While studio layoffs have an immediate effect on the people that are let go, the ramifications of such decisions can end up impacting players as well.
Case in point, EVE Online. CCP’s decision last month to shutter two of its studios included the layoff of most all of the studio’s social media team. One of these employees, CCP Logibro, helped players with organizing tournaments on a separate test server. Without this help, many of these tournaments are in doubt, including this year’s Anger Games. The event was to be the third in the game’s history, but CCP could not scramble to find someone to assist in this, and the tournament had to be canceled.
Players were upset over the last-minute cancellation, but CCP said it couldn’t be helped: “Sorry we weren’t able to support this as planned. At the minute, we’re currently working on prioritizing quite a few community projects and getting our heads together to resume regular service, but unfortunately the Anger Games happened to be too close to recent events for us to be able to assist.”
Here is hoping that next year, CCP will be in a more stable position and can assist players in getting this (and other) tournaments up and running. But for now, CCP is gambling with employees’ lives and hurting the game culture overall.
Remember a week ago when Black Desert
dataminers dug up dirt on the game’s so-called hidden stats
, only to be booted off the subreddit by mods doing Pearl Abyss’
bidding? Remember how the dataminers just put it all up on a different sub beyond the reach of PA, practically daring PA to follow through on the legal action it threatened dataminers with earlier this year?
Consider the situation effectively defused. Kakao has apologized for creating “confusion among [its] beloved players by failing to deliver accurate information,” promising clarity on those stats. Indeed, clarity is arriving in the form of a producer letter from Pearl Abyss (which also apologizes profusely).
Executive Producer Jae-hee Kim says PA now plans to add accuracy, evasion, and damage reduction numbers to tooltips, noting that while hidden stats seemed like a fun idea originally, there is now too much of a “gap” between people in the know and everyone else. The studio also aims to tweak “ambiguity” on elixirs, boost drop rates party to the node level system, and provide transparency on future stats.
Starting out fresh as a free player in EVE Online
is hard to manage. It’s not just that you’re new in a world filled with sharks; it’s that you’re moving at half the pace of subscribers in terms of skill training. Sure, the improved limits on Alpha characters makes it somewhat easier to catch up, but the new Alpha Training Injector
is going to make it that much easier for free players to catch up to the rate of subscription players.
The injector doesn’t work like other skill injectors; it can be used once per day and offers 50,000 skill points per use, making it roughly equal to a day of skill training for Omega players. You can buy it in-game via PLEX or just straight-up use real currency, thus allowing you more training points at a slight price. The hope is that it’ll allow free players to get a bit closer and have a slightly calmer ride toward making their mark on the galaxy, which is a tall order, but at least made slightly easier.
It’s now been almost one year to the day
that EVE Online
officially got a limited free-to-play option, and it’s certainly been a boon for the almost 15-year-old MMO. There’s been a significant increase in new players asking for advice on the forums and in-game channels, and activity levels have been bolstered
by the increased numbers. Some of the game’s largest corporations have opened their doors to hundreds of newbros this year, and the best is yet to come. Next month CCP will be lifting some of the restrictions
free players are currently placed under and allowing them to access to larger ships, helping to close the power gap between free and paid users.
While the expanded free tier will open up a lot more gameplay to free users, there are some tricks new players should know to maximise the effectiveness of that tier. There’s even a way for returning veteran players who find themselves constrained by the free tier’s limitations to get a full Omega level subscription absolutely free and even to make a profit in the process. Whether you’re on a free Alpha account or an Omega subscription, there are also a few sources of easy ISK that will take relatively little time each week to manage.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give a few tips new players can use to squeeze more out of the free tier and look at a way for returning veterans to get Omega subscriptions for free.
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 KurtzPel, Path of Exile, The Black Death, SMITE, EVE Online, Dreadnought, Heroes of the Storm, TERA M, Battlerite, Dragon Quest Rivals, Final Fantasy XI, Aion, Pokemon Go, Vendetta Online, Ingress, and Old School RuneScape, all waiting for you after the break!
When you think of an MMO “sandbox,” what comes to mind? Player housing, perhaps, and open world PvP. Maybe a free-form economy, player vendors, and a wide array of roleplaying tools. But what about a cemetery?
A small group of players in EVE Online have labored for a long time to create and maintain a truly unique element of this sandbox: a massive player cemetery in the void of space. Initially conceived by a player named Azia Burgi, the graveyard orbits a small planet in a remote system. Over 1,700 graves pay tribute to player characters while others mark the passing of real-life friends and family members.
