A trio of companies known best to our audience for their MMOs are gearing up for a big court battle in the streets of Sweetwater.
Bethsoft is apparently suing Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. over alleged copyright theft in the brand-new Westworld mobile game. You’ll recall Behaviour from its development of MMO Eternal Crusade, and of course Bethsoft owns Fallout – it’s Fallout Shelter that Bethsoft believes was “ripped off” here.
Bethsoft says Behaviour and WB breached their contract, misappropriated trade secrets, infringed on copyrights, and unfairly competed with it in relation to the two games. Apparently, Behaviour developed Fallout Shelter for Bethsoft and stands accused of reusing its design, actual code (complete with identical bugs), and “substantially similar gameplay” for Westworld for Warner Bros., entirely without permission.
If you have a dormant World of Warcraft account, best give it a check: Redditors are reporting that their accounts are currently activated without subbing.
While some gamers are expecting it’s a bug that’ll soon be fixed, it’s also possible that Blizzard’s simply reactivating old accounts in conjunction with summer sale hoopla and summer vacation, all in prep for the expansion launch later this season. Given that WoWhead noticed old accounts have apparently been bequeathed Warlords of Draenor too, that might be a more likely scenario.
Chime in if you’ve found your account alive for no reason – mine has been off a few years and isn’t blessed today, apparently.
Still having a rough time in Worlds Adrift? Bossa Studios has a new humorous guide out to help players “git gud.” Among the tips recommended by players: Use the builder to drop construction objects on your enemies’ head, point your cannon backwards to make yourself look less threatening, always ask before entering other players’ space, and cover your awesome ship with crappy parts to hide its awesomeness. Basically, be the Millennium Falcon.
Most recently, Bossa updated the game with the 0.2.1.1 patch, which added crouching, rolling, and sneaking, as well as improved the cameras, implemented an emote system, tweaked climbing, and fixed a ton of bugs. “YES – instruments are planned in the game,” says the studio.
This weekend, the devs are plotting multiple fun summer events across all the servers – make sure you check out the rolling schedule because there are indeed some sweet prizes, including engine schematic, cosmetics, lootbags, and “your ship immortalised in Dan Lish art.”
Git gud below.
It appears as if Portalarium is suffering some layoffs and downsizing in the wake of the launch of Shroud of the Avatar: The studio’s Starr Long admits to “adjusting [the] team size” in a forum post written yesterday.
“Now that we are almost complete fulfilling our Kickstarter promises (brewing coming online in R55, physical rewards shipping very soon, progress being made on castle defense, etc.), we are adjusting our team size to better match our current monthly revenue. This will give us the balance we need to begin work on Episode 2 while ensuring we can support the online service. To do that means having, at least for now, a smaller team. Right now we will shift our focus from creating new content to polishing our existing systems. This means making a stronger new user experience, fixing bugs, reworking the quest system, performance improvements, user interface polish, and more. At the same time we will continue the Tier adjustments in progress which will rework our existing scenes to more appropriate difficulty levels based on our current player population.”
One hundred! Classic MMO Ultima Online has pushed out its 100th major update to the test server this week. It’s primarily a bug-fixing update, riding on the heels of the game’s spring free-to-play conversion. I’m not going to lie: The thing I’m most excited about is the fix for specifying how many seeds to remove from a seedbox. I love my seedbox you guys.
But of course, the update also fixes exploits with active masteries and soulstones, dye bugs, artifact drop bugs, the Wind entrance bug, yarn stacking bugs that I am pretty sure are literally 20 years old, and the faction city battle instakill bug. It’ll also allow players to swap their Cleanup Britannia points between toons (yay!) and tweaks the heck out of pets and pet training.
Meanwhile, if you’ve always thought it might be more fun to be a tabletop gamemaster in a digital space than a player, you might want to take a peek at the help wanted announcement Broadsword posted this week. The studio is looking for contractors to serve as paid Event Moderators – those are the lovely folks who craft and carry out live storytelling events on different UO shards. I know, live studio-hosted roleplaying events in 2018. Crazy.
Bless Online Executive Producer Sungjin Ko is back with another letter for the community today, this one offering insight into why Neowiz picked early access in the first place, especially given the game’s rocky reception. In short, it’s because Neowiz did so much rewriting of the game for western audiences and really wanted western audiences to give it a thorough testing.
