MassivelyOp reader Bryan recently wrote to us with a fun question about emulators, a topic that will simply never die as long as MMORPGs do.
“I recently viewed some comments claiming that official era servers wouldn’t acquire much of the player base from private servers, due the benefit of private servers typically being free to play. After thinking about it though, I actually know many people who have donated money or purchased cash shop items on private servers. And I have been in guilds that paid for guild website hosting and guild voice chat hosting for their private server guild. Free stuff is always nice, of course, but it seems as though while the benefit of free to play private servers is there, there’s still a decent amount of people willing to pay out of their pockets for them. I am wondering, how many MOP readers have donated or would be willing to spend real money on a private server?”
So let’s tackle the emulator question in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Have you ever played on an emulator? Under what circumstances? Which ones are you OK with, and which ones do you stay far away from? Are you OK with emulators raising money, and for what purpose? And have you ever donated money to or spent money on an MMO emulator?
By the time you read this dear reader, I’ll already be dead… dead tired, that is, from running around the Game Developer’s Conference talking to developers from such companies as Snail Games about upcoming games like ARK Park. Ahead of my meeting about the game, I was granted a review copy so I could get some time in with the real thing before my interview and end of the media embargo. As my Oculus Rift set-up isn’t exactly travel-friendly, and I can be prone to motion sickness, I only had enough time to jump into the game for a few scant hours. It was an interesting experience, since the game wasn’t simultaneously available to the public, and that meant I was probably missing out on the critical social factor for my impressions. Nevertheless, I think they’re worth hashing out. Let’s dig in.
Defiance players itching to give the game’s reinvention as Defiance 2050 a spin are going to get that chance in April.
“We’re thrilled to announce that the Defiance 2050 closed beta test runs April 20 to 22 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC,” the studio posted. “Team up with players in co-op events to explore this partially terraformed world and accomplish compelling story missions or battle it out against fellow Ark Hunters in fast-paced PvP combat.”
It sounds as if testers will be playing the Assault class specifically during this leg of the beta. Signups are on the official site.
Trion announced the console-friendly reboot back in February; the MMORPG studio has since promised it won’t abandon the original game and can’t support full crossplay but will credit classic Defiance players in the new title.
Nintendo’s one-year-old Switch is starting to pick up more and more online titles as it matures and gains in popularity, and its latest coup is in securing the popular ARK: Survival Evolved for the platform.
Studio Wildcard announced that it will be bringing ARK to the Switch this fall as both a retail and digital product. The Switch version promises to host all of the content and animals that exist on other platforms. And it sounds as if the studio is taking advantage of the unique hardware: “With this new version, Switch players can go directly from hunting and taming while sitting on the couch, to forming online tribes and searching out new conquests when on the bus, waiting in line, or wherever they happen to be,” said Lead Designer Jeremy Stieglitz.
Meanwhile in the current PC version, ARK has updated to Patch v279, which comes with visual upgrades to six of the creatures (including the Raptor and Triceratops). This update will arrive on consoles in mid-April.
I’m already old and bitter when it comes to survival games. I’ve killed zombies, dinosaurs, infected bears, maybe even infected dinosaurs, and people. Lots of people. Even for food, and I don’t mean apples. I’ve been been forced to hand over my clothes in the freezing cold, drowned myself to escape imprisonment, and endured beaches full of dead, starved naked men on a PvE server that was unable to provide food for its citizens. It’s been the worst parts of The Walking Dead when I’ve been looking for the “It’s going to be OK!” moments. All this during what’s largely proven to be an unending “Early Access” period.
To say I’m critical of the survival genre at this point may be an understatement. By all accounts, someone might think I hate them, and they’d be half right. I hate most of what I’ve played. There’s cool stuff, but it’s like finding a $1 bill in what you hope was a pool of mud. It’s cool, but not really something you want to do a lot of. You mostly want the good stuff. Frostkeep’s upcoming survival MMO, Rend… well, it’s hard to not get excited, but my time talking to the developers actually gave me some faith for the future.
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 Mu Ignition, Lineage 2 Revolution, Revelation Online, Earthfall, Legacy of Atlantis, DC Unchained, Soul Ark, Battle Carnival, World of Warcraft, Old School RuneScape, Aion, War Thunder, Artifact, Pokemon Go, The Black Death, Astroneer, EVE Online, Phantom Halls, MU Online, and Heroes of Newerth, all waiting for you after the break!
The last big ARK expedition Massively OP’s MJ took was to the surface. What goes up, must also go down, right? So this time, she delving the depths of a cave. The gang is on the hunt for new light pets, the elusive glowtail lizards. Will this journey end better than the first time MJ wandered into this cave? (Hint: She was lured to her death by a once-trusted tribe member!) Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to see how successful this second trip into the cave is.
