At the beginning of June, we covered The Elder Scrolls Online’s implementation of spyware program Red Shell, which is designed to track specific information about players and PCs logging into the client, like where on the globe they live. At the time, as fury blazed across Reddit, ZeniMax’s Matt Firor apologized for Red Shell, saying the company was “experimenting” with it and didn’t intend to patch it into the live build, and therefore it would be patched back out.
As it turns out, there are plenty of other games with Red Shell, or parts of Red Shell lingering. Redditor Alexspeed75 has been keeping track of games accused of running the spyware. Most notable on the list for our readers is Funcom; while the studio removed the Red Shell code from Conan Exiles in May following player complaints, players still found parts of it in The Secret World as of last week. That, Funcom has told Redditors, was an error, as it patched out the code last year.
Believe it or not, it has already been a month since Conan Exiles was grabbing headlines with its launch and trying to establish itself for the long haul. Funcom posted a weekly newsletter in which it said that key issues are getting addressed and that “work on the game is not slowing down.”
Important problems seem to be at the forefront of the studio’s attention: “There are still bugs to fix, exploits to remove and balancing and optimizations to implement, and since launch we’ve rolled out several hotfixes to improve various aspects of the game. We know that there still are some stability issues on consoles, that the Purge isn’t working as intended and that the decay system needs some updates and fixes. Everything is getting its due diligence.”
One interesting project that the studio’s been working on is a utility program that will make it much easier than before for players to set up and operate their own private servers. The devs also wanted to remind players that a double experience weekend is approaching from June 22nd through the 24th.
Sometimes I know that I may be a bit too old-school because there’s a little twitch in my eye whenever I have to refer to a given class as a Rogue. That’s become my go-to replacing Thief, and it really does make a fair amount of sense: Rogue skillsets are usually more covering a variety of skulky activities, which incorporates but is no means limited to thievery. Not to mention that calling someone a “Thief” seems like it’s underselling the situation.
Especially when the party is frequently engaged in the act of assault, murder, destruction of property, and unnatural acts with corpses.
A while back, I talked about how to understand the lifestyle of the MMO Warrior, because there’s always a Warrior. Just as surely, there’s always a Rogue, or a Thief, or if you have to go a little further afield, a Scoundrel or Stalker. So in the spirit of understanding these conventions, let’s talk about understanding MMO Rogues.
Massively OP’s MJ was so excited to hear that taming was finally coming to Conan Exiles! While not knowing what creatures may be tameable, that still means that MJ will have to make some decisions on which ones. And we know how slow she is at decisions! Pet crocodile, pet ape, pet mammoth — all sound great! So she’s going to head in and just scope out the wildlife to try and whittle her choices down (while said wildlife will likely try to whittle her down). Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to talk taming.
What: Conan Exiles
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 8th, 2018
Didn’t like the idea of slaves in Conan Exiles? Then you probably won’t dig them in Life is Feudal either. The MMO version of the Life is Feudal games is debuting its first big content update soon, and slavery is among the new bits. It works a lot like Conan’s system too.
“No need in wasting your time on gathering resources manually! Save your time and energy by taking advantage of the new slave mechanic. Players can place up to four slaves per outpost, each additional slave speeding up productivity and earning even more production. There are a couple of ways one can get slaves in Life is Feudal. You can acquire them by controlling the slave outpost in a Red World, buying from other players, or enslaving knocked out players! This feature works only in Red worlds. Now you can make the best of your conquered foes!”
There’s quite a bit more to the patch, including a new PvP battle arena, new religious ranks that allow players to take on the power of the gods, new outpost building features, and a new guild rank system, plus improved music and map heraldry. Notably, the walls between the game worlds will come down, allowing players to move between them and communicate with people in safe or danger zones.
Conan Exiles has weathered its first major milestone of reaching proper launch without exploding or melting down too much. Now it’s time for Funcom to look forward to later content, and that’s exactly what the latest post on the official site is all about. Technical updates and bug fixes are obviously going to continue, but the developers are also hard at work at bringing in pets and taming mechanics as well as a new dungeon.
Plans are also moving for new in-game religions, archery improvements, animation fixes, and new automatic downloads of mods as a quality-of-life feature. There’s also a new Far East-themed DLC planned for sometime in June, with three new armor set appearances, 11 new weapons, 25 new placeable objects, and a new set of Tier 3 building pieces. The post is quick to point out that the teams working on this DLC aren’t taking time away from the base game to add this, so buying it or not shouldn’t impact the overall future plans for the game.
