It has now been 1 year since City of Heroes was shut down by NCSoft. Did the world also come to an end? No, it moved on. But I do not see anything that has quite replaced City of Heroes for what it was for many people.
It has been an ok year in general for MMO gaming I think. Not spectacular, but a few good titles. But no title to fall back to and consider a “virtual home” the way City of Heroes did.
Missing Worlds Media may potentially make a spiritual successor with their City of Titans project. I wish them luck and I did support their Kickstarter campaign with some money. I hope they can get somewhat close to their vision and goals – even if they do not quite get there I support their effort to try.
Except for a few logins to (old) Guild Wars, I have not played any NCSoft titles in the past year. Once upon a time I played a few of them at the same time, but times change.
I miss City of Heroes.
The Phoenix Project is one of the projects that started after City of Heroes closed down, with the goal to make a spiritual successor to the beloved game.
A company called Missing Worlds Media was formed and many people from the City of Heroes community has offered their services to help out with the project. The game has a name now, City of Titans. On October 2nd, a Kickstarter campaign started with the goal to get some funding for the development work, primarily for software licences for the tools to make the game.
At this time of writing, the campaign has almost 2000 backers and about 87% of the goal of $320000 has been reached, after less than 5 days – 28 days to go.
As a long time fan of City of Heroes, supporting a spiritual successor is a no-brainer for me; I also put in a higher amount than any previous campaign I supported through Kickstarter.
I do hope that they will succeed, both in terms of making the game and that it will become commercially viable. Even if it falls short in some areas, I am more than happy to help fund a small part of the vision that these folks strive for.
Good luck with the Kickstarter and the Game!
Last autumn/winter stumbled upon the closed beta of a niftly online RPG/MMO-type game, City of Steam. I started to play the game in the closed beta weekends, which was pretty fun. I think they game had some issues, but the level of interaction and feedback between the developers and the community was outstanding. Primarily for that reason, I bought one of their beta packs, to support them in their efforts. The game also got greenlit on Steam, which sounded like a nice potential boost for the game.
After the closed beta weekends there were a couple of months which the developers, Mechanist Games, were working on updates and additions to the game – presumably based on the closed beta feedback. During this the company also settled some deals with a few publishers for different regions. The Western hemisphere (Europe, North America) was covered by R2 Games.
And so the open beta arrived – and players met a game which some ways were significantly different from the closed beta, and in many players’ view, not for the better. There were certainly improvements also, but the “dumbed down” aspects of the game annoyed quite a few is seems.
There were also a number of bugs and the interaction and feedback from developer side decreased. Perhaps not surprising though, with a few different publishers that now had the main responsibility for the game, instead of Mechanist themselves. Additional restrictions entered the game, bugs remained unfixed, less information from developers and less happy players – unfortunately it seems to have been going a bit downhill here. Last times I managed to log in to the game there were not many people around. Recent visits show barely any activity in the forums and I was not even able to login to the game.
What happened here? Did the developers suddently start to hate the players? Are the publishers the spawn of the devil? Hardly. The enthusiasm and engagement from the developers were genuine I think and I do not think that this changed really.
But it is a business and some business-oriented decisions had to be made. That may have been in negotiations with the publishers, there may have been other investors or similar that gave some ultimatums – who knows? Decisions were made by some people who did not understand the impact of those decisions I think and mistakes were made. Rumos also say that a few of the developers left the company as well – Mechanist seemed to be quite a small developer, so that would be something that would hurt them.
Will they recover to former glory? I don’t know. Hitting players with changes that annoy people, nerf features etc and at the same time decrease communication with the players seems like a bad combination. There may be good reasons why these decisions are made, but not obvious to players. All the more reason to improve communication with the community at these times.
In a way it reminds me a bit of the situation around Chronicles of Spellborn. A neat game which had its share of issues for the gameplay, but also some quite nice and unique features. The messed up the publisher situation when going live and eventually folded. One of the publishers made some attempts to revive the game, but in the end that was futile it seemed.
I hope City of Steam recovers, but from my viewpoint it looks a bit depressing right now.
In a post in the Anarchy Online forums, Nusquam (a.k.a. Joel Bylos) posted that closed beta test will start of the new graphics engine for Anarchy Online, as well as the new starter experience. Those with an account can login and register for the beta.
If/when the player is selected for beta testing, they will get notified by email.
It has been a while; checking through my old posts it seems that the new engine development was announced in 2007 – 6 years later it finally reaches beta stage. Hopefully they may be able to get to a release stage this year (or next year…),
This weekend is a double Crystite weekend in Firefall, starting today Friday.
