Around the time I started working at Massively-that-was, there was an article that I quite liked talking about how four high-profile MMO failures were not necessary. It was a product of its time, but the point was made that these games didn’t have to wind up in the state they were in. The mistakes that were made were not unexpected problems, but entirely predictable ones that anyone could have seen. Heck, some people did see them and pointed them out, but nothing was changed.
I think about that a lot when I think about other MMOs and online games because there are a lot of titles that, even if not entirely failed, are in states they never needed to be in. These stories are, at the very least, stories of some failures where the failure was not an inevitable end state, nor are they messes that had to be made. The writing was on the wall, the warnings were given, and someone just kept on keeping on and ignored all of the signs. And here we are.
Even if you’re not a Darkfall fan or Darkfall New Dawn player, you should take a peek at the incredible roadmap Ub3rgames has posted. Instead of being a vague paragraph of waffle words and half-promises, this puppy is a wall of bar graphs showing exactly, to the feature, what’s being worked on and how far along in that process it is.
“You’ll notice that most of our coming projects are focused around the economy and the reward structure it creates,” the indie studio writes. “Currently, trade is not fluid enough and feels punishing to many players, and holding on to territory is not worth the effort. These are major concerns we share with the community. The world is still in its build up phase, and we aim to give reasons to fight for when that is done. This means valuable locations and watchtowers to control them.”
A further tweet noted that “a naval update will surely be planned” in the longer term after warfronts are live; indeed, warfronts were actually bumped up in the process thanks to player demand, so expect that system sooner rather than later.
Let’s talk game preservation. We’ve been covering MADE’s attempt to convince the government to tweak its interpretation of the DMCA to basically allow museums, academics, and institutions of learning to bypass laws against reconstituting the tech infrastructure necessary to get old dead online games back into playable (and therefore researchable) format. The law and its collected exemptions already essentially allow the preservation of everything but MMOs, leaving our specific genre screwed. MADE’s proposal was met with what I can characterize only as a melodramatic and inflammatory paper from ESA lobbyists opposing it on copyright grounds and suggesting that MADE is basically a party house planning to profit off throngs of gamers who will show up to play games closed down 15 years ago.
As we wrote yesterday, honest MMO developers roll their eyes at the idea that games which were sunsetted because of insufficient players ages ago are suddenly going to pose a financial threat if resurrected for academic purposes.
I wanted to open the topic up for discussion for the writers and readers. A lot of the MMO playerbase, I know, already supports emulators, whether or not they’re legal, and will gladly hop on board the “it belongs in a museum” train if it helps get us closer to a world where companies can’t sit on game code forever. Do MMORPGs belong in a museum? How far should the law go when it comes to protecting copyrights for shuttered games?
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 Conqueror’s Blade, MapleStory Blitz, Darkfall: Rise of Agon, Skyforge, Path of Exile, Armored Warfare Assault, Aura Kingdom, and MechWarrior Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Do you have talent? Then Darkfall: Rise of Agon wants you to chip in and help out — for pay, of course. The team behind this indie PvP MMO announced the formation of its Agon’s Community Talent (ACT), an initiative to recruit talented artists that can help design resources for the dev-strapped game.
Players can submit their own decorations, weapons, and armor designs with the hopes of having them added to Rise of Agon’s cash shop. Those that do will be rewarded: “While getting new items and artwork you created added to the game you love sounds great and all, we want to also reward you for your hard work. Everyone who finds one of their entries added to the Nithron Coin Shop will officially join ACT, providing them not only with forum and in-game recognition but with financial reward as well.”
ACT will help with the game’s transition to a freemium model that should open the doors to more players giving it a try. In addition to this initiative, the team is hard at work on a market patch with a new auction house interface and a global wallet.
Darkfall New Dawn formally launches today as one of two officially licensed spinoffs of Aventurine’s classic hardcore sandbox, which went belly-up a few years ago. As we’ve previously noted, the game has multiple packages ranging from €19.99 with a €9.99 per month sub up to €74.99 with a €6.25 per month sub, so that ought to make old-school gamers happy.
If you’re confused over what this version of the game has in store for you, and you probably are because this is really very much not a one-to-won remake, you should definitely zip through the new launch trailer, which Ub3rgames put together as an explainer.
