In the last edition of MMO Mechanics, I looked back on 2015 and the mechanics I managed to squeeze into the column: We looked at fast travel, barriers to exit, and some mechanics tied to previously untapped IPs, but I haven’t yet talked about my hopes and expectations for 2016. I was quiet during the various discussions the Massively Overpowered team had about 2016 and what it might bring to the MMO scene, so I owe you guys some predictions! Rather than being too specific here, I’m going to look at the industry trends that are most likely to create new mechanics or at least heavily innovate on existing ones.
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]
At the risk of giving you more information than you all want to hear, lately my anxiety issues have been reaching a fever pitch. But you know what tends to calm me down? Daily quests. Running through the motions on Yavin 4 in Star Wars: The Old Republic, befriending the Vanu Vanu in Final Fantasy XIV, even just flying about for a spot of repeatable content in Star Trek Online. Give me something repetitive that takes just enough brainpower to keep my attention but can still largely fall back on muscle memory, and I’m happy.
The nice thing about MMOs is that they frequently feature activities that can be very comforting. Maybe it’s as simple as flying about while farming or gathering. Perhaps you feel much better when you do a bit of roleplaying. I know one friend who was calmed by turning on Flight in City of Heroes and just gliding around various areas of the city, not doing anything, just roaming. So what about you? What do you do in MMOs to calm down, or do you find just playing an MMO to be the opposite of calming?
What’s big in fashion in Moonlight Blade for the new year? It’s not animal prints — it’s animals! From accessories to costumes to weapons, the Chinese-language martial-arts game has a whole new spring line-up of rabbits, monkeys, horses, and pandas for players to adorn themselves in. There’s even a hamster-wheel backpack. Don’t be left in 2015: Peruse the new items modeled in the video below to see what catches your eye. You know you’d totally rock that rocking horse!
And what better way to show off your new duds than by mentoring new players? This new system offers special bonuses to the veteran player who group with new folks while giving the newbie a way to upgrade faster.
The day has come for Knight Online. The old-school medieval MMORPG, first released in Korea in 2004, is being reborn on Steam on January 25th. At 7:00 p.m. EST, players will be able to become knights in defense of the world of Adonis on a brand-new server, separate from the currently running game. The trailer below offers a peek at the game play.
In celebration of the Steam launch, there is also a special contest. Interested creative contestants need only to make a Knight Online movie poster, complete with catchy title, and submit it by January 26th at 2:59 a.m. EST for a chance to win t-shirts, hoodies, and in-game items. More details on the contest can be found on the official announcement.
The in-development indie MMORPG details the making of a character’s model and animations, from the skeleton to the mesh to the textures on top.
“It looks like we’ll have only two base bodies in the game. Male and Female. We’re just going to be able to add a lot more muscle to it. Enough to make them both Huge. This shot looks unfinished because there’s a lot more tricks to add here, from shading and normal maps to, well, eyes – trust me, we’re not done yet. We’ve been working on this since before the kickstarter. We’re on our third skeleton, and fifth body. But we’re just about… just about done. You’ve seen screenshots. Pretty soon, we’ll have something a little better to show you. And after that? Well, we need to build up some infrastructure, but we might have something even better. Something you can touch.”
Sounds like good news for would-be game testers.
Among the accomplishments listed by the various team include stabilizing the Alpha 2.0 release, coming up with a better way to handle itemization, evaluating the performance of the Freelancer, releasing the EMP system, revamping the Constellation Andromeda, and drawing up early designs of the Xi’an Scout and MISC Reliant.
And just in case you thought the team was sitting on its thumbs, check out what the devs had to say about all of the work done to get the new alpha patches out: “Over the course of the month we deployed fourteen 2.0.0 builds to the PTU, one deployment of 2.0.0 to live and four 2.1.0 deployments to the PTU. Supporting these deployments was a significant undertaking.”
Packrats rejoice! If you ever wanted a bag of holding in The Elder Scrolls Online to store all your piles crafting components, then you are luck. During last night’s livestream, Game Director Matt Firor revealed that bags with unlimited space for crafting items are scheduled to be introduced in the Dark Brotherhood DLC. These bags will be an exclusive perk for ESO Plus subscribers. Other topics covered in the hour-long stream include the barbershop, 64-bit client, extra character slots, pets, special events and Tamriel-specific holidays, and much more.