What: ARK: Aberration
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, March 17th, 2018
You know what the world needs? Obviously, it’s another version of ARK Survival Evolved, duh. PixARK and ARK Park, nevermind Jurassic World Alive, aren’t enough! ALL THE DINOS.
Ahem. Yes, apparently Studio Wildcard has tapped War Drum Studios to build out a mobile version of the game called just ARK Mobile. It’s the real deal, the real game, not some wimpy spinoff.
“Based on the genre-defining adventure from PC and console, ARK: Survival Evolved challenges you to survive and thrive on a mysterious island, where you start out alone and unarmed. Gather resources and craft tools to build shelter and hunt. Expand your domain while capturing and taming dinosaurs to do your bidding. Make new friends online, form tribes, and build mighty structures to defend against man and mega-predators alike!”
The closed beta begins today on iOS; signups are on the official site. Launch – on iOS and Android – is expected this spring, though we haven’t gotten any clues about crossplatform play just yet.
Voxel fans, dinosaur fiends, and survival sandbox freaks have surely had their eyes on PixARK since its original announcement last summer. It’s one of Snail’s many (many!) ARK Survival Evolved spinoffs, and the company has just hardened up its early access release date: March 27th. That’s for both Steam and Xbox One. “PixARK will be coming to retail and digital on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox One X later in 2018,” Snail says.
We previously noted that in spite of its cutesy graphics, it seemed like much more of a cutthroat survivalbox than its closest MMO cognates, but development on Steam suggests plenty of sandbox builder goodness too. Snail is touting both single-player and online multiplayer, collections, base-building, character progression, character customization, procedurally generated worlds, a sandbox mode, eight biomes, and 100 dinos and critters to “tame, train, and ride.”
There’s a new trailer to celebrate the occasion, naturally. It’s down below.
Have you seen the surface of ARK: Aberration? Massively OP’s MJ hasn’t, and she’s excited to go. Today she and the team are gearing up for a quick surface expedition — even though she is assured it is most certainly a suicide run for most of the gang. With any luck, at least someone will make it back with some sort of treasure. Tune in live at 12:00 p.m. for MJ’s first run topside.
What: ARK: Aberration
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 10th, 2018
This week in Massively Overthinking, I want to talk about something out on the fringes of our genre: battle royale games. We’ve been watching BR take off, first with H1Z1, then the explosion of PUBG last summer and fall, and now Fortnite has taken the crown, becoming even more popular and raking in even more money, at least on console and potentially overall. And yet less than a year ago, we were embracing Fortnite as a PvE building game – see how blazingly fast Epic pivoted to catch this trend? I remember when PUBG started to plateau in the west even as it continued it climb in China, and I wondered then whether anything could ever dethrone it – and I have to say, I didn’t think it would be Fortnite.
So let’s talk about battle royale. Is it bleeding an online subgenre – MMOs, shooters, MOBAs, or survival sandboxes, or is it just something everyone’s tacked on top of existing gameplay? How will mobile keep up? And most importantly, is it a fad that’s destined to eventually fade away, or is it here to stay?
You may have thought the multiplayer online dinosaur genre is already tapped out, what with the likes of ARK Survival Evolved and ARK Park and Durango, but that’s not going to stop a classic from giving it a Pokemon Go-inspired effort.
Yep, Jurassic World Alive, built by studio Ludia, is a mobile MMOARG that tasks Android and iOS players with catching ’em all collecting and murdering dinos, snagging DNA samples, and then tinkering in lab mode to create new species – because what could possibly go wrong? There’s also a PvP arena mode where you make your dinos fight.
Registration on both platforms is up and running on the official site; you can check out the trailer down below.
Welp, now we know what Trion Worlds has been working on: Defiance is getting a sequel, launching for PC, Xbox One, and PS4 this summer. The MMORPG studio says Defiance 2050 is a “completely from-the-ground-up recreation of Defiance” that “overhauls the exciting story and groundbreaking gameplay of the original, reimagining the San Francisco-based sci-fi shooter experience for current gaming hardware.”
“Defiance 2050 recreates the original game from the ground up to be representative of the current generation of consoles. From updated textures to improved resolutions and framerates, Defiance 2050 is a marked improvement over the original Defiance. Defiance 2050 is more than just a simple graphical remaster, as the game’s systems have gotten major improvements to create the definitive version of the game. Today’s consoles and PCs enable the dev team to implement features and upgrades that fans of the game have been clamoring for, while advancements in hardware allow for action on an even larger scale than before, with more players able to take to the battlefield in white-knuckled combat.”
It’s not entirely clear just yet what’s happening to original-flavor Defiance itself (we’re reaching out to Trion about that right now and will update when we have more info). Beta signups are live on the official site right now, and we’ve got the announcement trailers down below too.