Chronicles of Elyria Unleashes a Searing Plague Event

Plague, by its very nature, is pretty bad…but add the word “searing” to it and you’ve got the makings of something that must be stopped. That’s the task that Chronicles of Elyria players face with the upcoming Searing Plague event.

searing plague event

The Searing Plague is a community event that takes players back into the history of Elyria to when a plague ran rampant across the land. Although the event is from the world’s past, the actions of the players will ultimately have an impact on the sandbox’s world going forward. Starting today, August 3rd until September 14th, players can take part by either being a Plague Carrier or a Pure Elyrian.

Those who are looking to participate have to first login and then head to a special landing page. Those who have a pledge package will be designated Pure Elyrians and can generate Purity Seals every four hours. Those who are not backers are Plague Carriers and generate Plague Signs every four hours, which fill an outbreak meter if those Signs aren’t dealt with by the end of a real-world day.

Plague Carriers have a number of ways of removing their Plague Signs, including reaching out to Pure Elyrians for their Purity Seals or using abilities specific to their selected role. Pure Elyrians, meanwhile, can either donate their Purity Seals to an overall Cure Meter, use Seals to activate selected role abilities to further advance the Cure Meter, or trade them to Plague Carriers.

The ultimate goal: make sure the Cure Meter is more full than the Outbreak Meter, though which bar fills the most will have a final, lasting effect on the world of Elyria.

It’s a whole lot to take in, so be sure to either check out the landing page to read an FAQ or watch the video below for more.

Our Thoughts

Well, this is certainly a unique way to get the game’s community involved without actually playing the game. We’re not sure how engaging filling a bar over the course of weeks will ultimately be for some, but the chance to have a significant impact on the Chronicles of Elyria world might be a big enough hook.

Source: official site

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Chronicles of Elyria Begins to Build its World

Sure, the VoxElyria build is helpful for feature testing, but at some point or another the Chronicles of Elyria world building is going to have to get underway. The most recent dev blog from the team at Soulbound Studios has announced that they’re doing just that. Starting with the important parts like making bunnies.

chronicles of elyria world building

Alright, so bunnies aren’t that important, but they are a part of the world that Chronicles of Elyria is slowly beginning to pull together in anticipation of alpha testing. “Whether it was working out the systems governing the enrichment of soil and the growth of plants, working with the content team to help define the cultural elements of tribes, or authoring the reams of data necessary to bring each biome’s flora and fauna to life, we rose to the challenge,” reads the post.

In addition to all of the flora and fauna, the most recent work has also yielded results in the form of a functional chat for VoxElyria. “Despite the – in some cases literal – mountains of labor related to this challenge, we returned with victory in hand,” exclaims the post.

With 0.3.0’s work apparently mostly done, the team now moves on to build 0.4.0. and promises more details of what will be included in the near future.

Our Thoughts

We have to say, creating a pseudo-client before putting together a full alpha client is definitely one of the more interesting avenues for open MMO development we’ve seen. Then again, we’ve also seen a somewhat similar system employed by Crowfall for a while now to what appears to be great effect, so here’s hoping for similar levels of success to the CoE team.

Source: official site

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Where Are They Now? Kickstarter Edition

Game development is not a quick process. Conception, design, execution, they all take vast amounts of time and money. Of course these days there are more options open to people between the range of engines out there to encourage hobbyists and professionals to try them out and alternative funding methods like Fig and Kickstarter.

So while sometimes people can get their hands on the tools and the funds easier, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire process of making an MMO is faster, just run slightly differently. With that in mind, let’s look back over some of the Kickstarter funded MMOs that have caught our eyes in recent years and ask, where are they now?

 

Chronicles of Elyria

Kickstarter funded MMOs

Project launched: May 3rd, 2016

10,752 backers pledged $1,361,435.

Still in Development.

Chronicles of Elyria hopes to fashion a world for you to be in. Taking the best, as they see it, of sandbox and theme park MMOs they have tried to coin a Multiplayer Evolving Online World or MEOW. Certainly, the approach to aging and joining families is a unique take on characters and progression. Happily, they’re still hard at work on things and pledge packages are available through their website which themselves are also tied to more in-game rewards for people. The draw with their tailored story engine here is very strong for me at least and it certainly is a game worth keeping an eye on if you ever wanted to get out of the theme park grind and spend some time following a new destiny. The projected release date is in the second half of 2019.

 

Ashes of Creation

Project launched: May 1st, 2017

19,576 backers pledged $3,271,809.

Still in Development.

