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. See any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we’ll learn about the interesting history of Destiny, fight off an invasion in RuneScape, enjoy various Halloween festivities, learn why ArenaNet’s Colin Johanson got banned from a livestream, and more!
Hey MMO developers, have you ever wondered why players are driven away from your games? Two bloggers took a stab at a list of features repulse them personally when they encounter them in-game.
“Oh man, the pain… the cringe that shoots through my body whenever MMO devs talk about adding more jumping puzzles to their game as if that was somehow a great thing,” MMO Gypsy posted. “Jumping puzzles will make me swear off a title quicker than tankinis — if I want to jump around like an obsessed monkey I am gonna play platformers, thank you!”
“Asian MMOs like TERA and Aion like you to hear your characters use their abilities,” Gaming SF added. “Such games make group gameplay somewhat annoying over time. How many times do I need to hear ‘YAAAARRRRGGGH!’ in one dungeon?”
There’s something about Albion Online that appeals to me. I like the top-down perspective and the stylized visuals, and of course I love the fact that it’s a sandbox and that it’s borrowing ideas (and even a designer) from EVE Online.
On the other hand, it’s free-to-play, and we all know how that worked out for the last sandbox that I was looking forward to!
What about you, MOP readers? Have you tried Albion’s early access yet? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan to play at some point? Vote after the cut!
Sandbox Interactive posted a lore blurb about Albion this week. The piece highlights an NPC faction called the Royal Expeditionary Forces, which the devs say are the first faction encountered by players upon entering the game world. The REF is further split into sub-factions, with each one possessing different types of missions.
Albion is currently undergoing a massive lore revamp, which Sandbox Interactive says is being worked on together with UK fantasy author Peter Newman. Newman is also writing an Albion novel.
Sandbox Interactive is shaking things up with its land ownership system in Albion Online.
In a new development diary, the studio explains that it is ditching the old way (which included regular upkeep) for a new auction-based system. All plots will regularly come up for auction, allowing anyone to bid on the lease for the next period. Current tenants have an edge in this, as their bids will count double and they are the only ones allowed to bid on the last day of the auction.
If a plot changes hands, the new owner will inherit all of the buildings and structures while the previous tenant will get a cut of the winning bid as compensation.
Sandbox Interactive posted an Albion state-of-the-game update on its website this week. The info is broken down into art department and gameplay sections, with art director Marcus Koch and game director Robin Henkys chatting about their respective domains.
On the art side of things, Albion devs have been perfecting the world map, tweaking spell effects, implementing emotes, and overhauling the armor system. On the gameplay side of things, SBI has been working on Albion’s combat including various rebalances and an expansion of the skillshot system.
Albion Online released a couple of dev updates this week. The first focused on private islands, and more specifically, how you can upgrade the number of plots which gives you additional decoration, building, and farming options. During November’s closed beta test, Sandbox Interactive will introduce laborers, which are basically NPC gatherers for hire.
Also this week, we got a glimpse into the developers’ map-making process, from landscape design to fleshing out the world including NPCs, resource nodes, and more.
Top-down PvP sandbox Albion Online has released a new video highlighting the game’s missions and factions. Lead designer Robin Henkys and technical director David Salz are your guides to Albion’s missions, which work a bit like quests in other games, according to Salz. Factional representatives may approach players and grant tasks including transportation of goods and combat/elimination missions.
On the other hand, Salz continues, missions aren’t exactly like standard MMO quests because the open world factions have limited amounts of money that they can spend on missions. This means that players are competing with one another for those missions, and it’s possible for a given faction to run out of money if everyone chooses to work for them.
Click past the cut to learn more via the full video.
The original purpose of Albion Online‘s learning point system was to create a balance mechanism for players with varying amounts of time to spend in the game. All well and good, but it caused another problem insofar as players could level up to a new tier and then wind up stuck there for an extended period of time. So the new version of the system makes learning points a bonus to acquire skills faster rather than the core mechanism for skills.
Learning points now acts as a quick way to level up to the next tier of fame, while fame requirements have been increased by a large amount. The net result is that hardcore players can still grind away after spending learning points, but it’ll be much slower going, and the gap between players who can grind and those who cannot remains small. It’s an interesting revision to the system, and players will have a chance to take it for a spin during the game’s closed beta.
Albion Online is currently focusing on preparations for its upcoming closed beta, but that didn’t stop Sandbox Interactive from posting a dev blog that highlights a couple of new features.
First up are the shrines of Albion, which are basically open world crafting stations that will play an important part in enchanted gear crafting. There are different shrines for offensive, defensive, and support items, and the size of a shrine affects the maximum level of craftable items.
The second feature highlighted in the dev blog is treasure chests. Chests are placed all around Albion’s world and feature a cooldown once opened. “The bigger the trease, the more dangerous it will be to get to,” SBI says.
It may be true that interest in playing and developing mobile games has peaked, although personally I very much like mobile gaming. On the flip side is the fact that studios like NCsoft and Nexon are investing heavily in mobile development, and games like Forsaken World Mobile are giving us hope that online RPGs are still seeking to break into the market.
Mobile gaming is so dang convenient, especially when I find myself away from a computer with a few minutes of nothing else to do. Waiting for my kids to get out of school? Spending quality time in the bathroom? Curled up in bed before sleep? All prime mobile gaming time.
It’s been a deep desire of mine, then, to see a crop of good mobile MMOs spring up. While there certainly have been some, including the highly lauded Order & Chaos and all of Spacetime Studio’s library, nothing has given me the same taste and pop that I get from a computer. Fortunately for me and other mobile gaming lovers, there are many up-and-coming titles in the MMO genre to watch. Will one of these be the game of our dreams? Let’s take a look at the lineup and see if there’s some promise here.
It’s time for the first Guild Wars 2 expansion beta weekend! Technically, it’s a public weekend, but the only parts of the public that can actually get involved are those players who purchased the expansion, which is a bit on the closed side. Still, at least players can rest assured that the expansion will launch this year.
This week has mostly been dominated by the onslaught of news from Gamescom, but there’s still some beta testing news in the mix.
And lo, there is a longer list past the break! Check it out, see if something slipped through testing without us catching it, you know how it be.
Albion Online‘s development team isn’t just sitting back and basking in the afterglow of a successful summer alpha test. There’s a closed beta on the way, and the developers have posted a roadmap of the process from here to the beta test. Lots of new features need to be rolled out, lots of systems need adjusting, and lots of gameplay will be expanded and improved.
The gear curve has been noted as being far too harsh, while the combat system needs significant polish and rework to make every intended portion of the game’s systems function properly. Learning points and GvG will also be receiving extensive overhauls to make the systems feel more natural and rewarding. It means that the game which players will be trying in closed beta will be quite different from the summer test, but it also means a far better game in the long run.