This week’s rumor that Tencent may be porting Daybreak’s H1Z1 eastward has proven true, as the Chinese megacorp and Daybreak announced late last night that “H1Z1 is officially coming to China.”
“This partnership will give Tencent the exclusive rights to publish H1Z1 in China. We will be working side by side with Tencent to ensure H1Z1 remains true to its spirit. Our top priority is to deliver a high-quality, competitive game that’s fun to watch and play, and we will work with Tencent to make improvements to the overall optimization of the game and to build fast networks and servers for players. We will continue to invest in powerful anti-cheat technologies to maintain a fair and fun gameplay experience.”
Daybreak says it’s working through Tencent to have the streaming ban on the game lifted in the region too. “Working closely with Tencent, we want to create the most accessible experience possible that is respectful of cultural preferences and values,” it says, echoing the same song and dance many western games companies must perform to pass legal muster in the regime.
The easiest way to ensure that no one is really fighting over who gets to be at the top of the battle royale genre of games is to make sure you own all of them. Tencent has already picked up the most popular game in the genre for distribution in China, but now it’s teasing that it may also be bringing H1Z1 to Chinese shores, allowing players there to enjoy the shooting action of a game that at one point was supposedly about zombies.
Nothing has yet been officially announced, but there is a teaser website, and there’s a social media page on Weibo (one of the most popular social networking pages in China) managed by Tencent. It’s a sound strategy to ensure that players who jump from one game of the type to another still remain loyal to the same company, but we’ll have to see when and if the official announcement comes around.
Chinese players will soon also be allowed to play a video game about locking yourself in a box where you can scavenge for weapons and destroy your fellow players. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is being officially released in China by Tencent, partnering with Bluehole Studios to release local servers in the country and ban cheaters. Tencent has also stated that it will make adjustments to content in order to ensure that the game meets Chinese cultural standards.
You may recall that this came after some suspicion that the game would be unable to pass the Chinese censorship board, which described the title as “[deviating] from the values of socialism and is deemed harmful to young consumers.” Obviously, this didn’t turn out to block the title from its ultimate release, which makes sense considering the aggressive player growth in the country. Exactly what adjustments Tencent will make in order to appease censorship remains to be announced.
If you’ve been following the lockbox/lootbox controversy over the last couple of weeks (or last multiple years, ahem), then you know that opponents of the practice in online games seldom actually argue “for the children” since let’s face it, the MMORPG playerbase skews well into adulthood. Adults are the ones being affected.
Academic Ramin Shokrizade – well-known for his scholarly economic articles and recent treatise on how MMOs are dying because of poor design rather than insufficient demand – has nevertheless jumped into the fray with a similar argument, suggesting that in declaring lootboxes not gambling and refusing to intervene, the ESRB is effectively “promoting children’s gambling.”
In his new article on Gamasutra, Shokrizade says that the ESRB’s statement about lootboxes not being gambling connotes a misunderstanding about what an “element of chance” actually is.
My.com has today announced a massive new expansion for its MMOsy wargame Armored Warfare. Dubbed Art of War, it’s due out “later this year” and features “a brand-new map set in the rural parts of South China,” new vehicles, better graphics, community-requested QOL tweaks, a commander system overhaul, and updates for the Waterway map.
“The brand new Seven Steps map will take players to South China. The rural area of the Baise region became a battlefield between mercenaries hired to protect civilians and ruthless corporate forces. Local triads have hidden a cache of valuable intelligence along with their ill-gotten fortune somewhere in a local village. Although they were soundly defeated, their secret remains buried in the general area. Commander, take the area and destroy your opponents to begin the search for what might set your forces up for life!”
Even better? The game is launching on Steam on November 10th ahead of the update. Check out the preview trailer below!
has picked up a Bloomberg
piece that suggests China may be poised to crack down on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
. China’s Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association has apparently declared that the “gladiator-like mentality of the computer game deviates from the values of socialism and is deemed harmful to young consumers,” which will likely make it difficult for South Korea’s Bluehole Studios to ink that Tencent deal to formally publish the game in the region.
That’s bad news for the early access survival shooter, which as Steam Spy recently noted is already performing far better in China than anywhere else on the globe, picking up another million players in the country over the last few weeks, while the US has actually lost players and the rest of the world has more or less held only even.
While one analyst called the government declaration a “death sentence” for the game, GIbiz does point out that it’s not impossible even for ultraviolent games to get by the censors; indeed, Tencent’s CSGO, PUBG’s closest thematic competitor, was given a stamp of approval there last month.
