The Ship of Heroes closed beta event has begun for those who have donated $50 or more to the game over the last 2 and a half years. The beta will be running for the next week, giving donors lots of time to explore the character creator and the game itself.
The beta includes the travel powers which are all available for the duration of the beta test. You can also explore the hospital, auction house, and if you can find it make your way into the Beta Club.
Throughout the event, the number of players in an instance will have a hard cap of 75 and an average around 50. A new instance will spawn when one gets full. But, the developers have said that they do intend to hold a “crush the server” event sometime during the beta. Though when that will be hasn’t been stated yet. Keep an eye out on social media and the official forums for more information on that.
Speaking of the forums, they’ve created a new section on the forums for the beta. Here you can report problems, leave comments about your experience, or leave suggestions for ways they can improve the game.
The next beta event for donors is already in the cards too. This one will focus on combat for big groups and is currently planned for the end of 2019. Not only that but they are expecting to launch by the end of 2020! From the sound of it 2020 is going to be a massive year for Ship of Heroes fans and we can’t wait.
An all-new video was released today in which Ship of Heroes highlights leveling and training. The video takes a level one character and levels them up to three to show what leveling up and training will look like in Ship of Heroes. Leveling in Ship of Heroes will allow a great deal of customization. So much so in fact that two heroes with the same powers can play very differently depending on how they augment their powers.
Along with showing how leveling and training works you get to see a number of other systems in motion. The developers show what happens when the player is saved from the brink of death by leveling up. We also get a glimpse at some long requested impact animations. The character reacts to being hit by ranged attacks.
Coming up next for Ship of Heroes it looks like we may be getting a video of the superspeed travel power in action very soon. We’re also looking forward to an update on the upgrades to the Ship of Heroes character creator.
Speaking of the character creator, a character creator beta is expected this summer. This is just one of many possible events the developers are looking to host this year. They’re hoping to have a large scale combat beta in the fall. Plus there is the possibility of a third beta event at the end of 2019, though of course its too far out to have any details on what that might entail. From the sounds of it between semi-regular videos from Ship of Heroes and once a quarter beta we’ll be getting a lot of Ship of Heroes in our future. Keep an eye out for more news on Ship of Heroes very soon.
The end of the year is upon us and it is time to start looking ahead to what will come in 2019. We asked the MMOGames writing team what their most anticipated online game of 2019 is and got a wide variety of responses from the team, including a couple of surprises. After you’ve read what our writers are looking forward to next year be sure to add what game you’re most anticipating in 2019.
Ethan “Isarii” Macfie – Anthem
I started liking Anthem as a joke – I’m dead serious. As the game’s announcement came only a few months after the launch of the immeasurably disappointing Mass Effect: Andromeda and was followed shortly thereafter by the Star Wars: Battlefront II monetization debacle, the idea of jumping aboard the hype train for EA-BioWare’s next big live service game felt like the absolute height of comedy.
My friends and I set up a Discord channel just to hype the game up ironically, sharing news and info as it came out with our most sardonic fervor. Then the strangest thing happened: the news we were sharing started to look _really_ good.
I’m not sure exactly when I boarded the Anthem hype train for real, but I know I’m on it now. I haven’t preordered the game and I’m constantly on watch for the other shoe to drop, but what we’ve seen and heard of the game’s world, its feature set, and even its monetization strategy all sound extremely promising. Maybe we’ll all get burned again, but at this point, I’m willing to at least hope that we won’t.
Nick Shively – We’ll See
When it comes to online, multiplayer games 2019 is not a year I’m expecting much from. There are a few titles that I’m mildly interested in that have multiplayer elements, such as Anthem, but there’s no single title that I’m actively waiting to be released. The last few years have been fairly stagnant in the MMORPG genre and it will still be a couple more until the droves of crowdfunding MMOs finally start launching.
That being said, it’s likely that Crowfall will see some sort of soft launch or early access by 2019, but the game has already had a number of delays with the beta being pushed back. It’s possible that we’ll hear more from Ascent: Infinite Realm, however, a 2019 release seems unlikely at this point. I’m also looking forward to hearing more about the Magic: The Gathering MMO, but mostly because Cryptic has revealed little information so far. At this point in time, 2019 is more of a “wait and see” kind of year.
Phil DeMerchant – Project Zephyr
For 2019 my most anticipated game isn’t a massive blockbuster hit or even a massively multiplayer wonderland like 2017 and 18 have born. Instead, my focus is fully formed on Four Shore Entertainment and their little seasonal puzzle with a working title of Project Zephyr.
