Here’s the stuff we’d never heard of before we covered it for the first time here. You wanted bleeding edge… here it is! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
With Gamigo’s near-stealth launch of Savage Hunt, a sequel to the now-defunct (at least in NA) Dragon’s Prophet, a new website is born.
The official site for Savage Hunt is now live following the game’s launch on December 6th. Players can check out the news, read through the Book of Dragons, check out some media, and connect with the community. There’s also an event going on right now to kill a special dragon in the game and be entered into a chance to win a gaming PC.
Savage Hunt is an action combat MMO with more than 600 types of dragons to tame and collect. These dragons lend players their skills as a sort of mix-and-match class system. There’s also housing, because your 600 dragons need a place to crash after a day of forced servitude.
Back in September during Pearl Abyss’ IPO press conference, the South Korean company reps let loose with a ton of information about the state of the studio, including the fact that it’s working on four more MMOs. “Two games are in development [and] aim to be released in the second half of 2018,” CEO Kyung In Jung told investors and reporters at the time. “The other two aim to be released in 2019 and 2021. All of them are in progress to be network-based games with high-quality graphics by using the self-developed engine.”
Now we’ve got a tease about two of those. As MMO Culture reports, one of them is a global mobile MMO – and it’s not Black Desert Mobile, as its setting is apparently quite different. It sounds like an all-ages social game rather than a competitive one, with a goal for meeting other users.
While Dragon’s Prophet took a stiff nosedive in North America and was ultimately shuttered by Daybreak in 2015, the dragon taming MMO didn’t die off entirely. It has a stronger following and support over in Europe, so much so in fact that Gamigo is preparing a sequel that was announced for launch back in September, got delayed almost immediately, and is now set to go live this week.
Community Manager Ildruin confirmed the upcoming launch on the forums yesterday: “Savage Hunt will be released on Wednesday, December 6th 2017! That’s just two days! Buckle up!”
If you need a refresher course — and you do, since just about no one has heard of this game — Savage Hunt: Dragon’s Prophet is a free-to-play MMO that retains the dragon hunting and taming core. There are over 600 of the beasts in the game, as well as thousands of quests and PvP battles.
Bloggers and journalists throughout the online gaming industry have been talking about monetization a lot lately. It’s not just lockbox/gachapon scandals, or their relationship with gambling, but basic monetization and what we want from it. Games, after all, don’t make themselves; we have to pay for something to make that happen. But some gamers seem to view free-to-play games as a game that should be free, not one to be supported if it earns respect. And on the flipside of that, far too few game studios give off a vibe not of experimenting with monetization but of maximizing profits above all else while barely veiling their greed.
However, outside the MMO world, there is a company that’s been doing it “right” for a long time: Nintendo. The AAA developer/publisher is known for both innovation and hesitance, following in others’ footsteps with great trepidation, trying to figure out the ins and outs while entering the mobile market long after it’s been established. The company recently released a new mobile title, but what’s interesting is that it and the company’s last four games are all different genres with different monetization strategies. Exploring these titles and their relationship to their monetization plans will not only highlight the potential success of the models but hint at why they work and how they can be curbed into models gamers and lawmakers can better accept.
Ready for some harsh truths, MMO players? Bluehole CEO Hyo-Seob Kim recently told GIbiz that he wasn’t expecting PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to do so well globally, that the studio was “pitching up the quality of the game for the Western market.” Bluehole wasn’t a major player before that, even though it had been making MMOs for a decade. In fact, Bluehole hadn’t even gone to G-Star in six years – back during the rise of its MMORPG TERA in 2011, which was “targeting the Western market from the beginning.” You’ll recall that TERA actually did well – GIbiz fairly calls it a “hit” for the genre – but Kim argues the genre has since stagnated.
“MMORPGs were very new [ten years ago], with World of Warcraft and all the others. But the play style [stayed] very similar as time passed on, so the players got bored with the system. They started looking to other genres of games. […] But there are still people who are used to the MMORPG, and if a new game can give them a new experience they will come back and play again.”
This past week, my husband has been obsessed with Succubox. It’s a satirical clicker game where you start out by click-fighting monsters and buying lockboxes, but you quickly figure out that the way to win in the “game” part of the game is to get a job and then hire workers to play the game for you, and then you hire workers to buy and open lockboxes. Eventually, you end up with a successful intergalactic corporation focused entirely around grinding and opening lockboxes. It’s basically The Stanley Parable for lockbox MMOs.
You can play it for free if you’re so inclined and see what I’m talking about – it’s actually pretty funny on one level – but that’s not really the point. The point is that the game makes me angry because it’s right. And we all know it’s right. And while my husband’s cracking up pushing the “use knife” button to grind his in-game “job” for “promotions” so he has more “money” to spend on making “bots” open “lockboxes,” I’m reconsidering some of the MMORPGs on my hard drive whose business models look way too much like the ones being parodied in this incredibly insightful game.
When was the last time an MMO made you rethink your hobby?
As CMs lock down any speculation about Marvel Heroes’ demise on the forums and players do their best to secure refunds before the title goes away completely, the question looms of what game would be an acceptable substitute to fill the upcoming void. Here is one possibility: Marvel Strike Force.
Created by FoxNext Games and Disney’s Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Strike Force is an upcoming mobile RPG with tactical elements. The game is slated to come out in 2018 and will feature both a single-player campaign and PvP battles.
“We wanted to capture the core mobile fantasy of who wins in a fight. Hydra or Shield?” said FoxNext President Aaron Loeb said. “Earlier, we had the question of who wins in a fight. Hulk or Hulk Buster? Now we ask who wins between the Avengers or the Defenders? You’re trying to solve the puzzle of how to beat the other team.”
