With the insane success — both in terms of popularity and finances — that Dota and League of Legends spawned, you can easily understand why game studios latched onto the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) as a relatively quick cash grab. After all, with players providing the ongoing content (through PvP matches), developers were freed up to focus on balance tweaks and churning out new skins and characters to sell.
In a relatively short span of time, the market became flooded with many imitators that sought to grab that slice of the profitable pie. And while some, such as Hi-Rez’s SMITE, have endured, many games discovered the one key danger with this approach: If you could not generate and sustain a large, active playerbase, you were as good as dead. A critical mass was needed, and when it was not achieved, games started folding up left and right.
In today’s Perfect Ten, we’re going to look at a dozen MOBAs that tried and failed to make it. Perhaps they serve as cautionary lessons to other studios seeking to mimic League of Legends’ format, but we somehow doubt that the era of the MOBA is over just yet.
I like to think that I have a fairly open mind when it comes to accepting strange sights and races in fantasy MMORPGs, but Final Fantasy XIV seems hellbent on finding my breaking point. Literal cat-fish might just be that. It’s too weird for me, I’m out of here.
“Looking for NPC comic relief?” Vincent asked. “I give you the Namazu. Half-cat, half-fish (?) and I’m pretty sure the person who came up with the design was half-baked. The other shot I took on the way back to Castellum Velodyna (Beast Tribe quest hub) just as the fog was about to lift…”
When you’ve just made Moogles look normal and mundane, you’ve really accomplished something.
Why should you stop advancing your character in Allods Online just because you’ve hit the level cap? The game’s next major update is going to let you keep advancing with the introduction of new Spark Talents. Your Spark Level is unlimited, increasing steadily as you earn more Spark Experience; each level requires an escalating amount of experience, but the rate of acquisition is also slowly improving over time.
So how do you get this experience? By doing stuff, naturally. Daily adventures, winning rated combat, completing daily quests, and several other repeatable activities earn you more experience. You can also assign rubies to talents as your level increases, unlocking bonuses to item acquisition, special toys, and of course various bonuses to stats and special abilities. Check out the full rundown if you can’t wait to level up your character, only even more now that you finished the first round of leveling.
Probably my greatest and most constant gripe about fantasy MMORPGs is that for all of the freedom and imagination that this genre supposedly boasts, game designers keep going to the same boring well of tropes and limit themselves instead of exploring possibilities.
Nowhere do you see this more than in races. Dwarves and Elves? We’ve got bushels and barrels of them, all on sale at discount prices. There are regular humans, of course, and Slightly Bigger Humans, and Half-Sized Humans, and Blue Humans. But what about getting outside of this been-there-played-that cookie cutter design to offer some interesting playable choices?
Like fairies, perhaps?
I could never understand why we don’t see fairies more in MMOs. They are widely recognized in the fantasy genre, they seem to have popularity, and they even share some cross-over with Elves. But the poor fae have been unrepresented, so much so that it took a lot of digging to come up with a mere 10 MMOs that allow you to play as one, whether it be as a race or class. Let’s take a look!
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 Master X Master, Blade and Soul, EVE Online, RoboManiac, Hearthstone, Hyper Universe, The Black Death, Pokemon Go, RuneScape, TERA M, Champions Online, Wurm Online, Final Fantasy XI, Gigantic, Allods Online, Hellion, League of Legends, Diablo III, and Path of Exile, all waiting for you after the break!
One of the fun things about this hobby is that certain tropes repeat themselves constantly. And they’re usually weirdly specific tropes, too. Poop quests, for example. So many MMOs have one quest or another that make you dealing with poop. Someone has a fixation that is probably not entirely healthy, and that someone keeps getting hired to design quests.
But sometimes you try to come up with a trope that’s so specific that it has to be unique. Or at least rare. “MMOs that feature a zone full of floating islands requiring flight to travel around.” At least one zone, and it is traveled around via flight. That cannot be common, that has to be…
Wait. How did I not only get a full list but actually have to decline some entries? How the heck did this happen? There are this many MMOs using this astonishingly specific trope? How did this happen and why?
Just because Allods Online rolled out its Creation update last week doesn’t mean that the MMO is finished hyping this major milestone. Yesterday, the studio released a trailer for Creation that highlights some of the patch’s big feature points.