Ashes of Creation is a fantasy sandbox that is touting a new take on the approach. They are designing the world structure to be dynamic and building it to react to the actions of players. As they have said, cities will rise and fall, their populations based on the history of the world as the players create it. Certainly, the idea of helping mold a world is attractive, and work is continuing apace on both PvE and PvP as Chris Hughes reported in March. If you have a large amount of money burning a hole in your pocket, the $500 Intrepid Pre-Order pack is available and will get you into both Alpha builds of the game, the Beta still being a little ways off.

 

Shadow’s Kiss

Project launched: October 31st, 2017 (Of course)

884 backers pledged $80,414.

Still in Development.

Shadow’s Kiss is the first of two on our list trying to fund ongoing development through Patreon. Ever since CCP passed up on going ahead with the World of Darkness MMO, night dwellers and gothically inclined types have been devoid of dark modern fantasy MMO options. Vampires wouldn’t cope well in the bright shiny world of Secret World Legends after all….well Agartha at least. The goals for Shadow’s Kiss were considerably more modest than the rest of this list. Not every MMO needs the bells and whistles Blizzard-level of polish, but the rougher work here may be off-putting for some potential fans. Only time will tell if it does claw its way out of the grave and lurches into unlife for us all to try our hand at some neck biting.

 

Novus AEterno

Project launched: December 10th 2013

3,900 backers pledged $268,875.

Still in a lot of Development.

Novus AEterno is an odd duck on this list. It’s been kicking around for more than four years and also has undergone a name change to Hades 9. It’s the second on the list here to turn to Patreon to fund ongoing development though pledge packages and store bonds are available through their website. Originally billed as a sci-fi MMORTS I remember seeing it in action in an early form way back in 2012 at Gamescom. Since then it appears to still be a labor of love but not one that appears to be coming out any time soon. Perhaps showing an indie core more than anything else on this list, you can also apply to help build the game no matter your skill level. That if nothing else is a unique approach to fan engagement.

 

Project: Gorgon

Project launched: July 25th, 2015

1,318 backers pledged $74,781

Still in Development

Project: Gorgon is being brought to you by Elder Game Studios which rather nicely is led by husband and wife duo Eric Heimburg and Sandra Powers. Available now via Steam Early Access and a small amount of cash this is ready for you to jump into and experience, though with the normal caveats of an Early Access game. The team at Elder Game Studios certainly hopes to put together a different feeling game letting you pursue skills entirely at your own choosing and thus how you interact with the world. How well that works or how complex it turns out to be depends on how much you crave the ability to use psychology on bad guys or turn into a… werecow?

 

Crowfall

Project launched: February 24th, 2015

16,936 backers pledged $1,766,204

Still in Development

While Crowfall started with a nice chunk of change from Kickstarter, ongoing funding and pack purchases have helped them earn over $20 million. In fact, if you want to throw another $50 in the pot you can get your hands on the Pioneer Starter Pack and get your copy of Crowfall with a month of VIP access and immediate access to the 24×7 LIVE pre-alpha testing environment. Is that worth it? Well, you’ll get to play a burrowing sneaky dashing Guinecean. That’s worth an awful lot to me. They’re too adorable to win against so please look the other way while I ambush you. Crowfall is certainly a game that has flourished under the crowdfunding approach and the “new” way to interact with fans and backers. How well the throne war aspect of Crowfall works, in the end, depends on how many of us all rush in to get to grips with the game when it finally goes live. For now, though, everything looks to be going its way.

 

Star Citizen

star citizen like eve online

Project launched: October 18th, 2012

34,397 backers pledged $2,134,374

In Development Until The End Of Time

Star Citizen, you knew it was going to be on the list. According to their website, they have earned $185,689,880. According to Polygon earlier this year Star Citizen raised more money than every other video game on Kickstarter combined in 2017 and that’s for the second year in a row. Star Citizen doesn’t just have enough money to make an MMO, it has enough money to buy several islands, install Chris Roberts as Dictator for Life and make a genuine start on a navy. It continues to gain funds despite the occasional lawsuit or controversy that comes its way. How? Who knows? Will it ever come out? Who knows? All we can do is keep an open mind, though some clearly are keeping open wallets. Whatever ultimately happens with the game, there will be no mistaking its impact on the crowdfunding sphere or denying its fallout should it stumble at the last.

Don’t be surprised if all the RSI staff do go with the buy an island/get a navy route to fend off annoyed fans. Nearly six years on, that’s probably more likely than the game launching.