If you’re curious about the state of the game right now, you can check out Andrew’s most recent glance at the title.
Do you remember at the beginning of May when Just Survive was talking about “working on a plan to go forward”? I understand if you don’t: It almost seems as if Daybreak itself has forgotten about the game, so how can it expect players to remember. Well, with H1Z1 doing so well on the PlayStation 4, maybe — just maybe — the game that actually birthed the battle royale version (that it lost its name to) will get some love. We can dream! And while we dream, we can also help the studio out with its plan-making endeavors. And boy, do I think it needs some help! As it is, the next promised patch sound like little more than maintenance mode and doesn’t really dispel the rumor that the game is on the sunset path. In order to survive, Just Survive needs to step up and offer a bit more than that. So here are eight ways Daybreak can give this survival game a fighting chance.
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 Rend, Armored Warfare, Wakfu, Elsword, H1Z1, Conan Exiles, Dauntless, Sea of Thieves, Fractured Lands, Magic: The Gathering Arena, EVE Online, Orbus VR, RuneScape, Foxhole, Shot Online, Dark Age of Camelot, PixARK, TERA, and Final Fantasy XI, all waiting for you after the break!
The northern swamp in Conan Exiles is denser and more dangerous that the southern portion, but that’s not going to dissuade Massively OP’s MJ! Her ultimate goal is a treehouse by a waterfall, but she had to find the right location before she can start building. That means exploring. (And exploring often means death.) Join us live at 8:00 p.m. as she scours the swamp for the perfect home sweet home.
What: Conan Exiles
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018
Remember back when Conan Exile’s release made it the newest and hottest kid on the block? We were all so much younger, back in early May. Now we’re older and know better that Funcom’s survival sandbox still needs some work to bring it up to par.
The studio looks like it’s in a “shoring up” phase right now, especially with the release of last week’s PlayStation 4 parity patch. This brought in an AFK kicker, warpaints, thralls that regenerate health, a healing balance pass, and plenty of quality-of-life adjustments. Also, you’re now limited to a 600-meter height limit on structures (“This should not impact players unless they are re-enacting Jack and the Beanstalk,” said Funcom).
Funcom also laid out a distinction between hotfixes and bigger updates, in case you all are new to online gaming. “We are currently doing a lot of smaller hotfixes for crashes and other critical issues either reported by the community or highlighted through internal testing,” the studio said. “In this case, for the hotfixes, our next focus after stability will be server performance and anti-harassment game mechanics.”
What do you get when you ask MMO players with bulging folders of screenshots to pick their very, very best to show off? An absolutely amazing array of visual delights, that’s what.
Zyrusticae kicks off our look at the MOP community’s best-of-the-best screenshots with this view of what I think is Blade and Soul: “Just one? Really? Just the one? Boy, you really know what to say to induce absolute decision-making paralysis in me, don’t you? Well, after much deliberation, I just realized that it had to be this one. There is no other shot that gets my attention as much as this one does. The absurdly saturated, bright blue color palette in contrast with the autumn colors… yes, it does my heart good.”
A year ago, MMO fans were thrilled to find out that Funcom had had its best quarter in ages thanks to the early access launch of Conan Exiles. The first quarter of 2018 wasn’t quite as huge, but you can be sure next quarter will be, as Funcom says it’s already sold 1.4M copies of the game, a million of those before May 8th – which Funcom notes is as many as Age of Conan sold in its first three years of life, making it Funcom’s “bestselling game of all time.” It’s expected to launch on PS4 in Japan this summer, alongside the game’s first DLC in June.
Age of Conan, by the way, gets a note for its Saga of Zath progression server that ran throughout winter and spring; the studio says it was “successful in engaging players and increasing revenue.” Little ink is spilled over Secret World Legends beyond a note about Dawn of the Morninglight and a promise for “more content and events […] going forward.” Anarchy Online is not mentioned.
Making a list of the “biggest” MMOs currently running is always an exercise in frustration. It’s easy to put a few things on the list – no one’s going to argue with placing World of Warcraft on such a list, for example – but then everything else always gets mired in opinions and controversy, and endless cycles of “why isn’t this game I love on there while another game I don’t like is there?!” I speak from experience.
Still, on our list of the healthiest MMOs at the moment, we’ve got only three licensed games: Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Those are by no means the only entries on the licensed game list, of course, but there does seem to be something of a dearth of those. And perhaps that’s more understandable than it seems. For all that we talk about how one setting or another would be perfect for an MMO, there are some unique troubles you inevitably run into when you get into the licensed MMO shuffle.