“It still stuns me,” said Azia to PC Gamer. “It was just something that nobody else seemed to be doing so I thought I’d have a go and see what happened.”
When they heard a cry for help go out in their game, these players took action right away.
A few days ago on November 5th, an unnamed 28-year-old EVE Online player from Poland disturbed fellow gamers and stream viewers by stating that he wanted to kill himself, going so far as to swallow a large quantity of pills. It appeared that recent failures in the EVE had sent him over the edge. Concerned, several players and a livestream viewer all called up local police agencies across Europe in an effort to save the man’s life.
German, Icelandic, and Interpol authorities investigated the matter, sending help to the man’s home. Fortunately, the police and paramedics arrived in time to provide the care that this troubled player needed, and the man is doing better under the attention of his family.
It is always heartening to hear stories of compassion among online players, especially from those in a gaming community such as EVE Online who are often perceived as unflinchingly hardcore and ruthless.
Let’s end the week talking about money. What could go wrong?
Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.
Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.
Continuing its mission to teach people across the world that if an animal is big enough it should be killed, Dauntless has pushed out its closed beta 0.2.8 patch this week.
The patch marks the end of the title’s first holiday event, The Dark Harvest. While Halloween in the lands may be over, the challenge of behemoth slaying continues. Assisting in this effort are three new Archonite weapons, more responsive hammer blast dodges, and improved client performance.
The team is also handing closed beta testers a reset button to use as they will: “All players can now reset their account progression via the My Account page. This will NOT remove any account items, such as founders pack benefits, platinum, flares, emotes, sigils, fabrics, and chroma dust.”
Last week we broke the story that EVE Online
developer CCP Games is backing out of the virtual reality games market
, closing its Altanta office and selling its VR-focused Newcastle studio. The long-held Atlanta office was acquired in the merger with White Wolf in 2006 and has been hit with several rounds of layoffs over the years, with a major hit in 2011
after the Monoclegate disaster and another 2014 when the World of Darkness MMO was cancelled
. The Newcastle studio was the development house responsible for CCP’s VR dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie
, and both Valkyrie
and CCP’s new VR game Sparc
will now be maintained by the London office.
Around 100 staff were laid off in the restructuring, roughly 30 of whom worked in CCP’s headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland. Though we were informed at the time that these changes would not impact the development of EVE Online, it since became apparent that more than a few non-development staff were cut. In addition to the EVE PR staff and others that were stationed in Atlanta, all but two members of the EVE community team in Reykjavik have also been let go. There are reports that several GMs and the localisation manager for EVE have departed too, and the mood on twitter from staff in Reykjavik recently is best described as sombre and a little shaken.
In this extra edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into CCP Games’s history of taking risks with staff’s jobs, look at some of those affected by the layoffs, and ask whether there is more fallout to come.
The use of the word “toon” to describe MMORPG characters is a contentious one, with fans divided over its annoyance or acceptance. But when it came to one MMORPG, it was nothing but proper terminology to call all characters just this.
Toontown Online was one of those “kiddie MMOs” that you probably ignored unless you happen to fall within its demographical clutches back in the day. While it lasted for about a decade, the game’s operation would be notable for its repeated transformation and uncertain status.
With a silly, cartoon-like look and theme, this MMO attempted to bring a levity to a genre that was often marinating in deep fantasy lore and statistical theorycrafting. But when you wanted to eschew dragon fighting for slapstick pie throwing, there was no better game out there. Let’s take a look!
Good news, EVE Online
is pretty happy with how the game’s Alpha clone system has worked out, all things considered. In fact, the studio is so happy with how it’s worked out that it’s giving Alpha clones a wider array of options in the game
, starting with a new set of skills that these free players can train. No more faction restrictions, battlecruisers and battleships are now available, and both small and medium Tech II weapons will all be added to the Alpha training repertoire. So everyone get get in on the big space battles.
Those big space battles will be taking place in plain old two-dimensional displays, of course, as the developer recently shut down its VR division (and apparently gutted EVE’s community team – we’ll have a detailed report on that soon). This prompted several developers to chime in and assert that the VR game industry isn’t dead, although the cutting loose of CCP’s heavy investment in the field certainly doesn’t indicate a robust installed base or healthy growth. The developers chiming in do admit that it’s not a field in which there’s lots of money to be made at the moment, although all things considered that alone doesn’t seem to have made the decision for CCP.