We’re rolling out all our awards throughout December beginning on the 11th and running to the 29th, when we announce our MMO of the year. And that doesn’t even count our blooper awards and the dozens of other end-of-the-year articles we’re pumping out!
Brianna 'Bree' Royce
Bree is an unrepentant escapist with a predilection for MMOs. When not compulsively proofreading cereal boxes and newspapers, she can be found modding, PvPing on the auction hall, and touring the Next Big Thing with her guild on a quest for the elusive perfect game.
Working As Intended and Ask Mo are her pet op-ed columns, but she also pens Daily Grinds and compiles both Massively Overthinking and the Week in Review. You can hear her ramble about MMOs every week on the Massively OP podcast. If you're nice, she'll even talk about something other than Star Wars Galaxies.
Personal blog: Skycandy
Favorite MMOs: SWG, CoH, Glitch, GW2, GW1, WoW, MH
We weren’t surprised at all to find out this week that Wild West Online wasn’t actually going to make its planned Steam early access launch this year and will instead delay into 2018. But most of us were surprised to hear that one of the reasons is that the game is basically giving up on its free-for-all PvP system, which is probably for the best as the bounty system as it stood was ineffective. Instead, the developers will be implementing a faction-based PvP system, sans corpse looting, in an attempt to reduce griefing and teamkilling. It might rope in more MMORPG players, but we’re doubting the early adopters are too happy.
Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.
They aren’t dressing it up with “burndown” hoopla, but City State Entertainment’s devs are in just that kind of check-it-off testing mode with Camelot Unchained’s development as they push their way to the long-delayed beta one. In this week’s dev update, Tyler Rockwell explains that the team continues work on its template component system, the Dragonfang scenario and Place of Power maps, scenario automation, NPC tech, the world space UI, combat effects, lady clothes, armor animations, the patcher art, and skill buttons – although really they could’ve saved themselves a lot of trouble and just made a single I-win button, am I right?
Books are also on the agenda! “Jon began work sculpting out different Realm variations of books, the magic tomes a caster might use as a type of focus,” Rockwell says. “These, like our other weapons, are being designed to include interchangeable pieces that can be used in crafting.”
“We continue to push forward on the needs for Beta 1, while making improvements to not only combat, but also gameplay. This is part of our commitment, through the Dragon Circle concept, to provide our patient Backers with a more fun experience during testing, up to and into Beta 1.”
Back in October, we (hopefully) put Immortal Thrones on your radar as part of our MMOs you’ve never heard of series. If not, then today’s post will be your introduction to one of the rare 3-D mobile MMORPGs that doesn’t have a mega-IP behind it. It’s actually the brainchild of Chinese studio Zloong, and it’s been live on iOS and Android since only October.
Today, it’s patched up with a whopper of an update that includes the new Temple Relic dungeon, an achievement album, a new pet system, world ranking, optimization, and tweaks to something called Tarot Showdown. And lest you think this is just some mobile grinder, consider this new bit:
“In addition, players can choose to embark on a different kind of quest: marriage! The game will be adding a new system and dungeon that will allow players to marry, fight together, and win thrilling rewards.”
Anybody tried this one yet?
Dammit Australia. As if buying lockboxes in video games isn’t bad enough, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds means to make you chase them in real life.
Apparently, Xbox Australia is doing real-life supply drops in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne this weekend. The “dropped” crates have tons of loot – genuinely good loot, from the sound of it, including Xbox One Xes, controllers, codes, and PUBG loot and codes too. You basically need to hang out on Facebook to puzzle out the clues that’ll guide you to the drops and hopefully get you there first with the password so you can collect your shinies.
It’s basically high-stakes geocaching, but we’re betting that nobody playing has any idea what that is. Then again, you don’t technically need to care about PUBG to participate, now do you? The hoopla kicks off on Saturday, so if you’re down under, check out Facebook for the event deets.
As we do every year, today we’re going to peer back into the depths of last year’s staff predictions for the genre and the games within it to determine just how we fared. After all, what would be the fun of making predictions if we couldn’t have a laugh at how wrong we were a year later? So let’s dig in and find out whether we nailed it or failed it!
Is Star Citizen alpha 3.0 going to make it past the PTU testers to the live server by Christmas? It’s looking pretty tight. According to the game’s weekly Around the Verse, CIG is “making steady progress” thanks to the latest influx of testers, thousands of whom are helping the studio test stability and server performance on some of the heavy game features (like shopping). The team says it has 240 must-fix issues to go before 3.0 goes “live.”