 

So there are seven random Kickstarter MMOs picked. All of them are still working on coming out in one way or another. Of course, there will be games that strived and failed. Games that never made funding or games that just couldn’t get over development. Why not share the ones you are most looking forward to or miss dearly?

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Chronicles of Elyria Lays Off Staff

The so-far fruitless hunt for a publisher has now had an effect on several members of the Soulbound Studios staff. A community letter has confirmed that Chronicles of Elyria layoffs have occurred as the developer turns its focus away from courting investors back to crowdfunding.

chronicles of elyria layoffs

According to the letter, the size of the team at Soulbound Studios doubled in size from 2016 through 2017, but was done so unsustainably unless the studio was able to secure long-term investors. Since that hasn’t been achieved, the team will now shrink downwards to be funded through the existing store, which means some jobs had to be cut.

“This was painful for all of us as we had developed a close bond with everyone in the studio, but it was a necessary action to move forward at the velocity and cost we need to succeed,” reads the letter.

The letter states that publishers that the company approached were not a fit for the game, primarily because they wanted to include microtransactions like loot boxes in the game – a feature that Chronicles of Elyria flatly refuses to add.

According to the statement, the current size of the team is now at a sustainable size that it can develop the game without any publishing or investment deals. “We plan on continuing crowdfunding for the foreseeable future so that we can maintain creative control of the game, and ultimately deliver the promise of Chronicles of Elyria,” closes the letter.

Our Thoughts

Our thoughts and well-wishes go to those who were affected by the layoffs at Soulbound Studios and we hope that they are able to get new positions within the industry soon. It’s a shame that Chronicles of Elyria wasn’t able to get any major investors, but considering the reasons why we pretty much understand. Here’s hoping that development won’t be affected too deeply.

Source: official site

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MMOGames Best of 2017 Awards

What a year! 2017 was certainly a weird one. The gaming industry was put in the public eye more than ever before. There was scandal, there was joy, and there was a whole lot of money being thrown around. But what was the best of the best this year? It’s time once again to look at the best MMOs of 2017.

 

Games That Shut Down – Marvel Heroes

 

There were quite a few games that shut down this year but none bigger, or more poorly handled, than Marvel Heroes. It was filled with a lack of communication, a possible sex scandal, Disney calling off the deal they had and Gazillion shutting down. For fans, though, it came out of nowhere. The console version of the game had just launched a few months before and it seemed like everything was going well…until it wasn’t. It’s sad to see the superhero genre shrinking even more and we’re sorry to see Marvel Heroes go.

 

Best Sandbox MMO – Black Desert Online

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

It has been a great year for Black Desert Online. They’ve continued to put out new classes and new content. This year at Gamescom they showed off what the 4k console version of BDO looks like and its graphics are incredibly lifelike. This was also the year the game released on Steam, giving it a massive boost in player numbers. Oh, and Pearl Abyss says they’d like BDO to last another 20-30 years! This is fantastic news for anyone who has seen their favorite game shut down. All in all, it was a great year for Black Desert Online and we can’t wait for next year.

 

Best Mobile – Vainglory

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

Vainglory has continued to be one of the best, if not the best, MOBA you can play on a mobile device. In fact, it’s the best mobile game you can play with multiple people. Best of all, early next year it will be getting a 5v5 mode so you’ll be able to play with even more people if your device can handle it. As a result, its eSports scene is growing. Next year the mobile category is going to have a lot of competition, but this year Vainglory was an easy decision to make.

 

Best PvP – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

Speaking of easy decisions, giving best PvP to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was the easiest decision. It may have spent the whole year in beta testing but hands down it was the most talked about game this year (Other than that Star Wars game…you know the one). PUBG has brought so much joy to gamers this year we had to include it on the list. Now that it has launched we can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

 

Best New Online Game – Fortnite

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

The best new online game of 2017 has to go to PUBG’s competitor Fortnite. Players have been having a blast in this battle royale since it launched earlier this year. It boasts 30 million users and at one point had 1.3 million people playing it concurrently. Epic hit on something great with this game.

 

Best MMO Expansion – Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

We’re kind of cheating a little bit for this one. Morrowind isn’t a proper expansion, it’s a DLC. This is something that the studio stressed heavily before it launched. However, we’re allowing it because it was just so much fun. With new dungeons, new quests, and the Halls of Fabrication trial it takes about 30 hours of playing to complete all the new content. It was great to get a new tutorial after having run through Coldharbour so many times. We’re also huge fans of all the Easter eggs in the game. We had a great time playing Morrowind, even if it wasn’t a true expansion.

