When it comes to notable years in the MMORPG genre’s history, 2008 stands out as one of the most significant. World of Warcraft’s debut onto the scene in 2004 caused an upheaval in ways far too numerous to go into detail here. Suffice to say that its overwhelming popularity drew the attention of game designers who looked at the staggering numbers of players and found themselves envious of the potential to grab a slice of that money pie.
Many projects went into high gear following WoW’s launch, with plenty of them trying to copy the formula and structure that Blizzard established in the hopes of making it at least partially as big as that game. So-called WoW clones began to pepper the market and there was a sense that gamers were ready to move on from World of Warcraft to the next generation of MMOs. In many players’ minds, this would be either 2008’s Age of Conan or Warhammer Online, two big-budget MMOs with strong IPs that carried a lot of the weight of expectation.
Little did anyone realize that 2008 represented a bubble that was about to burst on the industry and the WoW clones that followed — including Warhammer Online. Today, we’re going to take a look at “bears, bears, bears,” the high hopes of Mythic Entertainment, and how WAR became a casaulty on its own battlefield.
Oh crap. You weren’t good this year, were you. Instead of getting the Cadbury Bunny, with all of its chocolate-sugar bomb goodness, your indescretions have summoned the killer bunny to Dark Age of Camelot. Woe is you! Woe is us!
Returning for the game’s spring event, the killer bunny can be fought by a group of knock-kneed knights (holy hand grenade sold separately). If you can manage to kill him by April 16th, you’ll get your choice of special items.
For the faint of heart, DAoC is offering egg-collecting quests, event vendors, and an array of XP, RP, BP, and crafting bonuses in various areas.
The Ultima Online team is hard at work “crushing bugs” and preparing for the launch of Endless Journey. The free-to-play Publish 99 is being tentatively planned for early April and will be followed by a strong push to eliminate as many bugs as possible with Publish 100.
Adjustments are still in the works for Ultima Online’s free trial: “We know there has been a lot of discussion related to the amount of storage that Endless Journey accounts will have access to. We are still actively developing means of allowing Endless Journey accounts access to some level of secure storage.”
Also worth pointing out is that all existing accounts have been upgraded through the Stygian Abyss expansion, even if you never paid for any of them. Awesome.
It seems as though some players’ attention has shifted back to Elder Scrolls Online this spring, especially with the recent Dragon Bones DLC drop. Telwyn over at GamingSF documented a bit of fun in which he enjoyed infiltrating a camp in disguise versus having to do it in stealth mode.
“I find ‘disguised’ gameplay is more relaxed and better paced (since stealth is slower movement),” he wrote. “It’s especially nice in ESO when you need to take time out of fighting-all-the-things in a hostile to read the many books and quest-related texts – having a pause in the action makes it more enjoyable to read these.”
It isn’t all rainbows and puppies, however. Roger from Contains Moderate Peril expressed some frustration at ESO’s leveling gear, or lack thereof: “The One Tamriel Update removed the level restriction on content, scaling everything according to the player, which obviously didn’t help the gear situation. With delves and story quests scaling to your level, there isn’t the surplus of gear generated by content fixed at a specific level. The lack of a server wide auction system is also a major contributor.”
Another week, another grab bag community Q&A with the Dark Age of Camelot development team. This edition’s pressing issue was the promise of more frequent RvR events — and what these would look like when they arrived.
“It will be a combination of existing and new events,” the team said. “We aren’t ready to start talking about the details of the new events quite yet, but the big picture idea is a system that utilizes in-game leaderboards. These events would likely run for 1-2 weeks on a rotating schedule and would incentivize various aspects of the game (mostly relating to RvR).”
Other topics discussed included pet-class adjustments, a server select button, and a change to the damage potential of the Mercenary.
Dark Age of Camelot has a busy February planned, starting with a new patch that includes a mess of class, RvR, and battleground changes. Broadsword promised “more frequent events” going forward, including a pair of new RvR frontier activities.
Speaking of events, Jack Frost’s Frozen Cavern and the Ghost Keep are both open for business through February 13th. After that date, the game will switch over to swooning with a trio of Valentine’s quests.
The studio also published its first “Grab Bag” Q&A of the year, tackling some of the more nitty-gritty questions that players have about the game’s mechanics. One interesting tidbit from this past week’s grab bag is a hint of future race/class combinations.
“Yes, we are planning to open up a few more pairings when the new race respec feature is in,” Broadsword said. “The recent server and client stability issues have pushed back that feature a bit, but it’s still on track for the first half of this year.”
