In one of our recent Daily Grind discussions about MMORPGs that might make it to 20 years of live operation, some of our commenters pointed out that despite Age of Conan continuing in maintenance mode, Funcom had ceased to honor its ongoing subscription loyalty reward program for players pushing two years or more.
The same day, Funcom (purely coincidentally, we have no doubt) posted its 720-day loyalty reward information. The good news for loyal subbers is that the two-year mark will net you five royal treasure chests and a free character boost to level 80.
Age of Conan was officially put into maintenance mode back in February as Funcom chose to instead pursue Conan Exiles, Secret World Legends, and other upcoming projects.
Daybreak has quietly shifted one of the aspects of its free-to-play business model for EverQuest II. In response to a query as to when the studio would be making any previous expansions free as it has done in the past, Daybreak said that it “will not be adding anything further to the F2P lineup.” This means that free players can no longer hold out hoping that they will one day get to enjoy the newer expansions (unless, of course, they pony up for them individually).
While there is a new expansion to anticipate, this particular move doesn’t seem to be in the community’s favor. Massively OP’s MJ recently pontificated on the question of whether or not EverQuest II was in a downward spiral.
Over at EverQuest, things look a little brighter, especially if you’re a subscriber. Daybreak announced that it is handing out free Sarnak skeleton illusions to all members who log into the game between now and October 15th.
Secret World Legends’
weekly “The Buzzing” roundup
has moved from Reddit to the official site, and in the most recent edition, the team covers the recent patch
, the return on the legacy transfer service
, and the upcoming final chapter of the Tokyo storyline.
The Orochi Tower is loosely scheduled to arrive in SWL in early October, although veteran players might find a few new surprises when it does. “The tower’s gameplay flow is going to be different from the classic tower,” the devs said. “You’ll need to do more floors in a more linear fashion, and you can expect to see a couple small gameplay changes and references to things that weren’t in TSW.” Rumor has it that there is even a new floor in the works.
With the popularity of this month’s Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
, the pressure is on for ArenaNet
to keep the game running as smoothly as possible for all veteran, new, and returning players. While we have been hearing positive word-of-mouth about the expansion, there have been some serious issues that have kept many players from enjoying it – including our own columnist.
Login difficulties are the start of ANet’s woes, and the studio is racing to fix them. Even more dire are instance creation problems, which were serious enough to elicit a statement by Mike O’Brien, who said that the team has been “working on the connection and story instance creation problems that have been cropping up during peak hours in Europe.” The Guild Wars 2 boss said that the team believes the underlying issues have been fixed but will be keeping an eye on the situation to make sure this is true.
Meanwhile, there are smaller bugs and corrections that have been addressed via hotfixes to bolster the new expansion.
Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!
Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion launched on Friday, sending fans of Tyria and nostalgia back into the Elonian deserts. How many of those 11 million total accounts are playing? Probably not all of them, to be sure, but enough to cause more than a few disconnects and instance-creation problems through the weekend, especially in the EU but felt across the game’s territories. The demand bodes well for the game’s long-term finances (if not its short-term charm).
Don’t miss our coverage of the update; we streamed the launch on Friday, got our accounts in order, and debated the game’s material storage nerfs. MOP’s Choose My Adventure series will also cover Guild Wars 2 for the next month, so keep an eye out for that, a special guest on the podcast, and our impressions of the launch!
Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.
We are pretty used to hearing about MMORPGs that spawn a mobile version, but how about the other way around? Avabel Online, a mobile game that launched back in 2013, is now confirmed to be coming to consoles and PC in the future.
The Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Steam will all see an identical client of the mobile MMO with one notable change: the addition of controller support for the console editions. The announcement in Tokyo this week was accompanied by word that all versions of Avabel will interact with each other, allowing full platform crossplay.
If this announcement piques your interest, you can pick up Avabel today on Android or iOS and get a head start on your console and PC progress!
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Lawbreakers, Hyper Universe, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pokemon Go, World of Tanks, DC Universe Online, Crossout, Monster Hunter World, Runes of Magic, Atlantica Online, Revelation Online, League of Legends, Crossfire, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, Path of Exile, and Dungeon Fighter Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Earlier this year, popular streaming platform Twitch – with whom we are a partner – introduced what probably ought to have been a controversial feature called Drops. Essentially, a game’s devs can set up the game to grant in-game items and bonuses (i.e., drops) to those who watch and stream the game through the platform, presumably hoping that’ll drive community engagement or some other buzzword.
One of the MMOs we cover that got in on the ground floor of the Drops system was MMOTCG Elder Scrolls Legends, and apparently, Bethsoft has decided to make some changes to its integration – and not all players are pleased.
