Update: It has been announced that the changes will be delayed until the 28th, due to map generator issues.
Hardcore survival MMO Haven & Hearth, known for over half a decade for its grueling difficulty, vast wilderness, and terrible graphics, will be transitioning to 3D near the end of August.
Haven & Hearth is popular among a certain set of dedicated players, who appreciate its stark and unforgiving take on multiplayer survival. Long before the current trend of crafting and friendly online exploration games, Haven offered the chance to spend six hours building a hut in simulated proto-Germanic wilderness before being wounded by a wild boar and finished off by a Russian man dressed in bearskins. Spawning players at a random point in its huge, coniferous expanse gives Haven & Hearth a feeling of desolation and loneliness, which it may be best for players to preserve. The only thing more hazardous than trying to swim across a river is the constant threat of having your walls battered down by someone from the Baltics. Yet the game also allows for great teamwork, player-built cities, hunting down animals and criminals alike, and all-out war between factions. Private development team Seatribe, perhaps learning lessons during the fraught production of sister game Salem: The Crafting MMO, have declared their intent to launch a new server on August 21st, featuring the new visuals and gameplay features. The game has undergone countless changes over its eight year lifespan, but this may be the biggest yet. Most contentious among the changes is likely the decision to remove the ability to spawn new characters near a player who has given you permission to do so. This makes it infinitely harder to meet up with others who you meet out of game, and compounds the sense of wandering a grand forest with only the friends you make and the friends you build. Creators Jorb and Loftar have managed and guided the development and maintenance of Haven & Hearth for all eight years, often in calm defiance of their multifarious userbase. The game is a passion project for all involved, though, and there is little reason to believe the new developments signal anything other than a continued dedication to the game’s future. You can visit the woods right now on the Haven & Hearth site, and ask how to make it work on their forums, all free of charge. Don’t get too attached though; the new world begins at the end of the month.