MMORPGs are massively multiplayer online roleplaying games, our core focus here on Massively OP. MMORPGs are traditionally differentiated from mere multiplayer games by their persistent worlds, massive playerbases and/or servers, customizable character development, and always-online status. [Follow the MMORPG category’s RSS feed]
A new five-part video community Q&A with Crowfall’s developers tackles an interesting range of questions, such as the recent combat revamp and what happens at the end of each of the game’s campaign worlds.
However, the meat of the discussion came as the team talked about how skill and currency acquisition are intricately connected in Crowfall. The devs aren’t talking about stuff like gold here; “currency” in this light is anything you do or use that has fluctuating numbers or levels, such as health, rage, or ore. The team sees skills as currency transfers: Rage transfers into damage, which takes away health. The goal of a good player is manipulating currency transfers most effectively.
Does this make your head hurt? Listen to the discussion below and see how the devs are approaching this game from a slightly different design perspective.
Activision–Blizzard has posted its Q4 2015 financial report, touting record digital revenues up 20% year over year, thanks in part to game exports to Chinese audiences, but revenues were down quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. CEO Bobby Kotick says that once the company’s acquisition of King Digital is complete — and isn’t yet, so it’s not reflected here — “[Activision] will have the largest game network in the world, with over 500 million users playing [its] games every month.”
According to the investor call, 2015 was the first year more than 50% of Blizzard’s revenue was derived from sources other than World of Warcraft. Mike Morhaime told investors that WoW saw quarter-over-quarter growth for the game following last fall’s BlizzCon. It is unclear how growth is defined in this context.
We aren’t hearing hard numbers on a World of Warcraft subscriber bump or dip today, thanks to Blizzard’s decision that Q3 2015 was to be “the last quarter [it planned] to provide subscriber numbers” because of other metrics (like “engagement” metrics) that it claims are “better indicators of the overall Blizzard business performance.” The game dropped 100k subs in Q3 2015, 1.5 million subs in Q2 2015, and 2.9 million subs in Q1 2015 following the launch of the Warlords of Draenor expansion in November 2014. At last known count, it stood at 5.5 million subs, down from its 2010 peak of 12 million.
The Legion expansion is still expected to launch this summer following the franchise’s movie.
One of the big advantages of Forgotten Realms setting is that it comes pre-packaged with well-known fictional characters that have achieved some sort of special standing in fantasy geek circles. Neverwinter
has been milking those names for all their worth, too, having trotted these celebrities out in previous updates.
With the upcoming Maze Engine expansion, Neverwinter is calling for a reprise of these famous faces. A new dev diary discusses which characters will come back for autographs, photo ops, and quests. Expect to see heavy-hitters like Drizzt, Bruenor Battlehammer, Linu La’neral, Regis, and Makos coming back for this epic story.
Oh, and of course Minsc and Boo will show up to delight their legion of fans. “Now, with a new demon lord and the Maze Engine threatening the Underdark, Minsc and Boo are ready to fight! ‘Pointy horns! Meet pointy sword! AND HAMSTER!'”
If you’re coming from a normal MMO, you might want to be careful what mission you take in Elite Dangerous. Missions that are carried out can make a significant impact — both positive and negative — on various in-game factions that a player is attempting to influence.
Missions and the progression system of Elite Dangerous will be treated to a nice overhaul with the upcoming Patch 2.1: The Engineers. Frontier said that it’s tweaking the missions system to create more of a narrative and communicate to the player what his or her actions produce. Changes with the patch include a new level of positive reputation, a revamped missions board at stations, and a clearer understanding of the consequences produced by taking on these tasks.
One other little change? Message persistence: “The final key aspect for progression is the communication within the mission itself. We’re expanding the functionality of the inbox so that messages will persist, so important or interesting messages do not get lost. This allows us to highlight the different stages in the mission more effectively and so creating a richer experience with it.”
The weird thing about our perception of time is that we don’t always realize just how much things are changing around us unless we take the effort to notice or have one of those jarring experiences in which we’re faced with the past. What always astonishes me is how we get used to gradual progress in technology without realizing how dependent we’ve gotten on such things.
Take video games, for example, because this is an MMO site and we talk about them quite a lot. A game that you enjoyed 10 or 20 years ago might be absolutely horrid to you now because it lacks a lot of features that have become commonplace in the meantime (personally, I’m always irked that my console JRPG characters don’t regen health after battles). Then again, these games might hold up well and pass the test of time.
As much as we whine and moan about the seeming lack of progress in MMOs, the truth is that in many ways, we used to have it so much worse back in the earlier days of the industry. Oh, there was a lot to admire about the first couple of waves of MMOs, but they were still figuring things out and contained quite a few irritating features as a result. Today, let’s look at 10 MMO problems that we don’t really have these days thanks to newer features and a desire to make games more casual friendly.
Happy Anniversary, Massively OP! It’s been a busy year for us, and a great year to launch a website centering around MMOs. Through reader support, we were able to kick things off with a bang. And one of the items that we promised in our Kickstarter campaign was a year of the comic strip based around the MOP mascot, Mo.
We thought it would be fun to bring the strip back for the anniversary of the site. The strip has always been a tongue-in-cheek take at MMO tropes, so where better to comment about some of the silly anniversary gifts you get in MMORPGs.