The first part of Allods Online’s Immortality expansion, Creation adds artifacts, gladiator games, pegasus rides, Minotaur’s Labyrinth, raid adventures, chariot races, weaponsmith’s insignias, class corrections, steeplechase, and the next chapter of the game’s epic storyline. The update coincided with the opening of a new server ruleset that offered three times the experience for monsters killed.
You can see what you’re missing — or what you’re enjoying — after the jump!
When does Final Fantasy become, well, final? It’s probably not going to end with Final Fantasy XIV, which shows every intention of outlasting all of us as long as it keeps pumping out Moogle plushies and Hildebrand quests. On the show today, Eliot lends his FFXIV expertise on the next step of this saga.
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:
As promised, Allods Online has pushed Creation, its first patch of the Immortality expansion, live in the west today, complete with an Olympic-style athletic competition, the Dionic Archipelago, new insignias, new artifact gear, user addon tweaks, Maze rating adjustments, and a number of bug and balancing fixes.
But perhaps the most interesting bit is the addition of a brand-new fresh-start clean server.
“We have launched Equilibrium – the first Allods Online server with triple bonus on killing monsters. Until August 1, we invite you to participate in the server’s grand marathon, where you will also receive awesome prizes for leveling up your character: level 8 Runes, a riding Furnace, and many other valuables.”
This won’t be the first special server to launch for Allods; the Russian import is famous for having launched free-to-play and opening a subscription server in 2013.
Next week is shaping up to be a big one for the MMO industry, unsurprisingly, as Memorial Day approaches and schools begin leaking out for the season. Allods Online has its own release in store next week: the 8.0.1 Creation update, an apparent thematic extension of last winter’s Immortality expansion. On deck for the update:
- an althetic competition – “Join chariot races, descend into the Minotaur’s Labyrinth, and fight in the gladiator games!”
- a new storyline revolving around the newly raised Dominus
- new artifacts through raid adventures, with 5 upgrade levels
- fabled items — or some of them, anyway — will be demoted to lootable and craftable status
- a rating system for players who own a Maze
- a new order trial, party skirmishes
My.com has a separate dev blog out for gearing up too. MOP’s MJ Guthrie poked her head into Allods — for the first time! — just a few weeks ago; you can watch her show below. Warning: Gibberlings ahead!
Have you ever noticed that while there’s an entire world out there, most all of the MMORPGs we discuss and play tend to either be ones crafted in the USA or imports from China or Korea? We even have a shorthand for this: “western” and “eastern” MMOs. We’re usually not talking about entire hemispheres with these references, but rather about categorizing three countries that are big into the MMORPG business.
But what about the rest of the world? Are all of these other countries so uncaring about this genre that they’ve never tried their hand at making an MMO? Of course not; as I’m about to show you, there are plenty of online RPGs that have been made in countries other than China, the USA, and South Korea. It’s just that for various reasons, those three countries ended up fostering concentrations of video game developers who knew how to create these types of games.
So let’s take a tour around the world and see if we can’t give some credit to other countries for their contributions to the MMORPG genre past, present, and future. Before you click the link, see how many you can name off the top of your head!
How is Allods Online six years old already? Massively OP’s MJ can’t believe how fast time has flown: She hasn’t gotten to try this whimsical MMO yet. And after seeing how adorable the Gibberlings are, she just has to dive in before any more time gets away from her. What better time than on the anniversary, right? Join us live at 6:00 p.m. for MJ’s first ever look at…
What: Allods Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
Over the years, I’ve been fascinated with the concept of time in MMORPGs. It’s one of those things that developers probably don’t want you thinking about too closely, since it could create a crack in the world illusion that they’ve created. But really, how does time work in these games? Are you forever frozen in the same fixed point in history, advancing only to a new era when a patch or expansion releases? Does the timeline advance only as you go through new quests and hit arbitrary milestones?
Even more fascinating is when developers decide to have a little fun with their storytelling by throwing players into the past and future via time travel. It’s not even strictly for science-fiction games, either; plenty of fantasy MMOs work in time travel at one point or the other. It can be a great way of expanding upon the game’s lore and giving players an insight into events that led up to the modern era.
Today we’re going to look at 10 instances of how MMORPGs have used time travel with reckless regard to paradoxes and splintering the world into millions of alternate universes.