This week, the dominant story has become Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion, which is coming our way far sooner than a lot of folks had guessed. For this edition of Massively Overthinking, I’ve touched base with some of our writers to measure their reactions to the big announcement, asking them to gauge what’s in it, whether it was worth the wait, what they’re disappointed about, what they think of the pricing, and whether they’ve felt sufficiently enticed to play. Let’s dig in!
Studio: Trion Worlds
Launch Date: September 16, 2014
Genre: Fantasy Hybrid Sandbox
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Is it even possible for pure joy to be derived from MMORPG music? Whether or not, the Battle Bards are going to take a serious stab at it in today’s episode! Each piece is hand-picked and home-brewed to distill joy for the listener, coated in sparkling hopes and drizzled with fond memories. No matter what, you’re in for an uplifting show!
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 iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree talk about Trove’s underdog status, the impact of server merges on open world housing, playing as a deer, gender stereotypes in MMOs and more!
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.
Listen to the show right now:
“Balance your server populations carefully and never add more servers than you’ll need after the three-month slump because if you think server merges spell doom for themeparks, know that they’re even worse for open-world housing sandboxes (Vanguard, SWG), only slightly worse an option than ignoring the problem and expecting your players to pay to move themselves and lose their land in the process (UO, LOTRO).” [This was before LOTRO’s free transfers.]
And now here we are again, seeing server merges so bad MOP’s MJ Guthrie, whose pixel home narrowly survived the last round of merges, intimated she was done this time once her house is nuked and she’s forced into yet another land rush. It’s too late for ArcheAge, I fear, but there has to be a way out of this — maybe it’s not too late for the next MMO with housing. How would you solve the housing server merge problem?
It’s this nightmare that ArcheAge is preparing to navigate with its upcoming server “evolutions.” Twelve realms across North America and Europe have been tagged for this process, which will consolidate everything down to brand-new four servers when it goes down starting on September 7th and concluding on the 9th. And yes, this does mean that all affected will engage in a land rush, because that’s always heaps of fun.
The three fresh start servers get diplomatic immunity from the merges, as does five legacy servers. Trion Worlds is planning to allow players the option to transfer their characters to those legacy servers instead of going through the merges if they so desire. The free transfer period will run between August 16th and 29th.
Teams of four will take on the battle, fighting not just the opposing team but the raging waters and neutral sea monsters. There’s no word on when this is coming out to the localized version of the game, but you can take a look at the trailer and get hyped for when it does arrive. You can even experience it in VR, if you have a friend nearby ready to spray your face with water repeatedly.
“If you couldn’t already guess, MMORPGs are my jam,” Bridges wrote. “They’re my absolute favorite type of game for a variety of reasons. I love the communities in them, I love that you can constantly strive to be better at something, and questing in general always feels so epic.”
This move doesn’t mean that Linda “Brasse” Carlson is out as a RIFT community manager. Bridges confirmed that Carlson will continue to manage the team while doing “cool creative stuff” in the meantime.
When it comes to ArcheAge, it’s generally accepted that this is a pretty great fantasy sandbox that was absolutely sunk by a terrible business model (and a few other regrettable studio choices). The topic keeps popping up among that community over whether or not a subscription-only server would do a lot better today.
Switching business models is something many MMOs experiment with from time to time. We’ve certainly seen many subscription games go free-to-play, and Secret World Legends recently restarted with a F2P model instead of B2P.
Looking at the vast array of MMOs out there, which game do you think would do better if it had a different business model? You could even argue here to modify the extent of the current business model to something, say, less pay-to-win or restrictive.
“I’m really happy to let you all know that I’m your new associate producer,” Brennan said. “I’ll be joining Khrolan and Amary on the production team side of things, so don’t worry that someone’s going to go somewhere. You’ll still see me posting on the forums and Reddit too, though perhaps not as much as I use to. My time is going to have to go towards behind-the-scenes work and planning, after all!”
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!
This week we have stories and videos from Dota 2, Destiny 2, Battleground Europe, ArcheAge, Orbus VR, Final Fantasy XI, Hearthstone, TERA, Tibia, Elsword Online, Osiris New Dawn, League of Legends, Astroneer, SMITE, Warframe, The Black Death, and Gloria Victis, all waiting for you after the break!
Massively OP reader and Patron Avaera has a thoughtful question for the team and readers this week. “I wish more virtual world games thought deeply about what impact they can have for the better,” he writes.
I posed Avaera’s question to the whole team for an intriguing Overthinking.
ArcheAge Begins’ title is never going to be as appropriate as it is right now. Gamevil’s spin-off of XLGAMES’ well-known MMO sandbox has just kicked off its first global closed beta test and is looking for a few players to give the game a test drive.
The closed beta test is a fairly short one, running from now through July 3rd. ArcheAge Begins is looking at a Q3 2017 release on mobile, so it looks as thought the testing process is ramping up to make way for the launch. The game uses the Unreal 4 engine and contains many features from the MMO, including raiding, fishing, and trading, although it is obviously not the same product.
Right now the beta is for Android players only, so if this is you and you have interest in the game, you can sign up for the program through Google Play.
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.