Welcome Mo back in this week’s special edition comic…
EVE Online‘s passive skill training system lets players slowly accumulate skill points over time, and until recently there was no way to actively skip ahead of that the curve. With the recent introduction of Skill Extractors, players can now remove skill points from their characters’ heads and trade them on the open market as Skill Injectors. Other players can then buy the injectors and shove them into their own heads for a boost in skill points that can then be assigned to any skill. Tens of thousands of injectors have been bought and sold since they were introduced just a few days ago, and a few injector addicts have already come out of the woodwork.
Player Stromgren of DARKNESS. alliance used injectors to become EVE‘s highest-skilled character literally overnight, adding over 100 million skill points that would normally take 4.3 years to train passively. Stromgren gets only 150,000 skill points per injector due to diminishing returns for high-skill characters, so he needed to use 677 injectors to get to the point he is at now. At current market value, those injectors are worth around 437 billion ISK or 350 PLEX, putting the real-world value of his escapade at between $5204.75 and $6982.5 depending on the cash value used for PLEX. There’s no way to tell whether Stromgren purchased the injectors with ISK from the sale of PLEX or ISK he already had, but it nevertheless represents a huge cost.
For a game that isn’t even released so far, Shroud of the Avatar is making serious bank on player housing. From entry-level plots that start at $100 to enormous $12,000 castles, it’s clear that Portalarium is mining the housing market for its revenue. And the crazy thing is, it’s working. Supporters are snapping up lots so quickly that in some cases, they’re sold out.
In a new piece over at Eurogamer, Richard Garriott talks about how Shroud of the Avatar took a cue from the housing demand of Ultima Online to create artificial scarcity and desirable locations in the upcoming fantasy title. “Regional value popped up frankly by accident in Ultima Online. We did not foresee it and we had no plan to shepherd it. [But with SOTA] we know that will be the case,” Garriott said.
With expensive lots and player towns that can run up to $9,000 a pop, Shroud of the Avatar’s housing market is serious business for the studio and backers who have invested thousands in these future properties.
Good news, fans of Crowfall! The team has done some initial testing with the new client controller and combat performance does appear to be much improved. Downside: The team has also identified several persistent bugs that need to be stomped out, and in hindsight the testing really should have been labeled as a further extension of the original alpha testing. Still, it means that players have good things to look forward to as the game’s test schedule rolls onward.
The current plan is to start Siege Perilous testing in mid-late March, starting with the pre-alpha groups and steadily inviting until the Alpha 3 testers are invited. It’s a slower process than you may wish for if you can’t wait to start playing the game, but it helps the developers keep control over the load and distribution of same. There have also been some updates regarding merch for the game, although we should note that emblazoning every article of clothing you own with Crowfall logos will not actually get you invited to test any faster.
Following the abrupt cancellation of the Kickstarter for Pixelmage Games’ sandboxy OARPG Hero’s Song, we chatted with studio CEO and MMORPG veteran John Smedley about the campaign, crowdfunding, and the way forward for the game. He’s even addressed some gamers’ argument that the game didn’t belong on Kickstarter at all. Read on for the whole chat!
Massively OP: I know you said you thought you made some mistakes in your Kickstarter. What would you do differently if you had it to do over again?
John Smedley: We made some mistakes with the Kickstarter that in hindsight should have been obvious. First off, we didn’t price the initial tiers right. We needed a $15 sku and it should have been there from day 1. Next, we didn’t have physical goods. That was also a mistake, although a well-intentioned one. We’ve seen physical goods be one of the biggest problems with people delivering what they say they are going to, and we wanted to be 100% sure we could deliver everything we said when we said it.
It’s the most affectionate time of the year, and Blade & Soul is ready to celebrate by letting you dress up your character as if she forgot her pants and couldn’t finish buttoning her blouse. But that’s really just a bundle in the cash shop to match the theme; the real event is all focused around collecting roses. White Roses and Red Roses can be exchanged for a powerful attack gem and a bundle of items including an unsealing charm and several other potential benefits.
How do you get your roses? Red Roses can be earned daily as part of a repeating quest, granted automatically to characters over level 16. White Roses are a bit harder to get, as they’re awarded from dynamic quests inside of several dungeons or from purchasing the aforementioned Valentine-themed bundles off of the game’s cash shop. The event runs through February 24th, so if the rewards look good, you should likely get started on the event promptly.
Are you ready for Black Desert’s next closed beta round, which kicks off next week? If you haven’t already preordered, you’re going to want a beta key, and we’ve got 4,000 keys (divided into two batches) to hand out to our readers today. The test itself kicks off on February 18th at 3 a.m. EST and runs until February 22nd.
Clicky the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to take home one of these keys!
If you’ve been following the news of this summer’s Warcraft movie and thought that this would be the best opportunity ever for some serious cross-promotion with World of Warcraft, trust us, you’re not alone. Blizzard would be downright short-sighted (jump to comments section for sarcastic rebuttal) to ignore this change to funnel audience members into its MMO.
This might be happening, too. There’s an officially confirmed survey from Blizzard floating around that is testing the waters for a prospective “Ultimate Movie Edition” of World of Warcraft. This package contains the core game, all expansions to date (but not the upcoming Legion), 30 days of game time, and an exclusive (but unnamed) in-game item. According to the description, this edition is “free with the purchase to see Warcraft in a theater.”
While Blizzard said in the survey that it is “considering” this offer, it seems like it would be a smart move. What do you think?