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Pantheon reveals its Dark Myr race

The Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen devs have revealed a new race on the fantasy MMO’s forums. The Dark Myr “hail from the planet Issul,” according to a lengthy lore snippet that details the race’s origins as well as its present status in the game’s Frail Age. Based on the associated concept art, it’s a safe bet that Pantheon’s Myr will have some sort of aquatic capabilities, as well!

Source: Forums; thanks Reht!


ARK: Survival Evolved has already sold 400,000 copies

On the surface, you could think of ARK: Survival Evolved as one step removed from zombie survival games except it has dinosaurs instead. But the game is a great deal deeper and more involved than that, explaining why it has already sold 400,000 copies for $10 million in revenue. Yes, this little game is doing quite well for itself; studio co-founder Jesse Rapczak states that the game has seen peak concurrency numbers around 64,000 players.

The lengthy interview confirms that the game’s sales thus far have covered the initial development costs, although Rapczak is reluctant to claim “profit” when there’s still more development to manage. He also discusses early access as a concept and mentions that it’s the sort of business decision that makes sense only when the game is fundamentally finished already. Check out the full interview for more details on the game’s man-eat-dinosaur development process and the future of the title.


Not So Massively: Heroes of the Storm launches, Infinite Crisis gives up

It’s been a week of mixed feelings in the land of MOBAs, with the thrill of a new game launch juxtaposed against the background of another’s impending closure. Heroes of the Storm officially launched with a series of events and celebrated with the release of new tank hero Johanna from Diablo III. Turbine announced that its DC Comics based MOBA Infinite Crisis will be officially shutting its doors on August 14th, just a few short months after launch. SMITE‘s furry little squirrel god Ratatoskr officially made his way out of the test server and into the wild, and Dota 2‘s compendium reached $12.5 million as players pump hundreds of dollars into it in attempts to win rare cosmetic skins.

League of Legends revealed plans to overhaul its user interface and revamp the skillshot code to eliminate hitbox bugs, and LoL commentator Martin “Deficio” Lynge was suspended pending an investigation of his deep connections with a pro team. Destiny increased the drop rate of Treasure Keys in patch and fixed an exploit players were using to loot Ether Chests multiple times. And Path of Exile revealed that several new low-level unique items will be coming out with its upcoming expansion, The Awakening.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!

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X-Wing spiritual successor Starfighter Inc. fails to fund

You can’t win them all, kid. And while $226,000 is an impressive chunk of money to raise for a game, it wasn’t enough to launch Starfighter Inc. into development.

The spiritual successor to the popular X-Wing space shooter, Starfighter Inc. was attempting to utilize Kickstarter as a fundraising platform to raise a quarter of a million dollars. Even though it had a strong start and was eyeing stretch goals early on, Starfighter still fell thousands short of hitting the mark.

The good news is that Impeller Studios doesn’t look to be giving up on the project, encouraging fans to stay tuned: “We’ll update the front page later today and send an announcement on our partners as well as the roadmap via the newsletter this week.”

Source: Kickstarter. Thanks to Vikingr for the tip!


Bethesda outlines your first five hours in Elder Scrolls Online

Bethesda has published a new blog post that sums up a player’s first five hours in Elder Scrolls Online. As you might expect, there’s not a lot here that’s helpful to existing fans or experienced PC players, but if you’re new and/or considering an ESO sojourn on your console, you can get a good overview of what awaits you by reading the blurb.

“One thing you should know,” Bethesda says, “is that Tamriel is huge. Seriously, huge. And it contains some places that are really, really nasty. Some quests, even early on, may send you into those nasty areas… and nothing will artificially prevent you from going there, even if you’ve just started the game.”


Das Tal is halfway to funding on Kickstarter with two days left

The halfway mark for funding is an important milestone for any Kickstarter campaign, but whether it’s a good sign or a darker one depends a lot upon when you hit it. Das Tal has hit its halfway mark for funding, but there are only two more days as of this writing for the campaign to finish up. That’s not a whole lot of time to raise the other half of funding for a successful push.

Fans and backers have been kept up to date with regular updates from the development team. The team has talked about using fan creativity to help bring ideas into the game, posted the future roadmap for the game from here on out, and implored the community to rally during this final push for funding. As a reminder, the game is opening its doors to everyone on June 9th for those who’d like to see the game in action before funding or not.


The Game Archaeologist: The Matrix Online

It’s not every year that a movie comes along that captures the pop culture zeitgeist so powerfully and so quickly as The Matrix did. I recall lugging a few college friends along to see this back in 1999 — having heard only a few sparse details about it beforehand — and coming out of the theater feeling as if we we’d been electrified. The bold mix of science fiction, martial arts, philosophy, action, and leather ensembles became the smash hit of the year, and a franchise was born.