Imagine that one day you wake up, stumble to your computer, and check in on the morning news. Among the various tidbits is a rather surprising notice of a brand-new MMORPG that is not only in the works, but is on the verge of beta testing right the heck now. Would that be enough of a shock to wipe away any vestiges of sleep and generate immediate interest in this title?
For some players during a very short period in 2001, it definitely was.
The game in question is Fallen Age, an isometric MMO that made headlines by announcing its presence in one breath and imminent beta testing in the next. However, Netamin Communication’s game couldn’t quite live up to that promise, and by the end of the year, it had vanished almost as quickly as it arrived. So what was this game and what exactly happened?
Now that we’re almost 1/12th of the way through 2018, it’s probably about time to stop anticipating the year and start experiencing it. We have already looked at MMOs coming this year, multiplayer titles on the way, the current healthiest MMOs, MMO predictions, and the best value games on the market. So what’s left?
Expansions. Expansions and major content updates are what’s left. It might seem a little presumptuous to try to outline what’s coming this year, since many studios still have their long-range plans under wraps, but when we sat down in the MOP office to talk about it, we ended up with a much larger list than anticipated.
So here’s a look at the major MMO expansions and content updates we are expecting and anticipating over the course of this year. After this? You’re on your own, kid.
If you know one thing about indie MMORPG Camelot Unchained, it’s that CEO Mark Jacobs appears to dwell perpetually in internet comment sections amiably sparring with gamers and attracting loyal advocates.
But if you know two things, you also know that the game is late. Really late. The RvR-centric, PvM-free, anti-lockbox, sub-only MMO was supposed to enter beta three years ago, according to its successful 2013 Kickstarter, but studio City State Entertainment suffered admitted setbacks along the way – both hiring difficulties in the company’s Fairfax, Virginia, location and technical hurdles. Much of that has since been rectified; in 2016, the company launched a second studio in Seattle while continuing to hire engineers and spending the better part of a year completely refactoring its character ability code and polishing up its home-grown engine. But here we are in 2018, still mumbling beta when? at Jacobs and his dogged crew.
Well, we’re finally getting an answer to that question and more, along with a significant blast of hope for the future of the game, as CSE has just received a massive cash infusion to speed up development. I spoke to Jacobs at length – he’s infamous for being effusive – about what’s going on with the game and the studio in 2018. Read on for the executive summary!
You may not like it, but the vast majority of MMORPGs are free-to-play or buy-to-play as of 2018. EVE Online went free-to-play at the end of 2016, you’ll recall, and some of the last classic holdouts – Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot – will make the same move this year. That doesn’t leave many games to go free-to-play or alter their business models in a big way. World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV with their subscription-only models lead the way (and have been lauded accordingly).
Do you think any of the remaining sub-only MMORPGs – that are actually launched and live, that is – will yet go free-to-play? What MMO will be the next to change up its business model dramatically?
When we moved over here to Massively Overpowered, some of us transplanted our long-running columns to the new space. I perhaps felt most devastated that I was going to lose all of the Game Archaeologist articles that I had painstakingly researched over the years. So my mission with this space became two-fold: to rescue and update my older columns while continuing to add more articles to this series on classic MMOs and proto-MMOs.
I’ve been pleased with the results so far because TGA is a series that I really don’t want to see vanish. As MMORPG fans, we should consider it important to remember and learn about these older titles and to expand our knowledge past the more popular and well-known games of yesteryear.
Now that we have quite a catalogue of Game Archaeologist columns, I thought it would be helpful to end the year by gifting this handy guide to you that organizes and compiles our continuing look at the history of the genre. Enjoy!
While many MMO studios wait until January to release their year preview letters (and the lazy ones put it off until Ash Wednesday), Dark Age of Camelot is getting on top of next year’s to do list by laying out its plans for 2018. For starters? A free-to-play version for next fall, because go big or go home.
“We’re thrilled to announce a new way for players to experience Dark Age of Camelot’s iconic realm vs realm warfare for free with Dark Age of Camelot: Endless Conquest,” Broadsword wrote. “The Endless Conquest will be a new account type that allows players to enjoy Dark Age of Camelot through level 50 (and beyond) for free, without a paid subscription, forever. Endless Conquest players will be able to level all the way to 50 on a limited selection of classes, participate fully in RvR, and earn Master Levels, Champion Levels, and Realm Rank — to a point.”
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 Outer Stories of Wulin, ArcheAge Begins, The Black Death, Wakfu, Dark Age of Camelot, RuneScape, Pokemon Go, SMITE, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, Battlerite, Ragnarok Rush, Wild Busters, Final Fantasy XI, and Twin Saga, all waiting for you after the break!