A season-based environmental platformer, Zephyr is one of the handful of indie games I got to demo this year at the Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo. Despite only having the alpha of the tutorial level, Four Shore absolutely blew me away with the warm and tender art of their game. From winding forests to chittering monsters there was no square space of charm overlooked in this game’s wonderful art style. Gameplay was just as entertainingly charming; by utilizing a little golem’s season-changing abilities one could grow a pumpkin to use as a platform or freeze an enemy to use as a projectile ice block. The possibilities were absolutely endless, my own gameplay even surprising the demoing developer in how radically different I set about my puzzle solving.
Zephyr is a game with unimaginable potential, and with a project Q2 release in 2019, I cannot wait to finally sink my teeth into it all.
Taylor Hidalgo – The Division 2
Garbage flows into the streets of New York City, joining the fresh snow and the muck of dirt, sludge, bodies, and blood splashed gracelessly along the packed street. A single working strobe spins soundlessly into the hazy snowfall of the fading evening light. A casually dressed agent in a leather jacket dusts the snow off of their jacket, shoulders their rifle, and walks up the street.
Of the many things The Division did well, the most inescapable was the city. It was beautiful. It is beautiful, and there’s no escaping that beauty for even the slightest fraction of a second. New York, plagued by infection, flooded with aggression and bullets, filling the streets with terror, has remained my impossible benchmark for what a setting can do for a story—hazy, blizzardous, littered, messy, garish, chaotic, impossibly beautiful New York.
In the time since I’ve played, The Division has never captured my desire to shoulder my weapon, hurl a grenade, and dive into danger headlong. But in the quiet moments, I find myself wanting to revisit New York. The streets, though devoid of the foot traffic that surges in its non-digital counterpart, the plague-stricken streets are just quiet enough here to let the abandoned cars tell a story of frantic escape. The darkness that hangs in the alleyways promises gunfight in the dark crevices for anyone foolish enough to try to slip through the shadows. The distant barks, errant car alarms, occasional directionless gunfire, the chirping of a discarded cell phone… All of it assembled into this package promises a world full of life, albeit a hobbled one.
I find myself wanting to perch atop a squad car, rifle dangling casually down the rear window, and watch the snow gather on my jacket’s shoulders while New York breathes around me again. The hazardous Dark Zone in the distance promises me all the action I could ever want, a short helicopter ride can crashland me in the biggest blizzard New York can throw, a sprawling fight encompassing an army of agents sits in a distant corner of the city, but this car is all I really need. The snow grows as it collects on the jacket, on my gloves, on the car, and on the ground.
I am taken in with this place. Gunfire and all.
In the distance, past the overturned ambulances and the bullet-riddled squad cars, beyond the armored APCs and the glass-walled high-rises, Washington D.C. waits for another agent, for another crisis. D.C. promises to be more of everything I love. More city, more gorgeous intersections of reality and aesthetic fulfillment. Sure, also more gunfights and danger, but the real siren call is another city. A new place to sink into. I cannot wait to destroy its art museums as I hurl myself through another fight to reclaim humanity. The Division 2 is just down that street, a short jaunt away, and I’m so excited to crawl its streets.
My agent stands, and together we descend the stairs and pass through the curtain of an overhead sprinkler. The snow on my jacket joins the spray and drips to its final resting place on the cheap tile of a subway. Deeper into this darkness leads to an airport.
Next time you see us, we’ll be in D.C.
Shannon Doyle – Rapture Rejects
If I’m completely honest I’ve found myself falling out of love with online gaming in recent years and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Sure, online gaming is more popular than it ever has been before but the communities that made online games so great seem to have died. I do of course continue to hold a torch up for the City of Heroes spiritual successors. I’ll be giving those a try as soon as they come out, I’m just not sure that will be in 2019. We saw Dual Universe at Gamescom a number of years ago and it has intrigued me from the very first time we walked past their booth. But once again, Dual Universe isn’t expected to release until 2020 at the earliest.
So right now I suppose my most anticipated game of 2019 is…Rapture Rejects. Normally I’m not one to play Battle Royale games but there’s a special place in my heart for blasphemous comedy in video game form. During their free to play weekend I was having a blast and since then I’ve been squeezing in a match or two when I can. It’s a lot of fun and it doesn’t feel super serious like other games in the genre. Casual friendly even? Ehh…only if you don’t mind dying a lot. I’m also following Harry Potter Wizards Unite, the mobile game being made by the same folks behind Pokemon Go. Will it come out in 2019? Actually, yeah, I think it might. I’m just wondering how I’m going to jump between Ingress, Pokemon Go, and Harry Potter. Maybe Santa will bring me a third phone for Christmas.
Jonathan Doyle – Anthem
Everyone has their own ways of writing. When I was posed the question of my upcoming pick for 2019 I went to the playlist so I could let my thoughts run free.
