MOBAs are multiplayer online battle arenas, PvP-centric, non-persistent online games that share some but not all mechanics in common with traditional MMORPGs. We formerly categorized MOBAs as “Not So Massively” games. You may also be interested in our Multiplayer category for other multiplayer online games that aren’t fully massive. [Follow the MOBA category’s RSS feed]
Welcome back to another edition of our informal business roundup, where we wedge all the fun MMO industry tidbits that pile up in our newsroom.
Remember EA Spouse, the EA developer’s wife whose initially anonymous article busted open the doors on EA’s culture of abusive crunch back in 2004? Rolling Stone’s Glixel blog (via Gamasutra) has a 14-year retrospective and a sum-up of the state of “crunch culture” since then. Intriguingly, EA Spouse herself – Erin Hoffman-John – declined to comment much on how she got the ball rolling, but other developers gave Glixel conflicting accounts. Some believe that EA has made an attempt to change and is no “worse than anyone else,” while one producer scoffed at the pushback against crunch, calling it a “disruption.” According to him, hustle is just the patch to greatness.
Mentioning lootboxes at this point is a good way to send players into paroxysms of rage regardless of how fair or unfair they are; any goodwill about the random crates has pretty well evaporated now. League of Legends
seems to be aiming to ameliorate some of that rage with its Hextech boxes and upcoming Masterwork chests by fully disclosing the drop rates for everything within a given crate
, so at least you can have a good idea of your actual odds before you pull the trigger on buying them.
Obviously, the rarest and best rewards are, well, fairly unlikely, but the crates at least allow you to reroll items that you already own at the moment. (The designers are looking into other ways to make “getting stuff you already have” feel like less of a letdown.) We can’t tell you if this will make you any less angry about lootboxes, but at least disclosing the odds is pretty decidedly a step in the right direction.
Despite the recent rash of shutdowns, game developers haven’t quite given up on trying to crack into the MOBA market and siphon off that sweet, sweet revenue flow. To accomplish this, some studios try a different take on the MOBA, such as Muvgames’ FeArea.
Not a traditional League of Legends-style MOBA, FeArea styles itself as a battle arena that borrows elements from that gamestyle while adding in tanks, mechs, and high-powered weapons. The studio claims that there is no grinding or minion battling in these 5v5 bouts. It sounds more like a demolition derby than anything else: “You can crush and destroy any obstacle or even a building!”
FeArea is currently fighting its way through early access on Steam and can be purchased for 25% off at $4.49 through March 1st.
I’ve been playing a lot of Monster Hunter World when time permits, and while I’m enjoying the game, I’ve noticed it’s been, well, oddly silent. Initially, I thought maybe it was just a PlayStation 4 thing. Then a friend who roped me into playing with her told me she felt the Overwatch PC crowd was much worse than the console crowd, but since she’s not much of an online gamer (and lacks a PC), I shrugged that off too.
However, as I’ve spent more time in online games that aren’t MMOs lately, I’ve noticed that I don’t really use voice chat with strangers, even when it’s built into the game – maybe even especially when it’s built into the game, depending on how I feel about the community. I didn’t bother in World of Warcraft, and apparently EVE players aren’t into it much either, yet Heroes of the Storm is going to get it years later despite uproar. It’s not that I dislike voice chat; I’ve just been around the internet and feel that most randoms can’t be trusted with unmoderated chat.
What about you, readers? Do you use default voice chats? Maybe only with fellow PC users or to help keyboardless console users? Let’s take it to a poll…
Is your Valentine’s day about love, friendship, or free candy from mom? In MMORPGs, it’s about questing, murder, and free loot! So, yeah, kinda the same. Enjoy Massively OP’s guide to this very pink not-a-holiday across the MMORPG genre – and some not-quite-MMOs too!
Nexon has big plans for its MOBA Hyper Universe over 2018. The Korean giant – or rather, its super adorable disco dog – laid out its spring plans for the game this week. The big news is a brand-new ranked mode, with eight tiers to climb, a drafting system that lets you block specific characters you don’t want to play, a “true skill” system whereby failure loses you points, and special skin and nameplate rewards for victory.
Technically, the first season begins on February 22nd, but you can jump into the preseason to test it all out right now as long as your account is level 15 and you’ve got 12 toons unlocked. There’s also a new toon debuting this week: Captain Red, a hybrid specialist for both melee and ranged.
I’m gonna be honest: I’d rather hear patch notes read to me by a disco dog than by pretty much anyone else. That video is down below.
When the toxicity topics just keep piling up in the news room and nobody wants to cover them, you get the Toxicity Roundup, your weekly report on who’s being a jerk in gaming this week! (We’re kidding. This is not really a thing. We don’t really want this to be a thing. Please don’t make this a thing.)
