Dual Universe Begins its Alpha Test

It’s something of a banner day for Dual Universe. After a reportedly successful pre-alpha test, the Dual Universe alpha is ready to begin today, bringing the space sandbox MMO into its next major development milestone.

dual universe alpha

The alpha build will feature three of its four “pillars” of gameplay – explore, build and trade – that allow testers to put together a variety of things from cities to interstellar spaceships to ground-traversing hover vehicles. As has been the case from the beginning, Dual Universe will be a single-shard MMO, meaning no servers or loading screens.

As for size and scope of the alpha, Dual Universe’s starting planet of Alioth is said to be approximately the size of Great Britain, while the testing population will let in every Kickstarter backer of the project for an estimated population of over 11,000 before the year’s end.

The announcement also provided a visual roadmap of the game’s development plans from alpha onward. Alpha testing will arrive in two more stages over 2019, adding character progression, industrialist gameplay, PvP combat and group features. Beta is planned to begin in the first half of 2020, while full release in the second half of 2020. You can take a look at the full roadmap below; click on the image to expand it.

Our Thoughts

Congratulations are in order for the folks at Novaquark for making it to alpha. 2020 definitely seems a long way off, but we hope the features in alpha and added to the game later will be more than enough to keep players engaged. We also hope, of course, that alpha testing provides good feedback and data to the devs.

Source: press release

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Star Citizen Announces a Week of Free Flying

You’d think the anniversary of being in alpha isn’t something to crow about, but then you’re not Star Citizen. Despite how you feel about the space sandbox’s dev cycle and monetization practices, however, you might be interested in learning about a Star Citizen free play event, which marks the game’s anniversary and the release of its latest planet while also opening up a significant number of vehicles to everyone.

star citizen free play event

From November 23 to December 1, everyone can hop into Star Citizen’s persistent universe module and putter about whether they’re a backer or not. Over the course of the week, every ship and vehicle that can be commandeered in-game will be on offer, with a different array of vehicles being made available every 24 hours.

The announcement also teases that those who make their way to the new planet Hurston and its city of Lorville could find “some surprises in store.” There’s also hints about some form of interactive activities being shared on the game’s website.

Speaking of the game’s website, be sure to head over there to learn what ships will be available when.

Our Thoughts

Assuming your PC can handle even looking at Star Citizen, now seems about as good a time as any to experience first-hand whether this in-development sandbox is worth all the hubbub or hate. After all, you really can’t rib it without experiencing it.

Source: official site

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EVE Online’s Onslaught Update Goes Live

The next iteration of EVE Online is officially live. EVE Online: Onslaught introduces some new ships, new structures, new features to Abyssal Deadspace and a number of quality-of-life adjustments in today’s update.

eve online: onslaught

Some new Upwell structures are live with Onslaught: the Ansiblex Jump Gate, which lets players create their own warp points; the Cynosaural Beacon, which lets jump-capable ships head to it; and the Cynosural Jammer, described as a convenient structure that lets corps jam systems.

Onslaught also brings two new Triglavian ship hulls in the form of the Kikimora destroyer and Drekavac battlecruiser; the addition of co-operative and PvP gameplay in Abyssal Deadspace instances; and quality of life additions such as an activity tracker, a global search function, and a balance pass to Force Auxiliaries.

The full patch notes can be found here and an overview of the Onslaught update’s features in video form is below.

Our Thoughts

There are certainly a few things to ponder for the greater meta of EVE Online with this update. Chief among them are how these new Upwell structures will change things in terms of corp conflict and how entertaining the new features of Abyssal Deadspace will be. Considering this is a game that’s better played together than solo, we expect that Abyssal Deadspace will be a lot more interesting.

Source: official site

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Dreadnought Goes Live on Steam

By my own admission, Dreadnought had kind of escaped my notice. Meaning there’s a “flying under the radar” joke in there. More to the point, though, is the press release confirming that a Dreadnought Steam launch has happened, bringing the internet spaceship battle arena to a wider audience.

dreadnought steam launch

The arrival of the game to Steam comes alongside the Command the Colossal update, which offered a number of revamps to the game’s UI and visual look as well as added support for several new languages. The update also brought a combat balance, which was detailed in a dev blog on October 10th.

According to Six Foot COO Christian Svensson, these updates also represent technical improvements that will “ensure new game content and updates for players everywhere at a higher pace than ever before.”

Incidentally, existing players of the game on PC can link their accounts to the Steam version, bringing their achievements along with them.

As one would expect, the Steam release has come along with a gameplay trailer showcasing some of the monstrous floating weapons platforms players can command. That video can be seen below.

