As I have mentioned, I don’t have history with SWL. I do, however, have history with The Secret World. And the fun thing is that said history informs my attitude going into this title as well as the reasons behind the remake-slash-rebranding, so it’s worth examining that along the way. Just as it’s also worth noting that The Secret World has also long been a victim of Funcom’s slow-running financial implosion.
age of conan
Hey, you. Yeah, you, dude leeching candy from the bucket you bought “for the neighborhood kids.” And you, lady still trying to decide between “Princess Leia” and “lazy zombie” for your costume (go Leia, duh). Put all that aside and get into some MMOs instead! Halloween is only one night in real life, but in MMORPGs, it goes on for days or even weeks. Some studios will probably even forget to turn it off! Others will let you run around with a flaming pumpkin head mask for all eternity!
Here’s what we’re looking at this year for Halloween across the MMORPG verse.
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.
Longtime Funcom watchers and MMORPG veterans already knew that Funcom was working on multiple games as part of its Conan franchise push, but some Conan Exiles players newly come to the studio’s games were hearing the news for the first time following Funcom’s quarterly financial report last week, leading to confusion and panic.
“We’re planning another Conan game, but full production won’t start until after Conan Exiles,” Funcom reassured followers on Twitter. “Our plans are to continue supporting Conan Exiles after launch, but first we need to concentrate on having the best launch possible. Exiles is set for full launch in Q1, 2018. We will make sure it is good and ready before we do anything else.”
“We have an additional six months of Early Access, and no resources will be pulled from Conan Exiles until it’s finished,” the company confirmed, repeating the messages in multiple replies.
After speaking up in dismay, players were told they could still spend the nontransferrable Funcom points in Age of Conan or TSW. No. Just, no. There are people who bought those points long ago specifically to use for new content in The Secret World. It is not the player’s fault there was no new content to spend it on for so long! Those points should absolutely be able to benefit players in SWL as it is the only real game going forward.
Just in case you weren’t clear on the point that Funcom considers Conan Exiles to be the wave of the company’s future, this should drive it home for you. The studio announced that it has signed a deal with Koch Media to bring the survival sandbox to physical game shelves in the future.
This means that when Conan Exiles officially releases early next year on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, it will also be showing up in retail stores, giving the title extra presence and (hopefully) additional sales. Koch and Funcom previously partnered to sell box copies of Age of Conan back when that was the current golden child of the studio.
Funcom CEO Rui Casais expressed confidence in Koch Media: “Their experience as a world-leading publisher combined with their extensive retail network will help bring Conan Exiles to an even wider audience. The fact that they know and understand Conan is also a huge benefit that will ensure all aspects of publishing the game will be executed in the true spirit of the Conan the Barbarian brand.”
Motherboard has a fun-slash-depressing piece out this week on an unnamed hacker who claims he’s been cheating at MMORPGs to make a living for almost two decades.
Prior to his recent Def Con hacking conference talk, the hacker dubbed “Manfred” seemingly demoed via video a hack performed in WildStar, one he used to help him accrue nearly 400 trillion gold, which he then allegedly sold to players through various black markets. He argues he wasn’t hacking — he was providing a service by “finding unintended features in the protocol.”
At least some of his claims don’t even seem particularly outlandish, especially if you’ve been around in MMORPGs for a long time and have an understanding of how rampant duping and RMT markets have been over the last 20 years. Manfred claims he got his start in Ultima Online illegally deleting other players’ houses and selling his own on Ebay, funding his days in college. Since then, Motherboard says, he cheated and duped his way through the “wild west” of Lineage 2, Shadowbane, Final Fantasy XI, Dark Age of Camelot, Lord of The Rings Online, RIFT, Age of Conan, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2.
Warning: This column will contain GRAPHIC and EXPLICIT references to film auteur Michael Bay. You may find yourself cutting away in excitement every two seconds and subject to unnecessary explosions and pixelated cleavage. Try to remain calm.
