Do you ever give MMOs a questioning stare and find yourself asking to no one in particular, “What is up with Daybreak these days, anyway?” The former titan of MMOs seems to have fallen both in popularity and selection.
Blogger Ancient Gaming Noob, no stranger to Daybreak himself, took a look at the state of the studio now that it’s just over 30 months from its SOE changeover. He looks at what’s been cut and what’s been kept, pondering whether the studio is moving forward or standing still.
“What differentiates a going concern from a company just riding out its end days and milking its current titles is ongoing development of new games,” he writes. “And I haven’t seen any of that from Daybreak. Moving one five-year-old title to XBox was nice, but hardly a substitute for new work.”
Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.
That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.
Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.
Apologies for being extensively absent from this column over the last few months! Every day the Massively OP offices are deluged with fan mail demanding, “Bring back Jukebox Heroes! Where is Jukebox Heroes? How can I survive without that epic MMO music to get me through the week?”
To which I can only mutter something about a classified mission to Paraguay, being adopted by a jaguar for six weeks, and subsequently finding myself co-starring with The Rock on his latest escapade. It’s all in the line of duty when you are an MMO reporter.
But I am back, and boy is there a lot of news to talk about this week! Let us catch up on the MMORPG music scene and see what is happening with Destiny 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Absolver, Black Desert, and Champions Online already!
It sounds like the suits are pretty pleased with sales performance so far. In a press release, Bungie announced that the multiplayer shooter has already set a new record for the first day of sales in the PlayStation Store, overshooting its predecessor’s achievements in that area.
While the studio wasn’t giving specific numbers for units solid on either console, Bungie did say that Destiny 2 has racked up eight days of topping a million players enjoying the game concurrently. We do know that the game has topped retail charts in Japan, cranking out over 50K sales in its first week.
As for that unfortunate and now-scrubbed armor design that drew unintentional reference to hate groups, Bungie promised that it would be more diligent in its vetting process going forward.
Destiny 2’s recent PC beta certainly brought out curious players in droves, and MMO bloggers couldn’t help but share their opinions on this next evolution of the sci-fi shooter franchise — even if those opinions weren’t too positive.
“It proved to be a deeply disappointing experience,” Superior Realities said. “Not because of anything wrong with the game, but because the beta offered such a small sliver of it as to be entirely pointless.”
Endgame Viable just doesn’t get it: “I know I’m going to regret this, but: What’s all the hype about? I didn’t hate it, but Destiny 2 looked and played like every other shooter.”
How would you respond to those observations? While you think about it, let’s look past D2: The Mighty Space Ducks to more essays on Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest II, and the dinosaurs of ARK: Survival Evolved.
The first Destiny 2
raid is out in the wild, ready to challenge and delight players for some time, setting a new bar for difficulty while players – oh, wait, it’s already over? Well, never mind. Yes, the new Leviathan raid has already been beaten by a team from The Legend Himself, a clan on PlayStation 4 with some notable accomplishments under their belt already
. It took about five and a half hours from its release.
In fairness, five and a half hours is about what it took for several prior encounters to be cleared in the original Destiny, so the speed of people pushing for first completion hasn’t changed all that much. You can check out a clip from the end and the official tweet celebrating the clear just below, but be warned that there are some spoilers included. (Seeing as it’s the end of the Leviathan raid, you probably expected that.)
On this week’s show, MJ arrives to give her report on PAX West and how much swag she smuggled back on the plane. Bree and Justin touch base with the major news stories of the week, including Destiny 2’s launch, ArcheAge’s mergers, and WildStar’s housing happiness.
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:
Hello there, new players of Destiny 2
. Did you know that Tuesday is reset day? You probably do, because we’ve decided to have every game reset things on the same day every week just so we have an easier time keeping track, so that’s good. Still, the game is holding its first-ever maintenance today
(for about four hours in the morning, it should be done by now), and it’s also hitting its first-ever weekly reset for flashpoints, strike challenges, and so forth
. Everything is refreshed for a new week now.
