DarkSpore - All News
Wednesday - March 02, 2016
DarkSpore - Closed
Darkspore has been closed for good since yesterday.
The announcement of Darkspore's imminent, permanent shutdown was actually made in December, but, tellingly, nobody noticed. But with just one week until the curtains come down for good, the word is starting to get out, and on the off-chance that any of you are still playing it, I thought you might like to know.
“Today, we are announcing that we will be closing the doors on Darkspore, effective March 1st, 2016. It’s been a great run and we hope that you have enjoyed your time with Darkspore,” EA wrote on the. “While it can be hard to say goodbye, keep in mind there are tons of awesome games available for free on Origin. Enjoy 48-hours of fun with Game Time titles such as The Sims 4 and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare or download the latest Origin On the House release and add it to your library.”
Darkspore, an action-RPG loosely based on the creature editor used in the 2008 Maxis game Spore, hasn't been spoken of around these parts since 2011. In fact, the last thing we wrote about it was a piece on games that require an always-on connection to remote servers. “Gamers and the press will speak up in favor of keeping games we paid for playable,” it concludes. “The question remains, though: Will developers and publishers listen?”
It's a question that's been answered in the negative many times previously, but as a matter of principle it's still annoying when it happens. In the case of Darkspore, however, I have to suspect that its loss won't be overly lamented.
Tuesday - July 02, 2013
DarkSpore - Pulled Off Steam and DRM Problems
IncGamers has a new article about DarkSpore being pulled off steam, and the games constant drm woes. Tell me again DRM bothers no one and that cloud based gaming is the future again.
Something strange is happening with EA and Maxis ill-fated action-RPG, Darkspore. Reports began circulating today that the game has been removed from Steam (at the time of writing, this is still the case.) Right now, it is still available to purchase through EA’s own Origin service.
For months, people who’ve purchased the game have run into technical problems that have prevented them accessing and playing the title. A server issue known as “Error 73003” has dogged the game for extensive periods, while another error (“Error Code 3”) has arisen in the past few weeks. Both are, of course, related to the title’s insistence on a DRM scheme that requires a persistent, “always on” internet connection. There is no method of playing offline, so these errors have meant that Darkspore is effectively unplayable for many people. The precise number is impossible to determine, but it’s enough to sustain regular complaints.
Until recently, there was no official word from either EA or Maxis about possible fixes. The main spokesperson/community manager on Darkspore’s official forums goes by the title “Inquisitor Laine” and has been using the following statement to summarise the state of the game:
“Darkspore is no longer developed. It is for almost all intents & purposes an abandoned title. If you cannot play the game & have flicked through technical issues for any fixes, then contact EA Customer Support; especially if it regards CD-Keys or refunds.
Error 73003 has gone unfixed & remains an issue.
Error Code 3 has arisen for the majority/all & remains an issue.
I will however keep the forums here as clean & tidy as possible in my spare time. Why? Well why not. If it helps anyone with minor problems, or find their way somewhere, then that’s great.
I wish you all luck, no matter what path you choose with Darkspore.”
Laine doesn’t actually work for EA or Maxis. As he himself says “I don’t actually work for anyone, nor do I get paid. This is a voluntary position and in all reality there’s not much reason for me to still do it, but I do.” That both companies were happy to leave an unpaid volunteer in charge of all community relations tells you everything you need to know about their attitude towards actually mending or maintaining the game in any significant fashion.
Monday - May 02, 2011
DarkSpore - Review @ GameSpot
GameSpot has reviewed Darkspore for a middling 7.5/10:
That isn't to say that Darkspore feels totally fresh, however. There's too little context for all this hacking and slashing: it's all grinding for levels and loot, with little sense of purpose. That might sound like a damning flaw, but some hours in, the game hits its stride, throwing greater challenges at you on the battlefield and balancing the dungeon crawling with the satisfaction of maintaining the look and equipment of up to 100 different heroes. These elements don't fully compensate for the missed opportunities, but they're enough to make for dozens upon dozens of entertaining hours in front of your monitor.
Friday - April 29, 2011
DarkSpore - Reviews @ TTH, PC Gamer, PC Games.de
Here's a small handful of Darkspore reviews. Grinding again comes up as an issue for mixed results. First, MMO site Ten Ton Hammer says 84% and "Very Good":
So we’ve got ourselves a bit of a conundrum here. Darkspore is a wonderful tideover game with solid gameplay, excellent collection & loot chase values, all the varied difficulty and challenge you could want, and a beautiful presentation to back it all up.
