Step aside, turkey and fambly rage: It’s time to buy stuff. Because we don’t already unload our wallets the rest of the year on MMOs! Oh wait, yes we do. In any case, here’s a quick roundup of all the best MMO Black Friday 2017 sales on Steam and elsewhere.
Stately resting between the gaudy purple and orange of Halloween and merry red and green of Christmas is the earth tone-saturated Thanksgiving. While no one’s favorite color scheme, Thanksgiving does give us a nice in-between holiday with family meals, an awkward dance around politics, a work day for football teams, and the occasional MMORPG holiday event.
While not every online game has decided to embrace the American holiday, enough pop up every year that need corralling. And since we just got turkey certified here at Massively OP, we’re going to lay out all of this week’s event options for you on a platter. So enjoy the festivities and dressing up like a Pilgrim for two days maximum before deeply questioning that fashion sense. Now jingly sleigh bells, size XXXL red suits, and reindeer antlers, that’s a smart look indeed!
It’s kind of hard to be thankful this year. Sure, some good things have happened this year, but we also have some things that, to put it politely, are unqualified messes. There’s everything around Star Wars: Battlefront II. There’s the shuttering of Master x Master and Marvel Heroes (the latter I actually flagged a year ago as being robust and healthy). There are titles like Lord of the Rings Online and ARK: Survival Evolved that have doubled down on methods to enrage players. And last but certainly not least, there’s still no sign of a sequel to the Warcraft film.
That one might be a grey area, actually.
But the year hasn’t been devoid of light, and there’s still stuff to be thankful for. So rather than being bitter and cranky about it, I want to focus on what we do have to be thankful for even while I hope for better in the future. Let’s talk about some stuff that’s good to be thankful for, even if it doesn’t tickle your particular fancy, and be a little more hopeful.
Over the weekend, Studio Wildcard posted up an ARK Survival Evolved dev blog about turrets. You guys, I had no idea turrets were such serious business, but yes. Threaten to nerf turrets and the dino-loving community erupts – why, they barely even noticed Aberration has been delayed into December!
Ostensibly, Wildcard needed to nerf turrets because y’all were just using too many of them, causing tremendous lag for the servers.
“PC servers are far, far worse off than console servers, due to their increased caps on everything, and each and every one of these servers suffers enormously from turret-induced slowdown. PvE doesn’t even come close,” devs explained over the weekend. “Out of the top 150 slowest servers we have, only 15 of them in fact are PvE servers. This is a PvP issue, and it’s really bad.”
Once you recover from the drive-by scorching of MJ’s ARK: Survival Evolved critique, perhaps you’re wondering what else is going on with survivalboxes in other regions of the genre.
The Black Death is making a concerted effort to connect more with fans by bringing back the weekly Q&A series and expanding its presence on social media. The team also is asking for gaming feedback from its community via a survey.
Space sandbox Hellion is working hard on its next update, which will mainly focus on reworking and rebalancing several key systems, such as power supply, life support, and the user interface. The team is excited to announce that Discord integration is coming to the game soon as well.
And with Life is Feudal’s soft launch tomorrow, you’ll definitely want to get hyped up for this semi-MMO by watching the release trailer below!
You know that moment when you just can’t take it anymore? I am there, right on the cusp. I know many folks have gotten to their “I can no longer support <insert name here>” phases for various games and studios for a variety of reasons, but I had never yet reached such a point in my own gaming. (That one studio doesn’t count because I never supported them in the first place.) And now here I am. I don’t think I can continue to support Studio WildCard.
That is definitely a shift for me. I have been an ardent fan of ARK: Survival Evolved. I championed the game pretty heavily: I have streamed it for over two years, I personally host two servers, and this very column was born largely on the back of ARK. I have almost 1500 hours of playtime, and I own the expansions. I had praised the game and Studio WildCard for a long while, holding it up as an example of things done right.
Then things changed. The accumulation of many remarks and actions that ate away at my trust was topped off by the way the studio shows disregard for its current customers, treating them as disposable cash cows. And then came the sequel talk this very week.
The good news for fans of ARK: Survival Evolved who are not in the mood to buy a sequel to the game at the moment? There isn’t one being developed right now. But ARK 2 is still not off the table according to one of the community managers; in fact, based solely on popularity, it seems inevitable.
We don’t have any plans for a sequel right now. But as has been stated, with the unprecedented popularity of the game, it would be a disservice to not expand on that through a sequel.
