Overwatch dings up to 35M players ahead of quarterly financial report

Blizzard just announced that it’s just counted 35 million Overwatch players – not too shabby for a buy-to-play team shooter that started out by tossing half a dozen MMORPG development dev years down a drain. That ought to make investors happy – expect the next investor relations report in early November.

I’d love to give more info, but the #8 revenue PC game and #6 revenue console game in the world sent a press release with nothing else. So instead, we’ll compare it to some other big numbers lately: 10M have shown up for Fortnite’s free-to-play console battle royal mode, while PUBG’s sold 13M in the last couple of months.

Also, this guy speaks for everybody.

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Ship of Heroes reveals its Lightning Blast powerset with a new video

It’s sacrilege to say it, I’m sure, but I never loved lightning powers in City of Heroes – lightning wasn’t much of a damage element, instead being focused around sapping power from enemies, meaning you had to work so much harder on a lightning toon than on most other damage dealers. That isn’t the case in City of Heroes spiritual successor Ship of Heroes, however, as a new video and set of screenshots demonstrates today.

The lightning powerset, the third of eight planned for reveal in 2017, does get some self-buffs and debuff components, but otherwise, it’s a nasty damage dealing set that serves as as a primary powerset for the Devastator class and a secondary powerset for Support toons (the demo character in the video, if you’re wondering, is Support).

Heroic Games notes that the animations and effects in the video are work-in-progress and will be altered and improved in the future as the team has specifically expanded to “add professional FX and animation personnel so that [it] can upgrade [its] powers.” The studio also points out that this video marks the first demo showing off night effects as well as the first showing targets reacting to being smacked in the face with damage powers.

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UK lawmakers examine lockboxes, PEGI leaves definitions to gambling commissions

The ESRB may not be interested in protecting gamers against predatory business model practices like lockboxes, but European regulators may be joining their Chinese counterparts in at least taking a look before casually dismissing concerns.

As Polygon reports, a member of the UK parliament, Daniel Zeichner, submitted formal questions to the UK’s secretary of state on topic, requesting information on her plan to “to protect vulnerable adults and children from illegal gambling, in-game gambling and loot boxes within computer games,” specifically on the Isle of Man, whose legal code refers by name to “in-game gambling and loot boxes.”

Meanwhile, the European PEGI – akin to the ESRB on this side of the pond – has said that it can’t rule on the issue for game studios because it “cannot define what constitutes gambling” because it’s not a national gambling commission – contrary to the ESRB’s statement.

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Final Fantasy XIV brings around its annual Halloween event on October 19

Another All Saints’ Wake is approaching once more in Final Fantasy XIV, and that means players will need to deal with the usual antics of the Continental Circus and its associated void-based schemes. Of course, this year also sees the addition of a woman from Othard with an… unusual set of traits. Given the year’s rewards, one may be certain that the Lupin are going to be involved somewhere along the line.

Yes, the latest set of festivities will award you the chance to dress up like a werewolf to terrify onlookers and irritate the heck out of any Lupin who are now being mocked by your getup. There are also housing decorations for those who prefer to fill their houses with pumpkins rather than dressing up in a costume; the game allows for either. The event starts on October 19th and runs through November 1st, so you can be dressing up with a tail and humming “Werewolves of London” before the week is out.

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H1Z1 has defeated its ‘King of the Kill’ branding in a last-man-standing battle royale

Looks like at least some of the rumors last week have proven true, as Daybreak is indeed removing the “King of the Kill” branding from H1Z1, meaning the battle royale half of the zombie survival sandbox is now getting the unified game’s original name free and clear.

You’ll recall that in 2016, Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive; this past summer, the company dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game, and then it announced a pro league for H1Z1 just last week.

“Throughout development we’ve continued to define the vision for H1Z1, which is competitive at its core with fast-paced and action-packed combat,” Daybreak explains. “Over the past year, the game has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of both player base and development, so we thought it was time to evolve the game’s look to something that better represented the spirit of H1Z1 and the level of quality we aspire to. H1Z1 is also the name that our players connect with most, so it was just natural evolution for us to transition back. We’re also working to ensure that H1Z1 can be enjoyed by players around the world, and having the word ‘Kill’ in the name of the game can be limiting with some global audiences.”

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RuneScape is overrun by undead, challenges players to survive the next 10 days of Dimension of the Damned

“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk Gielinor and there’s 200 million in-game gold pieces to be won by the player who can survive the longest.”

That might be hard to fit on a movie poster. Fortunately, it’s for an MMORPG instead.

Starting today, RuneScape is hosting a new 10-day challenge called Dimension of the Damned. In this “alternative game universe,” players will attempt to survive the onslaught of the walking dead by scavenging resources, creating shelters, and fighting back in one-hour sessions. All participants will get a survival outfit and the “RIP” axe.

