Valve is working on three VR titles, feeling effects of travel ban

Valve's Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson have confirmed that the company is working on a trio of VR-centric games, not cheapie experiments but full-scale games built in Unity and its own proprietary Source 2 engine. The discussion came as part of a press briefing in Seattle last night.

Newell also commented at length on the U.S. government's travel ban, which was once again blocked by the courts yesterday. He explained that Valve employees have been directly affected by the ban, people who've "been here for years" and "pay taxes" but can't leave the country to visit relatives or attend events overseas lest they become unwittingly entangled or trapped far from home.

Newell and Johnson further said that the ban (and the threat of its return in one form or another) also affects their ability to hire and their ability to host international e-sports competitions, as many pro players already had difficulty securing work visas. Consequently, the duo say they'd consider hosting the big-money Dota 2 The International tourney out of the U.S. if necessary.

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The Stream Team: Checking out SMITE Tactics' Chinese pantheon plus giveaway

Massively OP's MJ got to peek into SMITE Tactics a bit during Hi-Rez Expo 2017, but she didn't really have time to dive in and try to play then. Now with the release of the Chinese pantheon, she's going to give it a real go. And what better way to check out the beta of a new game than with friends? She's got a score of keys to give away so you can join her. Tune in live at 6:00 p.m. to see the game and for a chance to win access for yourself.

What: SMITE Tactics
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 9th, 2017

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Summoners War MMO emerges from mobile game

We have seen our fair share of mobile game spin-offs from MMORPGs, particularly eastern titles. The reverse isn't as common, but today we do have word that one mobile title has grown in popularity enough to warrant the creation of a full-fledged MMO.

MMO Culture is reporting that South Korean developer Com2uS has announced that it is crafting an MMO based on its Summoners War turn-based strategy RPG. There's little known about the Summoners War MMO other than it might be the first part of a wave of spin-off projects from the mobile title.

Summoners War was released back in 2014 for both iOS and Android devices and has since racked up over 50 million downloads.

Source: MMO Culture


First Impressions: Struggling to survive in Conan Exiles

I am no stranger to covering survival sandboxes for Massively OP. I wrestled with dinosaurs before ARK: Survival Evolved was a thing. I got kidnapped and tried to drown myself in a puddle, spent days building a glorified shack before hackers or server admins could destroy them, and got to better understanding of what it's like to be an Asian gamer thanks to Valve's social experiment. There have been some good memories for sure, but the cancelled games, broken promises, and fact that most of the genre is in an infinite non-launch state are just some of the reasons I've been losing faith in online, multiplayer survival games. I love the idea of PvP allowing for meaningful social gameplay, but in reality, I mostly experience only ganking. But without PvP, I generally get so bored of PvE that I run into the arms of a (J)RPG so I can get drama and permadeath in a finished product, often without kids screaming at me to stop moving and just die.

But here I am again: roped into another shot at the genre. I'm looking at pay-to-play Conan Exiles like a launch title, "early access" be damned!

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Frontier hints at new game based off a movie franchise

Frontier Entertainment (Planet Coaster, Elite Dangerous) is brewing up something new in its game labs -- but what could it be?

Gamasutra reports that the studio briefly announced to the London Stock Exchange it had secured the rights to an unnamed, well-known, and "enduring" movie franchise for its next title.

"We have chosen to license this particular IP to work with as our third franchise, because we believe we can create something very special," said Frontier Developments Chief Executive David Braben. "It is creatively stimulating, already has a high worldwide profile, and is a perfect match for our expertise."

Any thoughts as to what this may be? Lets start a Massively OP pool in the comments!

Source: Gamasutra


Redside, a fifth City of Heroes spiritual successor, takes the field

At this point, we have to ask whether we as an MMO community are being pranked on a large scale with a deluge of City of Heroes spiritual successors -- or this is simply a testimony to the enduring legacy of that superhero title.

In either case, there's a new player on the scene a bit different from the previous four City of Heroes wannabes. Redside is positioning itself as a successor to City of Villains, offering players an experience to play on the evil side and indulge in those grand plans to conquer the world. As long as there's a maniacal laugh emote, am I right?

You might want to keep a lid on your excitement with this one, however. From all appearances, the project looks very barebones and far more conceptual than anything at the moment. Brass Lampworks is looking to raise $45,000 through Kickstarter to get the development process started with the hopes of getting an alpha test going by April 2018.

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Tanzia gives you the MMO experience without the 'MMO'

Have you ever played an offline RPG and thought that you might like it more if it had the same interface and mechanics of MMOs? If so, give Tanzia a try and see if an MMORPG-like game can still be enjoyable without the trash talking in general chat and other players ninjaing your nodes.

Tanzia is an open-world fantasy RPG set in a colorful, cartoony setting that utilizes many mechanics found in modern MMOs, including a hotbar, a gear treadmill, landscape combat, and crafting.

The game is supposed to come out some time this year and already has a Steam page. In the meanwhile, you can check out the trailer below.

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Age of Sail MMO Caribbean Conquest has returned to Kickstarter

Not quite a year ago, we did a brief piece on Caribbean Conquest, a sailing MMORPG that launched and then canceled a small Kickstarter. Indeed, last year the website went dead, and we have been carting around a linkless Caribbean Conquest in our Make My MMO column ever since!