But perhaps the developers paid a little too much attention to the enthusiastic beta playerbase and over-estimated the gaming mainstream's willingness to grind. You wouldn't think 15 minutes per level would wear you out, but - as was my experience with StarCraft 2 matches - the intensity of the game wears on you. As much as I wanted to chain missions, I also wanted to take a break, and that impulse won out more the further into the game I went. Perhaps it's the intensity of the gameplay, maybe it's the lack of identification with the characters in the story. But one thing is for sure: the low chance to keep any of your characters in rares or epics without grinding ad nauseum (especially in light of the myriad characters players have to equip) makes the loot chase something of a wild goose chase.
PC Gamer is far less enthused, with a score of 60%:
The big idea is its best: instead of controlling a single hero, you can instantly swap between a team of three cartoony-looking heroes, each with its own set of powers and distinct health and energy pools, and each contributing one power that any team member can use. I quickly assembled a team of heroes with powers I liked, led by Arborus, the self-healing, plant-based tank who grows to several times his size as long as I maintained a steady stream of kills with his club. I even customized his accessories as best I could to make him my own.
Darkspore then goes out of its way to sabotage this by treating Arborus like a piece of walking loot, encouraging me to swap him out by unlocking new heroes as I leveled up. I wasn’t forced to, but it’s the only way to get new powers. Disposable heroes make customization feel futile, and I soon stopped bothering to learn their names—they were just Robot Guy or Plasma Dog-Thing to me.
...and for German readers, Alrik sends in the review at PC Games.de.
Tuesday - April 26, 2011
DarkSpore - Review @ IGN
IGN has the first review of DarkSpore we've seen, with the game not actually released yet. The result is modestly positive with praise for the customisation but criticism of "broken" multiplayer and more:
There are some really great things about Darkspore. The vast amount of customization options and the simple but fun battle system kept me interested enough to overlook the poor execution of story. However, a broken competitive multiplayer system and a single-player experience that forces you to excessively replay level after level in order to get powerful enough to continue make it obvious Maxis needs a little more practice developing games that aren’t simulations.
Thursday - March 31, 2011
DarkSpore - Play the Beta until Friday
The Darkspore beta is available on Steam until April 1st (no, not a joke), so you have a day or so to try it out if you are interested.
Friday - March 18, 2011
DarkSpore - Delayed to April 26
Darkspore has been delayed from late March to April 26th, according to The Big Download, after feedbck from the closed beta testing. Apparently there's an open beta coming, as well.
Thursday - February 24, 2011
DarkSpore - Hero Video
Blue's has kicked up a new Darkspore video to their Youtube channel, showing off the Viper hero character.
Source: Blues News
Tuesday - February 15, 2011
DarkSpore - Video, Beta
Worthplaying has a new Darkspore video and news a five-week beta is about to kick off - apparently there's still chance to get in for anyone interested.
Monday - February 14, 2011
DarkSpore - Preview @ RPS
Yet another article at Rock, Paper, Shotgun today - this time a preview of Darkspore:
That basic game? Diablo, of course. It’s a hack-and-slash.
It’s not however a brainless hack-and-slash. It goes without saying that Darkspore is nowhere near as ambitious as its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t quickly start noticing interesting tweaks and edits to the stock formula. The monsters for instance, even in the opening levels, are far more varied than you’d expect – in behaviour, not just looks. Standard goons included teleporting enemies, enemies that run around eating corpses to become stronger, enemies whose shots teleport you, enemies who become temporarily invincible at 50% of their health, enemies who do hit and run attacks, enemies firing incredibly slow balls of plasma… all mixed and matched to make much more interesting battles than simply fighting ten skeletons or ten bats. Later, replaying a level, it became obvious that there was a Director at work behind the scenes, mixing things up and thankfully not opting to send the same Horde of tough enemies a second time around. Things like that make a difference, even if you are just running through mazes disguised as planets, each with yet another Horde/stage boss at the end.
Wednesday - February 02, 2011
DarkSpore - New Video
Blue's has a new Darkspore trailer - here's the description:
Darkspore Hero Spotlight #2 is another trailer showing off one of the heroes in Darkspore, the Spore-inspired action/RPG in development at EA's Maxis studio. Word is: "Darkspore Systems Designer Paul Sottisanti takes us through a new Hero Spotlight Video, showcasing the abilities of the Gravitic War Master, Andromeda, a Tempest Class hero and one of the more than 25 characters that gamers will be able to collect, upgrade and customize."