“Ultimately, this desire to try something new with the systems of Bless Online combined with the need for an open discussion with our player base led us to Steam’s Early Access platform,” Ko explains. “It allows us to make sure we have the funds to continue supporting Bless, while also working directly with our players to make Bless everything it can be and more. […] Where we are today with Bless Online’s Steam Early Access is not where we will be when the game officially launches in the coming months. As you hopefully have seen, we’ve been hard at work addressing feedback, making changes, fixing bugs, and working to make the best game for both Neowiz Bless studio and our fans.”
Out of all the announcements Bethesda had at its pre-E3 presser, The Elder Scrolls: Blades was the last title I thought we’d be offered. Oh, we had asked about others, but they sadly weren’t being shown, nor did they have anyone around to answer questions. Beyond the basics, Blades was the same.
Which was a shame, since there was excitement about the title in the MOP newsroom, especially once we heard it would include some sort of multiplayer. Scaling from PC VR down to mobile is a vast tech difference and gameplay experience. And being able to potentially play in portrait mode? All jokes aside, that’s actually some promising stuff!
However, of those awesome selling points, I only experienced portrait-style ESO mobile goodness during my demo.
You might not want to look too closely at the latest patch for SMITE
. Why? Well, it brings in the new Medusa’s Deathmatch map, and that probably means it’ll turn you to stone. Or
it means that you’ll be fighting two enemy teams at the same time
, forcing you to adjust your strategy to avoid giving ground to either side while still remaining competitive. If you already feel you know how to handle one other team, you might change your tune when you’ve got twice the enemies and twice the challenge.
The patch has also brought along several new skins and a variety of bug fixes, as patches tend to do. Of course, it’s also brought some issues along with it, which are already helpfully available in a thread on the official site; this includes some after-match placement errors, which are good to know about ahead of time. So jump on in and take on your enemies, possibly while watching everything through a mirror. (It’s a Medusa thing, you see.)
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.
I was a wide-eyed, naive kid when I first stepped into Ultima Online in 1997, and as it turns out, the developers were too.
That’s my takeaway from reading through the Ultima Online chunk of Raph Koster’s new book, Postmortems. Koster, as any dedicated MMORPG fan will recall, went by “Designer Dragon” back then as the creative lead on the game. Having come from a MUD background, he and his wife Kristin Koster were instrumental in shaping Richard Garriott’s seminal MMORPG and therefore the genre as we know it.
Koster kindly sent us a preprint of the book, unwittingly robbing himself of $35, as I was going to buy it anyway, and it’s massive, folks: over 700 pages spanning three decades and the majority of the online games Koster’s worked on during his long tenure in the gaming industry. Some of those games are definitely of more interest to our readers on Massively OP, in particular Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. It’s the Ultima Online chapters I aim to cover today.
Superman has died. Bereft of life, he’s gone to meet his maker. But of course DC Universe Online
isn’t leaving it there, and players will soon have to deal with the fact that Superman’s body has gone missing from the Fortress of Solitude. This leads Supergirl to conclude that someone used the Phantom Zone Projector to steal it, which makes sense to somebody. Regardless, the third part of the story will see players heading out to find that corpse, and it’s available on the game’s test server right now
Players can take on new feats, pick up new reward items, and take on one more mission in the latest update on the test server; the patch is also meant to address a number of minor bugs and fix various quality-of-life issues. Check out the full rundown from the early patch notes, or just jump in and start testing the update now.
Buried under the avalanche of pre-E3 news this weekend was the blip that Microsoft is spinning up five internal studios, including a brand-new one. The other four are basically being acquired by Microsoft, and one of those is one MMO players will probably recognize: Undead Labs.
Undead Labs, of course, just rolled out State of Decay 2, which has already racked up two million sales. Our writer found the game a fun multiplayer PvE survival experience on the whole, in spite of the rails and bugs.
The MMO community had its eyes on Undead Labs for years as it worked on first State of Decay and then the Class4 project, which was originally supposed to be a zombie MMORPG. In 2016, however, the company admitted it had switched gears from an MMORPG to do the smaller-scale, four-player co-op SOD2 instead.
While Project Gorgon prepares some larger content additions for the future, last week’s patch was focused on shoring up the game and tackling some of the bug issues that have plagued the game.
Probably the most significant tweak came with an overhaul to how Project Gorgon handles damage-over-time effects. This transition to the new system isn’t quite finished yet, but players can check out right now the direction that DoTs are heading. These changes include making DoTs stack better, be easier to understand, become more useful, and adhere to a standard two-second tick rate.
“Most DoTs will deal increased damage under the new balance guidelines, although a handful of DoTs that had one-second ticks may effectively be weaker,” the team said.