 

Best Beta – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds spent months around the top of the revenue charts. For a game that was still in beta, it made a whole lot of money. It also brought a lot of happiness. The game made for some fantastic viewing this year as it thrived on Twitch and, well, everywhere really. It was the most fun to be had in a beta and it didn’t really feel like a beta at all (if you can forgive a few bugs). After all the testing, the game has now officially launched. Congratulations PUBG!

 

Best F2P – Warframe

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

Warframe is one of those games that everyone knows someone who plays yet it rarely gets talked about. Even though it’s four years old at this point, Warframe has seen a massive surge in players in 2017. This year it became the second most played F2P game on Steam with 121,000 concurrent users. This underrated game released its most popular expansion yet, the Plains of Eidolon, which added new weapons and an open world zone. 2017 was a fantastic year for Warframe and a great year to play it.

 

Most Anticipated – Chronicles of Elyria

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

There are a lot of great games we’re expecting to come out in 2018 so it was really difficult to pick just one. However, Chronicles of Elyria came out just a little ahead of the rest in our minds. With true MMORPGs becoming a dying breed, we have a lot of hope in Chronicles of Elyeria to help the genre we adore. It’s also promising to introduce something we haven’t really seen since Mabinogi: aging. We’ve been following development on this game since it was first announced and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

An honorable mention needs to go to Crowfall, however, which is clearly a favorite for the MMOGames’ writers.

 

Best MMO – Final Fantasy XIV

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

Final Fantasy XIV has continued to impress and entertain its players throughout the year of 2017. Not only did it make an excellent appearance at Gamescom and host the incredibly successful Fanfest 2017, but we also saw the release of the newest expansion Stormblood, which has received high praise all around from fans old and new.

Its dungeons and raids are not only beautifully designed visually but provide interesting challenges and mechanics for a wide variety of skill levels. Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t only caters for those interested in raiding as the landscape, content, and characters of Eorzea inspire thousands of artists and content creators to generate beautiful works of art and establish wonderful communities surrounding game-inspired projects. The main storyline continues to reward the player throughout Stormblood with dramatic and heartfelt experiences along the way, allowing the player to immerse themselves in the content. This makes Final Fantasy XIV not only one of the best MMOs of 2017 but also one of the greatest of this generation.

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MMOGames’ 2018 Predictions for Online Gaming

We’re just a few short days away from the end of 2017. It’s time to look ahead at 2018 and the year to come. We asked the MMOGames writing team what they thought would happen next year. Here are their 2018 predictions for online gaming.

Chris Hughes

So as I mentioned in the previous write-up about MMOs in 2018, I have a feeling that Kickstarter games are going to become…well…games.

The reason I come to this is really just a matter of time for some of the larger titles that are in the crowdfunding space. Crowfall immediately springs to mind, but I also feel that games like Chronicles of Elyria, Pantheon and Dual Universe will make some really big strides in terms of development and possibly even full release.

Of course, this doesn’t completely wash away the bitter aftertaste of ballooning projects like Star Citizen or games that seem more interested in selling design documents instead of games like Ashes of Creation or Saga of Lucimia, but overall I still feel like the crowdfunding platform is going to grow a bit more legitimacy overall. And in my opinion, it’s still a great place for genuinely intriguing MMO ideas to spawn. I’m lookin’ at you, Shadow’s Kiss.

But then, this is all the ramblings of a person who has a hard time getting angry about video games in general and is hopeful about MMOs and multiplayer titles, so take that as you will.

 

Hannah Richardson-Lewis

My prediction for 2018 is more of the same if we’re being honest. Development continues on the in-progress titles, drama arises around monetization and free-to-play, one or two (probably) disappointing launches, perhaps a Beta for Crowfall and/or Camelot Unchained, or perhaps an Early Access, outrage over something Blizzard does, and maybe a shutdown or two. Oh and maybe another reminder that the older titles are still rolling and still decent MMORPGs with an anniversary event, progression server launch… who knows? Of course, my hope is that we see the launch of a couple of MMOs that are actually decent games with plenty of reasons to keep playing and perhaps the announcement of a AAA title from somewhere that offers a renewed hope for those of us who still love these massive digital worlds.

 

Nick Shively

What Could be Coming in Overwatch 2018 - New Ways to Unlock Skins

One of the most volatile aspects of online gaming right now is eSports. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens with the industry in the next couple of years. With the announcement of The Overwatch League changes during BlizzCon 2017, I expect more games and organizations to follow suit. It would definitely be interesting if every major city around the world had its own League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and Overwatch team. I’m not sure if that’s something that will happen by the end of 2018 but I expect some type of progress to occur during next year.