Source: Blues News
Monday - January 31, 2011
DarkSpore - Previews @ GameDynamo, CCC
A couple of previews of DarkSpore. First, GameDynamo:
Throughout your planetary adventure you’ll befriend various heroes like the warrior-class Goliath, the mage-class Sage, and Meditron, the healer. Each character sports a unique design and specific abilities, ranging from a reptilian behemoth equipped with an energy sword to a tarantula that can sap the souls of the living. Darkspore abandons Spore’s creature creator in favor of a vast equipment customization system. As you defeat enemies, you’ll collect various pieces of armor, ranging from chest and shoulder plates to helmets that can be interactively placed onto your characters. With hundreds of equipment items and twenty-five unique characters to collect, each with four variants, it will be almost impossible to have exactly the same hero as any other player online in either cooperative or player versus player modes.
...and Cheat Code Central:
Like with Spore, Maxis is promising almost limitless possibilities with hundreds of abilities and tens of thousands of collectable body parts and armor that can be used to create unique creatures. The Spore Creature Editor has been enhanced to promote deep customization. However, we won't know until the game comes out how unique the creatures will be or if it turns out that there is one way to put together all these elements and make the perfect warrior. Of course, then it would just be Pokemon all over again. Sure there are 150 Pokemon to train, but if you're going to battle your friends, you're just going to end up bringing six Mewtwos. It's unlikely that Darkspore will be as bad as this, but like politicians, video games can rarely live up to all the promises they make.
Thursday - January 27, 2011
DarkSpore - Hero Editor Video
The Bigdownload has an apparently exclusive video preview of the Hero Editor from DarkSpore. A snip from the accompanying blurb:
If nothing else, Spore features an amazing creature creator that has an unprecedented amount of flexibility - allowing players to let their imaginations run free. So, it's no surprise that the editor should be the centerpiece of the action role-playing game Darkspore, where it's more powerful than ever. In this producer video, Gameplay Engineer Casey Weaver describes the ways players can use the Hero Editor to modify and upgrade characters in a variety of ways using body parts collected throughout the game. Parts can be stripped of their stats and embedded with new ones from a different item, so players can maintain the look they want for their heroes. Best of all, players won't be limited to just one hero, so they can keep a bunch of different creatures on reserve and select the one that best suits a mission.
Wednesday - January 26, 2011
DarkSpore - Box Art
Wednesday - January 19, 2011
DarkSpore - Preview and Release Date
There's a rather good preview for this game over at Gamereactor UK, probably because it's based on hands-on experience with this game. The author praises this game, comparing it to Diablo, but with a few elements that helps set it apart:
There are 25 heroes or characters to play around with in Darkspore. You unlock them as you progress in the game, and you assemble a team of three that you use in each mission. Each hero has a specific type and class. Zrin for instance, is a plasma type and a sentinel class. He uses his big flaming fists to do damage up close. Another example would be Sage, a bio type whose a tempest. Sage is more of a mage type who does ranged damage and has healing powers, he also spawns little helpers who engage enemies at close range. You can switch between the three characters in your team at any time (short cool down after switching), but the real beauty lies in how each hero comes with a squad ability that can be used by all members of the group.
This post on EA's official forums by Maxis community manager "Maxiscactus" reveals that the release date for this game is 29th of March for North America and 1st of April for Europe.
There's been a lot of buzz on when the official release date for Darkspore will be. You've heard it here first. Darkspore will be released in North America on March 29th, 2011 and in Europe on April 1st, 2011. Can't wait for the game to get into your hands. The countdown is getting closer and closer!
Wednesday - January 12, 2011
DarkSpore - Zrin Video
RPGFan has a video of Zrin, a hero character from DarkSpore. You can also head to Electronic Theatre for details on the Collector's Edition and the box art.
Thanks, Omega, for this and several other items.
Saturday - January 01, 2011
DarkSpore - Video Interview
OMG! Yahoo has a video interview with Michael Arsers, a Maxis Gameplay Engineer, on Darkspore. The background video shows quite a bit of footage over the 2 minutes. Thanks, Omega.
Friday - December 24, 2010
DarkSpore - Interview @ RPS
RPS: Can you explain the concept behind risk/reward, and collection strategy?
Perry: Darkspore has a pretty unique campaign system that we call “chaining”. Instead of playing through one long campaign, in Darkspore, you’ll play on alien planet levels that are about 15 minutes long. Before each level, you’ll learn what enemies are on the planet, and then choose which squad of heroes you’ll bring to fight them. After you fight through the level and defeat the horde or boss at the end, you’re given a major choice: collect a special item of gear loot and return to your spaceship, or forfeit the loot and continue on to another planet level. Why continue? The enemies on the next planet are harder to defeat, but the special loot reward at the end is much better. However, your heroes had better be prepared to win the next level, because if you lose, you won’t get any loot at all.