It’s the thing to do lately: rerelease a classic video game with just enough enhancements to charge for it all over again. In this case, however, I suspect it’s a good thing. I’m talking, of course, about BioWare’s 15-year-old multiplayer Neverwinter Nights, which Canadian studio Beamdog will be re-delivering in an “enhanced edition,” though we don’t have a release date just yet. That’s the same studio that’s already retooled other old BioWare games, like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment, and is in fact made up of former BioWare devs.
“We’ve added an improved display that looks great on modern 4K monitors, UI elements now adjust in size based on chosen resolution, and post-processing effects make for crisper, cleaner visuals,” Beamdog writes. “Save games, modules, and mods from the original Neverwinter Nights work in the Enhanced Edition.”
Oh man, that means my guild’s old custom roleplaying modules from back in the day will still work. I wonder if anyone’s up for a campaign…
So here’s a happy surprise: THQ Nordic just launched an expansion for Titan Quest, the multiplayer-optional ARPG that’s been rattling around on hard drives for over 10 years now. Not even terrible timing since there are about to be a lot of homeless ARPG fans, and hey, this game even has a subtle Thor tie-in!
Dubbed Ragnarok, the expansion is $14.99 (a discount from its regular $19.99 price), and it boasts a Norse-mythology-themed fifth act with concomitant storylines and quests, new physics and graphics enhancements, a new mastery (Runemaster) to combine with the existing ones for a total of 45 new character templates, a new level cap of 85, new gear, and critically, PANTS.
You’ll need to to own the anniversary edition of the game to run this expansion, but that shouldn’t be a problem for fans, as THQ granted existing owners on Steam access to the anniversary edition for free last year. Maybe we should’ve seen this coming!
I think we’ve officially passed the zombie craze in online games, or at least it feels that way to me as new zombie games are starting to feel like retro throwbacks. So it is with new isometric “zombie MMO” Dead Maze, which just landed in CBT on Steam.
“Set in the Western United States, where humanity has been devastated by a plague of the undead, player cooperation takes center stage in Dead Maze, with thousands of players having to explore, scavenge, and work together to survive and rebuild society. With the start of the closed beta, players can discover the destroyed world of Dead Maze, build their new home and craft their own supplies, team up with their friends and battle the dozens of different types of zombies, using over 200 different items and weapons. More content will be added to the closed beta and all progress made will be carried over into the full game, when it is released in 2018.”
Intriguingly, this isn’t Just Another PvP Gankbox Where The Player Is The Content. “Player versus player combat is not featured,” says French studio Atelier 801. “Instead, the danger comes from the wide array of aggressive zombies that roam the world.”
You know that moment when you just can’t take it anymore? I am there, right on the cusp. I know many folks have gotten to their “I can no longer support <insert name here>” phases for various games and studios for a variety of reasons, but I had never yet reached such a point in my own gaming. (That one studio doesn’t count because I never supported them in the first place.) And now here I am. I don’t think I can continue to support Studio WildCard.
That is definitely a shift for me. I have been an ardent fan of ARK: Survival Evolved. I championed the game pretty heavily: I have streamed it for over two years, I personally host two servers, and this very column was born largely on the back of ARK. I have almost 1500 hours of playtime, and I own the expansions. I had praised the game and Studio WildCard for a long while, holding it up as an example of things done right.
Then things changed. The accumulation of many remarks and actions that ate away at my trust was topped off by the way the studio shows disregard for its current customers, treating them as disposable cash cows. And then came the sequel talk this very week.
In case you ever wanted to sniff the distinct scent of internet dumpster fire, you probably should’ve gone to the Star Wars Battlefront II DICE developer AMA on Reddit yesterday and watched that EA world burn. Almost 30,000 comments later, EA’s handpicked community masseuses didn’t walk back any of the specific business model shenanigans or the “sense of pride and accomplishment” blither, and players are actually madder now than they were when they downvoted EA’s comments 677,000 times on Monday.
- Wall Street is freaking out over the potential stock hit to EA should the game launch poorly thanks to angry gamers.
- Belgian authorities are reportedly investigating SWBF2 (via GIbiz) to determine whether its design amounts to a money-fueled game of chance, in which case it would be subject to gambling laws and potentially be fined or censored.
- Players have assessed that it’d take over 4500 hours of play or $2100 to unlock everything in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 as the game’s monetization is currently set.
- Finally, that “EA dev” who claimed he’d received death threats? It’s no longer clear he’s an EA dev, let alone that he received death threats, and he disappeared from social media after Kotaku went digging. Astroturfer? Hmm.
. With thanks to Sorenthaz and Miol.
Scroll back in your brain a decade to 2007, when Sparkplay announced it was building an MMORPG called Earth Eternal, a free-to-play, microtransaction-based MMO (yes, that early) notable for its purely anthropomorphic races, PvP, and clan-centric gameplay, which actually had a solid if small following and earned plenty of praise. Following an open beta in 2009, Sparkplay went bankrupt and sold the game to Japanese company Sankando, which operated a beta version with spotty uptime in 2011 and apparently closed down at the end of that year.
Since then, fans have put together several other emulators and communities that I can find, the most recent of which is Earth Eternal: The Anubian War. In fact, the srver apparently came online last year and has been steadily updating since. Most recently – this past weekend – the player team updated with the Valkal’s Shadow patch and infrastructure tweaks to boot. The update boasts a new region, new quests, new dungeons, a new town, a new storyline, a new book system, near gear, and on and on. Not too shabby!