The thing is the playlist came around to Muse and I can’t shift the association in my mind anymore. Anthem played a blinder with the reworking of Muse’s Uprising in the cinematic trailer.
It may be stupid to let that be the thing that draws my attention but I can’t help it. I know it won’t be like other Bioware games. I know how utterly bad I am at Destiny. I know that there will be plenty of other games vying for my attention when we finally get to grips with Anthem … but it grabbed my attention in a very definite way.
It won’t last, love affairs never do. I fully admit it’s a love affair with the idea of a Bioware game, my heart is drawn by their mastery in cinematic presentation beyond whatever the game may actually be. Until there is heartbreak or affirmation though, all I have is that impression in this ongoing love affair. The possibility that Anthem will bring me the right blend of gameplay, story and a world that I can lose myself in.
The trailer ends with a simple lyric. We will be victorious.
I believe it when Muse says it…as for Bioware? I remain hopeful. Hopefully, they will be victorious. If not? Well, maybe we’ll also get to move on from the Destiny like shooter games in the MMO space. Either way, I am victorious even if EA is not.
If you’re like everyone at the MMOGames office then you’re eagerly waiting for any taste of the City of Heroes spiritual successors. Well, this weekend you’ll be able to take part in a Ship of Heroes alpha test. For this test, they’re inviting supporters who have donated at least $25 to the development of the game to participate.
The goal of the test is to see how the server does with a large population in a small area. This will have a direct impact on how the game is shaped going forward with things like raids, teaming, and optimization. Players won’t be able to create a character, instead, they’ll just log straight in under the Arch. This is where the devs will be able to easily gather data and players will be able to reminisce about the last time they gathered together to create AP 33. Every character will have their own unique look that has been created by the devs themselves. This is to really put the game to the test with so much variety. There will be as many as 100 players in one small area at any given time so if you’re on an older computer your FPS may suffer. But, the goal is to keep a good FPS of 30 or higher throughout the event. The developers will also be hanging around so don’t be surprised if one says hello.
If you haven’t donated to Ship of Heroes yet and you’d like to participate in the alpha test on Saturday, December 15th at 10 AM Eastern you can still do so for one more day before the cutoff on December 11th at 10 AM Eastern. Register your interest in the alpha test by going to the Official Site. Hopefully, we will see you there!
Nobody likes to play a game with choppy framerates, especially MMOs with lots of people milling about. So if recent Ship of Heroes FPS tests are anything to go by, this in-development MMO could run like some pretty smooth butter, even with multiple heroes on-screen.
The tests in question are the subject of a tech-focused dev blog, which shares FPS values achieved during in-studio tests and outlines the processes the devs have used to achieve their high FPS values. The tests touched on a number of scenarios, including heroes simply being near one another or heroes in a raid-like scenario with numerous enemies.
In synopsis, the tests showed that a pretty impressive number of models can be on-screen overall: 50 heroes in one place saw FPS values of 64 FPS, while the raid scenario with 60 heroes and 60 enemies ran at 42 FPS. The tests did ramp things up to as high as 240 models, and even ran some tests for older machines as well.
Ultimately, the tests show that the game’s planned 50-player invasions with 50-70 total enemies should be successful in terms of performance. Additionally, the team believes a login test with 50-100 unique heroes in one small space could go similarly well. You can get into the nuts and bolts on the blog post itself.
Yep, that does indeed bode well from a performance standpoint, all things considered. It definitely would be good to know this game is as optimized as it can be for as many machines as possible, because everyone deserves to feel like a superhero.
There’s been a lot of work on the immersion side of Ship of Heroes, and the debut of the Ship of Heroes day/night cycle video is giving followers of the developing MMO another new look at how life on the titular spacecraft feels for both the citizenry and its superpowered protectors.
The video in question has had time sped up for demonstration purposes, but the game’s regular cycle will happen every three hours in real time. The video features the signature character Meltdown checking out Apotheosis City during the daytime and nighttime, with the intent of showing off all the fancy lighting and NPC interactions.
According to the presser we’ve received, this marks the final major hurdle the devs have had to clear before starting work on the game’s login test. It also lauds the team’s development philosophy of building a core and then iterating on top of it. In other words, it’s the same Apotheosis City as shown before, only better.
You can judge for yourself just how much better and take a peek at the nightlife of the Ship of Heroes in the video below. There’s also an associated dev blog if you prefer words over moving images.
While it’s great to see the game’s world coming to life (or as close of an approximation to life as to allow one to suspend their disbelief), we’re more intrigued by the word that this is the last roadblock in the way to the MMO’s greater testing. Here’s hoping to learn more firm details on that front very soon.
While seeing pictures and words about civilians and cars is one thing, seeing it in full motion is completely another. That’s what’s on offer with the most recent Ship of Heroes developer update video.