Our Thoughts

Considering the game currently sits at Mixed reviews on Steam, Dreadnought probably has a bit of work to do in order to really impress. That said, there’s also not many games like it out there and it does indeed have its dedicated fans, so time will tell if this “higher pace” of updates will be met. We wish the devs at Six Foot the best of luck.

Source: press release

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Star Citizen Launches Alpha 3.3 and New Squadron 42 Trailer

This year’s CitizenCon had plenty of new shiny things to reveal for Star Citizen devotees. Among them were the features of Star Citizen alpha 3.3 and a star-studded new cinematic trailer for the single-player Squadron 42.

star citizen alpha 3.3

Alpha 3.3 is due to launch to backers today, bringing several features like the addition of enemy AI during FPS sections in the Stanton system and improvements to object streaming, which is said to bring a 100% improvement to the game’s framerate.

The new alpha build has also included a facial recognition feature that uses your webcam to map your face and animate your in-game avatar in real time, letting your avatar mimic your mouth as you speak and broadcast whatever odd facial expressions you wish to convey.

With the launch of 3.3 also comes a number of new ships that can be bought and flown in the latest test build. These range in price from the $30 Mustang Vindicator fighter to the $725 Aegis Hammerhead heavy attack vessel. For those wondering when you’ll be able to get these ships without cracking into your retirement fund, the devs have said that progress on an in-game economy is being made.

Finally, the latest Squadron 42 trailer has debuted with a suitably vague yet cinematic look at the single-player campaign’s story beats. The trailer also features a number of top-tier acting talent such as Mark Hammill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson and Henry Cavill. That trailer can be seen below.

Our Thoughts

All things considered, we really could do without the face mapping avatar tech, especially if dropping development of that feature would mean that time is spent releasing the full game. Really, though, that’s more assumption than anything and we’re glad to see that Star Citizen is making some strides forward regardless.

Sources: VG247, YouTube

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EVE Online Players Have Another Record-Breaking Battle

At this point, hearing that another massive EVE Online battle has gone down could feel like it’s par for the course, even if they technically don’t happen too often. That said, EVE Online players have once more raised the bar in internet spaceship scuffles with the latest clash that went down last night.

massive eve online battle

The battle played out in X47L-Q between the EVE galaxy’s now effectively two sides at a Keepstar citadel owned by the Northern Coalition. Both sides committed massive numbers and hard-hitting weaponry to the fight, with a total of 4500 players in-system at peak and 50 Titans destroyed, including the first loss of a Molok.

To provide a sake of scale, the last time there was a large-scale battle in EVE in B-R5RB, about 200 Titans were fielded. According to a kill feed from the system, the ships lost in the fight easily total billions in ISK and could translate to a million real-world dollars’ worth of internet spaceship blown to pieces.

Reportedly, the Imperium’s objective of weakening the Keepstar was successful, but the citadel is not destroyed. The construct will be in a final reinforcement stage and become weak enough to be wiped out in about a week. The Keepstar is placed in a particularly useful position for the Norther Coalition, acting as a base of operations for the northern side. So by all accounts, this engagement is not quite over and could be the rallying point for all-out war.

Our Thoughts

If only time dilation wasn’t a thing, because being in the middle of this sounds way more interesting on paper than it is live. That said, clearly players of this game are going to continue to push EVE’s tech envelope in spite of the sandbox’s current server issues. It will be intriguing to see how this all unfolds.

Sources: PC Gamer, Twitter, zKillboard

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EVE Online Talks Tranquility Fixes and Hands Off Publishing Duties of Chinese Version

CCP Games has had a couple of announcements regarding its internet spaceship sandbox EVE Online today. The company has provided some word on a number of planned EVE Online Tranquility fixes and has elected to hand over publishing duties of EVE Online China to a new publisher.

eve online china

A sizeable dev blog has been posted with candid talk regarding some connection issues that have been gnawing away at the Tranquility server this year. In short, this summer has been the most active that EVE Online has ever been and the team were not as prepared as they thought.

In order to mitigate these issues, the team is attacking the problem from several angles including bringing a third team to join the other two who have been looking at chat system problems since May and June; forming an “engineering reliability task force” to look at login service and chat cluster issues; working with their DDoS mitigation provider on new configuration changes; and adding more blades to the game’s servers.

The devs are also compensating players for the extended downtime in March that was required to install a new chat backend by handing out 250,000 skillpoints. This skillpoint bounty is offered to every account considered active on March 20th.

As for EVE Online in China, the company has decided to let NetEase handle publishing matters in the region’s Serenity server. The publishing transfer will take place in October, where teams will conduct a migration of player data and launch a series of activities for new and existing players.

