Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (April 2016)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchFragmented, the “little brother” of The Repopulation will officially arrive in Steam Early Access soon, on April 26. If you already own The Repopulation, you will get Fragmented for free – or you already got access to it if you registered for pre-steam early access-access. :p Either way, there is still an NDA on the game until after it has launched in Early Access. As such, there is not much known about the game, or rather those who do know are not allowed to say anything. But I would assume that streamers and maybe even some bloggers or gaming websites will release information and/or show off the game as soon as they are allowed to!

What do we officially know is that this game is supposed to serve as a foundation for The Repopulation as the developers had to switch engines and are building the games at the moment. While The Repopulation will eventually be a complex sandbox MMORPG, Fragmented will have a smaller scope. It will still be an online game, though, but also offer the option to play offline or host your own servers. There will be PvP as well as PvE servers and options. Everything that is currently in the game is listed on the Steam page under “About This Game“.

“Everything we have listed in About This Game below are currently implemented and functional in the game.”

If this sounds interesting to you, I would carefully recommend this game. Carefully, of course, as there is always a risk involved with games in Early Access. But so far, everything we have heard and seen from the developers makes me very optimistic that they are dedicated, hard-working and that we will see a finished game one day.

Atlas Reactor has started its Closed Beta. In the last Open Alpha phase, everybody could just sign up and play, but now you need to buy access if you want to play during the Closed Beta. Before anybody asks: Yes, there will be a wipe after Closed Beta, so no progress will be kept during this stage. I have taken a look at the different pre-purchase packages here. Price starts at 10 €, so it’s not too expensive if you want to check out the game during Closed Beta. You will also get that amount in in-game Credits once the game launches. The game itself will be free to play.

Wildstar New Tutorial_Dominion

Fragmented is not the only game making its appearance on Steam. Wildstar finally emerged on there as well. There is no release date listed other than “2016”. We know that they recently tested a new tutorial, so I assume this one will have to be polished and finished first before they start there. It would at least be a very wise move. They already overhauled the character creation procedure which is now a lot more intuitive to handle. So a new tutorial can only be good for the game, too. From what I have seen of the new tutorial on the Public Test Realm, it explains things for people new to MMOs, but more specifically, it explains how Wildstar works. Right after starting your first “test fights”, you are told how enemies are vulnerable for a short time if you interrupted one of their abilities and – and this is something I don’t think I’ve seen in other MMOs so far – you are then taken onto a housing plot and are shown how the housing works in Wildstar (remember: Housing gives you bonuses like rested XP, so even if you don’t care about housing in general, you may want to use it only for those bonuses and features). I only briefly looked at the new tutorial, but so far, it seemed to be well done. Let’s hope that the launch on Steam will bring in more customers, because I really like this game and would hate to see it go the way Vanguard did or Star Wars Galaxies…

“Bookahneer’s Geekwatch” is the place where we take a look at all those little pieces of gaming news that have attracted our interest and/or talk about what’s recently been in the spotlight of other fansites.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (28. February 2016)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchFragmented, the game that the developers of “The Repopulation” are working on as a basis for the engine-switch of Repopulation, is entering closed testing soon. You can sign up and apply for it here if you like. If you need more information about Fragmented, I wrote about it in January. Head over to that post where you will also find several links to official statements from the developers regarding both games.

I am very excited about Fragmented, especially since I have been playing quite a lot of Defiance recently. That game is also a third-person shooter-ish game where you cannot scroll far away from your character. I often have issues with simulation sickness, especially when games use first person view, so that I do not even touch those games unless I want to put myself on a special… “diet”. But it seems to have gotten much better in the past few years. Commuting to work via train and reading while on the train slowly made me be able to “handle” more before motion sickness comes in, I think. At least, the time where I started to tolerate more before feeling sick correlates with the time I had that commute.

Anyway, enough about that. The end result is that I can tolerate games like Defiance just fine now and I am excited to play Fragmented. Hopefully right when closed testing starts, but it does sound like they are beginning with just a small sample of testers which probably makes sense. If I’m not chosen, I’ll just sit here waiting more or less patiently until I can get back into that world!

Now, on to another topic. When Trove launched on Steam, it got extremely popular with lots and lots of people rushing into the game. The poor servers couldn’t handle it well, but that’s not the topic I want to focus on here. Trion Worlds just announced that they are going to wipe inactive character names come March 7! If you last logged into the game prior to August 1, 2015, but you actually like your name and want to keep it, then I suggest you better log on again before March 7. On the bright side, you will also receive 1500 cubits and 5 chaos chests (which can contain nice loot like a mount or an ally) simply for logging on.

Welcome to Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! This is the place where we take a look at all those little pieces of gaming news that have attracted our interest and talk about what’s recently been in the spotlight of other fansites.

Paeroka’s Ponderings: Splitting your game in two

Paeroka's Ponderings featured image for columnA few weeks ago, Daybreak Games announced H1Z1 being split into two games, H1Z1: Just Survive and H1Z1: King of the Hill. Is splitting your games in two about to become a trend now?

The first time I read it recently was with The Repopulation and Fragmented. But those two games are not the first that get this “treatment”. Landmark was originally just supposed to be a sandbox with tools for the community to create buildings and other things which could be transferred over to the MMORPG Everquest Next if they were done well enough. Over time, Landmark got more and more features that made it less of a “tool” and more of a game, like combat. H1Z1 and Landmark/Everquest belong to the same game company, Daybreak Games, so maybe that is where the H1Z1 developers got the idea from in the first place.