The video mentions once again that this new NPC activity is all about immersion to give players of Ship of Heroes a sense of a living world. The video takes place during sometime about midday, but players will see NPC activity change depending on what time it is, with fewer cars on the road during early morning hours given as an example.
The video also shows off some of the distinct behaviors of pedestrian NPCs, such as a citizen standing on a platform and giving a speech to a small group of others. The video also points out that NPC outfits are designed with different professions in mind.
As mentioned previously, a video showing off the game’s day/night cycle is next up, along with the login test, a raid test, and an upgrade to Unreal Engine. For now, you can watch Apotheosis Citizens mill about in the embed below.
This sort of thing is one of those features that you don’t really notice is missing until you see footage before and after. These new NPC movements really do bring a sense of a lived-in world to Ship of Heroes. As always, we’re continuing to look forward to what else the devs of this MMORPG have lined up next.
However much I’d like Ship of Heroes to be a playable thing sooner, I also concede that these things take time, obviously. Even so, a new Ship of Heroes milestone list has been published on the game’s forums with a quick rundown of what the team has pulled off to this point and what they’re looking forward to in the next couple of months.
The post once again points to its recent addition of cars and civlians to the game, along with plans for further “immersion updates” like adding a running train. Videos are also in the works showing off both the more immersive Apotheosis City and the game’s day/night cycle.
There’s also a word about new hirings and staff losses from the team. Namely, a new senior artist arrival just as one departed. According to the post, this is a “steady trend” for the team, as other studios see what the game’s staff are up to and then recruit them. That said, all the key dev slots are filled.
The post closed out with another update regarding the login test and its delay. This time, an internal error with nVidia cards suddenly performing poorly cropped up out of nowhere. The devs have smoothed out that fresh little wrinkle however and the login test should be soon. Shortly after that, the game’s Invasion Test should begin, barring something bursting in to flames during the login test.
So, yes, work indeed does continue at pace. Despite our perceptions of this game’s update movement, seeing this list puts things into perspective. Blame our own impatience; we just super miss City of Heroes a lot.
Up to this point, the primary hub location Apotheosis City in Ship of Heroes pretty barren of other life. That’s changed in a recent preview from the devs, bringing Ship of Heroes pedestrians and vehicles into the location for the first time.
After some wrangling of tech to ensure the MMO runs at a reasonable clip, the devs decided that over 100 civilians can be in any one area of the map, with players able to witness about 20 at a time. Operating vehicular traffic has also been added on with the combined efforts of several team members.
That said, there’s still room for improvement on the civilian behavior front, including having different positions for NPCs who sit at a bench or having them run away during an attack on the location.
The dev blog also closed with some words about the MMO’s future update plans, which include a couple of new videos and continued bug fixing to make the login test happen. The team is also nearly at a point where they’ll upgrade to Unreal Engine 4.20.
For the time being, you can take in some of the city views, including an animated gif of civilians and cars in motion, on the game’s website.
Apotheosis City definitely seems more alive with these new NPC additions, but we also have to remark that development of this particular CoH successor does seem to be taking a remarkably long time. Ideally, the continued updates to Unreal Engine will settle at a point where more meaningful gameplay updates will be worked out.
The past few months has been busy for the folks over at Heroic Games if a list of Ship of Heroes development milestones is anything to go by. In a series of forum posts, Casey McGeever takes an incredibly deep dive into updates being made to the game and their impact overall.
The list of milestones in question goes over a nuts-and-bolts lineup of things added to the MMO, including updating to UE 4.18, adding the TrueSKY day/night system, and a host of other features to gameplay, UI and more.
On the subject of a couple of those updates, McGeever elaborated on a few of the bigger hurdles that needed to be cleared as a result. For example, the game’s night/day cycle engine TrueSKY ended up requiring more work to get lighting, shadows and even the effects of subtle powers like buffs to be visible.
Finally, a word was offered about the introduction of an FPS tracker, which will likely be useful for the devs and players to gauge performance once the MMO begins its mass login test. McGeever noted that the test will be running in UE 4.18, but version 4.20 of the engine released within the last week and will be applied to future builds due to a number of features that will allow the game to run more smoothly.
If you’re the sort who’d rather see instead of read, the folks at Ship of Heroes also kindly attached some fresh screenshots of the game’s new lighting systems in action, which can be seen below.
As usual, Mr. McGeever is eager to share everything that the team at Ship of Heroes is up to, which will either be of great interest to fans of the game or will cause some to rest their head in an open palm, wondering why there isn’t some playable build yet. To which we answer: read the forum links above; they’re working on it, bub. Besides, as those screenshots can attest, things are looking pretty good for this one overall.