The game’s first raid is also coming out… tomorrow, not today. Game director Luke Smith helpfully announced on Twitter that the raid has a Power range of 260-280, which is notable not so much for numbers as for the fact that players know what’s expected to be able to finish the raid rather than just starting the raid. You won’t be able to get in there until September 13th regardless, but at least now you know whether you can go the distance or just get through the front door.
When real-life tragedy occurs, it’s perfectly OK to give priority to assistance over interest in video games. But what if you could do both?
Valiance Online has joined the growing club of MMOs and communities looking to do something to ease the suffering and assist in the recovery for those affected by the recent hurricanes in North America. For the duration of this Wednesday, September 13th, the superhero title will shunt all donations made on its website to hurricane relief instead of game development.
This puts Valiance in good company. Final Fantasy XIV’s community recently ran a blood and charity drive for victims of the hurricanes, Destiny 2’s Bungie organized charity events, and even Ultima Online chipped in by disabling housing decay while hurricane victims get back on their feet.
So hey, Destiny 2
launched for consoles, and a lot of you bought it, if the 1.2 million concurrent player mark
is any judge. We haven’t seen formal numbers from Activision yet, and though Bungie was talking about Destiny 2 preorders ahead of launch, sales so far in
the UK haven’t surpassed Destiny 1’s
as expected, in spite of topping the charts for the year
Console players, meanwhile, will see the Leviathan raid unlocking on September 13th, Trials of the Nine starting up on September 15th, and many other challenges being presented in a slow roll for the next few weeks. So don’t worry if you’ve already plowed your way up to the top in the game right after release, you’ll have more to do soon.
The developers are also hard at work investigating known issues, working server queues in when necessary, and releasing the game’s official soundtrack. So it’s full steam ahead for Destiny 2 fans, there’s more on deck for the next several weeks, and you can count on some bugfixes incoming as well. Relax, listen to a soundtrack, and enjoy the ride. Or enjoy the wait, depending on your platform of choice.
Yesterday, we touched on the controversy brewing in Destiny 2, where Bungie has begun selling one-use consumables dubbed shaders (akin to dyes) – items that were free in the original game. Now the studio’s responded to the criticism.
“Shaders are earned through gameplay: leveling, chests, engrams, vendors. We expect you’ll be flush w/ Shaders as you continue to play,” Bungie’s Luke Smith tweeted. “When you reach level 20, Shaders will drop more often: vendor rewards, destination play and endgame activities. Shaders are now an ongoing reward for playing. Customization will inspire gameplay. Each planet has unique armor and Shader rewards. With D2, we want statements like ‘I want to run the Raid, Trials, or go back to Titan to get more of its Shader’ to be possible.”
There are worse responses, I suppose. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What else is going on in the world of Destiny since its launch? Oh, nothing much. Just a patch for the promised clan progression features and confirmation that the first DLC will indeed bear the “Curse of Osiris” title — that last last bit thanks to the Xbox Store:
I was super worried about losing my whole guild to Destiny 2’s PC beta last week, but after the beta fling, they’re back to chattering about Guild Wars 2 and plotting adventures there. I’m not sure it’s a slam on Destiny 2, either, just that we’re chiefly PC fans, so the console launch isn’t much of a draw, and the PC launch is still almost two months off. Meanwhile, Guild Wars 2 is very much live, with an expansion just a few weeks away.
For today’s Leaderboard, let’s see whether you’re like my guildies — are you playing Destiny 2?
With all of the attention, fandom, e-sports, and development given to Blizzard’s Overwatch, have you ever suspected that the team shooter has a critical weakness in its narrative?
Tyler at Superior Realities unloads with both barrels at what he calls the “failure” of Overwatch’s story: “The thing is, a 10-minute video clip once a year and a 10-page digital comic every six months aren’t a story. They’re marketing […] Nor has there been any forward momentum to the story. We’re still just hovering, frozen in time, at the moment Winston reactivated Overwatch. If this were a movie, we’d still be in the first five minutes.”
Our whirlwind tour through the latest that the MMO blogosphere has to offer continues, with a look at Destiny 2’s PC beta, FFXIV’s nostalgia trip, the perceived value of MMOs, and more!