And then there is Godus and Godus Wars with Peter Molyneux saying that he had envisioned it to be two games from the beginning on.

Landmark Alpha in March 2014

Now they all mention more or less different reasons for doing those splits: Some say it was always imagined to be two different games, others say that one game will help with the development of the other game.

What I’m wondering is: Is it really a good idea to do it like that?

Unless they get more developers, development has to be split between those two games resulting in each game getting less attention per se. I get it for The Repopulation, because here Fragmented is supposed to be the basis for The Repopulation with the new engine (probably a bit like Landmark is to Everquest Next). And since they more or less did not have a choice than to move to a different engine, they need to find something which could give them some extra income in the meantime while also giving us, the backers, something to do as long as we are waiting for the new version to come out. With Godus and H1Z1, I’m not so sure. Is it really necessary to split? Are the playerbases – well, the H1z1 one, at least, so diverse and different in tastes that you need to make such a split? So, on the other hand, if that is the case, then it could also be a good idea to split your game, as that allows the developers to cater more to a specific kind of playerbase and they can focus more on specific features relevant to each game instead of trying to squash it all into one game and make it work.

The Repopulation
Near Freedomtown. The city you ended up in after the first tutorial zone.

If I’m being negative here, I would say they all just want to grab as much money as possible. However, this does not make sense for The Repopulation and Godus. In the case of The Repopulation, it seems to be more their way of trying to earn money while working on porting their MMO to the other engine. So yes, it is about making money, but not about making more money. That reason does not apply to Godus either, because if you buy Godus Wars, you do get Godus as well for free. In this case, I would go with them probably trying to get away from the vastly negative reviews that Godus had gotten and sort of “hiding” behind Godus Wars now, a new game which just happens to give you Godus as well. I haven’t given Godus Wars a good try yet – only logged in for a few minutes – so I will refrain from saying anything, bad or good, about the game, but the current state of the reviews does not look positive either. Everquest Next still seems to be so far away, that I would say Landmark is like Fragmented. Not a way to make more money, but a way to make any kind of money while development is ongoing.

This leaves H1Z1… The Massively post quotes them saying it was something the community had wanted them to do. However, both games are “buy to play”, so there is more money, as you would have to buy both if you want to play both. I hope that it was not done just to get more money for those two games, but also because they want to give the playerbases games tailored to their needs.

At the end of it all, the big question is probably: Is it for the best each of these games? And can the developers adequately support both game modes to please the community? If that is the case, then it is a smart choice to split your game in two.

I regularly have rants and ramblings in my mind, but never really know if I should post them, so “Paeroka’s Ponderings” is where I will try to give these rants a place.

The future of The Repopulation

Rather exciting news appeared while I was sleeping: The Repopulation will come back*! The developers (Above and Beyond Technologies) decided to leave the Hero Engine behind and port the game to the Unreal Engine.

Screenshot of the scenery in the new tutorial of The Repopulation

“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly. While many of our assets will convert over easily to Unreal Engine, the game’s code will need to be rewritten from scratch.”

Of course, this means the game will not get released any time soon. On the contrary, development will take quite a bit longer than we had anticipated. But that’s just how it is and I think overall, the decision may be for the better. With the Unreal Engine, they are no longer dependent on the Hero Cloud services. You can read more about their anticipated advantages of porting in the original article. For me, the most interesting bit is the “improved harvesting system”. Although they also said something about “graphical upgrades” and “eye candy”. I already thought the game was very pretty (see screenshot above), so I am very curious to see the what exactly will look better or different, at least.

Back in November when the problems first emerged, they started working on “Fragmented“, an online 1st person/3rd person shooter with RPG elements, as they now announced. I am not a huge fan of the shooter genre. There are two main reasons for this: for my personal taste, some of them focus too much on violence and on showing that violence (I highly praise Team Fortress 2 with its rubber duckies instead of blood, for example) and then there is my really bad motion sickness for anything with 1st person view. So, being able to play with 3rd person view is great news! The camera is still very close to the character, so I probably won’t be able to play it excessively. Not a bad thing either, though. ;) Healthy amounts of gaming time is much better for me anyway. However, this is a side project to help fund The Repopulation, to give us something to play while we wait and both games will share assets. Additionally, those of us who already own The Repopulation will get Fragmented for free!

“Players are expected to create their own goals in game though. This could include raising a stable of pets, building cities, killing, crafting, or competing with other humans for domination of the new planet.”

This is the part that really got me interested! Fragmented will not be about killing and violence and nothing else.  Instead, I can also help build a city or focus on crafting and pets. So far, I am not really sure how exactly this will work, but I guess I will see soon enough!

Altogether, I am very positive about what they have announced now and I hope they will succeed. My thumbs are pressed and I hope we will get to see Fragmented very soon (it sounds like parts will be available in February already) and the next alpha version of The Repopulation in a few months (I admit, I have no idea how long development would probably take in this case and how soon is realistic here).

*Follow this link to read what had happened and what had forced the developers to pause the current development. Massively also tried to summarize the situation back at that point.