embedded after the break.

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SOE bracing for 'enormous' Landmark update

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crafting, Landmark

So next week's Landmark update is big. Real big, according to SOE's Dave Georgeson. The patch includes "caves down to the world core," salvaging, crafting tweaks, transportation systems, monsters, new loot, and more.

Georgeson also cautions that SOE "fully expects this update to be problematic." He says that the firm will keep players updated via Twitter and that it will announce on Sunday whether or not the update will occur on Monday as currently planned.

Elite newsletter talks new ships, Voyager 2

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous

Frontier has emailed the 53rd edition of its Elite: Dangerous newsletter. It features everything from Voyager 2 ("still traveling and in the correct location for the year 3300") to the new Adder and Lakon Type 7 player ships to a bit of lore and the usual community chatter.

The Adder is a new exploration-focused craft designed to complement the pre-existing combat- and trade-focused ships. The Type 7 is a mid-range trading vessel with signifcant cargo capacity and the ability to take a beating.

Gloria Victis pre-alpha patch adds weather system

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Sandbox

gloria victis
While it's still very much a work in progress, a weather system (with clouds!) has come to Gloria Victis with the advent of pre-alpha patch v.0.1.1.

The new patch isn't solely about additions that make Weather Channel fans geek out, of course. The title added an item decay and repair system, updated the world map, included more music, improved mob AI, and further optimized performance.

Still, if gorgeous sunsets and foggy days are the sort of eye candy that gets you excited about an MMO, the weather may be the biggest addition yet to Gloria Victis.

Shards lead dev talks skill caps, pickpocketing, and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Citadel Studios CEO Derek Brinkmann was interviewed by Worlds Factory this week, and the subject of course was indie sandbox Shards Online. The piece explains Shards' debt to both Neverwinter Nights and Ultima Online, the latter of which Brinkmann helped develop.

He explains Shards' current skill cap (each skill tops out at 50 while the total cap is 250) as well as everything from hirelings and tamed companions to housing, pickpocketing, and guild wars!

Black Desert's characters still look incredible

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

Had enough Black Desert trailers yet? Good, we haven't either. This latest one gives us an eyeful of the fantasy sandbox's singular character design. The two-minute clip features NPCs, mobs, and some really slick-looking avatar outfits (with damage!).

See for yourself after the break.

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A dragon interloper is approaching ArcheAge

Fantasy, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

I think he's kind of angry.
ArcheAge is gearing up for its December update, and that means getting ready for a dragon. A long time ago in the in-game lore, the dragon Misagon tried to take the land of Erenor for himself and his kin, which led to the Nuon rising up and killing him because that's just a really rude way to move in. The dragons panicked and left, but one among them started planning for Dragon Invasion II: The Dragoning.

That invasion is going down as part of the December update, with the somewhat uncreatively named Red Dragon leading his minions in an assault on Erenor. This is the same dragon who resorted to feeding on other dragons to get stronger, so you know he's... well, not a good guy. Go ahead and check out the lore post for a slightly less irreverent explanation of what flies forth on crimson wings, and get ready to undertake some dragon hunting in the game's next major patch.

Players power direction of Oort Online's development

Betas, Fantasy, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

oort
Oort Online's dev team is not content to make this voxel sandbox in the isolation of its ivory tower (or the corner of a deserted warehouse, whatever may be), but it has been asking for constant input from backers for the direction of the game's development. "As the game currently stands, the playable features are quite contained as we've been focusing on establishing the core MMO services and game engine," the devs posted.

In a recent backer survey, 43% of those surveyed asked for the devs to prioritize the creation of character races out of the four options presented. In addition, the team said that some of the biggest priorities for a 1.0 release include resource gathering, crafting, and PvE combat. At the bottom of the list? "Real money purchases -- I want short cuts!"

Oort Online is a "universe-sized" sandbox that's currently in alpha testing and has raised over $123,000 in crowdfunding.

[Thanks to Jose for the tip!]

Star Citizen's latest patch adds another ship, drunk effects

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Star Citizen's latest patch is now live. Actually, it's Arena Commander's latest patch, where Arena Commander is the dogfighting and ship pornography simulator that allows players to explore various craft as Cloud Imperium developers get them "hangar-ready."

AC version 0.9.2.2 adds the Anvil Gladiator to the mix, along with a drunk effect for your hangar's liquor cabinet. CIG encourages you to "please drink responsibly."

Shards Online showcases 30 seconds of housing

Fantasy, Video, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Buy-to-Play

Housing enthusiasts who have been following Shards Online will like the game's latest video release. Though short in duration, it whets your abode appetite by showcasing various housing styles that players will be able to obtain and place in the open world. It also teases the customization options by giving a peek at a few decorations and promising oodles more.

Shards Online has surpassed its Kickstarter goal and has less than $5K remaining until the next stretch goal (the story editor toolkit) is reached. Interested fans have two more days to back the project; the Kickstarter closes at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 12th.

[Source: Citadel Studios press release]

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