And while we had great hopes that this would be this generation’s Star Wars, The Matrix ultimately proved to be a lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenon, impossible to recapture once unleashed. Sequels, animated shorts, video games, comic books — none rose to the height of the original film, and eventually the franchise petered out.

During this period, an odd duck of an MMO was born: The Matrix Online. When you think about it, an online virtual world where people log in and fight against programs was a really short hop from the movie series. MxO, as it was abbreviated, was an audacious game with unique features, story-centric gameplay, and a sci-fi bent in a field of fantasy competitors, and while it only lasted four years, it was enough to make a lasting impression for its community. Today, we’re going to revisit the 1s and 0s of The Matrix Online to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

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World of Warcraft inducted into World Video Game Hall of Fame

If you had to pick six of the most influential video games in history, what would they be?

For a panel of experts at the Strong Museum in Rochester, N.Y., the answer is, “Pong, Tetris, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Doom, and World of Warcraft.” The so-called “national museum of play” recently inducted its first class of picks into its Video Game Hall of Fame, which includes the still-popular fantasy MMO.

According to the museum, the six games picked had to meet certain criteria: “They’re iconic, have longevity, reach across international boundaries, and exert influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society.”

Source: Video Game Hall of Fame via Washington Post. Thanks to bambocheur for the tip!


Daybreak shifts dev focus from Landmark to EverQuest Next

Daybreak senior producer Terry Michaels has posted a new letter on the Landmark website. He says that the dev team has been shifting its focus and resources to EverQuest Next, though he has no dates to share because what the team plans to do will take “an unknown amount of iteration, tweaking, and sometimes drastic direction changes.”

Michaels also says that Landmark itself “will continue to be essential in the development of EverQuest Next.” Finally, he’s got a new screenshot to share, which you’ll find at the link below

Source: Producer’s letter; thanks Kinya and Lorgarn!


The Soapbox: The fallacy of ‘F2P insight’ in the MMO market

I read with disgust a recent piece about free-to-play and its supposed coming of age. The business model has of course run amok through the western MMO industry since Turbine’s Dungeons & Dragons Online started the dominoes rolling in 2010, and it has been the weapon of choice for separating browser/mobile game players from their money since browser/mobile games became a thing.

Whether or not free-to-play is actually good for the long-term health of the game industry is up for debate. But you wouldn’t know that if you inhale the PR smoke commonly blown by development firms that owe their existence to the business model’s built-in saturation potential rather than their ability to make quality products that consumers value.
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CCP financials for 2014 continue their downward slide

It’s become a cottage industry for EVE Online fans to try to figure out whether CCP Games is doing well or not. Gone are the days with regular crowing about subscriber numbers, and as with most companies, the focus is on publicizing the good rather than admitting what’s not going so well. A fan blog, however, legally obtained a copy of the most recent finanical report for the company and posted a lengthy and in-depth analysis of the company’s numbers through the end of 2014.

The short version is that the company reported significant losses, but analysis suggests that may have a great deal to do with writing off DUST 514 and World of Darkness assets. With some assumptions and estimates, the analysis looks solid for EVE Online itself despite the company’s 10% drop in revenue year-on-year and $15 million in negative equity. Take a look at the full analysis to check the numbers and see whether you agree with the estimates being made.

Source: marketsforISK; thanks to Hagu for the tip!


The Daily Grind: Should mature MMOs consider crowdfunding?

Massively OP commenter The_Grand_Nagus recently pointed us to a conversation on the Star Trek Online forum where a Cryptic Studios employee discussed the studio’s games’ revenues and staffing:

Game Development is directly proportional to revenue generated.

So long as a game is making more money than it costs to run, it will continue to run. And luckily, the costs to run a game are very scalable. The Dev team is most of the cost of running a game, and we can have more or fewer devs depending on the money coming in.

STO has a dev team proportional to its revenue.
NW has a dev team proportional to its revenue.
Champs has a dev team proportional to its revenue.

For the most part, there are very few scenarios where a game will simply shut down out of the blue.

It’s a dirt-simple declaration, of course, one that should give comfort to people concerned about Champions Online’s health in particular. And it made The_Grand_Nagus wonder whether the games wouldn’t be better off if players were more directly involved in directing that revenue.

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Revival devs talk character creation, whaling, and more

Revival’s latest newsletter is essential reading if you’ve missed any of the fantasy sandbox’s developer updates over the past month. Illfonic links back to missives on whaling, the mercenary life, farming, and arena combat.

Illfonic also says that the month of May included progress on the game’s character creation system, which is ” designed to give players the freedom to create a look that they genuinely identify with, while keeping their appearance in line with their heritage and their physique in tune with their stats.”

Source: Newsletter


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