Monday - November 15, 2010
DarkSpore - Videos @ PC Games.de
Alrik points out 18 minutes of video footage for Darkspore at PC Games.de.
Tuesday - November 09, 2010
DarkSpore - Preview, Interview @ Strategy Gamer
Strategy Gamer has a preview and interview combo for Darkspore. From the preview:
The single-player campaign (which can also be done in co-op) is relatively simple, and even the story is fairly robust. The galaxy has come under threat from a mutated life form called the Darkspore, and you must travel from planet to planet (each planet is a level) in order to stem the tide. The dynamics of the campaign are interesting, as they involve a kind of risk/reward system that can help keep things fresh. There are a set number of planets, but the order they appear in is randomised depending on the difficulty level you choose. You play through the characters you collect, and at the beginning of every level you can choose your squad of three to take down to the planet based on the information available, and when you win, you're presented with a choice.
...and from the interview with Executive Producer Mike Perry:
Strategy Informer: What's the context of this game in terms of the single-player? Who ARE you in Darkspore?
Mike Perry: We've got a fiction that in the game you are a Progenitor, and Progenitors are masters of science and DNA. So you're able to create these creatures called genetic heroes that have these abilities so that they fight the forces of the Darkspore. The Darkspore are a mutant genetic strain controlled by something called E-DNA, and it has spread throughout the Galaxy. And the only way to defeat the Darkspore is to build up your army of genetic heroes and fight them yourself. You play directly as the creatures in game though, you're never present.
Saturday - November 06, 2010
DarkSpore - Previews @ G4TV, IGN
G4TV serves up a preview of Darkspore:
While the bulk of Darkspore is a cooperative or single player campaign based around killing a host of monsters and gathering genetic components to modify your heroes (this is a Spore game, after all), its multiplayer looks promising for players who long for a more competitive experience. PvP will focus around teams of one to four players and throw them into arenas where they do a "best of three" style match. Each level has been crafted so each round should only take between two and three minutes, meaning players won't get stuck in a match they're hating (read: losing terribly) for very long. Not that losing is the end of the world, as after each round the loser gets to pick a new set of heroes to take into battle.
Wednesday - November 03, 2010
DarkSpore - Beta Sign-Ups
The Darkspore site is taking beta sign-ups, although there are no details on when the program will start.
Wednesday - September 29, 2010
DarkSpore - Combat Trailer
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a combat trailer for Darkspore, promoting the 4-player co-op and 'unparalleled customisation". It looks pretty frantic hacky-slashy, but more interesting than the teaser trailer suggested to me.
Friday - August 27, 2010
DarkSpore - Alternate Reality Game
Despite the name of the alternate reality game’s website, Help EDNA does not center around collecting merit badges for assisting an old lady across the street. Rather, it refers to Exponential DNA, a substance used by a race of creatures known as the Crogenitors to create a galactic scourge, the Darkspore. The alternate reality game centers around Earth’s first contact with aliens who are presumably seeking help against the Darkspore. So far, all communication has been mediated through a text-based interface administered by an artificial intelligence at the Help EDNA website. Reminiscent of old text-based adventures, players must guess at commands based on information contained on the frequently changing website.
Thursday - August 19, 2010
DarkSpore - Hands-On @ GameSpot
DarkSpore has been previewed at GameSpot in a new hands-on:
The controls are really easy, and if you are at all familiar with hack-and-slash PC games, then this should be a no-brainer. To move your creature, you left click anywhere on the ground and attack by pointing and clicking vigorously on an enemy. Numerical hotkeys are lined up for you to use your special abilities, which are unique to each creature. We played around with a stun attack, chain lightning, and a bubble shield, which came in handy when we faced the world's boss. You have an ammunition bar that drains, so you can't spam these abilities forever. Some of these abilities can only be used if all the members of your squad are alive, so it's important to pay close attention to your health. Using the Q, W, E keys, you can quickly swap out members of your team when your health is running low--but be warned that some foes can use an ability that prevents you from switching. As you pick up healing items, your entire squad will heal together, so you'll be as good as new in no time. There is a major focus on loot in Darkspore, so as you slash your way through, there will be plenty of items to pick up and catalysts to buff your heroes.
...and screens over at IGN.