Patch 4.20: Tides of China
is live in SMITE
today, bringing with it seven Chinese quests (eight would have been more auspicious!) and the Chinese conqueror achievement. Expect new buyables under the Odyssey banner, a new loot pack, a ton of icon reworks, and bug fixes and balance adjustments for Amaterasu, Artio, Guan Yu, Izanami, Camazotz, Cu Chulainn, Da Ji, Kumbhakarna, Raijin, Vamana, Poseidon, and Zeus. Artio and Izanami in particular are seeing nerfs (sorry!). Soul Eater got a nice redesign as well.
And! There’s a bunch of new exclusive skins too, but the best one by far is the new Super Chill Bacchus skin.
Don’t forget that The Reaping is live in the game as of yesterday too, so you can get your Halloween on.
There are two ways to look at the new battle royale mode added to the Age of Wushu Chinese servers. The first is with a roll of you eyes and frustration that so many games are now engaged in a follow-the-leader pattern for one game. The second, on the other hand, is to appreciate the idea that it’s a non-stop martial arts battle between 50 players in a limited field, which is pretty cool right on a conceptual level.
Whichever way you choose to think of it, you can checkout a trailer for it just below. Players all drop in on kites and find themselves having to pick up equipment, skills, and treasures while running around the arena, making it a combination of scavenging gameplay and brutal fighting. Of course, it’s just on the Chinese servers at the moment, but it seems like something that could work with the game anywhere the service is running.
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 World of Tanks, Starfall Tactics, Mu Legend, Overwatch, FFXIV, EVE Online, Mu Online, Wakfu, Path of Exile, Aion, Warface, MechWarrior Online, Elder Scrolls Online, Revelation Online, Arena of Valor, Paladins, Conquer Online, Portal Knights, Elite: Dangerous, and Dauntless, all waiting for you after the break!
Contrary to popular belief, sometimes server merges can be a very good thing — especially if your country or region has been kept isolated from others up to this point.
SMITE’s Chinese population is about to join up with the rest of the global community, thanks to a deal between Tencent and Hi-Rez. MMO Culture is reporting that the merge is scheduled for January 2018, after which the game will be truly global and have one shared rank ladder. Between now and then, no new players can register and veteran SMITErs are going to need to take some action to transfer their account over.
Tencent and Hi-Rez are also working on a possible deal to bring the studio’s Paladins over to China. The closed beta for Paladins has been running in that country for a while now.
The ESRB may not be interested in protecting gamers against predatory business model practices like lockboxes, but European regulators may be joining their Chinese counterparts in at least taking a look before casually dismissing concerns.
As Polygon reports, a member of the UK parliament, Daniel Zeichner, submitted formal questions to the UK’s secretary of state on topic, requesting information on her plan to “to protect vulnerable adults and children from illegal gambling, in-game gambling and loot boxes within computer games,” specifically on the Isle of Man, whose legal code refers by name to “in-game gambling and loot boxes.”
Meanwhile, the European PEGI – akin to the ESRB on this side of the pond – has said that it can’t rule on the issue for game studios because it “cannot define what constitutes gambling” because it’s not a national gambling commission – contrary to the ESRB’s statement.
Gone are the days when Chinese companies could get away with ripping off games left and right: Blizzard is going after another one of these alleged copyright-violating piles of crap.
The game in question is mobile title Heroes of Warfare; Japanese publication PC Watch reports that Blizzard’s Chinese conglom and publisher NetEase are suing the the maker, demanding and apology, restitution, and removal from Apple’s appstore, on the grounds of IP violations in China.
Meanwhile, stop cheating, cheaters. Your day has come, as the studio has apparently begun another round of six-month bans to folks who use cheat tools. Stoppit.
And in happier Blizzard news… here’s the whole WoW dev team. The fluffy white dog on the left personally made the no-flying-in-Argus decision, we’ve been informed by the PR collie being hoisted over on the right.
Remember a couple of weeks ago when Valve
said it was continuing to seek ways to crack down on review bombing
, the practice of sending a zerg of people to wreck a game’s review standing on Steam usually for reasons unrelated to the actual quality of the game? This right here is why. This is why we can’t have nice things.
The latest review bombing drama involves one of the most popular games in the world right now, the irritatingly named PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Apparently, Chinese players are really pissed off about an ad for a VPN service that’s begun appearing on the lobby screen of the game’s Chinese version. Chinese players are already frustrated with the bouts of lag they suffer, to the point that they feel forced to play on international servers just to participate, so an ad from a VPN company right inside the client – claiming it’s from “the only official accelerator of the game” – is a bit like adding insult to injury. That’s on top of the fact that there are freakin’ ads in a buy-to-play early access game.
As VG247 points out, Steam’s review metrics for the game show a fairly well reviewed title – right up until this weekend when it tanked with over 15000 negative reviews.