The top 1,000 scoring players who haven’t had their brains consumed by October 28th can compete in a no-holds-barred battle royale to determine the ultimate champion of this event. There are a bevy of rewards for this finale, including all-expenses-paid trips to Jagex and a year of premium subscription for the top five winners.

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The Daily Grind: How should studios solve the gaming-while-rural problem?

If you’ve ever read any of MOP’s Andrew’s coverage of Pokemon Go, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme: One of his biggest pet peeves is that Niantic privileges urban players over everyone else. If you live far away from a large city, you’ll not only struggle to attend events there; you’ll suffer from a lack of hotspots, gyms, raid opportunities, and other players on the daily, and you’ll have to drive between far-flung destinations just to play. A studio obviously can’t fix a population weakness, but it surely could work harder to stop making game opportunities and rewards effectively dependent on where you live.

The same problem’s apparently cropped up in Hearthstone as Blizzard has begun incentivizing what are essentially player-hosted LAN-party events with an ultra-rare Nemsy cards, ostensibly in the service of community. I plugged my current address in and came up with no less than six events over the next month within 20 miles of my home – triple that if I am willing to drive up to 100 miles. But I live in a large city (6M metro area) in the midst of even more large cities. If I plug in my address from back when I lived in New Mexico, there are no events within 100 miles of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Zip. Nada. They don’t even make the top 50 list for metro areas in the US, but they’re the biggest for 300 miles in any direction where they are. And still nothing.

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MMO Week in Review: Warframe’s first steps into a larger world (October 15, 2017)

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!

Warframe took another step closer to being an MMORPG this week with the launch of its Plains of Eidolon expansion, which introduced an open-world landscape feel to zones and a slew of MMO-like questing options.

In Final Fantasy XIV, the latest housing crisis was met by apologies from no less than Naoki Yoshida.

And on the business end of things, the ESRB declined to classify lockboxes as gambling, Blizzard sued another Chinese ripoff, and IGN bought out the Humble Bundle company.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s free-to-play upgrades are pretty damn generous

You’ve probably heard by now that EVE Online is giving its free-to-play alpha clone characters a massive boost in power in December about a month after the launch of the Lifeblood expansion. The news has been spreading through the gaming media since it was announced last week at EVE Vegas 2017 and the reception online has been generally positive. Some existing players are worried that the change might even be too generous, with fears that veteran players may let their subscriptions lapse and play for free, or that the new skills might be abused to create an endless army of ganking alts.

There’s no doubt that the changes will help to close the power gap between subscribers and free players and will open up new avenues of gameplay. Free players will finally be able to fly tech 1 battlecruisers and even battleships, and cross-training for multiple races will unlock multi-faction ships such as the Sisters of EVE exploration ships. Alpha clone players will also finally be able to use tech 2 weapons and fly many of the ship setups flown in massive nullsec wars, though the way that the new skill limit is being implemented may actually benefit old and returning players more than new ones.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into the free-to-play changes, briefly examine the power gap between free and subscribed players, and look at who will benefit most from the change.

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The MOP Up: Speedrunning World of Warcraft (October 15, 2017)

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 Project Gorgon, Star Trek Online, BlessSkyforgeWakfuRobloxWar ThunderAionElite: DangerousNew DawnTravianAstroneer, and World of Warcraft, all waiting for you after the break!

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Battle Bards Episode 107: Blade and Soul expansions

After 50 episodes, the Battle Bards have made the brave decision to revisit the hallowed lands of Blade and Soul to look at two of the soundtrack expansions. The team combs through The World and Silverfrost Mountain albums to see what bounty can be harvested. It’s another lively episode with plenty of upbeat music, so what are you waiting for?

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 107: Blade and Soul expansions (or download it) now:

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MMOs you’ve never heard of: Immortal Thrones, Identity, and Lordmancer II

Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Let’s run down three of them.

Immortal Thrones

First up is Immortal Thrones, a mobile MMO import from Chinese studio Zloong, which is calling the game a 3-D MMO set in a “richly detailed medieval fantasy world.” It’s just launched on both iOS and Android in North America and Europe. Expect four classes, multiple PvP options, and “a merged live-streaming and Location-based Service (LBS) system [that] enables players to find other competitors and engage with them in real time,” which the PR says “makes the game more interactive than the standard MMORPG.”

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Fortnite teases Halloween event, lists development projects in the works

The development train for Fortnite isn’t slowing down, with the studio posting a long list of projects that its teams are currently tackling. For those who don’t have time to peruse the full rundown, some of the more notable line items include voice chat,

In community news, some of Fortnite’s players have reported that the studio has overturned accidental bans and compensated affected individuals for the bother. After seeing the compensation, some voices wished that they had been mistakenly booted.

The team also teased Fortnite’s Halloween event in its most recent dev update video. Apparently this will be “quest-driven” featuring eight new heroes, two new weapons, and an additional biome called Hexelvania. More details will be forthcoming next week.

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