We’ve got that trailer below, along with our hands-on with the game, a bunch of screenies in a gallery, and a quick flip through all our coverage of New Dawn along the way. Happy launch day!
Darkfall New Dawn isn’t the only Darkfall spinoff with big stuff happening this week: Darkfall Rise of Agon also got a hefty update, which as the patch notes suggest focuses on champ spawns and their associated loot.
Specifically, it’ll take a little longer for players to work champ spawns – up to 60 minutes in some cases – but the mobs won’t be insta-killing you anymore, and there are different party-size requirements depending on where those fights take place. Moreover, loot has been improved, such that everyone gets his or her own roll for gold and gear.
“Sealed Treasures contain the rare items the champions will be dropping and can be opened at any time,” explains Big Picture Games. “Each mainland champion will drop its designated rank 75 weapon and 2 stat potions that will take a player 1 point at a time up to 120 max stats. Each island champion will drop Q6 enchantment gems, the only place to obtain Q6 enchantments, as well as 2 of the 120 stat potions. Each champion will also have a chance to drop existing rare items and potentially 1 of 4 brand new house items.”
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin hit up a week of huge MMO news, including Camelot Unchained’s investments, RIFT’s new subscription server, Devilian’s demise, and more!
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:
If you’ve wanted to get a peek for Darkfall: New Dawn before it launches, here’s your chance. Massively OP’s MJ is taking advantage of the free weekend to pop into the Darkfall reboot and check things out. Don’t worry, she’s already been thinking hard about which race she will choose, so perhaps character creation won’t be too long! Those wolves do look pretty cool. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…
What: Darkfall: New Dawn
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 22nd, 2018
If you’ve been curious about the indie spinoff Darkfall: New Dawn but aren’t sure yet about plunking down pre-order cash, then you’ll be interested to know that Ub3rgames has set aside this weekend for you to try it out for free. The game has multiple packages ranging from €19.99 with a €9.99 per month sub up to €74.99 with a €6.25 per month sub, but this weekend marks a “free trial” period before the launch.
“Wanna check out all the changes we’ve made and make your own opinion about what is new in the world of Agon? Time has come, our free trial will start tomorrow, January 19 12:00 CET [6 a.m. EST this morning]. During the free trial, there will be no limitation and the amount of xp gained will be increased by three. The free trial and the Indev_ server will close on Wednesday January 24 8:00 CET [2 a.m. EST].”
The game is scheduled to launch on January 26th in the wake of the abrupt and bizarre disappearance of the original Darkfall dev team in 2016, just after blessing multiple indie ventures seeking to reboot the game.
By coincidence, two articles in my feeds this past week both centered on video game hoarding – not hoarding the actual games but hoarding stuff inside of them. Blizzard Watch posted a piece on what makes people stop hoarding things like currency in Blizzard’s games, while Gamasutra published an article about how game designers can stop turning us into hoarders in the first place.
For this week’s Overthinking, I thought it would be constructive for the staff and readers to reflect on hoarding in MMOs specifically. Do you hoard, and if so, is it primarily consumables? Currencies? Event items? Something else? Do you think it’s a problem, or only when it’s encouraged as part of a microtransaction loop that ends with your buying more storage?
Did anyone in class today remember that Darkfall: New Dawn is officially launching, oh, next week? Don’t worry, it kind of slipped our mind too. At least we are getting a few days to prepare ourselves, starting with the absorption of this week’s Patch 6.0.
As possibly the last pre-release patch, this update adds two important systems to the game. Local banking is being hailed by the dev team as “the most defining feature” of the PvP MMO, as “it will create the foundation for a healthy economy and a more convenient game.” Probably a good thing that it’s being added before launch, although one would think that such a vital system would have been in place long before now.
This means that all banks in the game are separate, non-connected inventories that both players and clans can use for storage.
The other system added is titles. There are now 48 titles that players can attain through various achievements and activities. And in case you can’t choose just one, you don’t have to; New Dawn allows you to select up to five titles simultaneously. All hail the future Grand Vizier Troublemaker Pompadour Justin, Esquire Jr.!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to do something most of them hate: brag! We’ve tried to isolate our favorite personal work from the year and talk about why we think it matters, then identify our favorite work from somebody else on the site this year and do the same. I always tell them it’s easy, but it never is!