But that's all changing this week, as the game and website are back -- and so is a new Kickstarter, which has a month to raise just over $30,000.

"If you are looking for a pirate/naval themed MMO with ample theory crafting and absolutely no Pay2Win/Grind2Win, this might just be exactly what you're looking for. Caribbean Conquest is a rewarding game for tenacious captains to test their mettle against one another atop the beautiful high seas of the Caribbean. Whether you want to hunt shipping as a privateer, engage in fleet battles against up to 48 enemy players or build a trading monopoly to generate riches, this game is for you. With your help, we will be able to develop our playable ship combat alpha into a fully fleshed out MMORPG experience."

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Airship-themed MOBA Cloud Pirates enters early access February 9

Arrrr, skymateys: Cloud Pirates is floating into early access on February 9 following a stress test two days before.

The game is an online MOBA/shooter hybrid in which players soar through the skies in Allods Online-inspired dirigibles and shoot the crap out of each other with cannon. The game will be playable through Steam's early access program beginning on February 9th, though of course you can pick up a founder's pack to play early.

Update 1.1, Gold Rush, "enables pirates to gain a head start that will allow players to loot special resources," says "Players can form brotherhoods, the clans of the game, to loot or defend special aerial convoys and be rewarded in valuable “meteor ore.” Future updates will allow brotherhoods to build incredibly useful sky fortresses. These fortresses will play a pivotal role in Cloud Pirates high stakes action.

Check out the new trailer below!

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Conan Exiles addresses tech issues post launch, laughs at dong obsession

Funcom's brand-new early access survival sandbox Conan Exiles got a patch yesterday aiming to clean up multiple issues in the game, including server sorting and selection, Steam Connect tools, disconnects, and building damage. You should also never immediately die of hunger after respawning. Bonus.

On Twitter, the studio told fans that it's still working on boosting server capacity "as soon as tomorrow, but it will take time." It's also working on rubberbanding problems and is promises patches on the daily.

Meaaaaannnnnwhile, the internet has discovered that egalitarian body sliders mean lots and lots of male anatomy. (Hey dudes, if you're discombobulated by the sudden obsession with your sparkly bits, imagine how we've felt all this time!) Here's one NSFW example -- totes not safe for work, but amusing nonetheless -- retweeted by a Funcom employee. You're welcome!

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BioWare is working on an online action-adventure game

SWTOR studio BioWare is working on yet another new game, and it's at least partly an online one, Electronic Arts confirmed in its 3FQ 2017 investor call yesterday.

"And at the end of the fiscal year, our BioWare studio will be delivering an all-new IP – a clean-sheet design with new concepts, new gameplay mechanics, and new stories set in a unique new universe. This game has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way people think about an action title, bringing friends together to play in exhilarating new ways. We’re very excited about the future of this new franchise and its ability to attract a large global audience."

EA clarified that it's an action-adventure game, not an RPG, though it will have the "great RPG character development and story progression that BioWare is known for."

Electronic Arts' net revenue was up quarter over quarter and year over year, chiefly thanks to strong holiday sales, Fifa, Battlefield, Titanfall, and mobile titles like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. Star Wars: The Old Republic was not directly referenced on the call but was included in its list of top console/PC live services.

Source: EA. Cheers, Sally!


Mekria Online MMO Kickstarter promises 'a world of consequence'

Player choices with long-reaching consequences: These are the promises of Mekria Online, a new PvP-heavy MMO that's seeking some funding to push past the pre-alpha demo stage.

In the game's FAQ, the devs say that Mekria Online "addresses a large majority of pain points found in today's MMOs, such as hyper-sexuality, a live balancing system, [and] innovative combat and classes, just to name a few."

"We will be addressing hyper-sexuality through a more functional armor system; the gameplay of one's character will changed depending on the armor type they are wearing," a representative for the game told us.

While there is a lot of emphasis on the game's PvP system (including the ever-popular bounties), the team did mention that Mekria will sport a robust PvE side as well. The game will feature five races and 10 classes that journey through a world in revolt.

Mekria Online is currently seeking $110,000 through its Kickstarter campaign. An alpha is planned for the first part of this year mid-to-late 2017, with a launch to hopefully happen in late 2018 2020. You can listen to some of the music from the game and check out the Kickstarter pitch after the break.

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Conan Exiles has formally launched early access with mixed reviews and new trailer

Funcom's Conan Exiles formally launched overnight, sending early access purchasers into the antique but brutal world of Conan the Barbarian. Despite some confusion over the official server list, which has been limited to 100 for now (but with hundreds more player-hosted servers), the game's launch actually went off rather well, which is high praise for the company whose first MMORPG was once dubbed the "worst launch of all time."

The studio has also begun discussing its immediate plans for the game, including trebuchets, better animations for captured thralls, and a dye system for gear, among other content and bug fixes. The game is expected to remain in early access for around a year.

Reviews on Steam are "Mixed" as of press time with just under 600 players having reviewed it. Massively OP's Stream Team played the game last night for those who want to check it out with their own eyeballs before putting up any dough. That stream, plus the launch trailer, is down below!

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