MMO News Roundup

I’m trying an experiment here: A list of MMO news that I found noteworthy during the week. I’m trying this slightly retro blogging format because, to be brutally honest, for most MMO topics, I have a lot of trouble summoning up more than a few sentences of commentary, which results in a glut of unfinished blog drafts and a paucity of published posts (ha!). The challenge here will be finding a picture to use.

Not at all related, but something I did this week.

Chronicles of Elyria is dropping SpatialOS. I know almost nothing about this specific game, but you couldn’t throw a rock last year without hearing about how SpatialOS was going to change the world. Now we learn that changing the world is apparently too expensive. In the dev update, Caspian wrote, “In January of 2017 we began the long process of taking what was mostly an offline, single-player game…” Stop right there! Why?? Why ruin it?? Okay, and lastly:

Project Gorgon is coming soon to Steam Early Access. My standard rule for Early Access games is to avoid them unless they are under $10. In this specific case, however, I have played Project Gorgon before, so I know exactly what to expect and I might spend more for it. I don’t want to play it through Steam, though. I hate playing MMORPGs through Steam. I hope there is a non-Steam version.

Life is Feudal is now on Steam Early Access. The real one, that is, not the stripped-down lite version(s). This game is on my radar, but I’m not paying $30 to try it. Also, as previously mentioned, I don’t like playing MMORPGs through Steam.

Final Fantasy XIV 4.2 is almost here. I have almost nothing to say about this except, oh yeah! That new patch is almost here! I didn’t realize this until recently, but Square Enix has a whole page devoted to it. Presumably, they’ve been doing preview pages for every patch and I’ve just never noticed it before. No wonder everyone always knows what’s going to be in the patch before I do! I will need to review my 4.1 post to refresh my memory on where we are in the Main Scenario.

Amazon’s New World disappeared and returned. New World disappearing would have been in last week’s post, if I’d been doing this back then. Now New World is back. The biggest news was really the leaked New World video. I didn’t watch it. Why bother? I’m supposed to start getting excited about a game that isn’t even far enough along yet to announce–let alone release–a buggy, pre-alpha, barely-compilable, full price early access edition with fully-functioning, fully-debugged cash shop? (Don’t judge me, you know every AAA game from now on is going to release like that.)

And now we know why Chronicles of Elyria can’t afford SpatialOS. They can’t attract money because of an antiquated notion of “maintaining creative control” in a world full of cash grabs, loot boxes, and micro transactions. (Personally I think it’s because they used “MEOW” in public.) High marks for integrity, but I hope they (and their employees) are prepared to go to the figurative grave for it. How about sell that single-player offline game?

Raph Koster wrote about game development costs again. No comment except that it all rings very true to me.

Albion Online is fine despite secretly firing half their team before Christmas. Nothing to worry about. Perfectly normal. The game is expanding, even! (It is plausible to reduce a development team size after launch, but seriously, who is buying that Albion Online is going gangbusters? I actually mean that literally. Who is buying Albion Online?)

Rift will be opening a subscription-only progression-ish server in Spring. Didn’t Allods Online do this? I might be tempted to try it, because I think we can all agree that Trion cheapened Rift considerably with the increasingly-aggressive cash shop, but I’m already paying a FFXIV subscription and I don’t need/want another one.

And in the gossip section of this post, I suspect one of the above stories prompted this tweet from MassivelyOP’s Bree Royce:

P. S. I’m aware that all of these links go to MassivelyOP. It’s true I’m somewhat biased in that I like MassivelyOP, but it also happens that I almost always see news there first. I actively looked for interesting stories elsewhere and couldn’t come up with any.

Fractured Announced

Blatantly stolen from

In addition to the bizarre announcement of an MMORPG based on Magic: The Gathering, last Wednesday we saw our first news about another new MMORPG called Fractured. (Not to be confused with The Repopulation’s survival spinoff of the same name. Seriously, do people never even look at the names of other games anymore?)

Once again, it’s way too early to say anything good, bad, or indifferent about Fractured. It’s going to be a sandbox. But better than any other sandbox. For reasons. Reasons that will certainly work out exactly the way they are planning them, because games never change in response to early player feedback.

Fractured is notable for being another project based on Improbable’s SpatialOS, along with Chronicles of Elyria and Worlds Adrift and others. We’ve been hearing a lot about this SpatialOS thing lately. Probably because it seems to have a pretty low barrier to entry for small development teams.

But what is SpatialOS? Presumably, SpatialOS is middleware and/or backend software/hardware that allows game developers to easily create MMORPGs with Unity. They describe it in a lot more grandiose terms than that, but that seems to be the gist of it. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve been watching it for a while now. To be honest I’m a little suspicious about Improbable’s motives, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. I just have this weird feeling that they’re trying to build some crazy DARPA military AI project and they’re somehow exploiting gamers as free labor. I just know they’ll be gathering all the behavior data from us playing these SpatialOS games and using it to create an advanced army of super soldiers.

I’m also a little worried that every new MMORPG based on SpatialOS is going to play exactly the same, and we’re going to be assaulted with a slew of games that are only differentiated from each other by the textures on the character models. But I might be overthinking that. After all, ESO and SWTOR are both based on the same Hero Engine and they are quite different.

So we shall see. Someday. Hopefully.