Lead PvP designer Brian Wheeler also shared information about the alliance war and the general PvP plans for the year, including instanced and small-scale PvP (which is still happening). For a full run-down of everything, watch the complete recording below. If your time is too limited for that, one fan added a written summary of major points on Reddit.
A Massively OP reader has tipped us off to trouble brewing over in TheWorld, an ultra-indie MMORPG we’ve never before covered. Staff and moderators working on the game have raised the alarm that the lead developer — and the man holding the keys to the website, latest code, servers, and $20,000 in player donations — has seemingly been MIA since early November.
“I’m pretty sure I know where Sieg is at the moment, and why he suddenly vanished,” wrote TheWorld dev Aryth. “For his privacy, I won’t divulge where, but he will definitely be back. Whether or not he will want to continue the project after this episode is another question entirely. So, even though he pops in and out, this project is still in limbo. Please do not get unnecessarily hopeful in his return until he himself posts something or we post something on his behalf. Thanks!”
Titled “To free, or not to free,” TUG’s second vlog highlights the subject of monetization. While discussing the free-to-play topic, Nerd Kingdom CEO Peter Salinas emphasized that there are two important factors to the game that go against free-to-play as players know it: “TUG will always be playable offline, and TUG will always be modifiable.” Instead of gating content like many always-online games do, Salinas wants to monetize aesthetics that don’t affect gameplay, and he promised that those who already pledged early will be given special things for their early support of development.
Salinas also addresses the idea of monetazation of mods from the community, including the possibility of the studio paying to license a mod in order to add it to the base game, while still keeping a hand in quality control. Hear the full discussion for yourself in the video below.
H1Z1’s developmental plans have long included adding a variety of zombies into the mix, from different looks to different skills. Female zombies were added last October — now get ready for a new one. Remember that undead abomination in a straight jacket that you got a glimpse of in last week’s video? That’s the upcoming screamer zombie. Bound up and with no lower jaw, this creature can’t actually attack a player, but don’t think that makes it harmless. Instead of inflicting damage itself, it emits a blood-curdling wail that brings every zombie anywhere in the vicinity down upon the head of whatever player was unlucky enough to be spotted by it. Get a gander at its wobbly gait in the short animation clips below, and read up on the behind-the-scenes thought of the artists on the official dev blog.
We live in a world where Winning Putt exists. It is a golf MMO. There are no epic endgame raids against the Grand Wrath-Beast that lurks behind Hole #14; it’s just golf. Golf with short skirts, flouncy female characters who offer exaggerated pouts on missed shots, detailed character creation, and classes. It’s also in open beta right now if you don’t believe that this is a thing that could actually exist in our world.
Players start out by picking either Driving or Accuracy as a class (more of a speciality), develop special skills via leveling and play, and explore seven different courses with unique hazards. If you’ve been longing for an online golf game with character progression and detailed social interaction… well, we don’t entirely understand how you work, but we do know that this game is probably something you should download and try.
PWE and Cryptic Studios have just announced that Champions Online’s latest content update will land on the public test server today. It’s called Teleios Ascendant, and if you’re a gold subber to the game, you and your group of level 40 superheroes can preview it on the PTS.
“In the wake of Supervillain Onslaught and the resulting rampage of super-powered clones, UNTIL has activated ‘Project Frankenstein.’ This new UNTIL Special Project under the command of Major Paul Mason keeps watch on the activities of the mad cloning genius, Teleios. Recently, UNTIL agents have discovered Teleios was nearing completion of his ‘Ascendency Formula,’ enabling him to become Master of Humanity. UNTIL has authorized a UNITY strike force comprised of the strongest heroes to take him down!”
Black Desert rep Belsazar has posted a lengthy missive from the Pearl Abyss developers explaining the details of the game’s cash shop and announcing that the date for closed beta 2 will be posted next week.
Black Desert will actually have two cash shops: The Cash Shop (for Pearl purchases) and the Mileage Shop (for miles purchases). Pearls are the game’s core cash currency, whereas you’ll pick up “100 miles per day for logging onto any of your characters.” There’s a giant chart showing which items will be sold in each; it includes everything from storage to stable expansions and cosmetics to gear. It will not be possible to sell cash shop items on the marketplace at launch.
Belsazar further explains that the energy system, leveling curve, player trading, and group rewards are under review. Of note, the devs are tweaking the karma system to better balance open PvP and help “to create a paradigm shift away from ‘ganking’ (random killing without particular reason) towards bounty hunting (killing for a reason).”