Let’s start with Overwatch. Kotaku has a report out on a stream sniper who was hassling popular streamer TimTheTatMan. The troll would show up in the streamer’s matches, refuse to play anything but Symmetra, and proceed to suck – meaning the team always lost. Apparently, TimTheTatMan wasn’t the only person this jerk had griefed. “To be clear this player is being banned, not for their hero choice, but rather for systematically ruining Overwatch games for thousands of players,” Blizzard wrote on Reddit. “We recognize that not finding this player faster is an unfortunate failure of our ever-developing reporting system and we’ve already taken steps to quickly eliminate outliers like this in the future.” So one down, how many more to go?
What else have we got here…
For a MOBA, SMITE
sure doesn’t play by rules, or at least any rules we recognize. Hi-Rez
seems to be constantly reinventing the game
and its modes and toons
, a pattern on display once again this week as the game rolls out its first adventure of the year: Anime Horde Mode.
“Da Ji and the Legend of the Foxes transports players to a colorful realm, complete with anime inspired artwork, where they’ll defeat relentless waves of enemies. Lending her talents to this new experience is renowned voice actress Cristina Vee (Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Hunter x Hunter), who stars as the Adventure’s main character Senpai Da Ji. […] Da Ji needs help defending the sacred fox from waves of various enemies. Surviving the ninja hordes will pit players against one of the epic bosses in an exciting battle. No two Adventure playthroughs will be the same as each bossfight is randomized, with more bosses being added each patch. With every victory, players will level up and earn in-game rewards to help their progress.”
The past few weeks have not been kind for fans of MOBAs. In a short span of time we’ve lost Paragon, Master x Master, and Gigantic; it wasn’t so long ago that the not-quite-a-MOBA-but-close-to-it Breakaway got put on indefinite hiatus by Amazon. Off the top of my head I can think of a lot of other MOBAs that arrived, failed to make any significant impact, and then shut their doors without a whole lot of fanfare.
Of course, this also prompts a question of whether or not the bubble has burst or if there was ever a bubble in the first place. I’ve always found it kind of odd that the genre exploded as it did in the first place, because it’s already fundamentally a genre based on a mod for one very specific game. There are only four titles that have really taken off in a significant fashion, and two of those are somewhat debatable depending on who you ask.
So what do you think, readers? Has the MOBA bubble burst? Was there never really a bubble in the first place, just a bunch of games rushed out with no real sustainable market? And how does it make you personally feel either way?
Warcraft III or World of Warcraft players should know well the name of Maiev Shadowsong. This Warden — best known as Illidan’s jailor — has built up a following across the two games she’s fought, and now Maiev brings her war to a new front in Heroes of the Storm.
The MOBA version of the character attempts to stay true to her roots as a fast-moving fighter who strikes out all around her. With her blink ability, she can dart into the fray and lash out with a fan of knives before anyone can react. Blizzard is obviously positioning her as a multi-target fighter who can get in and get out before taking too much damage herself.
Perhaps her most interesting ability is Vault of the Wardens, which allows Maiev to do a little flip in the air that dodges attacks and can cause an enemy to waste a move. If you like frustrating your opponents, this could be the class for you!
It is never a happy day to see a game end. Perhaps inevitable in the grand scheme of life, but never happy. Today Massively OP’s MJ will be with MXM until its servers blink off for the very last time. Tune in live at 4:00 p.m. to share stories and say goodbye as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you the final hour of…
What: Master X Master
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018
Gigantic is on the short road to sunset, I’m sorry to report.
The move by publisher PWE won’t surprise many players, as the development studio behind the game, Motiga, was shuttered back in November. At the time, PWE said it would keep the game itself online; it even pushed out a patch a few weeks atfer that.
But today, PWE has called it quits. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the January Update is the final content update for Gigantic, and the game servers will be discontinued on July 31, 2018,” says the company, thanking players for giving the game a chance.
We mentioned on the podcast
that Trion Worlds seems to be moving into high gear here at the beginning of 2018 with all of its games, and Atlas Reactor
is now joining the show with the launch of season 5
“Trion Worlds’ competitive tactics game Atlas Reactor kicks off 2018 with Season 5 of new content today, featuring the brand new cyborg Freelancer – Vonn the Scion of Ice. Players can now earn prestige points based on their Season 4 rankings that can be spent on golden ability effects and earn loot matrices from alerts, daily missions or through direct purchase from the in-game store.”
Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a competitive tactics game, am I right? I’m right: Until February 20th, Atlas Reactor players “can celebrate Valentine’s Day with new skins and emblems that have been added to the Mad Love loot matrix.”