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]
Today’s Streaming Ones dev livestream announced that The Secret World’s Issue #14 will take place in the familiar sands of Egypt — and that it will release in March. However, that doesn’t mean that everything will be the same old, same old; players will enjoy two new instances, six main missions, two investigation missions, new features, and a new monster.
As promised before, the new issue focuses on self-contained stories instead of following the main storyline. Part of that story includes delving into the past of a liked character (whose voice was teased out in the stream).
Update: WildStar has allegedly suffered a massive round of layoffs as part of a “reorganization”; some sources suggest as many as
60 70 people may have been laid off from Carbine today. The update is at the bottom of the post.
WildStar’s CRB Hotspur is apparently no longer working for Carbine, according to Twitter. He was WildStar’s technical and systems designer.
We have not yet been able to confirm whether his departure is part of a larger wave of layoffs. Confirmed. We welcome more information from former employees. Multiplayer Systems Lead Brett Scheinert left last week.
Next month Shards Online will stir from its deep development slumber and lurch out into the sunlight, either to terrorize neighboring villages or to jump-start the hype for this upcoming sandbox. Probably the latter.
In Shards Online’s March newsletter, the team announced that April will see the start of the game’s Steam Greenlight campaign, an “amazing” new game trailer, a vote for players’ favorite mods, and an NDA-free alpha preview event sometime in the middle of the month.
Fans won’t have to wait until then for all of the fun, however. A sizable update is coming on March 24th, bringing with it the first two levels of the Catacombs dungeon as well as the Outlands map. The team also talked about how it will be using the concept of parallel universes to eventually allow players to jump between rulesets via inter-dimensional gateways.
The latest patch for Mortal Online allows players to hide objects inside of the ether world, pick up and leave objects inside of the ether world, and otherwise interact with it. That’s all spectacular information, but it doesn’t answer the fundamental question of what the ether world is, nor does it confirm or deny the existence of ether-themed rides and attractions. Fear not; the official site has a lengthy explanation of the lore behind the ether world.
If exploring a world of ghosts and nearby spirits doesn’t sound too interesting to you, that’s all right; there’s plenty of other updates and changes in the most recent patch, including moves to combat “blue blocking” when attacking other players. The patch comes along with the usual assortment of bug fixes and balance changes, to boot.
Star Wars: The Old Republic’s
latest Knights of the Fallen Empire
, went live for regular players this week, and now BioWare
has released a new trailer featuring Creative Lead Charles Boyd explaining the storyline and narrative setup of the chapter. “It’s gonna be a dangerous mission,” he says, “so good luck out there.” We’ve included the video and new screenies below.
Daybreak has officially canceled EverQuest Next. President Russell Shanks just broke the news on the official site this afternoon:
To Our Daybreak Community,
I’m writing today to let you know that, after much review and consideration, Daybreak is discontinuing development of EverQuest Next.
For the past 20 years EverQuest has been a labor of love. What started as a deep passion of ours, as game creators, grew into a much larger passion shared by you, millions of players and Daybreakers alike. Watching EverQuest’s ability to entertain and bring people together has inspired and humbled us. It’s shaped our culture and has emboldened us to take aggressive risks with our game ideas and products. When we decided to create the next chapter in the EverQuest journey, we didn’t aim low. We set out to make something revolutionary.
In real life, we can’t (usually) pick our race; we kind of get assigned one at birth, thanks to our parents, and we go on from there. So there’s a special kind appeal to the character creation screen in MMOs that grants us the ability to do what we never could for ourselves: choose a racial background.
Some MMOs narrow racial picks down to a whopping one while others seem to add new races every time a developer sneezes all over a lead artist’s drawing board and says, “There, make that happen… call it a Sluggie or something.” I’m always fascinated by the options available and why people choose what they do. I think it says a lot about who we are and what we’re trying to present to the larger game community.
The next time you pause during that character creation screen to contemplate your pick, consider what that choice will say about you. Gross generalizations: They’re fun! Check out my theories below.
The Ranger of Crowfall has been making the rounds lately as the resident orange-haired green-clad lady shooting arrows at targets. That part is… yeah, that’s a little generic. But there’s more to the Ranger than just shooting arrows, and we don’t mean that her repertoire includes “talking about arrows.” You can see all of it in action in a video just below.