More details can be found on the campaign page here. Contrary to many MMOs, Firefall does not do double XP and instead double Crystite, the in-game currency. That does make sense, since there is not really any XP gating in terms of content – one can play most things right from the start. Players are not flooded with crystite though, so that makes more sense from general reward perspective.
It is also interesting to see that they have done some adjustments to make the initial experience a bit smoother also – all abilities for a battleframe are now unlocked from the start. One will still need to use XP to unlock these slots for equipment change though.
Also the amount of resources needed to craft the arcporter modulators has been cut down to 10% of the previous value (400 resources of specific types instead of the previous 4000) – and that times three, since there are once for each additional zone. I have already unlocked all of those, but I am happy to see this change. I enjoy the resource gathering and did not mind to search for and thump some of the less common resources needed. But for those that were not so much into resource gathering and crafting it must have been a bit of an obnoxious grind to get it (or cost a fair amount of crystite).
The also adjusted some of the starter-level events to actually be more likely to be soloable
A few small changes, but which may help enhance the initial experience in the game.
There are a few different ways to travel around in Firefall – running, jumping with jumpjets, going by dropship, LGV (motorbike) – and the glider. The glider is pretty neat travel option, you simply jump from a high spot and just glide through the air.
The video clip below is one jump I made from the big rock on the island outside of Copacabana – just exploring and finding spots with nice view and jumping off with a glider is pretty fun, I think. I jumped off the same spot with an LGV motorbike also – a slightly different experience (no, did not die actually…)
Stumbled upon this fan-made trailer for Age of Conan, showcasing the 12 classes in the game, by Henryx. Incredibly well made!
I thought I would make a post with some of the music scores from Firefall. I like the sound effects and music scores in general and some are really nice to listen to.
Below are a couple of samples collected through YouTube postings that people have made. Thanks to Mulgorify, Arzaker and Emabulator for their posts. Most of these come from Arzaker, who seems to have recorded a bunch of these. And also of course thanks to composer Michael Bross and sound designer Boon Sim for making the scores!
To start this post, let’s go to the login screen. This piece below may be one of the better login screen scores I have listened to, I think it is amazing.
The music that is played at login varies and a few different tunes may be played, here is another of those scores:
When you first enter the game you will get into the tutorial in the Accord Battle Lab, which has a pretty good score also. Enjoy it while it lasts, wih only one character per account there will not be many visits here
Different music scores are played depending on where in the game you are. First the battleframe garage view, which is the place to switch & upgrade battleframes, gear and abilities. Also some battleframe cosmetics (warpaints) are accessible here. Then after this there will be a few music score from different locations in the game.
Funcom has posted the Game Director’s letter for July for Age of Conan now (July 31st). The TL;DR version is “work is on-going, more to come later”.
There will likely be server merges for the single server tech in August. Some Unchained version of old dungeons will be released soon and the rest in the pipeline is ongoing. The general reaction in the forums are disappointment. Joel & his crew has not broken any promises or missed any deadlines – for the most part no actual time frames has been given.
But the game has pretty much only received the anniversary update and 1-2 more patch updates this year pretty much, so it is understandable that people are disappointed. The amount of updates for The Secret World seems to be higher, in comparison.
It is not surprising really – the buy-to-play model for TSW means that they have to produce new stuff and content to get any money. For Age of Conan they can rely on that enough people will have their subscriptions running to get some money anyway. From a business perspective there is less incentive to put much effort here.
If I had to make a business decision here, I would probably make a similar one, even though I do not like it as a player.
Taking it nice and easy, Boss?
This is a comment I get from time to time my operator Aero in Firefall when I login, after she first has commented that I haven’t been around for a while. Everyone seems to have an opinion about her. She will get repetitive after while, but so far I am ok with her.
I have been playing Firefall for a bit over two weeks now and things are still looking good I think. I like the foundation and while there are progression mechanics with XP, gear upgrades etc that simply are stuff that I don’t think so much about. Pretty much everything that is in the game today is available to you and as long you do stuff togheter with others you can participate in everything.
The sort of exception here are the melding pocket zones – Diamondhead, Antartica and Sargasso Sea. One needs to craft certain devices to get to these areas, which require a fair amount of resources, of certain types. So far I have unlocked access to Diamondhead and are not far away from unlocking the other two.
These areas, at least Diamondhead, are smaller than the main zone New Eden and a substantial part is blocked by the Melding. It is possible to make more space accessible temporarily for certain events. I have not done any of these yet, only explored Diamondhead a bit. J3w3l at Healing the masses has played more there, worth a read to see what it is all about.