“We know that EVE Online fans in China are passionate about their game play, and our unified goal is the least amount of interuption to their gaming journey during EVE Online‘s transition to the new publisher in this market,” remarked CCP Games CEO Veigar Pétursson.

Our Thoughts

We’ll start with wishing Chinese players of EVE Online a smooth transition period and hope those capsuleers don’t experience too many issues. As for the Tranquility server, it’s clear that the fight against tech problems is one that CCP Games is taking on in earnest and we also wish them the best as they try to hammer out those dents.

Sources: press release, official site

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Glassdoor Review of Cloud Imperium Confirmed as a Fake

Those following the development of Star Citizen have likely already heard a bit about a Cloud Imperium Glassdoor review presumably posted by former senior physics programmer John Pritchett taking management to task for the sandbox MMO’s scope. Well, the real Mr. Pritchett has stood up and said the review is a fake.

star citizen glassdoor review

According to the review, which is still live at the time of this writing, Pritchett suggested to management that the team is stretching itself too thin:

“The scope of the project needs to be massively reigned in, and realistic expectations of what will actually be delivered in the next decade or two need to be communicated honestly and clearly to the community supporting the business. There’s no point wasting huge amounts of money, time and resources (+ community goodwill) hiring top-end specialists and starting projects when you don’t even know what you want the finished product to look like or if it’s even technically feasible.”

Mr. Pritchett repudiated the review in question, stating that he had already flagged it with the site but also wanted to personally address the matter. Pritchett seemed to particularly take difference with the segment of the review that said his systems – and by extension, himself – had been made obsolete.

“Any game in alpha is always evolving, and any system as critical as the flight model is therefore also evolving,” wrote Pritchett. “Had I remained with CIG, it would have continued to evolve, and it will certainly evolve without me. Very little from the review reflects my personal experience.”

Our Thoughts

…wow, pretty depressing that someone would go all this way to try to sling mud at Star Citizen. Some folks just REALLY don’t wanna see a game get developed. Even if Star Citizen’s cook time is an exceedingly long one, that doesn’t really excuse one from putting on a fake identity and trying to screw over the studio. Just yell into the void of Reddit instead. At least there you’ll get some thumbs up and feel better about yourself.

Sources: Facebook and Glassdoor via Massively Overpowered

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EVE Online Dishes Out a Free Deadspace Filament to All Active Users

To celebrate the release of Into the Abyss – or, to watch those who have been away for a while get utterly blown to smithereens if you’re the conspiratorial sort – CCP Games is handing out one free Deadspace filament to any active account of EVE Online with some pretty open qualifications.

free deadspace filaments

When we mean “active”, that means anyone who has logged in to EVE Online since the release of Ascension in November 15th, 2016 regardless of Clone state. There are five different types of Filaments that will be dished out, with everyone who meets the requirements getting a random one from the list.

Players can find their free filament sitting in their redeeming system, but will need to claim the key to EVE’s literal World of Pain before July 8th, when the filament will expire. If this is your first time entering Abyssal Deadspace, you’d be well served checking out the linked informational blogs on the announcement’s page.

Our Thoughts

Hey, thanks CCP Games! We’re looking forward to exploring this mysterious and wondrous new rea–oh no…what is happening? AGH OW MY SHIP!

Source: official site

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Star Citizen Says the Legatus Pack was Requested by Fans

By now you’ve had time to wrap your head around the Star Citizen Legatus Pack, the $27k bundle that hooks together a little over 100 different ships and over 100 other digital goodies for the in-development sandbox title. Still, the question may remain: just who the heck would want that? A statement from Cloud Imperium has provided a little bit of insight on that front.

legatus pack

Statements provided to Polygon remark that the bundle of items is meant for those who apparently view Star Citizen as a form of “lifestyle hobby” akin to golf or sailing. Additionally, the bundle wasn’t just slapped together by the company, but was actually requested by such fans.

“It wasn’t created in a vacuum,” said Cloud Imperium LA’s Eric Kieron Davis. “We were responding to what the community asked for. We have some passionate supporters that are not looking at Star Citizen as your typical game purchase/transaction but rather a dream project they want to see happen.”

Davis further remarked that the Legatus Pack isn’t necessarily being offered for a single person to surround themselves with ships, but heads of guilds or corps who can then distribute the internet spaceships to their members, which can often number in the tens of thousands apparently.

All this said, another representative from Cloud Imperium wasn’t able to elaborate on how many of these bundles have been sold, if any at all. Presumably, that information will likely remain under lock and key.

Our Thoughts

Even though one of our own writers poked a bit of fun at the price tag of this bundle, we can…maybe appreciate that some folks have that much money to light on fire for an unreleased game? Maybe? We don’t know, honestly…and personally speaking, I’d buy all the Big Macs first.

Source: Polygon

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