Obviously, the Ranger on display is still in early testing, so there’s the possibility of abilities changing or being further developed over time. Both her ranged and melee abilities are on display in this video, so you should get some idea of what the Ranger is capable of doing. And yes, there are arrows included. She does really like arrows.
The alpha testing for World of Warcraft‘s next expansion rolls on, with the vague hope that we might actually have a beta tag by the end of March. I mean, we almost have all of the specs in the testing now, and so all that remains is for the follower system that isn’t like Garrisons all over again we swear to actually be implemented before we have a test that is functionally feature-mostly-complete. That would theoretically mean beta, although we haven’t been given any actual roadmap beyond “by September.”
Scheduling and relevant terminology discussion notwithstanding, there’s more stuff to talk about with the alpha, and in a way having an extra couple of weeks provides more interesting information to chew on. As the live game sits in the midst of yet another content lull, let’s examine the testing, the philosophies that we know to be in place, and what all of this means for the longer-term health and design of the game.
First announced back in 2015, EVE Online’s Project Discovery got underway this week. It’s a science collaboration that rewards EVE players in-game for playing a minigame that is actually a clever way to contribute time and brainpower to the Human Protein Atlas – real-world science.
CCP’s partner in the project, Massively Multiplayer Online Science, has announced that even in just one day, the research has been a staggering success:
“First of all 463.936 classifications! Let me put it down again: four hundred sixty-three thousand nine hundred thirty-six classifications. Amazing achievement – congratulations to all. The per minute classification number peaked at around 800!! A number like this was something that only came up in our wildest dreams. And the fact that we couldn’t pass the half-million limit is really on us with almost 4 hours of downtime of the service. 15.154 capsuleers gave a try to Project Discovery and got through the tutorial phase. 6.828 got even through the training phase: it is important, because without completing the training phase you can’t contribute to the actual research.”
In fact, so many people turned out that MMOS says it struggled to keep the servers up, and CCP is planning to boost its infrastructure too:
“Due to the increased ‘goldseller’ population, we are beginning to put systems in place to suppress their market.”
These words come from the Black Desert Online team, which this morning deployed a patch that includes a couple of measures designed to combat gold selling such as making traded items completely character bound. Servers are currently up:
Daum was also flirting with the idea of increasing the energy cost for using the chat channels, although it’s since backed down on the idea (a message still requires one energy) and says it is monitoring the situation.
On this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I tried to tackle a question from MOP reader Serrenity, who wanted us to talk about MMO developer promises.
“I never treat anything a developer says as a promise — I treat it as a ‘vision’ or ‘best intention,’ because I know that things change. Development is a messy process and things you think were going to easy, are actually really hard (or borderline impossible). It flabbergasts me that people still consider communication from a developer as some sort of verbal contract about features being delivered when, and get all bent out of shape when something changes … and something always changes.”
I think Justin and I found it hard to pick a side because we agreed with Serrenity that some MMO players’ inclination to treat every “maybe” as a promise sealed in blood creates a culture of fear for developers as they shy away from transparency in an ever-changing environment governed by angry forum lawyers. Both of us agreed that flipping tables over a minor patch change is silly, and for my part, I would much rather a dev admit something isn’t working as planned and needs alteration than watch the game die on that hill. But on the other hand, we feel obligated as journalists to criticize games that deviate dramatically from their core principles.
What do you think? How strictly do you hold MMO devs to their “promises,” and does the nature of the “promise” change your mind?
This week’s Massively Overthinking focuses entirely on WildStar, out of whose devs we’ve been trying to get answers — never mind reassurance about the game — for many months. But Carbine just isn’t up for interviews, and after the half year Carbine has had, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. But like a lot of people, I had hopes that WildStar’s free-to-play transition would turn it around. Instead, analysts lost faith, quarterly financials showed only a small bump (and a loss year-over-year), Carbine got yet another new game director, PvP servers were abandoned and merged, and the game’s former community manager told Reddit that the studio had “killed every desire [he] had to work in the industry anymore.” Last week, systems lead Brett Scheinert left the company, refusing to discuss his reasons, sending the community into further worry.
So what’s going on here? What’s Carbine up to, and what does WildStar need to do to still be alive in 2017? I posed these questions to the Massively OP team.