 

Rissa Trent

I think that in 2018 we’re going to see more sandbox style play. We saw a glimpse of it in games like EverQuest, which was much more about exploration and teamwork than completing quests, but it quickly got off the rails with games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest 2. Now we’re seeing a return to that concept with games like Dual Universe, Life is Feudal, Albion ONline and others that have embraced the idea of allowing the players to choose their own destiny and create the world they want to live in.

 

Shannon Doyle

Without a doubt, 2018 is going to be the year of the mobile MMO. We already know there are several lined up to be released and several full MMOs are getting mobile versions. Niantic, the makers of Pokemon Go are working on a new game that takes place in the world of Harry Potter. All signs as far as revenue goes says that mobile is where the money is. So I fully expect to see more mobile tie-ins to popular games next year. Maybe that means a Guild Wars 2 card game or maybe there will be a single player adventure story from the Secret World Legends universe. As a result, we will see studios who have traditionally been PC only expand into mobile gaming as well.

 

Laguna

2018 will be more lockboxes, less MMOs, but more online games. Overwatch may get another story-based PvE mission akin to the Uprising event, while the new WoW expansion will most likely impress all but the most dedicated fans. Destiny 2 will continue to barely stay on the radar, Amazon will fail to impress, and other single player IPs will get online multiplayer options, complete with microtransactions. Star Citizen may or may not release, but it’ll fail to impress in a positive way just because, at this point, it’s too big to succeed the way anyone could reasonably hope it could. On the bright side, with new online multiplayer options, it’ll be easier to game with friends. I just worry how long PC gaming will have as the younger generations use phones and tablets for their internet activities instead of standard desktop and laptop computers.

 

Jonathan Doyle

2018 has two things coming as near as I can tell. Two things I expect to see. An absolute gold rush on voxels and an absolute collapse on crowdfunding.

Part of these predictions are entirely based on thinking about my most anticipated. The technology underpinning Crowfall promises to be hugely interesting for MMOs going forward, especially with any creative additions. Keeping people constrained for a shooter is sensible, but for everything else? They should be set free to create … and to destroy. EQNext and Landmark fell but the ideas they espoused can still easily find fertile ground.

However, we shouldn’t rely on slick marketing videos (well ever) on Kickstarter or any other such sites in 2018. I don’t know if Star Citizen will come out successfully but it is making me exceptionally uncomfortable. Either it’ll be savaged for not coming out or savaged for not being what people imagined. There’ll then be backlash on everything that brought it to us… so in this case crowdfunding.

 

 

These are just a few of the predictions for what 2018 has in store for us. What do you think next year will be like? Give us your 2018 predictions for online gaming in the comments below. Also be sure to vote for your most anticipated MMO for 2018 in the MMOGames Reader’s Choice Awards. Come back at the end of 2018 as we look back and see if any of us were right.

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Chronicles of Elyria Provides a Character and Biome Update

Chronicles of Elyria development is still pushing on, though the team at Soulbound Studios are going to be taking a week off for the holidays. Before they head out, however, there was a new dev blog post outlining work being done on the game’s character creation and biomes in the game, along with a little nod to overall testing progress.

chronicles of elyria development

The devs appear to have put together a first pass at a character creation system, with the ability to connect to the game’s servers and create a character with the Unreal Engine client. Backend work is still going on to create backend data and client-side visual elements, but it looks as though the initial groundwork is laid.

The devs are also building upon their skin shading features in order to create the various tribes within the game’s world, going so far as to consider the three layers of biological skin in the creation of the system. New models for a couple of the game’s tribes are also being developed.

New biomes are also in the works and are shown off in the update, with some choice screenshots of a swamp, taiga forest and a rainforest on display. The devs are also looking to further integrate the features of the VoxElyria MUD client with the game, as well as work on crafting and combat.

As it stands right now, Chronicles of Elyria is currently in its friends and family closed alpha test. While no specifics on the length of this test were provided, the team does expect Alpha 1 backers of the game to be able to start testing in early 2018.

Our Thoughts

A lot of these updates aren’t what one would consider “sexy”. They’re downright boring, actually. That said, these are also updates that likely need to be done in order to start branching out into further development and (hopefully) more robust territory. Here’s hoping work and testing presses on at the right pace for everyone involved.

Source: official site

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