Why a sequel instead of just expansions? Because the development team has learned a lot over the course of bringing ARK to release, and that means a sequel could contain lessons learned about system design as well as back-end improvements to make the game easier to update and maintain. Of course, it’s all speculation right now, as one isn’t presently in the pipeline; the title did only recently move from early access into proper launch. Just don’t be surprised if you hear about one in the next few years.
From the first moment Massively OP’s MJ saw the majestic griffon flying around ARK’s Ragnarok server, she wanted one. Needed one! Today, she’s going to attempt to get one. Capturing and taming this beast will take help as well as some luck. Tune in live at 6:00 p.m. for this first attempt to subdue the king of the skies.
What: ARK: Ragnarok
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 11th, 2017
Xbox One X is landing on porches this very moment, you guys, and ARK: Survival Evolved might just be the first thing you load up because nothing is more fun than being eaten by dinosaurs in high-def.
“Provided as a free update to Xbox players, ARK on Xbox One X takes full advantage of the new system’s power, delivering next-generation gaming with brilliant HDR visuals, 1440p high-resolution options, longer draw distances and enhanced visual effects, higher framerates, significantly reduced load times and much more. All these new features make ARK: Survival Evolved on Xbox One X the ultimate visually and technically advanced dinosaur survival experience on any console.”
We’ve included the brand-new live action trailer down below, which is more than a little cheesy, but hey, it’s fun. You can see the graphics comparison video too!
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.
Depressingly, it appears that Studio WildCard isn’t bothering to turn the Halloween event on at all this year. At least Massively OP’s MJ has a horse dressed up like a unicorn! She’s going to head back into ARK’s Ragnarok and celebrate the season anyway by looking for scary things herself. Things that can gobble her up! Perhaps by doing an aerial tour, she’ll actually survive. And While MJ is up there, maybe she can scout out some new dinos to add to the herd. Join us live at 12:00 p.m. to seek out the more frightening aspects of the island… and maybe find one to tame! Did she mention she had a Giga as a neighbor?
What: ARK: Ragnarok
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 28th, 2017
I remember years ago when then-Massively-columnist Rubi Bayer let loose with a blistering rant on the state of faux beta MMOs. She helmed Betawatch back then, see, and she was fed up with (mostly imported) MMOs claiming to be in beta when in fact they’d soft-launched. A lot of readers didn’t understand her fury at the time, but boy have things changed, right? Now, every game’s in on that very old trick, only they call it early access now, while some are still pushing the boundaries, charging $1000 for pre-alpha.
MOP reader Pepperzine proposed a topic for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s right on point. “I was thinking it would be interesting if we could discuss when people consider a game to be in alpha/beta versus a final launch as a topic,” he wrote to us.
“Back in the day, this was easy to determine. Selective testers were extended invites into beta who were experienced testers who had the computer hardware to handle the software. The primary purpose of being in the testing phase was exactly that, to test and bug report. When the game was made available to the public at a price, a game was considered launched. Now, players are granted access to pre-launch titles by ‘donating’ or purchasing access. For the most part, the primary purpose of participating in the pre-launch experience for these players is not testing or bug reporting but rather to experience and play the game. The division of purchasing a game and donating to test has become so blurred that it is no longer a valid way of determining if a title is at a state to where it is launch ready. These titles can stay in this pre-launch phase for as long as they deem necessary, easily deflecting criticisms by reiterating it is still in development. So when do you consider a game to be launched? Is it when the producers declare it is? Is it when there is no longer the possibility of wipes? Is it when cash shop monetization is implemented? Is it as soon as the company begins selling access?”
Where’s the line in 2017? Let’s dig in.
Surprise! ARK: Aberration, the survival sandbox’s next expansion that was slated to launch this month, is delayed. Shocking, I know. Actually, if any fans were actually surprised, they obviously haven’t been following ARK: Survival Evolved very long. The delay, along with a other news, was announced during Twitch Con 2017; Studio WildCard showed off the expansion to a host of streamers who, in turn, showed the game off to the rest of us. Fans got to see hours of Aberration gameplay, learning little tidbits about the world and its unique flora and fauna as streamers experienced the malfunctioning ARK for the first time. And the world does look fascinating!
Besides the delay and the peek into the underground world, we learned that the Structures Plus mod will be officially integrated into the game. This is fabulous news for builders who’ve been waiting a long while for this feature to get some attention. And for those who want some real-world ARK goodies, the ability to purchase the The Collector’s Edition of ARK: Survival Evolved sans game and expansions was also announced. Also, ARK itself and the expansions are on sale this weekend only.