The second half of this week’s episode digs into “gravlev tech,” which is basically a fancy way of explaining the physics system that makes bikes appear to levitate off the ground when traveling on planetary surfaces, without using some sort of kludgey “invisible wheel” to make it happen. Hoverbikes, basically, but as realistic-looking as possible. Check it all out below!
The most peculiar comment thread erupted in MJ’s recent post about Secret World Legends’ Krampusnacht. In response to the casual note that the holiday event rewards had been announced by the community manager in Funcom’s Discord channel, MMO readers expressed furious annoyance that details of that sort were being disseminated in obscure chats instead of through official channels accessible to everyone.
MOP commenter Greaterdivinity rather colorfully requested that developers stop using chat channels “for delivering information to the community at large,” not out of specific dislike of Discord but because studios must surely know that they’re reaching only the tiniest sliver of their full audience that way. The alternative “doesn’t even need to be a forum,” commenter Styopa chimed in. “Forums are for interacting and dialogue. I would be happy if they just had a single reliable go-to source for current game information. Like, say, an official web page?”
Now don’t go getting all reasonable! Save that for the polls! How should MMORPG studios communicate to players? Choose all that apply in today’s Leaderboard:
This week’s rumor that Tencent may be porting Daybreak’s H1Z1 eastward has proven true, as the Chinese megacorp and Daybreak announced late last night that “H1Z1 is officially coming to China.”
“This partnership will give Tencent the exclusive rights to publish H1Z1 in China. We will be working side by side with Tencent to ensure H1Z1 remains true to its spirit. Our top priority is to deliver a high-quality, competitive game that’s fun to watch and play, and we will work with Tencent to make improvements to the overall optimization of the game and to build fast networks and servers for players. We will continue to invest in powerful anti-cheat technologies to maintain a fair and fun gameplay experience.”
Daybreak says it’s working through Tencent to have the streaming ban on the game lifted in the region too. “Working closely with Tencent, we want to create the most accessible experience possible that is respectful of cultural preferences and values,” it says, echoing the same song and dance many western games companies must perform to pass legal muster in the regime.
The Abyss Challenge League also begins today. “Coinciding with the launch of Path of Exile: War for the Atlas, we’re introducing the Abyss Challenge League,” says Grinding Gear Games. “Fight ancient foes that spill forth from the cracks beneath your feet as you journey across Wraeclast, and claim valuable new Abyss Jewels to customise your characters and items in new ways.” The Xbox One launch is scheduled for later this month, so you won’t have too long to wait, though you can check out our detailed preview of the expansion while you do so!
Massively OP will be streaming the expansion today at 3 p.m. EST, assuming the servers come up right at the scheduled time, so join in the fun on OPTV!
Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris has already been out a few days and… it’s not exactly lighting the world on fire. Core fanboys aren’t happy and are advising folks to just hold their wallets until Bungie gets its house in order. I’m down to just one guildie obsessively playing. And the hype? The hype for Destiny 1 was a surge that carried for months. D2 hype seems to have fizzled out.
All of that was in my mind already with MOP Patron Roger dropped the perfect topic in my inbox. “I’ve been more in pen and paper games recently than MMOs, but I have been playing something that gives me that MMO feel: Destiny 2.” he writes. “Have any of you guys played it yet? If so, how do you feel if MMOs and massive-coop-online games met closer in the middle?”
For starters, I am digging “massively co-op”! So let’s tackle Roger’s query and mine together. How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch? Were you one of those folks who said, “PC or bust,” and are you still PCing? What happened to the hype? Where did Bungie go wrong? And above all else, do you think Destiny 2 is that perfect midpoint between MMORPG and co-op shooter? Will it have an impact on the way the genre is developed moving forward, or will that be left to future games like Anthem?
Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
Did you think Christmas came too early this year? One of my hobbies was already rolling out Valentine’s Day hoopla in August, so I feel you. Escape from Tarkov, however, has already moved on to New Year’s. We’ll let this one slide, however, since the game is focused on its open beta launch, so the New Year’s event is really a stress test that kicks off on December 28th and is intended to attract people who’ve never tested before. “Seven-day access to the game will be granted to a part of the players, who will be picked randomly among the total number of subscribers, with bias for those who have been registered earlier,” says the team.
Previous beta testers (and preorder purchasers, of course) will also pick up a pair of week-long access keys to hand out to their mates.
So what’s on the horizon for the game?