Siphaed had “super fun” in Citadel: Forged With Fire lately and wanted to share a vista from his new house. But what’s the best part? “Explosions!” he wrote. “Michael Bay would be jealous of the graphical fidelity of Citadel. And yet still aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”
Now that we’ve gotten our gratuitous Michael Bay reference out of the way, let us push forward and try to forget the man who single-handedly ruined two 1980s franchises. We are not bitter.
The one thing that I thought we could all count on forever was that the MMO life cycle was pretty easy to understand. A game is launched, then it runs for a certain amount of time, then it shuts down. That last part kind of sucks, but the point is that you know when it’s time to move on. The life cycle is clearly one of creation, then life, then death, like a potted ficus or a cheap desk chair you get at Target.
But then sometimes you have a cheap desk chair that breaks in a crucial way, but you manage to screw the right sort of braces together so you can keep using it for another year after it should have been thrown out. And sometimes an MMO is born, and then it lives, and then it… doesn’t live, but it’s not actually shut down or in maintenance. Or it isn’t clear what’s going on with it, due to what seems to be total abandonment. Or it updates more than games which are supposedly live.
That’s what this column is all about. MMOs in a weird sort of limbo, where some facts are clear, but the results or the overall trajectory make no sense. Sometimes it’s not even clear if the game has actually launched or not. It’s weird.
“Funcom N.V. has entered into an agreement with Bearded Dragon International LTD regarding the development and publishing of a new game. The game is in the ‘tactical turn-based strategy’ genre and is planned to be released during 2018. Initial platform will be PC, with consoles to be evaluated after the PC launch. More information about the game will be revealed when PR and Marketing activities are initiated prior to release. This activity is part of Funcom’s strategy of releasing multiple game titles per year, providing significant activities more often and building a larger portfolio of products.”
Funcom is best known to MMO players for its long-running The Secret World, Age of Conan, and Anarchy Online, as well as sunsetted MMO LEGO Minifigures Online and early access survival sandbox Conan Exiles. AOC and AO were seemingly maintenance-moded earlier this year, while The Secret World has been back-burnered in favor of Secret World Legends, which has formally launched today.
After some ups and downs this afternoon — everybody loves the “try again later” message, right? — Valve’s summer Steam sale is finally underway and stable. Here’s what we’re looking at in our corner of the gaming world.
- Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind is 25% off, with even steeper discounts for the larger bundles.
- Black Desert is 20% off.
- Final Fantasy XIV’s bundle and standalone are on sale, but Stormblood alone is not.
- It’d be criminal not to try Trove; its starter pack and DLC are up to 90% off.
- All of TERA’s Steam packs are 50% off.
- Skyforge boosters are up to half off.
- Shroud of the Avatar is $19.99.
- A couple of RIFT’s packs are half off.
- Final Fantasy XI’s mega bundle is half off.
- ArcheAge’s starter pack is 10 bucks.
- EVE Online’s editions are half off.
- Elite Dangerous is half off, give or take depending on the edition.
- Some of Riders of Icarus’ packages are up to half off.
- A bunch of Marvel Heroes’ packs are 40% off.
I was reading a recent Daily Grind article on the topic of unique healing classes and it prompted me to think about the variety of mechanics on offer for healing in MMOs that go beyond the World of Warcraft model. There are few MMO mechanics that run the risk of being diluted down by mods and add-ons in the way healing mechanics can be, which makes the area a fantastic area for a thought exercise in keeping healing interesting in MMORPGs. Pair the lack of immersive interaction with the mechanics presented by the existence of click-heal and other ‘easy-heal’ overlays with many people’s general wish to be the more extroverted hero character instead of the less flashy but also very much needed party healer and it’s easy to see the need for more incentives to be presented by development teams.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll take a look at some of the class suggestions from the Daily Grind article mentioned and will attempt to summarise what makes those classes so unique and interesting, hopefully in order to find a commonality between some that goes beyond the basic healing mechanics we know from more traditional MMOs.
Just when you think the MMO industry is predictable, it jukes and jags all over the place, tossing out surprises left and right in an attempt to shake you off its tail (or to pull you in, we haven’t decided on that one yet). Marking one of the most unpredictable news weeks of 2017, Bree and Justin ride out westerns, space operas, and fantasies with aplomb.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
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