For starters, the studio is tweaking the rate of Drops to better consider “their effect on the overall in-game economy” and whether the experience is “meaningful and rewarding,” which apparently includes reducing the number of Drops streamers themselves receive.
Players feeling the frustration and sting of random grouping in Overwatch and other e-sports games might have a new ally in the form of a permanent teaming service. Permateam, as the name implies, connects players with desired team roles to form teams that benefit all. The site has one of the longest and most peculiar manifestos that we have read in a while, mostly expressing the pitfalls that random teaming causes.
“[Overwatch’s] attempt to group people were met with failure,” the site argues. “Players understood quickly that the volatile nature of random teams did not have any direct consequences for them. They could be as toxic as their rage dictated because they would not see the other players again after the match ended. Those lucky enough to win a match, learned that those random teams were just passing by. Skillful players would leave the short-term team and move-on. Occasionally, some players would accept to stick together for a few matches and become ‘friends’. Only to discover the next day that those friends are not playing again or are not reachable again. Having no other choice, players would again click on the ‘Find match’ button with dread, and like flipping a coin, wonder if their next team would bring them luck or misery.”
Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Today we have four fresh titles to take a look at.
Gamigo announced Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet this week, the successor to Dragon’s Prophet, which Gamigo is calling “one of the most successful MMORPGs ever launched.” MMORPG players will recall that Daybreak sunsetted the US version of the original game in 2015, though it continued on overseas. The company says the free-to-play title will launch on September 28th in English, German, and French, and yes, you can still “hunt, train, and fight with […] dragons.” Over 600 of them, in fact, though you’ll probably be distracted by “4000 exciting quests and events” and PvP battles. The official site doesn’t appear to be live just yet.
“Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet is the newest release after the long-standing success of Dragon’s Prophet. Discover new and epic adventures and find your own path in Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet. Explore a fantastic world that combines classical MMORPG elements with unique features. Search through forests and mountains for rare dragons, items and always be prepared for the fight. In the new Book of Dragons, you can collect your dragons and plan your journey. Find, hunt and tame over 600 dragons with individual strengths and skills. Only the best hunters and collectors can improve their dragons and items.”
What else have we got?
In preparing tomorrow’s birthday piece for Ultima Online, I confidently wrote that Ultima Online was not going free-to-play because that’s what the devs always say, so stop asking. Turns out that’s not quite accurate, as during the game’s real-life 20th anniversary celebration yesterday, the Broadsword team announced that Ultima Online is getting a free-to-play mode.
The mode is called The Endless Journey, and according to players in attendance, players who take advantage of it will find it’s somewhat similar to the existing trial for the game, only it’s usable on existing accounts. You’ll have a (extremely) limited trial-only banking inventory with no access to your “real” bank, no access to housing placement, and several other limitations, including not being able to use ghosts to spy in certain high-PvP areas and being forbidden to multi-box. It is not clear how vendor purchases will affect freebie players.
It does seem players who decide to upgrade their accounts will still be expected to subscribe (and presumably purchase future expansions), just as the game is played right now, which makes it F2P only in the limited style of EVE Online. As one UOSS moderator put it, it looks like “the equivalent of a very limited F2P, but probably wouldn’t meet the standard definition of a ‘real’ F2P+purchases game,” chiefly because you can’t do much in the game without both a home and full bank access. (I tend to agree – it’s actually worse than the existing free trial accounts, only it also works on existing accounts.)
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Ship of Heroes continued proving itself worthy as a City of Heroes successor with a new video demo of its character creation — which ought to look pretty familiar to fans of the pre-eminent superhero MMORPG.
In the realm of Star Citizen drama, we speculated on the game’s post-launch monetization plans and posted the team’s new count of bugs yet to fix before alpha 3.0 reaches the Evocati. (It’s 7.)
Meanwhile, War of Conquest has already achieved its Kickstarter goal, Project Gorgon teased its next patch, we learned about Pantropy, Crowfall stirred dissent over its harvesting plans, and Guardians of Ember, which raised $77000 in funding from players on Indiegogo, formally launched out of early access.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
World of Warcraft: Legion isn’t quite finished yet. The green-tinged expansion has a few tricks left up its sleeve before players’ attention turns completely to the next chapter of the MMO’s lifecycle.
In addition opening up the new raid and adding in a few heavy story teasers for the upcoming expansion, Patch 7.3.2 is throwing in a new item that will allow players to upgrade their legendary items to ilevel 1000 for the first time. This is thanks to Awoken Titan Essence, which helps bootstrap legendary gear up 30 levels from 970. It probably won’t be easy to obtain; Blizzard Watch outlines a possible process for the upgrade with numerous bullet points that suggests a tad bit of a grind.
With four-digit ilevels becoming a reality, is it about time for Blizzard to consider another round of stat squishing? Or should the studio keep pushing bigger and more impressive numbers across the board?